Showing posts with label Solipsism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Solipsism. Show all posts

André A. Pais wrote:


Solipsism is based on the idea that "only I exist" or "only this experience exists" or "only this exists." Some of these expressions are subtler than others, but all amount more or less to the same. It is true that nothing in experience directly affirms anything other than experience itself. What is overlooked is that nothing in experience actually denies anything "outside" experience either. Experience is totally mute, totally silent - it says nothing whatsoever about anything (be it internal or external to it). Even concepts are utterly silent, since, in a final sense, they don't point to anything either - they are mere sounds, vibrations, images, etc. In this sense, experience - and even conceptual processes - is totally incapable of refuting or establishing solipsism.

Solipsism is also based on a half-baked intuition of non-duality. The very concepts of "this" or "I" or "mine" depend on their opposites. So, by saying that "only this exists" I'm already establishing its opposite - some "that" that is nonexistent. "Existent-this" vs. "nonexistent-that" is a dualistic stance, making solipsism inherently self-refuting. Experience is devoid of "other" or "thatness," but it too is devoid of "me/mine" or "thisness." There is nothing exclusivistic in experience - there is no exclusion of anything. It's rather the opposite, experience is intrinsically open-ended, expansive and accommodating - even of concepts positing closed, constricted and excluding attitudes.

Also, solipsism seems to be based on notions of limited space and mutual exclusion of experiences. There is a sense of "there is only here" and so a "there" is excluded. Again this is dualistic, as without the notion of "there" there can't be a "here" either. So, in the non-conceptual spaciousness of experience there can be no sense of "here." So solipsism still embraces ideas of spatial extension, distance and separation, which it then paradoxically uses to refute notions of "other separate places," etc. So, we have dualistic principles being used in the defense of some non-dual solipsistic reality.

There is also the sense that experiences are mutually exclusive - if "this" experience is "here," "other" experiences cannot be simultaneously "here." Yet, we can cultivate an openness to the possibility that "everything is already here," that "everything is intrinsically included" right within this very experience. In the same way that we can develop our conventional senses (or other "senses") and experience things previously unnoticed - but that were already present -, we can also conceive of developing perception (or some kind of empirical sensitivity) in a way that allows the accommodation of an infinity of experiences, in opposition to the previously "singular solipsistic experience." That's what omniscience seems to entail - a non-conflicting appreciation of the totality of experiences, a full embrace of the entirety of the space-time display. In cutting through the solidity and seemingly exclusivistic nature of space and time - what is "here" is not "there," what is "now" cannot be "then" -, the "whole field" can become naturally manifest.

The sections of our experiential field that seem more obscure and concealing (like the sense of past and future experiences, and the notions of beyond the horizon and behind/bellow/above "me"), which are all instances of some type of impenetrable not-knowing, can be seen as representatives, clues or empirical "handles" that can serve as portals or doorways into the infinite dimensions of experience that remain unrevealed and unaccommodated. "Other times" and "other places," even in infinitely cosmic scales, can be seen as mere subtler dimensions - and yet unappreciated - of what is already here, of "this very experience."

Another angle of exploration is to consider if "this sole experience" is either one or many. A "many" can only be composed of a plurality of "ones" or units. Yet, no unit or singularity can ever be found - it's a logical and empirical impossibility. So, notions of singularity and plurality fall apart, and thus solipsism falls apart, since it is based on the idea of being the "singularly existing thing." Also, if "this experience" was the only existing thing, where would the seemingly diversity of experience come from? It either comes from something else (refuting solipsism) or it is generated "internally," in which case "this sole experience" is itself already a pluralistic experience.

Also, in the absence of a sense of there being some singular observer, experience is understood as "self-luminous" and "self-knowing"; why then can't the diversity of experience be already a case for so-called multiple perceivers or observers? Solipsism is based on the idea that "only I perceive" - but if all objects (material, mental or emotional) are already "self-knowing" and "naturally luminous," how can there be a sense of "only I perceive"? Experience is not intrinsically one for it arises as diversity; and it is not intrinsically many, since it's embraced by utter intimacy and non-separation. Solipsism, being based on solid notions of singularity and plurality, is incapable of appreciating the transparency and spaciousness of experience; and it is incapable of appreciating the fine balance of appearance-emptiness, a luminous display that is beyond materialistic, solidified and dualistic tendencies - that is, in fact, beyond all notions whatsoever, be they dual, non-dual, both or neither. Solipsism seems to be a classical example of an attempt to interpret an utterly transcendent and unlimited reality by making use of somewhat mystical and yet still conventional and limited notions and perspectives.

