• “Vividly clear and present yet entirely absent and ungraspable.
    This insight into the nature of presence fills the body with space-like illusoriness." No here or there, no Inner or outer is already the case in Anatta insight, yet appearances can be perceived as hyper-real due to vividness.
    The difference between Anatta and two fold emptying is the perception of the realness of foreground and the insight of non-arising. When everything is seen as “chariot" and perceived as non-arisen it causes
    1. the solidity of appearances to come undone and the notions “arising, abiding, and ceasing” to be seen for what they are— conceptual notions and reifications.
    2. the unraveling and cessation of the inherent tendency to grasp and hold onto phenomena.
    In Anatta you understand the meaning of “spontaneous” but without the insight of non-arising and emptiness you cannot understand “liberation.”
    Thoroughly not separate, thoroughly never was there a separate witness. That is non-dual Anatta and is perceived on the side of the “subject.” Subject was formerly a witness (I Am) or formless background (One Mind). After Anatta there’s no background, only foreground (No Mind). Presence is nothing other than appearance. Naturally what follows is emptying of the foreground— the “object” side of the equation since that’s all there is after the fact lol.
    For “objects”—thoroughly nothing here, thoroughly nothing ever having been. They are unproduced. There are no actual appearances/objects to be found. That’s "liberation." In the 4 levels of understanding emptiness that John Tan described, if you’re not able to turn absence into a taste you won’t be able to empty the solidity of appearances. He describes stabilizing in anatta, specifically the experience of Maha— the grand immaculate vividness of mind/appearances and the universe doing everything itself, then to realize it’s ALL empty.
    The all is empty and space-like illusoriness, doesn’t arise without the taste of absence. This illustrates so clearly the difference between realizing clarity versus realizing the nature of clarity. The nature of clarity IS absence. Vividly present yet totally absent— the union of two truths. Same applies to the six sense fields and so called “objects.” In Anatta Phase 5 you can say “there’s no birth, there’s only aggregates.” In Phase 6 and beyond you can say “there are no aggregates" because you can taste absence (emptiness/non-arising) and see “chariot” in everything.
    Due to the taste of absence being so critical here, we can clearly see how “spontaneous liberation” in the way John Tan describes it is not possible from the Brahman and substantialist view. Why? Because the taste of absence is impossible with background solidity. It’s that simple. For years I rested in non-dual reified clarity. You can get clear light sleep, powers and all that just with this alone, but that’s not liberation.

    Non-arising and D.O. is liberation and it’s perception from my experience was not possible at all prior to Anatta Phase 5 due to the perceptual knots which obscure absence. What immense freedom (captured in the picture below lol) from this understanding. Thank you Soh & John Tan! Please feel free to correct any misunderstandings here or if you have any advice.


  • Jen Macdonald
    Out of curiosity, do you notice that you experience your inner and outer worlds as the same.
    And do anomylous phenomena seems to occur more for you than for others you know or come in contact with?

    Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald Yes and yes.

    Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton thank you. I experience these things too after periods of what you describe in your post. Even though my experience is sustained like yours, I still have periods of time where I do and I noticed these two things about those periods. Just checking to see if this was common. All the best ☺️

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton ps. When you say ‘hyper real’ could this also be described as ‘realer than real’? That’s another quality I’d give to the world as I experience it.

  • Ryan Burton
    yup exactly more real than real so clear so vivid

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton thank you for replying!

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald For me the anomalous occurrences you mentioned is non-locality.

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton oh yes! That makes total sense! I have a fee more questions along these lines, is it cool if I ask them?

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald more real than real was what characterized anatta initially but now there same vivdness remains just without the sense of realness. Now it's like vivd appearance with simultaneous hyper unrealness lol if that makes sense.

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald thanks for commenting Jen!

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton makes total sense. Wow!

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton I’m very interested in this and appreciate your time.

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton I’m fascinated by this- ‘realer than real’ is used to describe a handful of state experiences. For me it also begs the question how limited are reductionist views anyhow? What are we cutting ourselves off from when we adhere to consensus reality’?
    What are more accurate models of the universe? (Ie. Holographic) And when I use the word ‘real’ does it mean what I thought it meant? (Ie. Not an absolute fixed fact but dependant on a way of seeing and knowing that is more of an experience).

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald Sure i'll reply back in a few hours. It'll also be interesting to see what others here think as well.

