Shared with someone who had nondual and no-mind experiences but still had a tendency to reify space-like awareness:

[17/4/23, 6:20:03 PM] John Tan: In experience it feels like the 6 senses are fragrance of space. All arise from that space and it is easier to understand and express that way.

[17/4/23, 6:21:17 PM] John Tan: Overtime we "reified" that space as real existence.  That is y in dzogchen, everything do not exist, not even wisdom.

[17/4/23, 6:22:07 PM] John Tan: This habit runs deep and will continue to haunt us during the journey.


[17/4/23, 6:13:03 PM] John Tan: It is like empty clarity reifying spaciousness.

[17/4/23, 6:13:16 PM] John Tan: Many masters r like that

[17/4/23, 6:13:50 PM] John Tan: As an expression it is ok since there is no perfection in any sort of expressions.

[17/4/23, 6:15:15 PM] John Tan: Like initially u r not comfortable with expression of supreme source or mipham or dzogchen, however after u know more about them, u realized they do not differ in view.


[12/9/23, 5:13:42 PM] John Tan: Also there is nothing wrong talking about oneness, empty space...etc.  The problem is it is being mistaken as "real" as if there is an ocean and wave.

Then one become busy merging wave and ocean where both are only conceptual constructs and are non-arisen.


[7/8/23, 1:38:56 PM] John Tan: Yin ling, u know what is dharmadhathu?
[7/8/23, 1:39:40 PM] Yin Ling: I just take it as the emptiness of mind, minds nature, the only thing left
[7/8/23, 1:39:46 PM] Yin Ling: Not even thing 😂
[7/8/23, 1:39:55 PM] Yin Ling: That potential
[7/8/23, 1:40:17 PM] Yin Ling: What is it to you both
[7/8/23, 1:40:53 PM] John Tan: Emptiness of all phenomena
[7/8/23, 1:41:06 PM] John Tan: Emptiness of a single phenomenon is dharmata
[7/8/23, 1:42:00 PM] Yin Ling: Oh I see
[7/8/23, 1:42:20 PM] John Tan: But as a common description it is the spacious field where all dharma arise.  That is y u hear sinking back to ocean.
[7/8/23, 1:42:37 PM] Yin Ling: Oh ya
[7/8/23, 1:44:00 PM] John Tan: But when the mind hears it, it reifies the space as if it is ocean.  But it is just an experiential taste like pouring water onto water or a the taste of a drop of water into ocean.
[7/8/23, 1:44:42 PM] Yin Ling: Ya no ocean. Everything always is ocean , the blend into each other emptiness upon emptiness upon emptiness haha
[7/8/23, 1:45:04 PM] John Tan: Yeah...
[7/8/23, 1:46:07 PM] John Tan: Neither ocean nor wave exist...just a description of seamlessness
[7/8/23, 1:46:28 PM] John Tan: Like space playing musical notes🤣
[7/8/23, 1:47:12 PM] Yin Ling: It really does feel like I’m in the ocean and I’m ocean 😂
[7/8/23, 1:47:51 PM] Yin Ling: and there is no outside of this ocean. It’s all ocean. The felt sense is like that lol
[7/8/23, 1:48:02 PM] Yin Ling: So when ppl say wave, ocean, I cannot relate at all
[7/8/23, 1:48:13 PM] John Tan: It signifies that one's practice of insubstantial spaciousness of phenomena is on track
[7/8/23, 1:48:33 PM] Yin Ling: Actually, I feel like I’m ocean more than I’m in the ocean
[7/8/23, 1:48:41 PM] John Tan: Yes
[7/8/23, 1:48:48 PM] Yin Ling: The body is like.. ok.. something there
[7/8/23, 1:49:06 PM] Yin Ling: So the wave description is really weird
[7/8/23, 1:49:08 PM] Yin Ling: Haha thanks
[7/8/23, 1:49:15 PM] Yin Ling: For assuring I’m not crazy
[7/8/23, 1:49:32 PM] Yin Ling: 走火入魔ppl say
[7/8/23, 1:49:35 PM] Yin Ling: 🤣
[7/8/23, 1:49:51 PM] John Tan: Everything is radiance and of the nature of space...
[7/8/23, 1:50:22 PM] John Tan: Be light and like echo from nowhere...
[7/8/23, 1:50:47 PM] Yin Ling: Ok
[7/8/23, 1:51:08 PM] Yin Ling: It just slowly empties
[7/8/23, 1:51:23 PM] Yin Ling: Left with some sensations here and there blinking and blinking
[7/8/23, 1:51:32 PM] John Tan: 👍
[7/8/23, 1:51:50 PM] Yin Ling: So at work I need to focus😂 sometimes blinking blinking I cannot grasp properly
[7/8/23, 1:52:07 PM] Yin Ling: Ok I go to meditate before work
[7/8/23, 1:52:13 PM] Yin Ling: Oh happy national day!
[7/8/23, 1:52:52 PM] John Tan: Thanks


Space itself is another appearance. Or do you think it is an unchanging absolute behind appearance? If you do then that is another delusion

That would be the I AM sort of understanding.

And as john tan said a decade ago:

“Therefore the so called "Clear Aware Space" is no more special than this moment of arising sound or passing scent. The failure to recognize that all apparent arising and passing transience is non other than the Dharmakaya is the problem of all problems.

When a pith instruction like “Relax and fully open to whatever is” is taught to a mind that is still under strong influence of dualistic tendencies, it is easy for such a mind to read and practice in the form of clinging to the “Aware Space” and shunting away from the transience, thereby setting itself infinitely apart unknowingly.

If however there is maturity of insight that whatever arises share the same taste -- luminous yet empty (via twofold emptiness), then practice is naturally and simply unreserved opening to whatever is, it cannot be otherwise. There can be no movement, duality and preference from this to that for there is no ‘this’ that is more ‘this’ than that.

With clear recognition and unperturbed practice of complete unreserved opening to whatever is, all transience will reveal to posses the same taste of non-dual samadhi and self-liberation that we once thought to be the monopoly of the so called “Clear Aware Space”.

