Showing posts with label Luminosity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luminosity. Show all posts
Someone asked in the AtR Chat Group

Hii , would anybody tell me the difference between being aware and becoming absorbed

Because in both situations , there seems to be no "I"

Soh replied:


Reply part 1:


Absorption not aware of other things? This is difficult to say.

Although many articles and books about mindfulness seem to suggest that

it is so, this is not necessarily true when we progress towards the more

subtle experience. Clarity can come a time where it is so clear that it

is an absorption, it is a sort of Insight-Absorption but It is

different from absorption derived from concentration. It is clarity

absorption where it touches the heart of 'things', that is itself. For

example being taste itself, it is absorbed yet completely clear. This

is truly blissful and beyond description. I have not come across any

book touching this yet and I hope Toni's new book can write something

about it. :)

Reply part 2:

The AMness can be said to be a

form of absorption where the object of concentration is the Self. It

can be a question "Who am I" that leads one to the experience of the

subject-object becoming one. Till a point the practitioner simply

experiences a pure sense of existence. However such mode of experience

has no understanding of its luminous clarity and its nature as anatta.

The key point about mindful awareness is there is no keeping of the mind

on anything and by not resting on anything, it fuses into everything;

therefore it cannot be concentrated; rather it is to relax into

nothingness empty of self, empty of any artificial doing so that the

natural luminosity can take its own course. There is no focusing, there

is only allowing the mirror bright clarity to shine with it natural

radiance. In essence there is no one there, only the phenomenon arising

and ceasing telling their stories." - John Tan, 2006


Jan 2005:

[15:49] <^john^> bliss is complete clarity.

[15:50] <ZeN`out> complete clarity?

[15:50] <^john^> when u experience the luminosity without boundary, joy will flow from all directions.

[15:50] <^john^> yes

[15:50] <^john^> :)

[15:50] <ZeN`out> if bliss is complete clarity, then why do we experience bliss without clarity also?

[15:50] <^john^> that is because it is not bliss. :P

[15:51] <ZeN`out> then what is it?

[15:51] <ZeN`out> joy that is not bliss?

[15:52] <^john^> it is just a mental state that is created.

[15:53] <ZeN`out> icic...

[15:53] <ZeN`out> then is the bliss experienced through complete clarity, a mental state?

[15:53] <^john^> Pure awareness is nothing of that sort.

[15:53] <^john^> so how do we know?

[15:54] <^john^> :)

[15:54] <ZeN`out> bcos pure awareness is simply aware ?

[15:54] <^john^> and what is it like?

[15:55] <ZeN`out> dunnu

[15:55] <^john^> the greatest joy in absorption is?

[15:56] <ZeN`out> dunnu :P

[15:56] <^john^> forgetting the 'self'.

[15:56] <ZeN`out> oic...

[15:57] <^john^> when object and subject becomes one.

[15:57] <^john^> but then there is no clarity.

[15:57] <^john^> the luminosity isn't there. :)

[15:57] <ZeN`out> then what is the clarity?

[15:58] <^john^> it is the Total Presence, Reality.

[15:58] <^john^> u know how a mirror reflect?

[15:58] <ZeN`out> the light reflects

[15:59] <^john^> when u feel, sense, taste, see without a layer

[16:00] <^john^> a layer of thought, belief, words, name, label..etc

[16:00] <^john^> without an 'I'

[16:00] <^john^> don't even think of it...

[16:00] <^john^> some will tell u it is like that.

[16:00] <ZeN`out> icic

[16:01] <^john^> but what is it like?

[16:01] <^john^> or what is it at all?

[16:01] <^john^> This is the entire practice of meditation

[16:01] <^john^> the entire teaching of buddhism.

[23:23] <ZeN`n1th> Dzogchen teacher Tenzin Wangyal (1997, 29) points out:

[23:23] <ZeN`n1th> The gap between two thoughts is essence. But if in that gap there is a lack of presence, it becomes ignorance and we experience only a lack of awareness, almost an unconsciousness. If there is presence in the gap, then we experience the dharmakaya [the ultimate].

