Mr. TJ asked:

Mr. TJ
I wonder if this relates to a question I have for AtR higher-stage realizers, which I will pose here. In Tibetan Buddhism, for those who have realized emptiness, there is still a strong distinction drawn between equipoise and post-equipoise - it is even said that the condition of equipoise and post-equipoise being the same is only the case for a Buddha. Yet they also say thought isn't actually a problem if it is seen as empty and self liberated, and moreover even a Buddha uses words, language, and concepts at need, so what is this state of "equipoise" that one who has realized emptiness experiences sporadically, which has become permanent for a Buddha? On the other hand, in AtR it is emphasized that anatta realization is not a temporary experience, but a realization of the way things are which doesn't come and go. How would AtR higher-stage realizers describe the difference between resting in nonconceptual equipoise vs living ordinary life? Does it seem like there is a strong difference, and that the remainder of the path is to make whatever is present only in equipoise into an unbroken, continuous condition? Or is the path seen as something entirely different?
· Reply

· 2d

Mr. TJ
Soh Wei Yu tl;dr what is the role of the equipoise-postequipoise distinction in your experience and/or what has John said about it?
· Reply
· · 21h


Here are some quotations while searching 'equipoise' and 'post equipoise'[0]=AZWeNsLGMEtHpH2OZlnr3_N9D1L9b1qdMUXyCAjOibS2prhuqIJUlBHViAxKNuuy4HGRMGLRmISAS0DYUY1zffi2ipFv-kzkXOQRZD3qTzbYUVb87Zb1zJLZPIrPPUPhJow&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R

Soh Wei YuAdmin
John Tan: For entry and exit in relation to self, no. After anatta the 90 days cycles do come back and later phase it wears off. In fact sensation is transparent and crystal becoz it is “direct and gapless without veil”. Over the past 20 years there is no entry or exit in relation to self/Self. There is however still grasping of characteristics of objects.

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· 3y

Arthur Deller
That last sentence is really honest and clear.

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· 3y

John LM TanAdmin
Yes Arthur , only in relation to a backdrop self. In fact the grasping over characteristics of objects provides opportunity to understand 2 fold in a pragmatic way.
Because insight of anatta affirms that there never was a self/Self, then how does “entry” and “exit” arise in the past?
Therefore “entry” and “exit” r only appearances, they r empty and non-arisen.
Insight of anatta is not insight into emptiness although they hv the same import but may not be easy to see even when pointed out.
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· 3y
Arthur Deller
John, you appear to be describing the middle way.
Not essentialism and not nihilism.
No self, yet self empty of inherent existence.
Interdependent being.

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· 3y

John Tan
Sorry use this account a lot
It is more on insight into conventionalities and also realising the amazing power of conventions. That conventions can appear so amazing real and still do.

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· 3y · Edited

Arthur Deller
John Tan I’m very curious now.
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· 3y

[since those posts John Tan had undergone some breakthroughs in releasing cognitive/knowledge obscurations that relates to the latent tendency to reify phenomena even after the realisation of twofold emptiness, although even now I don't think he has claimed to have attain Buddhahood.]


[19/6/18, 9:17:01 AM] Soh Wei Yu: It seems that when they talk about illusoriness of appearance they are talking about things like sense of self or sense of things having characteristics
[19/6/18, 9:17:07 AM] Soh Wei Yu: These appear but are illusory
[19/6/18, 9:17:17 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Then in equipoise these appearances cease
[19/6/18, 9:17:22 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Space like equipoise
[19/6/18, 9:17:50 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Both gelug and Mipham seems to be talking this way here
[19/6/18, 9:18:55 AM] John Tan: Yes but u don't understand what they meant
[19/6/18, 9:19:16 AM] John Tan: There is mere pure appearance that is beyond verbalization
[19/6/18, 9:19:48 AM] John Tan: And there is deluded appearances that appear
[19/6/18, 9:21:14 AM] John Tan: To express the authentic experience of pure appearance, it has to be expressed on two truth, there is no other way. That is my sincere experience, doesn't matter who
[19/6/18, 9:23:06 AM] John Tan: When one attempt to express the non-conceptual mode of suchness that is conventional level, it must be expressed in two truth. That is conventionally exist but ultimately empty (not non-existence).
[19/6/18, 9:31:40 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[19/6/18, 9:32:11 AM] John Tan: In gelug, there is a different. That is the conventional existence, it actually serves two purposes. How the arya functions in the conventional world. That means how arya uses and expresses conventions and function in relative world but still do not lose sight of the authentic ultimate.
[19/6/18, 9:33:13 AM] John Tan: To other schools, mmk does not need this. It simply means cessation of mental constructs when proliferations are pacified.
[19/6/18, 9:33:38 AM] John Tan: This is what that confuse ppl.
[19/6/18, 9:34:30 AM] John Tan: But that is the way an Arya function and I think yes, Tsongkhapa is correct in this aspect and imo.
[19/6/18, 9:34:39 AM] John Tan: Though it is not
[19/6/18, 9:35:34 AM] John Tan: So mere-existence is not exactly mere-appearance in other schools
[19/6/18, 9:36:12 AM] John Tan: Mere-appearance is what appears without corruption by a reifying mind
[19/6/18, 9:43:53 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[19/6/18, 9:44:13 AM] Soh Wei Yu: What is mere appearance in other schools?
[19/6/18, 9:44:26 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Mipham and another master also talks about appearance as divine right
[19/6/18, 9:44:36 AM] John Tan: Horrible I just told u
[19/6/18, 9:46:21 AM] Soh Wei Yu: So u mean other school is like mere appearance is the conventional appearance that is decidedly
[19/6/18, 9:46:29 AM] Soh Wei Yu: That is Deluded?
[19/6/18, 9:46:41 AM] John Tan: As Rongzom, Mipham self declares himself as his disciple
[19/6/18, 9:46:43 AM] John Tan: Lol
[19/6/18, 9:47:02 AM] John Tan: What r u talking about
[19/6/18, 9:47:11 AM] John Tan: I just told u
[19/6/18, 9:47:35 AM] Soh Wei Yu: So mere existence and mere appearance in tsongkhapa means conventional appears without corruption
[19/6/18, 9:47:43 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Then to other school mere appearance means what
[19/6/18, 9:47:58 AM] John Tan: In gelug appearance is deluded
[19/6/18, 9:48:27 AM] John Tan: Emptiness is the ultimate
[19/6/18, 9:49:11 AM] John Tan: “Appearance” is not the non-conceptual mode of authentic experience in gelug
[19/6/18, 9:49:30 AM] John Tan: I mean the word “appearance”
[19/6/18, 9:50:27 AM] John Tan: U must know emptiness does not apply when it is no more conceptual and conventional. Emptiness is the emptiness of the conventional.
[19/6/18, 9:51:21 AM] John Tan: Cessation of mental constructs pacified all mental proliferations, what is there to empty?


