- Adam Holt As I have said, Yin Ling is clear about anatta.But as John Tan said many times before including back in 2013, “There is nothing wrong with awareness practice as long as it is understood to be empty”Even if a teaching leads to I AM awakening, it is still ok and valuable as an initial awakening. But if it is taught as if it is the Buddha’s ultimate teaching, then it is misrepresenting Buddha and not good. And unfortunately most teachers and practitioners even within Buddhism do get stuck there.Also John Tan in 2012,“I do not see practice apart from realizing the essence and nature of awareness. The only difference is seeing Awareness as an ultimate essence or realizing awareness as this seamless activity that fills the entire Universe. When we say there is no scent of a flower, the scent is the flower.... that is because the mind, body, universe are all together deconstructed into this single flow, this scent and only this... Nothing else. That is the Mind that is no mind. There is not an Ultimate Mind that transcends anything in the Buddhist enlightenment. The mind Is this very manifestation of total exertion... wholly thus. Therefore there is always no mind, always only this vibration of moving train, this cooling air of the air-con, this breath... The question is after the 7 phases of insights can this be realized and experienced and becomes the ongoing activity of practice in enlightenment and enlightenment in practice -- practice-enlightenment."
36 CommentsYin LingYou saw my nonsenseTo be fair it was in the context about teaching lay person to “dissociate” perhaps.So there was a lot of“High quality awareness”“Make an effort to be aware”“Stand away from pain”“You cannot do it without effort”But to me the Buddha’s teaching is the buddhas teaching and we shouldn’t modify especially if one is representing the Buddha..but like JT always caution us don’t criticise.I wrote this becusse I was stuck in awareness.. for half a year I thjnk. Lol so much energy imbalance then. I hope sincere practitioner open their heart and look into this so that my negative karma is diluted abit
Ng Xin Zhao
Yin Ling there's a lot of levels of teachings of the Buddha. Unless one is in a dedicated course, meant for completion, it's very hard to judge if a certain teaching falls short of the full goal.
There's teachings on 5 precepts. That by itself doesn't lead to enlightenment.
There's teachings on devotion to wakefulness, moderation in eating, sense restraint. Those by themselves doesn't lead to enlightenment.
But it's all together. Notice I left out a lot of the other parts of gradual training, including meditation practice of jhanas, etc.
So a talk may very well focus on one small aspects of the path. It could be dangerous to misjudge so fast.
It could be that a person took the devotion to wakefulness advice too seriously, without good basis in samadhi, tried only 4-3 hours of sleep per night, end up too tired, irritated etc.
So they later on critiqued the devotion to wakefulness teaching. But it's actually a helpful thing for some other people, done with deep samadhi practice.
Having said that, I dunno if the talk you heard is that the monastic claimed that to be the full thing then you critiqued on it. So just sharing my view on how Buddhism is taught in practice.
Soh Wei Yu
Yes important to realize Awareness first.
In 2009, John Tan wrote:
"Hi Teck Cheong,
What you described is fine and it can be considered vipassana meditation too but you must be clear what is the main objective of practicing that way. Ironically, the real purpose only becomes obvious after the arising insight of anatta. What I gathered so far from your descriptions are not so much about anatta or empty nature of phenomena but are rather drawn towards Awareness practice. So it will be good to start from understanding what Awareness truly is. All the method of practices that you mentioned will lead to a quality of experience that is non-conceptual. You can have non-conceptual experience of sound, taste...etc...but more importantly in my opinion, you should start from having a direct, non-conceptual experience of Awareness (first glimpse of our luminous essence). Once you have a ‘taste’ of what Awareness is, you can then think of ‘expanding’ this bare awareness and gradually understand what does ‘heightening and expanding’ mean from the perspective of Awareness.
Next, although you hear and see ‘non-dual, anatta and dependent origination’ all over the place in An Eternal Now’s forum (the recent Toni Packer’s books you bought are about non-dual and anatta), there is nothing wrong being ‘dualistic’ for a start. Even after direct non-conceptual experience of Awareness, our view will still continue to be dualistic; so do not have the idea that being dualistic is bad although it prevents thorough experience of liberation.
