Posted by: Soh
"...And with that, the entire world self-liberates, because there is simply no "me" to expect anything of it, to make demands of it, to claim to know how any of it works. Freed from the stranglehold of thought, freed from the burden of "me and all my problems", there is a great ease which permeates everything. Freed from goals and meanings, every moment is a goal in itself, everything is intrinsically meaningful, because every moment is all there is, or ever was. Freed from self-consciousness, everything is permissible and consequences are not even possible. And there may still be pain and anger and sadness, but this happens for nobody, and so it doesn't matter anymore (since there's simply nobody here to whom it could possibly matter!). There's pain and anger and sadness, but they don't belong to anyone. And so, since nobody is claiming them, they just dissolve of their own accord, in their own time.

And everything being talked about here is already the case, for all of us (and yes, that includes "you", of course!). Already, there is liberation. Already, there is freedom from it all. Truly, right now, there is nothing more to attain. Thoughts arise, sounds arise, sights arise, feelings in the body arise, but they always already arise for nobody.

And this may be noticed, or it may not; it really doesn't make a blind bit of difference. There's nobody there to notice it, anyway. And nobody would "get" anything from noticing this, even if they could...

~ Jeff Foster


" seems that lots of effort need to be put in -- which is really not the case. The entire practice turns out to an undoing process. It is a process of gradually understanding the workings of our nature that is from beginning liberated but clouded by this sense of ‘self’ that is always trying to preserve, protect and ever attached. The entire sense of self is a ‘doing’. Whatever we do, positive or negative, is still doing. Ultimately there is not-even a letting go or let be, as there is already continuous dissolving and arising and this ever dissolving and arising turns out to be self-liberating. Without this ‘self’ or ‘Self’, there is no ‘doing’, there is only spontaneous arising. Smile"

~ our forummer, Thusness (source: Non-dual and karmic patterns)

"...When one is unable to see the truth of our nature, all letting go is nothing more than another from of holding in disguise. Therefore without the 'insight', there is no releasing.... it is a gradual process of deeper seeing. when it is seen, the letting go is natural. You cannot force urself into giving up the self... purification to me is always these insights... non-dual and emptiness nature...."

~ Thusness

From a pure insight practice point of view, you can’t ever fundamentally “let go” of anything, so I sometimes wish the popularity of this misleading and indifference-producing admonition would decline, or at least be properly explained. However, if you simply investigate the truth of the Three Characteristics of the sensations that seemed to be a solid thing, you will come to the wondrous realization that reality is continually “letting go” of itself! Thus, “let it go” at its best actually means, “don’t give a bunch of transient sensations an excessive sense of solidity.” It does not mean, “stop feeling or caring,” nor does it mean, “pretend that the noise in your mind is not there.”

~ Theravadin teacher, Dharma Dan


...The particular method of Dzogchen is called the Path of Self-Liberation, and to apply it nothing need be renounced, purified, or transformed. Whatever arises as one's karmic vision is used as the path. The great master Pha Tampa Sangye [South Indian Yogin of the 11 century (ed.)] once said: It is not the circumstances which arise as one's karmic vision that condition a person into the dualistic state; it is a person's own attachment that enables what arises to condition him. If this attachment is to be cut through in the most rapid and effective way, the mind's spontaneous capacity to self-liberate must be brought into play. The term self-liberation should not, however, be taken as implying that there is some 'self' or ego there to be liberated. It is a fundamental the Dzogchen level, that all phenomena are void of self-nature. 'Self -Liberation', in the Dzogchen sense, means that whatever manifests in the field of experience of the practitioner is allowed to arise just as it is, without judgement of it as good or bad, beautiful or ugly. And in that same moment, if there is no clinging, or attachment, without effort, or even volition, whatever it is that arises, whether as a thought or as a seemingly external event, automatically liberates itself, by itself, and of itself. Practicing in this way the seeds of the poison tree of dualistic vision never even get a chance to sprout, much less to take root and grow.(p33)

So the practitioner lives his or her life in an ordinary way, without needing any rules other than one's own awareness, always remaining in the primordial state through integrating that state with whatever arises as part of experience -- with absolutely nothing to be seen outwardly to show that one is practicing. This is what is meant by self-liberation, this is what is meant by the name Dzogchen - which means Great Perfection - and this is what is meant by non-dual contemplation, or simply contemplation....