It is therefore advisable that after the direct experience and realization of the pure sense of existence, a practitioner further penetrates anatta and the empty nature of phenomena. These insights are necessary and should not be considered “long cut”. It will help a practitioner better appreciate the art of great ease in time to come.

My 2 cents.

The degree of “un-contrivance”,

Is the degree of how unreserved and fearless we open to whatever is.

For whatever arises is mind, always seen, heard, tasted and experienced.

What that is not seen, not heard and not experienced,

Is our conceptual idea of what mind is.

Whenever we objectify the “brilliance, the pristine-ness” into an entity that is formless,

It becomes an object of grasp that prevents the seeing of the “forms”,

the texture and the fabric of awareness.

The tendency to objectify is subtle,

we let go of 'selfness' yet unknowingly grasped ‘nowness’ and ‘hereness’.

Whatever arises merely dependently originates, needless of who, where and when.

All experiences are equal, luminous yet empty of self-nature.

Though empty it has not in anyway denied its vivid luminosity.

Liberation is experiencing mind as it is.

Self-Liberation is the thorough insight that this liberation is always and already is;

Spontaneously present, naturally perfected!” – John Tan to Mr. J, 2012


Session Start: Wednesday, 5 November, 2008

(5:17 PM) AEN: hi.. did u read the email i sent on self liberation?

(5:18 PM) AEN: btw i went to library just now and read the book 'transpersonal knowing' a bit, the one where the self liberation article and also another author that talked about centered and decenetered

(5:19 PM) AEN: i tink i going to get it.. hehe

(5:20 PM) AEN: btw fred j. hanna mentioned a fourth substage of decentered stage... he said

(5:21 PM) Thusness has changed his/her status to Idle

(5:23 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer

(5:23 PM) AEN: ...I would like to add that there seems to be no evidence for the popular ideas of th Universal Self and the Universal Will. In younger days, I was once very fond of such characterizations. These are attractive ideas but arise from dependence on self and ind. In other words, such concepts are conceptually "pretty" in that they are harmonious, symmetrical, and balanced with great intellectual and conceptual appeal. Much like certain religious beliefs, they even bring a certain amount of comfort. However, they actually represent the concept-forming activities of the mind, warned against by Huang Po and so many others. concepts as these and others such as cosmic evolution makes good sense at earlier stages, but as the self becomes dismantled and the mind divested, such concepts lose their atractiveness, become less important, and are spontaneously abandoned.

(5:23 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer

(5:23 PM) Thusness has changed his/her status to Online

(5:23 PM) AEN:

In any case, this state of "willess activity" lasted for approximately a year, and once again, even though it diminished there was another new plateau that had been achieved. For the first time since I began my quest, I did no sitting meditation during that year. My meditation was now done spontaneously and in the moment as life presented itself. I had no illusions, however, I knew that there was much more work to do. I had been aroun te meditative block too many times to get fooled again. After the glow wore off I found myself meditating once more on the will and other new ares that needed attention.

(5:23 PM) AEN: But that center has not returned. There is no center of consciousness anymore and that feels quite natural and appropriate. It is hard to remember what it was like to have one. To experience the lapse of a self under healthy circumstnaces is, paradoxically, to understand what it means to be a normal human being, that is, "true normal." Indeed the more the meditation and growth continue, the more normal and insignificant this person becomes. It is quite liberating to be rid of this needless signifiance.

(5:23 PM) AEN:

Seeing Consciousness Arise out of Nothing

As of this writing, I am still quite in the midle of the Decentered Stage, and the meaning of true normal continues to unfold. A fourth substage manifested recently while meditating on consciousness itself. This meditation can be described as following or tracing consciousnes back to its origin point, well beyond ind and perception of the world. I was doing this exercise as a result of the influence of Zen. There came a point at which, amazingly enough, I saw that consciousness itself is actually quite substantial, much more so than t void or sunyata. And as the void,

(5:23 PM) AEN: I saw consciousness itself coming into being out of noting at all. In some deep chamber of inner life, I saw it there, springing from the eternal dialectic between absolute sometingness and absolute nothingness, and arising as the wondrous compromise between the two. consciousness actually appeared as a gossamer substance, alive and fluiid, aware, pure, and somehow clean and "innocent." The wholly astonishing aspect was that consciousness, that which does seeing, was actually being seen and watched, as both subject and object. lease believe me when I say that I know this makes no sense at all. I am only reporting what seemed to me to happen. Perhaps equally strange, I also felt released from consciousness, with a resulting sense of being unburdened and somehow freed.

(5:24 PM) AEN: There was no "I" in this experience, only the void itself. A deep certainty arose that the void is not consciousness but encompasses consciousness as it does everything else. I know that this flies directly in the face of popular ranspersonal writings, for there we find consciousness florified and exalted as teh supreme, ultimate, perfect, utmost, transcendent reality. Not so to this iveinvestigator. It is wonderfully freeing to be released from this limiting perspective. Paradoxically, it seems that even transcendental consciousness has its limits. This insight taught me to appreciate Zen more than ever. I should also mention that the efect was largely temporary but the leson lives on.

(5:24 PM) AEN: is he talking something like stage 3?

(5:25 PM) AEN: and then towards the end of the article theres a summary

(5:25 PM) AEN:



A Summary of the Stages and Substages

The Precentered Stage

The Precentered Stage begins with the first experience of being centered. It is only the beginning. Some persons have many transcedent experiences and never get past this stage. Continued practice in the Precentered Sttage produces t insights that lead to becoming centered and the stability that comes with it.

Substage 1: Precenterednes begins with a glimpse of a transcendent reality beyond ordinary perception of hte world and mundane cognitive processes. The reality glimpsed is recognized as being beyond ordinary subject/object distinctions.

Substage 2: Merging with the transcendental reality to the point of full identification with it. Once again, this involves transcending the world of phenomena and moving beyond subject/object distinctions.

(5:25 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer

(5:25 PM) AEN:

The Centered Stage

At this stage a person intuitively understands the meaning of the term "pure consciousnes." Consciousness is understood as the center, focus, and origin of reality. It is seen as separate from mind and self, which serve only allow and debase its pure character and quality. Consciousness is established in itself, freed from psychopathology, and ultimately tiedto transcnedental reality.