The comment given by Dharma Dan is very insightful but of late, I realized that it is important to have a first glimpse of our luminous essence directly before proceeding into such understanding. Sometimes understanding something too early will deny oneself from actual realization as it becomes conceptual. Once the conceptual understanding is formed, even qualified masters will find it difficult to lead the practitioner to the actual ‘realization’ as a practitioner mistakes conceptual understanding for realization.
“The anatta I realized is quite unique. It is not just a realization of no-self. But it must first have an intuitive insight of Presence. Otherwise will have to reverse the phases of insights.” - John Tan, 2018
Ng Xin Zhao doing a lot of self inquiry then. Plus noting. Read alot of Ramana teaching lol.
I feel like it’s inevitable that ppl will fall to awareness first, not sure if that’s soh experience with other practitioners.
Hence when John wrote the 5 stages I feel it’s extremely precious.
I also frequently dissociate when under severe stress like when I was Oncall- dissociate to awareness. Did that many years so maybe that’s my condition as well.
After anatta, I could really see each and every level, see the dualities before, and completely understand how so many ppl can get stuck at awareness including ppl who practise for years and years as monastic.
Tan Jui Horng
The average person on the street is likely to be so confused by reality that identifying the awareness aspect helps to narrow down on the big wrong view to be corrected. Then we just have to plant that thought: "Yes there's this awareness thing. But the Buddha refuted awareness as Self. So if you believe that the Buddha was right, work on seeing awareness as what it is".
Ng Xin Zhao
Soh Wei Yu not sure if this is talking about the same thing too https://suttacentral.net/mn128/en/sujato?layout=plain...
On the perceiving light and forms.
Ng Xin Zhao don’t map.
Just keep remember this,
The Buddha spoke about the 3 characteristics of all dhammas - impermanence, non self and Suffering.
He spoke about this in great length.
Everything we perceive has the 3 characteristics.
How then could one reify awareness and make it permanent ?
He even teach us that there is not one general consciousness, there is eye consciousness, ear consciousness etc. it arise dependently with the two bases- form and sense organ, the 18 dhatus teaching.
The Buddha is very very clear and emphasise repetitively that awareness is not a thing to reify.
Let’s add in one more, dependent origination.
If all is DO, how could one reify awareness? What is it? Can grasp can hold?
Awareness is never separate from the manifestation, it comes as a package, as one, dependently originated. And saying it like that is abit too much also, it’s like saying every manifestation has a thing call “awareness” in it, this too is distorting the Buddha’s teaching.
But language limits.
Eventually it is just these forms. That has a nature of intrinsically being aware already. And empty.
That is the nature of mind- luminous and empty.
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
The Buddha has been absolutely clear, it is us that keep distorting what he is trying to get across !
Ok I need to go do some concentration meditation lol
Soh Wei Yu
Just now saw an excerpt while searching john tan old convo
John Ahn Lol Soh Wei Yu 4:49pm Soh Wei Yu thttp://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Sleeping_lion%27s_posture John Ahn 4:49pm John Ahn Oh ok that makes more sense Thusness had insomnia for a decade because of I amness?? What Soh Wei Yu 4:51pm Soh Wei Yu yeah he mentioned attachment to presence.. not sure if there are other causes John Ahn 4:51pm John Ahn I don't think that's feasible unless he used medication to sleep Or his energies were just high all the time Soh Wei Yu 4:53pm Soh Wei Yu he said it cannot be cured with medicine and it was solved later i.e. after stage 5 in sleeping just sleep... no attachment to presence John Ahn 4:53pm John Ahn I see so it must not have been that pleasant If it needed solving Must've been a problem... That's really interesting
Soh Wei YuSaturday, November 16, 2013 at 2:54pm UTC+08
did i say anything wrongly?