~ Dzogchen teacher, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche


Self-liberation does not mean that a self liberates himself or herself from delusorily valued thoughts or delusory experiences; what it means is that delusorily valued thoughts and delusory experiences liberate themselves spontaneously (which may take place in three main ways). (Source:


Thrangu Rinpoche: "Self-liberation and liberation upon arising are not characteristics of thought; they are what happens when the nature of thought is recognized. So it’s not the case that you either recognize the self-liberation or don’t; self-liberation is the result of recognition. Normally, thoughts are anything but self-liberated. A thought arises, and it takes us over, and that produces another thought, and so on. On the basis of these thoughts, we generate further confused projections, on the basis of which we experience pleasure and pain. Now, when the nature of a thought is recognized, what happens to that thought is very much like, as is traditionally said, what happens when a snake untangles or unties the knots it’s tied itself into. The snake does it itself; no one has to come along and help the snake out. In the same way, when you look at the thought directly, for example, a thought of anger, and you see its nature, then the thought does not generate a further thought; the anger is not prolonged. As soon as the nature is seen, at that moment, the poisonous quality of the anger just disappears and dissolves; and that is self-liberation or liberation upon arising."

~ Thrangu Rinpoche, "Pointing Out the Dharmakaya"


The Great Undoing

When disturbing mind states are simply left unrejected and unaltered, it is seen that they undo themselves naturally, without effort or struggle. It is seen that all states, all experiences whether labeled as positive, negative or neutral are forever undoing and resolving themselves, moment by timeless moment.

Self-Liberation Upon Arising

To practice is to realize that no practice was ever necessary.

To rest is to see that everything is always and already naturally at rest.

To maintain awareness is to see that awareness is self-maintained.

To allow everything to be as it is is to see that all things self-liberate upon arising.

- John Astin
Then the venerable Sariputra said to the goddess, "Goddess, how long have you been in this house?"

The goddess replied, "I have been here as long as the elder has been in liberation."

Sariputra said, "Then, have you been in this house for quite some time?"

The goddess said, "Has the elder been in liberation for quite some time?"

At that, the elder Sariputra fell silent.

The goddess continued, "Elder, you are 'foremost of the wise!' Why do you not speak? Now, when it is your turn, you do not answer the question."

Sariputra: Since liberation is inexpressible, goddess, I do not know what to say.

Goddess: All the syllables pronounced by the elder have the nature of liberation. Why? Liberation is neither internal nor external, nor can it be apprehended apart from them. Likewise, syllables are neither internal nor external, nor can they be apprehended anywhere else. Therefore, reverend Sariputra, do not point to liberation by abandoning speech! Why? The holy liberation is the equality of all things!

Sariputra: Goddess, is not liberation the freedom from desire, hatred, and folly?

Goddess: "Liberation is freedom from desire, hatred, and folly" that is the teaching of the excessively proud. But those free of pride are taught that the very nature of desire, hatred, and folly is itself liberation.
~ Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra
"Good sons, all hindrances are none other than ultimate enlightenment. Whether you attain mindfulness or lose mindfulness, there is no non-liberation. Establishing the Dharma and refuting the Dharma are both called nirvana; wisdom and folly are equally prajna; the method that is perfected by bodhisattvas and false teachers is the same bodhi; ignorance and suchness are not different realms; morality, concentration and wisdom, as well as desire, hatred and ignorance are all divine practices; sentient beings and lands share the same dharma nature; hell and heaven are both the Pure Land; those having Buddha-nature and those not having it equally accomplish the Buddha's enlightenment. All defilements are ultimately liberation. The reality-realms's ocean-like wisdom completely illumines all marks to be just like empty space. This is called 'the Tathāgata's accordance with the nature of enlightenment.' "

~ The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment



Hi Longchen,

Not only that. This work by Padmasambhava is truly deep and profound; it discloses the self-liberating aspect of our intrinsic nature. It is especially important for you now.

At that time when you posted the thread of non-dual and karmic pattern,, the condition is only right for understanding 'the strength of karmic propensities’, as such, this aspect was not disclosed. Instead, the second door of impermanence was introduced and it was introduced with the purpose to complement the no-self experience you had in order to give rise to this insight of “Self-Liberation”. The sole purpose of the practice of the second door of impermanence is for this insight to arise.

I was reading some commentaries about this work, I was disappointed; and with all due respect, I must say it is terribly distorted. The commentator has transformed this great work of Padmasambhava to an Advaita or neo-Advaita teaching. Self Liberating nature of our pristine nature is not to posit naked-awareness as a background where “all thoughts arise and subside’ and the background is not affected by this transient nature of thoughts, it remains constant, changeless and unmoved. ‘Self liberation’ should never be taken to mean this.