This is a chapter from the longer AtR guide:

No-Self Does Not Imply Solipsism


(This issue is not peculiar to Stage 5 and in fact may be more common in earlier phases of insights prior to thorough deconstruction of Subjectivity, the issue of falling into the other extreme of inherently existing physicality may be more pertinent to Stage 5)


Some people fall into the erroneous view of solipsism, the notion that there is no others than yourself, or that there are no others and only your presently arising experience exists. No-self does not negate conventional (other) mindstreams, only an inherently existing and unchanging and independent soul, self/Self, agent (perceiver, doer) or medium of experiences and actions. Mindstreams are conventionally valid like chariot, while the notion of inherent existence and souls are as impossible and invalid even conventionally as a rabbit with horns, which is to say they have no valid basis of designation at all and is purely a figment of imagination, just like unicorns. Inherent existence does not exist even conventionally, it is an impossible way of existence much like the impossibility of a “square triangle”. Conventionally, we can understand minds and mindstreams to be unique for each individual, there is nothing universal (all beings are mere extensions of One Mind) nor solipsistic (only my present mind/experience exists) about minds. However, just as with a chariot, mindstreams when sought for cannot be found whether apart from or within the parts or basis of designation, so mindstreams too are merely (dependently) designated and are ultimately also empty and non-arisen.

Anatta and emptiness is in some ways diametrically opposite of Advaita view. We deconstruct "Oneness", there is no ontological "oneness" or a unifying reality in Buddhism. That would be an essence view, and the insight of anatta and emptiness deconstructs all essence views. Not only does all mindstreams remain differentiated rather than collapsed into oneness, all experiences are also not collapsed into oneness - therefore sight is not same as sound, no two moments or experience arising in dependence on the different sense faculties and objects are the same, and consciousness is always simply the myriad manifestation in all its diversities.” – Soh, 2021. Also see chapter on: Anatta as Dispersing into Multiplicity + Spontaneous, Disjoint and Unsupported


[1:07 PM, 11/25/2020] John Tan: Only when you subsume into one, it turns solipsistic.  So either freedom of extremes or you see DO and total exertion and emptiness.  Then you do not fall into extremes.

“Although Bhāviveka doesn’t struggle that much, he is quite clear:

“Since [the tīrthika position of] self, permanence, all pervasiveness and oneness contradict their opposite, [the Buddhist position of] no-self, impermanence, non-pervasiveness and multiplicity, they are completely different.” – Kyle Dixon, 2020

“Bhāviveka demonstrates the proper way to view buddhanature:

The statement "The tathāgata pervades" means wisdom pervades all objects of knowledge, but it does not mean abiding in everything like Viśnu. Further, "Tathāgatagarbhin" means emptiness, signlessness and absence of aspiration exist the continuums of all sentient beings, but is not an inner personal agent pervading everyone.” – Kyle Dixon, 2021

Jake Karat

I once slipped into a solipsistic state - admittedly after consuming to much cannabis over a summer after graduating high school - and it was terrifying. I look back and have realized after reading more on Buddhism that there was something missing to the "approach".

This is where "No-Self" is so important to understand. Solipsism could be the result of "non-duality" IF there is still an attachment to a sense of "Self", in which case non-dual is still not fully understood.

When there is no "Self", there is no, "There's only me.", perspective. There are just "happenings", which include the stream of conceptualizations that give an appearance and feeling of a "Self" in the first place.




Soh Wei Yu


Jake Karat

John Tan wrote:

Yes solipsistic state can be overcome by:

1. What he said.

2. Overcoming the sense of "mine".

3. Also by de-constructing via dependent designation into kadag, primordial purity.

4. Essencelessness

Solipsisim is an extreme of deducing a conclusion using our existing dualistic and inherent paradigm. Negation without affirming anything will not.

Likewise de-construction does not lead into an all encompassing space, that too is an abstraction and extrapolation. It is to slowly allow us to see through the faulty premise and open up the entire field.



Ng Xin Zhao shared a link.

Aonri1 p132P2lu6fl1h2r1t a :M a  ·

Any refutations to this? The author there asked for help to refute.

All forms of nonduality inevitably lead to solipsism

\*Trigger warning: the ideas discussed here can be very detrimental to the mental health of some people. If you're prone to suffer from...


  Yin Ling


This is because the author is reifying / privileging his “mind”.

He has seen through some “I” but not yet seen through “mine”

Why is the experience of talking to someone “mine”?

In an experience, is there anything in the xp, say an xp of a seeing a flower; “mine”?

Who says it’s “mine”?

That extra “mine” is an extra imputation.

