This blog is about spiritual awakening, maps and stages, the blinding effects of our strong momentum/conditioning (karmic propensities), view, realization, experience, etc. If you're new here, I recommend going through the 'Must Reads' articles (see sidebar). For discussions you are welcome to join my Facebook group, or my forum.
Thusness wrote in a discussion with a follower of early Buddhism but who doesn't identify with Theravada last year,
key issue about authenticity is centered on the idea of whether
authenticity is based on the 'words of Buddha' or the 'teaching
of Buddha'. All the four tenet systems have claimed their authenticity
and each generation based on their experience, studies and realizations
attempt to integrate these four tenets. If (authenticity is) strictly
based on the 'words of the Buddha' then Mahayana isn't by definition
Buddhism, of course.
...Yes Nixon, Vajrayana has
their culture incorporated into Buddhism. But when we talk about
Mahayana teaching, I think the cultural aspect has to be put aside.
Rather, we should look at Mahayana as a development based on the
'teaching'. It is a development over time about what exactly is the
right understanding of the 'teaching'.
linked to political systems and which sect is in power and their
'closeness' to the ruler, so we also cannot assume popularity as
...We have stripped out those
magical elements and fantasies when talking about the teachings as well.
Many are simply metaphorical. Great teachings often blend themselves
into cultures and teachers often used their cultural background settings
as a base to explain and make people understand the deeper 'meaning' of
certain ideas. Now, we must also understand that 'logic' is not the
only way of understanding. Some insights are triggered not with rational
induction or deduction theory. So a development of a great teaching to
allow someone to understand something deep requires us to have
multifaceted discipline and instrument.
We are not
just a rational being. We dream and fantasize.. to understand our
nature, our suffering, our way of understanding, we got to know
ourselves too. When attempting to know what Buddhism has developed into a
particular trend, these are all needed. However for deciding whether
what is authentic, these are not needed."
Thusness then discussed the Tathagatagarbha teachings:
is a potentiality, the idea that everyone has the capacity to actualize
oneself to Buddhahood. Invented as part of a reaction towards the
strong movement of Hindu culture. Hinduism is basically based on Brahman
and Atman - the eternal Self, and Buddhism's anatta is a direct
contradiction against that. It is for this reason that Mahayana
developed. In all the four tenets, the middle way, the yogacara, the
sutra school and Vaibhashika, all are based on the fundamental
understand of the three universal characteristics.
said, in every system, there is surely some of those hiccups that
deviate from the definitive view. Even in Theravada, we see the Thai
Forest traditions promoting Poo Roo - The One Who Knows, as ultimate.
Many foreigners in the West that are less informed can mistaken that to
represent the teaching of the Buddha too. There are those who go even
further to say that Anatta implies 'not self' as the five aggregates are
'not self' and the essence of the teaching of natta is the find the
True Self, quoting instead the Kevatta Sutta on the luminous mind and
consciousness without features.
Buddha Nature is thus not a problem peculiar to Mahayana, in all traditions we see this.
me, I'm a non-sectarian, so I am quite free not having prejudice
for/against Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana. We get our experience and
teaching to release, as well as to relief ourselves from our suffering
from a great teaching.
To come to our understanding
of what is the fundamental cause of our suffering, and the core teaching
of Selflessness is not that straight forward. We experiment and test
our paradigm to see if it works. It is a life experience and journey.
my experience and journey, there is essential two paths. First is
taking and seeking comfort in the ultimate and carrying it throughout,
and the other, is looking into the fundamental core of suffering and
understanding its nature. So there are basically these two - one relies
on the essentialist practice that they need to have an ultimate, and the
other says no... there is no need to, you just have to understand the
nature of suffering. Therefore when we clearly see this, we realize that
Buddhism is based on the latter, and the whole development of Theravada
and Mahayana is based on such a system. Otherwise there is no
difference from other (religions). As such it depends on an individual
path and which core system one believes in.
the essence view has in a certain sense proven to not be the way and I
greatly appreciate the Buddha's path. To state otherwise would mean that
Buddhism is using the view of an essence to solve suffering, which
isn't true for me."