Substage 1: Consciousness is established as the center, largely free of mind and reactions. This is not to say that reactions do not take place, only that consciousness is ever observant and aware of the tides, flows, and eddies of mental processes and emotions. Put a bit differently, it might be said that consciousness exits or is released to some degree from the "shell" of one's personality.

(5:25 PM) AEN:

Substage 2: Consciousnes becomes integrated, settled, and established in itself with no need for mental ideas or constructions as props and supports. It is liberated from being chronically absorbed or lost in mental processes, including personality issues and structures. consciousnss is seen as separate from mind, more primal than mind, and as absolute. It can also master and change any construction of mind, although not its total master.

Substage 3: The center expands outward and stabilizes as extended being. consciousness is no longer and never again experienced as a central point confined to being within the sull. There is now a continuous sense of size or grand spaciousness that becomes a part of one's being.

The Decentered Stage

(5:25 PM) AEN:

In the Decentered Stage the center beigns to corrode or decompose as if from within. The self begins to literally disappear not only in transcendent experiences but in everyday life -- which begins to become more and more transcendent. the "i" becomes les pronounced.

Substage 1: centeredness begins to break down as a result of the decomposition of confining self-structurs. This process results in a not unpleasant lack of lack of a sense of center, which is now replaced by a sese of mildly pleasant disorganization.

Substage 2: The self is clearly seen as a defense against or a haven fro th stark reality of the void, and as a wound in te fiber of one's being. The self fades in and out for short periods of time leaving a lack of category distinctions in everyday life. During times when t self is faded out, there is a recognition of a luminous, pervasive awareness of the void as primordial and what all things are.

(5:25 PM) AEN:

Substage 3: The center ceases to exist, along with a sense of self. There is an almost paalpable chasm or gap where once there was a self. Unlike fading in and fading out, this is a revolution at th center of awareness -- a metamorphosis. An essential core of th self is removed and is joyousuly replaced by the void.

Substage 4: Consciosuness itself is seen, in and by the void, coming into being. For the first time, consciousness seems almost substantial and limtited by comparison to the void. one is momentarily freed fro mconsciosunes.

Substage 5: No inkling, no clue. There remains much, much more to learn.

(5:32 PM) Thusness: The stages are okie to me but the insight is still not there.

(5:33 PM) Thusness: despite the fact that there is the awareness of the importance of being 'decentered', the true insight and essence of no-self isn't there yet.

(5:33 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:33 PM) AEN: what does he mean by entering void.. is it something like that stage 3 kind of experience?

(5:33 PM) Thusness: being transparent

(5:33 PM) Thusness: that is luminosity as the void.

(5:34 PM) AEN: but he said its beyond consciousness

(5:34 PM) Thusness: there is no problem experiencing as this void.

(5:34 PM) Thusness: just the non-dual understanding isn't there.

(5:34 PM) Thusness: this is because phenomena & void remains dual.

(5:34 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:35 PM) Thusness: That is he 'sees' a particular aspect of our pristine nature but is unable to go beyond analysis of the experience and that prevents him from experiencing the texture and fabric of awareness.

(5:36 PM) AEN: icic..

(5:36 PM) Thusness: phenomena is just an appearance that dependently originates when condition is.

(5:36 PM) Thusness: and this is what Awareness is.

(5:37 PM) Thusness: What he 'sees' is still with a center.

(5:37 PM) Thusness: that center now has become the 'void'

(5:37 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:37 PM) Thusness: in actual case, there is only appearance.

(5:38 PM) Thusness: the void was created due to the inability to go beyond dualistic more of understanding.

(5:38 PM) Thusness: mode

(5:38 PM) Thusness: Therefore there is no real experience of liberation.

(5:38 PM) Thusness: the void is what that 'bond' him.

(5:39 PM) AEN: icic..

(5:40 PM) AEN: oh ya btw did u read the article i sent u by john welwood

(5:40 PM) Thusness: not yet

(5:40 PM) Thusness: ????,???? (Seeing form is to apprehending Mind, hearing sound is the Tao/Way)

(5:40 PM) Thusness: there is no need to experience 'void'

(5:40 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:40 PM) Thusness: all in ?,? (sights, sounds)

(5:41 PM) AEN: icic..

(5:42 PM) Thusness: all in ?,?,?,?,?,? (sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch, thought)

(5:42 PM) Thusness: seeing this is seeing our Buddha nature.

(5:42 PM) Thusness: only due to our empty nature manifestations appear diverse.

(5:43 PM) Thusness: it is not knowing our empty nature that 'void' is seen to be really existing.

(5:43 PM) Thusness: what exists is just appearances

(5:43 PM) Thusness: this is luminous yet empty.

(5:44 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:45 PM) Thusness: It is not that we are stubborn that we can't accept the existence of the 'void'

(5:45 PM) Thusness: the 'Void' must be understood correctly

(5:45 PM) AEN: icic... wat is the 'void'

(5:45 PM) Thusness: it is an assumed 'space' that arise only in 'thinking and analysiing'

(5:46 PM) Thusness: it is a 'mind space' made believe to exist and appears to exist only during introspection.

(5:46 PM) Thusness: What truly exists experientially is just the 18 dhatus.

(5:47 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:47 PM) Thusness: it is still the cause of dualism and dualism causes separation which is the root cause of suffering.

(5:48 PM) Thusness: There is no true spontaneity and effortlessness when we are still dualistic.

(5:48 PM) AEN: the assumed 'space' is the cause of dualism u mean?

(5:49 PM) Thusness: it is not the cause of dualism

(5:49 PM) AEN: what is the cause of dualism

(5:49 PM) Thusness: the tendency to divide is the cause

(5:49 PM) Thusness: that tendency to divide can manifest as 'space', 'void', 'Self'

(5:50 PM) AEN: oic..