[25/7/20, 9:19:44 AM] John Tan: In equipoise, there is neither mind nor object. Post equipoise conceptual level, there is always diversities and duality, there DO, empty and non-arisen.
[25/7/20, 9:20:01 AM] Soh Wei Yu: oic..
[25/7/20, 9:21:06 AM] John Tan: So u see the role of total exertion?
[25/7/20, 9:23:08 AM] Soh Wei Yu: oic.. so total exertion is when there are conventions in post equipoise
[25/7/20, 9:23:16 AM] Soh Wei Yu: then anatta nonconceptual is like equipoise?
[25/7/20, 9:23:50 AM] John Tan: It is like a blending taste...
[25/7/20, 9:32:47 AM] John Tan: Exactly Matt James is not
[25/7/20, 9:33:01 AM] Soh Wei Yu: what do you mean
[25/7/20, 9:35:19 AM] John Tan: I think Malcolm should b more
[25/7/20, 9:35:57 AM] John Tan: My view and understanding is not different from Malcolm.
[25/7/20, 9:36:48 AM] Soh Wei Yu: oic.. more open with his experiences?
[25/7/20, 9:36:58 AM] John Tan: No
[25/7/20, 9:37:25 AM] Soh Wei Yu: insight and view?
[25/7/20, 9:37:44 AM] John Tan: Yes
[25/7/20, 9:38:49 AM] Soh Wei Yu: oic..
[25/7/20, 9:40:10 AM] John Tan: I mean integrate quantum view instead of seeing mountain as there in dualism.
[25/7/20, 9:41:15 AM] John Tan: Quantum view too is conventional. Y must u see mountain to b there at all rather than probabilistic waves?
[25/7/20, 9:43:24 AM] John Tan: Since he accepts appearances r mind but not appearing objects as mind. Appearing objects is just conventional, so y not adopt quantum theory explanation?
[25/7/20, 9:47:24 AM] Soh Wei Yu: ic..
[25/7/20, 10:14:09 AM] John Tan: Btw Malcolm is accepting two truth theory from what he said
[25/7/20, 10:18:22 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. but he says conventional truth is deluded. So in the end is one truth.. and he quotes nagarjuna or something on that
[25/7/20, 10:18:38 AM] Soh Wei Yu: So in equipoise there is only ultimate truth i think
[25/7/20, 10:32:02 AM] John Tan: The only truth is to see the emptiness of the conventional. Equipoise strictly speaking is free from all elaborations. That is exactly the experiential insight and taste of anatta, in the seen just the seen, therefore no seer, no seeing, nothing seen.
[25/7/20, 10:38:33 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[25/7/20, 10:42:35 AM] Soh Wei Yu: like kalaka sutta


John Tan

Well said. The heart of total exertion and emptiness...feel it. U r beginning to bring the taste of total exertion into "view". Even in conventionality and conceptuality, the experience of "water pouring water" in meditative equipoise can b brought into actual taste. +A and -A can b integrated.


At Kāḷaka’s Park
Kāḷaka Sutta (AN 4:24)
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāketa in Kāḷaka’s park. There he addressed the monks: “Monks!”
“Yes, lord,” the monks responded to him.
The Blessed One said: “Monks, whatever in this world with its devas, Māras & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its rulers & commonfolk, is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in this world with its devas, Māras & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its rulers & commonfolk, is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathāgata, but in the Tathāgata1 it has not been established.
“If I were to say, ‘I don’t know whatever in this world… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, ‘I both know and don’t know whatever in this world… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be just the same. If I were to say, ‘I neither know nor don’t know whatever in this world… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be a fault in me.
“Thus, monks, the Tathāgata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn’t suppose an (object as) seen. He doesn’t suppose an unseen. He doesn’t suppose an (object) to-be-seen. He doesn’t suppose a seer.
“When hearing.…
“When sensing.…
“When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn’t suppose an (object as) cognized. He doesn’t suppose an uncognized. He doesn’t suppose an (object) to-be-cognized. He doesn’t suppose a cognizer.
Thus, monks, the Tathāgata—being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized—is ‘Such.’2 And I tell you: There is no other ‘Such’ higher or more sublime.
“Whatever is seen or heard or sensed
and fastened onto as true by others,
One who is Such—among the self-fettered—
would not further claim to be true or even false.
“Having seen well in advance that arrow
where generations are fastened & hung
—‘I know, I see, that’s just how it is!’—
there’s nothing of the Tathāgata fastened.”
1. Reading tathāgate with the Thai edition.
2. Such (tādin): An adjective applied to the mind of one who has attained the goal. It indicates that the mind “is what it is”—indescribable but not subject to change or alteration.


‎[10/10/21, 1:57:18 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle Dixon: Longchenpa:

From the [ultimate] perspective the meditative equipoise of the realised (sa thob) and awakened beings (sangs rgyas), there exists neither object of knowledge (shes bya) nor knowing cognitive process (shes byed) and so forth, for there is neither object to apprehend nor the subject that does the apprehending. Even the exalted cognitive process (yeshes) as a subject ceases (zhi ba) to operate.
[10/10/21, 1:59:33 PM] John Tan: 👍


"When you are luminous and transparent, don't think of dependent origination or emptiness, that is post-equipoise. When hearing sound, like the sound of flowing water and chirping bird, it is as if you are there. It should be non-conceptual, no sense of body or me, transparent, as if the sensations stand out. You must always have some quality time into this state of anatta. Means you cannot keep losing yourself in verbal thoughts, you got to have quality hours dedicated to relaxation and experience fully without self, without reservation." - John Tan, 2018


"Models and philosophy are implemented on the outset and during times of post-equipoise [rjes thob]. They are tools, one does not abandon them." "The prajñā experienced in equipoise "burns away" afflictions. But one does not abandon the need for practice. The practice is continually returning to equipoise, until equipoise and post-equipoise merge." - Kyle Dixon, 2017


“Malcolm wrote:
Apart from the Gelugpas, all Madhyamaka approaches, including Nāgārjuna's clearly underline the need to negate all four extremes in the ultimate, not merely one.
BuddhaFollower wrote:

Negation of all 4 extremes is done simply by understanding non-arising?

Is that right?

No, not if you are an ordinary person. If you are an ordinary person, you must go through step by step and analyze all four extremes. Having ascertained through analysis that a phenomena existing through the four extremes does exist in the relative, one then applies that analysis to the ultimate, finding that also that there is nothing which can be found in the ultimate existing by way of the four extremes. Then, as Khenpo Ngalo states:

"Likewise, the mind free from the trio of arising, ceasing and abiding, existence and nonexistence, and being and nonbeing, is naked in the emptiness free from proliferation. In one’s experience, the unceasing stream of mere clarity and mere awareness is empty at the time of being clear and clear at the time being empty — do not grasp clarity or emptiness. Rest wholly, nakedly and freely in the state that is free from extremes, without divisions, inexpressible and beyond thought.
Finally, rest free of concepts [had de chad de] without grasping in mere inexpressibility."

This means that having completed one's analysis one simply rests in the nature of the mind as one finds it, without modifying it in anyway.

Malcolm wrote:
Yes, heat on the path of preparation/application is a conceptual mind, it is a samadhi on an inferential emptiness.

cloudburst wrot
so how do you then explain that one goes from the path of preparation, a conceptual mind, to the path of seeing, a non-conceptual mind? If you insist on using only your specific terminology/ translation style, could you explain how one goes from the path of preparation, a conceptual mind, to the path of seeing, a non-conceptual wisdom?
To paraphrase Shantideva:

When neither an object or a non-object remain before the mind, since there is other alternative, that time the mind is pacified.

This is also the intent of the siddha Kotalipa:

Do not meditate on non-existents,
also do not meditate on existents...

Malcolm: But if you meditate with a conceptual mind you are not meditating on the ultimate, since the ultimate, according to Shantideva, is not within the range of the mind, the mind being relative.

cloudburst wrote:
Can you please explain the development, from a conceptual mind on the path of preparation, of a mind to which neither object or nor non-object appears?

All grasping to signs ceases, that is the path of seeing. The path of seeing is a (temporary) cessation of the conceptual mind, not a transformation of a conceptual mind into a nonconceptual mind.

When neither an object or a non-object remain before the mind, since there is other alternative, that time the mind is pacified.

Malcolm wrote:
But if you meditate with a conceptual mind you are not meditating on the ultimate, since the ultimate, according to Shantideva, is not within the range of the mind, the mind being relative.

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Shantideva doesn't say this at all. He says that the ultimate cannot be realised directly by a mind that has dualistic appearance:

(2) The two truths are explained as conventional truths and ultimate truths.
Ultimate truth, emptiness, is a non¬affirming negative phenomenon
That cannot be realized directly by a mind that has dualistic appearance,
For such minds are conventional, and thus mistaken awareness.

