Showing posts with label Mason Spransy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mason Spransy. Show all posts

Mason Spransy had a breakthrough after a conversation with him on The Importance of Luminosity

[Disclaimer from Mason: these writings should not be taken as evidence or claim to any kind of awakening or realization. A lasting breakthrough of some kind did occur shortly after writing the below, but so did a challenging episode of mental illness. I believe there was also an element of seeking approval from others. For these reasons, I am not comfortable making any sort of claim to attainment. Thanks to Soh for being kind and helpful throughout all this.]

Mason Spransy:

When the perception that there's something "behind" phenomena - either in the front (as a witness) or in the back (as an object) - falls away, phenomena are no longer appearances but become immediately the things themselves. Their suchness is what they are. Nothing is hidden. This visual appearance of a teacup or a couch IS the teacup or the couch. Because nothing is represented in the arising of colors and sounds, consciousness is identical to reality itself. This is what it means to directly taste things. 

Wouldn't it be nice, when eating a strawberry, to go beyond the tongue and taste the strawberry's true essence? Well, actually the tongue cannot taste. The tongue is powerless to make anything like "taste" happen; the tongue, too, lacks support. When the tongue touches the strawberry, every texture and flavor of the strawberry is the simultaneous knowing of every texture and flavor of the strawberry's essence.

Because the ten thousand things lack true essence, everything in the entire universe becomes immediately the essence of itself. There is only one taste in the whole of the cosmos, and that taste is what we call "the cosmos." Allow everything to completely dissolve into the texture of suchness, and infinite essences come forth to proclaim the one teaching: there is no essence in the entire world.


I like writing verse to express and clarify my insights, especially in the few hours proceeding a breakthrough or opening. Here is one which expresses what I discovered today.

Unhindered, reality-less,
I go about my business.
Suchness does not know
the rain outside my window.
Naturalness prevails,
happening, happening.
The happening is no occasion
to conceive of anything existing;
the disappearing is no time
to think of anything lost.
Only see that ceasing things
were never really real;
Only see that happenings
are bubbles made of air.

My Comments: Mason's post reminded me of Dogen somehow -


“The ways of viewing mountains and waters are different depending upon what kind of beings we are. There are some beings that view water as a jewel. However, this does not mean that they view a jewel [for human beings] as water. How do we see what they view as water? What they see as a jewel is what we see as water. Some beings see water as wondrous flowers. But they do not use flowers [for human beings] as water. Hungry ghosts view water as raging fire or as pus and blood. Dragons and fish view it as a palace or a lofty building. [Some beings] see it as the seven treasures or the mani jewel. [Others] see it as a forest or walls, or as the dharma nature of immaculate liberation, or as the true human body, or as body as the form and mind as the nature. Human beings view it as water. And these [different ways of viewing] are the conditions under which [water] is killed or given life.

Thus the views of different beings are diverse depending upon their karmic conditions. We should question this for now. Should we think that each being views one and same object in different ways? Or do all kind of beings make a mistake when we see that various different forms we see as one and same objects? We should inquire further on the top of our efforts of inquiry. Therefore, our practice/realization as engaging the Way should not be only one way or two ways. The ultimate realm has onethousand or ten thousand of ways."


Soh Wei Yu Well said, Mason Spransy


Those who know a speck of dust know the entire universe; those who penetrate a single dharma penetrate all dharmas. If you do not pentrate all dharmas, you do not penetrate a dharma. When you understand the meaning of penetration (tsu) and thereby penetrate thoroughly, you discern all dharmas as well as a single dharma. For this reason, while you study a speck of dust, you study the whole universe without fail.

(Eighei Dogen: Mystical Realist, Hee-Jin Kim)
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Mason wrote "Do not be lax."


"Though one should live a hundred years
As a lazy, sluggish person,
Better it is to live a single day
Firmly arousing one’s energy."
(Dhammapada 112)
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Thusness:

"There is the self that arises from conceptual reification, seeing through that with anatta insight is entry point.

There is the self that arises in marketplace, in day to day activities, anatta of that is graduation."

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Soh Wei Yu
Write a reply...
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Conversation with Thusness in 2013:

23/6/13 12:49:25 AM: John Tan: Insight of anatta is rare

23/6/13 12:49:40 AM: John Tan: But must go with right view

23/6/13 12:57:31 AM: John Tan: For u now u r still looking for recognition and authentication from someone.
23/6/13 12:58:03 AM: Soh Wei Yu: Lol not really... The more I look around the more disappointed I am 😛
23/6/13 12:58:33 AM: John Tan: Not "not really", it is a fact.
23/6/13 12:59:25 AM: Soh Wei Yu: I don't think I need authentication and don't think I can find authentication when so few people realize anatta like u said

23/6/13 1:01:10 AM: John Tan: Lol I told ur mum when I first met her.
23/6/13 1:01:54 AM: John Tan: Still b humble.
23/6/13 1:02:03 AM: Soh Wei Yu: Lol ok
23/6/13 1:02:48 AM: John Tan: Yet anatta is just the beginning
23/6/13 1:03:37 AM: John Tan: Currently anatta is quite stable but self-releasing is still intellectual
23/6/13 1:04:57 AM: John Tan: Anyway my self releasing may not b the same as self-liberation in dzogchen
23/6/13 1:05:10 AM: John Tan: Will talk abt that when we meet up
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu An interesting thing about AF is that according to Daniel many of the AF claimants back then reported getting lessened need for sleep but Daniel Ingram did not. YMMV. My sleep is not too affected after anatta (about 7 hours, like Daniel) but Thusness sleeps only 4-5 hours a day and that is enough for him. Some people encounter insomnia in I AMness due partly to the attachment to Presence or Luminosity as Self, but it seems even anatta breakthrough can have effect on sleep. Buddha himself sleeps only 1 hour a night. But that is different from us and we should not try to replicate that effect or mistaken insomnia for attainment.

