Just saw this picture. I would have related to it in my earlier phases but not now.
I don’t reify or conceive of a cosmic consciousness and universal oneness underlying all diversity, I don’t reify or conceive manyness. Zero sounds better but even that is saying too much.
And yet the marvellous and self-luminous display unfolds as one’s display or spontaneous presence happening to/by no one. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.
In the seen just the seen, which means no one seeing and no-thing seen
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William AlbertSoh, I have a question about this. It seems most deeply realized people will say they are "ontologically agnostic" or imply that the question of ontology itself is based on delusion and therefore sort of an invalid question.That being said, it still seems to me that enlightenment is 100% based on direct experience of this 6 sense perspective. Why isn't there still the possibility for meta-existence that transcends this one? For example, couldn't consciousness be both limited and meta simultaneously? Couldn't there be an unlimited space of realms and dimensions that are part of the great dance? Maybe this is all too paradoxical to talk about, but openness to this sort of radical ontology doesn't seem to be precluded by direct experience of anatta, even if it isn't "knowable" from this limited perspective.I'm not saying this to push for belief in such things, I simply question the assuredness of the assertion that they aren't so. To me, it seems like no matter what is ultimately seen to be true in direct experience, there remains at least the possibility of a meta-experience and many layers of existence between "this" and the ultimate, even if such distinction collapses in nonduality. A simple analogy - Buddhism basically says the bread and the cheese are not separate, and neither is even their existence or non-existence--but couldn't there be more layers we are not conscious of in this form? The truth of IT wouldn't change, but the ontology seems like it should remain open.Soh Wei YuAwakening at least in Buddhism is not about agnosticism. As John Tan said before,"[10:43 PM, 6/6/2020] John Tan: There are two folds to it. Any view is ultimately empty... But freeing one from constructs and conceptualization has a different meaning to me. Like when see through self, we realized anatta. It is not the freeing, but must also involves the arising insight and wisdom.I think I mentioned I am not into without view. The freeing from seeing through self is not a form of "not knowing", contrary it is deep wisdom that allows one to understand our nature directly.”"So awakening is the insight that sees deeply into the nature of mind/consciousness/phenomena/appearance.Even when it comes to realms and dimensions, at least in Buddhism we are not agnostic. There is the teaching on the 31 planes of existence. It can be verified, along with other things like rebirth (see my next post), but you will need certain amount of meditative training. The Buddha also teaches about how to access the eight jhanas, which are altered states of consciousness that are progressively more refined and blissful (although they are not necessarily liberating without the correct insights and wisdom), and many people even today have access to these states even in AtR group.Deep wisdom allows us to see through the deluded construct of self-nature in all self and phenomena, and penetrates into the truth of dependent origination. To appear, is to dependently originate without any essence, totally non-arising like a reflection or a rainbow. And as John Tan said recently, "If there is a single "minutest thing", Appearances would be impossible."None of the realms and dimensions I mentioned above would have been possible if everything exist with their own essence or self-nature. Nagarjuna said, "For whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible. For whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible."He also said,"If you perceive the existence of all thingsIn terms of svabhava,Then this perception of all thingsWill be without the perception of causes and conditions.Effects and causesAnd agent and actionAnd conditions and arising and ceasingAnd effects will be rendered impossible.(Garfield 1995, p.69)""If dependent arising is denied,Emptiness itself is rejected.This would contradictAll of the worldly conventions.If emptiness is rejected,No action will be appropriate.There would be action which did not begin,And there would be agent without action.If there is svabhava, the whole worldWill be unarising, unceasing,And static. The entire phenomenal worldWould be immutable.If it (the world) were not empty,Then action would be without profit.The act of ending suffering andAbandoning misery and defilement would not exist.