There is no Awareness apart from the arising and ceasing of thoughts and yet thought spontaneously arise and subsides in its own accord (self-liberating). It liberates at that very moment of ‘passing away’ (the practice of second door) without the need of effort, simply so. From moment to moment it is so. Thus comes and thus goes. This is its emptiness nature. The emptiness nature liberates instantaneously. By simply so, it is spontaneously self-perfected.

Sentient mind however posit a ‘self’ and holds. Whether the “thought” is good or bad, it attempts to do something to change, whatever direction it goes either good or bad, all is ‘doing’ (karma) and prevents the liberating nature. However without the experience of no-self (Buddhism non-duality not Adviata non-dual), one can never understand this intuitively.

Do read with a reverent heart. Homage to Padmasambhava...

UPDATE: Thusness warned that one should never talk about spontaneous arising and self-liberation before the insights of Non-Duality and Emptiness. Only when Non-duality and Emptiness is realised, can spontaneous arising be comprehended.

What I meant is there is no actual benefit in terms of practice before non-dual experience and insight into our emptiness nature. We cannot talk about self-liberating nature from a ‘dualistic’ and ‘inherent’ standpoint; at least from the perspective of Buddhism or from an experiential point of view. It is pointless to keep talking about it because it will only lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. However at certain point of our practice, the ‘already is’ is important because as what Longchen has expressed in his post:
“Yes, there are some challenging situations to non-dual presence. I will share it on the forum..
In my case, nondual is easier to experience when there are bodily movement. This is when i am walking or eating. The mind rest and just feeling the sensations.
However, when thinking kicks in... it is not so easy. This can be liken to a dog trying to bite its own tail. The habitual tendency to let go of these thoughts becomes the arising of the dualistic perception. 'Let go' becomes the very effort. and a loop cycle ensues. However, there are also time when the 'let go effort' drops and restfulness follows. ... and one wonders just how silly the 'let go' effort is. LOL.
The guess is that one must sustain a 'deeper' level of 'knowing' non-efforting.... that cannot be sought after.”
It is the very insight of “already is” that will lead to ‘effortlessness’. Expression of 'what already is' is not to proclaim about one’s insight or attainment but rather to bring across to practitioner that the ‘key’, the ‘antidote’ to clear the ‘hurdle’ of effortlessness of sustaining non-dual presence lies in the ‘already is’, i.e, after the right understanding of our non-dual and non-inherent nature; and this understanding must take place in our inmost consciousness.
Posted by: Soh
Update: links updated, comments updated

Here is my attempt at summarising some of the points from a discussion with Thusness, as well as being a reply to someone's question in my forum.

Update: BTW, there's another very interesting discussion I had with a guy called 'AndrewPKYap' who is as of now at Stage 4 (Presence as Mirror Bright Clarity) according to Thusness's Six Stages of Experience. Here is the link:

I believe the discussion with AndrewPKYap should make it very clear what is the difference between Stage 4 and 5, as well as to elaborate on the Emptiness nature of all phenomena.

--------------- parts updated after corrections by Thusness)

...J. Krishnamurti said, In the gap between subject and object lies the entire misery of humankind.

The fundamental point here is that, without liberating from the basic dualistic assumption of subject-object, you will always be trapped in tanha (desire), and the 2nd noble truth states that tanha (desire) causes suffering (such as lack, fear, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, etc).

What kinds of desires? There are three kinds. Desire for sense pleasure (kama tanha), desire to become (bhava tanha) and desire to get rid of (vibhava tanha).

The problem is that when we desire something, lets say sense pleasure, the more we seek, the wider we split the subject and the object (and as you know there really is no subject apart from object), the more painful and dissatisfactory it is. We then become discontent with life as it is, we cannot see that what is arising now is already self-perfected as it is, we cannot see that all there is is simply conditioned arising -- and a perfect expression of our primordial nature, our Buddha Nature.

Similarly, if something unpleasurable arises, we try to widen the gap between subject and object, we try to shut off, manipulate, get rid of the undesired object from a phantom subject (you) which will not work because there is really no such thing as a subject-object split. And because it can never be done, the more you try to avert it, the more suffering and dissatisfaction you experience.

Comments by Thusness on the paragraphs above:
Yes, it is the split, the separation that causes suffering as well the arising of desire. Without the insight that there is no-split, the mind continues to divide. Desire is an inner deficiency of the mind created to bridge the gap of separation.
In reality, there only is the universe manifesting as it is in itself, conditioned arising, a mere happening that happens to no-one. Whatever arises at that moment, is as it is. If pain arises, it is not 'your pain' from 'your body'. The universe is pain and it is happening to no one because there is no self apart from manifestation.