  • Soh Wei Yu
    [1/2/17, 6:54:25 PM] John Tan: Actually I like holographic theory very much but I do not want it to b presented like new age...lol
    [1/2/17, 6:58:35 PM] John Tan: The biggest issue abt us is we hv taken the physical world as "ultimate reality". The world of forms seem so real and solid so we r able to accept whole universe is created in an instant, totally exerted moment to moment. How is this possible at all?
    [1/2/17, 7:04:51 PM] John Tan: Because "things" or the formation of "something" and the sensation of "concreteness" is just like "Information". We do not know the power of "information" as I have always tried to tell u. If I plant a bit of info deep into ur consciousness that u r unable to walk beyond ur doorstep, suddenly u realised u can't pass beyond it. Therefore views have power, chants have power, designations and labels have power.
    [1/2/17, 7:05:34 PM] John Tan: We r unable to accept I mean
    [2/2/17, 1:27:24 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Lol got connected to wifi now suddenly receive all ur msgs
    [2/2/17, 2:04:33 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    [2/2/17, 11:22:02 AM] John Tan: Dun put what I wrote about holographic
    [2/2/17, 11:22:06 AM] John Tan: U hah
    [2/2/17, 11:56:01 AM] John Tan: Then u like to cut and paste without understanding the Essence of it...faintz
    [2/2/17, 2:43:32 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Lol ok
    [2/2/17, 3:37:08 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ur talking about the total exertion of karmic propensities that I wrote before right
    [2/2/17, 3:41:52 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Replied them
    [2/2/17, 8:42:30 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Jui wrote "I get the total exertion explanation of why we fail to see this, just wondering about the 2D part. What in buddhism correspond to "2D"?"
    [2/2/17, 8:42:32 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Lol
    [2/2/17, 8:43:12 PM] John Tan: That is y u talking nonsense
    [2/2/17, 8:44:53 PM] John Tan: Saying I like holographic theory of universe very much doesn't me I m in agreement with the system. We don't even know the principle ...just very general idea
    [2/2/17, 8:45:33 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
    [2/2/17, 8:45:38 PM] John Tan: U know abt the mathematics of the surface determining the structure of objects?
    [2/2/17, 8:45:45 PM] Soh Wei Yu: No
    [2/2/17, 8:46:54 PM] John Tan: Then how r u to explain that? How black holes led these Scientists to that conclusion...u r disputing Stephen hawking do u know that?
    [2/2/17, 8:47:20 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
    [2/2/17, 8:47:22 PM] John Tan: So don't b so naive and irresponsible
    [2/2/17, 8:48:02 PM] John Tan: When I say I like holographic theory of universe do u know y?
    [2/2/17, 8:51:11 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ur saying like karmic propensities manifest a solidly existing world like information?
    [2/2/17, 8:51:25 PM] John Tan: No
    [2/2/17, 8:53:44 PM] John Tan: Because it is a theory that can explains the possibly total exertion and illusory nature of reality, time and space. It is Aso able to explains why a dust can contain a universe. It is a beautiful theory.
    [2/2/17, 8:54:14 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    [2/2/17, 8:55:11 PM] John Tan: Means the experience of total exertion and illusion like reality can b integrated and explained by the theory.
    [2/2/17, 8:55:45 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
    [2/2/17, 8:57:06 PM] John Tan: Means the theory can account for such experiences that is y I like it...
    [2/2/17, 8:58:05 PM] John Tan: U cannot just say it is this and that and say I say this and that
    [2/2/17, 8:58:41 PM] John Tan: This will mislead and Mis-represent the intention

  • Soh Wei Yu
    But getting into the holographic theory is more intellectual although interesting... anatta and emptiness should be an experiential insight.

  • Jen Macdonald
    Soh Wei Yu thanks for all of this! Yes, I totally feel that experiential insight is paramount. I’m also curious about our use of the word ‘real’. It doesn’t seem to have any fixed meaning. And in my experience I noticed it was dependent on awareness, attention and belief. And also ‘real’ seems to vary amongst different culturals.

  • Ryan Burton
    Soh Wei Yu very interesting maybe helps with understanding non-local?

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton and Soh Wei Yu I felt a broadening of my conceptual paradigms arose from my experiential knowing of annata and emptiness.
    Non-local awareness, changes to my beliefs around time and space, multidimensional awareness and what I can only describe as levels to consciousness that each have their own set of ‘reals’.

