Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

 Someone at the I AM phase, lets call him Mr C, messaged me:

“How to come to realize the luminous holographic nature of phenomena as in when do we see phenomena fully as without substance? Matter and the world seeeemm to be real but when turned inward it’s not so clear it’s real anymore. 

However this would be expected as attention is inward and not towards the world , thus it is not experienced In the same way.”

Soh: “I have been working very late today, just got home a minute ago and its 12.50am and i got to wake up at 7.30am tmr

I might do a longer reply tmr or following days but i will just share this post by a dharma friend Yin Ling with similar experiential insights as me (her writings are very clear and inspirational and i always follow them):

“After posting a flurry of dizzying sharings on awakening and random thoughts, I thought I should write properly from my own experience and knowledge, something that is useful for others in the simplest and most direct way.



First and foremost, I am of the opinion that awakening is everyone’s birthright no matter religion, race and gender. I am non-sectarian. I think everyone is talking the same thing once you get it. As long as you are human, you have what it takes to wake up. And like how my teacher always said to me from day 1, “There are steps and it can be done if you are willing to do the work, it’s not that hard Yin if you have done medical school.”

I subscribe to similar views.



To me it doesn’t really matter if u have not read the Abidharmma, do not know Pali, do not know any suttas in the Pali canon or not, cannot memorise all the chants, as I am a practitioner, only interested in practise, not a scholar nor a monastic with his/her responsibilities.



If you want to diagnose me from my writing, you really shouldn’t because you are not my teacher but if you still want to, please keep it to yourself 🙂


Ok. 3 stages I think is crucial and will be a turning point for practitioners to see reality are as below:


1) Knowing what awareness is.

The term awareness is confusing. Everyone’s interpretation of awareness is different.

For me, it is “What is hearing the sound?”

“What is aware of the taste?”

“where does awareness stops and phenomena (e.g. sound) begins?

The line between awareness and phenomenas (sound, sight, taste, smell, touch, thought) need to be investigated thoroughly until a strong conviction arise.

I will give you the answer straight up as I like being direct.

The sound is hearing the sound.

The touch is knowing the touch.

The taste is tasting the taste.

Sound knows.

Taste knows.

Scenery sees.

The awareness is not separate from the phenomena. It is not located in the head. It is right there intrinsic to each phenomenas.

When you hear a sound, the sound knows itself.

However, it is no use for me to tell you the answer, or you memorise the answer and can parrot, because the conviction of this need to arise in your whole being and the mind needs to understand from the subconscious level before your whole perception can change.

The exercise to arise this insight is to feel each phenomena completely, and investigate where does awareness starts and end. Like in the Satipathanna sutta. Vipassana is very good if you are taught to do it.

One can take the Bahiya sutta into meditation too if one feels incline.

Or one can just gently inquire where does awareness ends and phenomenas begins.

That is a non-dual insight.

An insight is something that could completely change how you perceive the world.

The insight is so powerful that after one sees it, over the course of time things become non-dual automatically.

It is like how when I when my dad makes his coffee in the morning, I will hear the clanking of the cup from my room and when I hear it, it is as though I am there in the sound, not knowing from the head.

Ps/ the awareness I am talking about here is not a ‘universal awareness’ which encompass everything and stand apart from phenomenas. No.

The awareness in intrinsic to each and every phenomenas and it’s never the same as phenomenas are never the same.

NOT ONE big awareness. NOT brahmanic awareness. NOT atman.



2) No-self (a quantum shift from 1))

This is a special insight that is known as the dharma seal.

It is a realization that there has never been a self, ever. Always so, always will be.

It is not that awareness and the sound arise together, as one.

But there has only been the sound.

It is like the Bahiya sutta, “in the seen, only the seen. In the heard, only the heard.”

When this insight arises for the practitioner, there will be a clear understanding that there has never been a self, all phenomena arise and ceases by itself, knowing itself in itself, it is effortless compare to 1) as there is no effort to merge awareness and phenomena.

Phenomenas has always been no self. Come and go by itself. The knowingness in intrinsic to the phenomena. No doing is needed, No effort to be aware.

It can be very blissful with no self realization.

There is another MAJOR turning point here when no-self realization matures, a "body drop" will happen, from then on a new view of reality takes over, practitioner no more see from the viewpoint of a body, the personhood is dropped, there is no more viewpoint, no more centre, there is only the manifestations+knowingness popping up everywhere.

A sea of knowingness not apart from the phenomena, no self, no centrepoint, no reference point, hence no location, no distance.