(5:55 PM) Thusness has changed his/her status to Idle

(6:01 PM) AEN: john welwood speaks of different levels of practice. in summary: "If we use the analogy of awareness as a mirror, prereflective identification is like being captivated by and lost in the reflections appearing in the mirror. Reflection involves stepping back from these appearances, studying them, and developing a more objective relationship with them. And transreflective presence presence is like being the mirror itself -- that vast, illuminating openness and clarity that allows reality to be seen as what it is. In pure presence, awareness is self-illuminating, or aware of itself without objectification. The mirror simply abides in its own nature, without either separating from its reflections or confusing itself with them. Negative reflections do not stain the mirror, positive reflections do not improve on it. They are all the mirror's self-illuminating display."

(6:05 PM) Thusness has changed his/her status to Online

(6:06 PM) Thusness: good.

(6:06 PM) Thusness: The fact is the mirror is and always is just an analogy. It is never is really a reflection.

(6:07 PM) Thusness: it is a reflection because our DO nature is not seen and therefore we can't 'see' that Awareness is always so.

(6:08 PM) Thusness: We see 'Awareness' according to certain 'definition' and is affected by that definition. That 'definition' is not what Awareness is and all analogies become fault.

(6:08 PM) AEN: icic..


Session Start: Wednesday, 17 December, 2008

(9:49 PM) Thusness: Sense of self and sense of beingness is different

(9:51 PM) Thusness: Wisdom of our nature includes the ability to know the difference

(9:51 PM) AEN: oic..

(9:51 PM) Thusness: yes i read what he wrote.

(9:52 PM) AEN: longchen? ic..

(9:52 PM) Thusness: yes in the morning.

(9:53 PM) AEN: oic..

(9:54 PM) Thusness: the other article about great freedom is also not bad.

(9:54 PM) AEN: icic..

(9:57 PM) AEN: btw wats the difference between 'now' and spontaneous arising.. to remain in 'now' doesnt mean there's no sense of self isit? and there's still the sense of effort to achieve or sustain the state

(10:00 PM) Thusness: 'Now' is a concept for what they really want to convey is a direct experience of a sense of presence.

(10:00 PM) Thusness: spontaneous arising is different. It relates to 'effortlessness'.

(10:02 PM) Thusness: it relates to the direct experience of what liberation is.

(10:02 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:07 PM) AEN: u said travis post is still 'i am'... is cos he still cant differentiate sense of self and beingness?

(10:07 PM) Thusness: what they want to bring across to the readers is to tell them not to lost themselves in stories so that they missed the direct experience of 'Presence'.

(10:07 PM) Thusness: This is just the first step.

(10:08 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:09 PM) Thusness: Stressing the importance of 'Now' has no other purpose other than that.

(10:09 PM) Thusness: What longchen said is a more important truth.

(10:09 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:10 PM) AEN: but spontaneous manifestation can only occur after insight rite?

(10:10 PM) Thusness: not exactly

(10:10 PM) Thusness: it always occur

(10:11 PM) Thusness: it is just that it is not realised

(10:11 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:11 PM) Thusness: now when the article from 'Great Freedom' said, the space is Awareness and what that arise is also Awareness. How do u understand it?

(10:13 PM) AEN: thats non duality rite?

(10:14 PM) Thusness: To me it is non-dual but not buddhism sort of understanding.

(10:14 PM) Thusness: Therefore it does not the sort of insight I hope u can achieve.

(10:15 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:15 PM) AEN: wats the difference

(10:16 PM) Thusness: Yes what is the different?

(10:16 PM) AEN: they still treat awareness as an unchanging background?

(10:16 PM) Thusness: not actually that for this case

(10:17 PM) Thusness: obviously they also treat whatever arise as Awareness.

(10:17 PM) Thusness: They problem is the in the depth of clarity.

(10:18 PM) Thusness: There are several hurdles here.

(10:18 PM) Thusness: First is the experience of a pure sense of existence (Presence) from a state free from 'thoughts'

(10:19 PM) Thusness: an almost thoughtless state

(10:19 PM) Thusness: then there is also the experience of non-duality

(10:19 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:20 PM) Thusness: that is a state similar to what Ken Wilber experienced

(10:20 PM) Thusness: There is inability to break-through the 'bond' of dualism.

(10:22 PM) Thusness: The perpetual referencing back prevents the depth of 'seeing' despite the non-dual experience.

(10:22 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:22 PM) AEN: referencing back to a self or background?

(10:23 PM) Thusness: it is not that he wants the background, it is because the dualistic tendency

(10:24 PM) AEN: btw self inquiry can lead to a thoughtless state of presence rite? yesterday was practicing self inquiry until suddenly its like i have almost no thought already... just a sense of presence... then suddenly i enter into a v blissful state for i tink 1 or 2 minute

(10:24 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:24 PM) Thusness: yes

(10:26 PM) Thusness: this pure sense of existence cannot 'blind' us from seeing sight, sound, taste and other arising phenomenon as Presence

(10:26 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:27 PM) Thusness: once u let that blind u, u can't experience anatta completely

(10:27 PM) Thusness: the next natural development is to have the glimpse of what Ken Wilber experiences... u need vivid experience of that

(10:27 PM) AEN: i didnt remember experience sight or sound or taste... instead it feels like void... but theres presence

(10:28 PM) AEN: icic

(10:28 PM) Thusness: then confusion steps in whenever u try to make sense out of these 2 experiences

(10:28 PM) Thusness: the problem is with our dualistic mode of understanding things

(10:28 PM) Thusness: despite the experiences, we still cannot understand it correctly

(10:29 PM) Thusness: until we become clear of anatta then prajna insight arises

(10:30 PM) Thusness: Once we accept anatta and DO as the right understanding of these experiences, we began to experience clearer and less effort is needed

(10:31 PM) Thusness: Once we clearly see that the 5 aggregates are already non-dual, we no more preserve that 'state' of pure existence

(10:31 PM) Thusness: the 'effort' to sustain a particular state disappear

(10:32 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:32 PM) Thusness: yet that is not the exhaustive even insight arises

(10:32 PM) AEN: huh?

(10:33 PM) Thusness: like when we faced adverse situations, non-dual is gone as in the case of longchen.

(10:33 PM) Thusness: when in dream states also

(10:34 PM) AEN: oic.. ya longchen said he only experience non dual when he is near the end of the dream, and in the waking state

(10:34 PM) Thusness: not yet

(10:34 PM) AEN: oic wat u mean

(10:34 PM) AEN: he haven experience it in dream?

