Showing posts with label Non-dual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Non-dual. Show all posts

Saw your enlistment date in your facebook, good luck to you! 3 weeks is a short period so start working on your physical fitness before the enlistment. There are certain fitness expectations for basic combat training, for guys they must at least able to perform 13 push-ups and 17 sit-ups in a minute and run one mile within 8:30 minutes. You are, of course, expected to do much better than that.

It is also appropriate at this juncture to talk about your recent realization of the ‘Eternal Witness’. I am glad that you are clear on the part about experience and realization through direct experiential insight, it is an invaluable insight. After this, you are very much on your own and the ‘taste’ of a pure, original, primordial, non-conceptual and non-dual luminous state of existence will serve as an internal compass for you. Treasure it!

After the initial realization, there is a strong desire to ‘relive’ the experience -- this pure sense of existence; in fact the mind wishes the experience be made permanent and it is not uncommon that practitioners perceive the permanent, natural and effortless abiding of this state as ‘Nirvana’. Therefore it is a natural progression for you to seek permanent abiding in the Self as a background at this point in time. If you intensify your meditation and abide in the Self, an oceanic blissful experience may arise as a result of deep absorption but it is still a contrived effort, it is not the ‘key’ towards effortlessness. Nonetheless having a ‘taste’ of deep Samadhi bliss and understanding the relationship between deep concentration and this oceanic bliss is still crucial.

Having said that, since none of your recent posts are about the absorptive state but are experiences relating to non-dual in transience, it is appropriate to practice bringing this ‘taste’ of pure luminous brilliance to the foreground. By ‘foreground’, I am referring to all your six entries and exits (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind) and experience vivid luminous aliveness in colors, forms, shape, sound, scent, taste and thoughts. It is essential for Phase 4 and 5 insights, that is, experiencing directly the 18 dhatus and aggregates and realize that the entire idea of 'I and Mine' is learnt. Also, I do not think you have the time to practice deep absorptive meditation in army. You can re-visit this ‘Oceanic Samadhi Bliss’ later when there is thoroughness and fearlessness in forgoing the sense of self/Self.
The universe is this arising thought.
The universe is this arising sound.
Just this magnificent arising!
Is Tao.
Homage to all arising.

Doing this foreground practice, you are effectively refining your realization from “You as pure Existence” to “Existence is the very stuff of whatever arises”. The actual stuff - the screen, the keyboard, the clicking sound, the cool air, the taste, the vibration…is the actuality of Universe itself, there is no other. Nevertheless do take note that these are still experiences, they are not realizations. You will have to go through what you have gone through in the phase of ‘I AM’ from intermittent experiences to realizations.

I have read some of the articles written by Richard, they are very well written and will be of great help in this 'foreground' practice. There are values in the teachings of Actual Freedom but there is no need to over-claim anything. In my opinion, saying what that is more than necessary does not make one superior.

Also do not get overwhelmed by the vivid luminous brilliance that manifests as the background source or foreground phenomena, let go of all; much like lamas building a sand mandala that is so vivid, colorful and beautiful, is destroyed immediately after it is completed. It is not just about the 'brilliant luminosity', it is also about the 'Gone'; therefore vividly present and instantly gone -- GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA.

Lastly be sincere to the deeper dispositions, they reveal more about us more than the ‘surface’ achievements, not to take it lightly. You are a sincere guy so allow your sincerity and your realizations be your inner guides -- they are your only ‘true teachers’, I am not. :-)
(Written by PasserBy)

AEN, you have posted some very interesting and good quality articles in this blog. I enjoy reading them as well as those posts that you have written in TheTaoBums and your forum. Actually of all those recent articles you posted in the past 2 months, I like the talk given by Rob Burbea best but somehow I do not have the ‘on the spot urge’ to comment until this article by Rupert came. I do not know why but I will allow this urge to write itself. :)

While reading through these articles, there are several points that came to my mind, so I will just jot them down and expand them along the way.