It is most radical. Let go and plunge in to no where 🙂

After awhile, no-self becomes very natural, one don't think about it, don't generate it, but it's just like another ordinary day.


I am of the opinion that it is very hard to come to anatta/no-self without a practitioner understanding what awareness is first.

In original/ignorant perception, there is split between the self in the head and phenomena outside with strong reification of in/out boundaries, it is very hard to shift perception to no-self without understanding awareness as awareness is often stuck in the head.

Practitioners might also attempt to remove the self in the head which is not something that I encourage, because it would make something that is not even there in the first place stronger and practitioner might fall into a nihilistic no-self, without liberating realizations. That is frequently seen and wrong view, wrong effort.




3) Emptiness

With anatta insight, forms / phenomenas can be still substantial at first.

Heavy, bright, direct.

That was my experience.

However if one receives pointers, continues to practice and investigate the nature of everything, one will come to realize forms now are a coalesce of empty awareness and vivid appearance. It is no more physical.

There’s two taste to it, the empty taste (absence) and the full taste (presence)

The work now is to fully integrate this two tastes into one taste ( not the mahamudra one taste).

For me personally, a period of time is needed because my mind was swinging between two extremes of empty and full. I believe this will be for most practitioners because we are inclined to see the outside world in a physical way. And now when awareness is known to be intrinsic to these physical things, the mind needs time to get use to this new way of perception. Everything takes on a new nature. This is 见性 (see nature) in mandarin.

However the integration can be done. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form is realized once a practitioner can directly perceive the coalesce of these two taste.

Things will lose their ‘thingness’, the mind will not see ‘physical’ anymore but understand everything is like this – vivid yet empty.

It can be vivid because it is empty.

It is empty because it is vivid.

If it is not empty it cannot be seen.

If it can be seen it must be empty.

This understanding will be clear.

I took the view of dependent origination again and again and relinquish my old ways of seeing the world for quite some time before the two extremes merge into the beautiful middle way of emptiness, the buddha’s greatest teaching.

The whole scenery and everything felt will be light, spacious, vivid, empty, like cloud, like space, like mist, dewdrop, rainbow, there yet not there. And it is blissful. More importantly, the mind can rest and liberate. The grasping can slow down and be released. This is the whole point of the journey.


I will stop here and not going to go into non-arising, total exertion / conceptualities, conceptual elaborations etc etc because it will be too much for now. Hope it helps!

Advanced practitioners pls feedback if you have different opinions 🙂 🙂 Much appreciated.”

Soh: “ As for what you said, it is more of I AMness. As John tan said before,

[3/8/19, 5:06:41 PM] John Tan: Yes. That (More real than real) is also an insight that turns the mind internal. Non-arising means appearances without essence similar to a reflection, like a rainbow. That (More real than real) comes with I AMness. The difference between anatta and substantiality is beside appearance, there is innate feeling of some essence separate from the appearances of colors, sensations, sound, smell, taste and thoughts. Therefore one cannot be fully open and release.””

Mr C: “I see I see so the typically explained “field” of awareness isn’t really a field at all? But there is emptiness with no boundaries?

And why do the masters like Longchenpa say all appears within “into an expanse of space””


“Longchenpa is speaking from the realization of emptiness

The Practice Of Dzogchen: Longchen Rabjam's Writings on the Great Perfection

John Tan: "

Exactly what I am searching"

IDENTIFICATION (OF THE BASIS) THROUGH (UNDERSTANDING THE) VIEW The External Apprehended Objects Are Non-Existent Emptiness

(i) The appearances are unreal reflections like the eight examples of illusion.