(Garfield 1995, p.72)"Nothing would be possible if dependent arising and emptiness is rejected. Everything would stand on its own without causes and conditions, and not be subject to decay, a seed planted will never result in a tree that bears fruit, and so on. The world will be fixed, static, immutable, and there cannot be any dynamism nor limitless potentiality.There is a good article by Sim Pern Chong from back in 2008:Thusness/Passerby's comment on a related/largely similar post by Longchen in the forum:Originally posted by longchen:Hi Friend,Just my understanding only. For discussion sake. Also, I find this topic very interesting.What appears to us are registered by all the sense organs. The eye sight sees some thing, the ears hear something, etc ,etc. There are not happening in some place. They are the arising of certain conditions.To illustrate that what we experience is not standardised, we know that human beings see in term of colour range. Some animals are colour-blind. so they see differently. But none of us, is seeing the truth nature directly. The senses of different species of sentient beings experience things differently.Likewise, the 31 planes of existence are due to different conditions arising. In the jhana meditation, one is said to be able to access these planes of existence. This is because they are not specific locations. They are mental states. In the jhanas, our consciousness changes and 'aligned' more with these other states or planes of existence.All the planes of existence are simultaneously manifesting, but because our senses are human-based conditioned arisings, we only see the human world and other beings that shared 'similar' resonating arising conditions. But nevertheless, the other planes of existences are not elsewhere in some other places.What we think of as places are really just consciousness. .. no solidity whatsoever. Even our touch sense is just that. It gives an impression of feeling something 3D with textures and so on so forth. But there is no solid self-existing object there... it is simply the sensation that gives the impression of solidity.Thusness (John Tan):Hi Longchen,I can see the synchronization of emptiness view into your non-dual experiences --. Integrating view, practice and experience. This is the essence of our emptiness nature and right understanding of non-dual experience in Buddhism that is different from Advaita Vedanta teaching. This is also the understanding of why Everything is the One Reality incorporating causes, conditions and luminosity of our Empty nature as One and inseparable. Everything as the One Reality should never be understood from a dualistic/inherent standpoint.This also explains the nature of 'supernatural power' like clairvoyance and seeing things far away, etc.Indeed! You can see the how the view, practice and experience leading to the understanding of non-locality in terms of views, practices and experience.Stage 6. The nature of Presence is EmptyNot only is there no ‘who’ in pristine awareness, there is no ‘where’ and ‘when’. This is its nature.When there is this, that is.With the arising of this, that arises.When this is not, neither is that.With the cessation of this, that ceases.-- the principle of conditionalityThe self-luminous awareness from beginning-less time has never been separated and cannot be separated from its conditions. They are not two -- This is, That is. Along with the conditions, Luminosity shines without a center and arises without a place. No where to be found. This is the emptiness nature of Presence.Soh Wei YuOn rebirth, about 5 people in AtR group has informed me about their past life recollections. https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../on...On Sim Pern Chong:"Sim Pern Chong remembered many of his past lives in incredible details as he relived his past lives and not merely recalled vague scenes. He also knew how his current life wife, daughter, etc were related to him in his previous lives, also his daughter exhibits psychic ability even at a young age (John Tan commented the child seems just like the father). His wife realised the I AM many years ago. He actually was a Nyingma monk who practiced Dzogchen two lifetimes ago. I think he told me before about practicing in the Tibetan highlands overlooking vast expanse. This life, he got acquinted with Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche again in 2012 when I told him to join me for that retreat. But it explains his interest in Dzogchen even way back in maybe early 2000s.Being a Tibetan monk in that lifetime, that means he surely had taken refuge, made bodhicitta aspiration etc in his previous life. But that didn't mean he could attain liberation in that lifetime, as most people do not. Nor did he realise anatta or emptiness or attain first bhumi, etc. In fact he remember that he only attained the I AM realization in his Tibetan monk lifetime, which was the first life he was into spirituality (the previous lifetimes before that had events leading up or causing his spiritual search in subsequent life but I shall digress).In the immediate past life, he did not encounter Buddhism but was reborn in western Europe, I believe France. He was fighting in world war 1 in the trenches in a scene which he relived, meaning it was incredibly real and vividly experienced as if he was 'there' again, and in that scene he could recall running across trenches, pausing for a while and thinking of his wife (I think), a sad scene. This caused some trauma for him and explained his anxieties about war in this life, and his past life recall helped solve his traumas. In that lifetime, he also realised I AM only and was involved in