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Soh Wei Yu
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Mark Lopez
After anatta practice tends towards this:
“John Tan, 2006:
Reply part 1:
Is Absorption not aware of other things? This is difficult to say. Although many articles and books about mindfulness seem to suggest that it is so, this is not necessarily true when we progress towards the more subtle experience. Clarity can come a time where it is so clear that it is an absorption, it is a sort of Insight-Absorption but It is different from absorption derived from concentration. It is clarity absorption where it touches the heart of 'things', that is itself. For example being taste itself, it is absorbed yet completely clear. This is truly blissful and beyond description. I have not come across any book touching this yet and I hope Toni's new book can write something about it.
🙂
Reply part 2:
The AMness can be said to be a form of absorption where the object of concentration is the Self. It can be a question "Who am I" that leads one to the experience of the subject-object becoming one. Till a point the practitioner simply experiences a pure sense of existence. However such mode of experience has no understanding of its luminous clarity and its nature as anatta. The key point about mindful awareness is there is no keeping of the mind on anything and by not resting on anything, it fuses into everything; therefore it cannot be concentrated; rather it is to relax into nothingness empty of self, empty of any artificial doing so that the natural luminosity can take its own course. There is no focusing, there is only allowing the mirror bright clarity to shine with it natural radiance. In essence there is no one there, only the phenomenon arising and ceasing telling their stories.”
That being said more focused forms of practice can still be valuable and important and it depends on one’s conditions:
Excerpts from this 2012 meeting https://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../transcript-with... , recommend to read in full
Jui asks: (? Question about samadhi)
John: actually what is more important is that background is completely gone. Then when the background is completely gone, you do not have a behind, only the sound. Then your experience becomes most direct, cannot be more direct. Then when you hear the basketball sound, bum bum bum.. only. You understand what I mean? Initially even if you have seen through, there will always be a tendency – you and the basketball. I ever went through a period where I thought that I will not have that problem anymore. After about three months later, it comes back. Then I wondered why does it come back after I have seen through? Then after that, the tendency (comes back?). for yours (me/Soh) it is quite clear, because lucid dream until one can control the three states, it is quite deep already. After the initial insight one needs 4-5 years to have that kind of calibre, you see? So some people are different. So it is sufficiently deep into the mind body tendency. For me, three months after (?) it has a dual sensation, then after still a period (?) after.
Jui: I always hear people say when you see one object you are like the object… but in my experience…
John: In your experience now, your self at the behind will be gone. But you are unable to reach completely mind to object (one pointedness). But your behind disappears. But to zhuan zhu yi ge (be absorbed in one [object]) you are unable to reach, that requires Samadhi state. That is, that behind is gone, but you are one pointed into one object, then with view you will experience maha experience, total exertion. He (me/Soh) is also the same, the behind is gone, no more self, only the sound but there is no self, there is just this, there is just that. That is because the insight has arisen but concentration (?) my way is different. Before insight of anatta I had decades of practicing meditation, then I AM, then meditation, then I AM. My practice is like that. (?) but for you guys, you see clearly first, the behind is gone and your experience becomes very clear and vivid and yet you are unable to concentrate. So you must understand that concentration is different. Peacefulness and releasing is (different), clear vivid awareness is also different. It requires different insights and practice. You still have to meditate, it is impossible that (?) you should be in this stage, you are very clear, the click click sound is felt to be very vivid, then one day you will have total exertion feeling, but you must practice releasing and concentration. When the mind is discursive and wandering, you need practice. your mindfulness/thought needs to be practiced. You need to have a stillness/Samadhi. (to me/Soh) Your stillness is still not enough. Your mind is still having thought after thought, you are unable to have stillness. But your insight is able to reach no self. You are still unable to reach stillness and releasing. It is not a matter of saying then you can reach it, it requires practice.
(Comments by Soh: before my realization of anatta I would do samatha and enter into jhanic bliss [samadhi bliss but not resting in nature of mind], afterwards it is more towards the bliss of no-self luminosity, yet samadhi is still vital)
Me: best way is to practice vipasssana?
John: Vipassana … when it becomes non conceptual and non dual, it is even more difficult like for you, your insight is there, there is no self, yet when you sit you are unable to reach it. Because you need to focus. You need to focus your breath, (otherwise?) unable to reach it. For normal people they are able to reach it even easier. For you it is somewhat more difficult. So I always tell you, for example, for you and him the way of entering is by clear luminosity… feel as clear as possible. For example when you breathe, feel your breathe entirely. So you feel very very clear, just this breath you know. Then you feel the vividness. It is easier to enter this way.
Me: so you are advising Anapanasati?