[23:24] <ZeN`n1th> so presence is the awareness?

[23:24] <ZeN`n1th> nice quote , anyway

[23:24] <ZeN`n1th> anyway u were saying about the "i"... so what do u mean?

[23:24] <^john^> without presence, it is absorption

[23:25] <^john^> very well said, where u get this quote. 🙂

Do note the luminosity revealed in gap between two thoughts is just the beginning, it is the I AM.


“Hi Mr. H,

In addition to what you wrote, I hope to convey another dimension of Presence to you. That is Encountering Presence in its first impression, unadulterated and full blown in stillness.

So after reading it, just feel it with your entire body-mind and forgot about it. Don't let it corrupt your mind.😝

Presence, Awareness, Beingness, Isness are all synonyms. There can be all sorts of definitions but all these are not the path to it. The path to it must be non-conceptual and direct. This is the only way.

When contemplating the koan "before birth who am I", the thinking mind attempts to seek into it's memory bank for similar experiences to get an answer. This is how the thinking mind works - compare, categorize and measure in order to understand.

However, when we encounter such a koan, the mind reaches its limit when it tries to penetrate its own depth with no answer. There will come a time when the mind exhausts itself and come to a complete standstill and from that stillness comes an earthshaking BAM!

I. Just I.

Before birth this I, a thousand years ago this I, a thousand later this I. I AM I.

It is without any arbitrary thoughts, any comparisons. It fully authenticates it's own clarity, it's own existence, ITSELF in clean, pure, direct non-conceptuality. No why, no because.

Just ITSELF in stillness nothing else.

Intuit the vipassana and the samantha. Intuit the total exertion and realization. The essence of message must be raw and uncontaminated by words.

Hope that helps!” - John Tan, 2019

Ken Wilber on I AMness:

-- excerpt from the abridged AtR guide, which you can read for self-enquiry pointers:

An online sharing with redditors yesterday.

Xabir = Soh, Me

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level 3
2 days ago

....I wouldn't describe it as the background. There's a viewer, like a mirror. Buddha nature. But a kind of hypnosis happens and the viewer gets lost in the action. There's an old analogy of a man dreaming he's being attacked by a tiger. Another man who's awake knows the tiger is not real, but awakens the dreaming man out of compassion. That's the role of the realized spiritual teacher.

So what's the viewer or mirror? There's a limit to what we can know. You have to watch out for the tendency to want to establish empirical confirmation. This is beyond dualistic perception. What can we know for sure? There seems to be some kind of cognition happening. Some kind of curiosity takes the trouble to cognize. That's all we can say for sure. Realized masters tell us that the true nature of mind is emptiness and luminosity. Like a sunlit sky..... [long excerpt snipped, go to link to see the full message]
level 4
1 day ago

I rather like what Khamtrul Rinpoche said here:

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

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

From the royal seal of mahamudra part 1.

This is why buddha nature cannot be a background

1 day ago

Also in truth there is no mirror. Mirror too is conventional..

I can quote many teachers that said this when I am home
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level 5
1 day ago

Thanks. I didn't know about that book. I've heard of Khamtrul Rinpoche but never had any contact.

I'm hesitant about the idea of no mirror, though. This can get too cute and Zennie. I find the analogy of a mirror helpful because it's a way to see awareness as unaffected by objects of awareness, and that aspect seems important. A mirror or crystal ball are also common metaphors in Vajrayana generally.