mysticism, which explained his current lifetime links with the mystical groups prior to meeting John Tan."There are a lot more details Sim Pern Chong told me about his past lives before those but I left out.Daniel Ingram:“As to world-cycles or the like, my past life experiences line up along the following lines, if you believe in such experiences having validity:1) This life human.2) Last life some sort of moderately powerful, clearly somewhat debauched male jealous god/sorcerer of some kind that was stabbed in the back with a dagger by a woman who he had wronged in some way, I think.3) Some sort of mother skunk-like animal that was eaten by a large black dog or wolf.4) Some sort of mother bat that was killed when the rock it was clinging to at the top of the cave fell to the floor.5) Some sort of grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon.6) Some gigantic, gelatinous, multi-tentacled, very alien being living in a very dark place for a very long time, probably under water, I think.Other than some sense that the skunk-thing and the bat-thing were virtuous mothers, I have no sense that there was any profound previous dharmic development at least back that far, and, in fact, have the distinct sense that the previous one was a bit of a cad and not very ethical. Take that all for what you will.”DanielWilliam AlbertSoh Wei Yu "Deep wisdom that allows us to understand our nature directly" -- this is beyond my progress thus far. I clearly understand intellectually that at some point awakening arrives at something beyond the mind, beyond all words, and yet sensed as fundamentally true. I can't imagine that and won't try to. But I do believe it is possible and will continue to trust reality to move me in that direction.As far as the 31 realms or whatever, I'm very agnostic on that point. My question comes from personal experience with king kong psychedelics like DMT, which very clearly showed me something more real than normal waking state life. I can't explain what happened, but it was tremendous truth and Knowing with a capital K, and totally not of this limited mind and form. While it was an experience that was temporary, it did have the effect of convincing me there is more than this limited perspective. Even with total anatta and emptiness realization, it seems to me that these realms of experience are still possible--just further jewels in the endless possibility of Infinity.In short, who knows, but I like to think there really is a beautiful macro journey of learning and unification, maybe similar to the descriptions in the Law of One or similar.Too much "content" of the dream of this world and life hints at it. It is all created so perfectly and brilliantly. It all seems to whisper of the infinite mind that dreams it. Perhaps it is always and forever unknowable, the great Mystery. But it is comforting to hope that in some way it is all okay in the end.Soh Wei YuYou don't need psychedelics to have access to states that are much more vivid than waking. All these are completely consistent with the insight into the lack of self-nature and dependent origination.Also, I wrote this to Yin Ling recently:Soh Wei YuProbably you already know all these but I'll just write as a sharing for others as well.Because insight of anatta dissolves huge chunk of self/Self and you're basically naturally so in daily waking experience.. but there is the latent deep tendencies that wouldn't surface or get triggered unless there were specific secondary conditions. So progress is always not just on the surface (that is, the consistent non-dual, centerless and boundless radiance as everything in daily living post-anatta) but also more fundamentally in the release, dissolution and liberation of the latent deep. The way to deepen is always deepening the practice in terms of the view, realization and experience.. also correlated with insight and shamatha. Yogic/energy practice can also help. There are also various kinds of psychotherapy and even shamanic, new age, and other kinds of practice that deal with latent deep and bringing them to the surface (like ways of healing deep seated trauma and so on) and so on which can help... but the way Buddhism deals with them is at a more fundamental level by undercutting the ignorance that fuels afflictions with more wisdom, vipashyana and shamatha. It has nothing to do with suppressing the tendencies when they surface but everything to do with maturing this insight of the empty and luminous nature of everything into all situations and all states so that whenever tendencies arise due to secondary conditions, they can be naturally seen in their true face or true nature and can self-liberate.Actually basically what John Tan said 2 days ago in the meeting... not his words as I have no recording but I just paraphrase roughly:1) how much you overcome your afflictions and are unperturbed by the ups and downs of life. If some situation triggers the habitual old ways of relating in terms of self and other, I-me-mine, even if momentarily, that is karmic tendencies in action.2) How much your wisdom has entered into the three states of not just waking, but dreaming and deep sleep.If you haven't already, you will eventually start to experience this equipoise seeping into sleep