Xp of a flower is just that - colours, eye consciousness, consciousness, that dependent originate.

That’s it.

No I , no mine.

So shouldn’t be solipsism

Hence Buddha taught to take the view of DO.

·       2d

  Stan Gogan

Lol. Solipsism is just an idea. Reality does not think of itself in these terms. Only the small self that projects itself onto the universe.

·       2d

  Soh Wei Yu


Yeah. On one extreme everything is subsumed into a singular mind. That causes solipsism but eliminates subject object division. That is a phase that many people including John Tan has experienced in the substantialist nondual phases.

On the other extreme all self/Self is deconstructed but everything is subsumed or collapsed into objective matter. The world is inherently existing and real. Everything is vibrant and alive but objective or objectively existing. That is the actual freedom teachings. Here there is no solipsism but materialism, but also no subject object division. This is also a phase John Tan went through post anatta but before emptiness.

Then there is the emptiness teachings, which allows us to deconstruct everything without subsuming to either poles, all subjects and objects are liberated on the spot by seeing its empty and non-arisen and dependently designated / dependently originated nature. That is the nature of all appearance / mind / phenomena, empty and yet luminous/vibrant/alive.

·       2d

·       Edited


Soh Wei Yu


Conventionally different mindstreams are still different mindstreams but not established as real ultimately, and also not subsumed into a “one”.




“Why do you believe there’s such a thing as a ‘sentient being’?

Māra, is this your theory?

This is just a pile of conditions,

you won’t find a sentient being here.

When the parts are assembled

we use the word ‘chariot’.

So too, when the aggregates are present

‘sentient being’ is the convention we use.

But it’s only suffering that comes to be,

lasts a while, then disappears.

Naught but suffering comes to be,

naught but suffering ceases.” - Vajira Sutta


“The subsuming of everything into one's mind took place because one's mind seems to be the common factor in the mode of enquiry in solipsism.


However if using the same line of reasoning, it is in others’ mind as well.  If everything is in everyone's mind, then mind is no more the common factor but "Everything".  If you see this common factor of everything and shift your attention to everything, then experience turns very "physical".


Prasangika overcomes such issue by inquiring into its "inherentness".  Taking the “seed-plant-tree" example, why is the seed "growing"? Is there anything at the side of the "sprout" that is saying it is growing?  It can be understood as a decaying process as well.” - John Tan, 2019


John Tan on how the tendency of solipsism arises post non-dual: “Characteristics of internal and private not deconstructed.  Just like when the line that demarcates left and right dissolved, it does not mean all of left has become right or all of right has become left.” – John Tan, 2021


“[4:00 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: When I realized for the first time how PRIVATE the "objective external world" is, I was thrown into amazement and enter into the realm of "All is Mind".  I am experiencing my Mind not as a background, not as illusive thoughts floating in my little head BUT in real time, directly, as the world I have so long mistaken as "external" and "objective".


I touch everything with great intensity; feel everything with immense sensitivity, hear sound as if I am tasting it.  Everything turns magic, primal and miraculous.

[4:01 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: And the intensity is not only visual.. the sense of smell and auroma is so acute and other senses. Seems like I skew towards visual most of the time

[4:02 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: You wrote this?

[4:02 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: Yes


[4:12 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: Yes similar.. the objective external world is completely illusion and all is just Mind, just God. Except it’s no longer even private it’s like everything is lived. All my actions and experience are the spontaneous play of this intelligence. But any way of conceptualizing what this intelligence is is a form of idolization, be it primitive way of seeing God as a bearded man in the sky or as a formless background of experience. It can only be tasted in complete immediacy

[4:14 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: When I realized for the first time how PRIVATE the "objective external world" is, I was thrown into amazement and enter into the realm of "All is Mind".  I am experiencing my Mind not as a background, not as illusive thoughts floating in my little head BUT in real time, directly, as the world I have so long mistaken as "external" and "objective".


I touch the wall, keep feeling the texture, I really wanted take it all in. I feel the sensations of the hardness of the floor with great intensity; feel everything with immense sensitivity; hear sound as if I am tasting it.  Everything turns magic, primal and miraculous.

[4:15 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: One of the essential insight - All is Mind.

[4:15 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: Very similar except I didn’t have notions of privateness or personality or self.. privateness sound quite individualistic :P

[4:18 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: Yes.  Privateness yet "fully external and objective", two into one.  This also leads to another 2 deep insights ... The insight that designations is very participative and freedom from extremes.

[4:21 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: When you move "internal" into "external and objective" world, colors, smell, sound....marvelling all these aliveness with wonder.

