Showing posts with label Zen Master Chinul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zen Master Chinul. Show all posts
This pointer is for those practicing self-inquiry. If you have already passed the I AM realization, there is no need to read this.


Sometimes during practice a state of deep stillness and silence is maintained for an extended period. In such a state, is it better to abide in it, or is it better to continue to invoke the "before birth.., who am I" inquiry with intention?

I replied:

Continue inquiring. Both silence and thoughts are just passing states and are not the point. What is aware of silence and thoughts? What is undeniably existing and present in thoughtlessness? Who am I?

Excerpt from

‘in the wrong direction. Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say, ‘Understanding is all’. In essence, Bob was saying, ‘Right now in your direct experience see what your real nature is. What are you right now? What have you always been?’ The thinking mind is useless for this because seeing or looking is not a conceptual function at all. It is more like seeing an apple in your hand. You just look, not think. Right now, as you read this, you exist and you are aware that you exist. You are undoubtedly present and aware. Before the next thought arises, you are absolutely certain of the fact of your own being, your own awareness, your own presence. This awareness is what you are; it is what you always have been. All thoughts, perceptions, sensations and feelings appear within or upon that. This awareness does not move, change or shift at any time. It is always free and completely untouched. However, it is not a thing or an object that you can see or grasp. The mind, being simply thoughts arising in awareness, cannot grasp it or know it or even think about it. Yet, as Bob says, you cannot deny the fact of your own being. It is palpably obvious, and yet, from the time we were born, no one has pointed this out. Once it is pointed out it can be grasped or understood very quickly because it is just a matter of noticing, ‘Oh, that is what I am!’ It is a bright, luminous, empty, presence of awareness; it is absolutely radiant, yet without form; it is seemingly intangible, but the most solid fact in your existence; it is effortlessly here right now, forever untouched. Without taking a step, you have arrived; you are home. No practice can reveal this because practices are in time and in the mind. Practices aim at a result, but you (as presence-awareness) are here already, only you don’t recognize it till it is pointed out. Once seen, you can’t lose it, and you don’t have to practice to exist, to be. This is, in essence, what Bob pointed out to me in the first conversation I had with him Once I saw this, I felt very clear and free immediately. Later, some thoughts came up, some old personality patterns, some old definitions of who I thought myself to be. I seemed to lose the clear understanding of my nature as presence-awareness. The next day, I talked to Bob about it. He said, ‘Let’s have a look. Do you exist? Are you aware? What is illumining the thought that you have lost it?’ Then I realized that thoughts of suffering were only passing concepts being illumined by the ever-present awareness. I hadn’t lost anything at all. The awareness that we are is never obscured! Suffering seems real because we don’t have a clear understanding of our true nature. Instead, we believe the passing thoughts, such as ‘I am no good,’ ‘I am not there yet,’ ‘I am stuck’ or whatever the thought may be. Eventually we understand that we are not those thoughts. Once our real self is pointed out, the suffering loses its grip. Bob pointed out that there is no person here at all. The person that we think we are is an imaginary concept. There are thoughts and feelings and perceptions, but they are ‘

- John Wheeler

I had a similar question actually because i listened to Adyashanti talk and he says to rest in the silence, that the silence is the answer to the question Who am I. So a little different. But the silence doesn’t seem bright luminous presence etc so I need to keep inquiring. 

I replied: 

Adyashanti said:
"...But whatever you are, you don’t disappear when you’re silent. The world doesn’t disappear when you’re silent. The glass of water doesn’t disappear when I stop thinking it’s a glass of water. The reality of life actually exists whether we’re thinking about it or not. I think it only takes those five seconds to see where most of us are actually living our whole life.
Does noticing silence mean we’re ignoring everything that doesn’t seem to exist when we’re in silence?
The silence I’m talking about is the natural silence of awareness before we go into a dreamy place, before we disconnect. It’s prior to all that movement of mind. One of the things that I often emphasize when teaching is that it has to be a vivid silence. If you feel spaced-out and dreamy internally, it’s like you’re leaning too far back. And if you just lean forward a little bit, it comes back into view.