John: yes of course, then you do many times. But when you do many times you are not counting. Don’t count. Just feel the entire sensation of the breath. You are just that sensation of your breath. Then you are so clear with your entire breath. That whole aircon that touches your nostrils, then going into your lungs. It is just this sensation. This is what we call breath. So you keep on doing. You are very aware of it. Actually it is not you are very aware of lah. This is what I call awareness and the whole thing is awareness, there is no somebody awaring. It is just breath. Then slowly you will have this (Samadhi?), you need to keep doing.
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Transcript with Thusness 2012 - Group Gathering


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Mark Lopez
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Soh Wei Yu One thing I still am not quite clear on is why is stillness of thoughts necessary. When I rest in a natural state in meditation without trying to concentrate or still thoughts, I am able to be absorbed and pleasurable in this presence and se… 
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Yin Ling
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Imo if one is in mature Anatta, and strong view of anatta is there, thoughts don’t even have the chance to arise. Usually ppl will notice the dramatic reduction of thoughts.
It somehow is a reflection of insight to some extent.
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Mark Lopez
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Yin Ling Very interesting. Here is what I wrote immediately after my anatta experience two weeks ago:
“Discursive thoughts (which were CONSTANT before) have seemingly stopped, or atleast greatly reduced. Concentration is much more effortless. No feeling of “I” being “pulled away” out of concentration, just peaceful silence. If there any thoughts, there is no sense of resistance to them or someone observing them. Just the presence of this thought, that one, etc. No problem.”
And indeed, as you’ve said, when anatta is strong, thoughts do not even have the chance to arise. It is like a faucet that has been dripping your entire life (discursive thoughts) was suddenly turned off. And, if you wish, you can turn it on again but the thoughts have no weight to them. The water droplet is crystal clear.
So I think you are right: my anatta is not stable yet (very recent breakthrough) therefore I alternate between the thoughts not even arising or if they do, there is not a sense of them being a problem. So when thoughts are not arising that would be the stillness (samadhi?) and clean clarity of the senses (no radio static of discursive thoughts). Other times, if thoughts do arise, there is simply the presence of this thought, no need to watch it, reject it, accept it. I simply remain in the presence of thoughts, sights, etc. No hearing, no seeing, no thinking. Just that presence, that knowing capacity. Ive heard the term “self liberated” used before and I like it as a description but again, probably not using technical terminology correctly.
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Yin Ling
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Mark Lopez haha yeah. But do take time to test it out in variable situation eg conflicts, work place, 😆 it’s humbling 🤣
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Mark Lopez
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Yin LingLol yeah i am not deluding myself as if I can maintain it 24/7 in any situation. I always have to remember the afflictions and negative tendencies will be there even after anatta until Buddhahood, and anything short of that is simply not good enough for myself nor for the benefit of others. Cannot be complacent climbing the mountain just because you found a little foothold . One prayer that we recited during this course included: “Please grant me blessings to cut in my mindstream the myriad ways of grasping at self”. I love it because the ways of grasping at self are sneaky, unexpected, and seemingly endless, even after grasping at an “I” has stopped. Must stay vigilant and uproot all those sneaky little self grasping tendencies, even after anatta.
With that being said insight has allowed me to automatically make difficult situations MUCH easier and cut through negative tendencies/thoughts much quicker. After that breakthrough I also wrote:
“Exponential decrease in self-consciousness, social hesitation, fear, anger, need to defend myself. Earlier nondual experiences brought some of this, but this was a FARTHER exponential drop.”
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On importance of samadhi:
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Kyle dixon said:
"Nice explanation. Meido Moore, who is a Rinzai Zen master says the same, he writes:
'From a practice standpoint, the crucial point is contained in the words, "one should just constantly activate correct views in one’s own mind." This has nothing to do with theoretical certainty that defilements are empty and do not bind; it refers to the seamless, sustained upwelling of the unity of samadhi/prajna. Departing from but then returning to this, again and again, describes the post-awakening practice to dissolve jikke.
If one experiences departure from this samadhi, even for a moment, the path is not completed at all. If one does not know what is actually meant by that samadhi, then even with kensho the path is still barely begun in terms of actualization.'
This process, dovetailing the “sudden” and “gradual” is identical for Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā as well." - Kyle Dixon, 2021
“Only Buddhas rest in prajñā at all times, because they rest in “samati” which is an unfragmented samādhi which directly cognizes the nature of phenomena at all times.
The rest of us do our best to cultivate concentration, dhyāna, which then will lead to samādhi, and after time we will awaken to have the awakened equipoise which comes about due to our samādhi being infused with prajñā. However due to latent obscurations that awakened equipoise will be unstable and our prajñā will be fragmented. The more we access awakened equipoise however, the more karma in the form of kleśa and vāsanā will be burned away, and as a result, the more obscurations will be removed and diminished. The path is precisely eliminating those obscurations, the afflictive obscuration that conceives of a self and the cognitive obscuration that conceives of external objects. Buddhas have completely eliminated these two obscurations and as a result their samādhi is samati, a transcendent state of awakened equipoise beyond the three times.” – Kyle Dixon, 2021
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Acarya Malcolm Smith
Samadhi/dhyāna is a natural mental factor, we all have it. The problem is that we naturally allow this mental factor to rest on afflictive objects such as HBO, books, video games, etc.
