A few people are simultaneously telling me that they saw Brahman and Buddha nature as pointing to the same concept, so I compiled this post to share with them.

Padmasambhava said in the text Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/self-liberation-through-seeing-with.html

"As for this sparkling awareness, which is called "mind,"

Even though one says that it exists, it does not actually exist.

(On the other hand) as a source, it is the origin of the diversity of all the bliss of Nirvana and all of the sorrow of Samsara.

And as for it¡¯s being something desirable; it is cherished alike in the Eleven Vehicles.

With respect to its having a name, the various names that are applied to it are inconceivable (in their numbers).

Some call it "the nature of the mind" or "mind itself."

Some Tirthikas (non-Buddhists) call it by the name Atman or "the Self."

The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or "the absence of a self."

The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or "the Mind."

Some call it the Praj?¨¢p¨¢ramit¨¢ or "the Perfection of Wisdom."

Some call it the name Tathagata-garbha or "the embryo of Buddhahood."

Some call it by the name Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol."

Some call it by the name "the Unique Sphere."

Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or "the dimension of Reality."

Some call it by the name Alaya or "the basis of everything."

And some simply call it by the name "ordinary awareness.""

Likewise John Tan said before, 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.”

However, we are not perennialists. We are saying it is not the label we give to consciousness that matters, but the nature of it that matters. All the teachings and religions are pointing towards Consciousness. Yet, the crucial matter lies in how clear and deep is the insight into the nature of consciousness. Is it reified subtly in terms of subject-object duality, and also reified in terms of inherent existence? If there is insight into emptiness that penetrates these reifications and delusions, what is the insight and experience of it like? This has tremendous implications on our liberation.

Padmasambhava also laid out the flaws of various views in the same text I quoted from above, "The Tirthikas who are outsiders see all this in terms of the dualism of Eternalism as against nihilism.

Each of the nine successive vehicles sees things in terms of its own view.

Thus, things are perceived in various different ways and may be elucidated in various different ways.

Because you grasped at these various (appearances that arise), becoming attached to them, errors have come into existence."

Even the I AM realization is an insight into the luminous clarity aspect of our Buddha nature, but its nondual and empty nature is not yet realized. As Dalai Lama said, "Nature - there are many different levels. Conventional level, one nature. There are also, you see, different levels. Then, ultimate level, ultimate reality... so simply realise the Clarity of the Mind, that is the conventional level. That is common with Hindus, like that. So we have to know these different levels...." - Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book

When we first have a glimpse and realization of our essence of luminous clarity, it is just the aspect of Clarity. It needs to be refined with the wisdom of emptiness. All genuine practitioners should go through the process of deepening one's realization. Hence the important realizations has been laid out clearly in the Thusness 7 Stages http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html .

Here are some quotes that I think are relevant:

John Tan, 2009: "Buddhism is to realise Brahman having sunyata (emptiness) nature, and that is awareness, the true face of awareness. That is, there is no denial of this non-dual luminosity but its nature is empty."

“Yes sahaja samadhi but that remain as "experience". Just like in taoism, it is all about naturalness 自然 and non-action (action without agent) though there are overlaps but they are different in praxis and view essentially. There is no need to forcefully integrate the various religions into one, that is just more attachment.

Although there is no monopoly over truth as ultimately all is/are talking about one's primordial nature but there are those that much clearer and precise in their system of practice. If the views and philosophies are 90% inherent and dualistic, the result from such a system will at best be a stage to be achieved albeit the emphasis of natural state.

As I said before, if someone were to say "Soh is a malay, a speckie, used to be a c# programmer, 1.9m tall and has a sister", obviously some informations are correct and some are misleading. Even if you were to stand right in front of him, he will not be able to recognize you. Therefore although all are talking about the natural condition of pristine consciousness, some are exceptionally clearer than others.” – John Tan, 2020

“Buddhism is nothing but replacing the 'Self' in Hinduism with Condition Arising. Keep the clarity, the presence, the luminosity and eliminate the ultimate 'Self', the controller, the supreme. Still you must taste, sense, eat, hear and see Pure Awareness in every authentication. And every authentication is Bliss.” - John Tan, 2004

“Understand immense intelligence not as if someone is there to act and direct, rather as total exertion of the universe to make this moment possible; then all appearances are miraculous and marvelous.” - John Tan, 2012

“The Pristine awareness is often mistaken as the 'Self'. It is especially difficult for one that has intuitively experience the 'Self' to accept 'No-Self'. As I have told you many times that there will come a time when you will intuitively perceive the 'I' -- the pure sense of Existence but you must be strong enough to go beyond this experience until the true meaning of Emptiness becomes clear and thorough. The Pristine Awareness is the so-called True-Self' but why we do not call it a 'Self' and why Buddhism has placed so much emphasis on the Emptiness nature? This then is the true essence of Buddhism. It is needless to stress anything about 'Self' in Buddhism; there are enough of 'Logies' of the 'I" in Indian Philosophies. If one wants to know about the experience of 'I AM', go for the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita. We will not know what Buddha truly taught 2500 years ago if we buried ourselves in words. Have no doubt that The Dharma Seal is authentic and not to be confused.