There’s a website which speaks of silence this way.. or some people say space. Formless. But it’s the formlessness of the I AM and not just a silent state of mind

Excerpt from

'The Hebrew writer who penned this miracle of language, that that which is unknowable, unnamable, immeasurable is that which is beyond all and encompassing all, had a wonderful experience of Pure Silence in his or her awareness to have come to this conclusion. You see, the unknowable which is impossible to understand rationally or emotionally is being ness itself and this being ness is a present tense verb. "Am" is what it was and is called. Am is present, now, and since it is a verb it is not subject or object, but rather action, the action of am-ing, or be-ing. Our only semi-tangible way of imperfectly grasping this is by allowing our awareness very subtly to focus on being itself and the brain can only understand this as silent nothingness between and supporting everything.

Pure Silence is simply experiencing being as a witness, not as controller or doer or thinker but as observer. There is tremendous freedom and peace in this. Where there is peace, there is certitude and order. From the order comes wisdom and inexplicable joy, which is the joy of discovery. The discovery is that your am-ness is no different from the Elohim, from the am of God itself. You are the chosen, we are the chosen because there is no choice to be made for ourselves. We simply are, choicelessly, purely, resoundingly.

The Psalmist calls us to be still and know that we are. Stop right now and recognize your true identity, your being ness which is being itself. No matter what you have done, thought or believed, all that is completely secondary to the fact that you are and what you are is God, which is Pure Silence itself.

Isn't that a comforting thought for a rainy, dark night?


M: It seems like when there is silence of thought and I keep inquiring then other phenomena start occurring like hearing loud hissing almost like locusts or feeling energetic phenomena. Can be distracting lol. I need to keep going. In a week I’m doing silent retreat with Adya. Hopefully will breakthrough to IAM then. That’s my goal.

I replied: (Thumbs up) 

Any phenomena can become another opportunity to inquire and isn’t a hindrance. I.e. Trace back the radiance (from a sound, a perception, a sensation, etc) by inquiring into its Source.

Tracing Back the Radiance
by Chinul

how to stop the waterfall Question: What is the mind of void and calm, numinous awareness?

Chinul: What has just asked me this question is precisely your mind of void and calm, numinous awareness. Why not trace back its radiance rather than search for it outside? For your benefit I will now point straight to your original mind so that you can awaken to it. Clear your minds and listen to my words.

From morning until evening, all during the 12 periods of the day, during all your actions and activities - whether seeing, hearing, laughing, talking, whether angry of happy, whether doing evil or good - utlimately who is it that is able to perform all these actions? Speak! If you say that it is the physical body which is acting, then at the moment when a man's life comes to an end, even though the body has not yet decayed, how is it that the eyes cannot see, the ears cannot hear, the nose cannot smell, the tongue cannot talk, the hands cannot grasp, the feet cannot run?

You should know that what is capable of seeing, hearing, moving and acting has to be your original mind; it is not your physical body. Furthermore, the four elements which make up the physical body are by nature void; they are like images in a mirror of the moon's reflection in water. How can they be clear and constantly aware, always bright and never obscured - and, upon activation, be able to put into operation sublime functions as numerous as the sands of the Ganges? For this reason it is said: "Drawing water and carrying firewood are spiritual powers and sublime functions."

There are many points at which to enter the noumenon. I will indicate one approach which will allow you to return to the source.

Chinul: Do you hear the sound sof that crow cawing and that magpie calling?

Student: Yes.

Chinul: Trace them back and listen to your hearing-nature. Do you hear any sounds?

Student: At that place, sound and discrimination do not obtain.

Chinul: Marvelous! Marvelous! This is Avalokitesvara's method for entering the noumenon. Let me ask you again. You said that sounds and discrimination do not obtain at that place. But since they do not obtain, isn't the hearing-nature just empty space at such a time?

Student: Originally it is not empty. It is always bright and never obscured.

Chinul: What is this essence which is not empty?

Student: Words cannot describe it.

Excerpted from Tracing Back the Radiance by Robert Buswell.