Malcolm wrote:
Sure he does:

saṃvṛtiḥ paramārthaśca satyadvayamidaṃ matam|
buddheragocarastattvaṃ buddhiḥ saṃvṛtirucyate

saṃvṛtiḥ paramārthaśca

Relative and ultimate,

satyadvayamidaṃ matam|

this is asserted as the two truths.


The ultimate is not [within] the range [gocara, spyod yul] of the mind;

buddhiḥ saṃvṛtirucyate

The mind is said to be relative.

[1:14 PM, 6/11/2020] Soh Wei Yu: What do you think
[1:41 PM, 6/11/2020] Soh Wei Yu: I think malcolm is saying like at the end of the analysis there is no more concepts and then rest in nonconceptual empty clarity
[1:41 PM, 6/11/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Its like andre view
[1:41 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: Yes that is dzogchen view
[1:42 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: That is also my view lol
[1:43 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: But to uproot the intellectual obscurations before one can naturally rest in appearances.
[1:43 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: One can have the view but to claim pre-maturely is a different matter.
[1:44 PM, 6/11/2020] Soh Wei Yu: I see.. ya i agree
[1:45 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: If one simply has a conceptual understanding of freedom from extremes via seeing dependencies, that is not uprooting ignorance.

[8:15 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: Read what Andre wrote...quite good.

I think he shouldn't engage too much on conceptualization, if he already feels transparent, borderless and spacious,
should just practice resting in ease as dimensionless free floating appearances.

[8:17 PM, 6/11/2020] Soh Wei Yu: You mean the posts i posted in blog?
[8:17 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: Yes
[8:22 PM, 6/11/2020] John Tan: For you, don't try to experience more. You don't have to do anything, just relax and be natural and allow luminous appearances self manifest...feel the vivid sharpness and radiance, be light and free.”

“The cognizer perceives the cognizable;
Without the cognizable there is no cognition;
Therefore why do you not admit
That neither object nor subject exists [at all]?

The mind is but a mere name;
Apart from it's name it exists as nothing;
So view consciousness as a mere name;
Name too has no intrinsic nature.

Either within or likewise without,
Or somewhere in between the two,
The conquerors have never found the mind;
So the mind has the nature of an illusion.

The distinctions of colors and shapes,
Or that of object and subject,
Of male, female and the neuter -
The mind has no such fixed forms.

In brief the Buddhas have never seen
Nor will they ever see [such a mind];
So how can they see it as intrinsic nature
That which is devoid of intrinsic nature?

"Entity" is a conceptualization;
Absence of conceptualization is emptiness;
Where conceptualization occurs,
How can there be emptiness?

The mind in terms of perceived and perceiver,
This the Tathagatas have never seen;
Where there is the perceived and perceiver,
There is no enlightenment.

Devoid of characteristics and origination,
Devoid of substantiative reality and transcending speech,
Space, awakening mind and enlightenment
Possess the characteristics of non-duality.”

- Nagarjuna, Bodhicittavivarana


‎[10/6/19, 12:22:40 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
[10/6/19, 12:25:25 PM] John Tan: I do not see it this way
[10/6/19, 12:26:50 PM] John Tan: It is more of a state of evenness whether in engagement or meditation.
[10/6/19, 12:29:51 PM] John Tan: Engagement doesn't mean walk in forest or reservoirs felt non-dual, open and undisturbed🤣🤣🤣
[10/6/19, 12:31:56 PM] John Tan: Means ur wealth, fame, life, love ones, whatever treasured in this conventional world is put into challenge, do we truly see they r empty?
[10/6/19, 12:33:29 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎You deleted this message.
[10/6/19, 12:33:37 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
‎[10/6/19, 12:33:46 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
‎[10/6/19, 12:33:47 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted


srid: : if whittling away at the beliefs eliminates some of the triggers and is not sufficient to eliminate the feelings themselves, what is left to trigger the said feelings? All feelings arise​​ from a trigger. I’m not really sure I understand the above point anymore.
dona: [paraphrasing Vineeto] not all feelings arise from a trigger, there are, ‘floating feelings’, that have no apparent cause.
dona: (Dona sidenote: what is it you are really asking? )

Dona, what I was really asking is same as what I was actually asking. I could not find anything in the AFT site talking about Vineeto’s “floating feelings”. If anything it only contradicts it. For example when Richard describes the actualism method​​ as tracing back the trigger which made one go from feeing good to not feeling good, there is an implicit knowledge that all feelings (that bring one down from feeling good) have a trigger.

Dona: Vineeto said she has had what she calls "free floating feelings" with no apparent cause. Though, obviously you wouldn't know that until you investigate it. So investigate all feelings.

dona: [her words of what Richard and Vineeto said] […] Richard and Vineeto agree here, it is beneficial to get out and interact with people and other situations in order​​ to “see what comes up”. It’s easy to be an ‘armchair actualist’ (my term), sit at home all alone, and think that all’s good, you have no triggers any more (because there’s no one, or anything, there to trigger them).

Since I have plenty of experience in this area it is worth pointing out that there is an opposite-side to being ‘armchair actualist’ (AA). I call it ‘forced extroverted actualist’ (FEA).
Given that I’m more intelligent above the norm, and thus more cunning, at various points in my time I deliberately set out to address the habitual withdrawal with a conscious effort to ‘go out’ or ‘fit in’ or ‘mingle with people’.
My investigations revealed that AA was motivated by the desire to avoid the bad feelings associated with people, and FEA was motivated by the fear of being left alone. And that neither is optimal in the long-run. So, if neither is optimal, what is the solution here? The actual solution here is to prioritize feeling good. Which means feeling good​​ right now​​ doing whatever. What happens in the next moments--be it being on one’s own or being with people--will be dictated by that moment. “I” do not have to “make a decision” as to whether I want to stay alone or go with people.

Dona: Richard emphasizes​​ that actualism is to be practiced "out in the marketplace".

He is not only talking about social events, he stresses (many times) that actualism will bring forth peace on Earth and that can only begin to happen when a man and a woman (because that is the​​ genesis of humanity) can live together in peace and Harmony 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So another question I have, which naturally follows from what I wrote above, is this:
Do those last two sentences in what I wrote immediately above signify what Richard meant by “let the moment live you” or Vineeto meant by (and she told me this more than a few times in Ballina in 2013) “give yourself permission to feel good now”?

Dona: Alan answered that on slack, I think you agreed it was not the same.

Alan:​​ Just checking – you do see now that​​ “let the moment live you”​​ and​​ “give yourself permission to feel good now”​​ are different things?
‎[10/6/19, 12:33:47 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted

Dona: thank you for clarifying what "slacking" meant. In regards to your initial question:

1a Practicing actualism on one’s own mostly, but slacking around and without much sincerity and curiosity
1b. Practicing actualism on one’s own mostly, but without slacking around with much sincerity and curiosity
2a. Practicing actualism in the marketplace (relationships, friends,​​ etc.) mostly, but slacking around and without much sincerity and curiosity
2b. Practicing actualism in the marketplace (relationships, friends, etc.) mostly, but without slacking around with much sincerity and curiosity.
Moving from 1 to 2 could mean moving from 1a to 2a, which is not really improvement. What would be an improvement is to move from 1a to 1b … and then, and only then, consider going to 2b.

Dona: Richard said that ONLY 2b is practicing actualism, since (as you said in the beginning) actualism is practiced in the marketplace. 1b is not practicing the actualism method. And definitely not 1a or 2a.
‎[10/6/19, 12:33:48 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted


Also relevant to remember that a lot of the actualism process consists of excising socially learned beliefs... guess where we pick those beliefs up! I don't think the lesson is to stay away from any social interaction,​​ but more to see it for what it is: people very much caught up in emotion, ego, etc.

Dona: this was Q14's reply to JOHN CM's question above (difficulty remembering to feel good in social events). And Richard and Vineeto agree here, it is beneficial to get​​ out and interact with people and other situations in order to "see what comes up".

It's easy to be an 'armchair actualist' (my term), sit at home all alone, and think that all's good, you have no triggers any more (because there's no one, or anything, there to trigger them).