state...Back to myself (Soh) I'll give you a bit of example about the sleep part.Firstly, you will also notice you get lesser and lesser dreams with karmic contents. For me after anatta, I never really get nightmares anymore. It is always sweet and blissful and relaxing. But there are still karmic dreams from time to time, which means there is a story to it which are activated by the traces of the mind.The next step and this started maybe around 1 or 2 years after my initial anatta breakthrough... you will start to experience that same bliss of nondual clear light / radiance and transparency not only in waking but in deep sleep. At first usually it is more of a dreamless or contentless state, much like the I AM experience. In other words, just pure formless Presence. But incredibly intense and blissful, even more intense than waking experience of it. Then you realise what the Tibetans say that in the sleep and bardo state your clarity is 7 times more than normal is actually quite true, if you can experience that clear light sleep.Then later on you start to experience this clear light sleep even when there are subtle contents arising. For example for me I used to have sleep paralysis and when it happens, its always this feeling of doom and a sense of a intruder/monster/ghost there that is watching and causing my being stuck and unable to wake up. After anatta, each time it happens I was able to dissolve into fearless openness and bliss of clear radiance and transparency. I wrote about these in http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../fearless-samadhi.html That is how you liberate even these situations in sleep. Because if you don't have anatta insight, you will fall into self-other duality and the 'others' will 'appear as enemy' as the Tibetans put it, and that is samsara. Otherwise with insight and actualization all appearances are self-liberating as just one's empty radiance, one's own state.Then when you have dreams, they also start to take on the same, in fact 7 times intensity bliss and clarity of anatta.. like one day you will experience a dream, lets say you are walking down a garden... the same as you are walking down a garden in waking life. And just like in waking life anatta experience is so deeply blissful, radiant, boundless, centerless, transparent and intense... that same quality is experienced in that dream-scene except perhaps much more intense even. That is called clear light dream. That too I started experiencing about 2 years after the anatta breakthrough.Nowadays I seldom have memorable dreams or karmic content dreams.. but just by coincidence yesterday I did have one, and at first I noticed this slight contraction tendency but it quickly transformed into one of fearless openness. It was not a lucid dream but I felt super fearless and "come what may, so be it", then I woke up. But the fact that the traces still occur in sleep even if rarely should tell you I am still far from Buddhahood. Also with your earnestness in practice I'm also sure you will progress much faster and further than me so keep it up.As you know after anatta you will naturally to want to experience this fearless openness without self/Self/i-me-mine in all situations, people, events, phenomena... where there is no you facing it but the universe is meeting itself in total exertion and liberation.The ultimate test is of course death. Can we be liberated. I think Dalai Lama and probably many other masters said my whole practice is a preparation for death. Sort of a trial run.A convo between Sim Pern Chong and John Tan in 2007:Sim: How to experience it? Don't try to escape to anywhere or wait for some becoming. Stay 'unmoving' to the present even if it is unpleasant... and see what happens...John Tan: Even when fainting, when passing out, when death dawns, experience completely, experience experience!Sim: I sincerely hope that I can be that 'zai' at the time of death (grins)Fearless SamadhiFearless SamadhiFearless Samadhi
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Soh Wei Yu
"'Self luminous' and 'self knowing' are concepts which are used to convey the absence of a subjective reference point which is mediating the manifestation of appearance. Instead of a subjective cognition or knower which is 'illuminating' objective appearances, it is realized that the sheer exertion of our cognition has always and only been the sheer exertion of appearance itself. Or rather that cognition and appearance are not valid as anything in themselves. Since both are merely fabricated qualities neither can be validated or found when sought. This is not a union of subject and object, but is the recognition that the subject and object never arose in the first place [advaya]. ", "The cognition is empty. That is what it means to recognize the nature of mind [sems nyid]. The clarity [cognition] of mind is recognized to be empty, which is sometimes parsed as the inseparability of clarity and emptiness, or nondual clarity and emptiness." - Kyle Dixon, 2014
I clearly understand that. But you are not getting my question.
Anyway, I have another question.
What does the term "non arising" means in the context of what Kyle wrote above?
Cognition, appearances are empty, that means no subject and object (right?)