(10:37 PM) Thusness: not only that...

(10:38 PM) Thusness: i mean spontaneous manifestation is only correctly understood when we clearly see that there is no 'center', no 'self' from the anatta perspective

(10:38 PM) Thusness: that is, there is thoughts, no thinker

(10:38 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:39 PM) Thusness: means there is always only thoughts

(10:39 PM) Thusness: then we can begin to understand DO.

(10:39 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:39 PM) Thusness: always only Sound, no hearer

(10:40 PM) Thusness: understand spontaneous arising this way and understand DO from this experience.

(10:40 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:42 PM) Thusness: after absolute and effortless clarity of these experiences, when dealing with adverse situations, that non-dual experiences can still be gone.

(10:42 PM) Thusness: that is practice

(10:42 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:43 PM) Thusness: then we will begin to realise DO in a deeper aspect

(10:43 PM) Thusness: and the strength of the 'bond'

(10:43 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:44 PM) Thusness: but first the pure sense of existence

(10:44 PM) Thusness: then non-dual experience

(10:44 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:44 PM) AEN: btw earlier u said travis experience is still 'i am'.. isit bcos he cant distinguish beingness from sense of self?

(10:45 PM) Thusness: u must continue to practice letting go.

(10:45 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:46 PM) Thusness: to understand Travis experience, u must have the 'Oneness' experience

(10:47 PM) Thusness: stripping 'personality' from experiences

(10:47 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:48 PM) Thusness: that is, u non-dual need not arise, but that stripping of 'personality' from experiences must arise

(10:48 PM) Thusness: it is also an important experience.

(10:48 PM) Thusness: then with a lil extrapolation, u come out that sort of conclusion.

(10:49 PM) Thusness: because will 'personality' is being stripped off from every moment of experience, an 'inherent essence' is not

(10:50 PM) Thusness: that bond of 'inherent essence' causes Travis to extrapolate and lead him to that understanding.

(10:51 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:52 PM) Thusness: i mean 'because while' 'personality' is being stripped off from every moment of experience, the aspect of 'inherent essence' is not

(10:52 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:53 PM) AEN: btw he had nondual experience rite?

(10:53 PM) Thusness: yes

(10:53 PM) Thusness: just that the insight of anatta does not arise.

(10:53 PM) AEN: oic..

(10:53 PM) Thusness: what i want u to experience is anatta

(10:55 PM) AEN: icic..

(10:57 PM) Thusness: now when u hear 'sound', do u feel like the 'sound' out there?

(10:59 PM) AEN: ya

(11:00 PM) AEN: it's a bond to the body/mind rite? like a sense of being 'in here'

(11:01 PM) AEN: but if i just listen attentively it becomes less distinct i tink

(11:02 PM) Thusness is now Online

(11:13 PM) AEN: u saw my msg?

(11:16 PM) Thusness: Nope

(11:18 PM) AEN: oh i said

(11:18 PM) AEN: AEN says:


AEN says:

it's a bond to the body/mind rite? like a sense of being 'in here'

AEN says:

but if i just listen attentively it becomes less distinct i tink

(11:21 PM) Thusness: seldom does it occur to us that it is due to our dualistic mode of perception as the main cause

(11:21 PM) AEN: as the main cause of?

(11:22 PM) Thusness: of making us feel so

(11:23 PM) Thusness: However there r other conditions that complicate our experience

(11:24 PM) AEN: oic..

(11:24 PM) AEN: what other conditions

(11:24 PM) Thusness: That is the 'body' and the 'external conditions'

(11:26 PM) AEN: icic..

(11:31 PM) Thusness: Now u have read, taught and the sutra to refer to, how is it that u still feel so?

(11:32 PM) Thusness: U have so much faith in Buddha, why is it that u r unable to directly feel the truth of anatta?

(11:32 PM) AEN: due to bond or the dualistic mode of perception?

(11:35 PM) Thusness: therefore know the subtlety and strength of this bond. It is much stronger then the sum of all ur faith and practices

(11:38 PM) AEN: oic..


When people speak of cessations as a state, there are two types: nirodha samapatti or other non percipients samadhi which are like blackouts. And nirvikalpa samadhi, which is absorption in pure consciousness. The latter is more of I AM. In neither case are they related to nirvana or liberation

They are not supramundane

But can often be mistaken to be

As explained in


This may also interest you on the different types of samadhi states, i led him to anatta:

Another quote on space:

“He has realized I AM, not just an experience. Impersonality is also clear and there are intermitent non-dual experiences but has mistaken the death of the ego as anatta. Focus on forgetting the ‘beingness’ and leave no trace of ‘beingness’ until the background is completely gone, always only the phenomenon in its primordial purity.” – John Tan on Mr. P, 2011

“Hi AEN,

Yes not to be fixated but also not to objectify the “spaciousness” otherwise “spaciousness” is no less fixated. The ‘space’ appears appealing only to a mind that abstracts but to a fully participating and involving mind, such “spaciousness” has immediately sets itself apart, distancing itself from inseparable. Emptiness is never a behind background but a fully partaking foreground manifesting as the arising and passing phenomena absence of a center. Therefore understand ‘spaciousness’ not like sky but like passing clouds and flowing water, manifesting whenever condition is. If ‘Emptiness’ has made us more fixated and immobilized this innate freedom of our non-dual luminosity, then it is ‘stubborn emptiness’.

Nevertheless, no matter what said, it is always inadequate. If we want to fully realize the inexpressible, be willing to give up all centers and point of references that manifests in the form of ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘where’. Just give up the entire sense of self then instantly all things are spontaneously perfected.

Just a sharing, nothing intense.