Also Q14... see you are also doing what you say others are doing (caught up in emotion, ego...).

Alan: “Armchair actualist”. LOL ​​ I like it Dona.
[10/6/19, 12:36:43 PM] John Tan: AA armchair actualist🤣
[10/6/19, 12:36:52 PM] John Tan: Nice term.
[10/6/19, 12:37:13 PM] John Tan: Don't do armchair
[10/6/19, 12:40:57 PM] John Tan: Actually there is no forcing. All the 4 aspects in I Mness r fully expressed in anatta as I told u. If aliveness is everywhere, how is one not to is a natural to explore in arena and enjoy in business, family, spiritual practices ...
[10/6/19, 12:42:43 PM] John Tan: I involve in Finance, business, society, nature, spirituality, yoga...🤣🤣🤣. I don't find it efforting...
[10/6/19, 12:43:19 PM] John Tan: U just don't have to boast about this and that and be non-dual and open.


Do not allow your commitments to be undermined by social pressures or obstacles. Develop the ability to blend your experience of meditative equipoise with postmeditation activity. Do not relinquish your diligence until you have accomplished your goal. Develop the ability to appreciate the equal taste of whatever you encounter, whether it is to be eliminated or relied on.”


[29/7/20, 10:18:34 AM] John Tan: Yes we cannot have a mechanistic view also
[29/7/20, 10:21:50 AM] John Tan: And that is to me is one of the purpose of mmk also. Sort of similar to Zhuang Zhi, to deconstruct one from the conditioning of social norms and definitions and realized the Tao of unconditioned freedom.
[29/7/20, 10:57:45 AM] Soh Wei Yu: oic..
[29/7/20, 10:57:50 AM] Soh Wei Yu: " You are meditating on concepts about emptiness.

Āryan equipoise is the state that arises when one has eliminated all proliferation about phenomena. That freedom from proliferation is emptiness. But it cannot be taken as a conceptual object since conceptual objects are proliferation. The way to discover freedom from proliferation is exactly as Śāntideva describes it, and I paraphrase, when neither an entity nor a nonentity rests before the mind, at that moment since there is no other alternative, the mind is pacified. That is āryan equipoise." - arcaya malcolm, 2017
[29/7/20, 10:58:08 AM] Soh Wei Yu: -
[29/7/20, 10:59:15 AM] John Tan: Yes


[5/7/19, 9:16:08 AM] Soh Wei Yu: What do you think
[5/7/19, 9:16:20 AM] Soh Wei Yu: It sounds more like I AM lol
[5/7/19, 9:18:17 AM] Soh Wei Yu: I dont agree with approaches that affirm awareness
[5/7/19, 9:18:59 AM] Soh Wei Yu: As i see it completely unnecessary if one has went through anatta. There is no background only the luminous manifestation
[5/7/19, 9:19:15 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Emptiness is just the empty nature of manifestation

[5/7/19, 10:39:16 AM] John Tan: The empty is the emptiness of the conventions. The taste is like empty convention, that is knowing it is empty but yet fully manifest and functional. No diff whether conceptually or non-conceptually in terms of taste.
[5/7/19, 11:27:24 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. he is experiencing this?
[5/7/19, 11:30:06 AM] John Tan: Dun think so
[5/7/19, 11:30:13 AM] John Tan: Different message
[5/7/19, 1:38:33 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[5/7/19, 1:44:10 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I think thakchoe sonam description is closer lol
[5/7/19, 1:44:49 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Sonam Thakchoe (The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way):

"Tsongkhapa regards the nondual realization of ultimate truth as an epistemic event... ...Tsongkhapa does not hold the achievement of nondual wisdom as equivalent to the cessation of cognitive activity...

Tsongkhapa's description of the way the meditator arrives at nondual understanding is as follows. The cognitive agent experiences a fusion of subjectivity and its object, which refer here not to self and outside world but rather to elements within the meditator's own psychophysical aggregates. The meditator remains introspective, not engaging the outside world, but the outside world as such does not disappear. What occurs is instead a total cessation of the dualities between subject I and object mine, between thinker and thought, between feeler and feelings, between mind and body, between seeing and seen, and so forth. Initially a meditator perceives, for instance, that in each act of seeing, two factors are always present: the object seen and the act of seeing it. While each single act of seeing involves dissolution, the object seen and the act of seeing actually consist of numerous physical and mental processes that are seen to dissolve serially and successively. Eventually, the meditator also notices the dissolution of the dissolution itself.

In other words, the meditator first realizes the fluctuating and transitory character of the five aggregates, which is then followed by further realization of the aggregates as empty and selfless, and finally by the realization of the emptiness of even the empty and selfless phenomena. Nondual knowledge is thus arrived at, in Tsongkhapa's view, through the direct experience of seeing the truths within one's own aggregates, rather than being convinced of the truth of certain abstractions through rational argument or persuasion. Since the process here is a cognitive experience that operates entirely within the domain of one's psychophysical aggregates, it is therefore an epistemic but not a metaphysical nonduality.

This is how, according to Tsongkhapa, an arya has direct nonconceptual and nondual access to the transcendent nature of his own five psychophysical aggregates during meditative equipoise. In the wake of meditative equipoise, an arya engages with dualistic worldly activities, such as taking part in philosophical discourse, practicing different social conventions, and so on. The arya will thus make use of socio-linguistic conventions, but since the arya has eradicated all reifying tendencies, even these worldly dualistic engagements will be seen as consistent with nondual wisdom. Both non-dual and dual wisdoms, especially in the case of a buddha, Tsongkhapa argues, are fully commensurate."

"Both Tsong khapa and Go rampa describe non-dual knowledge as being like a process of mixing water. They argue that the fusion between subjectivity and objectivity, from the meditator's point of view, reaches its climax in their non-dual state in a way that is like mixing clean water from two different jars by pouring it all into one jar. Tsong khapa for example argues: "from the vantage point of the wisdom that directly realises ultimate reality, there is not even the slightest duality between object and the object-possessing consciousness. Like mixing water with water, [yogi] dwells in the meditative equipoise".' Tsongkhapa insists, however, that this metaphor should not be taken too far or too literally. It refers only to the cognitive process that occurs in total dissolution, and to the experience associated with that process, and must not be taken to represent the achivement of a metaphysical unity."

“So, as far as Tsong khapa is concerned, there is no contradiction in claiming that, from the empirical standpoint, on the one hand, non-dual wisdom constitutes the subjective pole of consciousnesses with ultimate truth as its objective counterpart; from the ultimate vantage point, on the other hand, non-dual wisdom and ultimate truth, "are free from the duality of act (bya ba) and object acted upon (byed pa)".

In the non-dual state, even the cognitive interplay between subject and object appears, from the meditator's point of view, completely to cease. This is because, as Tsong khapa points out, "duality of act and object acted upon is posited strictly from the perspective of empirical cognition".

Although the dual appearances of subject and object completely dissolve from the perspective of non-dual wisdom, and thus the meditator does not experience the mutual interaction between distinct and separate elements—between the seer and the seen—the meditator nonetheless engages in an act of 'mere seeing'. As the Buddha explains to Bahiya:

In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the
heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In
reference to the cognised, only the cognised. That is how you should
train yourself [Ud I. 10]... then Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that.
When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there
is no you there, you are neither here not yonder nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress [Ud I. 101.

The experience of 'mere seeing' in a non-dual form is valid only when it is empirically grounded and when there is cognitive activity occurring between non-dual wisdom and non-dual ultimate truth.”

"Although all empirically given truths such as the aggregate of form, feelings etc., are contingently produced and have diverse conventional characters, all of them, according to Tsong khapa, are ultimately empty of the inherent arising. They share the universal characteristic (ro gcig, eka-rasa), literally, the same 'taste'. The Buddha, for example, makes this statement: "just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, even so does this dharma and discipline have but one taste, the taste of release" [AN VIII.19].

