Showing posts with label Buddha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buddha. Show all posts

 "Did Buddha ever taught physical reality was/is an "illusion"?"

Krodha replied the redditor:

Yes, this is a strong theme throughout Buddhist teachings.

Some examples from the Pali Canon, starting with the Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta SN 22.95:

Form is like a lump of foam; feeling is like a bubble; perception seems like a mirage; choices like a banana tree; and consciousness like a magic trick: so taught the Kinsman of the Sun. However you contemplate them, examining them carefully, they’re void and hollow when you look at them closely. Concerning this body, he of vast wisdom has taught that when three things are given up, you’ll see this form discarded. Vitality, warmth, and consciousness: when they leave the body, it lies there tossed aside, food for others, mindless.

Such is this process, this illusion, cooed over by fools. It’s said to be a killer, for no substance is found here. An energetic mendicant should examine the aggregates like this, with situational awareness and mindfulness whether by day or by night.

They should give up all fetters, and make a refuge for themselves. They should live as though their head was on fire, aspiring to the imperishable state.

Another from Udānavarga 2.18:

He who has perceived that this body is (empty) as a vase, and who knows that all things (dharma) are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death.

He who has perceived that this world is like froth, and who knows that all things are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death. He who has perceived that this body is like froth, and who knows that all things are as an illusion, does thus destroy the chief of Māra's flowers, and will no more be seen by the king of death.

Another, SA 265:

Monks, it is just as if a master magician or the disciple of a master magician at a crossroads creates the magical illusion of an elephant troop, a horse troop, a chariot troop, and an infantry troop, and a clear-sighted person carefully examines, attends to, and analyses it. At the time of carefully examining, attending to, and analysing it, he finds that there is nothing in it, nothing stable, nothing substantial, it has no solidity. Why is that? It is because there is nothing solid or substantial in a magical illusion.

Some Mahāyāna examples, in the Bhadramāyākāra Sūtra, it is said:

Maudgalyāyana, moreover, since the illusions of Bhadra the Magician are partial, his illusions are not true; but the illusions of the Tathāgata are true, therefore, all phenomena are fully realized to be illusory.

The Samādhirāja states:

All existence is like an illusion, powerless, like foam that gathers and becomes hollow.


The primal nature of phenomena is empty, like an illusion, which tirthikas are unable to know. Understanding all phenomena to be similar to illusions, is not the domain of signs.

The Ārya-lalitavistara-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra says:

Because of dwelling in the equivalence of all phenomena with illusions, mirages, dreams, water moons, echoes and double vision, the Dharma free of affliction is perfectly realized.

The Ārya-mañjuśrīvikurvāṇaparivarta-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra:

Further, sister, the five aggregates are illusory. They do not exist. There is no arising of erroneous action. It is conventionally designated through an error. Sister, awakening is like an illusion, it does not exist, it is conventionally designated through an error. Sister, though awakening is like an illusion, it does not exist, it is conventionally designated through an error. Therefore, sister, because illusions are the same, the aggregates are the same. Because the aggregates are the same, illusion is the same. Since illusion is the same, awakening is the same. Since awakening is the same, illusion is the same. Sister, therefore, I call you "awakened".

The Ārya-ghanavyūha-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra says:

The suchness of all phenomena arises through power of mutual relation, the yogins seeing in that way clearly see it as suchness. The perfected nature is the dharmatā of phenomena; all phenomena do not arise as the substantial entities of the imputed: empty, insubstantial, beyond the extremes of existence and nonexistence, similar with illusions and dreams, like fairy castles, like opthalmia and like mirages.

The Acintyastavaḥ says:

Like a dream, an illusion, [or] seeing two moons: Thus have You [The Buddha] seen the world, as a creation not created as real. Like a son who is born, established, and dies in a dream, the world, You have said, is not really born, does not endure, and is not destroyed... According to cognition of truth, [however], You maintain that there is no annihilation or permanence. [You] assert that the entire world is empty of substance, like a mirage.

The Lokātītastava states:

You [The Buddha] have stated that all arising is like the arising of an illusion. Therefore You have fully understood that this world has arisen due to imagination. It is unreal, [and] not having originated it cannot be destroyed.

The Mahāyānaviṁśikā:

The object of knowledge in dream is not seen when one awakes. Similarly the world disappears to him who is awakened from the darkness of ignorance. The creation of illusion is nothing but illusion. When everything is compound there is nothing which can be regarded as a real thing. Such is the nature of all things. As the figments of a dream dissolve upon waking, so the confusion of Samsara fades away in enlightenment.


Interesting that people are upvoting u/Sneezlebee’s inaccurate answer that “the Buddha never said physical reality itself is an illusion.”

And OP finds that “reassuring.” No offense but that inclination to seek a secure refuge or landing place should be thoroughly investigated. That is how deep our conditioning is.

Like the Ḍākārṇava Tantra says:

Everyone is confused by illusion; but the wise are liberated by illusion.

Seeing that this world - this so-called “physical reality” - is an illusion, is the doorway to liberation. Reifying this illusory reality as stable and real (vāstu) will seed the causes for the continual cycle of suffering.

There are two obscurations that prevent us from attaining buddhahood. These two obscurations must be eliminated to attain buddhahood. The first, the afflictive obscuration, is the perception of a self. The second, the cognitive obscuration, is the perception of an real external physical reality. Buddhas have eliminated both of these obscurations, they do not perceive a physical reality.

From Rongzom:

Moreover, the way [a buddha] knows and sees is not like holding [entities] to be substantial. He knows and sees [them] as an illusion. Likewise, the Dharmasaṃgītisūtra states:

For example, some magicians attempt to free a magically created [being by removing its magical power]. Since they already know [that it is an illusion], they face no obstructions to [correctly perceiving] that illusion-[like being]. Likewise, the wise, who are fully awakened, perceive the three [realms of] existence to be illusion-like.

Also, in the Pitāputrasamāgamasūtra it is stated:

Because a magician knows the magical apparition created [by him] to be an illusion, he is not confused by it. You, [too,] see the entire world ('gro ba: jagat) in this way. [I] pay homage and praise to one who sees everything [in this way].

Further, some say: The fully awakened one possesses the knowledge of the absolute, [namely], the so-called gnosis of knowing [phenomena] as [they actually] are, but does not possess the knowledge of the conventional, the so-called gnosis of knowing [phenomena] to the full extent. It is not that something knowable (mkhyen rgyu yod pa) is not known [by a buddha]. But since conventional knowable [phenomena] are non-existent, there is no gnosis of perceiving them [either]. How is it that conventional [phenomena] are non-existent? Conventional [phenomena] appear to ordinary beings as they are, namely, caused [in their case] by defiled ignorance (nyon mongs pa can gyi ma rig pa). They appear to the three [types of] nobles (i.e., śrāvaka saints, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas) as they are, namely, caused [in their case] by undefiled ignorance (nyon mongs pa can ma ying pa'i ma rig pa). It is, for example, like the appearance of strands of hair and [other] 'floaters' (rab rib: timira) to a [person] suffering from an eye disease. [Immediately] after the Diamond-like Samadhi [has arisen in him], a buddha discards [even undefiled] ignorance, and sees true reality, in that [he] does not see any phenomena. Therefore, these deceptive conventional [phenomena] do not exist in a buddha['s field of perception].

Also, Sneezlebee’s assessment that “consciousness dreaming the body” is a “new age” view is really not the case. This is implied in buddhadharma, and stated explicitly in some systems, the Khandro Nyinthig says:

To sum it all up, ignorant attachment to dualistic appearances assembles the rtsal of gnosis (jñāna - pristine consciousness) into the [four material] elements, and forms the body in actuality.

Someone asked: "@Soh Wei Yu

Curious what you think of this guy. He criticises pretty much all

current Buddhist schools, even most Theravada and claims they’re on

false paths. In other videos he mentions Daniel Ingram, Angelo, Delson

Armstrong and Frank Yang by name and calls them deluded. He advocates

following the early suttas and nothing else, saying we can’t deviate

from the Buddha’s words etc. He has another channel where he reads from

the suttas.

Daniel responded and wants to have an interview with him

Soh replied:

many of those who criticise daniel ingram and frank yang and angelo dont understand the anatta insight in the first place

im not sure about what insight delson has

and most teachers, even well known vipassana and theravada teachers lack the anatta insight as explained in

and this is key insight to entering the noble path, ending of self view and the first three fetters, and the key insight for liberation

but i agree that arahantship is a delusional claim. it is at most stream entry

explained very nicely in


john tan and i likes that article very much. john even added it into his AtR AI bot

as for not going against suttas, i agree one should not go against suttas

don't invent stuff

but i'm also not a sectarian theravadin that is fundamentalist about only

following suttas and disregarding anything 'mahayana' and 'vajrayana'

in fact i would say i very much appreciate the mahayana and vajrayana teachings

and follow their teachings

also, as thich nhat hanh said, the point about mahayana and nagarjuna is not to go against the suttas, in fact nagarjuna never quoted mahayana sutras. he only quoted pali canon. his aim was to correct erroneous views people developed that deviated from the suttas. -- this is in the newly published book that yin ling shared on Nagarjuna and Madhyamaka by Thich Nhat Hanh:

likewise, kyle dixon also said before, the purpose of mahayana teachings is a corrective to the wrong views of the hinayana sects that misunderstood the teachings of buddha in the suttas

i am not a fundamentalist sutta follower but i also believe sutta, mahayana sutras, vajrayana tantras and so forth, they can all be integrated in one's understanding and there is no need to 'choose' the suttas over the other teachings

but i do not believe in reinventing teachings and terms by the buddha, on what liberation, stream entry, arahantship and so on mean

also see this writing by John Tan: - What is an Authentic Buddhist Teaching?


as for first bhumi (aka Mahayana stream entry), Kyle Dixon recently shared a quote:

Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche:

Then, at the time of the supreme quality on the path of joining, one realizes that since the perceived does not exist, neither does the perceiver. Right after this, the truth of suchness, which is free from dualistic fixation, is directly realized. This is said to be the attainment of the first bhūmi.


Mr. C: "What I find interesting is that many of these so called fundamentalists don’t agree that nagarjuna has right view. They outright reject that he’s in line with the suttas whereas Mahayana states they’re compatible

I see people stating for example that the Buddha didn’t discuss emptiness, just that all phenomena are not-self, but not even claiming outright that there is no self

Of course I disagree with those kind of claims


kyle dixon has quoted many suttas talking about the emptiness of all dharmas and their illusory nature

its clear to me that the pali sutta is completely consistent with mahayana emptiness, and inconsistent with the 'little atmans' of dharmas that late abhidhamma commentators introduced into the teachings

i recommend going through part 1 to 4 of all kyle dixon's compilations that i made

has many very clear writings

in fact john tan find his dharmawheel writings to be the best among all he trained the atr AI bot with

as for those that say buddha taught not self but not no self, i already explained why that is wrong in

and kyle dixon also painstakingly explained so many times throughout reddit

because so many people are infected with this thanissaro ideology

it is a novel, but wrong idea of what buddha meant with anatman

ok one of my messages above was removed

because the facebook AI dumbly thought my anatta: not-self or no self was about porn and sexual stuff

i was saying i explained why this whole anatman is only not self but not no self wrong ideology has infected so many people online via thanissaro's novel ideology

it is also very wrong

and very misleading

in fact recently i posted another post, i dont think i should post more links here now lest facebook remove it again

but you can search on google or my blog:

Thanissaro, Consciousness without Surface, No Self vs Not-Self

it's a post made in december 2023

many of those who claims this also happen to fall into eternalist views about awareness

it's not surprising and their practice of turning anatman into a strategy of not-self becomes a means of dissociating from phenomena in order to rest in some unperturbed awareness

no different from brahman even if they do not call it by that name

this is 180 degrees different from buddhist insights into anatman, dependent origination and emptiness in some sense

a very common tendency in the thai forest tradition - see atr article "Seven Stages and Theravada (and other Buddhist traditions)?""


yes and also check out my other article "Anatta: Not-Self or No-Self?", a separate article, different from the one on thanissaro

"Review complete

Jan 6, 2024

We restored your message

Hi Soh

We found that our technology made a mistake taking your post down.

Thank you for taking the time to request a review and helping us improve our systems. Our priority is keeping the community safe and respectful, so sometimes we have to take precautions.

You sent this in Awakening to Reality Chat

as for those that say buddha taught not self but not no self, i already explained why that is wrong in

Jan 6, 2024"

great its restored

Someone told me his wife had a breakthrough to nondual and no-self of late, and became very interested to learn about Buddhism. He asked me for book recommendations.

I told him: 

Recommended books to learn Buddhism, best to read in this order: 

  • 1) Walpola Rahula’s What Buddha Taught

“An introductory book on basic Buddhist teachings written in very clear language. Despite being short (151 pages) it covers all of the most important teachings very well. There are several major types of Buddhism and the teachings covered in this book are common to many of the different types of Buddhism out there.”

Soh: very clear introductory presentation of Buddhism and Buddha’s teachings. I also believe Walpola Rahula realised anatta as he is able to express it succinctly and clearly.

  • 2) Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s Clarifying the Natural State which you can get for around $1 here:


On book 2, 3, 4, I just wrote yesterday: 

Kyle Dixon:

“Thrangu Rinpoche’s Pointing out the dharmakāya is good.

Also Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s Clarifying the natural state and the associated commentary Crystal clear.

Recommended by myself, yin ling (clarifying the natural state led to her anatta breakthrough), kyle dixon (krodha), john tan liked too, daniel ingram also recommended clarifying the natural state.


There's another book by Thrangu Rinpoche recommended by John Tan around 2009 - 

Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at Mind


Also, I will recommend reading some AtR articles, such as:

Excerpts from

  • Hary Man
    Soh Wei Yu I also recall many previous lives. The Buddha was accurate about the drivers of rebirth.
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    • Soh Wei Yu
      Top contributor
      Hary Man care to share about your experiences?
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    • Hary Man
      Births in this world and in others which are less physical though still with form. Recall happens especially when there was fear and non-acceptance at death (e.g. stabbed to death in Roman times) or when a decision is required about which realm for next life ( I decided this is my last rebirth). Rebirth is driven by lack of clear insight into Dependent Arising and lack of resolution of the drivers of Dependent Arising. I use the word Arising in place of Origination because nothing arises in the pure peace of Nirvana, and Nirvana can be clearly known in this life as the buddha taught, both when awake and in deep sleep. There is no world arising in Nirvana, no movement at all. Just pure knowing awareness with no subject or object or consciousness or body, mind and world. Buddha describes it very clearly. I can confirm his teaching. When the infinite peace of Nirvana is there it gets disturbed by an energy/impulse/movement that may dissipate without consciousness, world, body and mind arising. Or it may generate consciousness and world. The path is to resolve those impulses.
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    • Soh Wei Yu
      Top contributor
      Hary Man It's good you had past life recalls. Thanks for sharing.
      "There is no world arising in Nirvana, no movement at all. Just pure knowing awareness with no subject or object or consciousness or body, mind and world."
      What you describe is not exactly Nirvana but the clear light or luminosity that can be discovered right now in the gap between two thoughts, or the gap between two lifetimes. A bardo state, an in between state between lifetimes can often reveal this luminosity. However, it is still in the form of the I AM, the insight is only at that level. Further insights are necessary to reveal its empty nature and overcome our afflictive and knowledge obscurations that imputes self and phenomena.
      Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
      Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
      Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
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    • Soh Wei Yu
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      Buddhist Dies and Spends an Eternity in the Light, then Comes Back to Share this Message
      This video is a good description of the Light, the Source, etc as realized and experienced in an NDE [Near Death Experience]. But after realizing the luminosity, one must realize its empty nature too for liberation.
      Also you don't need to die to realize and experience the vivid brilliant luminosity.. you can realize that even now, as I wrote in
      Was reminded of John Tan's comment in 2005,
      "A “True experience” is better than a thousand words but it is also the very “true experience” of the Brilliance Bright that has blinded Mystics of all ages. The Brilliance Bright is more vivid then we can imagine. In All IT is seen and In All IT is experienced. Being vividly bright it also serves as the “condition” that obscures its very own Emptiness nature.
      Lastly, there is a question, but No-One is there to answer.
      Buddha picks a flower, Mahakashyapa smiles.
      Thusness hits the keyboard, keyboard-sounds.
      “Da Da Da”, how CLEAR. Luminosity smiles. 🙂"
      And John wrote in 2008,
      Originally posted by longchen [Sim Pern Chong]:
      Watched the video .. a bit. Desteni is quite popular in the new age scene.
      Just my opinion...
      When we die, the thoughts and emotions can be dissolve in the death process... and what is left is the non-dual , all pervading experience of Presence. Here is usually when a 'being' discovered that it is not just the thought and emotion. But, the understanding is not clear here.
      For those on an enlightenment path, we sort of 'experience death' before physical death. This experience of death happens many many times while still physically alive. And with gradual experiences, we understand the nature of the reality better.
      In another word, we become more efficient and discard those ways of dealings that are not very helpful... Something like that...
      Thusness / John Tan replied:
      Hi Longchen,
      Must be having a challenging time sustaining the vivid presence of non-dual experience. Just to share with you some of my thoughts:
      When we die, the thoughts and emotions that are karmically linked to the body are temporarily suspended. The contrast in experience that resulted from the dissolution of the ‘bond of a body’ gives rise to a more vivid experience of Presence; although the experience of Presence is there, the insight into its non-dual essence and emptiness nature isn’t there. This is similar to the experience of “I AM”. Thoughts and emotions will continue to arise and subside with the bond of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ after death.
      Awareness is always non-dual and all pervading; obscured but not lost. In essence all manifestation, transient (emotions, thoughts or feelings) is really the manifold of Presence. They have the same non-dual essence and empty nature. All problems lie not at the manifestation level but at the fundamental level. Deep in us we see things inherently and dualistically. How the experience of Presence can be distorted with the ‘bond’ of dualistic and inherent seeing maybe loosely categorized as:
      1. There is a mirror reflecting dust. (“I AM”)
      Mirror bright is experienced but distorted. Dualistic and Inherent seeing.
      2. Dust is required for the mirror to see itself.
      Non-Dualistic but Inherent seeing. (Beginning of non-dual insight)
      3. Dust has always been the mirror ( The mirror here is seen as a whole)
      Non-Dualistic and non- inherent insight.
      In 3, whatever comes and goes is the Rigpa itself. There is no Rigpa other than that. All along there is no dust really, only when a particular speck of dust claims that it is the purest and truest state then immediately all other arising which from beginning are self- mirroring become dust.
      Labels: Luminosity, Near Death Experience (NDE), Robert Aho 0 comments | |
      Awakening to Reality
      Awakening to Reality
      Awakening to Reality
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  • Hary Man
    Yes, I am well aware that is the modern Mahayana view, and I knew that would be your response. Please listen to this talk by Rob Burbea with an open mind, dropping fixed Mahayana views.
    Dharma Seed - Approaching the Dharma: Part One - Unbinding the World
    Dharma Seed - Approaching the Dharma: Part One - Unbinding the World
    Dharma Seed - Approaching the Dharma: Part One - Unbinding the World
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    • Soh Wei Yu
      Top contributor
      What Rob Burbea was describing is a state of equipoise where emptiness is realised. But from your description it sounds like you are describing a state of objectless consciousness like I AM. It is not the same. In fact Rob warned in the talk you sent, that the vast awareness is still fabricated. It is in other words still a state of alaya, its empty nature is not discerned.
      This is the case whether you are following Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. There is no liberation without clear and thorough realisation and actualization of anatman.
      Also, I don’t think Rob Burbea “drops Mahayana view”.
      Speaking on the subject of equipoise, I just posted this to the AtR blog yesterday, see my comment below about liberative equipoise:
      The Link Between Emptiness of Inherent Existence, Dependent Origination, Freedom from All Elaborations and Natural State
      [17/6/23, 11:34:30 AM] John Tan: The explanation about the taste of no mirror reflecting and illusory reflection as empty clarity = 一枚宝镜 is good.👍 (Soh: referring to audio recording I sent which contains excerpts from )��However,�1. insubstantial non-dual must be understood from ��2. DO emptiness before freeing both mind and phenomena ��3. into freedom from all elaborations. ��4. As natural state of the basis.�[17/6/23, 11:36:41 AM] John Tan: When some one hit a "bell", sentient being felt it is "external" but is it? If it is not then is it "internal"? If it isn't both "internal" and "external", then what does it mean?�[17/6/23, 11:57:39 AM] John Tan: Do take note that ur X is also talking about that, but y is it so different?�[17/6/23, 3:49:49 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Internal and external are both subsets of inherent existence view. In the case of one mind and i am, subjectivity is inherent.. in the case of AF, subjectivity is seen through but externality is inherent.��If instead its like chariot and parts, everything is dependently designated in the presence of the parts and conditions and these parts and conditions do not amount to anything inherently existing or produced apart from that mere name designated in dependence, then we do not have such views where subject or object or externality needs to be inherent. Mind is name only and so is phenomena.. nothing has core or essence or intrinsic existence�[17/6/23, 3:50:33 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Imo she skips to freedom from all elaborations and natural state of no mind without going through insights of anatta, dependent origination or emptiness clearly�[17/6/23, 3:50:48 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Just say silence all conventionalities into state of no mind�[17/6/23, 3:50:52 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Insight isnt clear�[17/6/23, 3:50:57 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I doubt she is clear even about anatta�[17/6/23, 3:52:28 PM] Yin Ling: Hwa shang Mahayana�[17/6/23, 4:55:53 PM] John Tan: "Hwa Shang" is a bad translation of "和尚“ Moheyan of northern Buddhism in China. Gelug and Tsongkhapa are attacking strawman and making him a stereotype for non-mentation of Zen practice. We know that this is not true. Zen is nothing like that.�[17/6/23, 4:56:53 PM] Yin Ling: I see�[17/6/23, 4:57:21 PM] Yin Ling: That’s kinda mean 😂�[17/6/23, 5:00:04 PM] John Tan: Here u r talking about "inherent existence" but X isn't. In fact many are not. That is y non-inherent experience and dependent origination are extremely crucial for right understanding. It is not just doing away with conventionalities and conceptualities. But it involves several critical insights. So what r the differences, why jumping to freedom of all elaborations this way resulted in such a different experience and understanding?�[17/6/23, 5:00:48 PM] John Tan: Tibetan has this bad habit�[17/6/23, 5:34:19 PM] Yin Ling: The object of inherent existence is left unnegated if straight jump. It’s almost impossible to liberate theoretically , just dissociate .�[17/6/23, 5:34:47 PM] Yin Ling: Maybe they debate too much 😂 everyday debate�[17/6/23, 5:36:54 PM] John Tan: Yes. This idea of inherent existence in which "anatta" is just part of the entire spectrum is an all together insight that is made explicitly clear only by Tsongkhapa although gelug tend to turn extremely analytical.�[17/6/23, 5:41:33 PM] John Tan: Both see through conceptual conceptual constructs, but they r different. But difference in what sense is not easy to see. As we become clearer and used to it, we will realize that the entire mmk is actually emphasizing this particular insight. Mmk is not just saying the conceptual layering must be eliminated like non-mentation. When we integrate into practice, we become clearer and have more confidence. Both mind and phenomena are both released, conventionalities r released but differently. I have been trying to bring out the taste of this aspect on my posts in FB "weight of thoughts"�[17/6/23, 5:51:30 PM] Yin Ling: Yeah not just concepts but the whole referent itself is the conceptualisation. It’s hard for me to actualised yet lol�[17/6/23, 6:01:50 PM] John Tan: 1. A referent is a reified mental construct or "named things". We din realize that. We thought it is real.��2. If we see through this, what happened?�[17/6/23, 6:17:30 PM] Yin Ling: If we see through then nothing “real” is there. 😂�[17/6/23, 6:17:43 PM] Yin Ling: Then the mind can stop elaborating and be at peace�
      Excerpts from the Jewel Mirror Samadhi
      Excerpts from the Jewel Mirror Samadhi
      Excerpts from the Jewel Mirror Samadhi
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    • Soh Wei Yu
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      Hary Man [17/6/23, 11:55:03 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Quietening the mind actually doesnt see through the referents. Like ramana maharshi talks about silence. But the Self is seen as truly existing and solid and real. AF sees through self/Self and resides in nonconceptual pce but the referent of world as solid and real and ultimate is still there�[17/6/23, 11:55:38 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Samadhi etc, quietness doesnt necessarily release the very realness and solidness or inherency of Self and phenomena�[17/6/23, 11:55:58 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Even if one can have peak experience of no mind it is not the same as having an insight that sees through self�[18/6/23, 12:15:41 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Imo true insight of emptiness should lead to an equipoise of in the seen only the seen as med par gsal snang a “nonexistent clear appearance” or a “clearly apparent nonexistent,” , thus no seer, no seeing and nothing seen�[18/6/23, 12:15:58 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Otherwise resting in nonconceptual presence can still be a state of alaya�[18/6/23, 12:17:15 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Otherwise even if one says all conventionalities are silenced it may not be the same thing�[18/6/23, 12:19:56 AM] Yin Ling: Ya this is very difficult actually even after understanding�[18/6/23, 12:20:13 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Its actually the realness and inherentness thats released not merely mentation or labelling�[18/6/23, 12:21:38 AM] Yin Ling: Ya even the person writing on instagram“talking to higher self” is sort of holding onto Alaya in his sleep and practice�[18/6/23, 12:21:58 AM] Yin Ling: Not sure though. Just my feeling�[18/6/23, 12:23:29 AM] Soh Wei Yu: I thought so too�[18/6/23, 12:23:44 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Thats why i sent him the 7 stages but i think not easy to understand la haha�[18/6/23, 12:23:52 AM] Soh Wei Yu: But some of his stuff are interesting�[18/6/23, 12:27:35 AM] Yin Ling: Did u? Lol�[18/6/23, 12:28:06 AM] Yin Ling: Must not be easy because his practice is so mature�[18/6/23, 12:28:36 AM] Yin Ling: I mean practice for a long time�[18/6/23, 12:46:14 AM] Soh Wei Yu: I sent everybody i think can benefit 🤣�[18/6/23, 12:46:24 AM] Soh Wei Yu: In 2006 i sent eckhart tolle 🤣�[18/6/23, 12:46:38 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah�[18/6/23, 12:46:47 AM] Yin Ling: Did he reply you lol�[18/6/23, 12:49:29 AM] Soh Wei Yu: That time i sent in envelope or cd i think.. or maybe email I forgot. He didnt reply�[18/6/23, 12:49:36 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Recent one someone replied for him�[18/6/23, 12:49:38 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Sam M, Jun 24, 2022, 9:30 AM MDT:�Hello Soh,� �Thank you for contacting Eckhart Teachings. We are deeply touched and moved by the many people that write into Eckhart and Kim, leaving no doubt there is an unprecedented shift in consciousness happening around us. Unfortunately, Eckhart is not able to send personal replies or accept gifts but sends his deepest gratitude to you for wanting to share with him.� �We thank you for reaching out to Eckhart and wish you the very best in your journey.�Sam M | Customer Care�Eckhart Teachings | Toll Free 1-844-595-3316��Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5:00 pm MT�[18/6/23, 12:51:13 AM] Yin Ling: Wow epic�[18/6/23, 12:51:35 AM] Yin Ling: Customer service 🤦🏻‍♀️�[18/6/23, 12:58:07 AM] John Tan: U have a serious addiction for sending the phases of insights.�[18/6/23, 1:07:21 AM] John Tan: 👍�No seer, no seeing, nothing seen means freedom from all elaborations into the natural state -- spontaneously presents and naturally perfected.��A state free from conceptual elaborations can be non-mentation like what Tsongkhapa said, there is no wisdom and insight involved. Insight of non-inherentness will result in direct taste non-existence clear appearances.�‎[18/6/23, 11:42:13 AM] Yin Ling: ‎image omitted�[18/6/23, 11:42:13 AM] Yin Ling: 😅
      Labels: Dependent Origination, Emptiness, Freedom from Elaborations, Natural State |
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    • Soh Wei Yu
      Top contributor
      Hary Man also see
      Also, John Tan, 2014:
      "It is also important that Buddha relates a description similar to consciousness without features in Bahiya sutta. This is what I told jax abt allowing the five elements to "kill u" when he asked me abt how I understand consciousness without features."
      (Soh: referring to “ To Jax:
      The place where there is no earth, fire, wind, space, water…
      is the place where the earth, fire, wind, space and water kills “You” and fully shines as its own radiance, a complete taste of itself and fully itself.”)
      "Consciousness without features. See how yor answer.
      We must know that Buddha told the bhikkhu the way the question is phrased is invalid and must be understood not as a cessation of the 4 elements without remainder.
      But I believe Stian is not seeing that way.
      Therefore cessation/nirodha should b understood from the perspective of "no footing", the release without ground of the elements.
      And a consciousness that is so is luminous without feature
      Where the place without heat and cold
      Not exactly no-mind but the featureless quality of groundlessness...that is u must understand the featureless quality in the experience."
      "Just realized that kevatta consciousness without features is not the cessation of the 4 elements but the 4 elements having no footing.
      Very often we say if there is no subject, how can there b object. This may sound logical but isn't verified as an experiential truth.
      As we can c from the case of actual ism and two fold emptiness. Y is this so?
      “So as quickly as a strong man could extend his arm or draw it back, that monk disappeared from the Brahmā realm and reappeared on
      earth. He went to the Blessed One, saluted him, sat down at one side, and said: ‘Venerable sir, where do the four elements cease without
      remainder?’ The Buddha replied, ‘You’ve been wandering around as far as the Brahmā realm asking this question. And now not finding
      it, you come back to me. But, monk, you should not ask your question in that way – where do the four elements cease without
      remainder? Instead, this is how the question should be put:
      Where do earth, water, fire and air no footing find?
      Where do long and short, small and great, beautiful and ugly -
      Where do name-and-form completely come to an end?
      And the answer is:
      Where consciousness is signless, limitless, and all-illuminating.
      That’s where earth, water, fire and air no footing find.
      There both long and short, small and great, beautiful and ugly,
      there name-and-form all come to an end.
      With the cessation of consciousness, all this comes to an end.Ӡ
      What is Consciousness Without Feature (Viññanam anidassanam)
      What is Consciousness Without Feature (Viññanam anidassanam)
      What is Consciousness Without Feature (Viññanam anidassanam)
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    • Soh Wei Yu
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      This is a bit cryptic. The wrong question is “Where do the four elements cease without remainder?” The right question is “Where do the
      four elements no footing find?” This harkens back to the verses after the Bāhiya sutta, where the Buddha says where the four elements
      no footing find, there dark and light don’t occur. Here, he expands the teaching to say it’s where consciousness is signless, limitless, and
      When you see a table, you’re seeing the signs of a table. It’s got a flat top and legs holding it up off the ground. That’s how you know
      it’s a table. You pick up the cues, the signs. So what does it mean that consciousness is signless? How about a consciousness that is,
      well, in seeing is just seeing, in hearing is just hearing, in sensing is just sensing, in cognizing is just cognizing? How about a
      consciousness that is not fabricating, not concocting a table, not giving birth to a table, not making this a table? It’s a way of
      experiencing the world without fixating in any way on the objects or characteristics of any object being sensed – or on the one doing the
      sensing. It's looking at the world from a non-dual perspective.
      Nibbāna is not a thing. It doesn’t have ontological existence. It’s a realization. It’s a realization that there is nothing but streams of
      dependently originated processes interacting, without even making a thing out of the streams. If you concoct “stream,” you still have not
      quite gotten all the way to the point. Every thing is not a thing, it’s just dependent on other things which aren’t things. It’s a little hard to
      talk about. You can see why the Buddha says it’s not this and it’s not that.
      It’s consciousness that is signless. But it's not just your ordinary open awareness – which is also a form of consciousness that is signless.
      Indeed open awareness/Bāhiya practice is certainly helpful in gaining this realization. But the realization of Nibbāna does seem to
      require a breakthrough to a much deeper understanding – an understanding that is so profound that it permanently changes the way you
      experience the world. The best totally inadequate simile I can offer is to ask you to remember what it was like when you found out there
      was no Santa Claus (apologies to those of you who never believed in Santa Claus – it is an inadequate simile). I remember I saw the
      world differently. There was fear – fear I wouldn't be getting any more of those really premium Christmas presents. But there was also a
      different way of seeing the world and of relating to the big guy in the red suit. The world wasn't any different, but I was. The
      breakthrough experience of Nibbāna is a realization so profound it permanently changes you and your relationship to the world. And a
      very important component of what is experienced is signless consciousness.’”‡
      When consciousness is signless, it’s also limitless. There can’t be any limits because a limit would be a sign. You’re not concocting the
      end of this consciousness, it really is all-encompassing, and it’s all-illuminating. When viewing from this viewpoint, when realizing in
      this way, nothing is hidden. Everything is experienced to be dependent on other things. Nothing stands alone. And nothing is a thing, it’s
      all verbs, it’s all processes, but they aren’t individual processes. One gets this huge, giant picture of, I guess you could say, unfolding.
      Not “the unfolding,” because that makes it a noun, a thing – there’s just unfolding. Can you experience the world like that? Can you
      experience the inconstant, unsatisfactory, empty nature of phenomena, without resorting to dualities or even signs? Then your
      consciousness is signless, limitless, and all-illuminating. That’s where earth, water, fire and air no footing find. There long and short,
      small and great, beautiful and ugly; there name-and-form all come to an end.
      The last line is really puzzling. “With the cessation of consciousness, all this comes to an end.” Does that mean you have to become
      unconscious? The usual explanation is that, at a path moment – a momentary experience of Nibbāna – there’s a cessation experience
      where everything stops, then it starts up again, only it’s really different on the other side. That turns out not to be what’s being talked
      about here, because the idea of “path moments” is from the later commentaries and this is a sutta.
      The word viññāṇa which we translate as “consciousness” literally means “divided knowing.” When divided knowing comes to an end,
      all these dualities come to an end. When we stop chopping up the holistic unfolding into bits and pieces, then all this comes to an end.
      As Ud 8.1 says, “Just this is the end of dukkha.”
      This required holistic experience is expressed so very eloquently by Kitaro Nishida in his work The Nothingness Beyond God:
      Pure experience is the beginning of Zen. It is awareness stripped of all thought, all conceptualization, all categorization, and all
      distinctions between subject-as-having-an-experience and experience-as-having-been-had-by-a-subject. It is prior to all judgment.
      Pure experience is without all distinction; it is pure no-thingness, pure no-this-or-that. It is empty of any and all distinctions. It is
      absolutely no-thing at all. Yet its emptiness and nothingness is a chock-a-block fullness, for it is all experience-to-come. It is rose,
      child, river, anger, death, pain, rocks, and cicada sounds. We carve these discrete events and entities out of a richer-yet-non-
      distinct manifold of pure experience."
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    • Soh Wei Yu
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      For a very clear explanation of what the realisation of nibbana and anatman is solely from the pali suttas/theravada, check out Geoff’s very well written elucidation and pdfs with many scriptural citations:
      Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
      Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
      Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
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    • Soh Wei Yu
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      It is not referring to the standalone pure consciousness like I AM or what is taught in various mystical traditions.
      This is also a description from Buddha in the pali canon on the Buddha’s equipoise:
      Anguttara Nikaya 4.24
      3. Uruvelavagga
      Kalaka Sutta
      Once, the Blessed One was dwelling in Saketa, at the Kalaka Grove. There, the Blessed One addressed the monks, "Monks."
      "Venerable sir," the monks replied to the Blessed One. The Blessed One said:
      "Monks, whatever is seen, heard, sensed, or cognized by the world with its gods, Mara, and Brahma, with its people including ascetics and brahmins, gods, and humans, I know that.
      Whatever is seen, heard, sensed, or cognized by the world with its gods, Mara, and Brahma, with its people including ascetics and brahmins, gods, and humans, I have directly realized that. That is known to the Tathagata, but the Tathagata does not identify with that.
      If, monks, I were to say of something that I do not know it, seen, heard, sensed, or cognized by the world with its gods, Mara, and Brahma, with its people including ascetics and brahmins, gods, and humans, that would be a falsehood for me.
      If, monks, I were to say of something that I both know and do not know it, seen, heard, sensed, or cognized by the world with its gods, Mara, and Brahma, with its people including ascetics and brahmins, gods, and humans, that would be just the same.
      If, monks, I were to say of something that I neither know nor do not know it, seen, heard, sensed, or cognized by the world with its gods, Mara, and Brahma, with its people including ascetics and brahmins, gods, and humans, that would be a fault for me.
      Thus, monks, the Tathagata, having seen what is to be seen, does not conceive an (object) seen, the unseen, the to-be-seen, or the seer; having heard what is to be heard, he does not conceive an (object) heard, the unheard, the to-be-heard, or the hearer; having sensed what is to be sensed, he does not conceive an (object) sensed, the unsensed, the to-be-sensed, or the sensor; having cognized what is to be cognized, he does not conceive an (object) cognized, the uncognized, the to-be-cognized, or the cognizer.
      Thus, monks, the Tathagata is just such in regard to seen, heard, sensed, and cognized phenomena. 'There is no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.' this I declare.
      Whatever is seen, heard, sensed, or grasped, whether true or false in others; he does not grasp at that, nor does he burn with the truth or falsehood in others.
      Seeing this arrow in reverse, where people are attached to what they have grasped; I know and see this as it is, there is no grasping for the Tathagatas."
      The fourth.
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  • Hary Man
    Soh, I am very impressed with the huge effort you make for A2R. I totally agree with John Tans's 7 levels (though he does not include the Jhanas - which I have explored throughly in mediation over 50 years). The risk is that you think you have found all there is to find. I will post material below to challenge that view. I hope this will help you take one more step on the path.
    As the Buddha stated, and as recorded in the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination:
    Conditioned by ignorance, intentional activities arise.
    Conditioned by intentional activities, consciousness arises.
    (viññāṇa-paccayā nāma-rūpaṃ, nāmarūpa-paccayā saḷāyatanaṃ),
    Conditioned by consciousness, mind and matter arise.
    Conditioned by mind and matter, the six-fold sense base arises.
    Known from the perspective of ‘pure awareness’ this is clearly so.
    The state that you, Soh, describe above is equivalent to the middle and later stages of the 12 links of Dependent Origination, after ‘conditioned by consciousness, mind and matter arise.’ and perception is possible. This was the initial teaching of the Buddha, (and that used by modern Mahayana) but he later added the links described above, which precede consciousness.
    Nirvana is what the Buddha called ‘consciousness without feature’ or for consistency with the initial links of Dependent Origination, it is better be translated as ‘non-manifested consciousness or awareness’:
    That does not manifest an object. Consciousness without boundary, luminous all around. Here, water, earth, fire, and air have no footing. Here long and short, course and fine, beautiful, and ugly, nama and rupa, are all brought to an end. With the stopping of the six sense consciousnesses, each is brought to an end. (AN 11).
    Soh, in your comments above you are squashing this down to fit your own experience. You are degrading the Buddha’s deepest insight. I very highly respect your excellent progress on the path, and your great value to humanity, but there is more for you to discover. There is one more stage beyond John Tan’s 7 stages.
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  • Hary Man
    To continue...Our mind is included as one of the sense consciousnesses, hence the reference to ‘six sense consciousnesses’ in this text. The seventh consciousness is our ‘repository consciousness’ of ‘habit-energy’ (vedana), feeling tone, and when that ceases, we are liberated. The seventh consciousness is the disturbance that arises on top of the ‘awareness without content’. It was much easier to know that seventh consciousness when the first six consciousnesses (mind and the five sense consciousnesses) are inactive in that state resembling deep sleep but with full awareness present. However, it is also possible to be clear about it while awake.
    In another place the Buddha says: ‘does not partake of any of the objects that we take as the objects of the world.’
    A serious and misleading mistake made by some teachers, which undermines this true depth of the Buddha’s discovery is to confuse and conflate that kind of statement with a ‘mirror mind’; or as others do with the experience of the ‘self-absent’ anatta. They interpret the Buddha’s words to mean ‘lack of selfing’, with the world still present but no sense of self present.
    Some teachers today do go deeper, including John Tan and Soh Wei Yu. You have known the fading of the ‘realness’ of the world and ‘inherently real’ is seen through. This is today’s Mahayana level. However, the next deeper level, Nirvana, described in the above quotes from the Buddha, which is beyond all perception at all, rarely gets mentioned today in Buddhism.
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  • Hary Man
    To continue...
    But as Rob Burbea states on page 384 of his book Seeing That Frees:
    ‘Consciousness without attribute’ cannot be equated to any of the formless Jhanas. Nor can it be equated to the vastness of awareness we explored in Chapter 15. As Huang Po’s words indicate, this “Consciousness without attribute” is not an open awareness that embraces or takes in everything in the senses. The Buddha said it is “not experienced through the all-ness of the all, that is the six sense bases”. (MN 49. The ‘all’ refers to the totality of what can be known through the six sense bases.) Furthermore, in an experience of a vastness of awareness as we described it in Chapter 15, perceptions of time and space are still being fabricated.’
    Quite so. Those two states, even though they are massive breakthroughs in their own right, are still not what the Buddha means in D11.85 and M49.25:
    “…consciousness which is unmanifest, signless, infinite, and radiant in all directions.”
    Others have called it the ‘unconditioned consciousness’. I prefer to call it ‘pure awareness’ or ‘awareness without content’ to distinguish it from the sense consciousnesses, though I am unsure if all languages have words for both consciousness and awareness. It also gets translated as ‘consciousness without feature’. It could also be translated as ‘non-manifested consciousness’ which I think is more accurate, or ‘consciousness not landing’ (on an object), in contrast to consciousness as we usually know it wrapped up with things, time, etc.
    In the original Pali texts, which claim to record precisely and accurately the words of the Buddha, the words that may be used are viññanam (consciousness); aniddassanam (empty, invisible or signless, non-manifestative); anantam (limitless, unconfined, infinite); and sabbato pabham (radiant in all directions, accessible from all sides).
    Also worth noting, this is not a state of blankness as made clear by the Buddha:
    Do not think that this [nirvana] is an empty or void state. There is this consciousness, without distinguishing mark, infinite and shining everywhere (Vinnanam anidassanam anantam sabbato-pabham); it is untouched by the material elements and not subject to any power. (Brahmanimantanika Sutra)
    The passage also appears in the Kevaddha Sutta (DN I.213) with the addition:
    "Here it is that conditioned consciousness ceases to be."
    This reference to both a conditioned consciousness and an infinite consciousness shining everywhere is at odds with modern science which speaks only of consciousness as one thing. My experience is consistent with the Buddha’s view.
    Moving on to the later Mahayana tradition, in the Surangama Sutra, it is recorded that the Buddha said:
    "Tathagatha ever says, every phenomenon that presents itself to our knowledge is but a manifestation of the mind ... which is the true substratem of all.”
    Here, ‘mind’ is the ‘awareness without content’. Though there is a risk that use of the word mind might be understood to mean that consciousness is required despite the Buddha clearly stating not.
    It is described more clearly in the Vimalakirti Sutra in which there is a succinct and very beautiful description:
    ‘To know the arising mind is the non-arising mind’.
    The non-arising mind is what I have classified Nirvana, the level beyond John Tan’s level 7, and the arising mind is that first movement of energy or vedana that disturbs the total nirvanic peace.
    In the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra it states:
    ’Emptiness becomes structured when feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness, and discrimination come into awareness. In dropping all these, they are as void’.
    This translation of this text does indeed use the word awareness and distinguishes it from consciousness.
    This may be alternatively phrased as:
    'One who does not see forms, does not see feelings, does not see perception, does not see mental formations, or intentions, does not see consciousness mind or mentality, sees reality'.
    These words from the Prajnaparamita Sutra are an excellent description of my experiences.
    As mentioned above, phrases such as "One who does not see phenomena sees reality" can get interpreted as meaning phenomena are perceived and experienced but there’s no sense of a self there perceiving or experiencing them (non-self). But that is squashing it down to fit within a limited experience and understanding equivalent at best to the anatta level, with the world still experienced as inherently real. The same happens with use of the term ‘emptiness’. Rather than force fit these words and concepts into a limited experience and understanding, it is better to accept and discover for oneself the literal meaning of the words.
    There are many texts in the Pali Canon where the Buddha describes a state where all perception has ceased: not any subject or object, space, time, not even a present moment. All not there. He clearly distinguishes this state from the non-material (arupa) jhanas.