1. On Experience and Realization
2. On Letting Go
3. On Ignorance, Disassociation and Liberation
4. On Non-Dual Experience, Realization and Anatta

1. On Experience and Realization

Comments by Soh: Also see related article - I AM Experience/Glimpse/Recognition vs I AM Realization (Certainty of Being)

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. :)

(Comments by Soh: the reason John Tan/Thusness said ‘we suffer more after this [I AM] realization’ is due to his energy imbalances triggered after I AM. However, the period after I AM realization was blissful and mostly problem-free for me, as I avoided pitfalls or incorrect practice by practicing according to John’s pointers and guidance, which I have written in this chapterSee chapter on Tips on Energy Imbalances in Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind for more details.).

2. On Letting Go

Before proceeding further, I must thank you for the great effort of typing out the entire talk by Rob Burbea and making this transcript available. It is definitely worth reading again and again. There are 3 paragraphs about letting go in the transcript; I will add some comments to these paragraphs.

Now, one possibility is through developing the attentiveness, developing the mindfulness in a very sharp way, very focused awareness, very bright attentiveness, microscopic kind of fine awareness and really refining the mindfulness like that. And what happens is that the reality that’s revealed to us through that lens is of a very fastly, rapidly changing reality. Everything like pixels on the screen changing, like sand falling on the surface of a lake, just change, change, change, arising and passing, arising and passing, included in that consciousness. So the sense of consciousness is of rapidly arising moments, moment of consciousness, moment of consciousness, arises in relationship to something. And you find this very commonly in the commentaries to the Pali canon, it’s also a little bit in the Buddha said, but mostly in the commentaries. But again, can be very useful if one can develop that way just from the consistency of mindfulness. In that what it brings, seeing all these impermanence, there’s nothing to hold on to. Everything is just slipping through the fingers, like sand through the fingers, including consciousness, can’t be clung to. And so letting go happens with that. I say theoretically, because actually sometimes that mode of working doesn’t actually bring a letting go, but theoretically it brings a letting go and it certainly has that potential. So that’s another possibility again, with its fruits.

A third one we’ve touched more on in the course of the talks here, and it’s more practicing in the kind of more open out sense – and so awareness kind of opens out into the whole field of experience and phenomena. And this opening out of the practice lends itself to having a sense of awareness as something very spacious. Especially when we talk about silence a little bit. Awareness begins to seem incredibly spacious, vast, unimaginably vast. Now this can be arrived at actually through letting go. So the more we let go in practice, the likelihood of the sense of awareness opening up in this very beautiful way. Very vast awareness, dependent on letting go.

And how do we let go? We could either just focus on letting go, we could focus on the impermanence and then we let go, or we could focus on the Anatta – not me, not mine. That’s the three classic ways of letting go. That sense of vast awareness might also be discovered or arrived at just by kind of practicing in a kind of way that relaxes the attention. So usually we attend to this object and that object, and another object, and another object. But actually relaxing that propensity, and being more interested in the space that opens up, rather than the objects or things in the space. And we say you can rest then in Awareness, instead of going out and doing things with objects, one just rests in that space of Awareness that begins to opens up. This is something one can do with the eyes open, or with the eyes close, actually completely irrelevant. Practice it with the eyes open, practice it with the eyes closed.
Buddhism aside, I would like to emphasize that we should never underestimate the art of ‘letting go’, it will soon prove to be our most challenging endeavor in life. To ‘let go’ often requires the deep wisdom from undergoing the ups and downs of life and even with a life-long practice, we may still not be able to understand the breadth and depth of 'letting go'.

My experience is that before the arising insight of anatta and emptiness nature of all phenomena, ‘letting go’ is somehow related to the degree of suffering. Very often, many of us need to go through a process of intense suffering before which we can really ‘let go’. It seems to be a pre-requisite condition in order to give rise to that ‘willingness’ of ‘letting go’. :)

The mind does not know how to liberate itself.
By going beyond its own limits it experiences unwinding.
From deep confusion it drops knowing.
From intense suffering comes releasing.
From complete exhaustion comes resting.
All these go in cycle perpetually repeating,
Till one realizes everything is indeed already liberated,
As spontaneous happening from before beginning.

~ Thusness
Rob links the practice of seeing impermanence and anatta in transient phenomena to dis-identification and disassociation. I disagree; I will give my views and comments in the next section.

