I feel there is something to be careful about when coming across these teachings, especially on internet groups and videos.
There seems to be a focus on reaching insights, being right about practices, and achieving a state that allows you to preach to others on this path.
I want those who also feel like myself, that there is a great freedom in letting go of any spirituality, paths, stages, insights, concepts and practices, to open to the possibility that there is no end finish line with set paths.
There is great liberation in abandoning all aids and methods, to face this storm completely unarmed. Then, with courage, beginning to dance in this answerless space; to surrender into it and to open fully to whichever forecast life brings.
Hope it helps anyone that may resonate!"
I think we can see it in two (or more) ways.
In a sense, practice-enlightenment is endless. The path of actualization is endless. Even the Buddha and arahants sits in mindfulness and retreats after their full awakening and enjoys practices like mindfulness of breathing. It is no longer goal oriented for them (they have “done what is to be done” or ended all afflictions) but simply a way of pleasant abiding and setting a good example for others. This endless practice-enlightenment is mentioned by John Tan in his stage 7 descriptions. Just sitting and just walking are the actualization of our buddha nature.
Another way of looking at things, from the traditional bhumi or buddhist perspective, is that there is indeed an end goal. This is also a valid view from the conventional perspective (from the ultimate perspective all paths and even buddhahood is illusory - check out heart sutra) because the buddha and his arahants did state unequivocally that there is an end, it is the complete ending of afflictions that drives samsaric rebirth and suffering (like arahantship), or the ending of the two obscurations of emotions and cognitive obscurations (buddhahood). There is such an end, but I have not found anyone online that I am convinced have achieved that goal of buddhahood or the complete elimination of the twin obscurations that constitutes the omniscience of buddhahood. To deny this perspective (although to restrict yourself to only this perspective will also be a limitation) would also be to fall into an extreme. And although I consider my mentor John Tan to have reached an advanced stage in his practice, his practice is still advancing to greater heights and breakthroughs these few years, and he had experiential breakthroughs that were related to eliminating subtle cognitive obscurations. Even then I had no indications or hints from John that he has completed his path, in fact it appears that he is still on the path even today (but i am not a mind reader so who knows). Still doing practice, advancing on the path and making breakthroughs. There are stories of people attaining full buddhahood or rainbow body in tibet in the last century, but none i have personally met or conversed with."
So, i do not see anatta realisation as an end, likewise i do not see it as fourth path or arahantship like some might call it that way in pragmatic dharma models.
It is not that i deny the four paths, i just think anatta realisation is still early days. More like sutta stream entry. Even if you realise twofold emptiness it might be more like first bhumi for example rather than instant buddhahood.
The insight of anatta is also not the finality as far as insights are concerned."
- Soh Wei YuAdmin"open fully to whichever forecast life brings"
This is very important but will not be possible without insight of anatta. How can there be total openness to mere luminous manifestation if there is 'self' plus 'manifestation'? And even if one forgets self into a state of no mind, how can that state of no mind be anything but a mere glimpse or peak experience until very clear insight into anatta as dharma seal or 'what is always already the case' turns it into effortless and natural state?
Even after anatta there are still further depths of insight and actualization.. so it sounds simple but is not so simple in practice.This point is also related to this:John Tan:"...it seems that lots of effort need to be put in -- which is really not the case. The entire practice turns out to an undoing process. It is a process of gradually understanding the workings of our nature that is from beginning liberated but clouded by this sense of ‘self’ that is always trying to preserve, protect and ever attached. The entire sense of self is a ‘doing’. Whatever we do, positive or negative, is still doing. Ultimately there is not-even a letting go or let be, as there is already continuous dissolving and arising and this ever dissolving and arising turns out to be self-liberating. Without this ‘self’ or ‘Self’, there is no ‘doing’, there is only spontaneous arising. "~ Thusness (source: Non-dual and karmic patterns)"...When one is unable to see the truth of our nature, all letting go is nothing more than another form of holding in disguise. Therefore without the 'insight', there is no releasing.... it is a gradual process of deeper seeing. when it is seen, the letting go is natural. You cannot force yourself into giving up the self... purification to me is always these insights... non-dual and emptiness nature...."~ Thusness
Soh Wei Yu
Was reading an old post from Malcolm today, from 2011:
“You see, that wisdom of vidyā, which is your basis neither increases nor decreases, hence it is said in many Dzogchen texts, there is no path, no stages, etc. On the other hand, our knowledge of that wisdom is either lacking or partial, and thus we can speak of stages, paths and practices.