When you have experienced the 'Self' and know that its nature is empty, you will know why to include this idea of a 'Self' into Buddha-Nature is truly unnecessary and meaningless. True Buddhism is not about eliminating the 'small Self' but cleansing this so called 'True Self' (Atman) with the wisdom of Emptiness.” - John Tan, 2005

"What you are suggesting is already found in Samkhya system. I.e. the twenty four tattvas are not the self aka purusha. Since this system was well known to the Buddha, if that's all his insight was, then his insight is pretty trivial. But Buddha's teachings were novel. Why where they novel? They were novel in the fifth century BCE because of his teaching of dependent origination and emptiness. The refutation of an ultimate self is just collateral damage." - Lopon Malcolm

In January 2005, John Tan wrote:

“[19:21] <^john^> learn how to experience emptiness and no-selfness. :)

[19:22] <^john^> this is the only way to liberate.

[19:22] <^john^> not to dwell too deeply into the minor aspect of pure awareness.

[19:23] <^john^> of late i have been seeing songs and poems relating to the luminosity aspect of Pure Awareness.

[19:23] <^john^> uncreated, original, mirror bright, not lost in nirvana and samsara..etc

[19:23] <^john^> what use is there?

[19:24] <ZeN`n1th> oic...

[19:24] <^john^> we have from the very beginning so and yet lost for countless aeons of lives.

[19:25] <^john^> buddha did not come to tell only about the luminosity aspect of pure awareness.

[19:25] <^john^> this has already been expressed in vedas.

[19:25] <^john^> but it becomes Self.

[19:25] <^john^> the ultimate controller

[19:26] <^john^> the deathless

[19:26] <^john^> the supreme..etc

[19:26] <^john^> this is the problem.

[19:26] <^john^> this is not the ultimate nature of Pure Awareness.

[19:27] <^john^> for full enlightenment to take place, experience the clarity and emptiness.  That's all.”

    And in March 2006, John Tan said:

    <^john^> the difference between hinduism and buddhism is they return to the "I AM" and clings to it.

    <^john^> always "I" as the source.

    <ZeN`n1th> icic

    <^john^> but in buddhism it is being replaced by "emptiness nature", there is a purest, an entity, a stage to be gained or achieved is an illusion.

    <^john^> there is none. No self to be found. No identity to assumed. Nothing attained.

    <ZeN`n1th> oic..

    <^john^> this is truly the All.

    <^john^> so for a teaching that is so thorough and complete, why must it resort back to a "True Self"?

    <ZeN`n1th> hmm but i got a question about just now you say impermanent... but mahayana texts also say tathagathagarbha is permanent right?

    <^john^> yes but for other reasons.

    <ZeN`n1th> what kind of reasons

    <ZeN`n1th> wat you mean

    <^john^> first you must know that there is really a very subtle difference between pure subjectivity and emptiness nature.

    <ZeN`n1th> icic

    <^john^> for one that has experienced in full emptiness nature, does he/she need to create an extra "True Self"?

    <ZeN`n1th> so wat difference

    <ZeN`n1th> no

    <^john^> he already knows and experiences and completely understand the arising cause and conditions of why the "true self" was created...

    <^john^> will he still be confused?

    <^john^> he knows exactly what is happening, the reality of the 'self'.

    <ZeN`n1th> icic..

    <^john^> i would say it is due to his compassion to let the other sects have a chance to understand the dharma that he said so.

    <^john^> this is what i think.

    <^john^> but there is no necessity to preach something extra.

    <ZeN`n1th> oic

    <^john^> in light of emptiness nature, "True Self" is not necessary.

    <ZeN`n1th> icic

    <^john^> the so called "purest" is already understood, there is no clinging.

    <^john^> there is hearing, no hearer...etc

    <^john^> is already beyond "True Self".

    <ZeN`n1th> oic

    <^john^> yet it exactly knows the stage of "True Self".

    <^john^> if there is no hearing...then something is wrong.


    <^john^> but there is hearing but no hearer.

    <ZeN`n1th> hahaha

    <ZeN`n1th> oic

    <^john^> put your time into practice and understanding of no-self and emptiness.


    <ZeN`n1th> ok




As for what is the definitive meaning of Buddha-Nature, the Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith wrote:


The term bdag nyid, atman, just means, in this case, "nature", i.e. referring to the nature of reality free from extremes as being permanent, blissful, pure and self. The luminosity of the mind is understood to be this.

There are various ways to interpret the Uttaratantra and tathāgatagarbha doctrine, one way is definitive in meaning, the other is provisional, according to Gorampa Sonam Senge, thus the tathāgatagarbha sutras become definitive or provisional depending on how they are understood. He states:

In the context of showing the faults of a literal [interpretation] – it's equivalence with the Non-Buddhist Self is that the assertion of unique eternal all pervading cognizing awareness of the Saṃkhya, the unique eternal pristine clarity of the Pashupattis, the unique all pervading intellect of the Vaiśnavas, the impermanent condition, the measure of one’s body, in the permanent self-nature of the Jains, and the white, brilliant, shining pellet the size of an atom, existing in each individual’s heart of the Vedantins are the same.

The definitive interpretation he renders as follows:

Therefor, the Sugatagarbha is defined as the union of clarity and emptiness but not simply emptiness without clarity, because that [kind of emptiness] is not suitable to be a basis for bondage and liberation. Also it is not simple clarity without emptiness, that is the conditioned part, because the Sugatagarbha is taught as unconditioned.