3. On Ignorance, Disassociation and Liberation

Most of the articles you posted recently are about non-dual experience and vast open spaciousness of awareness. My advice is not to over-skew yourself into just the non-dual aspect of experience and neglect 'ignorance', having direct insight of ignorance is as important. For non-dualists, Presence pervades everywhere but this is equally true for Ignorance. It pervades in all aspects of our experiences and that includes deep absorptive state or non-dual, non-conceptual, objectless state. So deeply feel the amazing blinding power of ‘ignorance’, how latently deep, how it shapes and distorts experiential reality. I cannot find any magical spell more hypnotic than our inherent and dualistic view.

If we were to practice observing impermanence of phenomena while the ‘blinding spell’ is still strong, the purpose of the practice appears to swerve towards dispassion, dis-identification and disassociation. In fact it is quite fine even if it is understood that way but many can’t stop at dispassion and dis-identification and rest in perfect contentment in groundlessness. Somehow they will ‘conjure’ out a permanent unchanging state to rest upon. ‘Not self, not mine’ sounds as if there is something ‘Mine or Self’. I would prefer practitioners to treat ‘anatta’ as ‘there is absolutely nothing that can be said to be mine or self’; even then this realization that ‘there is absolutely nothing that can be said to be mine or self’ should not be misunderstood as the experiential insight of anatta (see On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection). I have placed stronger emphasis on this aspect as in Buddhism, nothing is more important than to arise the insight of anatta and dependent origination because it is wisdom (prajna wisdom in particular) that liberates (since the cause of suffering is ignorance). Do not take it too lightly. :)

Nevertheless this progression seems quite inevitable because the mind is ruled by ignorance (dualistic and inherent tendency). More amazingly, the mind can fabricate such a state and think that it is the resting place, nirvana. This is the danger of all dangers because like what Rob said, it is so beautiful and fits so nicely into the ideal model of an inherent and dualistic mind. When a practitioner gets into it, it is difficult to let go.

However if insight of anatta arises and we revisit the practice of observing phenomena, we will realize that liberation does not require ‘such permanent state or self/Self’. We just have to dissolve ignorance and impermanence turns self liberating. So what we discard turns out to be our ultimate goal and the reason why we can’t find liberation becomes obvious -- because we are running away from liberation; likewise, the reason why we suffer is because we are actively seeking suffering. This is exactly what I meant by the following 2 paragraphs in your forum:

" seems that lots of effort need to be put in -- which is really not the case. The entire practice turns out to an undoing process. It is a process of gradually understanding the workings of our nature that is from beginning liberated but clouded by this sense of ‘self’ that is always trying to preserve, protect and ever attached. The entire sense of self is a ‘doing’. Whatever we do, positive or negative, is still doing. Ultimately there is not-even a letting go or let be, as there is already continuous dissolving and arising and this ever dissolving and arising turns out to be self-liberating. Without this ‘self’ or ‘Self’, there is no ‘doing’, there is only spontaneous arising. "

~ Thusness (source: Non-dual and karmic patterns)

"...When one is unable to see the truth of our nature, all letting go is nothing more than another form of holding in disguise. Therefore without the 'insight', there is no releasing.... it is a gradual process of deeper seeing. when it is seen, the letting go is natural. You cannot force yourself into giving up the self... purification to me is always these insights... non-dual and emptiness nature...."

~ Thusness
Hence disassociation immediately puts us into a position of dualism and that is why I disagree with Rob. If insight of anatta arises, there is no center, no base, no agent; there is only phenomena dependently originating and practitioners must from this very experience of vivid arising and dissolving instantly arise another important insight -- that this vivid shimmering that dependently originates is naturally pure and self-liberating.

Lastly, I am not suggesting that there is a definite order of precedence for realizing the profound meaning of the dharma seals; it all depends on the conditions and capacity of each practitioner. But given the choice, start from penetrating the true meaning of anatta first, we will have very different understanding of impermanence, suffering and nirvana once we mature our insight of anatta. :)

4. On Non-Dual Experience, Realization and Anatta

I have just casually gone through some of your forum discussions. Very enlightening discussions and well presentation of my 7-phases-of-insights but try not to over-emphasize it as a model; it should not be taken as a definite model of enlightenment nor should you use it as a framework to validate others' experiences and insights. Simply take it as a guide along your spiritual journey.