Basically, you folks are having an non-argument (after pages and pages) because in Dzogchen both perspectives, gradual and non-gradual, are equally true for everyone at the same time.”
Rig pa rang shar:
"...is mounting the thirteenth stage, the wheel of letters. Next, abiding in the vision of wisdom is mounting the fourteenth stage, Great Bliss. Next, obtaining certainty in the stage of natural formation is mounting the fifteenth stage, Samadhi. Next, the non-existence of anything higher after wisdom naturally arises on the stage of original purity is mounting the sixteenth stage, Highest Wisdom."
Wheel of Letters is a synonym for Vajradhara.”
This passage from the rig pa rang shar:
Then, the free arising of appearances having understood the appearances of wisdom is seen to be like a cloud of Dharma, mounting the tenth stage, Clouds Of Dharma. That is the resting place of those persons who have seen the truth, without giving this up they mount the stage.
Means that in these schemata, this tenth stage is only equivalent to Mahāyāna first bhumi. In the rig pa rang shar scheme, bhumis 1--9 are equivalent to the common Mahāyāna path of accumulation and application. Bhumis 10-16 are equivalent to the Mahāyana path of seeing, cultivation and so on.”
Soh Wei Yu
Interesting I didn’t know that point: “Means that in these schemata, this tenth stage is only equivalent to Mahāyāna first bhumi. In the rig pa rang shar scheme, bhumis 1--9 are equivalent to the common Mahāyāna path of accumulation and application. Bhumis 10-16 are equivalent to the Mahāyana path of seeing, cultivation and so on.”
Soh Wei YuAdmin
Also, even after anatta insight it doesn't mean one should drop meditation and techniques like a plague. That is a wrong understanding as well.
As John Tan wrote before many years ago,
"After this insight, one must also be clear of the way of anatta and the path of practice. Many wrongly conclude that because there is no-self, there is nothing to do and nothing to practice. This is precisely using "self view" to understand "anatta" despite having the insight.
It does not mean because there is no-self, there is nothing to practice; rather it is because there is no self, there is only ignorance and the chain of afflicted activities. Practice therefore is about overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities. There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is about wisdom, vipassana, mindfulness and concentration. If there is no mastery over these practices, there is no liberation. So one should not bullshit and psycho ourselves into the wrong path of no-practice and waste the invaluable insight of anatta. That said, there is the passive mode of practice of choiceless awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as the "default way" and such practice can hardly be considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation."
In 2013, Thusness said, "Anapanasati is good. After your insight [into anatta], master a form of technique that can bring you to that the state of anatta without going through a thought process." and on choiceless awareness Thusness further commented, "Nothing wrong with choice. Only problem is choice + awareness. It is that subtle thought, the thought that misapprehend (Soh: falsely imputes/fabricates) the additional "agent"."
“A state of freedom is always a natural state, that is a state of mind free from self/Self. You should familiarize yourself with the taste first. Like doing breathing meditation until there is no-self and left with the inhaling and exhaling... then understand what is meant by releasing.”
Soh then directed the person to this article he wrote in 2019:
Someone here wrote: "apparently a number of people (Jim Newman for one) ...and many others have woken to their true nature without getting lost in the morass of stages and states of the various schools of Buddhism.....through the new advaita teachers like Adyashanti or Gangaji......you were lucky or talented but your journey is beyond the average person.....and it appears to be a perilous journey to say the least.....a few good teachers have pointed out that Buddhist meditation is potentially dangerous...destabilizing ...to find out that there is no one home.... can lead one off the deep end and it’s not pretty."
Soh Wei Yu I'm a dharma pragmatist, and I think we need data and evidence when it comes to what works, and what does not, and for what does it work for. And we should not just look at one teacher, but get the accumulated data from a wide range of actual persons who attained genuine awakening. And from these data we can then sieve through and discern how effective and helpful their methodology have been for other people/students applying it for themselves, for the purpose of attaining awakening.
What you'll find is that all those who awakened, even so called spontaneous awakenings, were triggered by a deep desire to discover the truth, and that may be by self enquiry or some other form of contemplations and meditation practices.
Let's take a look at some actual cases of awakening, not limited to Buddhism:
Buddha - awakened to the truth of anatta, dependent origination and complete liberation at the age of 35 after 6 years of mostly practicing the wrong way (asceticism, then later practicing the formless absorptions under two Samkhya teachers). It is very likely that he attained the I AM stages, before renouncing those teachers and sitting in meditation under the bodhi tree for 49 days before his final awakening. During that 49 days he entered into blissful meditative absorption of jhana, contemplated and realized dependent origination and put an end to the taints of clinging/identity/desire/afflictions that drives samsaric births.