"I just appreciate Buddhism as a
beautiful teaching and Buddha as my teacher, as a student doing
something for a teacher... nothing more than that. I seldom participate
in discussion as I am not a scholar and cannot contribute much."
not in my nature to seek Buddhism. I have a strong Taoist background
and passion for Hinduism when I was young. So philosophically and
culturally, essencelessness is not a view that suits me. But it takes
painful experiences to come to a willingness to let go, to see the truth
of impermanence and anatta. To challenge and come to an understanding
that you don't actually have to do this and that.... (or have an)
ultimate here and there to release. But rather to truly accept and look
deeply into impermanence, then you will let go and we can come to a new
understanding of the relationship of suffering and the truth of
suffering having to do with a fundamental paradigm we hold so dearly.
mindset and experience can change, so is your understanding, and you
just begin a new path with new understanding. Impermanence from
personal, micro and macro view. You see when you see impermanence and
use it as a door in practice, your view changes also, from Vipassana
observing the minutest sensations in our bodily sensations to
appreciating a view in current quantum physics, macro view, to observe
events. So our idea changes and we adopt such understanding in our life
over time. Sometimes it really depends and it needs the right condition
and situation to trigger it, just like the case of financial crisis."
Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra is one of the most famous text of Mahāyāna
Buddhism devoted to the positive affirmation of the eternal Self (or
True Self) as opposed to impermanent nonself.
Buddha gives the following characteristics to the notion of Self: “The Self (ātman) is reality (tattva), the Self is permanent (nitya), the Self is virtue (guna), the Self is eternal (śāśvatā), the Self is stable (dhruva), the Self is peace (siva)”"
the historical Buddha teach the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra?
Certainly not. It developed several hundred years after the first suttas
appeared. But Buddhism as a whole is clearly an evolutionary/evolving
thing, in the same way as everything in the
world - biology, religion, worldviews, politics, economy, art, culture,
you name it, it has grown and evolved over time. Something that is
alive and living is evolving and growing and progressing, otherwise it's
dead. From the Pali suttas, to the Abdhidharma, to Mahayana -
Tathagatagarbha, Prajnaparamita, Yogacara, Madhyamika, etc... from
Theravada, to Mahayana, to Vajrayana, (and even within Theravada,
Mahayana and Vajrayana, there were many evolutionary offshoots) etc.
Sutra should be seen in that light. It arose as an evolutionary
reaction to the environment, the times. In particular as a reaction to
the growing influence of Hinduism. But something evolutionary would by
definition include its preceding doctrines, but 'transcend' it by adding
'new features' or a 'new presentation' of it. However, it cannot be
something that fundamentally contradicts the preceding teachings by
completely replacing it with something else (then that would not be
'transcend and include'), such as replacing the non-substantialist
Prajnaparamita tenets with a diametrically contradicting tenet such as a
substantialist/essentialist or Vedantic vision of reality.
we cannot understand Tathagatagarbha Sutra without first understanding
the fundamental teachings of Prajnaparamita, Abhidharma, and Pali
Suttas, since the evolutionary edge always includes but transcends its
And we know this from the Mahayana
sutras that dealt with the Tathagatagarbha doctrines. We know that
Nirvana Sutra "transcends and includes" its preceding doctrines.
Sutra: "If selflessness is demonstrated, the immature grasp to the
explanation thinking there is no self. The intelligent on the other hand
think "The [self] exists conventionally, there is no doubt."
-- The conventional nature of self is taught even in the Pali Suttas, such as Vajira Sutta.
Sutra: "One must know that the teaching of the Buddha is "this is the
middle way." The Bhagavān Buddha teaches the path as the middle way that
is free from the extremes of permanence and annihilation. Some fools
however, confused about the Buddha's teaching, like those with weak
digestive heat who consume butter, quickly come to have views about the
two extremes. Though existence is not established, also nonexistence is
passage merely indicates that sometimes Buddha taught there is no self,
other times he taught there was a self, as an antidote to different
extremes. It is not the case however that this passage is claiming there
is an actual self that is real, permanent, and so on. The Nirvana sutra
states, as mentioned before:
When it is
explained that the tathāgatgarbha is empty, the immature cultivate an
incorrect fear; the intelligent know permanence, stability and
immutability to be illusory.