You are right to differentiate non-dual experience from non-dual realization and non-dual realization from the insight of anatta. We have discussed this umpteem times. Non-dual experience in the context we are using refers to the experience of no-subject-object division. The experience is much like putting two candle flames together where the boundary between the flames becomes indistinguishable. It is not a realization but simply a stage, an experience of unity between the observer and the observed where the conceptual layer that divides is temporarily suspended in a meditative state. This you have experienced.

Non-dual realization on the other hand is a deep understanding that comes from seeing through the illusionary nature of subject-object division. It is a natural non-dual state that resulted from an insight that arises after rigorous investigation, challenge and a prolonged period of practice that is specially focused on ‘No-Self’. Somehow focusing on “No-Self” will spark a sense of sacredness towards the transient and fleeting phenomena. The sense of sacredness that is once the monopoly of the Absolute is now also found in the Relative. The term ‘No-Self’ like Zen-Koan may appear cryptic, senseless or illogical but when realized, it is actually obviously clear, direct and simple. The realization is accompanied with the experience that everything is being dissolved into either:

1. An ultimate Subject or
2. As mere ‘flow of phenomenality’

In whatever the case, both spells the end of separateness; experientially there is no sense of two-ness and the experience of unity can be quite overwhelming initially but eventually it will lose its grandeur and things turn quite ordinary. Nevertheless, regardless of whether the sense of Oneness is derived from the experience of ‘All as Self’ or ‘as simply just manifestation’, it is the beginning insight of “No-Self”. The former is known as One-Mind and the later, No-Mind.

In Case 1 it is usual that practitioners will continue to personify, reify and extrapolate a metaphysical essence in a very subtle way, almost unknowingly. This is because despite the non-dual realization, understanding is still orientated from a view that is based on subject-object dichotomy. As such it is hard to detect this tendency and practitioners continue their journey of building their understanding of ‘No-Self based on Self’.

For Case 2 practitioners, they are in a better position to appreciate the doctrine of anatta. When insight of Anatta arises, all experiences become implicitly non-dual. But the insight is not simply about seeing through separateness; it is about the thorough ending of reification so that there is an instant recognition that the ‘agent’ is extra, in actual experience it does not exist. It is an immediate realization that experiential reality has always been so and the existence of a center, a base, a ground, a source has always been assumed.

To mature this realization, even direct experience of the absence of an agent will prove insufficient; there must also be a total new paradigm shift in terms of view; we must free ourselves from being bonded to the idea, the need, the urge and the tendency of analyzing, seeing and understanding our moment to moment of experiential reality from a source, an essence, a center, a location, an agent or a controller and rest entirely on anatta and Dependent Origination.

Therefore this phase of insight is not about singing eloquently the non-dual nature of an Ultimate Reality; contrary it is deeming this Ultimate Reality as irrelevant. Ultimate Reality appears relevant only to a mind that is bond to seeing things inherently, once this tendency dissolves, the idea of a source will be seen as flawed and erroneous. Therefore to fully experience the breadth and depth of no-self, practitioners must be prepared and willing to give up the entire subject-object framework and be open to eliminate the entire idea of a ‘source’. Rob expressed very skillfully this point in his talk:

One time the Buddha went to a group of monks and he basically told them not to see Awareness as The Source of all things. So this sense of there being a vast awareness and everything just appears out of that and disappears back into it, beautiful as that is, he told them that’s actually not a skillful way of viewing reality. And that is a very interesting sutta, because it’s one of the only suttas where at the end it doesn’t say the monks rejoiced in his words.

This group of monks didn’t want to hear that. They were quite happy with that level of insight, lovely as it was, and it said the monks did not rejoice in the Buddha’s words. (laughter) And similarly, one runs into this as a teacher, I have to say. This level is so attractive, it has so much of the flavor of something ultimate, that often times people are unbudgeable there.
What then is the view that Buddhism is talking about without resorting to a ‘source’? I think the post by Vajrahridaya in the thread ‘What makes Buddhism different’ of your forum succinctly and concisely expressed the view, it is well written. That said, do remember to infinitely regress back into this vivid present moment of manifestation – as this arising thought, as this passing scent – Emptiness is Form. :)
(Last Updated: 3 May 2009)

Recently I participated in a discussion forum in Dharma Overground, never been so chatty in a forum before. It is such a joy sharing one's understanding openly among sincere and experienced practitioners. :-) The discussions are also quite related to some of the mails I received regarding 'Emptiness' and non-dual practices. Originally my intent was to make this post as a simple documentation and summary for my discussions in Dharma Overground, but after some thoughts I see it also appropriate to talk about the experiential insight of the twofold emptiness and how the insights of the twofold Emptiness lead to the full embracement of the transience.