Khyentse Wangpo, often cited as a gzhan stong pa, basically says that the treatises of Maitreya elucidate the luminosity of the mind, i.e. its purity, whereas Nāgarjuna's treatises illustrate the empty nature of the mind, and that these two together, luminosity and emptiness free from extremes are to be understood as noncontradictory, which we can understand from the famous Prajñāpāramita citation "There is no mind in the mind, the nature of the mind is luminosity". 


Session Start: Monday, April 13, 2009 (12:18 AM) Thusness: by the way when i say u cannot downplay this "I" doesn't mean to be attached to this"I" (12:19 AM) AEN: oic u refering to sgclubs? orh (12:19 AM) Thusness: yes (12:19 AM) AEN: icic (12:20 AM) Thusness: what is the difference when u practice awareness in awareness? and realization of anatta? (12:21 AM) Thusness: (Someone wrote:) "when i was writing in overground forum, i have not completed the entire path, it is just starting." (12:21 AM) Thusness: Even after mentioning to Gozen about no-self anatta, it is also not the end. (12:22 AM) Thusness: Advaita is the abstracting of the luminosity aspect out from a moment of arising. (12:22 AM) Thusness: it is the realization of Self and seek the union with Brahman. (12:23 AM) Thusness: This is different from buddhism. (12:23 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:24 AM) Thusness: When we say rest Awareness in Awareness, we are clinging to Self. That is, we see only Self, we don't see phenomena. (12:24 AM) Thusness: A practitioner very quickly resort back to the Source. (12:25 AM) Thusness: As if by relating to the transience, they will get stuck with it. (12:25 AM) Thusness: and these practitioners knows nothing of phenomena, only Self. That is the problem. (12:25 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:26 AM) Thusness: It is similar to seeing Awareness as the light of Everything. (12:26 AM) Thusness: But in Buddhism, it is understood that there is no Light of Everything. The Light is the Everything. (12:27 AM) Thusness: This is not a mere play of words or wrangling over words. It is a form of Realization. (12:28 AM) Thusness: Only a Realization can burn the latent deep tendency of seeing things inherently. (12:28 AM) AEN: 77 Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." (12:28 AM) Thusness: Yeah. It is non-dual, but it is resorting back to a Self. It always trace back to a self. Self. (12:29 AM) AEN: oic (12:29 AM) Thusness: Whereas Buddhism is different. This is only the beginning. (12:29 AM) Thusness: Once a practitioner succeeded in bringing this background to foreground, it is understood that the Background is an illusion. How is this so? (12:30 AM) Thusness: only the tendency to divide blinding us, there cannot be a Source and Manifestation. (12:30 AM) AEN: icic.. (12:31 AM) Thusness: Like hearing sound and an Advaitin says Awareness is the isness or presence of sound. But Buddhism sees Sound as Presence itself. (12:31 AM) Thusness: This is No Mind. (12:31 AM) AEN: wats the difference (12:32 AM) Thusness: Yet after this, Buddhism goes further negating this Presence. (12:32 AM) Thusness: when one negates the Presence further, one sees Dharma. The practitioner has no more concern with Self or Awareness, there is only Dharma. (12:33 AM) Thusness: He rest completely in Dharma and sees Dharmakaya. (12:33 AM) Thusness: in other words, Awareness is being implied in all arising. (12:33 AM) Thusness: talking about it is 'extra' (12:34 AM) Thusness: for one to progress from no-mind, there is only phenomena and eventually dharma. No Mind is the entry point. (12:34 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:34 AM) Thusness: One mind u have not even entered the gate. (12:35 AM) Thusness: i mean practitioner who has realized One Mind has not even entered the gate. (12:35 AM) AEN: icic.. *Like hearing sound and an Advaitin says Awareness is the isness or presence of sound. *But Buddhism sees Sound as Presence itself. wats the difference (12:36 AM) Thusness: the difference is although the experience is non-dual, the insight is not non-dual. The understanding is dualistic. get it? (12:37 AM) Thusness: The practitioner is unable to see clearly that there is no Presence and the Sound. When he thinks that there is, it immediately becomes an illusion. That is not a realization, it is an illusion. (12:37 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:38 AM) Thusness: When we first experience the Eternal Witness, it is non-dual, presence, very real, it is the Reality. at that moment the experience is non-dual. (12:38 AM) Thusness: When we come to understand it, it becomes dual. (12:38 AM) Thusness: we understood it wrongly but we think that it is right. (12:39 AM) Thusness: therefore it appears to be 'there', still, unchanging, wherever is. (12:39 AM) Thusness: in actual fact, we are abstracting the characteristics of 'pristine clarity' from a moment of arising and call it Presence. it is the mind do the abstraction. get it? (12:40 AM) AEN: ic.. (12:40 AM) Thusness: this is a tendency that is dividing. that is why vipassana is taught. observing all arising sensation. (12:40 AM) Thusness: that sensation is already Awareness itself (12:41 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:41 AM) Thusness: otherwise, self enquiry instead of vipassana would be taught and there is no point observing sensation. (12:42 AM) Thusness: to be bare is to understand sensation in its pristineness, its luminosity that when it is bare. yet it is impermanent. (12:42 AM) AEN: icic.. its the same thing as what judith blackstone writes rite in her instructions (12:43 AM) Thusness: yeah (12:43 AM) AEN: i have difficulty following some of the instructions lol.. dun understand what she saying (12:43 AM) Thusness: but there is still abstraction (12:43 AM) AEN: btw i ask u yesterday when she say 'attune to the quality of your self' in the various body parts. isit simply being aware of the sensations in the different parts of the body without dividing observer from observed? (12:43 AM) Thusness: however it is a good practice bringing one to the next level of understanding (12:43 AM) AEN: oic (12:44 AM) Thusness: yes (12:44 AM) AEN: icic (12:44 AM) Thusness: the difference between Advaita and Buddhism is Advaita sinks back to the self despite the experience of no-self (12:45 AM) Thusness: while buddhism goes further and see the mutual integration of the inseparable. (12:45 AM) Thusness: when we separate what that cannot be separated, we are not truly understanding anything (12:46 AM) Thusness: We cannot say Awareness is not affected.... Awareness is not affected in the 'form' sense. (12:46 AM) Thusness: it is affected in the karma sense. (12:47 AM) Thusness: not dulling its luminosity does not mean one is not affected. (12:47 AM) Thusness: we have to understand it conventionally (12:48 AM) Thusness: when we say the ground is already perfected, we are referring to its empty nature and luminosity practitioner always attempt to polish the mirror, the luminosity (12:48 AM) Thusness: there is nothing to polish (12:49 AM) AEN: there is nothing to polish is a result of realising the 'already perfected'? (12:49 AM) Thusness: in terms of luminosity, u cannot make it any better (12:49 AM) Thusness: or its empty nature (12:49 AM) AEN: oic (12:50 AM) Thusness: but that does not mean that when u cling, attached, visualized intensely, nothing sink to consciousness. (12:50 AM) Thusness: u will still dream, get confused in dreams, lost in adverse situations... get it? when the tendency is there, this is the case (12:51 AM) Thusness: just like now u can't see clearly (12:51 AM) Thusness: and this is perfect luminosity even though u r lost. because of the tendency get it? (12:52 AM) Thusness: otherwise u would already see clearly if there is an essence (12:52 AM) Thusness: because it is essenceless, with the presence of this tendency, u cannot see clearly because our luminosity is perfect (12:52 AM) Thusness: it has to take into account of the tendency get it? (12:53 AM) AEN: i dun get it :P (12:53 AM) Thusness: it dependently originate with the tendency there, it is like that (12:53 AM) AEN: wat has not seeing clearly got to do with our luminosity is perfect wat do u mean by "u cannot see clearly because our luminosity is perfect" (12:54 AM) Thusness: to illustrate as an analogy, (12:54 AM) Thusness: if there is no luminosity, will u 'not see'? is there such a case as see or not see? there won't be. (12:55 AM) Thusness: there must be luminosity like pain. (12:55 AM) AEN: u mean luminosity allows both seeing and not seeing ic (12:56 AM) Thusness: if luminosity is not as it is, is there pain there won't be even confusion get it? (12:56 AM) Thusness: why is there confusion, it is the presence of conditions (12:56 AM) AEN: so u mean luminosity is everything including pain and confusion oic (12:57 AM) Thusness: it has to reflect what is it cannot reflect what is not (12:57 AM) AEN: icic (12:57 AM) Thusness: if u have strong dualistic tendencies, it reflects dualistic tendencies get it? u understand this way (12:58 AM) Thusness: there is no essential nature (12:58 AM) AEN: oic.. (12:58 AM) Thusness: when we say 'Self', it is learnt (12:59 AM) Thusness: we say permanent, unchanging...it is just an abstraction there is luminosity but it is empty (12:59 AM) AEN: icic.. (1:00 AM) Thusness: what is meant by Awareness watching Awareness? (1:00 AM) Thusness: it is for the beginner to first discard discursive thoughts and direct realized what Awareness is like. it is just a first glimpse (1:01 AM) Thusness: when we see that and think that we can rest in awareness, we are deluded. (1:01 AM) Thusness: awareness always manifests (1:01 AM) AEN: we cannot rest in awareness? (1:01 AM) Thusness: there is nothing to rest what is there to rest (1:02 AM) AEN: oic (1:02 AM) Thusness: true resting is the practice of vipassana is to open to whatever is (1:03 AM) Thusness: Awareness watching Awareness is for the Realisation not for the development (1:03 AM) Thusness: once realized, there is nothing to watch (1:03 AM) AEN: icic.. (1:04 AM) Thusness: anything further is mistaking a stage as Realisation all is empty. (1:05 AM) Thusness: a meditator meditating into absorption is also empty. if attached, he will be equally confused. (1:05 AM) Thusness: just like a flower, where is the redness? only dependently originates (1:06 AM) Thusness: if u are attached, when in other realms, u still seek for flower, then u will be confused. (1:06 AM) Thusness: still seek for redness when without the body, what is the experience of absorption? (1:06 AM) Thusness: is it still the same? (1:07 AM) Thusness: is there any absorption that is inherently 'there' get it? (1:07 AM) AEN: ic.. btw absorption can be sustained without body rite (1:08 AM) Thusness: it depends it is the mind state (1:08 AM) Thusness: what sort of tendencies if it is strong enough, yes. (1:09 AM) Thusness: if u have emptiness realisation and is strong enough, u will also see whatever in whatever state, realize emptiness. (1:10 AM) Thusness: there is no difference. (1:11 AM) Thusness: for example with the experience of "I AM", just sound, though completely different phenomena, it is immediately understood as "I AM: get it? (1:11 AM) Thusness: it depends on the degree and intensity of the realization. I see "I AM" everywhere. (1:12 AM) Thusness: means non-dual i see sound as I AM. I see taste...etc (1:12 AM) Thusness: then I AM is deem unnecessary (1:13 AM) Thusness: that path the base for the next stage. I am not more bothered by "I AM" (1:13 AM) Thusness: just like 1 to 12 timetable (1:13 AM) Thusness: once mastered, u r no more bothered by it. (1:14 AM) Thusness: u can make use of it to understand more complex mathematics (1:14 AM) AEN: oic.. (1:14 AM) Thusness: then u c DO again till u see DO everywhere (1:14 AM) Thusness: then u progress to spontaneous perfection get it? (1:15 AM) AEN: ic.. (1:15 AM) Thusness: u must understand that Eternal Witness is a Realization (1:16 AM) Thusness: u must understand that anatta is also a realisation (1:16 AM) Thusness: one may experience non-dual but insight need not arise...this is what i always emphasized. emptiness is also a realization spontaneous perfection is also a realisation (1:17 AM) Thusness: all these requires a quantum leap in perception (1:18 AM) Thusness: then these realization will gradually burns away those latent deep tendencies. get it? (1:18 AM) AEN: oic.. (1:18 AM) Thusness: i got to go now. (1:18 AM) AEN: ok nite (1:22 AM) Thusness is now Offline (1:26 AM) Thusness: By the way, don't always argue (1:27 AM) AEN: lol (1:27 AM) Thusness: when u want to lead, it must be gradual. (1:27 AM) AEN: icic (1:27 AM) Thusness: nobody can understand at one go. (1:28 AM) Thusness: if i straight away tell u from day one spontaneous arising, u will run away or think that i m mad instead it took 6-7 years (1:28 AM) Thusness: similarly when in dharmaoverground, i first talk about "I M" (1:29 AM) AEN: lol oic (1:29 AM) Thusness: and even until One Mind, there is already problem (1:30 AM) Thusness: u don't go talk here and there about no need to do this and all is already perfected kok ur head u know all already perfected ah (1:31 AM) AEN: oic.. lol (1:32 AM) AEN: btw my post got problem? u mean i wrote about all perfected? (1:32 AM) Thusness: for ur own practice it is okie but with guidance (1:33 AM) Thusness: for writing post in forum, it is better to stress the essenceless nature of awareness (1:33 AM) Thusness: because when there is no one to guide, it is easy to fall into the advaita understanding (1:34 AM) AEN: oic.. (1:35 AM) Thusness: for u, ur theoretical understanding runs ahead of ur experience u already understand non-dual [Soh: back in 2009 I did not have realizations yet, that happened a year later] (1:35 AM) Thusness: but u r now experiencing dual awareness (1:36 AM) Thusness: means u experience awareness but distinctly different from phenomena arising (1:37 AM) Thusness: so it is okie to continue experience this Awareness, it voidness, its clarity, its luminosity, its presence as vivid as possible till u have "I AM" sort of experience (1:37 AM) Thusness: then u proceed to non-dual (1:38 AM) Thusness: in fact up to a certain phase, i will tell u to do bodily sensation (1:39 AM) AEN: back oic..