Also the idea that tathāgatagarbha is full-fledged buddhahood is contradicted by this passage:
The seed existing in oneself that turns into buddhahood is called "tathāgatgarbha," the buddhahood which one will obtain.
When the Tathāgata explains to the bhikṣus and bhikṣunis that his
body is afflicted with a limitless great illness, at that time it should
be understood that absence of self is being explained, and one should
cultivate the meditation of selflessness. When the Tathāgata explains
liberation is signless, empty and nothing at all, at that time one
should understand the explanation that liberation is free from the 25
existences, and therefore it is called emptiness. Why?, since there is
no suffering, there isn't any suffering at all, it is supreme bliss and
signless. Why?, since that [suffering] is not permanent, not stable and
not immutable, and because the nature of peace is not nonexistent,
therefore, liberation is permanent, stable, immutable and peaceful, that
is the Tathāgata. When the Tathāgata explains that the tathāgatagarbha
exists sentient beings, at that time, one must correctly cultivate the
meditation of permanence.
So really, it is not
necessary reify liberation as a self, though some people may find it
temporarily useful. But in the above statement there is no reason to
reify an entity. Being free from the 25 or three realms does not mean
that there is some entity outside of or apart from the three realms. A
self either a) exists in the three realms, b) or it does not exist at
all, or c) is just a philosophical abstraction used to describe the
permanence of liberation when it is attained, and the permanent
potential one has to be liberated. http://www.atikosha.org
the Nirvana sutra clearly and precisely states that buddha-svabhaava,
the "nature of a Buddha" refers not to an actual nature but a potential.
Why, it continues:
"Child of the lineage, I have said that ‘curd exists in milk’, because curd is produced from milk, it is called ‘curd’.
of lineage, at the time of milk, there is no curd, also there is no
butter, ghee or ma.n.da, because the curd arises from milk with the
conditions of heat, impurities, etc., milk is said to have the
So one must be quite careful not to
make an error. The Lanka states unequivocably that the tathagatagarbha
doctrine is merely a device to lead those who grasp at a true self the
inner meaning of the Dharma, non-arising, the two selflessnesses and so
on, and explains the meaning of the literal examples some people
constantly err about:
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.
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.
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.
for example, a potter, makes one mass of atoms of clay into various
kinds containers from his hands, craft, a stick, thread and effort.
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.
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
Lankavatara Sutra then states: "O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self (anātman).
I had an experience once in my mid-teens, sitting by a fire my friend and I had built in a weed-and-construction-debris-filled
field that had been cleared as part of the construction of the World
Trade Center in New York City. We were living in a small shack that we
had made out of wooden pallets covered with nylon hosiery fabric found
in a pile of garbage from a building that had been cleared out prior to
its demolition. Another vagrant, like us, had seen our fire and come up
to sit and warm up a little, because the spring evenings were still cold
on those city streets, especially when the only meals you had were
fetched out of dumpsters behind fast food restaurants—half-eaten food
still in wrappers was much more palatable than loose waste from a
restaurant. “Grease,” he announced at one point. “Grease is the source
of life!” “Cool, man,” I replied. What else could one say? It was my
first experience of attachment to an understanding that was less grand
than the holder assumed.
Many people implicitly believe that coming to a complete
understanding of reality involves a leap, whether it be an intuition or
an insight, or some blissful experience in meditation, or a scientific
or philosophical theory based upon the givens—those facts of experience
that fill our days and our memories, and form the basis of our nervous
tensions, phobias, and damaged feelings, as well as our moments of bliss
and leaps of intuitive insight and conceptual theorizing. I noticed
that the leaps never get one to the finish line. They may get us to a
comfortable place, perhaps even a blissful one, but it’s not possible to
understand reality this way.
Instead of figuring out how things are, we need to loosen the chains
of both conceptual thought and the intelligible appearances that fill
our experience, because even though we might be able to come to an
understanding of our experiences, that understanding will always
separate us from the truth because an understanding creates a
something-that-is-understood, even if, through careful movements and
keen insights, we never allow a someone-that-understands to arise. The
understanding is itself the problem, and it is a huge problem because it
is the primordial source of the illusion of separate existence.
The process of coming to an understanding isn’t like getting to the
far side of a flat field of information that one leaps over suddenly,
it’s a multi-layered lasagna of misunderstandings with the consistency
of a bog, that traps us in our many and varied viewpoints, leaving a
long, long trail of false halts on our way to our hoped-for complete
transcendence. This process is founded on the belief that overcoming
wrong beliefs by undoing our strong attachment to our conceptual
knowledge and focusing instead on the givens, while being in the moment,
will free us from misconceptions and misunderstandings and will allow
us to transcend the factual appearances and get to the bottom of it all,
in the fashion of a scientist approaching a problem, studying and
reflecting. But you should note the way I worded that sentence, making
it’s point in the repetition of reliance upon belief. Beliefs aren’t
true or false, they are never true, nor false. Instead, they are always
wrong to varying degrees, which is their fault, but also, to some degree
true, which is their allure. And in many, many cases, the expression
half truths really overestimates their value.
It occurred to me that holding to the possibility of complete
transcendence, in the manner given above, is a fool’s errand based on a
grave misunderstanding. That field of givens is there before us, and
seemingly beckoning in a beguiling way, but only because of our need to
understand, and it is this that will lead us to our doom. The truly
important insight to be had there, derives from that field of givens’
presence, not from anything situated in that field. And it is the same
with our conceptual thought—none of the contents of those thoughts will
help us to transcend anything, even if they are the words of a respected
teacher, or a world-renowned scientist. Even these words can’t. It is
the presence of these thoughts, and words, and facts that is the
important point. And by presence I mean presencing, or arising
presentially. But don’t form an understanding of that word yet; it will
just be a misunderstanding.
The desire to transcend reality is a really weird appetite to have,
and yet many of us have it, in one way or another, because we either
find our lives to be unsatisfactory or we find ourselves annoyed by the
unsettling feeling that we don’t really understand what is going on.
It’s unfortunate too that the majority of people blithely live out their
lives, never having taken hold of their opportunity to realize
something truly important through it. For those that want out, getting
to the bottom of things is the only way they can see to get out. But
there is no out, no exit, no escape—Reality is an inside without an
outside, so you can’t escape. But what you can do is get free of all of
your misunderstandings—not by creating new ones, but by loosening the
chains of the conceptual as well as the intelligible. But it has to be
both of those, or like that vagrant who thought grease was the source of
life, you’ll just find yourself in another storyline.
Over the course of my life, I have found that every time I thought I
had gotten somewhere by coming to some new understanding, or by changing
something about the way I perceived my life, all I had done was change a
storyline, exchanging it for a slightly modified one, a storyline more
to my liking. I had never been able to change my being in a story. For
many on this path, their answer is to be found in not thinking or
conceptualizing about what is, just being, just beingThat.
While there is nothing wrong with just being That, it is still a
storyline. Why do I say that? Because we hold the implicit assumption
that while our conceptual thoughts, ideas, and philosophies color our
perceptions with our wants and desires, hopes and dreams, hurts and
insults, and dichotomies, we believe that our perceptions are something
different, if left alone, something more real than illusions of the
mind. And who could fault us for that? After all, some of those
perceptions can save our lives!
I’ve heard it said that when we see, we should just see—and not color
what we see with hopes, dreams, aversions, fears, doubts or
dichotomizations—and when we hear we should just hear. And by doing
that, we free ourselves from our suffering because in those moments
there is no self intervening in the process.
Even ignoring the fact that physical suffering from thirst, hunger, pain, age and disease is still suffering
even when it is freed from all of our self-colorations, and what we
perceive through our senses is always perspectival, so that while there
may be no self involved in the perception, there is certainly a
perspective limiting the visceral experience to a certain body. The
truth is, everything arises empty of intrinsic self-reality, based upon
conditions, uncreated and uncaused, as the spontaneous naturing that
some call dharmata.