Here is an excerpt from a Buddhist glossary site on the definition of twofold Emptiness:

Two emptinesses (二空) include (1) emptiness of self, the ātman, the soul, in a person composed of the five aggregates, constantly changing with causes and conditions; and (2) emptiness of selves in all dharmas—each of the five aggregates, each of the twelve fields, and each of the eighteen spheres, as well as everything else with no independent existence. No-self in any dharma implies no-self in a person, but the latter is separated out in the first category. Realization of the emptiness of self in a person will lead to attainment of Arhatship or Pratyekabuddhahood. Bodhisattvas who have realized both emptinesses ascend to the First Ground on their Way to Buddhahood.
Let's start from the viewless view aspect of Emptiness.

"In other words, right view is the beginning of the noble path. It is
certainly the case that dependent origination is "correct view"; when one analyzes a bit deeper, one discovers that in the case "view" means being free from views. The teaching of dependent origination is what permits this freedom from views."
I like the comment by Namdrol. He brings out the "viewless" aspect of Dependent Origination. Like Namdrol, I see Dependent Origination as a viewless view that neutralizes all our misconceptions that arise out of the deeply rooted tendency of seeing things 'inherently and dualistically' and eventually gets itself dissolved in the end process. However it must also be understood that "freeing from views" by realizing dependent origination is no ordinary way of negation and is different from the Advaita Vedanta way of negation -- "neti neti". It is not a mere act of rejection but involves a deep realization that 'true freedom' lies in thoroughly seeing through the “non-dual and non-inherent” aspect of whatever arises. It does not deny the conventional; contrary there is the full acknowledgement and total embracement of the conventional. This is very difficult to express. Experientially when one truly sees dependent origination, one sees the essence-less, attribute-less, trait-less, center-less and connectedness and at the same time, sees the full vividness and luminous presence of appearances. In other words, “Emptiness” is 'the wisdom' to see the Absolute in the Relative without the need to 'abstract' the Absolute from the Relative and seeing Reality as one seamless functioning. In fact any attempt to separate is due to our lack of understanding of dependent origination. This is the explicit message I wish to convey through my post to Gozen.

Nevertheless Gozen's intention to impart the feeling expressed by the Buddha in the Mahasihananda Sutta [The Greater Discourse of the Lion's Roar] stanza 30, which concludes with his statement that: "...I abide in safety, fearlessness, and intrepidity" is equally important. What I am proposing is first go center-less, fully embrace the transience and not taint with any marks, the 'Vajra' sensation will naturally arise.

24. RE: The mind and the watcher
Apr 7 2009, 5:46 PM EDT | Post edited: Apr 7 2009, 5:57 PM EDT
"I AM: Paradoxically, one feels at the same time that one is both essentially untouched by all phenomena and yet intimately at one with them. As the Upanishad says "Thou are That."

1.a. Body and Mind as Constructs: Another way to look at this is to observe that all compound things -- including one's own body and mind -- are **objects to awareness.** That is to say, from the "fundamental" point of view of primordial awareness, or True Self, even body and mind are **not self.**"

Ha Gozen, I re-read the post and saw **not self**, I supposed u r referring to anatta then I have to disagree...:-). However I agree with what that u said from the Vedanta (True Self) standpoint. But going into it can make it appears unnecessary complex.

As a summary, I see anatta as understanding the **transience** as Awareness by realizing that there is no observer apart from the observed. Effectively it is referring to the experience of in seeing, only scenery, no seer. In hearing, only sound, no hearer. The experience is quite similar to “Thou are That” except that there is no sinking back to a Source as it is deemed unnecessary. Full comfort is found in resting completely as the transience without even the slightest need to refer back to a source. For the source has always been the manifestation due to its emptiness nature.