In any case Thusness wrote in 2006 and 2007,


Yes Longchen,

Very well said. There never was a gap, it can't be. It is one whole flow and nothing else. When there is one, there is two. When the one subsides, nothing isn't the one Reality.

Clear transparency of the One Reality also has its problem. An illumination into the non-duality without certain pre-requiste can cause problems. There is always habitual propensities that will again make this experience an object of attachment. It can cause a person to go without sleep as the body is incapable of dealing with this new found experience. Many have mistaken this to be a heightening of awareness and took it as a natural progression. This is not true. Whenever this happens, know that it is due to attachment. Learn how to let go of everything until a tranquil calmness arise, it has got to do with our thought patterns, there must come this willingness to let go of our body completely, then our thoughts and the experience of presence...completely letting go from moment to moment...the senses and thoughts can be shut by this art of letting go and non-attachment. Total letting go and vivid Presence must fuse into one.

Practice during the waking state till the there is no single trace of doubt that there is absolutely no one there, no inner and no outer, just the incredible realness and vividness of the manifestation. The experience of non-dual in the waking state. Witnessing dreams and there is no witness, just dreams is different. Dealing with the more subtle states and pre-conscious propensites require one to master this art of non-attachment, non-action. There is no conscious way of dealing with the more subtle states, just stabilized the experience and allow the momentum to carry us naturally into the dream and deep sleep. Sleep well.



To find one that can completely surrender and totally be is extremely rare. Not even one in millions. Yet in deep sleep, all has to let go. How can one be denied such a precious state of beingness.

For a person that has experienced no-self (non-duality), deep sleep is even more important. It is the completion of a full cycle of non-duality and natural beingness.

But this may not be the case for one that clings to the "Eternal Witnessing". There is a very subtle holding in them for mantaining this witnessing subconciously thereby denying them from naturally going into deep sleep. If it reaches a point that presents itself as a problem, it is a signal to the practitioner that it is time to let go and dissolve the holding of the Witness, the center. It will be tough to simply try just "let go" of the center and if this is the case, an insight into our "emptiness nature" may help.

Only after going through a full cycle of natural non-duality and beingness in all three states will a practitioner sleep be shorten. I called this the second cycle of non-duality.


Fade away and appreciate "no where". Sleep well!
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Also Thusness wrote to me in Sept 2010 when I was in my one mind phase:

Hi Simpo and AEN,

Yet we cannot get carried away by all these blissful experiences. Blissfulness is the result of luminosity whereas liberation is due to prajna wisdom. 🙂
For intense luminosity in the foreground, you will not only have vivid experience of ‘brilliant aliveness’, ‘you’ must also completely disappear. It is an experience of being totally ‘transparent’ and without boundaries. These experiences are quite obvious, u will not miss it. However the body-mind will not rest in great content due to an experience of intense luminosity. Contrary it can make a practitioner more attach to a non-dual ultimate luminous state.
For the mind to rest, it must have an experience of ‘great dissolve’ that whatever arises perpetually self liberates. It is not about phenomena dissolving into some great void but it is the empty nature of whatever arises that self-liberates. It is the direct experience of groundlessness and non –abiding due to direct insight of the empty nature of phenomena and that includes the non-dual luminous essence.
Therefore In addition to bringing this ‘taste’ to the foreground, u must also ‘realize’ the difference between wrong and right view. There is also a difference in saying “Different forms of Aliveness” and “There is just breath, sound, scenery...magical display that is utterly unfindable, ungraspable and without essence- empty.”
In the former case, realize how the mind is manifesting a subtle tendency of attempting to ‘pin’ and locate something that inherently exists. The mind feels uneasy and needs to seek for something due to its existing paradigm. It is not simply a matter of expression for communication sake but a habit that runs deep because it lacks a ‘view’ that is able to cater for reality that is dynamic, ungraspable, non-local , center-less and interdependent.
After direct realization of the non-dual essence and empty nature, the mind can then have a direct glimpse of what is meant by being ‘natural’, otherwise there will always be a ‘sense of contrivance’.
My 2 cents and have fun with ur army life. 🙂
Edited by Thusness 12 Sep `10, 12:56PM



"In the same way, clouting in zazen is of the utmost value. To be jolted physically by the kyosaku stick or verbally by a perceptive teacher at the right time--if it is too early, it is ineffective--can bring about Self-realization. Not only is the kyosaku valuable for spurring you on, but when you have reached a decisive stage in you zazen a hard whack can precipitate your mind into an awareness of its true nature--in other words, enlightenment.
When this happened to Enyadatta she was so elated that she rushed around exclaiming: "Oh, I've got it! I have my head after all! I'm so happy!"
This is the rapture of kensho. If the experience is genuine, you cannot sleep for two or three nights our of joy. Nevertheless, it is a half-mad state. To be overjoyed at finding a head you had from the very first is, to say the least , queer. Nor is it less odd to rejoice at the discovery of your Essential-nature, which you have never been without. The ecstasy is genuine enough, but your state of mind cannot be called natural until you have fully disabused yourself of the notions, "I have become enlightened." Mark this point well, for it is often misunderstood.
As her joy subsided Enyadatta recovered from her half-mad state.
So it is with satori. When your delirium of delight recedes, taking with it all thoughts of realization, you settle into a truly natural life and there is nothing queer about it. Until you reach this point, however, it is impossible to live in harmony with your environment or to continue on a course of true spiritual practice.
I shall now point out more specifically the significance of the first part of the story. Since most people are indifferent to enlightenment, they are ignorant of the possibility of such an experience. They are like Enyadatta when she was unconscious of her head as such. This "head," of course, corresponds to the Buddha-nature, to our innate perfection. That they evey have a Buddha-nature never occurs to most people until they hear Shujo honrai hotoke nari--"All beings are endowed with Buddha-nature from the very first." Suddenly they exclaim: "Then I too must have the Buddha-nature! But where is it? Thus like Enyadatta when she first missed her head and started rushing about looking for it, they commence their search for their True nature.
They begin by listening to various teisho, which seem contradictory and puzzling. They hear that their Essential-nature is no different from the Buddha's--more, that the substance of the universe is coextensive with their own Buddha-nature--yet because their mind are clouded with delusion they see themselves confronted by a world of individual entities. Once they establish firm belief in the reality of the Buddha-nature, they are driven to discover it with all the force of their being. Just as Enyadatta was never without her head, so are we never separate from our essential Buddha-nature whether we are enlightened or not. But of this we are unaware. We are like Enyadatta when her friends told her: "Don't be absurd, you have always had your head. It is an illusion to think otherwise."
The discovery of our True-nature can be compared to Enyadatta's discovery of her head. But what have we discovered? Only that we have never been without it! Nonetheless we are ecstatic, as she was at the finding of her head. When the ecstasy recedes, we realize we have acquired nothing extraordinary, and certainly nothing peculiar. Only now everything is utterly natural."