This idea that perception through any sense-door is somehow being in
contact with something real, or at least pure as in pure experience, is
an illusion. It is an illusion because there is no thing to be in
contact with, there is no entity who can drop the illusion of
self-colorations, there isn’t even an entity that natures that which
appears, even the Buddhist dharmakaya is empty of an intrinsic
self-nature. What we perceive arises in our mind, which is the
name we give to that perspective we gloom onto because of our confusion
and misunderstanding, not realizing what that perspective truly is. So
in seeing, there is only the fabrication of form and light. In hearing,
there is only the fabrication of sounds, etc. We are never not in
intimate contact with what is arising because there is and can be no
separation in reality, and what arises does so in the mind. So what’s
Literally, what is going on is that we have come to understand that
experiences are based upon perceptions that arise from conditions of
some external kind in conjunction with a body with some specific senses.
Many Buddhists include consciousness of thoughts as a sixth human
sense, but a more insightful view is found in those teachings that point
out that there is only one sense—that our dichotomization of experience
involves a transfer of the source of perceptions from the dharmata, which is not a thing, it’s just the essential character of the activity I am referring to as naturing,
to some physical equipment inherent in human and non-human lifeforms
and their associated mental faculties that are distinguished based upon
the kind of physical phenomena that is sensed.
If you are starting to feel that in naturing, just naturing
than you are well on your way to complete freedom. Gaining freedom from
conceptual thinking is the first step. I did it by noticing how thoughts
arise—presentially—based upon conditions, but uncaused by any
condition. Being empty of origin, empty of an intrinsic self-nature, how
could their content or meaning be otherwise than empty? And yet,
thoughts spontaneously appeared, and that was necessary to see. And see
that I did, and you can, through the practice of meditation. But seeing
that thoughts are empty of origin, means I am not creating them, and
yet, if I focused upon them I found them arising in a coherent stream of
thoughts strung together for as long as I attended to them. And if I
looked away in another direction towards some other focus, that stream
of thoughts changed! All of the words of this essay arose because of the
direction of my attention and various manifesting conditions that
include a desire to share something that I’ve found. Authorship is an
exaggeration of an activity that is spontaneously natured, uncaused, by
no entity at all. And if that doesn’t take your breath away… but you
can’t stop here.
Once we see through conceptual thinking, our next step is not just to be in the moment
averting our attention away from conceptual thought, it must be to see
into this process of self-less naturing. And for that, I didn’t use
thoughts, instead I turned my attention towards a phenomenon that had
always been there for me to use—the self-arising sounds of dharmata,
which are the resonances of that self-less activity of naturing. I
listened to the sounds of thoughts arising, as well as my whole being
arising, and it was there in those sounds that I came to realize that
all of our perceptions arise in exactly the same way—not through some
hybrid physical process and half-understood concepts—and that this meant
that pure experiences were just as empty of intrinsic self-nature, and
therefore truth, as any conceptual thoughts that might arise for me.
Useful, yes. All of it—thoughts, experiences, understandings—were useful
in a practical sense, but wrong in a real sense, thus always lying
somewhere between truth and untruth. I had to see through all of it, and
in doing so, in direct experience, not out there in some kind of illusory world, or even in here
in a confused mental understanding based on beliefs, but just directly
experienced through peeling off all those layers of concepts and
understandings, perspectives, and causes, freeing myself from conceptual
thought and intelligible appearances. And in the end, there was no myself
to free. What needed to be done was to unbridle, unimpede, unobstruct,
uninhibit, and stop interfering with, the natural and spontaneous
inventiveness of this self-less naturing with my wandering attention and
its searching for meaning in understandings and ideas, whether based
upon experience or not.
It is through concepts that we learn of the problem. It is through
conceptual thought that we learn of techniques to overcome the problem.
It is by letting concepts go that we free our minds, opening it to other
possibilities. It is through the intelligible appearances that we can
truly see reality in action. But it is in giving up those intelligible
appearances by training our minds to stop wandering aimlessly all over
the flowerbed, that we allow the true self-less naturing to appear in
all of its awesome beauty. And it is in that, that all the confused
thinking and frightening appearances can be seen to be nothing other
than what we casually call our mind, i.e. self-less naturing—the dharmata.
