Soh wrote to Mr. O:

I did flip through hundreds of pages of Meister Eckhart and my impression remains the same.

of course, it is not a very thorough reading.

if you have found any quote that sounds like anatta or total exertion, you may share and we may discuss.

Tommy M: *Sits back and joins Chris with the popcorn*



Thusness/John Tan gave me a nickname early last year

    John Tan


    is an anatta bot. If u let him spot a sentence that is substantialist
    non-dual, he will scan through thousand of pages to verify whether u r

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  •  · 1y
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    John Tan: Next life Buddha will grant u a title "anatta bot"emoticon.


 Tommy M:

Hope all's well with you and the family, I'll message you on FB. Sorry for not having been in touch sooner.  






Tommy M:

No, you believe that he's talking about total exertion. AEN and Thusness are friends of mine, and I've had the honour of being featured on their blog, so I would be surprised if they shared your views on Christianity leading to the same realizations as those of the Buddha. Perhaps they do, but I can't say either way and would suggest asking them directly about their views on this.


Hi Tommy, nice to see your posts here. He e-mailed me and I saw this post, so I am going to paste my reply here as well:

Meister Eckhart stresses on I AMness:

Sermon 60 wrote:I have sometimes spoken of a light that is in the soul, which is uncreated and uncreatable. I continually touch on this light in my sermons: it is the light which lays straight hold of God, unveiled and bare, as He is in Himself, that is, it catches Him in the act of begetting. So I can truly say that this light is far more at one with God than it is with any of the powers with which it has unity of being. For you should know, this light is no nobler in my soul's essence than the humblest, or the grossest of my powers, such as hearing or sight or any other power which is subject to hunger or thirst, cold or heat, and that is because being is indivisible. And so, if we consider the powers of the soul in their being, they are all one and equally noble: but if we take them in their functions, one is much higher and nobler than the other.

Therefore I say, if a man turns away from self and from all created things, then—to the extent that you do this—you will attain to oneness and blessedness in your soul's spark, which time and place never touched. This spark is opposed to all creatures: it wants nothing but God, naked, just as He is. It is not satisfied with the Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost, or all three Persons so far as they preserve their several properties. I declare in truth, this light would not be satisfied with the unity of the whole fertility of the divine nature. In fact I will say still more, which sounds even stranger: I declare in all truth, by the eternal and everlasting truth, that this light is not content with the simple changeless divine being which neither gives nor takes:

rather it seeks to know whence this being comes, it wants to get into its simple ground, into the silent desert into which no distinction ever peeped, of Father, Son or Holy Ghost. In the inmost part, where none is at home, there that light finds satisfaction, and there it is more one than it is in itself: for this ground is an impartible stillness, motionless in itself, and by this immobility all things are moved, and all those receive life that live of themselves, being endowed with reason. That we may thus live rationally, may the eternal truth of which I have spoken help us. Amen.

By the way as you already know, I see the I AM realization as important and tell others to start from there. It is good that it is pointed out in the Christian tradition.

Compare this with Thusness Stage 1, the Ground of Being:

"Like a river flowing into the ocean, the self dissolves into nothingness. When a practitioner becomes thoroughly clear about the illusionary nature of the individuality, subject-object division does not take place. A person experiencing “AMness” will find “AMness in everything”. What is it like?

Being freed from individuality -- coming and going, life and death, all phenomenon merely pop in and out from the background of the AMness. The AMness is not experienced as an ‘entity’ residing anywhere, neither within nor without; rather it is experienced as the ground reality for all phenomenon to take place. Even in the moment of subsiding (death), the yogi is thoroughly authenticated with that reality; experiencing the ‘Real’ as clear as it can be. We cannot lose that AMness; rather all things can only dissolve and re-emerges from it. The AMness has not moved, there is no coming and going. This "AMness" is God.

Practitioners should never mistake this as the true Buddha Mind! "I AMness" is the pristine awareness. That is why it is so overwhelming. Just that there is no 'insight' into its emptiness nature."  (Excerpt from Buddha Nature is NOT "I Am")

On that specific Meister Eckhart quote above, Arcaya Malcolm commented in 2018 in, This business about the soul”s spark is exactly the atman Buddha refuted. Surprised you don’t get that. There is no dependent origination here, no emptiness, etc, just an assertion of an unconditioned substance called a soul.

(Comments: even though it is not anatman, it is still an important realization pertaining to the aspect of Luminosity)

Jesus Christ also stresses on I AMness (Before Abraham was, I AM… …I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.), and also impersonality:

The closest to anatta in Christianity is modern Christian mystic Bernadette Roberts, however hers is still more on Advaita nondual, the journey from I AM to One Mind and No Mind, but not anatta. Still Thusness Stage 4. , No Mind and Anatta, Focusing on Insight

But even that step, according to Bernadette Roberts, is beyond the spiritual literature of the Christian tradition.

"I must re-emphasize that the following experiences do not belong to the first contemplative movement or the soul's establishment in a state of union with God. I have written elsewhere of this first journey and feel that enough has been said of it already, since this movement is inevitably the exclusive concern of contemplative writers. Thus it is only where these writers leave off that I propose to begin. Here now, begins the journey beyond union, beyond self and God, a journey into the silent and still regions of the Unknown." -- Bernadette Roberts, from the Introduction

It is interesting though, that famous Christian contemplatives vouch for her work,

"One of the most significant spiritual books of our day. One of the best books on this subject since St. John of the Cross. An amazing book, it clarifies the higher regions of the spiritual path." -- Father Thomas Keating

Also, some excerpts from Bernadette:

Bernadette: That occurred unexpectedly some 25 years after the transforming process. The divine center - the coin, or "true self" - suddenly disappeared, and without center or circumference there is no self, and no divine."


