AENs article on Direct Pointing

wylo ., modified 8 Years ago.

AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
I thought it was worth sharing this here, for anyone who may have stumbled across this place after going through the process at LU or Truth Strike...
http://liberationunleashed.com/Article_Integrating-View-And-Experience.html

...




Integrating View and Experience

I like something about the Liberation Unleashed and the former Ruthless Truth approach to realization: it aims to investigate and realize the truth of no-self in the most direct straight-forward manner by investigating and challenging the existence of 'you'. A rather similar form inquiry into no-self is personally what led to my realization into no-self, however, I was not liberated by the guides in Liberation Unleashed or from Ruthless Truth. My insight into anatta, or no-self, arose when I was contemplating on the Buddha's teaching to Bahiya (Bahiya Sutta), but that is another story. My background is more towards Buddhism (I formally took refuge in the triple gems of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha under Venerable Shen Kai of Ren Cheng Buddhism when I was 2 years old), even though I did not restrict my studies alone to Buddhism. I have also learnt a lot from John, who is better known online by the nickname 'Thusness'.

Although I do like the LU (Liberation Unleashed) and the old RT (Ruthless Truth) approach in investigating the delusion of a 'self', I also see many questions continue to linger in those who have been "liberated". Is there any more to see? Why does someone else seem to realize something different, and talk very different things? Did they experience something different? Deep clarity on the degrees of self/Self and the different insights that unfold are not commonly expressed and it is not only a problem in LU but is rather pervasive in the spiritual community. Lots of sincere seekers and teachers offering their experience and insights can be found, but few people are able to have a very clear "big picture" of it all. And this is where perhaps my sharing may hopefully become a helpful pointer.

Firstly, one should recognize that there exists different degrees of self/Self to be seen through, and there are different types of realizations that are being taught or emphasized by different teachers. Yes, there is not only one kind of enlightenment (as you may have suspected), there are many 'levels' of insight (though not always unfolding in the same linear pattern for everyone). There are many faces of self/Self, for example having merely experienced non-doership does not mean one has realized non-duality or no agency.

What I have noticed about people in the LU community is that people are speaking from different kinds of insights, and many may confuse one insight with another. (Note that what I am saying next has no hierarchy or order of importance or a fixed linear way of how it will 'unfold' for each person, and each insight is valuable in and of itself): Merely having an experience of impersonality whereby the sense of a personal self or doer is deconstructed into the experience of 'being lived impersonally by the universe' is different from the direct realization of our luminous essence, or the Presence-Existence-Consciousness as Self (the I AM realization), which is different from experiencing a state of oblivion prior to the arising of beingness or consciousness (also often reified into an absolute or ultimate subject), which is different from non-dual realization that there never was a subject-object, Witness-witnessed/observer-observed split in which there is no longer even the sense that there is anything other than the non-dual display of awareness (such that it is no longer I AM the background Awareness in which objects arise from and subside to, as there is no more 'objects' other than display of Awareness experiencing itself - One Mind), but even this is different from the realization that there is no agent - there is no watcher, no background that could either be separate from or be inseparable with manifestation. A deeper insight may then arise on the empty nature of everything - from non-dual awarenesss, self/Self, the 'objects' or 'phenomena', all are understood to be mere imputation (just like the word 'weather' is a mere imputation on a conglomerate of everchanging phenomena), thereby everything is thoroughly deconstructed into shimmering appearances. The sense of an agent, self/Self, or source, is replaced by the direct experience of the process of dependent origination. Each insight or seeing is a form of further deconstruction and is linked to a deeper experience of freedom and release.

The deeper the insights arise and sink into our psyche replacing our deeply rooted latent tendencies related to ignorance, the deeper the freedom we experience, because all bondage and suffering arise from uninvestigated constructs/views/ignorance, which leads to obsession, attachment and craving after perceived solid objects which 'I' then 'possess' as 'mine' (which, due to impermanence, sooner or later gets lost - leading to suffering), or more subtly the craving, identification and attachment to a mind, body, personality, doership, self, Self, agency, presence, nothingness, or even non-dual awareness.