Every aspect of the five objects, such as form, included in the phenomena of the world and beings, are mere appearances with no true existence. All the appearances which have appeared to both the pure perceptions of the Buddhas and the impure perceptions of deluded beings are the percepts of wisdom and the mind. While the appearances are appearing to both perceptions, they are appearing with no inherent existence (Rang-bZhin), like a reflection in a mirror and rainbow rays in the sky. To the pure perception of wisdom the (appearances) transcend the extremes of existing and non-existing as there are no stains of apprehender and apprehended. As there is no creating, ceasing, and changing, all are free from the characteristics of compounded phenomena, the appearances of uncompounded emptiness-form, and are totally free from conceptualizations. To the perception of the deluded mind, (the appearances) merely appear as the object of apprehension of self (bDag-'Dzin), which have fallen into the extreme (concepts) of existing or non-existing, are detached from the characteristics of uncompounded (nature), and have strengthened the habituations of adventitious and circumstantial self-perceptions. So, here, one will understand that the objects, the delusory appearances of the mind, are unreal. Various external appearances, such as white and red, are merely the percepts of rigid habits, like a dream created by the drunkenness of ignorant sleep. There is not the slightest existence (in them) as the object in the (true) meaning. Also, those appearances are not mind from the very point of their arising, because their substantial characteristics, such as color, size, and distinctions, negate the character of the mind. At the same time, they are not other than the mind, because, in addition to their being merely the delusory perceptions (of the mind), no other object has ever been established as such. The appearances to the mind are just types of experience of rigid habits continuing from beginningless time. It is like dreaming last night about a magic show one has seen yesterday. Therefore, one should think that whatever appears are appearances of non existence, and are without foundation, abiding place, natural existence, and recognizable (entity). They are merely a clear appearance of the empty nature like a dream, magical display, mirage, echo, shadowy view (Mig-Yor), water-moon (reflection), miracle, and the city of smell-eaters (a spirit world). Whatever appears, self or others, enemies or friends, countries or towns, places or houses, food or drink or wealth, and whatever one does, eating or sleeping, walking or sitting, one should train in seeing them as unreal. One should devote oneself to this training in all its aspects: the preliminary, actual, and concluding practices. (ii) The objects, if analyzed, are emptiness. If the appearances are examined from gross to subtle down to atoms, they are partless and non-existent. So form is emptiness. (Likewise,) by examining color and recognition of sound, it (will be found to be) emptiness. By examining the form and essence of smell, it (will be found to be) emptiness. By examining the aspects of taste, they (will be found to be) emptiness. Especially, by examining the sources (sense-objects), the emptiness of touch will be reached. Although they are different in appearance, they are the same in their nature in being emptiness, so the emptiness of various objects are not separate categories. Their nature, like pure space, transcends being either separate or the same. So the nature of objective appearances is emptiness in its essence.

The Apprehender Has No Foundation and No Root

(i) The consciousnesses are self-clarity without foundation.

(There are eight consciousnesses.) The five sense-consciousnesses; arise as the five objects such as form, the mind-consciousness cognizes the general impression (of the appearing objects) and designates them as the objects, the defiled mind-consciousness is the sense of negating, accepting, hating and disliking (etc.), the mind-consciousness arises after the six consciousnesses (five senses and universal ground consciousness), ...and the consciousness of universal ground is self-clarity (Rang-gSal) and no thought and is unrelated to the objects: these are the eight or six consciousnesses. At the (very) time of (functioning of any of) those consciousnesses themselves, whatever consciousness it is, it is clear, vivid, and self-clarity with no foundations. Although they appear clear, there is no substantial entity. They are appearing without existence, like clear space and a breeze with no dust. Their clarity is present naturally like the sky without clouds. Their movements are like wind, not in distinguishable substances. From the (very) time of appearing, (the consciousnesses) as the apprehenders are self-clarity and unrecognizable. Watch them when they are arising and when they are abiding. Relax naturally and watch the manner of appearing of the apprehender. Thereby one will realize the apprehenders as having the nature of merely an appearance of clarity with no existence, emptiness with no bias, and self-clarity with no foundation. (ii) (The subject), if analyzed, is emptiness without root. By analyzing (whether) the self-clear, baseless mind (exists) in the external appearances, inner physical body, or intermediate movements, or if the entity of the self-dwelling mind itself (can be) recognized in (its) design, color, birth, cessation, and abiding, one will realize that its nature is non-existence, baseless and free from the extremes of either existence or non-existence. In this training the devotion to the Lama is the only important thing.”

(Other Longchenpa quotes I sent him earlier:

Soh: when you have time, you should read the whole article here:

something i wrote

but two short excerpts:


Tan:I like this book. Clarifies most of the dzogchen terms and clearly states that longchenpa rejects self-reflective awareness

distinguishing dzogchen from yogacara. And in line with anatta

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

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


[10/10/21, 10:26:04 AM] John Tan: ‎

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

nondual self­occuring primordial knowing in its pristine nakedness (rjen

pa sang nge ba) - both as it

abides in its naked clarity and as it

continuously manifests as myriad objects - without hypostatizing it.273

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

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

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

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

directions and one fails to understand the key point."

[10/10/21, 10:36:16 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oh.. nice

[10/10/21, 10:43:29 AM] John Tan: Reading it second time and still found many phrases that I like.