I suppose if you demote buddha nature rangthong-style, then you might say there's no mirror. Personally I'm not much of an academic. Buddha nature makes sense to me. Mahamudra/Dzogchen make sense. If you demote buddha nature then you're back to an essentially Mahayana focus on emptiness. That, then, easily becomes conceptual or dogmatic. Too much ultimate truth. And even Huineng, in his famous poem contest, didn't reject mirror. :)

Bodhi originally has no tree.
The mirror has no stand.
The Buddha-nature is always clear and pure.
Where is there room for dust?

level 6
22 hr. ago
· edited 21 hr. ago

In the initial phase of practice, one discovers Clarity as being like a mirror that is untainted by reflections. It is the first glimpse of the Clarity aspect of our buddha nature, but this is not realizing its empty nature, or anatman. (And the analogy can be helpful for pointing towards the initial phases of realizing the Clarity aspect) The analogy usually only gets us that far. The tendency is to get stuck here and then fall into eternalist views like the Atman-Brahman of Hinduism, Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta.The realization of anatman allows us to realize what Khamtrul Rinpoche said in the quotation above, that there is no awareness besides movement and stillness and manifestations, no observer besides the observed, each pairs of opposites or no other than the other and so on. Each is merely conventional and does not exist in and of itself by its own side.

In other words, it is very much like wind and blowing. In delusion wind is being mistaken to be an independent agent of blowing. Lightning is flashing as if lightning is the inherent cause or agent of the action or manifestation called flashing. In truth each is merely a convention of the other, lightning is merely the flash, and wind is merely the blowing. I can cite many Zen teachers and Vajrayana teachers who have explained and elaborated about this point if you are interested.Likewise there is no viewer besides view/manifestation/appearance which are self-seen and luminous. There is no seer or even a seeing besides what's seen, in the seen just the seen (see Bahiya Sutta), in hearing just sound, no hearer, and so on.

/u/krodha explained well almost a decade ago:

"'Self luminous' and 'self knowing' are concepts which are used to convey the absence of a subjective reference point which is mediating the manifestation of appearance. Instead of a subjective cognition or knower which is 'illuminating' objective appearances, it is realized that the sheer exertion of our cognition has always and only been the sheer exertion of appearance itself. Or rather that cognition and appearance are not valid as anything in themselves. Since both are merely fabricated qualities neither can be validated or found when sought. This is not a union of subject and object, but is the recognition that the subject and object never arose in the first place [advaya]. ", "The cognition is empty. That is what it means to recognize the nature of mind [sems nyid]. The clarity [cognition] of mind is recognized to be empty, which is sometimes parsed as the inseparability of clarity and emptiness, or nondual clarity and emptiness." - Kyle Dixon, 2014

IMO at this point the mirror analogy fails us and isn't really helpful. Because a mirror is not feeling the reflection. Awareness is truly not like that, when anatman is realized. In hearing sound, there is just sound... the whole of sound... fully experienced... It is always the reflection. Fully felt and tasted... Separation is simply a mistaken view. So how can a mirror be a good example? Instead it is misleading people turning away from realising what exactly is clarity. There is in truth, not a hairbreadths of distinction between 'awareness' and 'appearance'.

What actually one wants to emphasize is the non-arisen unborn nature of sound... instead we created a mirror and mislead people to look at the mirror and neglect the reflection. Distancing further from directly and effortlessly experiencing what we called "awareness" and also misleading people from see non-arisen from DO [dependent origination] view.

To me, to be without dual is not to subsume into one and although awareness is negated, it is not to say there is nothing.

Negating the Awareness/Presence (Absolute) is not to let Awareness remain at the abstract level. When such transpersonal Awareness that exists only in wonderland is negated, the vivid radiance of presence are fully tasted in the transient appearances; zero gap and zero distance between presence and moment to moment of ordinary experiences and we realize separation has always only been conventional.

Then mundane activities -- hearing, sitting, standing, seeing and sensing, become pristine and vibrant, natural and free.

Lastly I wanted to quote several Zen masters, Dzogchen masters, and Mahamudra masters, Theravada, etc because ultimately they all agree on this point (at least those that have realised anatman -- although many do not), but I feel it will be too much, too long for a post and I do not know what is specifically relevant to you. Are you a Mahamudra practitioner? Do you know of Thrangu Rinpoche?