The Samadhirajasatra (ting nge 'dzin rgyal po'i mdo) tells us: "By knowing one all are known. And by seeing one all are seen. Despite many things are said about [ultimate truth] in the conventional terms, no haughtiness should arise from it",' and furthermore, "Just as you have recognised ('du shes) personality, even so you should apply the same insight with respect to all [phenomena]. All phenomena are of the [same] nature like a clear space".

In the Gaganagamjasamadhi (Nam mkha'i mdzod kyi ting nge 'dzin), it is stated that: "Whoever by meditating on one phenomenon knows all phenomena as apprehensible like illusions and mirages, and knows them as hollow, false and ephemeral will before long reach the summum bonum (snying po) of enlightenment".

And Aryadeva also tells us that "whosoever sees one is said to see all. That which is emptiness of one is the emptiness of all" [VIII:191].

Referring to this last passage from Aryadeva, Candrakirti has this to say:

The emptiness of the essence of form is itself the emptinesses of the essences of aggregates such as feeling. Similarly, the emptiness of the essence of eye-source is itself the emptinesses of the essences of all twelve sources. Likewise, the emptiness of the essence of eye-constituent is itself the emptinesses of the essences of all eighteen constituents. Equally so are [the emptinesses of the essences of] the infinite categories of things due to the distinct divisions in things, spaces, times and references. For whatever is the emptiness of the essence of one thing, is itself the emptinesses of the essences of all things. In spite of the fact that jars and bowls for example are distinct, space is not distinct. While things such as form are distinct, insofar as they all lack of essential arising of the form etc., they are not distinct. By understanding the lack the essential arising of merely one phenomenon, one understands the lack of the essential arising of all phenomena.'

Since all phenomena are empty of any substance or essence, they are all dependently arisen and relational entities. Tsong khapa agrees.' Yet to endorse the claim that the ultimate nature of all phenomena is fundamentally the same does not, in Tsong khapa's view, make one a monist. While accepting this account of the ultimate nature of things, Tsongkhapa remains committed to a pluralistic view. "A pluralistic view of the world", as Kalupahana puts it, "is not incompatible with dependent arising (pratityasamputpada).

Pluralism in the context of dependent arising does not imply the existence of self-contradictory truths. It need not necessarily lead to a notion of an Absolute that transcends such self-contradictory truths. As far as Tsong khapa is concerned, the ultimate reality of, for instance, the table in front of my eyes, cannot be treated as simply identical with the ultimate reality pertaining to the chair that I am sitting on. The empty table cannot be the taken as identical with the empty chair since the emptiness of the table is constitutive, not only of the empty table, but of the empty conceptual-linguistic conventions imposed upon it as well. Those conventions belong exclusively to the ultimate truth of the table and are not present in the chair.

According to Tsong khapa, however, conceding this much does not prevent one from arguing for the universality of ultimate truth. Just as different objects occupy different spaces, and yet the space those objects occupy has the same 'non-obstructive' characteristic, so the ultimate realities of both table and chair are different, notwithstanding the fact that two ultimate realities have identical natures—they share 'the same taste'. Both of these emptinesses imply insubstantiality and essenceless in the negative sense, as well as dependently arisen and relational nature in the affirmative sense."


[24/8/18, 12:51:26 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Yanggönpa shows the cause-and-effect factors of the
four yoga stages:
Realism as the effect of inner delusion
Manifests itself in the one-pointed yoga.
Perceiving everything to be like an illusion
Is the effect of meditation on the nondiscriminatory
Perceiving everything to be like space
Is the effect of meditation on the yoga of one flavor.
Supreme knowledge, attained through the yoga of
Is the insight that perceives reality to be pure
Without any innate foundation.
[24/8/18, 12:51:42 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Je Gomchung comments on the time thus:
It comes when one is deeply absorbed in the onepointed
When one masters both equipoise and postequipoise
in the nondiscriminatory stage,
When one succeeds in blending equipoise and
postequipoise in the stage of one flavor,
And when one realizes the stage of nonmeditation
The meditator achieves a definite experience in
meditative equipoise at the one-pointed stage when he
maintains the inner sensation and the conscious certainty
through revitalized mindfulness. He reorients his
meditation to the perception during the period of
postabsorption through a vigorous mindfulness. The
meditator masters both equipoise and postequipoise at the
nondiscriminatory stage when he meditates first on the
spacelike absorption with sustained mindfulness and then
on the illusionlike postabsorption during the period of
postabsorption. The meditator achieves the one even state
of all things at the stage of one flavor when he meditates on
the union of absorption and postabsorption by being
perfectly aware of the nonduality of appearance and
emptiness. The meditator achieves the indivisible union of
equipoise and postequipoise at the stage of nonmeditation
when he perfects this meditation to its ultimate limit.
‎[24/8/18, 12:53:16 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
‎[24/8/18, 12:53:54 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
[24/8/18, 12:54:10 PM] Soh Wei Yu: One flavour is like without entry exit
‎[24/8/18, 12:54:28 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
‎[24/8/18, 12:56:22 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
[24/8/18, 12:57:55 PM] John Tan: Yes

Comments by Soh: somehow reminded me of


[28/11/19, 12:43:33 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Btw i see empty clarity like rainbow and reflections, not just constructs
[28/11/19, 12:43:52 PM] Soh Wei Yu: And non arising
[28/11/19, 12:44:20 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Some people say equipoise like space, postequipoise like illusions
[28/11/19, 12:44:26 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I say both are illusions
[28/11/19, 12:44:28 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Lol
[28/11/19, 12:44:46 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Illusions but vividly present like anatta
[28/11/19, 12:45:03 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Presencing apparent absence
[28/11/19, 12:45:29 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Equivalent to space and illusions simultaneously in equipoise and postequipoise
[28/11/19, 12:47:00 PM] Soh Wei Yu: To relegate only space to equipoise sounds too much like one mind
‎[28/11/19, 2:10:37 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
[28/11/19, 2:15:36 PM] John Tan: Quite good
[28/11/19, 2:25:12 PM] Soh Wei Yu: The appearance of buddhas and ancestors in the world, being prior to the emergence of any incipient sign, has nothing to do with old, narrow opinions. This accounts for the virtues of buddha-ancestors, as of going beyond the Buddha. Unconcerned with time, the life-span [of buddha-ancestors] is neither prolonged nor momentary, as it is far from the comprehension of ordinary minds.

The ever turning wheel of the Dharma is also a principle prior to the emergence of any incipient sign; as such, it is an eternal paragon with immeasurably great merit. [Buddha-ancestors] expound this as a dream in a dream. Because they see verification within verification, it is known as expounding a dream in a dream.

The place where a dream is expounded in a dream is indeed the land and assembly of buddha-ancestors. The buddha-land and buddha-assembly, the ancestral way and ancestral seat, are all verification founded upon verification, hence all are the expounding of a dream in a dream. Upon encountering their utterances and discourses, do not think that these are not of the buddha-assembly; they are the Buddha’s turning the wheel of the Dharma. Because this wheel of the Dharma turns in all directions, the great oceans and Mt. Sumeru, the lands and buddhas are all realized. Such is expounding a dream in a dream, which is prior to all dreams.

The entire world, crystal-clear everywhere, is a dream; and a dream is all grasses [things] clear and bright. To doubt the dream state is itself to dream; all perplexity is a dream as well. At this very moment, [all are] grasses of the “dream state,” grasses “in” [a dream], grasses“expounding” [a dream], and so on. Even as we study this, the very roots and stalks, leaves and branches, flowers and fruits, lights and hues [of our perception] are all a great dream. Never mistake this, however, for a dreamy state.

Dogen, Shobogenzo, Muchu-setsumu (Expounding a dream in a dream), Trans. Hee-Jin Kim, Flowers of Emptiness, p.279-280
[28/11/19, 2:27:58 PM] John Tan: 👍
[28/11/19, 2:49:19 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I think dogen understands equipoise same as me lol


[31/10/20, 9:44:47 AM] John Tan: The world of interrelatedness by Adyashanti is total exertion. To me I would say the gelugpas or Tsongkhapa view is more total exertion (+A) and Mipham is more the tradition school of freedom from extremes (-A).