All along there is no dust alighting on the Mirror; the dust has always been the Mirror. We fail to recognize the dust as the Mirror when we are attached to a particular speck of dust and call it the ”Mirror”; When a particular speck of dust becomes special, then all other pristine happening that are self-mirroring suddenly appears dusty.

Anything further, we will have to take it private again. :-)

That said, in order to have a complete experience of Awareness as the arising and passing transience, we must have direct knowledge of the twofold Emptiness. We must also be aware of the subtle influences of the tendencies that make experiences appear dualistic and inherent. Without being aware of how deeply we are being affect, it will be difficult for us to appreciate how the twofold Emptiness can serve as the antidote for these tendencies.

Just how strong and subtle are these imprints and why are these tendencies called 'imprints'? They are called 'imprints' because they seemed quite beyond the power of the conscious mind to do anything and despite years of practices, practitioners can still feel pretty helpless unless there is a break-through in the form of insights. They are like magical spells that shape experiences and distort understandings without practitioners even noticing them as what I have shared in my following 3 posts to garyrh.

152. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Tuesday, 10:04 AM EDT | Post edited: Tuesday, 10:04 AM EDT

If we ask “Who am I”, does the question already condition the experience from beginning? If we look for a 'who' and enters into the realm of pure, it naturally becomes a pure subject. Is the subject that important in the realm of pure? Similarly when we say 'here and now', has the mind already pre-assumed the existence of space and time?

If for a moment we are able to free ourselves from of all sort of definitions and labellings, feel the bare sensations without words, feel 'aliveness', feel 'existence' then search with our entire being its 'location'. Have the same sort of 'awakeness' for 'location' as we have for “I AM”. Is impermanence a movement from here to there?

If we penetrate deeply, it will reveal that there is nothing here, nothing now, nothing self, yet, there is vivid appearance. There is only always vivid appearance which is the very living presence that dependently originates whenever condition is. And what that dependently originates does not arise, does not cease, does not come, does not go.

We may then have an intuitive glimpse that direct path and vipassana are intimately related. :-)

226. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Thursday, 12:46 AM EDT | Post edited: Thursday, 12:46 AM EDT
"Just clarifying the "inmost of our consciousness" is not Awareness? Is this correct?"Hi Gary,

Yes, it is not that luminous cognizance, knowing (not knower),

That 'awakening' to the 'knowingness' is most important but after that it is immediately distorted by our understanding of it. There is a difference and must be correctly discern. To completely dissolve all subtle influences from these traces in one go is almost impossible.

What you have experienced and awake to is most precious, you touch the most real and pristine. It is preventing the distortion of that 'awakenness' that is the challenge, more tricky that we can imagine. I can only say the dualistic absolute-relative dichotomy is not able to effectively understand the non-dual, non-local nature of Awareness. Try to understand dependent origination in a non-dual and non-local context. You will appreciate it later and find delights in expressing that way.

Hope that helps. :-)

228. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Thursday, 12:59 AM EDT | Post edited: Thursday, 1:15 AM EDT
"Oh Wow got it! The system itself causes the separation and in moving out of the system we see our true nature."

Yes! It is very subtle, like a magical spell. Infact 'ignorance' is also a form of knowing; a very very deep and conditioned form of relative knowing. The subject-object way of seeing things is not the only way, it is just a convenient way but has since then become ultimate. When we are not completely out of the subtle influences, it is advisable to have firm establishment of the right view of dependent origination (a non-dual and non-local view) and practice with this new 'awaken eye of immediacy'. When the non-dual and non-local direct experience dawn, the emptiness view will dissolve itself. It too is a raft. :)

Happy Journey.
Never underestimate the subtlety of these tendencies. They are so strong and subtle that even the antidote introduced can turn around and becomes the virus! This is exactly what happened to some practitioners. To them "Emptiness" or “Dependent Origination” are treated as a teaching to disassociate the Absolute from the transience phenomena in order to have clear glimpse of the formless Absolute. This happens when we see Absolute as distinctly separated from the relative. Very often we see practitioners holding such view shunting from the transience and attempt to rest in the Absolute. This is obviously a mistaken view; it will be quite illogical for Buddhism to place such emphasis on Dependent Origination if the sole purpose is simply to ‘disassociate’ the mind from the arising and passing phenomena. For those that have some experiences and realization of the Absolute, I strongly recommend the article on Nondual Emptiness Teachings by Dr Greg Goode, a very enlightened practitioner who after the realization of the Non-Dual Absolute and clear experience of no-self, is still able to humble himself and further penetrates the profundity of ‘Emptiness’. (Recently he updated his articles to include another section on The Experience of Emptiness, do visit!)