He said, among many excerpts, "... If we look for a perceiver, we won’t find one. We do think, but if we look into the thinker, trying to find that which thinks, we do not find it. Yet, at the same time, we do see and we do think. The reality is that seeing occurs without a seer and thinking without a thinker. This is just how it is; this is the nature of the mind. The Heart Sutra sums this up by saying that “form is emptiness,” because whatever we look at is, by nature, devoid of true existence. At the same time, emptiness is also form, because the form only occurs as emptiness. Emptiness is no other than form and form is no other than emptiness. This may appear to apply only to other things, but when applied to the mind, the perceiver, one can also see that the perceiver is emptiness and emptiness is also the perceiver. Mind is no other than emptiness; emptiness is no other than mind. This is not just a concept; it is our basic state.

The reality of our mind may seem very deep and difficult to understand, but it may also be something very simple and easy because this mind is not somewhere else. It is not somebody else’s mind. It is your own mind. It is right here; therefore, it is something that you can know. When you look into it, you can see that not only is mind empty, it also knows; it is cognizant. All the Buddhist scriptures, their commentaries and the songs of realization by the great siddhas express this as the “indivisible unity of emptiness and cognizance,” or “undivided empty perceiving,” or “unity of empty cognizance.” No matter how it is described, this is how our basic nature really is. It is not our making. It is not the result of practice. It is simply the way it has always been.Source: Crystal Clear ...",

"Next is pointing out the mind within appearances, which is the twenty-fourth topic, and this is a presentation of what is an authentic experience of the relationship between mind and appearances.When you are meditating and looking at the mind within appearances, then you may have the experience that, while the perceived objects and the perceiving mind do not seem in any way to disappear or cease to exist and are, in a sense, still present, when you actively look at them, you do not find anything in either that exists separate from the other. And in that way, when looking at the mind that experiences appearances, you find that there is nothing in that mind to fix upon as a truly existent subject or apprehender, yet the mind still appears to experience. And when you look at the perceived objects, while they do not disappear and while you are looking at them, they remain vivid appearances that are without anything in them anywhere that you can fix upon as existing separate from the experience of the nonduality of appearances and mind. This nonduality of appearance and mind is held to be the authentic experience or recognition of the mind within appearances.

Source: Pointing out the Dharmakaya"

Lastly, Hui-Neng's mirror is without a stand poem does not reflect great awakening. It only reflects the initial awakening to Clarity.

I wrote this before:

Huineng's initial poem only expresses I AM, which was why 5th patriarch was still unimpressed. This is the point made by John Tan, and my Taiwanese teacher, and a few Mahayana teachers I've seen.

I explained in 2014:

Nope. Huineng simply realized the I AM at that time. The 5th patriarch rubbed his no-mirror-stand poem off with his feet saying that too is not an expression of great realization, told him to go meet him at midnight with a cryptic message from his staff. Upon meeting, the 5th patriarch explained the Diamond Sutra, and upon hearing the verse "giving rise to an unsupported mind" he realized "great awakening". This is written in chapter 1 of Platform Sutra

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Its important to note that at the time Hui-neng wrote the no-mirror-stand (not no-mirror) quote, he has not yet attained great enlightenment. It is more like a realization of the formless I AM, and how the I AM is fundamentally void of sensory/mental obscurations. But this is still way better than Shenxiu, who was still talking from the viewpoint of purifying the mind through shamatha, without any realization of his Mind. Hui-neng's great enlightenment occurred later on.

A better translation (by me):


Bodhi (Awareness/Mind/Self) is originally without tree


The Clear Mirror (Awareness/Mind) is not a Stand


Originally (in the Source) there is not one phenomena


Where does dust alight?

.... long excerpt snipped. more citations in following post.
level 7
21 hr. ago

“It is not only about recognizing the reflections as reflections, but also recognizing that there is no mirror (no mind)!” - Yogi Prabodha Jnana, teacher from the Dzogchen lineage

* [8:44 AM, 11/15/2020] John Tan: Yogi Prabodha Jnana is very good and clear

[11:58 AM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. you just read something in it?