Eventually we will come to directly experience the release from all afflictions, grasping and sufferings. When insight into anatta arises, one deconstructs self/Self in gross and subtle forms - even non-dual presence is seen as empty of any self/Self and deconstructed to its self-less, arising and passing sensations, or the constituents of the five aggregates (skandhas in Buddhist terminology) - herein experience is still implicitly non-dual (not because it is a non-dual absolute that is 'one with' sensations, but that there is no subject to begin with that could be separate from or be inseparable from these transient, passing self-luminous sensations), it is seamless and without effort or grasping and is automatically self-released - whatever manifests is empty of anything that could be pinned down or grasped - what manifests is fully experienced but self-released on the spot (not by dissociation or effort). When the true nature of phenomena is deeply realized and actualized, disenchantment, dispassion, a natural release from all grasping and craving occurs, and as a result - freedom from suffering. The Buddha teaches that the end of craving is the end of suffering, as craving is the cause of suffering. The eight-fold path to awakening and liberation (from craving, from suffering) starts with right view (the forerunner)... up to right mindfulness and right concentration.

As such, having the right view is important. We often fail to realize that all our grasping and problems have their basis in ignorance, in uninvestigated constructs and views, which continues to persist even if we have the direct realization of our non-conceptual luminous essence. Freedom is therefore not just about having a direct non-conceptual or non-dual experience (in fact non-conceptual, non-dual consciousness itself may become an object of grasping and identification as a result of ignorance and wrong views), it is also about having the right view, right understanding of no-self, dependent origination and emptiness, and then contemplation/investigating accordingly so that the right view is directly realized and experienced in real-time. Any notion or sense of a truly existing source, awareness, objects, self, mind, body, etc are all thereby liberated or transcended into a single moment of suchness - just this breathe, this scent, this sight, lucidly experienced yet nothing real, nothing truly 'existing' or 'solid' - rather they are empty and illusory, and are self-releasing. It is only through deep insight into the empty nature that we can experience true release, true liberation (from all holdings, emotional afflictions, suffering, etc), and not just a blissful, non-conceptual and non-dual luminous state of experience. Then at one point all the insights are 'integrated' into a single moment of manifestation which is spontaneously perfected - already self-luminous, impersonal, non-dual, agentless, empty, as the total exertion of the universe (of causes and conditions).

This may all seem a little complicated, but it is only complicated before it is being experienced. When direct realization arise, it is all seen directly - much like someone tasting water will know directly for himself whether it is warm or cold. But it is true that before direct gnosis, one often has to undergo a confusing period of challenging our views and investigating the nature of reality. But I urge people not to stop their contemplation/investigation prematurely after having some insight or experiences, as it would be a pity. If you have gone through the LU or RT process of investigating and challenging the view of self, you will know that at times such process can be a little (or very) frustrating. Many people are drawn to simplicity and simply being "naked in awareness" as the mind is often in a state of confusion, therefore one prefers resting the torrent of mental concepts in the non-conceptual state of Being as a solution to all our confusions. While being naked in awareness is also a good practice, the non-conceptual direct experience must be balanced with the right view otherwise we will fall into what Thusness calls the "disease of non-conceptuality". In such case, one is fervently attached to being bare and non-conceptual, one may even fear going into concepts, but by neglecting the part about having right view, direct insight and deconstructing our latent views, this will prevent us from having a deeper realization into emptiness. It will prevent us from progressing, it will prevent a deeper purification of view, a deeper freedom, a deeper release. Eventually when deep insight arises, we are no longer trapped in concepts nor seek after a non-conceptual state as a solution to our confusions, which originate from ignorance and false views. It is not ‘thoughts’ as such that are the problem, it is rather the wrong views, the ignorance, that causes a warped view of self and reality. Thoughts in and of itself need not be a problem and is also a self-luminous, ownerless, transient and empty display of buddha-nature or the nature of mind, just as any other sights or sounds – rather, ignorant and false constructs (of duality and inherency) are the source of our problems, attachments and confusion.