Happy New Year! :)

There is no lack of clarity in whatever that is manifesting, simply forgo the self and be fully participating.” - John Tan, 2009


What is important is realization of anatta

Then there will not be any doubt there is no background

Not just as a state of no mind

Do go through what i wrote here


Also i wrote:

Updated translation:

Here's the translation of the passage you provided:

"I feel that what I wrote yesterday was not clear, so I wanted to elaborate:

When you reify awareness, it becomes one whole, encompassing everything as its parts, just like the ocean and its waves. But when you deconstruct the waves and the ocean, the whole and the parts, it's merely the bright, luminous, pellucid, vividness of sound, taste, and color – the basis upon which waves and ocean are mere imputations of. Awareness is just a name but empty of its own existence, like how 'weather' is a term denoting rain, wind, sunlight, and all dynamic manifestations of ungraspable nature, and is not a container or singular overarching entity, nor does it transform into or modulate as them. Similarly, awareness isn't an unchanging singular overarching entity that permeates, encompasses, subsumes, or even modulates as everything. What's seen, heard, and felt is clear, vivid, luminous, and crystal-like. 'Awareness' is merely a term to describe such, not permeated/pervaded by a singular essence of awareness across all diverse sights, sounds, and sensations. Ultimately, awareness is seen as not possessing its own intrinsic nature, not just as a dualistic nature of a background witness, but also empty of a substance that possesses 'oneness with everything' or a unity with all things. And the 'awareness substance' is seen through without leaving a trace, leaving only the luminosity and clarity that is all appearances, not just a state of self-forgetfulness but a wisdom insight. As Scott Kiloby, a teacher from America, once said: 'If you see awareness as no different from everything, and those things are not separate "things", why use the term 'awareness'? You are left only with the world, your life, and the diversity of experiences.' Another teacher, Dr. Greg Goode, who initially practiced Advaita but later delved deeply into Buddhism, told me: '

It looks your Bahiya Sutta experience helped you see awareness in a different way, more .... empty. You had a background in a view that saw awareness as more inherent or essential or substantive?

I had an experience like this too. I was reading a sloka in Nagarjuna's treatise about the "prior entity," and I had been meditating on "emptiness is form" intensely for a year. These two threads came together in a big flash. In a flash, I grokked the emptiness of awareness as per Madhyamika. This realization is quite different from the Advaitic oneness-style realization. It carries one out to the "ten-thousand things" in a wonderful, light and free and kaleidoscopic, playful insubstantial clarity and immediacy. No veils, no holding back. No substance or essence anywhere, but love and directness and intimacy everywhere..."

Among the practitioners I've met (be it Buddhist or non-Buddhist), of those that can realize the nonduality of perceiver and perceived, even if they transcend the duality of the seer and the seen, they still retain the oneness (inherent ontological singular overarching substance) of Advaita, not realizing the Buddhist anatta, still leaving traces. They might experience the mindlessness of 'in the seen just the seen', but still retain the view of a really existing singular pervasive mind, so experience and view are not in sync.

Thus, Master Guoru, a lineage successor of Ch'an Master Shengyan, also said in the book I gave you, 'Believing that there exists a pure mind is absolutely wrong. "True illumination without illumination", "One mind is empty of Mind", these phrases are all about the ultimate reality of all dharmas. The Record of Bodhisattva Shanwei also mentions: "In the nature of extinction, there's no extinction; in true awareness, there's no cognizance", which can be understood theoretically.' Patriarch Bodhidharma also said, 'Both delusive thoughts and wisdom cease forever; when both luminosity and illumination end, remaining serene and non-active, this is called the supreme.' Damo's discourse on No-mind: 'The disciple then suddenly realized, knowing that outside the mind there's no phenomena, and outside of phenomena, there's no mind. Every action and use became free, breaking all webs of doubt, with no more attachments.'


(Note: The translation tries to capture the essence and literal meaning of the text while ensuring comprehensibility in English. Some Buddhist terms are kept as close to their original meaning as possible.)


- translated from chinese to english using chatgpt

Lacking clear insight of this, if space is reified, even if one sees space as subsuming everything, one lands in thusness stage 4 as explained in

Its not space that negates or underlies appearances

"awareness [seen as] other than what appears is alaya." - John Tan (alaya as still a subtle state of ignorance)



Sound hearing themselves, sights see themselves etc

Thats just nondual

A state of no mind

Whats more important is the realization of anatta as a dharma seal and which sees through the referents of inherent view

As i wrote before:

“James Dhu regarding your question:

Not so. Recently I wrote to someone:

Just yesterday someone at the I AM phase told me, he said “I have a hard time seeing foreground [appearance] as "awareness." Probably just equating "awareness" and "background" in my mind.” I told him thats because he has some definition of awareness that is blocking him. He told me “So forget definition of awareness and just see the radical aliveness of "foreground." That is enough, yeah?” I told him “No, not just forget definition of awareness. You need to deeply look into it, challenge it, investigate it”. I also sent him some texts I sent to another person earlier and said “Having an experience without background [as an experience of no mind] is not the same as realizing there never was a background subject or a seer or a seeing besides or behind the seen. The latter must arise as a realization. So you need to analyse in direct experience.

Khamtrul Rinpoche on the realization of anatta in the Mahamudra text:

"At that point, is the observer—awareness—other than the observed—stillness and movement—or is it actually that stillness and movement itself? By investigating with the gaze of your own awareness, you come to understand that that which is investigating itself is also no other than stillness and movement. Once this happens you will experience lucid emptiness as the naturally luminous self-knowing awareness. Ultimately, whether we say nature and radiance, undesirable and antidote, observer and observed, mindfulness and thoughts, stillness and movement, etc., you should know that the terms of each pair are no different from one another; by receiving the blessing of the guru, properly ascertain that they are inseparable. Ultimately, to arrive at the expanse free of observer and observed is the realization of the true meaning and the culmination of all analyses. This is called “the view transcending concepts,” which is free of conceptualization, or “the vajra mind view.”

"Fruition vipashyana is the correct realization of the final conviction of the nonduality of observer and observed."

What Khamtrul Rinpoche said above is not just mere experience. It sees through the conventions and analysis and realized the emptiness of these conventions.

In buddhism, non analytical cessations like states of no-mind and samadhi does not liberate. Only analytical cessation based on wisdom that penetrates and sees through the wrong view of inherent existence is able to liberate. The prajna wisdom that realizes the dharma seal of anatta, dependent origination and emptiness.