Although traditions may claim to be free from extremes, in the end since they constantly depend upon a conceptual reference for a Self, or Brahma, and so forth, how could this manner be the Middle Way? . . . The Great Perfection is the culmination of extreme profundity, so it is difficult to realize. Most who cultivate idiot meditation—those who do not fully eliminate superimpositions182 regarding the abiding reality through study and contemplation, or who lack the key points of the quintessential instructions—wind up [making a] similar [mistake]. Without gaining certainty in primordial purity, a mere impassioned thought of a ground that is neither existent nor nonexistent will bring you nowhere. If you hold on to such a ground, which is empty of both existence and nonexistence, as separate and established by its own essence, whether it is called the inconceivable Self, Brahma, Viṣṇu, Īśvara, wisdom, etc., it is merely a different name for a similar [mistaken] meaning. The abiding reality that is free from the four extremes183—the luminous clarity of the Great Perfection which is realized reflexively—is not at all like that. Therefore, it is important to rely on the authentic path and teacher. Although [we share] mere words such as “illusory,” “nonentity,” and “freedom from constructs,” it does not help if you do not know through a firm conclusion, with certainty induced by reason, how Buddhist emptiness is superior to the limited emptiness of non-Buddhists. If you do know, you understand that what the Buddha taught has not been experienced in the slightest by those [non-Buddhists] such as Viṣṇu, and you know that the traditions of “Awareness” and “the Middle Way” they describe are mere words. Although the words may be similar, Buddhists and non-Buddhists cannot be separated by words; the difference, which is like the earth and space, is in the profound essential point. —WORDS THAT DELIGHT GURU MAÑJUGHOṢA, 470–72

Duckworth, Douglas; Mipam, Jamgon. Jamgon Mipam: His Life and Teachings (pp. 146-147). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.