The Absolute as separated from the transience is what I have indicated as the 'Background' in my 2 posts to theprisonergreco.

84. RE: Is there an absolute reality? [Skarda 4 of 4]
Mar 27 2009, 9:15 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 27 2009, 9:15 AM EDT
Hi theprisonergreco,

First is what exactly is the ‘background’? Actually it doesn’t exist. It is only an image of a ‘non-dual’ experience that is already gone. The dualistic mind fabricates a ‘background’ due to the poverty of its dualistic and inherent thinking mechanism. It ‘cannot’ understand or function without something to hold on to. That experience of the ‘I’ is a complete, non-dual foreground experience.

When the background subject is understood as an illusion, all transience phenomena reveal themselves as Presence. It is like naturally 'vipassanic' throughout. From the hissing sound of PC, to the vibration of the moving MRT train, to the sensation when the feet touches the ground, all these experiences are crystal clear, no less “I AM” than “I AM”. The Presence is still fully present, nothing is denied. -:) So the “I AM” is just like any other experiences when the subject-object split is gone. No different from an arising sound. It only becomes a static background as an after thought when our dualistic and inherent tendencies are in action.

The first 'I-ness' stage of experiencing awareness face to face is like a point on a sphere which you called it the center. You marked it.

Then later you realized that when you marked other points on the surface of a sphere, they have the same characteristics. This is the initial experience of non-dual. Once the insight of No-Self is stabilized, you just freely point to any point on the surface of the sphere -- all points are a center, hence there is no 'the' center. 'The' center does not exist: all points are a center.

After then practice move from 'concentrative' to 'effortlessness'. That said, after this initial non-dual insight, 'background' will still surface occasionally for another few years due to latent tendencies...

86. RE: Is there an absolute reality? [Skarda 4 of 4]
Mar 27 2009, 11:59 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 27 2009, 11:59 AM EDT
To be more exact, the so called 'background' consciousness is that pristine happening. There is no a 'background' and a 'pristine happening'. During the initial phase of non-dual, there is still habitual attempt to 'fix' this imaginary split that does not exist. It matures when we realized that anatta is a seal, not a stage; in hearing, always only sounds; in seeing always only colors, shapes and forms; in thinking, always only thoughts. Always and already so. -:)
Many non-dualists after the intuitive insight of the Absolute hold tightly to the Absolute. This is like attaching to a point on the surface of a sphere and calling it 'the one and only center'. Even for those Advaitins that have clear experiential insight of no-self (no object-subject split), an experience similar to that of anatta (First emptying of subject) are not spared from these tendencies. They continue to sink back to a Source.

It is natural to reference back to the Source when we have not sufficiently dissolved the latent disposition but it must be correctly understood for what it is. Is this necessary and how could we rest in the Source when we cannot even locate its whereabout? Where is that resting place? Why sink back? Isn't that another illusion of the mind? The 'Background' is just a thought moment to recall or an attempt to reconfirm the Source. How is this necessary? Can we even be a thought moment apart? The tendency to grasp, to solidify experience into a 'center' is a habitual tendency of the mind at work. It is just a karmic tendency. Realize It! This is what I meant to Adam the difference between One-Mind and No-Mind.

284. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Saturday, 2:20 AM EDT | Post edited: Saturday, 2:20 AM EDT
"Bypasser, that's it my brother! Very nice description indeed! :-) Note I also stated phenomena or appearance is not caused by or separate from essence per se - they are fundamentally inseparable. And yet, clearly, it is false to say that because appearance is dependently arising and yet one in essence, that it follows Dharmakaya is also dependently arise, right?

In kind regards,

Adam."Hi Adam,

Yes. I agree with you on this.