  • Anisor Marie
    This is a great book from a number of scientists explaining *how* the universe could very well be a hologram if anyone is is interested.
    May be an image of book and text that says '1gt water. Nothine NOW WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY LYNNE McTAGGART, AUTHOR OF THE FIELD THE HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE THE REVOLUTIONARY THEORY OF REALITY THAT EXPLAINS The Latest Frontiers of Physics The Paranormal Abilities of the Mìnd The Unsolved Riddles of Brain and Body MICHAEL TALBOT "A subtle but thrilling remaking of mind One comes to living larger universe gifted with talents one never knew one had. JEAN HOUSTON, Ph.D. author of The Possible Human'

  • Jen Macdonald
    Anisor Marie thanks! I have this on my bookshelf to be read. 😊

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald real for me is used when defining (1) solidity and (2) what we conventionally define as ordinary. I've used it when describing the profundity of non-local experiences when I say "it was unreal" and also when I'm describing how solid and established things appear to be.

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald Sure others have more to contribute on this point. I'm not too familiar with any particular models like materialist, holographic/quantum or otherwise.

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton thanks. I’ll just add this one thing My fb friend Wayne B. said -pasted wout permission
    “Usually "reality" is just accepted as it is. We don't question our quality of "realness." …
    See more

  • Ryan Burton
    Jen Macdonald "quality of our seeing has changed"-- beautiful

  • Jen Macdonald
    Ryan Burton peace out. Have a nice rest of your day or night. 😊

  • Mathias Pertusa
    Is 'absence' here refer to when presence isn't recognized?

    Ryan Burton
    Mathias Pertusa absence here is referring to the empty nature of presence

  • Owen Richards
    For those of you who have had these realisations, are they locked in perceptions, permanently operating? Or are they lenses or 'ways of looking' that one can choose to 'put on' at will, ala Rob Burbea?

    Jen Macdonald
    Owen Richards I’m quite interested in this. I feel they they involve a shift in being in-and-with consciousness and affect the mechanisms of knowing and awareness.
    The individual may feel like they’re seeing thru new-to-them lenses but as I understand it, the more stabilized experience Ryan Burton conveyed above even the relationship to the lenses changes.
    That’s my understanding atm.

  • Ryan Burton
    Owen Richards Both but usually there will be a permanent characteristic alteration of the baseline or ordinary consciousness. For example, when you realize "I Am" or have the realization of "I Am Everything" it permanently ends the illusion of existing as thought and memory. The basis for identification from "I am the body" to "I am the witness" or to "I am everything." In Anatta "I am anything" as a belief and thought is destroyed. For me and probably others here can say the same, we could not experience duality even if we tried.

  • Ryan Burton
    Owen Richards and I have tried lol

  • James Wolanyk
    Owen Richards My experience is very similar to Ryan Burton. It's been an ever-expanding and reality-breaking journey that constantly builds upon itself, lol. Culadasa once said there was no apparent end to insight, and I believe that. Probably something like an asymptote. I don't feel we ever arrive at a final, fixed state (perhaps paranibbana exempted, as I don't have experience with that 🙂 ), but rather continually discard larger and more intricate structures of conditioned/distorted perception.

    Jen Macdonald
    James Wolanyk Im very interested in your discarding of conditioned structures of perception.
    I felt a broadening of my conceptual paradigms arose from my experiential knowing of annata and emptiness. I now embrace
    Non-local awareness, changes to my beliefs around time and space, multidimensional awareness and what I can only describe as levels to consciousness that each have their own set of ‘reals’.
    Did you ever experience major shifts in your paradigm along these lines?
    What other conceptual frameworks altered for you or dropped away all together?
    I read your comment about your brief period of loss of any solidity in reality. Sorry to drudge up old times but I’ve experienced this too and the unsettling Ishness and unsubstantiated nature of things.
    I became interested in conceptual frameworks and the inaccuracies and limitations of the western ones.
    Regarding something else that you said ; The sense that everyone is a projection of one’s mind is a common experience in what can be called Psychospiritual Crisis.
    As is the belief that ‘this is all a computer simulation’. Did that thought cross your mind?
    Love that reality feels strange, mysterious and ephemeral to you now. I can relate. It’s a bizarre world after all.

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  • Owen Richards
    James Wolanyk did you go via Mahasi method or inquiry ATR style?