[4:22 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. yes

[4:24 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: The convention "private", "internal" suddenly turns upside down...suddenly your whole head and internal world squeeze through a pinhole into a world of immerse colors and aliveness.

[4:25 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: The lil self disappears.  you feel God like and divine and spiritual.

[4:25 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: Ic yes

[4:27 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: That is why I kept telling you about intensity


[4:30 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: However the intensity of all is Mind lasted for several months before it wears off.  All my insights lasted for almost 90 days cycle before wearing off.

[4:31 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: It’s both the intensity and the sense of being lived completely without individual doership or agency. Like you said anatta in all three aspects and the aspect of vivid aliveness, clarity, intelligence and vitality experienced all at once

[4:31 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: I mean all the intense experience that came from insights


[4:34 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: I wonder how those without insights feel and experience

[4:35 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: It can also be triggered by yoga esp when I do inversion and yoganidrasana


[4:38 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: Once I was doing inversion and the blood flows to my head and I repeated several times followed by yoganidrasana, while doing it I realized if I can manage my breath, the energy can flow to my brow and crown and suddenly energy broke lose while still remaining in the pose

[4:39 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: Oic wow..

[4:39 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: Then post yoga I was sitting then I can't feel my whole body and head ... Suddenly I turn transparent while sitting

[4:39 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: I open my eyes...the living colors and I become one.

[4:40 AM, 8/1/2018] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. nice when was that

[4:40 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: Long ago

[4:40 AM, 8/1/2018] John Tan: I still can trigger it”


“[1:09 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Now having non-dual experience or a state of no- mind do not mean finality.

[1:10 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: We must also free our from many more intellectual obscurations.

[1:10 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: And other obscurations of cause.

[1:11 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Like having non-dual or no-mind may not free on from the notion of self.

[1:11 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Freeing one from the notion of self, may not free one from the notion of cause.

[1:11 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Freeing one from the notion of cause, may not free one from the notion of existence.

[1:12 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Freeing one from duality, may not free one from non-duality.

[1:13 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: The color you see is neither inside, nor outside.  It is inside, it is also outside.  It is private, it is also public.


So it is neither too.

[1:14 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: So freedom from insight is not different from a blank state.

[1:15 AM, 5/16/2020] Soh Wei Yu: You mean is different

[1:15 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Yes

[1:15 AM, 5/16/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..

[1:18 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: So in addition to walking in a park, being anatta, borderless and open, non-dual and total exerted, you must also spend time to free up further intellectual obscurations to blind us.

[1:18 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: That blind us I mean.

[1:18 AM, 5/16/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. through mmk?

[1:20 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: The chariot analogy is enough...but the diamond splitter, neither one nor many...all these ways of ultimate analysis that see through essence can help also.

[1:20 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: But simple looking and understanding the chariot analogy helps me a depends on individual.

[1:21 AM, 5/16/2020] John Tan: Then authenticate it with your actual experience in anatta.


More from 2020:


[1:05 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Don't you find internal as private?

[1:06 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Internal are like thoughts, sensations, perceptions. External are like shape and size and colors of objects, sounds and so on

[1:06 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Only to one else can see it

[1:06 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Which are seen to be sourced from externally

[1:06 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah

[1:07 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: External is not private to you

[1:07 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: your thoughts, your experiences are internal

[1:07 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Private to you and not know by anyone else right?

[1:07 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah

[1:09 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: External implies outside as if seen by everyone

[1:09 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Somehow objective correct when we talk about external

[1:10 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Internal is private to only you and usually we are talking about mind events

[1:10 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Don't we

[1:11 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah.. i would say even all my sense perceptions are internal mind events, they are not shared.. but the qualities of sensory experience (like colors, shapes, etc) can be seen as being sourced externally so they are “external” [post anatta prior to emptiness]

[1:12 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Yes

[1:13 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: The division of an internal and external is not as simple...when you investigate deeper and gets confused like hall of mirrors, like solipsism...

[1:13 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: But I am not going into that

[1:15 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: For the current world especially ruled by a scientific thought, we assumed a true objective world right?

[1:15 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Now I am asking you, post anatta how is this different?

[1:16 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Immediately after anatta even without going through emptiness, one no longer experience in terms subject and object

[1:16 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: In relation to internal and external, what happened?

[1:17 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: No subject and no object, is it the same as no internal and no external?

[1:17 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: No, since external world may be seen to be inherent

[1:17 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: No means?

[1:17 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Not the same

[1:18 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: So post anatta, what difference arise in your understanding of internal and external?

[1:20 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: How you feel about external?