-- recommended reading, Yasutani-roshi's Introductory Lectures on Zen Training (it's a practical text on Zazen and Koan training)

Thusness wrote:

[5:11 PM, 12/25/2018] John Tan: I also have the same experience ... Lol
[5:12 PM, 12/25/2018] John Tan: In I AM, one non-dual mind, anatta and total exertion
[5:16 PM, 12/25/2018] John Tan: Most intense is anatta, explosion of luminous intensity into 3 states into meditative experiences into 3 states and several episodes of dreams of clarity...but even then never go beyond 90 days cycle... that's y I tell u always wait for 90 days cycle. 

Not long after the conversation below, Mason had a breakthrough: Suchness / Mason Spransy


Mason Spransy: Soh Wei Yu, I want to first of all say that your (and Thusness's) writings have been instrumental in my own spiritual development over the years, in particular with regards to going further than the I AM realization. Later I was pointed to the correct way of reading suttas, thanks to Stian, where I believe the authentic meaning of total, unsurpassable Awakening is made radiantly clear. I don't even think the Mahayana emptiness teachings approach the profundity of the twelve-link analysis, but that's a discussion for another day, as I clarify and refine my understanding of those teachings and their relationships.

I do want to bring up something to get your take on it. In my opinion, the I AM is not in fact a realization, or a stage of enlightenment, but is simply delusion through-and-through. Yes, the space between thoughts is an empty radiance, but nothing at all like the empty radiance of dharmakaya - in other words, the empty radiance which is the nature of all phenomena. No space between thoughts or anything else is required, because reality has always been nothing but the basic space of emptiness.

You say that one should first attain the I AM and then proceed to anatta, DO, and emptiness. And furthermore this is presented on your blog as a stage of awakening, continuous in some sense with the rest of the path to full awakening. While I agree that one should explore the perception of unbounded consciousness, there is no reason to ever mistake it as anything more than another perception which arises and ceases. In fact, the only good reason to attend to such a perception in the first place is to understand it in terms of dependent origination. Seeing the dependently originated, fabricated nature of luminous Presence can incline one's mind to the deathless element. And of course the deathless should never ever be confused with Presence, because the deathless is only deathless because it is birthless - it is impossible to die when there is no conception of "I am." That's why it is called the unprovoked awareness release; nothing needs to change or happen because everything is originally pure, having nothing to do with a self or self's.

This plays into another disagreement I have with your writings, which present Awakening as something happening in stages. In my view, there is only one Awakening, which is called arahantship in Theravada and Buddhahood in Mahayana. Stream-winners, once-returners and non-returners are all described in the suttas as being "headed" towards Awakening, not partial awakenings. In the sutras, Bodhisattvas up to the twelfth bhumi are said to perceive buddha nature as if through a veil. Of course this might seem to be a semantic issue, but it's important due to the nature of Awakening as unprovoked. Awakening is what Buddha described as the "steep drop off" on the gradual path. If Nirvana is not the total, permanent cessation of suffering then it isn't anything at all but an arising and passing phenomenon. It's extremely important to understand this, though it does raise the bar considerably. It's not clear to me that any awakened people walk the earth today.

Now, I do believe that the stages on your blog represent refinements of view, but there is no reason to ever "code-switch" between different levels of views, in my opinion. Simply point people to the correct view as best you can - that's all the Buddha ever did, because he knew that if he taught a wrong view it would eventually lead to states of deprivation and immense pain. People who "realize" luminous Presence are reborn in kind with their clinging thereto, and without right view to guide them, they'll take on coarser and coarser rebirths eventually, as lost in samsara as ever. Again, I'm not saying to throw the baby out with the bath water. Tracing thoughts to their source as a method to experience the perception of unbounded consciousness is perfectly valid, but it can be done in a way that totally aligns with right view (anatta, DO, emptiness). Simply understand from the beginning that it is a perception and not your true state. Understand from the beginning that your true state cannot be an experience that comes and goes, full stop.

Furthermore, it needs to be understood what, exactly, is going on when we conceive of "self" in the first place, or for that matter "existence" and "non-existence." We have to penetrate the dependently arisen nature of entity-hood. Not only the fact that it is dependently arisen, but *how*, precisely, it dependently arises. Only with such an understanding can we have a correct idea of full awakening. Only by grasping the arising of birth can we truly understand what it means not to be born. And it all comes down to craving. Craving for sensuality, craving for existence, craving for non-existence. There is no cessation of conceit without the concomitant total cessation of craving and clinging, including any craving for form or formless perception. This is why the four noble truths don't ever mention a self. Instead, it talks about craving and clinging, which are the actual basis for selfing. Anatta is a helpful perception for the ending of craving, but it is a perception, albeit one which reflects the actual nature of things. Seeing anatta truly, craving disappears, being itself dependent on ignorance. The cessation of craving is the true and only deathless element.