In the past, many years ago, I visited a Zen center in Geylang many times, whose master is a very famous Korean Zen master with many established dharma centers throughout the world, who passed away in the early 2000s. I found his writings quite resonating because he was able to express simply and articulately the state of no-mind. I read many books by him. He even said things like, "your true self has no outside, no inside. Sound is clear mind, clear mind is sound. Sound and hearing are not separate, there is only sound.", and so on.

However I was dismayed to find out later that he was having the experience of no mind but the view of one mind, meaning that he has not had the realisation of anatman that penetrated the view of inherent existence. As a result, despite his nondual experience, he was still unable to overcome the view of an inherently existing one substance modulating as many, which is the view of substantiated nonduality (nondual based on substance or essence view). I only realised this after reading in more details his views and writings and found an article where he expressed that Dharma-nature is the universal substance which everything in the universe is composed, is an unchanging substance that is formless like h2o but can appear as rain, snow, fog, vapor, river, sea, sleet, and ice, and everything is different forms of the same universal and unchanging substance.

It is clear to me that he experiences nondual and no-mind, but what he said above is still precisely reifying an ontological, universal, one, indivisible and unchanging source and substratum that is the "one without a second" manifesting as many. This is having a view of inherent existence pertaining to a metaphysical source and substratum even though it is nondual with phenomena.

I informed John Tan the above in 2018 and he replied, “To me yes. Mistaken experience due to lack of view. That is Zen's problem imo. No mind is an experience. Insight of anatta must arise, then refine one's view." (This is a general trend but there are many Zen masters with clear view and deep realisations too)

Another American Zen writer, whose books I have enjoyed reading and found to be quite resonating in many ways, because he was able to express the experience of no-mind and what I call Maha total exertion. He wrote that the Buddha mind is mountains, rivers, and the earth, the sun, moon, and stars. And that "In the state of authentic practice and enlightenment, the cold kills you, and there is only cold in the whole universe. The heat kills you, and there is only heat in the whole universe. The fragrance of incense kills you, and there is only the fragrance of incense in the whole universe. The sound of the bell kills you, and there is only “boooong” in the whole universe…" This is a good expression of no mind.

However, later on, upon further reading, I was disappointed to find out that he is still lacking realization into anatman, and hence did not go beyond the view of one mind yet having no mind experience. He continued to assert that "Objects of mind come and go in an endless stream, contents of awareness arise and cease – mind or awareness is the unchanging realm in which objects come and go, the immutable dimension wherein the contents of awareness arise and cease", and although he sees awareness as unchanging while all phenomena are changing, he insists awareness is nondual with phenomena: "In short, reality is nondual (not-two), thus everything in reality is an intrinsic aspect or element of that one reality."

It is clear that despite his nondual experience up to no mind, the view of inherent existence is very strong, and subtly dual. The desync between view and experience persists. It is having the atman view of an unchanging and inherently existing one reality yet being nondual with everything. I could go on and on and cite countless other teachers and practitioners, whether Buddhist or non-Buddhist, that are having this problem, because it is very common.

This is why anatta is not just the experience of no-mind, or a nondual experience, or even the realisation of the non-division between subject and object, perceiver and perceived, hearing and sound. Many practitioners and teachers unfortunately mistaken it to be so. It should instead be a realization that sees throughs, cuts through the view of inherent existence of a source/substratum/awareness. It is the realization that only vivid luminous manifestation knows and rolls without ever a knower or an agent, much like there is no wind that is the agent of blowing or lightning that is the agent of flash (both are just dependent designations and mere names), and also there is no ontological or metaphysical essence that exists in any way or form.

So after breakthrough from I AM to nondual, it is crucial to get out of “one substance” view and phase through the realization of anatman. Even this is just a start.

In recent weeks more people realized anatman in my blog and I have been guiding them into deeper insights into dependent origination and emptiness. However, genuine insights of emptiness and dependent origination cannot be understood without deep understanding of our consciousness, our empty clarity. I generally do not confuse people too much on dependent origination and emptiness until they are thoroughly clear about the realization of anatta through the two stanzas, the 2 authentications of anatta, because that is the base. Everything is empty of inherent existence but vividly clear and radiant, everything appears because it is all radiance of clarity. Therefore to have deep insight, the direct authentication of one's radiance and clarity is crucial. Anatman realization is key.

In the first stanza, the background subject, agent, watcher, doer is seen through, everything is spontaneous arising. In the second stanza, seeing is just the seen, one’s radiance clarity and presence-awareness is directly authenticated as all appearances, as all mountains, rivers, the great earth.

Both stanzas are equally important. Lacking this direct authentication of radiance as all vivid appearance, this powerful taste and insight of all transience as Presence-Awareness, is not what I call an authentic realization of anatman. It can be either an intellectual understanding, or still skewed towards non-doership, not yet nondual and anatta. Yet even if one has the realization of awareness as vivid appearance, it can still fall into substantialist nondual, so one must be careful to deepen insight and see through any remaining views and sense of an inherently existing and unchanging awareness.

The two authentications of anatta are like what I wrote earlier, “Stanza 1

There is thinking, no thinker

�There is hearing, no hearer

�There is seeing, no seer

Stanza 2

In thinking, just thoughts

�In hearing, just sounds

In seeing, just forms, shapes and colors.

This must be realized as a dharma seal. Insight that 'anatta' is a seal and not a stage must arise to further progress into the 'effortless' mode. That is, anatta is the ground of all experiences and has always been so, no I. In seeing, always only seen, in hearing always only sound and in thinking, always only thoughts. No effort required and never was there an 'I'.

Therefore, I think it is important to stress on anatta as a realisation of dharma seal, which is to say, in seeing just the seen, never has there been a seer. This is not a stage where the sense of a seer dissolve into just the seen, as this can just be a stage without the prajna wisdom that pierces and sees through the construct of an internal reference point of a perceiver/inherently existing perceiving, as fundamentally illusory and empty. Having an experience of no-mind is not very difficult nor uncommon, it is actually much more rare to have the realisation of anatta, even though the realisation of anatta is also just another start along the path to Buddhahood. Many focus on the experience, and there is a lack of clarity to penetrate the differences. It is rare to find practitioners and teachers that truly realized anatta. Most people that has nondual experience take "in the seen just the seen" as simply a state of no mind, rather than the more important realization that sees through the referencepoint of an inherently existing self, perceiver, agent, awareness, perceiving that could exist in and of itself apart from manifestation, seeing that always already, there never was a seer or even a seeing besides the seen, always already so.”