And the problem of clinging to a desired object then becomes that it is ultimately impermanent, and there is no way that a 'subject' (which never existed) can grasp onto the 'object', since it is empty and ungraspable (utterly transient and ephemeral), being merely only conditioned arising, the aggregation of causes and conditions, and having no reality apart from it.

If you see a colourful flower and a dog and an insect too sees it, you and the dog and the ant are not going to see the same things. The dog is only going to see black and white. Why? Because the nature of the flower is Empty -- there is no graspable 'Essence of Flower' or the 'Flowerness of the Flower' -- Flower is empty of any inherent existence, being only conditioned arising, merely the aggregation of causes and conditions, and having no reality apart from it!

Comments by Thusness on the paragraph above:
This is refining the non-dual experience with the emptiness nature of our awareness from a Buddhist perspective. It will reduce the ‘grasping’ of self significantly if experienced intuitively. That said, we should also bear in mind that the purpose of expounding the emptiness nature of any arising is to realize that the ‘transients’ are really our very Buddha nature. Ultimately ‘emptiness’ is still a ‘raft’ that must be discarded. Practice must enable us to experience the ‘the most real of the appearances’ -- the full vivid aliveness yet empty at that moment. This is the luminous aspect of practice.

Just to illustrate a little on the example of 'flowerness':

There is no ‘the flowerness’ seen by a dog, an insect or us. ‘The flowerness’ is an illusion that does not stay even for a moment, merely an aggregate of causes and conditions. Analogous to the example of ‘flowerness’, there is no ‘selfness’ serving as a background witnessing either -- pristine awareness is not the witnessing background. Rather, the entire whole of the moment of manifestation is our pristine awareness; lucidly clear, yet empty of inherent existence. This the way of ‘seeing’ the one as many, the observer and the observed are one and the same. This is also the meaning of formlessness and attribute-less of our nature.

How does a dualistic mind see it?
A dualistic mind understands differently. A mind that is dualistic is quick to objectify ‘formlessness and atribute-less’ into an empty-invisible-v
oid entity observing transients manifestation. It ‘dualifies’ form from formlessness and attempts to separate from itself. This is not ‘I’, ‘I’ am the changeless and perfect stillness behind the transients appearances. Therefore ‘impersonality’ appears cold and lifeless. But this is not the case for a non-dual practitioner in Buddhism. For him/her, the ‘formlessness and attribute-less’ is vividly alive, full of colors and sounds. ‘Formlessness’ is not understood apart from ‘Forms’ – the ‘form of formlessness’, the texture and fabric of awareness. They are one and the same.
Whatever arises is the whole universe manifesting as that moment. Know that the universe is giving its very best for this moment to arise. All conditions and causes are just right for the birth a moment of manifestation. When this is understood, the 'conditioned arising' is really unconditioned, all spontaneously arise.

If we can understand the the nature of the object we are seeking is in essence empty of any inherent existence, being merely conditioned arising, and that the subject-object relationship is false, there will be complete resting and contentment in the moment of arising. You will not fall under the false dualistic relationship of a 'subject' trying to manipulate the 'external universe', trying to get away from or stop/manipulate what is presently arising, trying to get something better than what is here, trying to shut off yourself from the world, etc.

It is seen that all there is is conditioned arising -- that what you are is simply the scenery, sound of bird chirping, sound of keyboard typing, words appearing on the screen.. there is no observer apart from the observed. As Buddha said, in seeing, only the seen, no seer. In hearing, only the heard, no hearer. (this goes for all other six senses including thinking) And the seen, the heard, the felt, the thought, the taste, all are simply conditioned arising that is empty of any fixed forms, shapes, attributes, etc. Emptiness that has a luminous heart giving rise to infinite potentiality. And that is your nature.

So Buddha Nature is not one! There is no 'The Absolute' but all moments are a reality/'absolute' in itself! (just like there is no 'Essence of Flower', only conditioned manifestation according to causes and conditions) Because Buddha Nature really is the manifold -- the whole universe, everything, as conditioned arising that is empty and never fixed, everchanging. Yet it is not many either! Because all that is inseparable in One Taste, being all the manifestation of our pristine awareness, and being an inseparable wholeness, also known as One Reality or One Mind but really it does not have a single nor multiple realities because its nature is empty. (See the recent topic, the last few posts, A nightmare)

There are lots of various descriptions of our Buddha Nature -- all pervading, brighter than a thousand suns, mirror-like, indestructible. And all conditioned arising is an expression of the unconditioned Buddha Nature. All that is arising is the Buddha. They are all your pristine awareness at that moment with its nature empty -- never the same and never remain (having no existence and reality apart from conditioned arising), nothing apart from the crystal clear manifestation of appearances. Completely and fully real and gone.