[10/10/21, 10:43:43 AM] John Tan: Really a treasure


‎[10/10/21, 1:57:18 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle Dixon: Longchenpa:


the [ultimate] perspective the meditative equipoise of the realised (sa

thob) and awakened beings (sangs rgyas), there exists neither object of

knowledge (shes bya) nor knowing cognitive process (shes byed) and so

forth, for there is neither object to apprehend nor the subject that

does the apprehending. Even the exalted cognitive process (yeshes) as a

subject ceases (zhi ba) to operate.

[10/10/21, 1:59:33 PM] John Tan: (thumbs up) )


“Not to be mistaken that he (Longchenpa) is talking about I AMness as a background space

Rather he is talking about the realization and experience of anatta and emptiness

Also see awareness.html

Thusness, 2013: 

"there is a very intense and much deeper state i assure u...but there is clear understanding that the manifestation is it....however awareness is like an unbounded and limitless expanse field

the luminosity is intensely clear

the experience is like Non-Dual Awareness broke lose and exist as a unbounded FIELD

there is a difference in seeing sound and a hearer and realizing sound as awareness itself

u cannot focus and there cannot be any sense of effort

there cannot be any sense of boundaries

just itself

u must be very very stable and mature in the anatta state

and u cannot be in an enclosed room...

it is the effortlessness and crystal clear transparency and intensity of luminosity...

but duality must no more trouble the practitioner, phenomena is clearly understood as the nothing is obscuring then in total effortless and emanation arises and the expanse just continues"

On how this differs from one mind:

"one mind is subsuming

therefore there is a sense of dual

in this case there isn't

it is like a drop of water landed on the surface of a clear ocean. the nature of water and ocean are one and the same...nothing containing anything

when sounds and music arise...they are like water and waves in ocean...everything is it"


For those at the I AMness phase, these quotes might be relevant pointers regarding the topic of space:

“Hi AEN,

Yes not to be fixated but also not to objectify the “spaciousness” otherwise “spaciousness” is no less fixated.  The ‘space’ appears appealing only to a mind that abstracts but to a fully participating and involving mind, such “spaciousness” has immediately sets itself apart, distancing itself from inseparable.  Emptiness is never a behind background but a fully partaking foreground manifesting as the arising and passing phenomena absence of a center. Therefore understand ‘spaciousness’ not like sky but like passing clouds and flowing water, manifesting whenever condition is.  If ‘Emptiness’ has made us more fixated and immobilized this innate freedom of our non-dual luminosity, then it is ‘stubborn emptiness’.

Nevertheless, no matter what said, it is always inadequate. If we want to fully realize the inexpressible, be willing to give up all centers and point of references that manifests in the form of ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘where’.  Just give up the entire sense of self then instantly all things are spontaneously perfected.

Just a sharing, nothing intense.

Happy New Year! 🙂

There is no lack of clarity in whatever that is manifesting, simply forgo the self and be fully participating.” - John Tan, 2009

“Therefore the so called "Clear Aware Space" is no more special than this moment of arising sound or passing scent.  The failure to recognize that all apparent arising and passing transience is non other than the Dharmakaya is the problem of all problems. 

When a pith instruction like “Relax and fully open to whatever is” is taught to a mind that is still under strong influence of dualistic tendencies, it is easy for such a mind to read  and practice in the form of clinging to the “Aware Space” and shunting away from the transience, thereby setting itself infinitely apart unknowingly. 

If however there is maturity of insight that whatever arises share the same taste -- luminous yet empty (via twofold emptiness), then practice is naturally and simply unreserved opening to whatever is, it cannot be otherwise.  There can be no movement, duality and preference from this to that for there is no ‘this’ that is more ‘this’ than that.  

With clear recognition and unperturbed practice of complete unreserved opening to whatever is, all transience will reveal to posses the same taste of non-dual samadhi and self-liberation that we once thought to be the monopoly of the so called “Clear Aware Space”.

It is therefore advisable that after the direct experience and realization of the pure sense of existence, a practitioner further penetrates anatta and the empty nature of phenomena.  These insights are necessary and should not be considered “long cut”.  It will help a practitioner better appreciate the art of great ease in time to come.

My 2 cents.

The degree of “un-contrivance”,

Is the degree of how unreserved and fearless we open to whatever is.

For whatever arises is mind, always seen, heard, tasted and experienced.

What that is not seen, not heard and not experienced,

Is our conceptual idea of what mind is.

