Post anatta advice:
John Tan's advise:
As for those layman practitioners that for some reasons still prefer to go on their own asking for some general guides post anatta insights, I think they can focus on the 5 following points:
1. Extend the insight of anatta, the de-reification process to all events and phenomena. MMK comes handy here. It will help one investigate most of the subtle assumptions we held to be "true" in a hypnotic way.
2. Open up our body and go deeply into body-awareness. This is critical imo. Less intellectual activities and more body-awareness. Post anatta and along the path, due to the de-construction process, the energy released from unconscious holding of our mental constructs can be quite overwhelming. It may also be due to other reasons, for example, attachment to non-dual experiences and as a result it will cause discomfort to both our mind and body.
3. So opening up our body is key at this phase. The imbalance can be released by massage, non-inflammatory diet, qi gong, tai chi movements, yoga or any other body awareness exercises. Just open up our body and bring awareness to our body to complement the anatta insight and less intellectual activities.
4. If after that, the practitioner can intuit directly the relationship between mind, prana and body and wish to pursue his knowledge further on how the energy system works, they can then look for experienced teachers in this space to guide them. U r not into this, hence, do not advise ppl on what u r unsure and have no experience.
5. Lastly, bring the insight of anatta into our daily activities, meet conditions and engage.
[7:54 AM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: Not bad. He should relook these insights and experiences and ask the following:
1. If everything is me, then the sense of "me" must also disappear at that moment of experience. Otherwise one must mature the experience into no-mind and then anatta as an insight.
2. If later it is realized that there is no me/self/Self as an insight and experience (anatta), then one must refine the view and question how does the sense of me/self/Self arise in the first place?
3. Then bring this insight from the refinement of view into all phenomena and all actions.
4. Therefore not only there is no seer in the seen just the seen, there is no seeing and nothing seen. No self, no others and no aggregates.
5. If this is understood only as negations, then one is not free from extremes and all elaborations.
6. Therefore conventionally, there is self, others, seer, seeing and seen. There are causes and effects. There is arising, abiding and ceasing and the only valid mode of arising is dependent arising.
7. Point 1, 2, 3 praxis is on samatha and vipassana. Direct experience and insights. To mature this insight of anatta, the path of analysis is needed.
8. Point 4-6 thorough reasoning and analysis is added to relinquish cognitive obscuration.
9. If he is interested, he should look into mmk (Nagarjuna's text Mūlamadhyamakakārikā), it will expose the many hidden nuances and subtleties of our cognitive obscurations. Patience is needed to get used to the line of reasoning of Nagarjuna. But no need to get involved in those polemics of the Tibetan schools.
[8:08 AM, 6/3/2021] John Tan: 10. Lastly one should understand the praxis of the 2 stanzas and mmk are different. The 2 stanzas are using samatha and vipassana to directly see through mental constructs to realize one's nature (direct path) whereas mmk is via path of analysis and reasoning. So when reading mmk, one must adhere strictly to the conventional 3 fold structure of seer-seeing-seen. See through the structures and deconstruct step by step. The ultimate purpose and result are the same except mmk exposes all the very subtle and hidden cognitives obscurations that we are unable even post anatta insight. So if one is interested in bringing anatta insight to maturity and perfection, mmk is needed.
What works for me to deepen realisation after the initial insight of Anatta (no-self)
1) Don’t chase the luminance and brightness.
Let go of the self slowly more and more by sensing deeply the senses non dually. Keep showing the mind in the seen only the seen, and keep showing the no self structure to the mind. It needs to learn.
It will naturally stabilise at a brilliant radiance without effort.
It is the self that blocks the radiance, not by intensely experiencing the radiance - this can cause energy imbalance.
2) sleep hours will drop but take it easy.
Have some sort of exercise to tire yourself out abit, go easy on caffeine,
if not insomnia can happen due to the brightness, luminosity, and the energy that breaks through from the dropping of self construct.
3) practice by sensing deeply the senses.
Let the intensity of senses become clear.
Be there with the sound. (You will know what I mean, when you hear the sound non dually, at first there will be some sort of vague background due to imprint, let go of that background more and more)
4) Sense deeply the body sensation one by one, sharpen the mind up like a satipathanna practice, this will drop the sense of body outline
5) open up. Let go of the Center in the body.
Let consciousness Spread out slowly, as much as you can, a little each day. Meditate that way, sense the senses in separate little fireflies like figure. See how confusion occurs by our mind collating and separating these dependently originated sensations.
6) shamatha is crucial. It will sharpen the insight and calm the mind. It helps with the letting go of self and calm the afflictions. Have a few good hours of pure shamatha a week will help greatly.
7) when emptiness of personal self stabilise, move this insight to the chair, table, bird, .. investigate how no-self happen to your body and now investigate if you can extend to phenomenas.
Take the time to stabilise personal self emptiness first, however if you have bad energy imbalance like me, you probably will need to extend this insight fast to empty phenomena for the energy to move. Or else it’s agony.
8. Talk to ppl with this insight to strengthen the confidence. It takes time to build that confidence and faith. Read the teachings again and again. Analyse why is it no-self.
Don’t participate with those who says “there is no self, so no worries and nothing to do”- they are clearly not in no-self lol it’s not like that.
9. Remember there’s still a long way and a huge amount of practice to do. Not to call yourself Arahant, not to think you are enlightened 🤣Hurry and practice hard. Try not to be a “teacher” too soon, take too many clients, and write too many books, before you are really clear and safely on the other shore 🤣
Will write if there’s more I can remember.! Wish to hear from others too!
Yasmin El-Hakim it can be abit hard to understand dependent arising and emptiness via Nagarjuna and jay Garfield to be completely honest..
Just because the way they use “consequences” statements to bring out the lack of inherent existence suits a very high caliber person trained in this kind of logic. Usually we don’t speak like that. So we might not get it not bec we don’t understand Nagarjuna but we don’t understand what they are trying to point
I think better to study some modern book.
Guy newland emptiness is quite good.
Also how to see yourself as you truly are from his holiness is quite good and clear language for modern ppl.
(Soh: the books she mentioned are here: