Showing posts with label Distance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Distance. Show all posts

 Someone who had anatta insight not too long ago wrote to me:

Hey Soh, I’ve been contemplating visual experience and have something to ask you about.

There seems to be two types of distance/perspective, one more real than the other.

The first is subject-object distance. It’s the imaginary distance between “I” and “the object”. “I am over here, and the car is over there”. It’s the feeling of being distant from objects. It’s what’s seen through in the realisation of anatta.

The second type of distance or perspective is different though, it’s the distance not between subject and object, but between two apparent objects. For example, between the the pen and the eraser, there’s a space/distance of “desk”. And there’s a type of perspective that remains, too. If I hold up my hand, it’s the front of my hand that’s seen, not the back. I rotate the hand, the back is seen, not the front. In this way there’s perspective, but it’s sort of “built in”—it’s just the way the object is appearing—rather than being due to a subject over here perceiving the object from this angle.

One type of distance/perspective is seen never to have been the case when anatta is realised, but the other type of distance/perspective remains but is now “built into” the apparent objects.

Is this accurate? Do you have any thoughts on this?

I replied:

all distances and measurements are just relative and conventional. most important is not to mistaken conventional for truly existing entities. when you see through self, it is the sense of an inherently existing self or agent standing on its own, independent of perception, causes and conditions, that is seen through. when that is gone, the sense of there being a really existing self entity vantagepoint from which objects out there at a distance are perceived from disappears, along with sense of distance.

the sense of physicality and objects will also dissolve when you contemplate on dependent origination, emptiness and non-arising. at that point everything becomes as illusory as a hologram, a rainbow and a reflection. no phenomena are real, and nothing is locatable anywhere, a vividly appearing absence. you can still measure distance and so on but you understand all these are just conventional measurements that does not reference some truly existing entities located in truly existing self or truly existing phenomena


also, -

The experience of our empty nature is a very different from that of non-dual oneness. ‘Distance’ for example is overcome in non-dual oneness by seeing through the illusory aspect of subject/object division and resulted in a one non-dual presence. It is seeing all as just ‘This’ but experiencing Emptiness breaks the boundary through its empty ungraspable and unlocatable nature.

There is no need for a ‘where-place' or a ‘when-time' or a ‘who-I' when we penetrate deeply into this nature. When hearing sound, sound is neither ‘in here’ nor ‘out there’, it is where it is and gone! All centers and reference points dissolve with the wisdom that manifestation dependently originates and hence empty. The experience creates an "always right wherever and whenever is" sensation. A sensation of home everywhere though nowhere can be called home. Experiencing the emptiness nature of presence, a sincere practitioner becomes clear that indeed the non-dual presence is leaving a subtle mark; seeing its nature as empty, the last mark that solidifies experiences dissolves. It feels cool because presence is made more present and effortless. We then move from "vivid non-dual presence" into "though vividly and non-dually present, it is nothing real, empty!".

also see:


everything is seen not as physical objects but as empty clarity, illusory, non-arisen, like a rainbow, hologram, reflection. but to say everything is clarity does not imply clarity has real existence. clarity/mind/awareness is just another name for the vivid vibrancy and luminosity of [that is none other than the] appearance, otherwise mind/awareness is reified. also appearances are not mistaken in terms of physically existing objects with its own true existence.. everything is mere dependent designations, dependent origination and non originating, like the moon reflection on the water or the rainbow analogy explained in the first link by john tan and jayson mpaul


Question about "distance" for those who realized anatta:
Having now seen through the illusion of distance, what is the best way to help others see through the illusion of distance? What do you think is the best analysis/metaphor to help someone finally see "distance" as unreal?

  •     Soh Wei Yu
        Just a few suggestions and others have also contributed great suggestions…
        1) where is the border/gap/line of division/distance between awareness and appearance? Collapses awareness and appearance into nondual thus demolishing distance
        2) is there a seer or a seeing besides colors or hearer and hearing besides sound? Collapses subjectivity through anatta thus removing distance
        3) is there such thing as an unheard sound or unseen colors coming into the field of your hearing or vision, or are sounds always heard and none other than hearing, and hearing none other than sound, and colors are always seen to begin with? Would appearance appear without the element of awareness and would awareness be called awareness without the appearance awared?
        Lee Sanderson
        Ask yourself what is being referenced when the idea of distance arises?
        Distance requires a reference point, most probably a centre/self. Realise that no sensation can be aware of another sensation and that the visual field is just colours and shapes not separate objects (that's just thought).
        Alan Smith
        Angelo Grr's non-duality videos are what helped me begin to see thru the illusion of distance (pre-Anatta). There's a playlist for nonduality, which is good:
        Non Duality | Right Where It Is
        Non Duality | Right Where It Is
        Non Duality | Right Where It Is


    This weird, oddly specific thing started happening this year and only recently have I started looking into as a clue towards fabrication and the visual field. I sleep with an eye mask on. Several months ago I went to lay down...and there is the room. The fan, the window, the blankets. And I think "this eye mask is a piece of shit". But then "wait, my eyes are closed". I can move my hands in front of my face, turn my head and it's all there. Not clear by any means. It's dark and fuzzy. But everything "moves" and "appears" like it would with open eyes. The visual field has been the toughest to see through for me. What color is distance, right? I mean I just don't get it😂 When visual goes non-dual it is so damn obvious from that place. And when it's dualistic....well it's not so obvious anymore haha.


  • Albert Hong
    It’s fascinating that depth is a learned phenomena.

  • Soh Wei Yu
    I wrote about distance on my first article right after my anatta realisation
    My commentary on Bahiya Sutta
    Note: You can also see my complete journal of self-discoveries at
    Originally posted by simpo_:
    Hi Beautiful951,
    Firstly, I will like to state that I am still learning so can only share from my own opinion. Please read with a pint of salt.
    Emptiness is not a belief but an insight that can be borne from experience. It is better to experience it for oneself as before and after the insight, it can still be 'unbelievable' for the mind. Emptiness is quite hard to experience and usually the realisation of no-self comes before emptiness.
    As mentioned, no-self will be easier to realise. I will describe the insight of no-self/egolessness generally here. When doing insight meditation one may realise that the sensory experiences (including mental formation/thinking) are arising and passing away independently of one another. That is, seeing is seeing, hearing is hearing, thinking is thinking and they are all flowing independently. With that observation, one will realise that there is no self holding all these sensory experiences together. Self that we originally assumed, is just these sensory experiences arising and passing away and the attention focusing on them.
    As for emptiness, it requires a deeper penetration into consciousness. Emptiness reveals that everything is not physical and solid at all... but are 'holographically united'. There is no way to accurately describe it as it is not the way a mind unaware to it will think. Like the first insight of no-self, emptiness is a paradigm shift... towards ever clearer seeing of the truth of Reality.
    Please understand that seeing emptiness is not end of story. At least, not for my case. I am currently working on the remaining defilements. This doesn't meant that i will need to forcefully remove them. Forceful willing will only result in suppression. Rather, the 'method' is to be aware of and be equanimous to whatever that is arising in order for them to pass away naturally. This 'aware of' is not as easy as it sounds.
    Thanks for the sharing...
    I was reminded of Bahiya Sutta while you said 'seeing is seeing'...
    In the seen, there is only the seen,
    in the heard, there is only the heard,
    in the sensed, there is only the sensed,
    in the cognized, there is only the cognized.
    Thus you should see that
    indeed there is no thing here;
    this, Bahiya, is how you should train yourself.
    Since, Bahiya, there is for you
    in the seen, only the seen,
    in the heard, only the heard,
    in the sensed, only the sensed,
    in the cognized, only the cognized,
    and you see that there is no thing here,
    you will therefore see that
    indeed there is no thing there.
    As you see that there is no thing there,
    you will see that
    you are therefore located neither in the world of this,
    nor in the world of that,
    nor in any place
    betwixt the two.
    This alone is the end of suffering.” (ud. 1.10)
    My own comments:
    Non-duality is very simple and obvious and direct... and yet always missed! Due to a very fundamental flaw in our ordinary dualistic framework of things... and our deep rooted belief in duality.
    In the seen, there is just the seen! It is completely non-dual... there is no 'the seen + a perceiver here seeing the seen'.... The seen is precisely the seeing! There is not two or three things: seer, seeing, and the seen. That split is entirely conceptual (though taken to be reality)... it is a conclusion due to a referencing back of a direct experience (like a sight or a sound) to a centerpoint. This centerpoint could be a vague identification and contraction to one's mind and body (and this 'center of identification within the body' could be like two inches behind your eyes or on the lower body or elsewhere), or the centerpoint could be an identification with a previous nondual recognition or authentication like the I AM or Eternal Witness experience/realization. It could even be that one has gained sufficient stability to simply rest in the state of formless Beingness throughout all experiences, but if they cling to their formless samadhi or a 'purest state of Presence', they will miss the fact that they are not just the formless pure existence but that they are/existence is also all the stuff of the universe arising moment to moment... And when one identifies oneself as this entity that is behind and separated from the seen, this prevents the direct experience of what manifestation and no-self is.
    But in direct experience it is simply not like that: there is nothing like subject-object duality in direct experience.... only This - seen, heard, sensed, cognized. Prior to self-referencing, this is what exists in its primordial purity.
    So, in the seen, there's just That! Scenery, trees, road, etc... but when I label these as such, instead of putting a more subjective term such as 'experiencing'.... they tend to conjure images of an objective world that is 'out there' made of multiple different objects existing in time and space separated by distances.
    But no, the Buddha says: in the seen, just the seen! There is no thing 'here' (apart from the seen).... nor something 'there' (as if the seen is an objective reality out there). From the perspective of the logical framework of things, the world is made of distance, depth, entities, objects, time, space, and so on, but if you take away the reference point of a self... there is simply Pure Consciousness of What Is (whatever manifests) without distance or fragmentation. You need at least two reference points to measure distance... but all reference points (be it of an apparent subjective self or an apparent external object) are entirely illusory and conceptual. If there is no 'self' here, and that you are equally everything... what distance is there? Without a self, there is no 'out there'...
    The seen is neither subjective nor objective.... it just IS....
    There is pure seeing, pure hearing, everything arising without an external reference other than the scenery being the seeing without seer, the sound being the hearing without hearer (and vice versa: the hearing being just the sound, the manifestation).
    But even the word 'hearing', 'seeing', 'awareness' can conjure an image of what Awareness is.... As if there is really an entity called 'hearing' or 'seeing' or 'awareness' that remains and stays constant and unchanged.
    But.... if you contemplate on "How am I experiencing the moment of being alive?", or, "How am I experiencing the moment of hearing?", or "How am I experiencing the moment of seeing?" or "How am I experiencing the moment of being aware?"
    All the bullshit concepts, constructs and images of an 'aliveness', a 'hearing', a 'seeing', an 'awareness' simply dissolves in the direct experiencing of whatever arises... just 'seeing is seeing, hearing is hearing, thinking is thinking and they are all flowing independently', with 'no self holding all these sensory experiences together'.
    If readers find my explanation a bit too hard to grasp, please read Ajahn Amaro's link because he explains it much better than me.
    Labels: Buddha, I AMness, Non Dual |
    My commentary on Bahiya Sutta
    My commentary on Bahiya Sutta
    My commentary on Bahiya Sutta

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Don't just focus on the nondual experience but contemplate (2 stanzas of anatta, bahiya sutta, etc) to see through the illusion of an agent, watcher, experiencer, seer, hearer, and so on... and even a 'seeing' or 'hearing' besides colors and sounds. Distance and depth and so on will take care of itself.

    J.P. Hamilton
    Soh Wei Yu Thank you Soh. I had been grasping at the nondual view without even realizing it. Trying to "feel into it" instead of just "this as it is".

    Soh Wei Yu
    J.P. Hamilton It has to be contemplated until the view of anatta is realized without a trace of doubt.
    Beware of treating bahiya sutta as merely a way of training an experience of no-mind, believe I mentioned before -

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    They will take care of itself as they are all based on the delusional internal and external reference point which is dropped when seen through.
    Kyle Dixon wrote:
    "Raw awareness is called vijñāna in unrealized sentient beings, which is dualistic and comprised of a threefold division of sensory faculty [eye], sense function [sight] and sensory object [visual appearances].
    In everyday people, even if conceptualization is absent, vijñāna is still experienced as dualistic because we feel we remain in an internal reference point and that objects are “over there” at a distance.
    Through practice however we have the opportunity to experientially realize emptiness, and when emptiness is realized, vijñāna reverts to its natural state as jñāna. Jñāna is a non-dual modality of cognition where the inner reference point and external objects are realized to be false."
    "Selflessness means there is ultimately no actual subject, which means there is no actual internal reference point that is apprehending sensory phenomena.
    In describing this simply it means through your practice you will hopefully, eventually, awaken to recognize that there is no actual seer of sights, no hearer of sounds, and so on. The feeling of an internal seer or hearer, etc., is a useful but false construct that is created and fortified by various causes and conditions.
    We suffer when we cling to this construct and think it is actually real. Recognition of the actual nature of that construct is liberating and freeing."

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