[12:20 PM, 11/15/2020] John Tan: I think he visited atr also

[12:20 PM, 11/15/2020] John Tan: Lol

[12:43 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah from the start he already told me.. years ago

[12:43 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: He said the things i post are interesting, am i a teacher?

[12:43 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: I said no im not a dharma teacher lol

[12:43 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Then he liked the post i posted by Yasutani Roshi on no mirror

[12:52 PM, 11/15/2020] John Tan: you communicated with Yogi Prabodha Jnana years ago?

[12:54 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: He said your stages are in line with the essence of buddhism

[12:54 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Haha

[1:01 PM, 11/15/2020] John Tan: Yes I find his teachings very interesting also.

[1:02 PM, 11/15/2020] John Tan: His emphasis on anatta and no mirror especially.

[1:05 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Ic.. yeah

[1:11 PM, 11/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: his partner Abhaya Devi Yogini is also clear about it
“「苦樂 升沉」包括痛麻癢…這些都是,這表示不是特別有一個三昧,各位修了就可以進入,未修就不能進入;或是說有所成就的人才有寶鏡三昧,不是!不管是佛還是凡 夫,有情、無情、饅頭、鑽石、唱歌、走路…皆是,到底什麼意思?
"The rise and fall of suffering and joy" including pain, numbness and itch... these are all it, this means it is not that there is a special samadhi, in which everybody can practice to enter, or that those who have not practiced are unable to enter it. Nor is it the case that only someone accomplished is able to obtain the jewel mirror samadhi, not so! It does not matter if one is a Buddha or a sentient being, sentient or insentient, steam bun, diamond, singing, walking... all is it, what does this mean?
With accurate vision, the entire universe is a piece of Jewel Mirror Samadhi. Because it is one piece, there is no perceiver nor perceived.
If you interpret that as a mirror, then you'll enter straight into hell.
你把他當作一面鏡子 解釋,是解釋哦,一解釋的話,你就把他當作是對像去解說,那當然奇怪了,一面鏡子照的當然是影子,這樣分開來的話就完全錯了。
If you explain it as a mirror, you'll be treating it as an object, that would of course be odd. What a mirror reflects would of course be a reflection, it would be erroneous to delineate/separate in this way.
「入地獄如矢」就是馬上錯掉 了,不可以把他當作這樣去解釋。『不見言』是沒有聽說過嗎?『山河不在鏡中見,山河草木即鏡』,你聽到「全宇宙是一枚寶鏡三昧」,就把三昧當作是一副鏡 子,這樣就很容易錯掉了。所以他強調「山河草木不在鏡中見,山河草木就是鏡子」。千萬不要把你所看的、所覺受的當作是鏡中的影子,不可以這樣講,山河大地 本身都是鏡子,不是鏡中的影子。
"Entering straight into hell" means instantly falling into error, we cannot explain it that way. Haven't you heard of it? "Mountains and rivers are not seen within a mirror, mountains and rivers are themselves the mirror." When you heard "the whole universe is a piece of Jewel Mirror Samadhi", and you treat that as a mirror, it is very easy to err. Therefore he emphasizes, "mountains and rivers are not within a mirror, mountains, rivers, grasses and wood are the mirror." Never treat what you saw and sensed as being reflections of a mirror, we cannot explain it that way. Mountains, rivers, and the great earth are themselves the mirror, not the reflections of a mirror.
所以各位看到的、聽到的,你千萬不要以為是大圓鏡智所現,有一面法界法性的鏡子所現 的,隨你的因緣果報不同而現出的影子,這樣解說就完全錯掉了。看到、聽到、摸到、想到的通通都是鏡子,包括你自己,整個都是鏡子!這點不要誤會了。
Therefore, do not think that whatever you see and hear are the manifestations of the Great Mirror Wisdom, as if there is a universal mirror that is reflecting the reflections according to your causes and conditions/karma, such explanations are false. Whatever you see, hear, sense, think are entirely the mirror, including yourself - in their entirety they are all the mirror. Do not be mistaken on this point.” - Zen Master Hong Wen Liang (洪文亮老師) (my longer translation here:


“The actual experience of enlightenment comes springing forth in the realm of true oneness. And with that, one sometimes cries out in astonishment. One becomes aware that the whole universe is just the single seamless stupa. It's not some simplistic kind of thing like a reflection in a mirror.