A bird is chirping happily outside... just that sound. The whole universe is just that sound. Completely real, but never staying... gone as it arises. Merely a conditioned manifestation that is empty.

Comments by Thusness on the paragraph above:
An extra point:

Here the highlight must not only be the empty nature of ‘sound’ alone, that luminosity as ‘sound’ must similarly be emphasized. When we stripped-off the symbolic representation of ‘bird’, ‘chirping’, ‘outside’, ‘eyes-organ’, ‘ears-organs’, ‘senate reality’ and merely experience in bare, this is the meditative state of intuitively knowing that quality of being luminous in oneness. Oneness as there is nothing to divide when devoid of these symbolic layering. The depth of the crystal clarity of that pure experience – ‘chirping’ is not what language can convey. The point here is not to bring about a scientific study on the topic of qualia but to have a direct feel of the full absorption in the delight of that clear-luminosity of ‘sound’. It is the ‘depth and degree’ of absorptive-clarit
y yet non-staying that is most important; not the symbolic understand of meanings.

It may be a good prompt at this juncture to ask "Is remaining ‘in the mode that is free of symbols’ the only way to experience non-duality?"
Just like patterns of clouds appearing in the sky -- they are all conditioned arising.

...We call it weather, but what is it really? Wind. Rain. Clouds slowly parting. Not the words spoken about it, but just this darkening, blowing, pounding and wetting, and then lightening up, blue sky appearing amid darkness, and sunshine sparkling on wet grasses and leaves. In a little while there'll be frost, snow and ice covers. And then warming again, melting, oozing water everywhere. On an early spring day the dirt road sparkles with streams of wet silver. So—what is weather other than this incessant change of earthly conditions and all the human thoughts, feelings and undertakings influenced by it? Like and dislike. Depression and elation. Creation and destruction. An ongoing, ever-changing stream of happenings abiding nowhere. No real entity weather exists anywhere except in thinking and talking about it....

...Now, is there such an entity as me or I? Or is it just like the weather—an ongoing, ever-changing stream of ideas, images, memories, projections, likes and dislikes, creation and destruction, that thought keeps calling I, me, Toni, and thereby solidifying what is evanescent?...

...How are we to come upon the truth if separateness is taken so much for granted, feels so commonsense?
The difficulty is not insurmountable. Wholeness, our true being, is here all the time, like the sun behind the clouds. Light is here in spite of cloud cover.
What makes up the clouds?...
(see Emptiness and No-Self)

All gain and loss is also simply that -- conditioned arising. The sense of a 'controller' is let go of, no 'self' is in control. This does not mean we will no longer work hard to get good exam results (we can still work for the best), it just means that gain and loss must be seen as conditioned arising. Furthermore, all actions become effortless.

Comments by Thusness on the paragraph above:
Once the sense of self is dissolved, there is totality of action and practice is about this totality in action. There is no question of effort; the only effort comes from the sense of ‘self’. When ‘non-dual and empty’ is fully experienced in our cells and flow in our blood like how dualistic-propensities have so deeply tainted the 5 aggregates, action becomes effortless.
More comments by Thusness on the paragraph above:
The understanding 'of arising as yuan' (yuan = conditions) must be factored to all aspects of our lives. Applying this insight to the six stages of my experiences, you must see them not as indications of stages at all. There are no higher or lower stages, all merely serves as conditions for ‘new insight’ to arise. A practitioner may start from training himself to ‘witness’ the empty nature of phenomena (stage 6) yet still having a clear distinction of observer and observed being dual; but the gradual loosening of ‘solidity’ of all internal or external phenomena having no inherent existence will slowly leads to the non-dual experience.
Practice is about losing oneself and all merely happens as if 'you' never existed. One must eventually undergo a complete psychological death, and be completely dead in the living. As the saying goes -- die before you die. At that moment, deep dreamless sleep where the self completely subsides, is no longer different from conscious state. There is no more attachment, no more unwillingness to completely relinquish the 'self', no more grasping to the need to 'exist' consciously. One requires fearlessness to dissolve this habit of 'self-preservation'... and when that is done, samatha and insight becomes one.