[1:20 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: First you must understand, it doesn't change anything....experience still remains the same

[1:21 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: But we are talking about perception change

[1:22 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: When you look at external world post anatta, what happened to external world?

[1:22 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: you realize what?

[1:23 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: you realized what you thought to be external, all characteristics suddenly turns very private right

[1:23 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah

[1:24 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: They are private and is luminous mind.. yet characteristics of it (like redness of rose) can still subtly be seen to be sourced externally

[1:24 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Now you must differentiate, inner world from conceptual world...

[1:26 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: We have divided the world oddly into an internal world of mind and external world of matter....

[1:26 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: The mind through a set of learned knowledged understand from these lens.

[1:27 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: So when you see the world as luminous and everything turns alive, what do you mean?

[1:28 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Due to realising anatta the reification of background/foreground gone, luminosity is tasted as aggregates Directly, gaplessly

[1:29 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Everything becomes vivid, alive, brilliant, intense, etc

[1:30 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: No division

[1:30 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Or at least there is a first realization of how seeing through constructs is like

[1:31 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..

[1:32 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: So when you say no sense of internal/external what you mean?

[1:34 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: The anatta one is more on no division and no subject object.. but emptiness is more relevant to dissolving mind/matter inherency

[1:35 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Look into the experience, internal and anatta, no mind, some felt internal turns external...because they are led to the foreground

[1:36 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: They are suddenly led to the manifold of what we called the external world

[1:43 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..

[1:43 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: So when we say no internal/external what we meant is something different

[1:58 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: If one subsume, everything will turn internal because we are analysing everything from certain standpoint, in this case from a "privacy" standpoint...

[8:51 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..

[10:23 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: In the case of actual freedom its more like since self dissolve and everything turns objective, even internal mind events are the exertion of an infinite universe being aware of itself through a brain, as a flesh and blood body

[10:24 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: So its not that they do not see internal and external, but the internal are subsumed as epiphenomena of the external.. at least what i think

[10:27 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: you must come out your own understanding of the what you call the view of the world post that...what describes best...when your view does not sync or work with your experience, such a desync cannot result in effortless and spacious freedom

[10:28 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Is it like indra-net, is it like mind/matter, is it like DO/emptiness...what best described your insights, your experiences

[10:29 AM, 6/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Hmm was writing about indra net before you wrote lol

[10:29 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: All are different descriptions

[10:30 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: So which suits best and what is lacking

[10:30 AM, 6/1/2020] John Tan: Think about it


“On solipsism, as pointed out by John before based on his own experience (that is, he too faced this tendency of solipsism after an initial breakthrough to nondual decades ago), the danger of someone going into nondual or even emptiness without the taste of total interpenetration is that one can easily fall into the extreme of solipsism. If we are directly experiencing our reality like in Vipassana, what we see are endless dependencies - seamless and intricate, in such a case there is no danger of falling into the view of solipsism.


As I wrote in my article Dharma Body last year: "...(Note: Dharma as simply a unit of experience dependently originating - not implying any inherently existing material universe [as the universe/dharma body here is seen as marvelous activities/phenomena dependently originating seamlessly without center or boundaries], nor is this dharma body in any sense a subjective body at all [if it is subjectively self-existent then causes and conditions will not be incorporated nor necessary for any given manifestation])..." -


Also, as Piotr shared last month, "...what Soh told me in the past, if we apply Buddha's deconstruction from sound example from sutra, then clarity I call visual form right now of this laptop, letters is no more "mine" than any of secondary conditions right now, and Buddha's teaching about not-mine and other teachings sealed possibility of solipsism permanently for me. Somehow [solipsism] for me it's a non-issue."


He's referring to what I told him many months ago:


"John wrote "you see, when we say there is no self or other, we can still not see in terms of DO."


I commented: this is very important.. and lately I'm seeing it more as well. To overcome all sense of I, me, and even mine, D.O. has to step in. Many people talk about no I, no background, but still there is sense of mine... and there are also those that say everything is 'the manifestation of my mind or my nature'.. that is subtly subsuming everything to mind. Even if there is no duality.


In dependent origination you totally see the entire formation of interdependencies... not in words but directly taste the totality of its workings forming every moment of experience. When the drum beat sounds you don't see it as just 'the manifestation of my mind' but you see it as the person hitting, the drum, the vibration, the ears etc... all in total exertion... how can that have anything to do with I or mine? It is not 'mine' anymore than it is the person hitting, the drum's, the vibration's... etc. It is not only that there is no hearer behind sound... not only no I but no mine at all.. the sound itself does not belong to anyone... it is the entire universe in total exertion so to speak.. but it is not understood in logic. You have to see the whole process and interdependencies directly. Breathing is like this... walking is like this... every action every experience is like this. This is the path to dissolve I, me, mine... only through D.O. is the release thorough.