Just a casual point I want to make. In practice, there is also a difference between staying in "One Mind" and "No Mind". I see it this way. Since the source is without any traits, essence, attributes, any attempt to grasp or hold is not IT. What grasped is always only an image, a snapshot, a trace of IT. However when there is no grasping and holding, whatever arises is IT. Whether at rest or in movement, manifest or unmanifested, All is IT.

Thanks for sharing!

286. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Saturday, 3:30 AM EDT | Post edited: Saturday, 3:30 AM EDT
@ ByPasser: "Just a casual point I want to make. In practice, there is also a difference between staying in "One Mind" and "No Mind". I see it this way. Since the source is without any traits, essence, attributes, any attempt to grasp or hold is not IT. What grasped is always only an image, a snapshot, a trace of IT. However when there is no grasping and holding, whatever arises is IT. Whether at rest or in movement, manifest or unmanifested, All is IT."

Hey mate,

Yep, I could not agree more - absolutely love it. It is for that exact reason that I am inclined to Shikantaza - just sitting-no-mind. This is the underlying assumption implicit to my thread on Shikantaza, as I see it. If you haven't read it, I'd be interested in hearing what you think.

In kind regards,

Yet we find it so hard not to 'hold and grasp'. We must be deeply aware of how the tendency of the mind plays tricks on us. How it managed to fool us into believing that dissociation is 'letting go' which in actual case is really another subtle form of 'grasping'.

It is here that I find delight in the teaching of Dependent Origination. It points out the problem and solve it from the root. With Dependent Origination, we are able to identify the many faces of the 'tendency that solidifies' and dissolve the 'dualistic and inherent' knot of perception. In my opinion, we cannot understand Dependent Origination from a 'dualistic and local' standpoint. I never understand it that way. Perhaps due to my “I AM” and Anatta experience and most importantly my faith in Buddha's teaching, there is an immediate recognition that this teaching of Dependent Origination is pointing towards a non-dual and non-local aspect of our pristine nature. In fact it is more descriptive than hypothetical -- a description of the workings of the actual experiential reality right at this instantaneous mind moment. Once the view, the non-dual experience and the tendencies that cause the solidifying and splitting of experiences are clearly seen through, practitioners will be able to progress smoothly to "No Mind".

In "No Mind", one is clear that the entire idea of “I” and “mine” is learnt; even 'here and now' is learnt; there is nothing 'essence', nothing 'substantial', nothing 'here'. 'Self', 'Now' or 'Here' is no more special than an arising scent, a passing thought, a resounding bell. Empty yet vividly clear and present. The transience is fully embraced in Zen as "No Mind".

Similarly in Theravada mind is being de-constructed and not experienced as an entity but as mind moments. The transience is also fully embraced when we clearly see that mind as an arising moment is itself non-dual, non-local and complete. Mind moment does not arise or cease anywhere in particular. This is what I tried to bring out in Dharma Overground. Unfortunately, the conditions aren't there and I am unable to convey this message across clearly. :-)

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.

Lastly, if full integration of the source and transience is completely realized and spontaneously perfected, then all words are futile and it becomes quite pointless muddling over views as I have indicated in the post below to Kenneth and xsurf. But before undergoing the twofold Emptiness purification of the tendencies, it is advisable not to dispel the teaching of 'Emptiness' as irrelevant too quickly. :-)

78. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Apr 18 2009, 9:41 AM EDT | Post edited: Apr 18 2009, 9:41 AM EDT
@Kenneth: “As I've pointed out before, the very fact that enlightened people speak about their experiences in such diverse ways puts the lie to any facile theory of one enlightenment for all.”

Therefore the enlightened penetrates beyond forms, situations, conditions, all arbitrary opinions and communicates directly. :-) The simplest thing that is indivisibly whole, is no difference from this breathe, this sound. A thousands years ago, a thousand years later and now, still, this breathe, this sound. Neither the same nor different, always so primordial.

283. RE: Responses to Realization and Development
Saturday, 2:04 AM EDT | Post edited: Saturday, 2:04 AM EDT
"Hi ByPasser,

You teacher will not want you to engage in too much thoughts. Rather touched directly the essence.

In hearing, Tao is.
Seeing forms, Mind is.
No mind, Zen is.
In movement is where your practice is. :)