[4/12/20, 9:18:39 AM] Soh Wei Yu:
[4/12/20, 9:42:23 AM] John Tan: Quite good, very good in fact until anatta, . However emptiness part, still need refinement.
[4/12/20, 9:55:07 AM] John Tan: Insights of emptiness of non-inherent existence vs freedom from extremes. Tsongkhapa VS Gorampa/Mipham r both abt the fine nuance of emptiness. Different insights, different experiences but r both r very very deep and profound to understand the differents in experiences and views. Anatta deals with both but to integrate both, require some conceptual views. Actually mmk is a very important text however the way it is presented by most philosophers or translators r just horrible. It is linked to the 3 deconstructions of conceptualities I told u.


[31/3/21, 12:28:21 PM] John Tan: Mipham has very high regards on Tsongkhapa and said clearly that Tsongkhapa is clear about freedom from all elaborations and coalescence but Tsongkhapa followers may not. Take note that freedom from all elaborations is nothing new to Tsongkhapa, in his early years he did accept freedom from extremes = freedom from all elaborations but only rejected it in his later years. Tsongkhapa is an extremely insightful and realized master, why did he do that? What haqs he realized that we failed to see? I definitely think it is worth exploring.

U see tibetan scholars have this bad habit of first steorotyping and then follow up with strawman attacks to illustrate certain points. I have no idea why they have to do that🤣. The svatantrika-prasangika is one, HeShang Mohegan another (we know zen is nothing about promoting a blank state of mind). So when studying to refine our view, simply focus on the insightful points of what they r trying to convey; u can leave out the colorful sectarian polemics.

In ATR, anatta as experiential insight of seeing through "self" relinquishing the imagined, the layer obscuring and dualifying vivid appearances is gone, experience turns vivid, clear, non conceptual, non-dual, spacious and uncontrieved. This is the experiential taste and authentic model that Mipham is talking about.

However can you bring the same insight to all other phenomena and all other conceptual notions? U may think "That is exactly what vase empty of vase mean!". U may think u have understood but until u come face to face with mmk, u realized there r still so many subtle nuances of inherentness lingering deep in us. The mind is so deeply conditioned that even prolong period of non-dual, non-conceptual opening cannot effectively clear up all these subtle cognitive obscurations and discovering their relationships with the associated emotional obscurations is never ending as long as we r still in the journey. This is where a lil spice on the analytical part helps to open up the conceptual mind. So it is a balance imo.

I like Mipham as it is in line with ATR phases of insights but when I read Tsongkhapa, I also feel the beauty of his teachings. Understanding conventionalities is like the imprint of the footstep (convention) relinquishes with each step taken; in the end, there is no path and no steps. And in the end whatever learn about the conventional and it's ultimate nature just naturally dissolve into a single taste, conceptual and non-conceptual don't seem to matter anymore.

As the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra says,              
The fabricated realm and the definitive ultimate            
Are defined by the lack of sameness or difference.            
Whoever imagines them to be the same or different            
Is possessed of mistaken imagination.

But I m not sure whether that is the intent of Tsongkhapa but everyone's condition is different. This is how I feel it.
[31/3/21, 12:39:25 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
‎[31/3/21, 7:16:24 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎image omitted
[31/3/21, 7:36:29 PM] John Tan: "Beacon of certainty" is what I think maybe good for u.
Like "Jamgon Mipham, his life and teachings" I think will not be suitable for u as 80% of the content u already probably know.
Shantarashita's adornment and chandrakirti's middle way may not b suitable for u now. Mipham Dialectics will need u to be familiar with gelug's view.

So after some thought I reckoned that Beacon of certainty will suit u more due to Ur ATR background as well as ur interest in Dzogchen after attending Malcolm's online course. The presentation of mmk from dzogchen perspective will hopefully encourage to read more. So depends lah...🤦‍♂️


Soh quoted from book:

Tsongkhapa notes that yod min (lit. “existing-not”) means nonexistent (med pa) while med min (lit. “not-not-existing”) effectively means existent, and accordingly he interprets the first alternative to mean “not existent ultimately” and the second to mean “not nonexistent conventionally.” 491 Otherwise, Tsongkhapa claims, this view would be none other than that of the “Chinese Hashang.” To empty the mind of all concepts of existence, nonexistence, etc., does not constitute discriminating wisdom (prajñā, shes rab), which should be acutely aware of what exists and what does not exist. This kind of emptiness is simply a state of unawareness. In the LRC Tsongkhapa expresses the opinion that most traditions in Tibet had deviated to this extreme. What needs to be negated, he asserts, is not all conceptuality whatsoever, but the false apprehension of true existence (bden ’dzin). By refuting the object of that mistaken concept and focusing upon its emptiness of true existence, one realizes the nature of reality. Having properly identified the apprehension of true existence, it is readily apparent that there are many concepts (rtog pa) that do not involve apprehension of the true existence of self or phenomena. This refutes the position that all concepts are to be refuted. 492 Tsongkhapa and Go ram pa evidently understand the relationship between conceptuality and the apprehension of true
existence differently. Go ram pa understands conceptuality ipso facto as involving apprehension of true existence, whereas Tsongkhapa does not accept that conceptuality is always associated with the apprehension of true existence. 493 Go ram pa agrees that the object of the apprehension of true existence must be refuted. But to maintain that the mere absolute negation that is the nonfinding of that object through rational analysis is the definitive ultimate (don dam mtshan nyid pa), 494 and to maintain that clinging to or apprehension of that emptiness is not an object of refutation, 495 is “alien to the Mādhyamika textual tradition” (dbu ma’i gzhung lugs las ’das). Go ram pa quotes several Indian sources that support his contention that a definitive view is beyond verbal-conceptual formulation. The definitive ultimate is realized non-dualistically by sublime beings’ meditation (* āryasamāpatti, ’phags pa’i mnyam bzhag). He also quotes Candrakīrti to the effect that deceptive reality (saṃvṛti, kun rdzob) is the object of false seeing. 496 Therefore, unlike the emptiness seen directly (pratyakṣena, mngon sum du) by sublime beings, the emptiness of absolute negation that is ascertained by inferential reasoning (anumāna, rjes dpag) is just deceptively true. 497 One might object that in some contexts the ultimate reality is said to be the mere absolute negation of emptiness, and that both realities
are posited only by a worldly mind (’ jig rten pa’i blo) 498— which seems to imply that it is incorrect to define the ultimate as the object of sublime equipoise. In reply, Go ram pa explains that truthlessness is realized in relation to a mind that apprehends true existence, and the designation of “ultimate reality” there refers to a conceptually formulated ultimate. The reason that designation is made is because its referent, the conceptually formulated ultimate, is the object of a mind that understands (rtogs) the nature of reality instead of (lit., “in relation to”— la ltos par) apprehending true existence. It is necessary to call the conceptual ultimate “ultimate” because it must be realized prior to realizing the nonconceptual ultimate (aparyāyaparamārtha, rnam grangs ma yin pa’i don dam). To claim that a conceptual object, which is apprehended as the absence of true existence by negating true existence, is the definitive ultimate (don dam mtshan nyid pa), is to confuse the concept (sāmānyalakṣaṇa, spyi mtshan) of the ultimate (a pointing finger) with the ultimate per se (the moon). 499 The implication is that if the conceptual ultimate is designated and accepted with reference to a worldly mind (’ jig rten pa’i blo), then there is no reason why the nonconceptual, definitive ultimate should not be defined in relation to a nonconceptual mind, which is sublime gnosis. Thus, Go ram pa does not deny that
reasoning and concepts are necessary in realizing the nature of the ultimate. He grants a propaedeutic function to the conceptual formulation of emptiness but does not accept that the Gelug formulation of emptiness as absolute negation qualifies as a definitive ultimate. This follows logically from his assumption that conventional reality is pervaded by conceptuality and that conceptuality is pervaded by ignorance. 500 Thus, any concept— even a concept of the mere absence of inherent existence— is not a definitive ultimate. Go ram pa on Meditative Practice Go ram pa’s critique of Tsongkhapa’s approach to meditation is based on the implication that clinging to (zhen pa) or apprehending (’ dzin pa) emptiness is not something to be abandoned. According to Go ram pa, Tsongkhapa reasons that if the apprehension of emptiness is only something to be abandoned, then there is no point in ascertaining it in the first place, as the antidote for apprehending true existence (bden par ’dzin pa). Go ram pa counters with several quotations from sūtras and śāstras, such as the famous statement of Nāgārjuna, The victors have taught emptiness To definitely eliminate all views.
Those who have a view of emptiness Are said to be incurable. 501
Pettit, John W.. Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) (pp. 139-140). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