Bötrül’s teacher and Mipam’s student, Khenpo Künpel,

states as follows in his commentary on Mipam’s Beacon of Certainty:

In general, if the essence of Buddha-nature were not empty, it

would not be different from the permanent Self of the non-Buddhists;

therefore, the nature of the three gates of liberation was

taught. Also, if the wisdom of luminous clarity did not exist, being

an utterly void emptiness like space, there would be no difference

from the Nirgrantha; therefore, the unconditioned wisdom of

luminous clarity was taught. Thus, the definitive scriptures of the

middle and last Word of the teacher show the empty essence and

the natural clarity.66

Accumulating Wisdom and Merit through the Mandala of Arya Tara

A beautiful illustration of 21 manifestations of Tara and the text on the 21 Praises to Tara.



Question from redditor:


From your own experiences, what are some things that you do every day to detach from the individual self?


Kyle Dixon/Krodha:


Anātman is only known by awakened āryas. There’s nothing in your relative life that needs to be done to “detach.” That is not how awakened insight functions. The perception of a self is always present for non-āryas. Just live virtuously and practice the dharma, and then at some point you will hopefully awaken to know anātman, and at that time you will have to learn how to cultivate that awakened equipoise.


But there is nothing to do to be “more selfless,” in the sense of according with anātman. That is not how it works. Anātman is based on insight, it is experiential like tasting sugar.


That said, one tip that has been beneficial for others, is trying in your practice and meditation, to begin to imitate anātman by trying to notice that in seeing there is just the seen, in hearing just sounds, etc., no background seer or hearer. That is a way you can begin to prime your mind when practicing or even in daily life.



(12:48 AM) Thusness:    lasttime comment is quite good but used in wrong situation

many wants to come into buddhism and talk about simplicity and try to advice ppl not to over complicate matter

(12:50 AM) AEN:             oic..

(12:50 AM) Thusness:    this is a wrong approach

simplicity is only realized after true certain realization

(12:51 AM) AEN:             ic..

(12:51 AM) Thusness:    do not come into Buddhism with this sort of mindset

when our we see things with dualistic and inherent mind, there is no simplicity

Have u seen any sutra that can be easily understood?


(12:53 AM) AEN:             generally sutta that expounds prajna and insight cannot be understood easily.... thats why buddha said the dharma is only understood by the wise

(12:57 AM) Thusness:    from Avatamsaka sutra, heart sutra, lankavatara sutra, lotus sutra, Vimalakirti sutra, diamond sutra, perfect enlightenment sutra...

i never come across any that is easy to understand

so i just focus on one...lol

heart sutra

and it is already a big headache

a sincere and serious practitioner should not come with a wrong mindset

there is no easy way to overcome the inherent and dualistic view

as much as we would like to...

as for beacom, advice him not to see it that way





I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Kurus. Now, the Kurus have a town named Kammāsadhamma. There Ven. Ānanda approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “It’s amazing, lord, it’s astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be.”

(The Buddha:) “Don’t say that, Ānanda. Don’t say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations.


- https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/DN/DN15.html







“This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the observant. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the pacification of all fabrications, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.”





Clee Stacy Have you read http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html 


That is the summary of the realizations presented in the AtR blog. 


Also Thusness wrote in early 2010:




....What David Carse said requires more than the “I AMness” realization you narrated in your post “Certainty of Being”.  It also requires more than just glimpses of the non-dual state that can be induced by penetrating the question:


"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"


It requires a practitioner to be sufficiently clear about the cause of ‘separation’ so that the perceptual knot that creates the ‘division’ is thoroughly seen through.  At this phase, non-dual becomes quite effortless.  The three following articles that you posted in your blog are all about the thorough insights of seeing through the illusionary division created by mental constructs.  They are all very well written.  It is worth revisiting these articles.


1. Body/No-Body

2. The Teachings of Atmananda and the Direct Path

3. The Direct Path

Of all the 3 articles, I like Joan’s article Body/No-body best.  Do not simply go through the motion of reading, read with a reverent heart.  Though a simple article but is not any less insightful than those written by well-known masters, it has all the answers and pointers you need. 🙂

Next, there are several points you made that is related to the deconstruction of mental objects but you should also note that there exist a predictable relationship between the 'mental object to be de-constructed' and 'the experiences and realizations'.  For example “The Teachings of Atmananda and the Direct Path” will, more often than not lead a practitioner to the realization of One Mind whereas the article from Joan will lead one to the experiential insight of No-Mind.  As a general guideline,

1. If you de-construct the subjective pole, you will be led to the experience of No-Mind.

2. If you de-construct the objective pole, you will be led to the experience of One-Mind.

3. If you go through a process of de-constructing prepositional phrases like "in/out" "inside/outside" "into/onto," "within/without" "here/there", you will dissolve the illusionary nature of locality and time.

4. If you simply go through the process of self-enquiry by disassociation and elimination without clearly understanding the non-inherent and dependent originated nature of phenomena, you will be led to the experience of “I AMness”.