Despite it not being as simple as one may prefer it to be, I must say every 'effort' on the path of wisdom is well worth it (eventually through the arising of prajna wisdom, it does become a completely effortless, pathless and seamless freedom). As Thusness said,

"...there exist a predictable relationship between the 'mental object to be de-constructed' and 'the experiences and realizations'... 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... ...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..."



The article is by Soh Wey Yu. The author lives in Singapore and posts under the name "An Eternal Now" in his blog "Awakening to Reality".
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Eric Bause, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Thanks for pointing this out wylo. Another work of great benefit by AEN.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
I would also like to add, whether anyone likes me adding it or not, that having an aversion to such words and terminology such as dissociative states, dissociating from self/Self, or even merely the concept of the deconstruction of a personality is mostly an aversion driven by the distasteful, disdainful public opinion of such matters. Prior to the effortless actualization of the emptiness of phenomena like you said,

“Lastly, not to talk too much about self-liberation or the natural state, it can sound extremely misleading... ...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..."


And is nothing other than the process of dissociation whether the terminology is liked or not, because prior to right view there is wrong view, and the process of turning wrong view into right view is that very act of deconstruction. It is a paradigm shift that is brought on by dissociation. The problem is that the world has a wrong view of dissociation and considers it to be something bad, which it is not necessarily if approached correctly with right effort.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

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Good points J E B.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
J E B:
I would also like to add, whether anyone likes me adding it or not, that having an aversion to such words and terminology such as dissociative states, dissociating from self/Self, or even merely the concept of the deconstruction of a personality is mostly an aversion driven by the distasteful, disdainful public opinion of such matters. Prior to the effortless actualization of the emptiness of phenomena like you said,

“Lastly, not to talk too much about self-liberation or the natural state, it can sound extremely misleading... ...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..."


And is nothing other than the process of dissociation whether the terminology is liked or not, because prior to right view there is wrong view, and the process of turning wrong view into right view is that very act of deconstruction. It is a paradigm shift that is brought on by dissociation. The problem is that the world has a wrong view of dissociation and considers it to be something bad, which it is not necessarily if approached correctly with right effort.


hi J E B, you have a different set of terminology from me.

In my definition, deconstruction is not the same as dissociation. Dissociation does not mean deconstruction - it means there is the reference and vantage point of a Self, and one dissociates that Self from objects as other-than-Self.

Examples of dissociation would be: I am not the thought, I am not the sensation, because I am the Witness, the Watcher, the Observer of thought. I observe thought from a distance and things just float by but have nothing to do with Me.

In Deconstruction however, even that self-sense or agent or Observer is being seen through as merely delusional constructs imputed upon and/or in relation with various constituent aggregates, sensations, perceptions and there is 'in seeing just the seen, no seer', in hearing just sound in perceiving just perceptions without any self/Self to dissociate from them.

One can also deconstruct other constructs like 'body', 'physical world', etc. For example the image of a body having a solid shape located somewhere somewhere in here, thereby also setting up boundaries into 'inside' and 'outside' etc could be deconstructed and one then sees centerless, boundless manifestation of perceptions and sensations that are flickering, disjoint, not making up into a solid entity, and one might experience the universe with the mind/body drop-off as weightless, transparent, boundless, centerless, without division.

All these have nothing to do with a Witness or Self dissociating from body or thoughts as 'other than Self'.
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Richard Zen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 1631 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I totally agree with this. As I lose the habit of self-referencing I don't feel I'm in some special mind state and being in daydreams about a future or past and treating it as a self is the disassociation for me (and painful). Thinking about the past or possibilities of the future is just thinking. What a relief!
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
Richard Zen:
I totally agree with this. As I lose the habit of self-referencing I don't feel I'm in some special mind state and being in daydreams about a future or past and treating it as a self is the disassociation for me (and painful). Thinking about the past or possibilities of the future is just thinking. What a relief!