[11:15 AM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: You agree more with tsongkhapa than gorampa on this point right
[11:35 AM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Yes so you must be clear. What does freedom from extremes entail? Tsongkhapa or the rest of the schools? Actually even in Gelug system, there is notional and non-notional ultimate. Non-notional ultimate is freedom from all elaborations and notional ultimate is DO and emptiness. Both are equally important. This is explored in Tsongkhapa ocean of reasoning. Therefore even Mipham 2 models of 2 truth is nothing new to Tsongkhapa.

Now even though all other schools emphasized on freedom from all elaboration, they then still qualify it does not mean this and that...🤣. It does not deny mere so on and so it doesn't really differ much.

If you read mmk directly, there are two aspects that come out very clearly:
1. No essential nature
2. Freedom from conceptualities

You can go either way or integrate them.
[11:40 AM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[11:41 AM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Tsongkhapa emphasized and placed a lot on the importance of discerning wisdom of the conventional and the non-essential nature of phenomena while other schools emphasized the ultimate intention of mmk is freedom from all views.
[11:43 AM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: What book is this?
[11:45 AM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Pettit, John W.. Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) (pp. 139-140). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition. Lol
[11:46 AM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[12:03 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: No wonder sounded so familiar
[12:03 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: 🤣🤣🤣
[12:03 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Lol
[12:05 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: After that you have to have mmk as well as prasannapada free from Tibetan scholars interpretations
[12:05 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Then your collections can be considered fairly complete to have an [un]bias study
[12:12 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. which translation of mmk should i read first?
[12:18 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: you should separate. Translation you should use Jay L. Garfield. Comment you should read Mark Siderits. I m still unable to find full version of prasannapada.
[12:19 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Subscribe to Scribd, they have both.
[12:20 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Means have a raw version of translated text from Jay Garfield. Easier to read.
[12:23 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[12:23 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Which is the best Translation for Nagarjuna's Mulmadhyamkarika

"I am currently reading about sunyata and MMK from SEP and IEP but they seem all over the place. I have one translation/commentary by Jay l Garfield. Is it any good? are there any better translations?


Add a Comment

Ornament Of Reason: The Great Commentary To Nagarjuna's Root Of The Middle Way

(Garfield himself said that this translation renders his own translation obsolete.)

[12:23 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Page 3-83 of Garfield is the translation.
[12:23 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Krodha says garfield say his own translation is obsolete lol
[12:24 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle
[12:24 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Translation or commentary?
[12:24 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: [deleted]
Garfield's translation is very good. Mark Sidderits's translation is also excellent and more recent. Why not use both? You can find free pdfs of Garfield's.

I would strongly recommend Jan Westerhoff's 'Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Introduction'. Where was that book when I first tackled Nagarjuna? A gleam in his mother's eye, apparently! ;-)

Good luck!


Ocean of Reasoning contains a marginally updated translation by Garfield, and one that is more in line with Tsongkhapa's commentary in that book. Of course, you would prefer the older book by Garfield if you don't care about the commentary. Sun of Wisdom or The Middle Way if you want good explanations rather than the complete text.


I haven’t read any translations but Jan Westeroff’s Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka is a good work that’s goes presents Naharjuna’s arguments and their contexts. I definitely recommend reading it.
[12:24 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle said translation but idk
[12:25 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: I think the translation is easy to read. But you can use others to 参考.
[12:25 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[12:28 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Jan westeroff is also quite insightful.
[12:28 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[12:29 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: But I have my own explanations🤣🤣🤣
[12:29 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Coz many are presented not from experiential perspective
[12:30 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: You mentioned a kagyu book on mmk that is experiential?
[12:30 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Yes
[12:30 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: That mahamudra book is quite good.
[12:33 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: The karmapa’s middle way?
[12:34 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: If emphasis is on primordial purity, then reading is skewed towards freedom from all elaborations which is very crucial. Infact mmk do suggest that.

If emphasis is on no essential nature, then reading can be both and conventionalities are as relevant as ultimate, non-conceptual and conceptual can be blended using the wisdom and insight of essencelessness.
[12:35 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Yes (on: The karmapa’s middle way?)
[12:36 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: This I think is intent of Tsongkhapa. Which I say is the dual purpose of the chariot analogy.
[12:37 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. so mmk is more on primordial purity? Tsongkhapa emphasis seems unique then
[12:38 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: No mmk actually emphasizes both and indeed Tsongkhapa is very insightful.
[12:39 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah there is a chapter in mmk that talks about how emptiness allows the conventional. Chapter on four noble truths
[12:41 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: That is y I told you to have a raw translation text of your own also. But it will take a while to get used to the different reasonings in mmk. So still a lot of research needs to be done. Start will chapter 1,2,7 first. They contain all the reasoning logics. Rest are just applying the same reasoning methods.

[9:35 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Timeless Deviation to the Nature of Knowables The meditation of inseparable phenomena and emptiness is called “emptiness endowed with the supreme aspect.” Not knowing how emptiness and interdependence abide in nonduality, you decide that emptiness is a nothingness that has never existed and that is not influenced at all by qualities or defects. Then you underestimate the cause and effect of virtue and vice, or else lapse exclusively into the nature of all things being originally pure, primordially free, and so forth. Bearing such emptiness, the relative level of interdependence is not mastered. In this respect, this is what is known as mahamudra: one’s basic nature is unoriginated and, since it is neither existent nor nonexistent, eternal nor nil, true nor false, nor any other such aspects, it has no existence whatsoever. Nonetheless, its unceasing radiance arises as the relative level of all kinds of interdependence, so it is known as emptiness having the core of interdependence and interdependence having the nature of emptiness. Therefore, emptiness does not stray to the nature of knowables. In the Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way it is said: Anything that doesn’t arise dependently Is a phenomenon that has no existence. Therefore anything that is not empty Is a phenomenon that has no existence. And as said in the Commentary on Bodhichitta: It is taught that the relative plane is emptiness, And emptiness alone is the relative plane.” – The Royal Seal of Mahamudra, Volume 2
[10:07 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: 👍
[10:10 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Emptiness is ultimate nature whereas the radiance of clarity is relative as illusionariness of appearance arising dependently.
[10:12 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Mahamudra seems to be in line with Tsongkhapa thought.
[10:12 PM, 6/3/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[10:13 PM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Actually Mipham also. However they seem to suggest the ultimate purpose of mmk is to cease conceptualities.

[10:01 PM, 6/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Nāgārjuna states:

"When the perfect vidyā sees
That things come from ignorance as condition,
Nothing will then be objectified,
Either in terms of arising or destruction...

...Since the Buddhas have stated
That the world is conditioned by ignorance,
Why is it not reasonable [to assert]
That this world is [a result of] conceptualization?

