Also see: Transcript of Lankavatara Sutra with Thusness 2007

Transcript with Thusness 2012 - Group Gathering

Second transcription done! Read at ChatGPT's summary: Synopsis and Timeline of AtR Meeting, March 2021

Introduction and Initial Discussions (00:00 - 10:00)

  • John Tan reflects on a young practitioner's understanding of emptiness and the concept of inherent existence​​.

Phases of Insight and Emptiness (10:00 - 35:00)

  • Discussion on the phases of insight, emphasizing the difficulty in articulating advanced Buddhist concepts.
  • John Tan explains the different schools of thought in Mahayana Buddhism, particularly Yogacara and Nagarjuna's emptiness, and how they approach the understanding of constructs and inherent existence​​.

Experience and Interpretation of Anatta (35:00 - 1:10:00)

  • John Tan elaborates on the experience of anatta (no-self) and how it is understood through seeing the emptiness of constructs and the dependent nature of phenomena​​.
  • He contrasts the non-dual experience in Buddhism with Advaita Vedanta, explaining the pitfalls of solipsism and the importance of understanding inherent existence and non-duality​​.

Detailed Analysis of Consciousness and Awareness (1:10:00 - 1:45:00)

  • John Tan discusses the differences between awareness, consciousness, and self in Buddhist philosophy compared to Western interpretations​​.
  • Exploration of the concept of "presence" and how it differs in various spiritual traditions​​.

Practice and Insight (1:45:00 - 2:20:00)

  • The conversation shifts to the practical aspects of meditative practice, specifically the use of Vipassana and the development of wisdom through seeing constructs​​.
  • John Tan shares personal experiences and insights on integrating practice into daily life and the role of continuous practice in refining one's understanding​​.

Discussion on Yogacara and Its Philosophical Nuances (2:20:00 - 2:50:00)

  • John Tan provides a detailed explanation of Yogacara, including the three natures (imagined, dependent, and perfect) and their significance in understanding the nature of experience and emptiness​​.
  • The challenges in interpreting Yogacara's teachings and the varying interpretations across different schools and stages of development​​.

Reflections on Different Spiritual Traditions (2:50:00 - 3:20:00)

  • Comparison between Buddhism, Taoism, and Advaita Vedanta, highlighting the unique aspects and commonalities in their approaches to spirituality and practice​​.
  • Discussion on the role of cultural context in shaping the interpretation and practice of these traditions​​.

Advanced Meditative and Dream Practices (3:20:00 - 3:50:00)

  • John Tan shares personal anecdotes about experiences in meditation and dreams that contributed to deeper insights and understanding, such as spontaneous clarity and experiences of non-dual presence​​.
  • The importance of recognizing and integrating these experiences into one's practice and understanding​​.

Concluding Remarks and Final Thoughts (3:50:00 - 4:00:00)

  • Reflections on the importance of continuous practice, the challenges of integrating insights into daily life, and the necessity of maintaining an open and inquisitive mind in spiritual practice​​.
  • John Tan emphasizes the need to avoid dogmatism and cult-like tendencies in spiritual communities, advocating for a balanced and practical approach to learning and teaching​​.


For those who prefer to listen in Audio, I recommend PC/phone read to text:

For iPhone Users

Download the PDF files:

  1. Open Safari on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the provided link with the zip file of PDFs.
  3. Tap the zip file to download, then tap again to extract the contents in the Files app.

Add PDF files to the Books app:

  1. Open the Files app.
  2. Find the folder with the extracted PDFs.
  3. Select the PDFs, then tap "Share."
  4. Choose "Copy to Books" to add them to your Books library.

Listen to PDFs using Spoken Content:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Spoken Content.
  2. Enable "Speak Screen" and "Speech Controller."
  3. Open a PDF in the Books app.
  4. Tap the speech controller icon (a small floating button).
  5. Tap the play button on the speech controller to start reading the PDF aloud.

For Android Users

Download the PDF files:

  1. Use Chrome to visit the link.
  2. Tap the zip file to download, then extract its contents using a file manager app.

Add PDF files to a PDF reader app:

  1. Open the file manager.
  2. Locate and open a PDF file with your preferred PDF reader app.

Use text-to-speech features:

  1. Download a text-to-speech app like Voice Aloud Reader or explore the latest options on Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app, grant permissions, and choose a PDF file to listen to.
  3. Alternatively, use the built-in text-to-speech feature in Accessibility settings:
    • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Text-to-Speech Output.
    • Configure the settings and enable text-to-speech for PDF reading.

For Windows Users

Listen to PDFs using Microsoft Edge or Adobe Acrobat Reader:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge or Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Open the PDF file.
  3. In Edge, click the book with speaker icon; in Acrobat Reader, find the read-aloud option in the View menu.
  4. Select "Read Aloud" and use the controls to manage playback.
  5. Adjust reading speed and voice in "Voice options."
  6. Stop the reading with the "X" button in the control bar.

Note: The "Read Aloud" feature is optimized for text-based PDFs and might not work as expected with PDFs composed of scanned images.