"Mountains and rivers are not seen in a mirror." It's not that mountains, rivers, and the earth are reflected in one's mind-mirror. That's okay when we are using metaphors for thoughts and consciousness. But what we are speaking of now is the realm of the actual experience of enlightenment. The self is the mountains, rivers, and earth; the self is the sun and moon and the stars.

The great earth has not

A single lick of soil;

New Year's first smile.

"Not another person in the whole universe." One side is all there is, without a second or third to be found anywhere. If one calls this subject, everything is subject and that's all. There is no object anywhere. It's the true mind-only. It's snatching away away the objective world but not the person. If one calls this object, everything is object and that's all. There is no subject anywhere. It's snatching away the person but not the objective world. It's the true matter-only. Whichever one you say, only the label changes and it is the same thing. While Dogen Zenji calls this completely self, he also calls it completely other. It's all self. It's all other. This is the meaning of "when one side is realized the other side is dark." This is also called "one side exhausts everything." It's the whole thing, being complete with one, exhausting everything with one." - Zen Master Hakuun Yasutani, "Flowers Fall"

"When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illumined the other side is dark." - Zen Master Dogen

Xue Feng said, “To comprehend this matter, it is similar to the ancient mirror – Hu comes, Hu appears; Han comes, Han appears.” Xuan Sha heard this and said, “Suddenly the mirror is broken, then how?” “Hu and Han both disappear.” Xuan Sha said, “Old monk’s heels have not touched ground yet.” Jian says instead, “Hu and Han are actualized/manifest.”


Seppo: “My concrete state is like one face of the eternal mirror. When a foreigner comes, a foreigner appears. When a Chinaman comes, a Chinaman appears. Gensa: If suddenly a clear mirror comes along, what then? Seppo: The foreigner and the Chinaman both become invisible. Gensa: I am not like that. Seppo: How is it in your case…If a clear mirror comes along, what then? Gensa: Smashed into hundreds of bits and pieces.” Dôgen comments: “…the truth should be expressed like that.”

level 7
21 hr. ago

On Dzogchen and Longchenpa, etc:

John Tan: He goes on to point out that self-occuring primordial

knowing lacks most of the qualities associated with the Yogacara svasaf!1vedana - its

alleged reality, internality, reflexivity, self-evidence, and accessibility to introspection - but

then cautions that "should one become attached to these [rDzogs chen gnoseological] terms

as denoting something real, you won 't find any difference from the Cittamatra conception of

svasaf!1vedana, that is, the cognition which is devoid of subject-object duality and which is

simply auto-illumination.,,247 In highlighting the many drawbacks of reifying the mental,

Klong chen pa rules out any basis for confusing the gnoseological and mentalist conceptions

of self-awareness : for the idealist, self-awareness is a real entity having real characteristics,

whereas for the rDzogs chen pa, it is simply a vivid auto-manifestation, a process lacking

any reality whatsoever.

Soh: What book is this?

John Tan: The Philosophical Foundations of

Classical rDzogs chen in Tibet

Investigating the Distinction Between Dualistic Mind

(sems) and Primordial knowing (ye shes)

David Higgins

( Soh: )


Tan:I like this book. Clarifies most of the dzogchen terms and clear

lystates that longchenpa rejects self-reflective awareness

distinguishing dzogchen from yogacara. And in line with anatta

insight. To longchenpa self-awareness "is simply a vivid

auto-manifestation, a process lacking any reality whatsoever".