Not 'everything is just consciousness' or 'everything is my consciousness'... consciousness isn't that special or important. It does not have a special, independent, ontological status. Rather it is the interdependencies the workings of D.O. through which that moment of consciousness/experience is in total exertion. The true turning point is when mind is completely separated from mine.. I, me, mine.. the dualistic and inherent tendency must be dissolved and replaced with the wisdom of D.O."


Some conversations with John back in 2012 are quite illuminating on this subject:


John: To me is just is "Soh" an eternal being...that's all. No denial of Soh as a conventional self. All is just him is an inference too. There is no other is also an assumption.


Soh: That's what I said, lol. He didn't see it.


John: But other mindstreams is a more valid assumption. Don't you think so? And verifiable.


Soh: Yeah.


John: Whatever in conventional reality still remain, only that reification is seen through. Get it? The centre is seen through be it "subject" or "object", they are imputed mental constructs. Only the additional "ghostly something" is seen through. Not construing and reifying. Nothing that "subject" does not exist. This seeing through itself led to implicit non-dual experience.


Soh: "Nothing that "subject" does not exist." - what you mean?


John: Not "subject" or "object" does not exist. Or dissolving object into subject or subject into object etc. That "extra" imputation is seen through. Conventional reality still remain as it is. By the way, focus more on practice in releasing any holdings.... do not keep engaging on all these.


Soh: I see.. Conventional reality are just names imposed on non-inherent aggregates, right.


John: Yes. That led to releasing of the mind from subsuming of anything. What you wrote is unclear. Do you get what I mean? Doesn't mean Soh  does not exist… lol. Or I am you or you are me. Just not construing and reifying.


Soh: I see. Nondual is collapsing objects to self, thus I am you. Anatta simply sees through reification, but conventionally I am I, you are you.


John: Or collapsing subject into object. You are still unclear about this and mixed up. Seeing through the reification of "subject", "object", "self", "now", "here". Get it? Seeing through "self" led to implicit non-dual experience. Because experience turns direct without reification. In seeing, just scenery. Like you see through the word "weather". That weather-Ness. Be it subject/object/weather/...etc. That is mind free of seeing "things" existing inherently. Experience turns vivid direct and releasing. But I don't want you to keep participating idle talk and neglect practice always over emphasizing unnecessarily. What happens to experience?


Soh: you mean after anatta? Direct, luminous, but no ground of abiding (like some inherent awareness).


John: And what do you mean by that?


Soh: Means there are only transient six sense streams experience, in seen just seen, etc. Nothing extra.


John: Six stream experiences is just a convenient raft. Nothing ultimate. Not only must you see that there is no Seer + seeing + seen… you must see the immense connectedness. Implicit Non-dual in experience in anatta to you means what?” - Soh, 2014


“Buddha never used the term "self" to refer to an unconditioned, permanent, ultimate entity. He also never asserted that there was no conventional "self," the subject of transactional discourse. So, it is very clear in the sutras that the Buddha negated an ultimate self and did not negate a conventional self.” – Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith, 2020

“Anatman is the negation of an unconditioned, permanent, ultimate entity that moves from one temporary body to another. It is not the negation of "Sam," "Fred," or "Jane" used as a conventional designation for a collection of aggregates. Since the Buddha clearly states in many Mahāyāna sūtras, "all phenomena" are not self, and since everything is included there, including buddhahood, therefore, there are no phenomena that can be called a self, and since there are nothing outside of all phenomena, a "self," other than an arbitrary designation, does not exist.”


- Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith


More on the teaching of conventional self:



Underlying the whole of Dōgen’s presentation is his own experience of no longer being attached to any sense of a personal self that exists independent of time and of other beings, an experience which is part and parcel of his ‘dropping off of body and mind’. From this perspective of his, anything having existence—which includes every thought and thing—is inextricably bound to time, indeed, can be said to ‘be time’, for there is no thought or thing that exists independent of time. Time and being are but two aspects of the same thing, which is the interrelationship of anicca, ‘the ever-changing flow of time’ and anatta, ‘the absence of any permanent self existing within or independent of this flow of time’. Dōgen has already voiced this perspective in Discourse 1: A Discourse on Doing One’s Utmost in Practicing the Way of the Buddhas (Bendōwa), and in Discourse 3: On the Spiritual Question as It Manifests Before Your Very Eyes (Genjō Kōan), where he discussed the Shrenikan view of an ‘eternal self ’ and the Buddhist perception of ‘no permanent self ’.