Anyways, I would love to hear your take on these issues. And, though it goes without saying, I have boundless gratitude to you for helping me along a path which I do actually believe will make this my last birth.

P.S. You might find it interesting to compare Thusness' seven stages with the seven steps taught by the Buddha in the Sanna Sutta here:
Sañña Sutta: Perceptions
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LH: It may sound naive,but I would like to hear your view on evolution of self consciousness.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu This is a long post so I will need time to go through each point.

You said "I AM is not in fact a realization, or a stage of enlightenment, but is simply delusion through-and-through."

This is not true. What I call I AM realization is in fact, the unfabricated Presence of the Mind aspect. It is the realization that mind is Luminous by essence, whether or not defilements are present. There is doubtless certainty of the aspect of Presence-Awareness, and one no longer feels that it can ever be lost (I no longer felt that I could lose Awareness/Presence/Witness from that point on, and it was no longer a maintenance thing that required access to a state of no-thought). However at the I AM phase, it is only realizing the luminous essence of one sense door (the Mind aspect), and it has not extended to other senses (as in nondual and anatta)

It is realizing the conventional nature of mind, not the ultimate (empty) nature of mind, as Dalai Lama distinguished in his article

Even though mind (whenever mind appears) is always luminous by essence like seawater is always salty, it does not mean that mind is an unconditioned, static Self or entity, unchanging and independent of conditions. The saltiness of seawater does not exist independently and cannot be found apart from the instantiation/manifestation of seawater or tasting seawater, which is conditioned, impermanent and empty. One can realize the conventional nature of mind and misapprehend its ultimate nature (instead of apprehending its empty nature, one conceives inherent existence).

I AM realization is not merely an experience, and it is not merely a state of witnessing.

As Thusness said in 2011:

(5:08 PM) Thusness: what is "I AM"
is it a pce?
is there emotion
is there feeling
is there thought
is there divison or complete stillness?
in hearing there is just sound, just this complete, direct clarity of sound!
so what is "I AM"?
(5:10 PM) Soh Wei Yu: it is the same
just that pure non conceptual thought
(5:10 PM) Thusness: is there 'being'?
(5:11 PM) Soh Wei Yu: no, an ultimate identity is created as an after thought
(5:11 PM) Thusness: indeed
it is the mis-interpretation after that experience that is causing the confusion
that experience itself is pure conscious experience
there is nothing that is impure
that is why it is a sense of pure existence
it is only mistaken due to the 'wrong view'
so it is a pure conscious experience in thought.
(5:13 PM) Soh Wei Yu: oic..
(5:13 PM) Thusness: not sound, taste, touch...etc

(1:01 AM) Thusness: pce is about direct and pure experience of whatever we encounter in sight, sound, taste...
the quality and depth of experience in sound
in contacts
in taste
in scenery
has he truly experience the immense luminous clarity in the senses?
if so, what about 'thought'?
when all senses are shut
the pure sense of existence as it is when the senses are shut.
then with senses open
have a clear understanding
do not compare irrationally without clear understanding

And in 2009 he wrote (before my I AM realization):

1. On Experience and Realization

One of the direct and immediate response I get after reading the articles by Rob Burbea and Rupert is that they missed one very and most important point when talking about the Eternal Witness Experience -- The Realization. They focus too much on the experience but overlook the realization. Honestly I do not like to make this distinction as I see realization also as a form of experience. However in this particular case, it seems appropriate as it could better illustrate what I am trying to convey. It also relates to the few occasions where you described to me your space-like experiences of Awareness and asked whether they correspond to the phase one insight of Eternal Witness. While your experiences are there, I told you ‘not exactly’ even though you told me you clearly experienced a pure sense of presence.

So what is lacking? You do not lack the experience, you lack the realization. You may have the blissful sensation or feeling of vast and open spaciousness; you may experience a non-conceptual and objectless state; you may experience the mirror like clarity but all these experiences are not Realization. There is no ‘eureka’, no ‘aha’, no moment of immediate and intuitive illumination that you understood something undeniable and unshakable -- a conviction so powerful that no one, not even Buddha can sway you from this realization because the practitioner so clearly sees the truth of it. It is the direct and unshakable insight of ‘You’. This is the realization that a practitioner must have in order to realize the Zen satori. You will understand clearly why it is so difficult for those practitioners to forgo this ‘I AMness’ and accept the doctrine of anatta. Actually there is no forgoing of this ‘Witness’, it is rather a deepening of insight to include the non-dual, groundlessness and interconnectedness of our luminous nature. Like what Rob said, "keep the experience but refine the views".

Lastly this realization is not an end by itself, it is the beginning. If we are truthful and not over exaggerate and get carried away by this initial glimpse, we will realize that we do not gain liberation from this realization; contrary we suffer more after this realization. However it is a powerful condition that motivates a practitioner to embark on a spiritual journey in search of true freedom. :)
Happiness, Karma and Mind
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu As for whether I AM phase can be bypassed, the answer is yes, but one will tend to overlook certain aspects. For example Daniel Ingram's MCTB does not go through I AM (but he lists I AM as one of his pure land jhana of all-pervading Presence/Watcher) before the fourth path, however, as Thusness wrote in 2009,
"An interesting point worth mentioning is about the maps and techniques detailed in Daniel's MCTB (Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha). It is a very systematic way of leading one step by step towards the full integration of the transience. It is also the state of "No Mind" in Zen. Paraphrasing from Kenneth, "once we are familiar with the vocabulary, we are effectively talking the same stuff". That said, I think what lacks in the approach of MCTB is an effective way to allow practitioners to have adequate experience of the vividness, realness and presence of Awareness and the full experience of these qualities in the transience. Without which it will not be easy to realize that "the arising and passing sensations are the very awareness itself." A balance is therefore needed, otherwise practitioners may experience equanimity but skew towards dispassion and lack realization."