This is the strategy, half-measures are only tactics in a never-ending story. End the story.
is a writer, philosopher, contemplative practitioner and theorist,
living in the Dordogne region of France, where he runs a Bed &
Breakfast. He loves to hike with friends, and ride his Vespa through the
countryside, and play with his over-active joyous dog, when he is not
writing. He loves to love. He was formerly a software engineer in New
York, a university professor of philosophy, he taught Ethics,
Metaphysics, Philosophy of Nature, as well as meditation. He was an
elected official, an activist for animal rights and environmental
justice, a soccer coach, a police commissioner, and a taxi driver. Once a
father, now a grandfather, he was born too early for his age. Other
LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.
Let's talk practice.
What can you DO to attain enlightenment? I replied:
off: for anything to work, there must be discipline and perseverance.
Whether it is self-inquiry, meditation (vipashyana or shamatha), yoga,
etc. Or even any mundane pursuits -- mastering your job skills, your
fitness, etc. Effort, attention, consistency of practice are the
foundational and crucial factors for success in any areas in life,
including realizing our 'spiritual nature'. I personally do not like
comments that suggest people "do nothing". While that sort of philosophy
are thrown around in neo-advaita circle, in my eyes it is bullshit,
misleading and leads nowhere, it doesn't lead to any kind of insight,
realization, or mastery of anything*. You can waste your whole life
'doing nothing', then times up. I like Daniel M. Ingram's approach to
things - pragmatic and methodical (although his practices and mine may
The beginning of spiritual life is direct
immediate realization of life/existence. It is to directly realize what
the Heart of Existence -- what Reality/Life/Spirit is -- even in the
absence of thoughts or perceptions. Just that pure sense of beingness or
existence, that is most crucial. And anatta was realized through
questioning the nature of Presence (investigating whether there was any
'Seer' or 'Seeing' or 'Presence' besides the vivid
colours/display/manifestation, and likewise for hearing and sound, etc, basically questioning the relationship of 'Presence' and 'Things'
until that dichotomy was utterly seen through in an instant of
through contemplation on Bahiya Sutta the delusion of Presence or
'Seeing' as a background was penetrated and the 'manifold' of Presence
is experienced fully. It is the extension of the realization of that
very core essence of Being or Life, but now anatta allows you to touch
the very 'Heart' or 'Life' of all things in complete intimacy, whereby
the formless sense of Presence is only just one face of it. Then one
brings this taste to all experiences, not only in the passive experience
of 'lettings things happen' but in all activities where full engagement
in that activity arising as universe -- maha. Every activity is
experienced in complete 'oneness' and aliveness. All manifestations are
equally so. And twofold emptiness allows us to penetrate the very
delusion of that vivid manifest Presence as having any core, inherency,
arising, abiding or dwelling, and directly taste Presence as illusory
like empty mirages. But it requires a direct taste of Presence as the
manifold, we question whether there is any essence or core to which the
manifestation could arise/abide/cease and realize that it is empty and
non-arising. The other aspect has to do with re-looking at the
implications of constructs and the cessation of constructs through
penetrating dependent designation.
The direct and
unshakeable certainty of what that Presence or Existence is has been
crucial for me, and practicing self-inquiry has been a very effective
method to trigger that realization. But that initial realization must
not be taken as an endpoint as delusions pertaining to duality and
inherency remain until clear insight arises.
(*Also related, Thusness wrote before:
wrongly conclude that because there is no-self, there is nothing to do
and nothing to practice. This is precisely using "self view" to
understand "anatta" despite having the insight.
does not mean because there is no-self, there is nothing to practice;
rather it is because there is no self, there is only ignorance and the
chain of afflicted activities. Practice therefore is abt overcoming
ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities. There is no agent
but there is attention. Therefore practice is abt wisdom, vipassana,
mindfulness and concentration. If there is no mastery over these
practices, there is no liberation. So one should not bullshit and
psycho ourselves into the wrong path of no-practice and waste the
invaluable insight of anatta. That said, there is the passive mode of
practice of choiceness awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as
the "default way" and such practice can hardly b considered "mastery"
of anything, much less liberation.")
I can say for certain: Practice looks nothing like this photo you posted :)
does not look 'like' this photo. Practice is this photo as
actualized... free from subject and object, desires, hopes and fears.
Also the stain on the wall, too, and the smell when entering the toilet, the
sensations of sitting on the toilet bowl, etc.