John TanSaturday, November 16, 2013 at 2:58pm UTC+08
Soh Wei YuSaturday, November 16, 2013 at 2:58pm UTC+08
John TanSaturday, November 16, 2013 at 2:59pm UTC+08
Nothing wrong...energy imbalances. Some see that as attainment...lol I called that insomnia...
Soh Wei Yu yeah.
The clinging to awareness cause me alot of headache, nausea, anxiety .. like something I cannot release . It’s so bad that sometimes I cannot stand straight or close my eyes when shower, the whole world is like earth quake lol. I have it too even now, not quite resolve.
I even thought of getting an MRI to make sure no brain damage.
Insomnia also when I am in A&P, the whole night I notice I am sleeping
I was in a period of lots of confusion tbh. Considering I’m on a career break, that few months of confusion is quite intense. I was wondering if this is really what liberation is all about
Thank goodness that time i thought of popping a msg to Frank Yang, and I thjnk he told me something like “move on quickly, there is no awareness, go into the blanket of the universe, lose yourself , melt.. sthg that sort”.
That I saw ATr saying the same thing.
I was lucky and I hope ppl don’t waste time repeating my mistake.
Maybe okay to start with awareness also lah.
Buddha taught anatta because people back then already know brahman. So he's making effort (like the anatta bot) to make the important distinction.
But most contemporary people are stuck w their thoughts and perception. Anything (even awareness teaching) to help one to first get out of their head.
I mean, not easy to jump from dual mind to anatta without stepping stones yah?
If I can be honest, I think there are more resources, or at least more direct and modern discussion, on self (and its deconstruction) in advaita teachings than in buddhism. I'm of course not saying buddhism doesn't, as we have already established that buddhism does a most thorough job in the deconstruction of the self. I'm talking about resources available and more importantly, the directness of the teaching (without cultural trappings). Even today, just do a goggle on this topic and see how many clear Buddhist presentation you can find on this subject. I talking about Rupert Spira, if not ZDoggMD, level of accessibility, yo. But of course, ATR is one of those rare sites that is moving towards that direction.
With all due respect, I don't find them very accessible - in terms of availibity (cultural trappings, esoteric) and ease of understanding (too scholarly, technical etc).
There was a time where only priests can learn mathematics. I believe the time has time for Anatta teaching to be made accessible for all. And that, is what ATR is about
Soh Wei Yu
William Lim mahamudra pointings can be very direct
I do agree that most teachers need less cultural trappings in presentation and a more simple direct way of communicating
William Lim yes William I agree with you.
But I also find ppl who are really sincere about liberation, really investigate, and also hopefully have enough merits and conditions, they come to find out.
It’s complex. But it’s good to speak about it.
Hence I’m always very thankful for John and soh to write this down clearly, even though John hates the attention he received, it have helps many to directly touch liberation.
The taste of anatta is starkly different from awareness. One cannot miss it. It frees rather than bind. Awareness binds.
Soh Wei Yu
Also dzogchen zen etc
There is a lot of emphasis on direct pointing and intimate instructions in these traditions.
For example, padmasambhava said:
Now, when you are introduced (to your own intrinsic awareness), the method for entering into it involves three considerations:
Thoughts in the past are clear and empty and leave no traces behind.
Thoughts in the future are fresh and unconditioned by anything.
And in the present moment, when (your mind) remains in its own condition without constructing anything,
awareness, at that moment, in itself is quite ordinary.
And when you look into yourself in this way nakedly (without any discursive thoughts),
Since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid clarity without anyone being there who is the observer;
only a naked manifest awareness is present.
(This awareness) is empty and immaculately pure, not being created by anything whatsoever.
It is authentic and unadulterated, without any duality of clarity and emptiness.
It is not permanent and yet it is not created by anything.
However, it is not a mere nothingness or something annihilated because it is lucid and present.
It does not exist as a single entity because it is present and clear in terms of being many.
(On the other hand) it is not created as a multiplicity of things because it is inseparable and of a single flavor.