  • Yin Ling
    Nicely written Ryan, thank you for this.
    Just gonna chime in a little, and see if others feel similarly..
    The complete identity shift in anatta js sudden , quick, like a sandstorm yet the taste of emptiness comes on gradually and slowly.
    Of whether being able to bring back dual view or not, it is actually very tricky for post Anatta practitioner bc this is a identity shift. When self is drop, One shifts out of looking out of the body mind , instead, one takes on the senses and environment and knowingness as “me” however this me is not like the enduring body and mind “me” rather a constant changing of appearances .
    In this new way of perception(I try to avoid the word identity lest someone understand it as reifying awareness ), there is no chance of dual view , like someone said to me before “I don’t know where to look for dual”. This is true in experience. Yes one can try to go back into behind the head and look but for myself
    Anatta is an energetic shift , and the energy becomes now boundless and wide open and powerful, I did try to fit all these energy into a cube behind the eyes again and it is more disorientating than anatta, painful even.
    It is crazy to think I have experienced the world like that for 30’plus years. No wonder one suffers! It is like a tight fist
    It does take a radical willingness to experience this way, bc there is no observer, one feel as though experiences are not being “seen” by the usual “me”, all moment is just fully the moment, and once gone it’s is let go off by the mind quickly and “letting go all the time” is another insight too as the mind tends to hold On a little bit at initial Anatta.
    Sometimes this makes me feel as though I don’t live in a real world, my experience are not “heavy” like it used to be, everything is floaty and light , and it also feels like I will never be able to remember anything lol I wonder if anyone feels the same way.
    When this anatta insight matures ,second fold emptiness is easier as the world doesn’t seem heavy solid and real anymore. When one is intimate with the senses how could anything be “grasped” at. How to talk about location? Or “who/what” when it’s just colour and shapes, all of these need a “stepping down” and the cognitive mind needs fo come on for a moment before one can really tell who what where when.
    Ryan do look into “conceptual elaborations” vs “conceptualities” if you haven’t.
    The former are like “existence , non-existence,
    Being, non-being
    Eternal, nihilism etc
    Though I think it is implicit when one realized the latter , which is best described by the chariot analogy , but I made a mistake of understanding chariot as a designation , a name “chariot” imputed onto the parts, and later on with insight I understand finally that chandrakirti wanted to convey to us that the whole chariot is an imputation of the mind. It is not there. Soh has a good article on this.
    MMK will help with Deconstructing further finer conceptual elaborations like
    Cause and effect
    Samsara nirvana
    Some blinding veils we don’t even know we have on us 😂
    But not for the faint of hearts 😂😆
    Have good fun Ryan !

    James Wolanyk
    Yin Ling Very, very agreed on the loss of apparent solidity in "reality." For a time this caused me great distress and even a mini psychotic episode, lol. I spent three months just wandering around, semi-convinced everyone was a projection of mind, but I managed to keep it together and remain "normal." Nowadays reality feels equally strange, mysterious, ephemeral, but it's seen as a beautiful and "weird" thing rather than a threat to any conceived self.

    Yin Ling
    Oh dear. I hope you are well now! Well It is a mind projection in way..
    But if you are a Buddhist, even if not, do look “dependent origination(DO)” rather than projection.
    As imo it is a balance view to see the world at this stage.
    I find holding the view of DO will keep a practitioner on the middle path rather than swaying towards both extremes
    Bc in DO, there are causes and conditions for something to arise, but that “something” is not truly arising, just an appearance.
    So, this appearances they function. They are causes, they are conditions.
    All feed into all , and all function despite them being empty. It still works.
    An empty car will knock down and empty person despite all being a display. If someone ask if a realised being dare to go in front of a racing car, that’s a wrong understanding imo
    DO has helped me sync all my experiences and realizations nicely, so far. Truly a wonderful view to hold, though eventually will be released but not yet hehe

  • James Wolanyk
    Funny enough, looking at DO deeply is exactly what I did 🙂 Well said!

  • Ryan Burton
    Yin Ling yes I’d totally agree that Anatta is sudden but realizing emptiness is more gradual maybe because the taste of absence needs to become natural. You mentioned the Jay Garfield lectures on Emptiness. I started on the first one but am going to finish off the series.

    Yin Ling
    Ryan Burton took me awhile and not quite there yet tbh.
    Let me know how is it. Haven’t start. Struggling with Tibetan stuff 😂🥲