Lastly, not to talk too much about self-liberation or the natural state, it can sound extremely misleading.  Although Joan Tollifson spoke of the natural non-dual state is something “so simple, so immediate, so obvious, so ever-present that we often overlook”, we have to understand that to even come to this realization of the “Simplicity of What Is”, a practitioner will need to undergo a painstaking process of de-constructing the mental constructs.  We must be deeply aware of the ‘blinding spell’ in order to understand consciousness.  I believe Joan must have gone through a period of deep confusions, not to under-estimate it. :)

 Someone wrote: 

Buddha Nature in Mahayana seems roughly similar to the idea as Atman, i.e. 'Buddha Nature' imposes non-dualist framework over the Buddha Dhamma

I havent looked into the concept of Buddha Nature personally.

But the idea from what ive heard from second hand sources seems to contradict the three characteristics the Buddha told us.

Soh replied:

What you said is not accurate. Buddha Nature of Mahayana is not an atman.

The Mahayana Lankavatara Sutra states:

"Similarly, that tathaagatagarbha taught in the suutras spoken by the Bhagavan, since the completely pure luminous clear nature is completely pure from the beginning, possessing the thirty two marks, the Bhagavan said it exists inside of the bodies of sentient beings.

When the Bhagavan described that– like an extremely valuable jewel thoroughly wrapped in a soiled cloth, is thoroughly wrapped by cloth of the aggregates, aayatanas and elements, becoming impure by the conceptuality of the thorough conceptuality suppressed by the passion, anger and ignorance – as permanent, stable and eternal, how is the Bhagavan’s teaching this as the tathaagatagarbha is not similar with as the assertion of self of the non-Buddhists?

Bhagavan, the non-Buddhists make assertion a Self as “A permanent creator, without qualities, pervasive and imperishable”.

The Bhagavan replied:

“Mahaamati, my teaching of tathaagatagarbha is not equivalent with the assertion of the Self of the non-Buddhists.

Mahaamati, the Tathaagata, Arhat, Samyak Sambuddhas, having demonstrated the meaning of the words "emptiness, reality limit, nirvana, non-arisen, signless", etc. as tathaagatagarbha for the purpose of the immature complete forsaking the perishable abodes, demonstrate the expertiential range of the non-appearing abode of complete non-conceptuality by demonstrating the door of tathaagatagarbha.

Mahaamati, a self should not be perceived as real by Bodhisattva Mahaasattvas enlightened in the future or presently.

Mahaamati, for example, a potter, makes one mass of atoms of clay into various kinds containers from his hands, craft, a stick, thread and effort.

Mahaamati, similarly, although Tathaagatas avoid the nature of conceptual selflessness in dharmas, they also appropriately demonstrate tathaagatagarbha or demonstrate emptiness by various kinds [of demonstrations] possessing prajñaa and skillful means; like a potter, they demonstrate with various enumerations of words and letters. As such, because of that,

Mahaamati, the demonstration of Tathaagatagarbha is not similar with the Self demonstrated by the non-Buddhists.

Mahaamati, the Tathaagatas as such, in order to guide those grasping to assertions of the Self of the Non-Buddhists, will demonstrate tathaagatagarbha with the demonstration of tathaagatagarbha. How else will the sentient beings who have fallen into a conceptual view of a True Self, possess the thought to abide in the three liberations and quickly attain the complete manifestation of Buddha in unsurpassed perfect, complete enlightenment?"


Lankavatara Sutra then states:

"O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self (anātman).


Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith wrote:


The term bdag nyid, atman, just means, in this case, "nature", i.e. referring to the nature of reality free from extremes as being permanent, blissful, pure and self. The luminosity of the mind is understood to be this.

There are various ways to interpret the Uttaratantra and tathāgatagarbha doctrine, one way is definitive in meaning, the other is provisional, according to Gorampa Sonam Senge, thus the tathāgatagarbha sutras become definitive or provisional depending on how they are understood. He states:

In the context of showing the faults of a literal [interpretation] – it's equivalence with the Non-Buddhist Self is that the assertion of unique eternal all pervading cognizing awareness of the Saṃkhya, the unique eternal pristine clarity of the Pashupattis, the unique all pervading intellect of the Vaiśnavas, the impermanent condition, the measure of one’s body, in the permanent self-nature of the Jains, and the white, brilliant, shining pellet the size of an atom, existing in each individual’s heart of the Vedantins are the same.

The definitive interpretation he renders as follows:

Therefor, the Sugatagarbha is defined as the union of clarity and emptiness but not simply emptiness without clarity, because that [kind of emptiness] is not suitable to be a basis for bondage and liberation. Also it is not simple clarity without emptiness, that is the conditioned part, because the Sugatagarbha is taught as unconditioned.

Khyentse Wangpo, often cited as a gzhan stong pa, basically says that the treatises of Maitreya elucidate the luminosity of the mind, i.e. its purity, whereas Nāgarjuna's treatises illustrate the empty nature of the mind, and that these two together, luminosity and emptiness free from extremes are to be understood as noncontradictory, which we can understand from the famous Prajñāpāramita citation "There is no mind in the mind, the nature of the mind is luminosity".