In the present discourse, Dōgen uses as his central text a poem by Great Master Yakusan Igen, the Ninth Chinese Ancestor in the Sōtō Zen lineage. In the Chinese version, each line of this poem begins with the word uji, which functions to introduce a set of couplets describing temporary conditions that appear to be contrastive, but which, in reality, do not stand against each other. These conditions comprise what might be referred to as ‘an I at some moment of time’; this is a use of the word ‘I’ that does not refer to some ‘permanent self ’, abiding unchanged over time (as the Shrenikans maintained) but to a particular set of transient conditions at a particular time. In other words, there is no permanent, unchanging ‘Yakusan’, only a series of ever-changing conditions, one segment of which is perceived as ‘a sentient being’, which is, for convenience, conventionally referred to as ‘Yakusan’. Both Yakusan and Dōgen understand uji (in its sense of ‘that which exists at some time’) as a useful way of expressing the condition of anatta, and in this sense it is used to refer to a state of ‘being’ that is neither a ‘permanent self ’ nor something separate from ‘other’; it is the ‘I’ referred to in one description of a kenshō experience (that is, the experiencing of one’s Buddha Nature) as ‘the whole universe becoming I’. Hence, when the false notion of ‘having a permanent self ’ is abandoned, then what remains is just uji, ‘the time when some form of being persists’.


After presenting Yakusan’s poem, Dōgen focuses on that aspect of the poem that does not deal with metaphors, images, symbols, etc., and which is the one element in the poem that readers are most likely to pay small heed to: the phrase uji itself. His opening statement encapsulates the whole of what he is talking about in this text, namely: “The phrase ‘for the time being’ implies that time in its totality is what existence is, and that existence in all its occurrences is what time is.”


“Why do you believe there’s such a thing as a ‘sentient being’?

Māra, is this your theory?

This is just a pile of conditions,

you won’t find a sentient being here.

When the parts are assembled

we use the word ‘chariot’.

So too, when the aggregates are present

‘sentient being’ is the convention we use.

But it’s only suffering that comes to be,

lasts a while, then disappears.

Naught but suffering comes to be,

naught but suffering ceases.” - Vajira Sutta


John Tan, 2007: “No-self does not need observation. No-self is a form of realisation. To observe is to track the 'self': where is it, what is it - that 'sense of self', who, where and what... till we thoroughly understood it is an illusion, till we know there is awareness, but there never was a 'Self/self'. Isn't awareness 'self'? Well, you can say so if you insist...ehehhe

(1:59 PM) Thusness:  if there is non-dual, no background, no mine and 'I', impermanence, not a form of entity and yet we still want to call it 'Self', so be it. :P

(1:59 PM) Thusness:  its okie...

(1:59 PM) Thusness:  lol”


John Tan, 2020: “Brahman or not doesn't matter as long Brahman is not any transpersonal being in a wonderland, but is the very relative phenomena that we misunderstood.”


When asked about the difference between an ultimate and inherently existing Self and the Buddhist view of “mindstreams”, Soh replied with a quotation from Ven. Hui-feng: “Venerable Hui-Feng nicely explains the difference between the view of "atman" and "mindstream" (as taught by Buddha):


            In short:


            "self" = "atman" / "pudgala" / "purisa" / etc.

            --> permanent, blissful, autonomous entity, totally unaffected by any conditioned phenomena


            "mind" = "citta" / "manas" / "vijnana" / etc.

    --> stream of momentarily arising and ceasing states of consciousness, thus not an entity, each of which is conditioned by sense organ, sense object and preceding mental states


            Neither are material.


    That's a brief overview, lot's of things to nit pick at, but otherwise it'll require a 1000 page monograph to make everyone happy.


            You'll need to study up on "dependent origination" (pratitya-samutpada) to get into any depth to answer your questions.”


“[9:56 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: This is nondual

[10:00 AM, 4/16/2021] William Lim: Thanks... it was useful to focus and unpack one topic at a time. Yesterday topic of "not seperate but yet distinct" was interesting.

[10:13 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: In anatta the all differentiations remain

[10:13 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: There is not subsuming into some oneness

[10:14 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: “...According to Dogen, this “oceanic-body” does not contain the myriad forms, nor is it made up of myriad forms – it is the myriad forms themselves. The same instruction is provided at the beginning of Shobogenzo, Gabyo (pictured rice-cakes) where, he asserts that, “as all Buddhas are enlightenment” (sho, or honsho), so too, “all dharmas are enlightenment” which he says does not mean they are simply “one” nature or mind.”