This is also the reason why Daniel needed to go through AF practice (between 2011-2012) to bring out the luminosity aspect further even though he had certain insights into anatta in MCTB 4th path (skewing towards the first stanza of anatta than the second).

And this is also why as Thusness wrote in 2011,

"Hi Teck Cheong,

What you described is fine and it can be considered vipassana meditation too but you must be clear what is the main objective of practicing that way. Ironically, the real purpose only becomes obvious after the arising insight of anatta. What I gathered so far from your descriptions are not so much about anatta or empty nature of phenomena but are rather drawn towards Awareness practice. So it will be good to start from understanding what Awareness truly is. All the method of practices that u mentioned will lead to a quality of experience that is non-conceptual. You can have non-conceptual experience of sound, taste...etc...but more importantly in my opinion, u should start from having a direct, non-conceptual experience of Awareness (first glimpse of our luminous essence). Once you have a ‘taste’ of what Awareness is, u can then think of ‘expanding’ this bare awareness and gradually understand what does ‘heightening and expanding’ mean from the perspective of Awareness.

Next, although you hear and see ‘non-dual, anatta and dependent origination’ all over the place in An Eternal Now’s forum (the recent Toni Packer’s books you bought are about non-dual and anatta), there is nothing wrong being ‘dualistic’ for a start. Even after direct non-conceptual experience of Awareness, our view will still continue to be dualistic; so do not have the idea that being dualistic is bad although it prevents thorough experience of liberation.

The comment given by Dharma Dan is very insightful but of late, I realized that it is important to have a first glimpse of our luminous essence directly before proceeding into such understanding. Sometimes understanding something too early will deny oneself from actual realization as it becomes conceptual. Once the conceptual understanding is formed, even qualified masters will find it difficult to lead the practitioner to the actual ‘realization’ as a practitioner mistakes conceptual understanding for realization.


The danger of realizing the luminosity aspect first before anatta and emptiness is that the luminosity will certainly get reified without fail due to ignorance.

Even at the I AM phase, Thusness warned me against extrapolation into a universal self and warned me against reinforcing the view of permanence (even though it does seem like a permanent Self at that time) through mentally repeating and confirming its 'permanence'. Instead, Thusness guided me on the four aspects of I AM and the contemplations on non dual and anatta got me to further stages without getting stuck in the formless.

If there is proper guidance (or at least strong view), the I AM phase is not dangerous, but if there is no guidance, one can indeed get stuck there.
Emptiness as Viewless View and Embracing the Transience
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu mistyped: *not merely a state of witnessing
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu There are those that have very clear understanding of sunyata, and yet lack direct taste of PCE and luminosity and clear realization of anatta (direct realization of radiance/effulgence in/as transience), and in that case the luminosity must come up in later phases. But for those who went through I AM phase first, there is not much danger of missing out the luminosity aspect of direct realization, and it is just a path of letting that luminosity's taste and nature unfold into complete freedom from fabrication and effortless, spontaneous perfection.

As Thusness also wrote in 2011:

Thusness: now what pegembara said is more like sunyata
Thusness: and emptiness
Thusness: but that is understand
Soh: Ic..
Thusness: understanding
Thusness: it is like dharma dan
Thusness: the intensity of luminosity is not fully appreciated
Soh: Oic but dharma dan does have realization right
Thusness: u don't get what i mean
Soh: Ic
Soh: U mean like the insight is there but not the depth of experience
Thusness: no
Thusness: i mean luminosity
Soh: Oic
Thusness: u r too worried about who is realized and who is not
Thusness: and completely missing the essence of what that is being conveyed
Soh: Ic
Thusness: if no one is there to point out to u, then u can get stuck for a very long period
Thusness: so u must be pay more attention to this
Soh: Stuck in what
Thusness: pegembara lacks the luminosity
Thusness: get stuck in 'not seeing'
Soh: Ic
Thusness: means no penetration in insight
Thusness: pegembara is like having phase 6 understanding
Thusness: but lack the intensity of luminosity
Thusness: and phase 6 direct insight
Thusness: yet u r talking about dharma dan
Thusness: r u going to help dharma dan now?
Soh: Oic..
Thusness: is he writing the blog?
Thusness: u r not attending
Thusness: coz u r so caught up on who has realized what even it is not here
Soh: Ic..
Thusness: so if there is no one to point out to u, how are u to progress with this sort of mindset
Soh: Oic..
Thusness: what must be ur advice to pegembara?
Soh: To look into the intensity of luminosity?
Thusness: in this case, he must have direct pce
Thusness: coz he lacks this
Thusness: for the pces, u must point out what pegembara said
Thusness: but in a skillful way
Thusness: for tarin case, u must penetrate the difference between the agent and the sense of self
Soh: What u mean by point out what pegembara said
Soh: Oic
Thusness: then there is depth of insight of the immediate moment
Thusness: otherwise u r always just pouring out from memory
Soh: Oic
Thusness: means u r not practicing in daily activity
Thusness: u r staying at the conceptual level
Thusness: this is the actual situation and conditions
Thusness: and u apply skillful means accordingly
Soh: Ic
Thusness: also from what pegembara said, u must also realized that from what he said, he has great potential
Thusness: for he brought out several important points
Thusness: i am very busy these few days
Thusness: but think will answer him
· Reply · 20h
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu In 2008:
(4:15 PM) AEN: tsultrim serri:
(4:15 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer
(4:15 PM) AEN:
(Mind has often been likened to a mirror, but the analogy goes only so far, because mirrors exist and mind doesn't, well let's say that one can touch mirrors. What existence means, particularly at these levels, would be a fruitful topic, but one that i will not cover. Also , mind doesn't really reflect phenomena, it is the phenomena themselves. This is covered further down in these 4 prajnas, but for clarity i thought i should mention that.
(4:15 PM) AEN:
"Thusness' or "suchness" is what one feels with the experience of emptiness. It is a solid sense of being (yes, emptiness has a solid or one could say rich feeling). The luminescence of mind can be compared the the surface of a mirror. If the mirror is dirty it doesn't have a bright surface, and if mind is filled with obscuration its awareness is dimmed. With the experience of emptiness, phenomena become more vivid. It is said in the post that this confirms one's entrance into Zen. In the vajrayana, this vividness of mind is called "osel" in Tibetan, and it is a sign that one has entered the vajrayana. In my experience, this is quite far along the path. To get to this point, one would have to experience egolessness of self, egolessness of other, nondualty, emptiness, and only then luminosity.)
(4:16 PM) Thusness: very good.
(4:16 PM) AEN: from another thread: "Exist is a tricky word in Buddhism. Mind does not exist in the sense of being a thing, but it does exist as well, otherwise how would we be able to see, hear etc.
Having said that, for an individual, there is nothing "outside of awareness." Everything that happens to us happens in our awareness(it's not ours, but so what). Furthermore, we are literally everything that happens in our awareness. There is no self; we are simply the world. if we see a chair in our kitchen, that is what we are at that moment since there is no separation between phenomena and mind. Phenomena are mind and mind is phenomena. smile.gif