    ‘That dimension should be known where the eyes cease, where perception of forms fall away (ear/nose/smell/tactile/mind ceases), and perception of mental phenomena falls away. Completely beyond.’
    ‘Here with regard to earth, the perception of earth has disappeared; with regard to liquid, the perception of liquid has disappeared; fire/wind. (i.e., with regard to materiality it has disappeared - this was the physics of their day). With regard to infinite space, the perception of the realm of infinite space has disappeared. With regard to infinite consciousness, the perception of the sphere of infinite consciousness has disappeared. Nothingness/neither perception nor non-perception has disappeared. With regard to this world, the perception of this world has disappeared. With regard to the next world, the perception of the next world has disappeared. Whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognised, attained, sought after, or explored by the mind, the perception of that has disappeared. Absorbed in this way, one is absorbed dependent neither on earth/liquid/fire/wind, neither on perception of materiality etc.’ And to one absorbed in this way all the gods pay homage etc.
    Other times he talks about it as a subject - ‘consciousness released’ - sunlight not landing analogy: with the cessation of the six sense consciousnesses, (the five senses and mental consciousness) and their respective objects of knowledge, what remains is consciousness without attribute (or could translate as consciousness that does not point to anything, does not land, completely released from any kind of object), without end, luminous.
    It is an awareness, but…gone beyond, not even ‘awareness aware of itself’ as in the 6th jhana.
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  • Hary Man
    Finally, I repeat, I have huge respect for Soh and John Tan. I hope my contribution above will help all on A2R.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Top contributor
    Will reply later, but an admin sent me these quotes:
    In case you decide to reply to him [Hary Man], he has misinterpreted Rob Burbea teachings as well regarding 'pure awareness'. This is a sample excerpt from Seeing that Frees:
    The Illusion of ‘Just Being’
    Several times already we have alluded to the notion of ‘just being’. A practitioner might recognize the dukkha in continuously pressuring himself to be different than he thinks he is. He might recognize too the dukkha inevitably involved in effort and striving; or in endlessly reacting to things by trying to change them into what is more agreeable. Seeing this, and growing tired of it, he might understandably hold up the concept of ‘just being’ as a goal of practice, or at least as a preferable state.
    Here, being will usually be conceived in contradistinction to doing, or becoming, or both. Thus it may involve the idea, and even the impression, of not doing anything in practice – simply allowing awareness to happen naturally and effortlessly, as it seems to anyway. And since the sense of self will be less grossly inflated through the directing of intention and doing with respect to experience, it might also seem at such times that self is not fabricated at all. Because of all this, it might appear that a more fundamental or natural state is thus allowed than any that may arise through doing. ‘Being’ is elevated over ‘doing’ for these reasons.
    Something in these conceptions may on occasion constitute one among a range of provisionally helpful views for a beginner in meditation. But by now, the problems with such assumptions and impressions should be easily evident. Already in Chapter 11, we pointed out that what might initially seem, as above, an experience of ‘no self’ is in fact merely an experience of a somewhat less fabricated sense of self. Our observations there demanded that we include and account for a much wider range of self-sense in our investigations.
    And having seen and contemplated the fading of phenomena, we might now question the whole notion of ‘just being’ even more cogently. For we can ask: would any such experience of ‘just being’ really be an experience of non-doing?
    Something has to give me the sense of experiencing being. To experience being, I have to experience something. To ‘be’ is to ‘see’. But as practice reveals, to ‘see’, or experience, something – any thing, ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ – a degree of clinging is needed. And as has been made clear, even the subtlest clinging is a doing. A sense of being requires some perception, some experience; and any experience involves the doing of clinging. To be is to see; and to see is to do. Thus although it might at first seem compelling, on deeper investigation the apparent dichotomy between being and doing is in fact illusory. Being is not any more fundamental than doing, because being is doing.
    Very similarly, from all that we have discovered and discussed so far, it is obvious that various related notions – such as ‘Pure Awareness’, ‘basic mindfulness’, ‘The Natural State’, or ‘Presence’ (as something basic, pure, and ‘non-interfering’) – are simply no longer tenable. They cannot be ultimately true. Whenever anything is perceived, that perceiving involves fabricating through clinging and avijjā. And what is perceived is always coloured and shaped by the citta in some way or other; there is no state of the citta even conceivably able to reveal an objective, independently existing, reality of things as they are in themselves.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Top contributor
    One conception of awareness is that it is somehow like a mirror that reflects the objects of the world. A large part of our task in practice then would be to ‘clean’ the mirror so that it might reflect things clearly and truly. ‘Emptiness of Mind’ in this view is sometimes taken to mean a state of no thought. For thoughts would be like spots of dirt on the mirror’s surface, distorting and obscuring the reflection of things. The mind in itself, like the mirror, might be regarded as inherently empty of these adventitious stains, these thoughts and other impurities: its true nature is to simply and naturally reflect things as they are.
    Such a notion may perhaps be helpful partly because it carries an implication of the unaffected nature of awareness. A mirror is not troubled in any way by what passes before it. It continues to reflect whatever is there, whether beautiful or ugly. Encouraging this view of awareness can thus support a deepening of equanimity – a letting go, in the moment, of a degree of reactivity to appearances.
    However, two problems with this notion will be immediately clear from all that we have discovered through practice by now. First, implicit in this idea is the belief in an objective reality, the mirror-mind reflecting ‘things as they are’. Second, there is the assumption that, like a mirror, awareness reflects things effortlessly, passively. From our more thorough investigation of fabrication though, we have seen that objects of perception are concocted, through various forms of clinging, to appear as this or that, and that without clinging – which is not passive, but a doing – they are not anything objectively in themselves.
    Our realization of the nature of awareness needs to go beyond this level of understanding that construes mind as a mirror. In response to Shen-hsiu’s verse:
    Our body is the Bodhi tree, and our mind a mirror bright –
    carefully we wipe them hour by hour, and let no dust alight,
    Hui-neng expressed a much more profound insight into the fundamental emptiness of mind:
    There is no Bodhi tree, nor… a mirror bright.
    Since all is void, where can the dust alight?2
    Vast Awareness as Source of all things
    Another view which may emerge from practice was among the cluster of variations explored in Chapter 15. Sometimes when there is a sense of the vastness of awareness, it can seem that this vastness is the transcendent ‘source’ of all other transient phenomena. As was mentioned, things seem to arise out of, and disappear back into, this space; and this sense of things may be profoundly helpful in supporting equanimity, love, and freedom. Here again, awareness seems free and independent, uninvolved in and unperturbed by the movements and machinations of ‘small mind’, of reactivity and thought.
    However, this notion of awareness as a source of appearances was repudiated by the Buddha. In relation to any such perception of vastness of awareness – or indeed to any perception or notion, even of nibbāna – he said that one who is awakened
    does not conceive things about it, [and] does not conceive of things coming out of it.3
    If one seeks the fullness of insight it is not ultimately helpful to regard awareness, or anything else, as the source of appearances. To be locked into that view would be to perpetuate a sense of the inherent existence of that phenomenon, missing and preventing the more radical freedom of insights into emptiness, dependent arising, and the ultimate groundlessness of all things.