Buddha then taught the dharma for 45 years, teaching the noble eightfold path of practice as the sole means to liberation. He later taught that even after attaining liberation himself, he continues to consistently practice ardently, go for retreats, do intensive meditation, in order to 1) it is a pleasant abiding to be doing meditation, 2) to set a good example for other students. His other arahant students have made similar statements in one way or another, they all continued to practice meditation even after attaining liberation and "done what is to be done", simply because it continues to be a very beneficial and enjoyable thing to do. And there continues to be countless cases of enlightenment achieved through ardent practice of the four foundations of mindfulness taught by Buddha, which consists of meditative mindfulness and contemplation in sitting, and even in movement, on every arising experience.
Buddha had literally thousands of students attain the fourth and final stage of liberation - arahantship - and many hundreds/thousands more who attained the lower stages of awakening (sotapanna, sakadagami, and anagami). By the numbers recounted in the suttas, he was the most effective and efficient teacher in leading students to awakening in masses, by far, in history.
Eckhart Tolle - Awakened to I AM at 29 spontaneously through Self-Enquiry. His awakening was triggered by Self-Enquiry, which is recommended in AtR as a direct path to self-realization. Sat as a recluse in deep meditation and bliss in a park for two years with no home and family after initial awakening, and during this time his initial awakening continued to deepen into greater depths and samadhi on the I AM. In his books he teaches various methods and meditations, i.e. not an exponent of the "no practice" doctrine. He calls his meditation methods "portals".
Note that the I AM realization is not the same as the realization of anatta/emptiness that the Buddha had, but it is a genuine realization of luminous essence of Presence-Awareness.
Based on my encounters with the Eckhart Tolle's online community more than a decade ago, it would seem that many of Eckhart's 'students' have attained to I AM realization.
Ramana Maharshi - Awakened to I AM at 16 spontaneously through Self-Enquiry. A strong advocate for the practice of self-enquiry. Again, not a 'no practice' exponent. Had many self-appointed successors, presumably many are realized themselves, and many who can attest to the efficacy of his teachings and method of practice. Ramana Maharshi frequently remained motionless in lengthy durations of meditative absorption/samadhi, sometimes not leaving his seat for hours and days or more in caves, especially during the first decades after his initial awakening.
Ch'an Master Hsu Yun - Awakened after 30+ years of practice. Awakened to I AM and One Mind through self-enquiry and hearing a sound of cup shattering. A strong exponent of self-enquiry. Not a 'no practice' exponent. As a matter of fact, Ch'an Master Hsu Yun's is renowned for entering such deep meditative samadhi for very long duration of times that he has become a legendary saintly character in China, like the equivalent of Ramana Maharshi but in China (also curiously, both lived in the same period). Had many, many successors who have awakened to the similar realizations as him.1
Soh Wei Yu Daniel M. Ingram - I don't have to introduce him here, well known dharma teacher currently residing in USA. Awakened through Mahasi Sayadaw lineage, though his breakthrough into MCTB 3rd path was I think also influenced by Vajrayana teachings, I believe while on a meditation retreat, then his MCTB 4th path (anatta realization) in 2003 was triggered while doing Vipassana and Bahiya Sutta style contemplation, while on a meditation retreat. Also, Actual Freedom teachings led to another breakthrough down the line (intensity of luminosity + some other insights). Daniel is a dharma pragmatist and advocate of hardcore practice, going to retreats and putting in the hours, and so on. His large community also consists of a number of highly realized practitioners. He continues to regularly go for retreat, do daily sittings, and being a recently retired ER surgeon, he now has more time for dharma work. As he said recently, his practice is now largely in servicing others.
David Carse - not aligned to any lineage, his awakening occurred while taking Ayahuasca (the famous shamanic psychedelic brew containing Dimethyltryptamine/DMT) in the Amazonian rainforests, his description of awakening is of I AM + impersonality + One Mind. His is a rare and special case of a seemingly stable spiritual awakening produced primarily by the ingestion of a psychedelic drug, as most people who take psychedelics merely have temporary experiences or glimpses, and later had more lasting breakthroughs and realization through self-enquiry, contemplation and meditations. And it is for this reason - that psychedelic drugs have not proven itself to consistently produce deep and lasting awakening, along with its risks, that I have not made any recommendations for experimenting with these substances, although I have personally tried them myself.