(4:22 PM) Thusness: this tsultrim's insight is stage 6.
(4:23 PM) AEN: oic..
(4:23 PM) Thusness: truly good.
(4:23 PM) AEN: icic..
(4:23 PM) Thusness: not many can truly feel the differences.
(4:23 PM) AEN: oic..
(4:24 PM) Thusness: it is only until a certain phase of experience then that clarity comes.
(4:24 PM) Thusness: and often in tremendous in the stability of thoughtlessness... thought almost seldom arise and one becomes the full vividness of arising phenomena.
(4:25 PM) Thusness: is he a dzogchen practitioner?
(4:25 PM) AEN: oic
(4:25 PM) AEN: i think mahamudra
(4:25 PM) AEN: he talks about the four yoga
(4:25 PM) Thusness: ic
(4:25 PM) AEN: "(Yes, this agrees, in my opinion, with "nonmeditation" in the 4 yogas of mahamudra, the last and most fruitional yoga of mahamudra."
(4:25 PM) AEN: oh
(4:25 PM) AEN: and he linked the 4 jnanas to the 4 yogas

(5:19 PM) Thusness: actually what he said about prajna and jhana is quite good. But u have to know that it is not the sort of jhana as in concentration.
(5:20 PM) Thusness: it is the experience of effortlessness in non-dual luminosity.
(5:22 PM) Thusness: There will come a time every day mundane activities, practice and enlightenment is just one substance.
(5:24 PM) AEN: no he said jnana
(5:24 PM) AEN: jnana is more like knowledge
(5:24 PM) AEN: not jhana absorption
(5:25 PM) Thusness: ic
(5:26 PM) Thusness: There will come a time when emptiness becomes so clear and the separation is no more then without the need to recall or remind. The last veil that separates is like permanently gone. Then there is no practice because all moments of arising phenomena is just one practice.
(5:28 PM) AEN: oic..
(5:28 PM) AEN: thats what he means by observing emptiness and 'being' emptiness rite
(5:28 PM) AEN: i mean the difference between it
(5:29 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer
(5:29 PM) AEN:
In a post above, i distinguished between the two. I know you asked Matylda, but until she replies, if she does, possibly i could be of help.
Prajna is the tool that sees emptiness. It is actually an expansion of awareness, using awareness in the context of mindfulness/awareness. Awareness gets to a point where it discovers the nature of mind which includes emptiness. At that point, awareness transforms into prajna. There are lesser stages of prajna as well, but i would have to review them.
Prajna has been likened to the mother of all the Buddhas, because through its activity the mind that becomes the Buddha mind is born. Actually, it has always been there, and is unborn, but let's not quibble.
(5:29 PM) AEN:
So, prajna sees emptiness. When first seen, however, one feels emptiness as separate from what has discovered it. There is still a slight trace of dualism. We experience this dualism as a seeking for emptinesss ie there is a seeker and something sought. At the realization of jnana, this duality melts, so to speak, and emptiness exists or doesn't exist without a sense of something observing it. Also, one attains wisdom when emptiness arises, not wisdom about anything, simply being in the state of wisdom. With prajna, one observes that wisdom; with jnana, one becomes it.

(5:35 PM) Thusness: jnana here does not refer to the type of concentration like it said. It is an effortless non-dual luminous experience due to the maturing of prajna.
(5:35 PM) Thusness: I have often said clear until absorbed. Vividness of forms.
(5:37 PM) Thusness: It is the outcome of the clarity of insight due to the dissolving of that tendency to divide. It is natural, not a form of attention or concentration. This should not be misunderstood.
(5:38 PM) Thusness: He mentioned about luminosity is the last fruition stage and one must go through emptiness to realise this stage.
(5:39 PM) Thusness: This is not exactly right. :)
(5:39 PM) Thusness: Advaita Vedanta practitioner will experience the opposite. :)
(5:39 PM) AEN: oic..
(5:39 PM) AEN: but for mahamudra it is like that rite?
(5:39 PM) AEN: theravada also?
(5:39 PM) AEN: like dharma dan
(5:40 PM) Thusness: yes
(5:40 PM) Thusness: it is because of right view
(5:40 PM) Thusness: without the right view, u will experience luminosity aspect of awareness without knowing its empty nature.
(5:40 PM) Thusness: that is more dangerous.
(5:41 PM) Thusness: therefore establishment of right view is most important. Seeds are planted.
(5:42 PM) Thusness: It is better not to experience then to experience the wrong stuff and makes it more difficult to get out of the dualistic experience of Eternal Witness.