But still there is arising of certain form and then ceasing. That's impermanance. Right?
So what is non arising here?
Sumit Kumar Not Soh, but the way I understand non-arising is that since there is no temporal identity of each form that persists through arising to passing, nothing has ever arised or passed away. What would be the persistent identity that is the same when arising and passing away? Whatever supposedly arose is different than what passed away, therefore neither exists.
Sumit the way i think of "self-luminous" is there is an illuminating quality to consciousness (there is something rather than nothing). Typically we split our experience of reality into subject and object where some external subjective experience 'illuminates' the object.
But with practice it can become apparent that illuminating quality cannot be seperate from the experience itself.
Without this illuminating quality there is no experience, but without the experience there can also be no illuminating quality. There is no seperation of this illuminating quality from an experience.
So it is also not correct to posit the illuminating quality as being ultimately real and experience as false (True self type view).
Experience is itself 'self-luminous".
Soh Wei Yu
“[3/8/19, 5:10:10 PM] John Tan: Non-arising means appearances without essence similar to a reflection, like a rainbow.”
“Pursuant to the middle view, Tson-kha-pa cites Nagarjuna's Yuk-tisastika and Candrakirti's Yuktisastika-vrtti.
What arises in dependence is not born;
That is proclaimed by the supreme knower of reality Buddha).
(The realist opponent says): If (as you say) whatever thing arises in dependence is not even born, then why does (the Madhyamika) say it is not born? But if you (Madhyamika) have a reason for saying (this thing) is not born, then you should not say it "arises in dependence." Therefore, because of mutual inconsistency, (what you have said) is not valid.)
(The Madhyamika replies with compassionate interjection:)
Alas! Because you are without ears or heart you have thrown a challenge that is severe on us! When we say that anything arising in dependence, in the manner of a reflected image, does not arise by reason of self-existence - at that time where is the possibility of disputing (us)!” - excerpt from Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real: Buddhist Meditation and the Middle View
Robert Dominik Tkanka
Nice picture when it comes to describing early stages of realisation. Not as deep as awakening to emptiness of self but for many a step in the right direction from identification with self as a body/mind/person.
Edit: zero like in Trungpa's zeroness. Better than being stuck at oneness though I agree its not perfect either (might sound nihilistic). Numberlesness could be a nice alternative.
Soh Wei Yu
AtR are describing experiential realizations. Panentheism and Pantheism usually refers to a philosophy or a belief or a doctrine, although sometimes can be linked to mystical realizations as well.
But if I have to make some sort of equation, I would say Panentheism sounds like I AMness, and Pantheism sounds like One Mind*.
[4:01 PM, 1/1/2021] John Tan: In subsuming there is no container-contained relationship, there is only Awareness.
[4:03 PM, 1/1/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Anurag Jain
So Soh Wei Yu
how does Awareness "remain"? Where and how?
[4:04 PM, 1/1/2021] John Tan: Anyway this is not for unnecessary debates, if he truly understands then just let it be.
"Yes. Subject and object can both collapsed into pure seeing but it is only when this pure seeing is also dropped/exhausted that natural spontaneity and effortlessness can begin to function marvelously. That is y it has to be thorough and all the "emphasis". But I think he gets it, so u don't have to keep nagging ." - John Tan
Soh Wei Yu
"there is only emptiness"
I would be cautious of putting that way though.
Emptiness Itself is Empty
Even emptiness is empty. For example, the emptiness of the bottle of milk does not exist inherently. Rather, it exists in a dependent way. The emptiness of the bottle of milk is dependent upon its basis (the bottle of milk). It is also dependent upon having been designated as emptiness. As we saw above, this is alluded to in Nagarjuna’s Treatise, verse 24.18.
Understood this way, emptiness is not a substitute term for awareness. Emptiness is not an essense. It is not a substratum or background condition. Things do not arise out of emptiness and subside back into emptiness. Emptiness is not a quality that things have, which makes them empty. Rather, to be a thing in the first place, is to be empty.