John Tan: According to the viewpoint of this system, he says, all phenomena

are self-luminous in the state of great primordial knowing like light in the sky, having

always been the very essence of this self-occuring primorial knowing which remains

naturally free from causes and conditions .263


"It is possible, Klong chen pa suggests, to simply recognize this

nondual self­occuring primordial knowing in its pristine nakedness (rjen

pa sang nge ba) - both as it

abides in its naked clarity and as it

continuously manifests as myriad objects - without hypostatizing it.273

For so long as "one thinks of the abiding and manifesting of cognition

as two different things and talks about [the experience of] 'settling

in the nonconceptual essence' [but also of] 'preserving the expressive

energy as being free in its arising' , one's practice goes in two

directions and one fails to understand the key point."

Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, Dzogchen teacher:

“…In the cycle of teachings of Maitreya and the writings of the great charioteer Asaṅga, whose thinking is one and the same, it is taught that individuals on the level of earnest aspiration first understand that all phenomena are simply the mind. Subsequently they have the experience that there is no object to be apprehended in the mind. Then, at the stage of the supreme mundane level on the path of joining, they realize that because there is no object, neither is there a subject, and immediately after that, they attain the first level with the direct realization of the truth of ultimate reality devoid of the duality of subject and object. As for things being only the mind, the source of the dualistic perception of things appearing as environment, sense objects, and a body is the consciousness of the ground of all, which is accepted as existing substantially on the conventional level but is taught as being like a magical illusion and so on since it appears in a variety of ways while not existing dualistically. For this reason, because this tradition realizes, perfectly correctly, that the nondual consciousness is devoid of any truly existing entities and of characteristics, the ultimate intentions of the charioteers of Madhyamaka and Cittamātra should be considered as being in agreement… …So, if this so-called “self-illuminating nondual consciousness” asserted by the Cittamātrins is understood to be a consciousness that is the ultimate of all dualistic consciousnesses, and it is merely that its subject and object are inexpressible, and if such a consciousness is understood to be truly existent and not intrinsically empty, then it is something that has to be refuted. If, on the other hand, that consciousness is understood to be unborn from the very beginning (i.e. empty), to be directly experienced by reflexive awareness, and to be self-illuminating gnosis without subject or object, it is something to be established….”


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level 2
Op ·
2 days ago

How is the background for the film--the thing that's able to perceive it--always there?
level 3
1 day ago

Buddha nature should not be mistaken as a background, that is the atman view of non Buddhists.

As Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith explained,

Excerpts from

gad rgyangs wrote: I dunno Malcolm, the basis is more like the backdrop against which any appearances appear, including any consciousness. Also, what sense would it make to say "rigpa is one's knowledge of the basis" if that basis was one's own continuum? the basis is pure no-thing as abgrund of all phenomena. Consciousness is always a phenomenon.

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

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

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

Or as the Great Garuda has it when refuting Madhyamaka:

Since phenomena and nonphenomena have always been merged and are inseparable, there is no further need to explain an “ultimate phenomenon”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gad rgyangs wrote: When all appearances cease, what are you left with?

Malcolm wrote: They never cease....

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

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

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

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

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


Malcolm wrote: Yes, I understand. All awarenesses are conditioned. There is no such thing as a universal undifferentiated ultimate awareness in Buddhadharma. Even the omniscience of a Buddha arises from a cause.

PadmaVonSamba wrote: isn't this cause, too, an object of awareness? Isn't there awareness of this cause? If awareness of this cause is awareness itself, then isn't this awareness of awareness? What causes awareness of awareness, if not awareness?

If awareness is the cause of awareness, isn't it its own cause?

Malcolm wrote: Omniscience is the content of a mind freed of afflictions. Even the continuum of a Buddha has a relative ground, i.e. a the rosary or string of moments of clarity is beginingless.

Origination from self is axiomatically negated in Buddhadharma,

Each moment in the continuum of a knowing clarity is neither the same as nor different than the previous moment. Hence the cause of a given instant of a knowing clarity cannot be construed to be itself nor can it be construed to be other than itself. This is the only version of causation which, in the final analysis, Buddhadharma can admit to on a relative level. It is the logical consequence of the Buddha's insight, "When this exists, that exists, with the arising of that, this arose."

PadmaVonSamba wrote: I am not referring to cognition, rather, the causes of that cognition.