Whenever we objectify the “brilliance, the pristine-ness” into an entity that is formless,

It becomes an object of grasp that prevents the seeing of the “forms”,

the texture and the fabric of awareness.

The tendency to objectify is subtle,

we let go of 'selfness' yet unknowingly grasped ‘nowness’ and ‘hereness’.

Whatever arises merely dependently originates, needless of who, where and when.

All experiences are equal, luminous yet empty of self-nature.

Though empty it has not in anyway denied its vivid luminosity.

Liberation is experiencing mind as it is.

Self-Liberation is the thorough insight that this liberation is always and already is;

Spontaneously present, naturally perfected!” – John Tan to Mr. J, 2012

Mr C: “What book are they talking about?”

Soh: “You mean the longchenpa book?


The “i like this book” is referring to:

John Tan: The Philosophical Foundations of

Classical rDzogs chen in Tibet

Investigating the Distinction Between Dualistic Mind

(sems) and Primordial knowing (ye shes)

David Higgins

( Soh: )


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

lystates that longchenpa rejects self-reflective awareness

distinguishing dzogchen from yogacara. And in line with anatta

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

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

You can find more excerpts and comments here:

Mr C: “Yes thank you 🙏


Sent him further:

Actually if you are interested in Dzogchen and one day you attend Acarya Malcolm Smith’s Dzogchen teachings, you will also see that Dzogchen practice is full integration with senses in a state of natural concentration or natural absorption. Not sense withdrawal or distancing from the senses into an internal formless atman. The view is also aligned with anatman and emptiness I spoke of.

As Kyle Dixon (also a student of Malcolm) also said before, “Also tell John yes Dzogchen practice is resting in moment of unfabricated consciousness in sense gates, with mindfulness and awareness that directly hit thought as it arises and then is not distracted by thought

Then also direct perception of vidyā

The first will lead to anatta realization, the second two fold emptiness

It is now subject and object are recognized as empty

But also the semdzins

Can expedite insight

Seeing through thought is how anatta occurred for me

The Rig Pa Rang Shar says, as thought arise (shar grol) then as one gets more familiar in the practice thought arise by themselves (rang grol) and finally in realization as if they never arose in the first place (ye grol)

Non-arising of thought is what led to insight of no background for me and then whole intense realization

Time is held together by thought and substratum delusion of background knower”


Another article from the Zen tradition that might interest you is this. You can read this

And see the comments by Thusness below:


(1:16 AM) AEN:

(1:16 AM) AEN: . See, hear, sense, touch, taste; everything happening all at once with no discrimination, preference or choice. Every sense door completely open, welcoming, receptive, alert, completely alive.  So that listening is with the whole body/mind; every pore of our skin, every hair on the body, one whole receptive, alive

field of listening. In this there is no “who”, is there? No “me” listening, is there? Check it out for yourself. It may be a little slippery to catch, because when “you” are only hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling; there may not be anyone there to record or reflect on the experience; no “you” there! See what happens when you

(1:17 AM) AEN: notice there is separation from what is; when the mind is wanting this to be some other way than just how it is. What happens in that moment of just seeing separation? What happens when you’ve traveled down the mind road and there is a sudden seeing of that? Was there a “you” in that moment of awareness? What i

What if seeing is awakening? What is hearing is awakening? What if it is just as simple and as obvious as that?

Session Start: Saturday, May 02, 2009

(1:16 PM) Thusness: Fantastic description...haahah....another great site u have found.

(1:16 PM) Thusness: put the link inside our blog


(9:26 PM) Thusness: If we are too attached to the space behind, they will not be able to go centerless.

(9:28 PM) AEN: oic..

(9:28 PM) Thusness: u see in the open sky, though they talk about opensky, i don't see them referring to the space behind

(9:29 PM) Thusness: only full integration of sense door with the transience.

similarly the just perception article

(9:29 PM) Thusness: even more critical

(9:30 PM) AEN: oic

(9:33 PM) AEN: which article

the website got alot of articles leh

(9:34 PM) Thusness:

the section on just perception

(9:34 PM) AEN: oic..

(9:39 PM) AEN: the article is talking the same thing as u rite

about subject/object union

i mean

no subject/object union

(9:39 PM) Thusness: yeah


(9:39 PM) AEN: icic..

(9:39 PM) Thusness: the opensky is good

quite thorough

(9:40 PM) AEN: oic..

which articles u read

(9:40 PM) Thusness: many

(9:40 PM) AEN: icic..

(9:43 PM) Thusness:

also good

(9:43 PM) AEN: oic..