It is easy to misunderstand emptiness by idealizing or reifying it by thinking that it is an absolute, an essence, or a special realm of being or experience. It is not any of those things. It is actually the opposite. It is merely the way things exist, which is without essence or self-standing nature or a substratum of any kind. Here is a list characteristics of emptiness, to help avoid some of the frequent misunderstandings about emptiness, according to the Buddhist Consequentialists:
Emptiness is not a substance
Emptiness is not a substratum or background
Emptiness is not light
Emptiness is not consciousness or awareness
Emptiness is not the Absolute
Emptiness does not exist on its own
Objects do not consist of emptiness
Objects do not arise from emptiness
Emptiness of the "I" does not negate the "I"
Emptiness is not the feeling that results when no objects are appearing to the mind
Meditating on emptiness does not consist of quieting the mind
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Soh Wei Yu
John Tan wrote half a year ago:
D4ecSepomber 26 3atr l1f1ti3:171 7PMh ·
For non-dual junkies:
If u neglect the conventional, don't talk about the ultimate.
For the ultimate is merely the emptiness of the conventional.
If u neglect "body", don't talk about "mind".
For "body" and "mind" are merely distinct conventionally,
Ultimately they lack sameness or difference.
Soh Wei Yu
Malcolm also said before,
“I answered this in many ways, but the most expressive is that there simply is no reality beneath things. There is nothing to find. Not even something free from two extremes. Therefore, ultimate truth, emptiness, is a conventional truth, because it is effective at bringing about liberation.
Your attempt to reduce it to a formal proposition via western logic is a fools errand. Richardson already attempted this, and when he reduced Madhyamaka to statements in formal logic, he found they were incoherent. But he also missed the point of Madhyamaka, and the two truths.”
There is also a nice post by Jay Garfield
All Things Have One Nature, That Is, No Nature
John Tan and I like this excerpt.
“I really like this article from Jay Garfield expressing "emptiness of emptiness" as:
1. The everydayness of everyday.
2. Penetrating to the depth of being, we find ourselves back to the surface of things.
3. There is nothing after all beneath these deceptive surfaces.
Also concisely and precisely expressed the key insight of anatta in ATR.”
“That is what I always thought is the key insight of Tsongkhapa also. Like the phases of insights in ATR through contemplating no-self (a negation), one directly and non-dually tastes the vivid appearances.”
“Now, since all things are empty, all things lack any ultimate nature, and this is a characterization of what things are like from the ultimate perspective. Thus, ultimately, things are empty. But emptiness is, by definition, the lack of any essence or ultimate nature. Nature, or essence, is just what empty things are empty of. Hence, ultimately, things must lack emptiness. To be ultimately empty is, ultimately, to lack emptiness. In other words, emptiness is the nature of all things; by virtue of this they have no nature, not even emptiness. As Nagarjuna puts it in his autocommentary to the Vigrahavyavartanı, quoting lines from the Astasahasrika-prajnaparamita-sutra: ‘‘All things have one nature, that is, no nature.’’
Nagarjuna’s enterprise is one of fundamental ontology, and the conclusion he comes to is that fundamental ontology is impossible. But that is a fundamentally ontological conclusion—and that is the paradox. There is no way that things are ultimately, not even that way. The Indo-Tibetan tradition, following the Vimalakırtinirdesa-sutra, hence repeatedly advises one to learn to ‘‘tolerate the groundlessness of things.’’ The emptiness of emptiness is the fact that not even emptiness exists ultimately, that it is also dependent, conventional, nominal, and, in the end, that it is just the everydayness of the everyday. Penetrating to the depths of being, we find ourselves back on the surface of things, and so discover that there is nothing, after all, beneath these deceptive surfaces. Moreover, what is deceptive about them is simply the fact that we take there to be ontological depths lurking just beneath.”
Jay Garfield & Graham Priest, in "Nagarjuna and the limits of thought"
(Source of text: https://app.box.com/s/ne0b0wwismozwkftpe1h3tx4ew7mi9gn)
[4:43 pm, 26/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Oh nice didnt know you posted
[4:45 pm, 26/09/2021] John Tan: Yes so well expressed. How can I not post it.
Labels: Anatta, Emptiness, Jay L. Garfield, John Tan, Madhyamaka, Tsongkhapa |