There is always ongoing appearances as empty radiance. But there is no seer, no seeing, nothing seen, no mind body contruct of boundaries

Dzogchen teacher acarya malcolm smith:

Malcolm wrote:

I prefer to put my faith in the guy whose father started the whole Nyinthig thing.And what is says is verified in many Dzogchen tantras, both from the bodhcitta texts as well as others.

The basis is not a backdrop. Everything is not separate from the basis. But that everything just means your own skandhas, dhātus and āyatanas. There is no basis outside your mind, just as there is no Buddhahood outside of your mind.

[Quoting gad rgyangs: Consciousness is always a phenomenon.] So is the basis. They are both dharmas.

Or as the Great Garuda has it when refuting Madhyamaka:

Since phenomena and nonphenomena have always been merged and are inseparable,

there is no further need to explain an “ultimate phenomenon”.

An 12th century commentary on this text states (but not this passage):

Amazing bodhicitta (the identity of everything that becomes the basis of pursuing the meaning that cannot be seen nor realized elsewhere than one’s vidyā) is wholly the wisdom of the mind distinct as the nine consciousnesses that lack a nature.

In the end, Dzogchen is really just another Buddhist meditative phenomenology of the mind and person and that is all.

gad rgyangs wrote:

Then why speak of a basis at all? just speak of skandhas, dhātus and āyatanas, and be done with it.

Malcolm wrote:

Because these things are regarded as afflictive, whereas Dzogchen is trying to describe the person in his or her originally nonafflictive condition. It really is just that simple. The so called general basis is a universal derived from the particulars of persons. That is why it is often mistaken for a transpersonal entity. But Dzogchen, especially man ngag sde is very grounded in Buddhist Logic, and one should know that by definition universals are considered to be abstractions and non-existents in Buddhism, and Dzogchen is no exception.

gad rgyangs wrote:

There is no question of the basis being an entity, thats not the point. Rigpa is precisely what it says in the yeshe sangthal: instant presence experienced against/within the "backdrop" (metaphor) of a "vast dimension of emptiness" (metaphor).

Malcolm wrote:

It's your own rigpa, not a transpersonal rigpa, being a function of your own mind. That mind is empty.

gad rgyangs wrote:

When all appearances cease, what are you left with?

Malcolm wrote:

They never cease....

gad rgyangs wrote:

In the yeshe sangthal you dissolve all appearances into the "vast dimension of emptiness", out of which "instant presence" arises. This is cosmological as well as personal, since the two scales are nondual.

rigpa is ontological not epistemic: its not about some state of consciousness before dualism vision, it is about the basis/abgrund of all possible appearances, including our consciousness in whatever state its in or could ever be in.

Malcolm wrote:

Sorry, I just don't agree with you and think you are just falling in the Hindu brahman trap.

Sherlock wrote:

Isn't the difference between transpersonal and personal also a form of dualism?

Malcolm wrote:

The distinction is crucial. If this distinction is not made, Dzogchen sounds like Vedanta.

Malcolm wrote:

[Quoting gad rgyangs: in the yeshe sangthal you dissolve all appearances into the "vast dimension of emptiness", out of which "instant presence" arises. This is cosmological as well as personal, since the two scales are nondual.]

'The way that great transference body arises:

when all appearances have gradually been exhausted,

when one focuses one’s awareness on the appearances strewn about

on the luminous maṇḍala of the five fingers of one’s hand,

the environment and inhabitants of the universe

returning from that appearance are perceived as like moon in the water.

One’s body is just a reflection,

self-apparent as the illusory body of wisdom;

one obtains a vajra-like body.

One sees one’s body as transparent inside and out.

The impure eyes of others cannot see one’s body as transparent,

but only the body as it was before...'

Shabkar, Key to One Hundred Doors of Samadhi

Outer appearances do not disappear even when great transference body is attained. What disappears are the inner visions, that is what is exhausted, not the outer universe with its planets, stars, galaxies, mountains, oceans, cliffs, houses, people and sentient beings.



Excerpt from “Well, its not really new... it is just clear now how there is an imputation we put on Awareness as being "separate' from experience, as some sort of "stand alone" awareness". I have always experienced awareness as experience inseparably so, but didn't notice the subtle imputation that gives still a separate implication of being a remainder, when all things are absent. Being wouldn't know itself outside of experience. If being did know itself in total voidness, that very "knowing" would itself be an experience, hence the void would not be void. God cannot be separated from creation, because the potential for creation is already Known.” - Mr. J, 2012 “What is presence now? Everything... Taste saliva, smell, think, what is that? Snap of a finger, sing. All ordinary activity, zero effort therefore nothing attained. Yet is full accomplishment. In esoteric terms, eat God, taste God, see God, hear That is the first thing I told Mr. J few years back when he first messaged me 😂 If a mirror is there, this is not possible. If clarity isn't empty, this isn't possible. Not even slightest effort is needed. Do you feel it? Grabbing of my legs as if I am grabbing presence! Do you have this experience already? When there is no mirror, then entire existence is just lights-sounds-sensations as single presence. Presence is grabbing presence. The movement to grab legs is Presence.. the sensation of grabbing legs is Presence.. For me even typing or blinking my eyes. For fear that it is misunderstood, don't talk about it. Right understanding is no presence, for every single sense of knowingness is different. Otherwise Mr. J will say nonsense... lol. When there is a mirror, this is not possible. Think I wrote to longchen (Sim Pern Chong) about 10 years ago.” - John Tan “It is such a blessing after 15 years of "I Am" to come to this point . Beware that the habitual tendencies will try its very best to take back what it has lost. Get use to doing nothing. Eat God, taste God, see God and touch God. Congrats.” – John Tan to Sim Pern Chong after his initial breakthrough from I AM to no-self in 2006, “An interesting comment Mr. J. After realization… Just eat God, breathe God, smell God and see God… Lastly be fully unestablished and liberate God.” - John Tan, 2012

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