"One, whoever told you rig pa is not part of the five aggregates? Rig pa is knowledge of your own state. In its impure form one's own state manifests as the five aggregates; in its pure form, it manifests as the five buddha families.
Nagārjuna resolves this issue through using the eight examples. There is no substantial transmission, but there is serial continuity, like lighting a fire from another fire, impressing a seal on a document and so on. See his verses on dependent origination:
All migrating beings are causes and results.
but here there are no sentient beings at all;
just empty phenomena entirely produced
from phenomena that are only empty,
phenomena without a self and what belongs to a self,
[like] utterances, lamps, mirrors, seals,
lenses, seeds, sourness and echoes.
Although the aggregates are serially connected,
the wise are understand that nothing transfers.
Also, the one who imputes annihilation
upon extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will not see the meaning of ‘arising from conditions’."
“The relative is not "reliant" on the ultimate, since they are just different cognitions of the same entity, one false, the other veridical.
There is no separate entity called "buddhanature" that can be established to exist in a sentient being composed of the five aggregates. If one should assert this is so, this position will be no different than the atman of the nonbuddhists.”

 Mr C:

Huangpo said all that is needed is to cease attachment and stop ruminationSkylinens Snoovatar

12:56 AM

Soh replied: 

huang po also said "It is the sudden realization that there is neither Buddha nor sentient beings, neither subject nor object.", "A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one, will lead to a deeply mysterious wordless understanding; and by this understanding will you awake to the truth of Zen.", and so on

At the time of his enlightenment, Zen Master Huangpo said, "When I hear the sound of the bell ringing, there is no bell, and also no I, only ringing-sound."

many other zen masters said likewise, such as, (excerpts from http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2022/10/some-zen-masters-quotations-on-anatman.html )

Zen master Munan said, “There is nothing to Buddhism—just see directly, hear directly. When seeing directly, there is no seer; when hearing directly, there is no hearer.”

>Shidō Munan (至道無難, 1602-1676) was an early Tokugawa Zen master mostly active in Edo. He was the teacher of Shōju Rōjin, who is in turn considered the main teacher of Hakuin Ekaku. He is best known for the phrase that one must "die while alive," made famous by D.T. Suzuki.


Another Zen Master said,

'You get up in the morning, dress, wash your face, and so on; you call these miscellaneous thoughts, but all that is necessary is that there be no perceiver or perceived when you perceive—no hearer or heard when you hear, no thinker or thought when you think. Buddhism is very easy and very economical; it spares effort, but you yourself waste energy and make your own hardships.'

(Foyan Qingyuan, in Instant Zen, p 70)

so a key insight is the insight into anatman, no self, for zen enlightenment

zen is not simply a state of suspending mental concepts, it requires an awakening, a satori, a seeing into the nature of mind, empty of self and luminous

or said in another way,

"The process of eradicating avidyā (ignorance) is conceived… not as a mere stopping of thought, but as the active realization of the opposite of what ignorance misconceives. Avidyā is not a mere absence of knowledge, but a specific misconception, and it must be removed by realization of its opposite. In this vein, Tsongkhapa says that one cannot get rid of the misconception of 'inherent existence' merely by stopping conceptuality any more than one can get rid of the idea that there is a demon in a darkened cave merely by trying not to think about it. Just as one must hold a lamp and see that there is no demon there, so the illumination of wisdom is needed to clear away the darkness of ignorance." - Napper, Elizabeth, 2003, p. 103"


Soh Wei Yu shared a link.

I know i shared these books before many times, but there are many new comers. Books by dakpo tashi namgyal and thrangu rinpoche
i just sent this to someone, books i highly recommend:
"btw mahamudra teachings are very good
i highly recommend getting these books, only $1.25 each for the pdf. it will be very helpful for your practice and pointing to nature of mind
beautiful teachings, and they also lead to the same insights i described
p.s. i'm not linked to the publisher and i don't make any money out of my blog, all my pdfs are free"
The order to read them:
“The first one, then the second which is a commentary of the first, then the third
All are great”
Pointing Out the Dharmakaya (PDF) [PDF140] - $1.25 : Namo Buddha Publications
Pointing Out the Dharmakaya (PDF) [PDF140] - $1.25 : Namo Buddha Publications
Namo Buddha Publications Pointing Out the Dharmakaya (PDF) [PDF140] - At the heart of successful Mahamudra practice is the ability to get directly at the nature of mind. The Ninth Karmapa was the acknowledged master of this approach. No more authoritative or useful instructions exist than in his thr...
Yin Ling, William Lim and 11 others


All comments

  • Yin Ling
    Second this.
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    • 8h
  • Soh Wei Yu
    Additionally this one is also good and has good pointers for post anatta too https://namobuddhapub.org/.../Dha.../Essentials-Of-Mahamudra
    Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind (Book) [BKS35] - $12.50 : Namo Buddha Publications
    Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind (Book) [BKS35] - $12.50 : Namo Buddha Publications
    Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind (Book) [BKS35] - $12.50 : Namo Buddha Publications
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    • 8h
  • Sue Zanchetta
    Thanks so much 🙏
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    • 6h
  • Collin Wong
    Ya you passed me . It's still with me 😂 nice book
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    • 5h

  • Soh Wei Yu
    Piotr mentioned the Royal Seal is a good companion. I agree, highly recommend this one as well. John Tan and I likes all the Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, Thrangu Rinpoche, and the Royal Seal books.
    Self-Liberation by Khamtrul Rinpoche III
    Self-Liberation by Khamtrul Rinpoche III
    Self-Liberation by Khamtrul Rinpoche III
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