Angelo wrote in his group “Awakening, Realization and Liberation”. 

Good pointer for self enquiry and the initial I Am realization

“Inquiry for First Awakening 

The inquiry that leads to first awakening is a funny thing.  We want to know “how” precisely to do that inquiry, which is completely understandable.  The thing is that it’s not wholly conveyable by describing a certain technique.  Really it’s a matter of finding that sweet spot where surrender and intention meet.  I will describe an approach here, but it’s important to keep in mind that in the end, you don’t have the power (as what you take yourself to be) to wake yourself up.  Only Life has that power.  So as we give ourselves to a certain inquiry or practice it’s imperative that we remain open.  We have to keep the portals open to mystery, and possibility.  We have to recognize that the constant concluding that “no this isn’t it, no this isn’t it either...” is simply the activity of the mind.  Those are thoughts.  If we believe a single thought then we will believe the next one and on and on.  If however we recognize that, “oh that doubt is simply a thought arising now,” then we have the opportunity to recognize that that thought will subside on its own... and yet “I” as the knower of that thought am still here!  We can now become fascinated with what is here once that thought (or any thought) subsides.  What is in this gap between thoughts?  What is this pure sense of I, pure sense of knowing, pure sense of Being?  What is this light that can shine on and illuminate a thought (as it does thousands of times per day), and yet still shines when no thought is present.  It is self illuminating.  What is the nature of the one that notices thoughts, is awake and aware before, during, and after a thought, and is not altered in any way by any thought?  Please understand that when you ask these questions you are not looking for a thought answer, the answer is the experience itself.  

When we start to allow our attention to relax into this wider perspective we start to unbind ourselves from thought.  We begin to recognize the nature of unbound consciousness by feel, by instinct.  This is the way in.  

At first we may conclude that this gap, this thoughtless consciousness is uninteresting, unimportant.  It feels quite neutral, and the busy mind can’t do anything with neutral so we might be inclined to purposely engage thoughts again.  If we recognize that “not interesting, not important, not valuable” are all thoughts and simply return to this fluid consciousness, it will start to expand.  But there is no need to think about expansion or watch for it.  It will do this naturally if we stay with it.   If you are willing to recognize every thought and image in the mind as such, and keep your attention alert but relaxed into the “stuff” of thought that is continuous with the sense of I, it will all take care of itself.  Just be willing to suspend judgement.  Be willing to forego conclusions.  Be willing to let go of all monitoring of your progress, because these are all thoughts.  Be open to the pure experience.  Just return again and again to this place of consciousness with no object or pure sense of I Am.  If you are willing to do this it will teach itself to you in a way that neither I nor anyone I’ve ever seen can explain, but it is more real than real.  

Happy Travels.

Art by: Platon Yurich”



    Данила Игнатовски
    Thank u Angelo Grr
    But I got one nuance here.
    What you mean by "relax into it"?
    I got a few option of this so-called presence/imness/being
    1. Just stay like black screen/witness/center/feel the fact or being just here literally, feel more like something behind the eyes. Also this is the place where the attention goes automatically after self-inquiry/koan or another same contemplation. Just here and now. More like Nisargadatta method.
    2. If I relax more (especially area around face/eyelids), I cant even say that I Am here, feels like attention is nowhere, can't self-inquiry because its feels like tension, any moves of consciousness feels a little like suffering, thoughts come and feel like its have no fuel to unfold, just gone after arrising. So I drop even intention to move attention, super do-nothing. I just keep attention without control. Phenomena is arises and passes in DO by itself totally. Presence feels a little like absence because I have sooo relax/let go of any tension of attention. More like Shinzen Yang teach.
    3. I can actively scan for ME, where are me right now in experience, what is me now or looks like me. Usually its goes to head/behind eyes and then start to move after question: go to cheeks, nose, mouth. Illusion of "I" is moving but Im actively penetrate this sense, that try to hide in phenomenons. More like Ramana i guess.
    So, what's the "right" method?
    Or its the same?
    Or its just one method with different layers?
    Also Im curious do u think that I Am presence, self-inquiry and zen koans (who am i precisely) its the same techniq and leads to same insight?
    Maybe Soh and others can answer this too, TY.

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    Angelo Grr
    Данила Игнатовски hi, just a few pointers, may be helpful. The overarching thing I want to say after reading this I suspect still sone analysis going on while doing the self inquiry. Even subtle thought still holds space, avoids the pure being sense /I Am so it’s important to recognize subtle thoughts as such and return to the pure knowingness in that case. It’s more an activity at first than a stillness (hold that lightly 😂).
    Case number one, WHEN practicing, if you detect something like wondering about this stuff, “is it like this or that,” recognize Oh! That’s a subtle thought like analysis or doubt. That should return you to knowingness, knowing without an object. Just rejoin alert there. Doesn’t feel like a blank screen or a dark screen or space at all, if you perceive that even subtly remind yourself “Oh that’s a mental image of a screen or darkness… THOUGHT!” Like that . It’s sort of dynamic esp at first in this way, alertness remains it’s not dull or empty, the effort subsides once you’re in the groove 😂.
    2. When sensation is noticed, recognize the noticing of that as a thought (bc it is). Then you’ll be right back in the gap. When it comes to self inquiry specifically it’s better to close the sense gates in this way initially.

  • Angelo Grr
    Данила Игнатовски number three this sounds more like body scanning which is initially a combination of attention in the sensations / body regions plus overlay of mental images of body regions. This sort of dodges the actual point of self inquiry. Because both are objects of perception in the way we are referring. So in either case follow it back to the literal “I” FEELING that seems to be going out to the sensations and/or is aware of the overlay images of body regions (especially the second).
    Hopefully that’s helpful.
    Overall I think people tend to overanalyze at first “is it this or that” internally which is just an oppprtinuty to recognize “oh indecision, that’s a single thought, then return to the gap.”
    Also be prepared that once you can truly be without thought yet fully in the gap, it often brings a fear response initially, bc you are letting go of identity and the body interprets that as threat. Just let it pass and continue on, it will subside.
    Hope that’s helpful

  • Soh Wei Yu
    On zen koans, John Tan wrote in 2009,
    “Yes Emanrohe,
    That is precisely the question asked by Dogen that “if our Buddha Nature is already perfect, why practice?” This question continues to bother him even after the initial glimpse and that led him to China in search for the answer that eventually awaken his wisdom into the non-dual nature of Awareness.
    Therefore we must understand in Zen tradition, different koans were meant for different purposes. The experience derived from the koan “before birth who are you?” only allows an initial glimpse of our nature. It is not the same as the Hakuin’s koan of “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” The five categories of koan in Zen ranges from hosshin that give practitioner the first glimpse of ultimate reality to five-ranks that aims to awaken practitioner the spontaneous unity of relative and absolute (non-duality). Only through thorough realization of the non-dual nature (spontaneous unity of relative and absolute) of Awareness can we then understand why there is no split between subject and object as well as seeing the oneness of realization and development. Therefore the practice of natural state is for those that have already awaken to their non-dual nature, not just an initial glimpse of Awareness. The difference must be clearly understood. It is not for anyone and it is advisable that we refrain from talking too much about the natural state. The 'natural' way is in fact the most challenging path, there is no short cut.
    On the other hand, the gradual path of practice is a systematic way of taking us step by step until we eventually experienced the full non-dual and non-local nature of pristine awareness. One way is by first firmly establishing the right view of anatta (non-dual) and dependent origination and practice vipassana or bare attention to authenticate our experience with the right view. The gradual paths are equally precious, that is the point I want to convey.
    Lastly there is a difference between understanding Buddha Nature and God. Not to let our initial glimpse of pristine awareness overwhelmed us. 🙂
    Edited by Thusness 05 May `09, 10:35PM
    Thusness's Conversations Between 2004 to 2012
    Thusness's Conversations Between 2004 to 2012
    Thusness's Conversations Between 2004 to 2012