    With careful and open-minded investigation in practice we will notice something interesting, though, that can help us move beyond many of these kinds of views: The way awareness seems at any time is dependent on the way of looking. Practising in certain ways, awareness will likely seem vast and imperturbable. On another occasion, or even at another point in the same meditation session, practising with a narrowly focused attention and tuned in to the rapidity of moment-to-moment anicca, it is quite possible to have a sense of consciousness not as vast and imperturbable but as arising and ceasing together with different phenomena with immense rapidity. Which is the ‘real’ way awareness is? As we have already mentioned, awareness is bound up with perception. Through the way of looking then, it merely takes on the aspect of perception at any time. What is perceived in any such manner cannot be regarded as the true nature of awareness.
    In fact, a sense of vastness of awareness is still itself an object, a perception, which includes, woven into it, a perception of space. As discussed in Chapter 19, the spectrum of fading reveals that any such perception of space is still fabricated. This appearance of a vastness of awareness is then a fabrication. It is not ultimate. Without the support of a certain level of clinging it too will fade. And this will of course be true of any perception. Nothing that is perceived can be taken as the nature of awareness, nor regarded as ultimate in any way.
    Thus, for example, although many texts speak of the ‘luminous nature’ of awareness, this does not mean that awareness is bright in the commonly understood sense. For that kind of luminosity could only be known as an object of perception. To be sure, experiences of inner light and brightness in meditation are quite common, most often when there is a degree of samādhi, but they too, it is easy to see, are fabricated objects of perception. The luminous nature of the mind refers merely to its ability to know, to perceive and experience.
    Likewise, we may also encounter many texts where it is actually declared that the nature of awareness, and of other phenomena too, is “like space”. The Prajñāpāramitā Saṃcayagāthā, for example, says that
    Seeing reality is like seeing space and cannot be expressed by another example.
    Care needs to be taken, however, in the interpretation of such statements. ‘Space’ has a different meaning and connotation in these texts than what we might normally assume. As Mipham points out in his commentary to Śāntarakṣita’s Madhyamakālaṃkāra:
    ‘Space’ is the mere designation for the quality of absence of physical obstruction or contact.4
    It is a kind of negation then, an “absence of physical obstruction” – that is all, not something that is given any real existence. For this reason the Prajñāpāramitā Saṃcayagāthā adds:
    People speak easily enough of ‘seeing space’. But how does one see space? Examine carefully the meaning here.
    ‘Seeing space’ means a kind of non-seeing, a non-encountering of any thing. ‘Space’, regarded as a kind of absence only, a lack of physical obstruction, is used in these texts as an analogy for the lack of inherent existence.
    If, then, ‘space-like’ is a synonym for ‘empty’, and ‘luminous’ means ‘cognizing’, to say that “the true nature of awareness is like space but still luminous” means: There is knowing but it is empty of true existence. Buddhist teachings on the nature of mind are pointing out that there is no inherently existing entity – ‘mind’ or ‘awareness’ – that cognizes, nor any truly existing ‘process’ of consciousness.
    Other Prajñāpāramitā sūtras and texts declare that
    Mind does not exist as mind. The nature of mind is luminosity.
    Here the meaning of ‘luminosity’ deliberately includes both the fact of cognizing and the emptiness of that cognizing, implying in one word the indivisible unity of those two aspects. A profound and astounding understanding is being expressed here, one that shatters all of our intuitive conceptions of the nature of consciousness. Let us unfold the fullness of what it means, and what it implies, gradually over the next few chapters as we explore various ways of looking that may be conducive to this realization. (...)
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Top contributor
    It's late here but what you wrote is not unknown to us. It is not the Buddhist nirvana, but rather, it is Nirvikalpa Samadhi. It is the I AM.
    I'll write more tomorrow but I'll just paste an existing excerpt from the long AtR guide:
    In the early years of John Tan’s journey right after his I AM realization at the age of 17, he was very engrossed with entering Nirvikalpa Samadhi and wanted to renounce to focus all his time abiding in Nirvikalpa Samadhi or absorption in Self/Pure Presence while shutting out all distractions of the external senses, however he faced resistance from family objections. The Pure Presence at this phase was only experienced as the Mind door and not extended to all the other senses (more on this in Stage 4 and 5), so according to John Tan the tendency was to turn away or withdraw from the five senses (plus conceptual thoughts and impressions) to abide as the [formless] Self/Source [as pure consciousness].
    “"When I was young, after the experience of I AM presence and read the book by Ramana Maharshi, I was so inspired and felt like giving up everything and follow the footsteps of Ramana to go reside in Mt Arunachala. 😝” - John Tan, 2018
    On an interesting note, Ramana Maharshi has gone through two separate awakenings - first on the I AM and second one was about One Mind. After his first awakening, he spent much of his time in deep meditative absorptions/samadhi in caves, but after his second awakening he was integrated into his daily life and functionings, and no longer placed as much emphasis on entering special states of trance or nirvikalpa samadhi as previously, although he still entered into meditative samadhi. More details:
    Edmond Cigale will be coming out with a book in the near future that compares I AM, non dual, anatta and emptiness insights along with a detailed comparison of the states of the different types of Nirvikalpa Samadhis and Nirodha Samapatti. I have read the draft and I think it is a good read, so keep a lookout for his publication.
    David Brown
    The section above from Culadasa's The Mind Illuminated could easily be interpreted in different ways by different people. The problem is with the word 'consciousness'. I prefer to use Awareness Without Content in place of Consciousness Without Content to emphasise the complete difference from sense consciousness. For most people, I think it's difficult to know Awareness Without Content (cessation) clearly when sense consciousness remains, and very often it's confused with the mind merely going very quiet. Cessation leads to deeper understanding than any of the stages listed in the A2R system. as in all of them there does remain a subtle arisingness generated by remnants of what we call 'self'. Cessation implies nothing arising at all, no activation of Dependent Origination. With total cessation the nature of that subtle generation of self/consciousness/ mind/ world becomes clear. Cessation can happen while sense consciousness is operating, and that reveals clearly the nature of generation of what we call 'me'. But if it happens while conscious, I think it is easy to miss the deeper aspect of the Buddha's teaching on Dependent Origination. Therefore there is enormous benefit if cessation/ Awareness Without Content happens during deep sleep. I doubt it is possible to fully understand the Buddha's teaching on Dependent origination without cessation during deep sleep.
    Soh Wei Yu
    David Brown
    What you are describing is just nirvikalpa samadhi in the I AM. It is not particularly special and is not unknown to us in AtR. John Tan, I and many others have experienced tremendously blissful samadhi absorption in Self. As I wrote recently, John Tan sat for hours each time in nirvikalpa samadhi with his Ch'an master in Thailand during his I AM stage. He could sit all day and actually almost became a monk and renunciant like Ramana Maharshi to focus entirely his time in absorption in the Self without the distractions of other sensory phenomena back when he was 17 but was stopped by his family.
    Ramana Maharshi said,
    "Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis, either Savikalpa or Nirvikalpa, is Sahaja. What is body-consciousness? It is the insentient body plus consciousness. Both these must lie in another consciousness which is absolute and unaffected, and ever-abiding, with or without the body-consciousness. What does it the matter whether the body-consciousness is lost or retained, provided one is holding on to that Pure Consciousness? Total absence of body-consciousness has the advantage of making the Samadhi more intense, although it makes no difference in the knowledge of the Supreme. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 88.) "
    Here he is saying the type of nirvikalpa samadhi where all senses are shut and one is merely absorbed in Self simply makes the samadhi or absorption in Self more intense, but it makes no difference to Self-Knowledge.
    I will paste more excerpts in the following posts.
    Soh Wei Yu
    And yes I have experienced total cessation [of sensory and mental phenomena] and pure formless nondual clear light in deep sleep. It can also be intensely blissful, just the bliss of pure presence. I actually wrote some of those experiences in the sleep chapter towards the end of the AtR Guide.
    The "Lost Years" of Ramana Maharshi
    The "Lost Years" of Ramana Maharshi
    The "Lost Years" of Ramana Maharshi
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