It should however be understood that psychedelic drugs can indeed spontaneously lead to meditative and contemplative states (albeit temporarily) where glimpses of the luminous presence of consciousness begins to shine forward directly and intimately, where the filters of egoic separation breaks down and dissolves. Where consistent meditation practice allows for such states of consciousness and insights to emerge naturally and consistently albeit in a more gradual manner, psychedelics are like being strapped to a rocket ship that heads for the sky only to fall back to earth after a while.
However, I am not aware of David Carse's teachings resulting in another person attaining the same state of awakening as David.
John Wheeler - had an active interest and practice in spirituality, but his breakthrough happened when he was directly pointed out his luminous essence of Presence-Awareness by the Neo-Advaita guru Sailor Bob Adamson. This does not negate the importance of the earlier part of his path prior to encountering Sailor Bob Adamson, but it does demonstrate that having good pointers by a realized teacher/friend can be very helpful at leading to a breakthrough.
His style of teaching seems to be directly pointing out the essence of one's awareness to be doubtless presence-awareness, and seeing the personal self to be false (leading to impersonality). Although he does not call this a formal kind of practice, he actively writes pointers to questioners and asks them to look at the fundamental points in one's own nature, to examine one's own nature so that the very fact of one's existence becomes irrefutably established/seen/realized beyond doubt, i.e. self-realization. This is in fact not different from self-enquiry and contemplation. From his books it would appear that a number of his students have gained certainty of Being, i.e. I AM realization.
The last I read about him, he seems to have stopped teaching and went to India to learn from another guru and perhaps go into retreat for practice. Perhaps he has realized that there are deeper depths to explore in spirituality than what he has realized thus far.
For those who are into self-enquiry, I often recommend the trio of Ramana Maharshi, Eckhart Tolle and John Wheeler's teachings into the mix.1
Soh Wei Yu Richard Maynard of the Actual Freedom Trust - in 1981 "as the result of an earnest and intense process" he attained the AM realization where his ego dissolved and he realized to be the birthless and deathless Absolute and True Self -- i.e. the I AM realization. After 1981 he continued to contemplate, investigate, and found the shortcomings of his state of enlightenment. In 1992, through his earnest intent to relinquish even the slightest trace of 'self' - even the 'Self' with the capital S that denotes the Absolute that he found to be the last obscuration to his destiny that he glimpsed in PCEs, his 'soul' and identity in toto, not only the ego which was previously extinguished in 1981 but the capital 'S' Self that denotes the metaphysical and deathless Absolute, God, and so on, is extirpated once and for all, in the event he calls self-immolation. After a death-like experience, he permanently landed in the "actual world" free of malice and sorrow, full of incredible gladness and aliveness where the woods and trees and flowers and sky take on a paradisiacal quality and everything is sparkling and alive with vitality, intensity, vividness and brilliance. The sense of a psychological entity that establishes distance and boundary dissolves, leaving only the infinitude of space and time without reference or measure, only the whole universe in its centerless and boundless infinitude is experienced constantly in a 360 degree apperceptive pure awareness. This was accomplished by his pure intent to completely relinquish his 'self' and actualize the pristine purity of the actual world here and now. He is an advocate of the method 'how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?' which requires one to always examine whether one is living happily, harmlessly and feeling good/feeling perfect, and if one is not, then examine the triggers and see the silliness of falling out of perfection into negative feelings and emotions as a result of this trigger. The goal being to constantly enjoy and appreciate life in its actuality here and now such that the pristine and luminous actual world shines forth freed from the instinctual passions/identity obscuring the innate purity and perfection of the universe from becoming apparent.
Again, not a 'no practice' advocate, and based on his website there is now an estimated 10 people who have attained actual freedom from his approach.
Zen Master Dogen - the founder of Japanese Soto Zen sect - well known for advocating Zazen, or just sitting. An ardent practitioner of the "just sitting" practice of seated meditation, Dogen has a zeal to find out the truth from an early age. He wondered, "As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth. If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages — undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment — find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?"
At that time his understanding of Buddha-Nature is I AM. It assumes Buddha Nature is a dualistic and inherently existing Self that is separate from time and practice.