Actually, I met up with Buddhism only at the end of my journey, after the no-self experience. Since I knew that this experience was not articulated in our contemplative literature, I went to the library to see if it could be found in the Eastern Religions. It did not take me long to realize that I would not find it in the Hindu tradition, where, as I see it, the final state is equivalent to the Christian experience of oneness or transforming union. If a Hindu had what I call the no-self experience, it would be the sudden, unexpected disappearance of the Atman-Brahman, the divine Self in the "cave of the heart", and the disappearance of the cave as well. It would be the ending of God-consciousness, or transcendental consciousness - that seemingly bottomless experience of "being", "consciousness", and "bliss" that articulates the state of oneness. To regard this ending as the falling away of the ego is a grave error; ego must fall away before the state of oneness can be realized. The no-self experience is the falling away of this previously realized transcendent state.

Initially, when I looked into Buddhism, I did not find the experience of no-self there either; yet I intuited that it had to be there. The falling away of the ego is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, it would not account for the fact that Buddhism became a separate religion, nor would it account for the Buddhist's insistence on no eternal Self - be it divine, individual or the two in one. I felt that the key difference between these two religions was the no-self experience, the falling away of the true Self, Atman-Brahman.

Unfortunately, what most Buddhist authors define as the no-self experience is actually the no-ego experience. The cessation of clinging, craving, desire, the passions, etc., and the ensuing state of imperturbable peace and joy articulates the egoless state of oneness; it does not, however, articulate the no-self experience or the dimension beyond. Unless we clearly distinguish between these two very different experiences, we only confuse them, with the inevitable result that the true no-self experience becomes lost. If we think the falling away of the ego, with its ensuing transformation and oneness, is the no-self experience, then what shall we call the much further experience when this egoless oneness falls away? In actual experience there is only one thing to call it, the "no-self experience"; it lends itself to no other possible articulation.

Initially, I gave up looking for this experience in the Buddhist literature. Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self as a house, he said, "All thy rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed." And there it was - the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self. When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bulls-eye. It was a remarkable find. These lines are not a piece of philosophy, but an experiential account, and without the experiential account we really have nothing to go on. In the same verse he says, "Again a house thou shall not build," clearly distinguishing this experience from the falling away of the ego-center, after which a new, transformed self is built around a "true center," a sturdy, balanced ridgepole.
"The truth of the body, then, is the revelation that Christ is all that is manifest of God or all that is manifest of the unmanifest Father. Self or consciousness does not reveal this and cannot know it. In the "smile" there was no knower or one who smiles, nor was there anyone or anything to smile at or to know; there was simply the smile, the "knowing" that is beyond knower and known. The wrong interpretation of the absence of knower and known is that in that in the Godhead knower and known are identical. But the identity of knower and known is only true of consciousness, which is self knowing itself. But the Godhead transcends this identity -- it is void of knower or known. The "knowing" that remains beyond self or consciousness cannot be accounted for in any terms of knower and known. The truest thing that could be said is that the "body knows."" (see Resurrection, page 185, What Is Self?)
Bernadette: Your observation strikes me as particularly astute; most people miss the point. You have actually put your finger on the key factor that distinguishes between the state of oneness and the state of no-oneness, between self and no-self. So long as self remains, there will always be a "center". Few people realize that not only is the center responsible for their interior experiences of energy, emotion, and feeling, but also, underlying these, the center is our continuous, mysterious experience of "life"and "being". Because this experience is more pervasive than our other experiences, we may not think of "life" and "being" as an interior experience. Even in the state of oneness, we tend to forget that our experience of "being" originates in the divine center, where it is one with divine life and being. We have become so used to living from this center that we feel no need to remember it, to mentally focus on it, look within, or even think about it. Despite this fact, however, the center remains; it is the epicenter of our experience of life and being, which gives rise to our experiential energies and various feelings.
If this center suddenly dissolves and disappears, the experiences of life, being, energy, feeling and so on come to an end, because there is no "within" any more. And without a "within", there is no subjective, psychological, or spiritual life remaining - no experience of life at all. Our subjecive life is over and done with. But now, without center and circumference, where is the divine? To get hold of this situation, imagine consciousness as a balloon filled with, and suspended in divine air. The balloon experiences the divine as immanent, "in" itself, as well as transcendent, beyond or outside itself. This is the experience of the divine in ourselves and ourselves in the divine; in the state of oneness, Christ is often seen as the balloon (ourselves), completing this trinitarian experience. But what makes this whole experience possible - the divine as both immanent and transcendent - is obviously the balloon, i.e. consciousness or self. Consciousness sets up the divisions of within and without, spirit and matter, body and soul, immanent and transcendent; in fact, consciousness is responsible for every division we know of. But what if we pop the balloon - or better, cause it to vanish like a bubble that leaves no residue. All that remains is divine air. There is no divine in anything, there is no divine transcendence or beyond anything, nor is the divine anything. We cannot point to anything or anyone and say, "This or that is divine". So the divine is all - all but consciousness or self, which created the division in the first place. As long as consciousness remains however, it does not hide the divine, nor is it ever separated from it. In Christian terms, the divine known to consciousness and experienced by it as immanent and transcendent is called God; the divine as it exists prior to consciousness and after consciousness is gone is called Godhead. Obviously, what accounts for the difference between God and Godhead is the balloon or bubble - self or consciousness. As long as any subjective self remains, a center remains; and so, too, does the sense of interiority.” -


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