This inherent self-awareness does not derive from anything outside itself.
This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things.”
This is why padmasambhava said:
Just as is the case with the sesame seed being the cause of the oil and the milk being the cause of butter,
But where the oil is not obtained without pressing and the butter is not obtained without churning,
So all sentient beings, even though they possess the actual essence of Buddhahood,
Will not realize Buddhahood without engaging in practice.
If he practices, then even a cowherd can realize liberation.
Even though he does not know the explanation, he can systematically establish himself in the experience of it.
(For example) when one has had the experience of actually tasting sugar in one's own mouth,
one does not need to have that taste explained by someone else.”
Soh Wei Yu
In AtR perspective these four pointings are most crucial:
“Now over the course of hundreds [or thousands] of years, there are voluminous scripts about this and that… what is important is just the essence… Meaning, if you go into emptiness teaching and dependent origination, just [focus on] the essence... treat it just like koan… there is no Zen koan like Madhyamaka that can allow us to penetrate so deeply. There is no koan like Dogen’s total exertion that can convey the experience of this immensity of being "connected" in such a magical way…
To me, just these 4 pointings are sufficient: direct pointing to awareness, to anatta, to total exertion and emptiness. The rest is deepening your insights and realizations through encounter and devoted practices.”
• John Tan, 2017
Right, reifying awareness is one thing, encouraging dissociation is a much higher level of potentially causing harm. One could encourage a type of denial without reporting awareness by saying "there is no self suffering" just the same as one could do with encouraging identification with awareness.
Tyler Jones yes I agree. imo reifying awareness and dissociation goes hand in hand.
When awareness is reify there is no way of liberation, the awareness that has been solidify and fabricated has to dissociate with suffering, how else could one decrease suffering?
It is truly the opposite of Anatta when the self is seen to be not necessary and not there in the first place, and phenomenas are seen to be free, impermanent naturally, letting go becomes automatic , one just need to see clearly.
In awareness one don’t taste liberation , though they can have rapture from feeling “transcendental”, imo it’s not the “dharma gate of ease and peace”.
It’s not what the Buddha is teaching, unfortunately.
Soh Wei Yu
It is important to realize awareness (the aspect of unfabricated clarity) but not reify awareness.
Unfortunately initially, it is almost impossible to avoid reification and dissociation due to persisting paradigm of duality and inherency due to ignorance.
But gradually (and the process will be speed up tremendously with right view, pointers and guidance) one starts to realise and taste the nondual and empty and the spontaneous and self liberating nature of presence.
Soh Wei Yu
Reminds me of what john tan said before:
(12:40 PM) Thusness: yes but that is not exactly that important.
(12:40 PM) AEN: icic..
(12:40 PM) Thusness: actually it is the clarity of what ignorance is
(12:41 PM) Thusness: and how it blinds us.
(12:41 PM) AEN: wat u mean
(12:41 PM) Thusness: what have the clear light mistaken as and what is its real nature.
(12:42 PM) Thusness: that clear luminosity before conceptuality is the pure presence but it is not that important.
(12:42 PM) Thusness: Even you have glimpse it a thousand times, u r no closer to one that has no idea of what the pure presence is.
(12:42 PM) AEN: oic..
(12:43 PM) Thusness: even after non-dual, it serves no purpose unless it is understood as the anatta sort of non-dual.
(12:43 PM) Thusness: the clarity of the arising and passing away.
(12:44 PM) Thusness: then there is a possibility of dissolving that 'bond of self'.
(12:44 PM) Thusness: This is just my opinion.
(12:45 PM) AEN: icic..
(12:45 PM) Thusness: All holdings are nothing but the result of the same bond, same tendency, same action.
(12:46 PM) AEN: oic..
(12:46 PM) AEN: serves no purpose means the propensity is still there?
(12:46 PM) Thusness: Although having glimpse of this Presence is important, it cannot be misunderstood as the final aim.
(12:47 PM) Thusness: it cannot be even treated as any sort of arising insight that liberates us from suffering.