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    More quotes on koan by JT from the past as I was explaining to someone:
    John Tan:
    “More by john tan:
    Alejandro, I would separate non-arisen and emptiness from the luminosity. Imo, it's a separate pointing. The one hand clapping here directly points to the luminosity.
    What is the way that leads the practitioner to “the direct taste”? In zen, koan is the technique and the way.
    The one hand clapping koan is the instrument that leads one to directly and intuitively authenticate presence = sound.
    Let’s use another koan for example, “Before birth who am I?”, this is similar to just asking “Who am I”. The “Before birth” here is to skilfully lead the thinking mind to penetrate to the limit of its own depth and suddenly completely cease and rest, leaving only I-I. Only this I as pure existence itself. Before birth, this I. After birth, this I. This life or 10 thousand lives before, this I. 10 thousand lives after, still this I. The direct encounter of the I-I.
    Similarly the koan of the sound of one hand clapping, is to lead the practitioner after initial break-through into I-I not to get stuck in dead water and attached to the Absolute. To direct practitioner to see the ten thousand faces of presence face to face. In this case, it is that “Sound” of one hand clapping.
    Whether one hand claps or before both hands clap, what is that sound? It attempts to lead the practitioner into just that “Sound”. All along there is only one hand clapping, two hands (duality) are not needed. It is similar to contemplating "in hearing always only sound, no hearer".
    As for the empty and non-arisen nature of that Sound, zen koans have not (imo) been able to effectively point to the non-arisen and emptiness of one’s radiance clarity.”

  • Soh Wei Yu
    “Liu Zhi Guan Zen koans relate more to the direct pointing of one's radiance clarity whereas mmk is abt letting the mind sees it's own fabrications and allowing it to free itself from all elaborations (non Gelug) or free itself from all fabrications (Gelug). The most crucial insight of both Gelug and non Gelug (imo) is to let the mind realizes the primordial purity (emptiness) nature of both mind/phenomena.
    Although Mipham treated gelug's freedom from self nature as categorized ultimate, I can only tell u I disagree. Both are able to achieve their objectives (imo). In fact if u were to ask for my sincere opinion, I prefer freedom from self nature (Gelug) as if understood properly and with experiential insight, it will lead to both +A and -A of emptiness.
    If we were to treat the conventional (conceptuality) as the cause of ignorance, it prevents some very valuable insights that will take probably a lot of time to detail out. I will not go too detailed into that.
    In short seeing through intrinsic existence will similarly allow practitioners to see through conceptual constructs (non-conceptualities), see through duality (non-dual) and substantiality (essencelessness). Phenomena lack of self-nature also lacks sameness or difference, therefore their primordially purity will likewise be realized and selflessness also results in natural spontaneity; yet because practitioners put freedom from self-nature at a higher order, they will not be bounded by conceptualities and can embrace the conventional fully.”

  • Soh Wei Yu
    Having said that john tan did deviced a “koan” as a pointer to emptiness:
    “Now is not a container to him but rather a ground for him to land.
    Say that there is
    Share with him the post abt daniel's post on anatta and emptiness.
    Then say there is a related koan that I ask u to a direct taste of the emptiness of the "here and now" but requires one to hv direct experience of non-dual presencing:
    Appreciate the vivid, lurid scenery in non-dual and ask,
    Where is this scenery?”
    “André, to me "no awareness" in anatta is like telling us not to stop moving air to experience wind so that we can experience the blowing directly, effortlessly and naturally.
    Dependent origination is to explain the conventional relationship between wind and moving air to establish it's validity conventionally and frees the inherent and dualistic rigidity.
    Emptiness is very special, it is a koan. 🤪
    The convention "wind" is empty and non-arisen,
    What is that "wind"?
    Why express that it originates in dependence and is empty and non-arisen?”

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    (On the last point: also see Daniel's Post on Anatta/Emptiness)
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