Since it comes to an end
When ignorance ceases;
Why does it not become clear then
That it was conjured by ignorance?"
[10:02 PM, 6/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Nagarjuna seems to see the end goal as the exhaustion of all phenomena through the dissolution of ignorance and its conceptualization
[10:09 PM, 6/4/2021] John Tan: I have told you there are 2 purposes already. Cessation of conceptualization in what sense? If cessation of conceptualization is enlightenment, then any one that sleep or fainted is enlightened.
[10:14 PM, 6/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: its analytical cessation through wisdom
[10:27 PM, 6/4/2021] John Tan: What does this wisdom involved? Seeing through is one thing, realizing is another? What is realized? The nature of mind/phenomena? Uncompounded and unconditioned? Non essential nature? What does understanding the unconditioned and uncompounded or essencelessness tell us? How is this linked to conceptualities?
[10:29 PM, 6/4/2021] John Tan: Then when you come face to face of your nature you know and will understand.
[10:32 PM, 6/4/2021] John Tan: Also go slow, it is not a one day thing. Be patient and allow mmk to slowly integrate with your insights. No need to rush. Analyse and at the same time be effortlessly in non-dual anatta, one day everything studied in mmk will become clear.
[10:54 PM, 6/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[11:03 PM, 6/4/2021] John Tan: It is like me studying mmk. The thinking mind may assume that it already knew most of the stuff post anatta so don't let ego get in our way.
Only when you come face to face with all the cryptic verses you began to understand that mind is still block and hinder by lots of constructs similar to self/Self in a deep way. If we are sincere then we go further to penetrate and release the deep tendencies. After some time there is really nothing much to read, most of the line of reasoning are known, just how much effort you put in to make it as an experiential insight.

If you were to approach mmk like me in the earlier years, 10-15 years can past and still nothing gain. Why? Because without having a focused mind, sincerity and reverence heart, merely reading and picking here and there a bit, how will genuine insight dawn?
[11:13 PM, 6/4/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..

[12:16 PM, 6/6/2021] John Tan: Do you understand my 10 points?
[1:30 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: think so.. emptiness does not negate conventional
[1:30 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: was just reading through some of kyle old posts which i like
[1:30 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: one of his posts:

Kyle Dixon

It is important to understand the concept of 'conventional truth' in Buddhism, because you may ask why these texts are stating that there is a 'self-nature' and a 'basis' and so on, why would they be doing this if these things are in fact unestablished and ultimately unreal? It is because the ultimate truth of things is their non-arising or emptiness, and what are those 'things' that are ultimately empty? They are conventions which are mistaken to be real things. So these alleged conventional objects are precisely what are realized to be unreal, and this means that we can relate to conventions freely because they are never pointing to anything actually 'real' or established. All conventions are simply useful nominal designations, tools for communication. The problem arises when we mistake these conventions to be something more than just a convention.

Conventions are reliable as long as they are not subjected to keen investigation. That is how 'convention' is defined per buddhism, a correct convention [tathyasaṃvṛti] is, according to Śāntarakṣita; "something can be tacitly accepted as long as it is not critically investigated, that is characterized by arising and decay, and that has causal effectivity." So the validity of a convention is measured by its efficacy, if it appears to function correctly, then it can be accepted as a correct convention prior to its investigation. In the wake of investigating any convention it will fail, since conventions cannot withstand proper scrutiny.

So there is no problem stating that there is a 'self-nature', because when that convention is subjected to scrutiny that self-nature would be ultimately unfindable. Yet the term "self-nature" is a conventional designation that is pointing to the capacity of 'wisdom' mentioned above, which is completely free from the extremes of existence, non-existence, both and neither.

For instance, Longchenpa discusses that nature here:

"Mind itself [i.e., the nature of mind: tib. sems nyid] - naturally occurring timeless awareness [i.e., self-originated primordial wisdom: tib. rang byung ye shes] - has no substance or characteristics. Since it is empty yet lucid and free of elaboration, it cannot be conceived of as 'this' or 'that'. Although it can be illustrated by a metaphor - 'It is like space' - if one reflects on space as the metaphor, it proves to have no color, no shape, or anything about it that is identifiable. Therefore, if the metaphor being used does not refer to some 'thing', then the underlying meaning that it illustrates - mind itself, pure by nature - is not something that has ever existed in the slightest."

8 liked this (Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:14am)
[1:32 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: William kong realised anatta
[1:36 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: therefore what is negated is not conventions per se nor their causal efficacy but the four extremes
[1:44 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: also point 1 and 2... just like the Self, the Awareness seems so absolute and unchanging only due to a wrong view that misperceives luminous appearance into an inherently existing substratum, likewise the world seems so real and inherently existing due to an unexamined view of inherency that reifies and solidifies appearances
[1:59 PM, 6/6/2021] John Tan: What Kyle said is good. However that is not what Tsongkhapa key insight. you have to understand Tsongkhapa elevated the status of conventional that is dependent arising and emptiness of the conventional to equal the uncategorized ultimate. That is the categorized and uncategorised ultimate are of equal status. Means Pt 5 and 6.
[2:11 PM, 6/6/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[2:23 PM, 6/6/2021] John Tan: For the 3 other schools, the conventional that is based on conventions and conceptualities are to be discarded after seeing through much like post anatta insight into direct non-conceptuality and non-duality.

But y is conventional so important? As I have said many times Tsongkhapa did not dis-regard freedom from all elaborations and in his early days he did accept the ultimate purpose of mmk is freedom from all elaborations. Further he did mention about the categorized and the uncategorised ultimate, so the question is y did an accomplished master placed so much emphasis of the conventional?
[4:20 PM, 6/6/2021] John Tan: Many enters mmk without having direct taste of what emptiness of svabhava entails. Like what Westerhoff said:

"... give us very little insight into how the removal of such superimpositions could be possible and what it would entail. The reason is obvious: according to the traditional Buddhist view, those who have realized (as opposed to merely understood) the absence of svabhāva and thereby emptiness are few and far between."
Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka Pg 51 by Westerhoff

So those having post anatta insight have the advantage to orientate themselves better and not get swayed by too much philosophical concepts and ideas abt mmk and missed the essential points.

However getting used to how Nagarjuna structured his lines of reasonings and agrumentations can be a real pain initially if we do not have background y it is done that way. Nagarjuna was refuting the various views of his opponents and the major Buddhist systems of his time and frankly the tenets held by some of the major systems are still deeply ingrained in most modern ppl today including you and me. So going through mmk helps us uncover all these traits and put them into perspective with thorough investigations. This is the part where many ATR ppl will find difficulties when jumping into mmk as their approach was more of koan based -- direct and intuitive. The mmk on the other hand is opposite, very academic presented by the scholars even in the case of Westerhoff that is also y I din intro you his book. But he prompted many very important points like on page 126, Westerhoff said:

"The Mādhyamika therefore has to explain how we can account for an object changing and persisting through time without having to assume that there is some unchanging aspect of the object which underlies all change. Nāgārjuna claims that this can indeed be done. Understanding how this can be the case becomes particularly important in the context of the Buddhist conception of the self when the temporal continuity of persons has to be explained without reference to the concept of a persisting subjective core (ātman)."
Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka Pg 126 by Westerhoff

This is I think what Tsongkhapa clearly sees where many din where he creatively talk about how the mere-I takes rebirth.

Also in page 99, Westerhoff remarked:

"It also has to be noted that Nāgārjuna asserts, somewhat puzzlingly, that the absence of svabhāva, that is, emptiness, is not compatible with causation either"

This part is also important how should dependent arising be understood on top of the idea of "no essential nature".

So if you really want to understand what I meant by point 5-6 in my reply to William, you must understand these few questions.

Otherwise you can learn from mmk to see how dependent relations in terms of nominal and existential dependencies, agency-action, object-properties and cause-conditions-effect relationships help to
render svabhava as untenable.These reasonings will help the mind to release itself from grasping after svabhava in time to come. If the verses of mmk can go along with some vipassana exercises, that will be excellent. The combination will liberate the mind from all ghost images created by languages and conceptual superimpositions in a thorough and powerful way. Unfortunately this can't be found in books so you have to devise urself along the 😂
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