[10:14 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: - ted biringer

[10:15 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: All mindstreams are likewise differentiated, they are not subsumed into one universal consciousness like advaita

[10:15 AM, 4/16/2021] William Lim: All mindstreams are distinct and yet there are no seperation?

[10:15 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: But there is not subject object, agency-action, perceiver perceived duality

[10:16 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: In hearing, hearing is just sound, no hearer

[10:16 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Etc

[10:16 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Its not one universal consciousness arising as a sound, i dont have such concepts

[10:16 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: That is stage 4.. or stage 1 to 4

[10:17 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Even steven norquist havent really gone beyond stage 4 but his is nondual. Stage 4

[10:17 AM, 4/16/2021] William Lim: If there is no subject-object, how can there be "another" midstream?

[10:19 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: There is no subject object, but all differentiations remain. There is no hearer and no hearing besides sound, but sound is not the same as scenery, not the same as thought

[10:19 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: There is no consciousness besides manifestation and manifestation is always differentiated

[10:19 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: So even in experience everything is differentiated, why can’t there be different mindstreams?

[10:20 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Under differing conditions, different manifestations appear

[10:20 AM, 4/16/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Therefore dependent origination

[10:20 AM, 4/16/2021] William Lim: This is good clarification”


RESPONDENT: I’m just here more or less alone, I guess.

RICHARD: Each and every human being is on their own as a flesh and blood body ... dependent upon no one; autonomous. Being ‘alone’ or lonely is a feature of being a self: ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain. Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for ‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the actual world ... the world as-it-is.

RESPONDENT: I didn’t mean lonely by alone.

RICHARD: One of the hallmarks of self-realisation is to no longer feel the common or garden variety of loneliness but to experience the utter aloneness of being ‘The One With No Other’; the mystical literature abounds with descriptions of the master being alone ... in its root meaning of ‘all+one’ (ME ‘al one’ from ‘al ane’ from OE ‘al ana’ from ‘al an’ where ‘al’=‘all’ and ‘ana’/‘an’=‘one’). And I am not necessarily being pedagogic by digging around in the dictionaries ... for example:

• [Spiritual Seeker]: ‘Contrary to what you have said, Krishnamurti never says that he has a Soul, a Self.

• [Richard]: ‘I beg to differ: [quote]: ‘I maintain that the only spirituality is the incorruptibility of the self which is eternal ... this is the absolute, unconditioned Truth which is Life itself’. [end quote].

• [Spiritual Seeker]: ‘His use of ‘sacred’ and ‘holy’ do not make him so, though you use the dictionary to establish your point. Krishnamurti often departed from the dictionary meaning and substituted another meaning. For example, ‘alone’ he made to mean ‘all one’.

• [Richard]: ‘Once again, I beg to differ: he did not make ‘alone’ mean ‘all one’ at all ... etymologically it already means ‘all one’.

The mystical quality applied to ‘alone’ has popularly come to mean ‘we are all one’ ... but the master is indeed alone in the sense of being solitary. In solipsism only oneself exists – there is no ‘others’ – and in some of the more archaic religions this gives rise to speculation that their god or goddess dreams universes peopled with beings for amusement or sport ... out of loneliness and/or boredom. Speaking personally, I was alone for eleven years – but never lonely – and one of the first things I noticed, upon breaking free of the massive delusion of godliness, was the ending of aloneness ... and I am still never, ever lonely. As a discrete flesh and blood body I am physically on my own and autonomous, but with no separative entity to feel either lonely or alone – cut off from the magnificence of the actual – the entire feeling of being solitary has ceased to exist.” - AF Richard,


[1:59 PM, 12/6/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle Dixon in Nonsectarian Dzogchen Atiyoga & Mahamudra:

"The real difference is that in Dzogchen, appearances are 'non-existent clear appearances' [med par gsal snang].


Not mind because they are ultimately unfindable, and then distinct on the level of convention."

[5:44 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Meaning?

[7:15 PM, 12/6/2019] Soh Wei Yu: To dzogchen, mind and appearance are ultimately unfindable, but distinct conventionally. Therefore they are not same in dzogchen

[7:55 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: That is correct and accurate. Actually when we say appearance is mind, it is an experiential taste.  Conventionally it should treated as distinct and DO [dependently originating]. However even saying they are different is incorrect. Language cannot define this relationship appropriately… Therefore 2 truth [conventional and ultimate]. Also it is true to talk about emptiness. Appear and not-found. Rather than to talk about it as if we're talking about One Mind.”