"By his fifteenth year one burning question became the core around which his spiritual strivings revolved: "If, as the sutras say, our Essential-nature is Bodhi (perfection), why did all Buddhas have to strive for enlightenment and perfection?" His dissatisfaction with the answers he received at Mount Hiei led him eventually to Eisai-zenji, who had brought the teachings of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism from China to Japan. Eisai's reply to Dogen's question was: "No Buddha is conscious of its existence [that is, of this Essential-nature], while cats and oxen [that is the grossly deluded] are aware of it." In other words, Buddhas, precisely because they are Buddhas, no longer think of having or not having a Perfect-nature; only the deluded think in such terms. At these words Dogen had an inner realization which dissolved his deep-seated doubt."
Later, under Rujing, Dōgen realized liberation of body and mind upon hearing the master say, "Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò). This phrase would continue to have great importance to Dōgen throughout his life, and can be found scattered throughout his writings, as—for example—in a famous section of his "Genjōkōan" (現成公案): "To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever."
Dogen was very clear about anatta and total exertion. As to his original question, he later had this to say:
"Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, meeting one thing is mastering it--doing one practice is practicing completely. Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realization is not distinct, for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha-dharma.
Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge. Zen master Baoche of Mt. Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, "Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. When, then, do you fan yourself?"
"Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent," Baoche replied, "you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere."
"What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?" asked the monk again. The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.
The actualization of the buddha-dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind. The nature of wind is permanent; because of that, the wind of the buddha's house brings forth the gold of the earth and makes fragrant the cream of the long river." - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../genjo-koan...
Dogen has created a lineage full of deeply enlightened Zen masters and teachers and practitioners. I love his lineage, having practiced in a Soto Zen dharma center when I was studying in Australia many years ago. They have great emphasis on meditation - sitting and walking. 1.5 hours of each meeting is dedicated to meditation, the remaining 0.5 hours consist of the dharma teacher discussing about the dharma - which is very resonating as it is describing anatta and total exertion. There is no neglecting of practice in this lineage, which is one of the reasons why I like this lineage and enjoy practicing there. Furthermore, actualization as described by Dogen goes far beyond just sitting on the cushion, it is actualizing in everyday life and activities. This too is described by Dogen and the Zen masters.
Now my practice is completely effortless and actualized in every moment of activity, from sitting to sleeping to moving about in one's daily life. It is full engagement, total exertion of the three times and ten directions, the entire universe involved every moment of activity with nothing in the universe being concealed.
awakeningtoreality.blogspot.comGenjo Koan: Actualizing the Fundamental PointGenjo Koan: Actualizing the Fundamental Point1
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Soh Wei Yu Myself and John Tan - our awakenings at different stages are triggered by different styles of contemplation. E.g. self-enquiry led to our I AM realization, two stanzas of anatta led to John's anatta and bahiya sutta led to my anatta breakthrough. We are advocates of dedicated, sincere practice and contemplation as effective means for attaining awakening. Awakening to Reality has so far led to 30+ people awakening to at least anatta (John Tan Stage 5) realization and the results speak for itself.
Now lets look at the few people who had so called spontaneous awakenings but did not teach any particular method of practice -
Tony Parsons. Had a spontaneous PCE in a park, which seems to be followed by an I AM realization where he spent some time in before even the Witness finally collapsed into nonduality (based on 'As It Is'). He seems to have gone through a further refinement of insight in recent years where even the notion of 'awareness' seems to have dissolved for him.
He does not advocate for practice or meditation, and his approach seems to be purely descriptive, a description of what non-duality, no-self, and so on is. He also points out the delusiveness of self. However, given that the does not advocate for a pragmatic and methodical way of approaching truth, it is quite doubtful if his students/listeners can actually "get the message", and if so, how frequently.
Tony Parsons thought that practice is basically useless, but he does not see that the crucial element that led to his awakening was his deep earnestness in seeking truth, that drove him to various meditations and therapies before he later had a spontaneous awakening on his own. It is this earnestness to discover truth, to contemplate, that is the key factor in meditative contemplation that made him ready to 'receive' and awaken to the truth.
U.G. Krishnamurti - underwent various mystical experiences, the collapse of divisiveness into nondual peak experiences, before finally the realization of no-self in an excruciating experience he calls the calamity, which I call energy imbalance. It is clear that he has a deep yearning to find the truth and this deep yearning for truth and contemplative mind was the trigger for his state of realization. However he was unable to discern the conditions that led to his realizations, and taught to his students that he was merely a freak of nature and practices are useless. Understandably, none of his "students" could understand him or realize what he realized, and so his awakening had not been of much benefit to people around him.