Malcolm wrote: Cognitions arise based on previous cognitions. That's all.

If you suggest anything other than this, you wind up in Hindu La la land.

Malcolm wrote: There is no such thing as a universal undifferentiated ultimate awareness in Buddhadharma.


"One, whoever told you rig pa is not part of the five aggregates? Rig pa is knowledge of your own state. In its impure form one's own state manifests as the five aggregates; in its pure form, it manifests as the five buddha families.

Nagārjuna resolves this issue through using the eight examples. There is no substantial transmission, but there is serial continuity, like lighting a fire from another fire, impressing a seal on a document and so on. See his verses on dependent origination:

All migrating beings are causes and results. but here there are no sentient beings at all; just empty phenomena entirely produced from phenomena that are only empty, phenomena without a self and what belongs to a self, [like] utterances, lamps, mirrors, seals, lenses, seeds, sourness and echoes. Although the aggregates are serially connected, the wise are understand that nothing transfers. Also, the one who imputes annihilation upon extremely subtle existents, is not wise, and will not see the meaning of ‘arising from conditions’."


“The relative is not "reliant" on the ultimate, since they are just different cognitions of the same entity, one false, the other veridical. There is no separate entity called "buddhanature" that can be established to exist in a sentient being composed of the five aggregates. If one should assert this is so, this position will be no different than the atman of the nonbuddhists.”


Continued below
level 4
1 day ago


There is no "experiencer" since there is no agent. There is merely experience, and all experience is empty.

Why should there be someone upon whom karma ripens? To paraphrase the Visuddhimagga, there is no agent of karma, nor is there a person to experience its ripening, there is merely a flow of dharmas.


There are no agents. There are only actions. This is covered in the refutation of moving movers in chapter two of the MMK.


The point is that there is no point to eternalism if there is no eternal agent or object.

Lukeinaz wrote: ↑Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:39 pm

"In non dual contemplation there is neither experience or experiencer. This itself is real experience."


Yes, and this is just the message of the Prajñapāramitā Sūtras, since of course, the meaning of the Great Perfection is exactly the same as the Prajñapāramitā Sūtras, the only difference is the method of arriving at that meaning.


  • Soh Wei Yu
    (6:01 PM) Thusness: when u r toking about mindfulness, it can range from stage 4 - 5.
    (6:01 PM) Thusness: din i write about stage 4 as mirror bright?
    (6:01 PM) AEN: ya
    (6:01 PM) Thusness: i have written so clear 😛
    (6:01 PM) Thusness: ehehehhe
    (6:01 PM) AEN: icic..
    (6:01 PM) AEN: actually stage 1 and 2 no mindfulness ah
    (6:01 PM) Thusness: yes
    (6:02 PM) Thusness: but there is experience of Presence. [Soh: Even at Thusness Stage 1 to 2]
    (6:02 PM) Thusness: a mirror but not attached to the reflection. [Soh: Thusness Stage 1 to 4]
    (6:02 PM) Thusness: to there is no mirror! [Soh: Thusness Stage 5]
    (6:03 PM) Thusness: only manifestation alone is. [Soh: Thusness Stage 5]
    (6:03 PM) AEN: oic
    (6:03 PM) Thusness: completely break that mirror.
    (6:03 PM) AEN: icic..
    (6:03 PM) Thusness: then that is non-dual.
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    • Soh Wei Yu
      I also said, "that particular [long] message about mirror is because i wanted to explain in details with citations
      'regular bee' is vedantin in view.. its sad that many Buddhists are following teachers that are vedantins in disguise
      so I hope to provide them with more quotes from other teachers that show the true buddhist view
      im personally not some famous teacher, so its unlikely they will believe my words unless they see that all those other masters are agreeing with me"
      Vedanta's great and was helpful in my earlier years, but confusing it with Buddhism is doing Buddhadharma a great disservice. Buddha was known to repudiate his students strongly like Bhikkhu Sati for holding wrong eternalist views about consciousness.
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