Śamatha practice is the discipline of harnessing our natural predisposition for concentration, and shifting it from afflictive conditioned phenomena to nonafflictive conditioned phenomena, i.e., the phenomena of the path. We do this in order to create a well tilled field for the growth of vipaśyāna. Śamatha ultimately allows us to have mental stability and suppresses afflictive mental factors so that we may eventually give rise to authentic insight into the nature of reality. While it is possible to have vipaśyāna without cultivating śamatha, it is typically quite unstable and lacks the power to effectively eradicate afflictive patterning from our minds. Therefore, the basis of all practice in Buddhadharma, from Abhidharma to the Great Perfection, is the cultivation of śamatha as a preliminary practice for germination of vipaśyāna.
....
In the early period of Budddhism, there were two yānas, śamatha yāna and vipaśyāna yāna; beginners went to Śariputra to training in vipaśyāna for stream entry; then they would go train in śamatha with Maudgalyana for further progress.
Lance Cousins wrote a very interesting article about this.
Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana
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Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana
Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana
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Buddha:
In Tandem
Yuganaddha Sutta (AN 4:170)
NAVIGATIONSuttas/AN/4:170
On one occasion Ven. Ānanda was staying in Kosambī at Ghosita’s monastery. There he addressed the monks, “Friends!”
“Yes, friend,” the monks responded to him.
Ven. Ānanda said: “Friends, whoever—monk or nun—declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four?
“There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquility. As he develops insight preceded by tranquility, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it—his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.
“Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquility preceded by insight. As he develops tranquility preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it—his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.
“Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquility in tandem with insight. As he develops tranquility in tandem with insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it—his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.
“Then there is the case where a monk’s mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control. There comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, and becomes unified & concentrated. In him the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it—his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.
“Whoever—monk or nun—declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of these four paths.”
See also: MN 149; SN 35:204; AN 2:29; AN 4:94; AN 10:71
John tan sits 2 to 3 hours a day. When he does self retreat it can be much more than 4 hours a day. Yin ling too sits as much.
"PATHS TO ENLIGHTENMENT
What follows is a short explanation of the way Mipam presents the structure of the Buddhist path to awakening. According to him, we can only go so far in the Lesser Vehicle, realizing the lack of a personal self based on its path, but without the Great Vehicle, we will not come to fully realize the lack of self (that is, emptiness) with respect to all phenomena. In other words, those in the Lesser Vehicle realize only part of emptiness (the lack of a personal self) but do not realize the entire scope of emptiness. They hang on to an ultimate foundation of reality (the fundamental elements of reality, or dharmas), whereas there is actually no such foundation. Therefore, according to Mipam, one cannot become a buddha based solely on the Lesser Vehicle path; becoming a buddha is the result of the Great Vehicle. Nevertheless, realizing the lack of a personal self is enough to free us from samsara, because in doing so, we relinquish the obscurations of the afflictive emotions. The afflictive emotions can be included within the “three poisons” of attachment, aversion, and delusion.
These afflictive obscurations function to prevent liberation, and they are tied in with the apprehension of a personal self. Based on the notion of such a self, we become attached (to me and mine) and averse (to what is other). This notion of self keeps the wheel of samsara rolling, because it perpetuates the distorted framework through which we selfishly act out attachment and aversion, thus sowing the seeds of suffering. Afflictive obscurations have two aspects: a gross, imputed aspect and a more subtle, innate aspect. According to Mipam, the imputed aspects are relinquished on the first “ground” (Tib. sa, Skt. bhūmi) when you directly perceive the suchness of reality. This experiential realization is called “the path of seeing.”
The imputed aspects of the afflictive obscurations are learned and not inborn like the innate aspects. Imputed aspects involve distortions that are explicitly conceptual, as opposed to the perceptual distortions that comprise the innate aspects. The difference between the imputed and innate aspects can be understood as something like the difference between software and hardware: the innate aspects are embedded more deeply in one’s mind-stream and are thus more difficult to eliminate. Imputed ego-clinging refers to imputing qualities to the self that are not there—namely, apprehending the self as a singular, permanent, and independent entity. This is overcome on the first bodhisattva ground in a direct, nonconceptual experience of reality that is the culminating insight of analysis. Nevertheless, the more subtle, innate aspect of ego-clinging hangs on.