(Comments by Soh: Regarding whether it is important to go through I AM realization or can we skip to anatta -- John Tan and I and Sim Pern Chong have had differing and evolving opinions about this over the years (I remember Sim Pern Chong saying he thinks people can skip it altogether, John also wondered if it is possible or advisable as certain AF people seem to have skipped it but experience luminosity), however after witnessing the progress of people it seems to us that those who went into anatta without the I AM realization tend to miss out the luminosity and intensity of luminosity. And then they will have to go through another phase. For those with I AM realization, the second stanza of anatta comes very easily, in fact the first aspect to become more apparent. Nowadays John and my opinion is that it is best to go through the I AM phase, then nondual and anatta..

There was also the worry that by leading people into the I AM, they can get stuck there. (As John Tan and Sim Pern Chong was stuck there for decades)

But I have shown that it is possible to progress rather quickly (in eight months) from I AM to anatta. So the being stuck is due to lack of right pointers and directions, not inherently an issue with I AM.
And the way to progress quickly is to be aware of the pitfalls of the I AM as I wrote in the AtR guide, and going along the four aspects of I AM and then nondual contemplations or two stanzas of anatta. If I kept reinforcing the pitfalls of I AM with wrong view, maybe I can get stuck there. Likewise for other phases, there are other pitfalls as well. Even after anatta, John Tan has at times told me to revisit the aspect of I AM. It is possible, even important, to integrate that quality and taste.)


p.s. Thusness also wrote in 2007,

"The understanding 'of arising as yuan' must be factored to all aspects of our lives. Applying this insight to the six stages of my experiences, you must see them not as indications of stages at all. There are no higher or lower stages, all merely serves as conditions for ‘new insight’ to arise. A practitioner may start from training himself to ‘witness’ the empty nature of phenomena (stage 6) yet still having a clear distinction of observer and observed being dual; but the gradual loosening of ‘solidity’ of all internal or external phenomena having no inherent existence will slowly leads to the non-dual experience."

"Here the highlight must not only be the empty nature of ‘sound’ alone, that luminosity as ‘sound’ must similarly be emphasized. When we stripped-off the symbolic representation of ‘bird’, ‘chirping’, ‘outside’, ‘eyes-organ’, ‘ears-organs’, ‘senate reality’ and merely experience in bare, this is the meditative state of intuitively knowing that quality of being luminous in oneness. Oneness as there is nothing to divide when devoid of these symbolic layering. The depth of the crystal clarity of that pure experience – ‘chirping’ is not what language can convey. The point here is not to bring about a scientific study on the topic of qualia but to have a direct feel of the full absorption in the delight of that clear-luminosity of ‘sound’. It is the ‘depth and degree’ of absorptive-clarity yet non-staying that is most important; not the symbolic understanding of meanings.

It may be a good prompt at this juncture to ask "Is remaining ‘in the mode that is free of symbols’ the only way to experience non-duality?""

· Reply · 20h
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Also, not trying to critique whatever you said about nirvana which I don't find an issue, but I prefer to call amata 'death-free' than 'deathless' for reasons I explained in

And I like how Geoff defines Nibbana:

"Firstly, nibbāna isn't a "state." Secondly, nibbāna is the cessation of passion, aggression, and delusion. For a learner it is the cessation of the fetters extinguished on each path. The waking states where "suddenly all sensations and six senses stop functioning" are (1) mundane perceptionless samādhis, and (2) cessation of apperception and feeling. Neither of these are supramundane and neither of these are synonymous with experiencing nibbāna."

And in his article:

The nibbana that a learner 'attains' is the permanent cessation of particular fetters associated with the path.
The Deathless in Buddhadharma?
· Reply · Remove Preview · 20h · Edited
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu And yes how 'awakening' is defined depends on person. Sometimes stream enterer~arahant is called 'four stages of awakening'. Sometimes it is used to define arahant/buddha. Certainly, Stage 1 to 4 of Thusness cannot strictly be considered awakening in Buddhist terms, but is awakening in other traditions.
· Reply · 20h · Edited
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu LH: can you elaborate on your question? I do not quite understand.
· Reply · 20h
Mason Spransy:
Mason Spransy: Soh Wei Yu Thank you, sincerely, for your thorough attention to my questions. I'd like to provide a critique from my POV, but I'm realizing now that I don't have I AM realization as you describe it. I am someone who has always been more attracted to anatta, DO, and emptiness. I AM always sounded off to me. But I don't think I'm in any position to critique your view until I know exactly what you're talking about when you talk about I AM.

As such, do you have any pointers for someone who is quite steeped in emptiness but without enough understanding of luminosity? Is there a particular advantage or disadvantage which I should take into account coming from my own insight into emptiness?
· Reply · 2h
TJ: Soh Wei Yu thank you for your replies to Mason. You posted them shortly after I had an unshakable conviction of the importance of luminosity on the path, rather than trying to go straight for anatta/emptiness, which I have sometimes tried to do. The quotes from Thusness cleared up a confusion I didn't even know I had until it was cleared up.
· Reply · 1h


Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu MS: good descriptions :)

As you are already having nondual taste of all phenomena as one's radiance, just let it unfold naturally, and intensity becomes clear when the center is completely severed in 'no cold and heat'*, and its intensity can further expand many-fold into an oceanic state ( ).

Thusness wrote to Pegembara in 2011:

"Not so much of becoming disillusioned; rather with the maturing of this view, the mind releases itself from any forms of 'holding'.
There are 2 additional points that I think are important:
1. Anatta is not Sunyata
2. Although whatever arises is empty of inherent essence, it must also be understood that it is vividly clear, present and luminous. The passing scent, the taste, the scenery, the arising sound, the arising thought...these magical appearances are themselves primordially pure, they are the Dharmakaya."