Now, this may piss off some readers but I have to say that despite whatever awakenings many have claimed and I have listed above, other than Buddha and the arahants, most people still have way more to go. And the only way is to practice ardently in both formal sessions (meditation/yoga/etc) and in daily life.
How to know whether you are still not at the end of the road -
Have you completely removed the ten fetters and become an arahant?
Buddha: “There are these ten fetters. Which ten? Five lower fetters & five higher fetters. And which are the five lower fetters? Self-identification views, uncertainty, grasping at habits & practices, sensual desire, & ill will. These are the five lower fetters. And which are the five higher fetters? Passion for form, passion for what is formless, conceit, restlessness, & ignorance. These are the five higher fetters. And these are the ten fetters.”
Or alternatively: in the Mahayana path, have you attained Buddhahood and completely released the two obscurations thereby attaining omniscience?
Obscurations (Tib. sgrib pa, Skt. avarana): factors which veil one's Buddha-nature. [MR]
Obscuration (sgrib pa). The two veils of disturbing emotions and dualistic knowledge that cover one's buddha nature. [RY]
Obscurations (sgrib pa). The veils that covers one's direct perception of the nature of mind. In the general Buddhist teachings several types are mentions: the obscuration of karma preventing one from entering the path of enlightenment, the obscuration of disturbing emotions preventing progress along the path, the obscuration of habitual tendencies preventing the vanishing of confusion, and the final obscuration of dualistic knowledge preventing the full attainment of buddhahood. [RY]
I am not personally convinced that anyone modern has attained 'arahantship' or 'Buddhahood', even if they have realized anatta.
Unfortunately, half-past-six practitioners are plentiful these days, when 99% of so called enlightened people are stuck at I AM and think they are Buddhas.
If even Buddhas and arahants practice, then so much more must non-Buddhas and non-arahants practice for their own sake and the benefit of others.
Soh Wei Yu "Buddhist meditation is potentially dangerous...destabilizing ...to find out that there is no one home.... can lead one off the deep end and it’s not pretty."
Well the realization and shift in consciousness can be dangerous if there no one to guide, it has nothing to do with "Buddhist meditation". Any meditations are equally dangerous because they can cause a shift of consciousness. Even a secular meditation has equal dangers if it can trigger shifts in consciousness. Same as with psychedelic drugs.
One can be stuck like U.G. Krishnamurti with a tortorous experience of "The Calamity" for 3 years, AF Richard's "mental agony" and "brain excitation" for 2 years, and they are not Buddhists nor were they practicing Buddhist meditations.
John Tan (Thusness) got stuck in a very intense period of suffering for years due to energy imbalance during his I AM phase, before he became Buddhist. He was not practicing Buddhist meditation then. It was only overcome after anatta.
Personally, my practices had never led to any danger or destabilizing experience. My recent 7-days energy imbalance experience is by far the only unpleasant experience I've ever had, and was easily overcome through following John Tan's guidances and advise.
I don't think Buddhist meditations are inherently unsafe, but practicing without guidance + navigating the territories without sufficient wisdom can be unsafe, as one can practice wrongly and cause various unpleasant psycho-physical side-effects.
Soh Wei Yu " many others have woken to their true nature without getting lost in the morass of stages and states of the various schools of Buddhism.....through the new advaita teachers like Adyashanti or Gangaji..... "
Gangaji is still stuck at I AM and I believe she teaches self enquiry as the method of practice. Too many people stop short of full enlightenment and get satisfied with what I consider a rather preliminary stage of realization.
Adyashanti practiced deep meditation and self enquiry under a Zen master, triggering his first breakthrough to I AM/Eternal Witness, but even then he had to undergo further realizations into non-dual and anatta in recent years. He wrote that in his more recent books and writings, I'm surprised you didn't realise he underwent a journey and phases of insights quite similar to mine.
- Òskar K. LinaresAs far as I know if you get a sudden SHIFT it's always IAM. They can say they're enlightened, maybe I thought the same ten years ago, but it's just IAM, it's the gate that opens. But there's a lot of path to do. The big problem is that if you think you're at the end, then you're lost and maybe you'll go astray.1
Soh Wei Yu
"Though buddha nature is plainness and most direct, these are still the steps. If one does not know the process and said ‘yes this is it’… then it is extremely misleading. For 99 percent [of ‘realized’/’enlightened’ persons] what one is talking about is "I AMness", and has not gone beyond permanence, still thinking [of] permanence, formless… ...all and almost all will think of it along the line of "I AMness", all are like the grandchildren of "AMness", and that is the root cause of duality.” - John Tan, 2007