The innate ego-clinging, as the bare sense of self that is imputed on the basis of the five aggregates, is more difficult to remove. Rather than construing qualities to the self such as singularity or permanence, it is a more subtle feeling of simply “I am” when, for instance, we wake up in the morning. This innate sense of self is a deeply rooted, instinctual habit. It thus involves more than just imputed identity; it is a deeper experiential orientation of distorted subjectivity. Although analysis into the nature of the self paves the way for it to be overcome, it cannot fall away by analysis alone. Rather, it has to be relinquished through cultivating the path of meditation. According to Mipam, there are no innate aspects of the afflictive obscurations left on the eighth ground. However, the afflictive emotions are only one of two types of obscurations, the other being cognitive obscurations.
Cognitive obscurations are nothing less than conceptuality: the threefold conceptualization of agent, object, and action. Conceptuality is tied in to apprehending a self of phenomena, which includes mistaking phenomena as real, objectifying phenomena, and simply perceiving dualistically. Such conceptualization serves to obstruct omniscience. Based on the Great Vehicle, these cognitive obscurations can be completely relinquished; thereby, the result of the Great Vehicle path culminates in not merely escaping samsara, as in the Lesser Vehicle, but in becoming an omniscient buddha. According to Mipam, up to the seventh ground, the realization (of the twofold selflessness) and abandonment (of the twofold obscurations) are the same in the Great and Lesser Vehicles.
As with the Great Vehicle, he maintains that accomplishing the path of the Lesser Vehicle entails the realization of the selflessness of phenomena, to see that phenomena are empty. Those who accomplish the Lesser Vehicle path also realize the selflessness of phenomena, because their realization of emptiness with respect to a person is one instance of realizing the emptiness of phenomena. The final realization of the Lesser Vehicle path, however, is incomplete. Mipam compares it to taking a small gulp of the water of the ocean: we can say that those who realize emptiness in the Lesser Vehicle have drunk the water of the ocean, just not all of it.150 The final realization of the bodhisattva’s path in the Great Vehicle, however, is the full realization of emptiness, like drinking the entire ocean.
- Jamgon Mipam: His Life and Teachings"
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May be an image of phone and text that says '12:34 9 John Tan Joan is sincere 12:32 AM know what is her issue? So is her master 12:33AM i 2:33AM Toni? 12:33AM I'm not sure 12:33AM The problem is she can't breakthrough Means awareness teaching and living in clear presence of here and now She is not clear of anatta yet? 12:35AM�! How about Toni No 12:35AM There sa imit to insights and vipassana Unless ur able to do away with self thoroughly, difficult to breakthrough U will need concentration Or energy practices Those experiences will complement what she needs 12:38AM'
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May be an image of phone and text that says '12:34 John Tan She IS not clear of anatta yet? 12:35AM i No How about Toni 12:35AM There sa a limit to insights and vipassana Unless ur able to do away with self thoroughly, difficult to breakthrough 12:37AM U will need concentration Or energy practices Those experiences will complement what she needs Otherwise aspect forgo self in every Which even harder...lol Oic.. 12:41AM joan and Toni unable to breakthrough self? 12:41AM� U mean unable to breakthrough "awareness" 12:48AM/ They hv insights into anatta. But actualization of selflessness is different matter.'
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A conversation with John Tan in 2007:
“John: Anyway I read a lot talking about you [can] have a lot of thoughts during meditation and you are doing correctly. That is pure nonsense. Lack of practice and misunderstanding. Cannot be taken to mean a form of achievement. There are thoughts, but thoughts are reduced tremendously and there is this clear insight of their spontaneity. means like what [Sixth Ch’an/Zen Patriarch] Hui-Neng said [about] thoughtlessness, but it arises due to the presence of conditions, not from attachments. When there is attachments, there are a lot of thoughts, and these thoughts are dualistic in nature. thought must reduce tremendously for clarity to arise. The nakedness aspect, the crystal clarity aspect. This is because of habitual propensities in action.
When one has some experience but is unable to understand the transcendental experience but due to the lack of practice is unable to touch the most essential and fundamental of our nature. So in the mind, there is this constant contemplation using thoughts to articulate things to understand, to know. But it is hardly anywhere near to crystal clarity. First thing ask oneself, are there symbols attached to experience? Are there any meanings attached to these symbols? If what is felt and understood are the meaning of the symbols, then there is a waste of time. In meditation, it is the nakedness, the qualities of our luminosity that is experienced. like clarity, spontaneity, blissfulness, realness, energy… nothing to do with symbols, meaning, purpose… etc”
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May be an image of phone and text
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Wanted to paste a 2006 conversation with Thusness on the importance of developing tranquil calmness/shamatha. But too long to paste here, so I post as a blog page: https://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../importance-of...
Importance of Tranquil Calmness
AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
Importance of Tranquil Calmness
Importance of Tranquil Calmness
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Transcript with Thusness 2012 - Group Gathering
AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
Transcript with Thusness 2012 - Group Gathering