*No Cold and Heat:

Where There Is No Cold or Heat

A monk asked Tozan, “When cold and heat come, how can we avoid them?”
Tozan said, “Why don’t you go to the place where there is no cold or heat?”
The monk said, “What is the place where there is no cold or heat?”
Tozan said, “When it’s cold, the cold kills you; when it’s hot, the heat kills you.”

This is not advice to “accept” your situation, as some commentators have suggested, but a direct expression of authentic practice and enlightenment. Master Tozan is not saying, “When cold, shiver; when hot, sweat,” nor is he saying, “When cold, put on a sweater; when hot, use a fan.” In the state of authentic practice and enlightenment, the cold kills you, and there is only cold in the whole universe. The heat kills you, and there is only heat in the whole universe. The fragrance of incense kills you, and there is only the fragrance of incense in the whole universe. The sound of the bell kills you, and there is only “boooong” in the whole universe…

~The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing, Ted Biringer

Thusness: 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.
The Unbounded Field of Awareness
· Reply · Remove Preview · 1m


Not long after this conversation, Mason broke through to anatta and total exertion realization, see Suchness / Mason Spransy


Daniel M. Ingram:

"So you have these two extremes - both of which I find pretty annoying (laughs) - and uhm, not that they are not making interesting points that counterbalance each other. And then, from an experiential point of view, the whole field seems to be happening on its own in a luminous way, the intelligence or awareness seems to be intrinsic in the phenomena, the phenomena do appear to be totally transient, totally ephemeral. So I would reject from an experiential point of view, something in the harshness of the dogma of the rigid no-selfists that can't recognise the intrinsic nature of awareness that is the field. If that makes sense. Cos they tend to feel there's something about that's sort of (cut off?)..."

Interviewer: "And not only awareness..."

Daniel: "Intelligence. Right, and I also reject from an experiential point of view the people who would make this permanent, something separate from, something different from just the manifestation itself. I don't like the permanence aspect because from a Buddhist technical point of view I do not find anything that stands up as permanent in experience. I find that quality always there *while there is experience.* Because it's something in the nature of experience. But it's not quite the same thing as permanence, if that makes sense. So while there is experience, there is experience. So that means there is awareness, from a certain point of view, manifestation - awareness being intrinsically the same thing, intrinsic to each other. So while there is experience, I would claim that element (awareness) is there - it has to be for there to be experience. And I would claim that the system seems to function very lawfully and it's very easy to feel that there's a sort of intelligence, ok, cool... ...the feeling of profundity, the feeling of miraculousness, the wondrous component. So as the Tibetans would say, amazing! It all happens by itself! So, there is intrinsically amazing about this. It's very refreshingly amazing that the thing happens, and that things cognize themselves or are aware where they are, manifestation is truly amazing and tuning into that amazingness has something valuable about it from a pragmatic point of view."


5/24/2012 8:05 PM: John: But experientially same but just the degree of right understanding
5/24/2012 8:07 PM: John: Not exactly one mind
5/24/2012 8:07 PM: John: Do u feel everything as Self now?
5/24/2012 8:08 PM: John: As in that experience of I M powerfully present at this moment
5/24/2012 8:09 PM: Soh Wei Yu: yes presence, but as change
5/24/2012 8:11 PM: John: As if like Awareness clear and open like space, without meditation yet powerfully present and non-dual
5/24/2012 8:12 PM: John: Where the 4 Aspects of I M r fully experienced in this moment
5/24/2012 8:14 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Yeah
5/24/2012 8:14 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I think the four aspects is only fully experienced after nondual and anatta, especially effortlessness and no need to abide
5/24/2012 8:15 PM: John: This experience will become more and more powerful later yet effortless and uncontrieved
5/24/2012 8:17 PM: John: How so? If it is not correct insights and practice, how is it possible for such complete and total experience of effortless and uncontrieved Presence be possible?
5/24/2012 8:18 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I do not see it is possible without the proper insights and practice
5/24/2012 8:20 PM: Soh Wei Yu: In anatta every activity is it, is buddha nature, so no contrivance at all
5/24/2012 8:21 PM: Soh Wei Yu: No need to meditate to get anywhere
5/24/2012 8:21 PM: Soh Wei Yu: But meditation is still important to cultivate certain aspects like tranquility
5/24/2012 8:22 PM: John: Indeed and this is being authenticated by the immediate moment of experience. How could there be doubt abt it. The last trace of Presence must be released with seeing through the emptiness nature of whatever arises.
5/24/2012 8:22 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I see..
5/24/2012 8:25 PM: John: After maturing and integrating ur insights into practice, there must be no effort and action.... The entire whole is doing the work and arises as this vivid moment of shimmering appearance, this has always been what we always called Presence.


Thusness, 2012:

"Has awareness stood out? There is no concentration needed. When six entries and exits are pure and primordial, the unconditioned stands shining, relaxed and uncontrived, luminous yet empty. The purpose of going through the 7 phases of perception shift is for this... Whatever arises is free and uncontrived, that is the supreme path. Whatever arises has never left their nirvanic state... ... your current mode of practice [after those experiential insights] should be as direct and uncontrived as possible. When you see nothing behind and magical appearances are too empty, awareness is naturally lucid and free. Views and all elaborations dissolved, mind-body forgotten... just unobstructed awareness. Awareness natural and uncontrived is supreme goal. Relax and do nothing, Open and boundless, Spontaneous and free, Whatever arises is fine and liberated, This is the supreme path. Top/bottom, inside/outside, Always without center and empty (2-fold emptiness), Then view is fully actualized and all experiences are great liberation."