Not that it is the same, but when a person who supposedly suffers from dissociative fugue syndrome, that person loses sense of personal identity and self altogether as if that person never actually existed in the first place. Sometimes a new persona is invented, but that usually is not the case.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
J E B:
I would also like to add, whether anyone likes me adding it or not, that having an aversion to such words and terminology such as dissociative states, dissociating from self/Self, or even merely the concept of the deconstruction of a personality is mostly an aversion driven by the distasteful, disdainful public opinion of such matters. Prior to the effortless actualization of the emptiness of phenomena like you said,

“Lastly, not to talk too much about self-liberation or the natural state, it can sound extremely misleading... ...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..."


And is nothing other than the process of dissociation whether the terminology is liked or not, because prior to right view there is wrong view, and the process of turning wrong view into right view is that very act of deconstruction. It is a paradigm shift that is brought on by dissociation. The problem is that the world has a wrong view of dissociation and considers it to be something bad, which it is not necessarily if approached correctly with right effort.


hi J E B, you have a different set of terminology from me.

In my definition, deconstruction is not the same as dissociation. Dissociation does not mean deconstruction - it means there is the reference and vantage point of a Self, and one dissociates that Self from objects as other-than-Self.

Examples of dissociation would be: I am not the thought, I am not the sensation, because I am the Witness, the Watcher, the Observer of thought. I observe thought from a distance and things just float by but have nothing to do with Me.

In Deconstruction however, even that self-sense or agent or Observer is being seen through as merely delusional constructs imputed upon and/or in relation with various constituent aggregates, sensations, perceptions and there is 'in seeing just the seen, no seer', in hearing just sound in perceiving just perceptions without any self/Self to dissociate from them.

One can also deconstruct other constructs like 'body', 'physical world', etc. For example the image of a body having a solid shape located somewhere somewhere in here, thereby also setting up boundaries into 'inside' and 'outside' etc could be deconstructed and one then sees centerless, boundless manifestation of perceptions and sensations that are flickering, disjoint, not making up into a solid entity, and one might experience the universe with the mind/body drop-off as weightless, transparent, boundless, centerless, without division.

All these have nothing to do with a Witness or Self dissociating from body or thoughts as 'other than Self'.


Of course you have a different terminology from that of the rest of the world as does everyone else in meditation circles, because we have dissociated from those terms with which the rest of the world has a negative connotation. That is why we cling to Pali, Sanskrit, or some other set of spiritualized diction rather than utilizing scientific or psychological equivalents. One usually only hears people from meditation or spiritual circles making such semantically, apologetic distinctions, because of the negativity that is publicly associated with those concepts. Most people would say that you have also dissociated from the watcher as well as the empty process of consciousness itself. This is still seen by most of the world as something negative.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

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Actually it is not a matter of semantics. "Dissociate" has a connotation of "separate" which would imply something like being a separate self removing one's association with objects. A subject separating or distancing oneself from object. After seeing through all notions of a separate self one would not practice dissociation. There is absolutely no observer apart from the observed that could distant or separate. Otherwise one would practice dissociation which is actually holding in disguise. It has nothing to do with whether dissociation sounds nice or not but everything to do with whether one is practising letting go wrongly and strengthening the position of a Self or Subject instead.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
Actually it is not a matter of semantics. "Dissociate" has a connotation of "separate" which would imply something like being a separate self removing one's association with objects. A subject separating or distancing oneself from object. After seeing through all notions of a separate self one would not practice dissociation. There is absolutely no observer apart from the observed that could distant or separate. Otherwise one would practice dissociation which is actually holding in disguise. It has nothing to do with whether dissociation sounds nice or not but everything to do with whether one is practising letting go wrongly and strengthening the position of a Self or Subject instead.


Yes, well, these two lips of which function as the un-unified unity can speak in a way that is most accurate, but would other seemingly separate conglomerates see it as sane?
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
J E B:
An Eternal Now:
Actually it is not a matter of semantics. "Dissociate" has a connotation of "separate" which would imply something like being a separate self removing one's association with objects. A subject separating or distancing oneself from object. After seeing through all notions of a separate self one would not practice dissociation. There is absolutely no observer apart from the observed that could distant or separate. Otherwise one would practice dissociation which is actually holding in disguise. It has nothing to do with whether dissociation sounds nice or not but everything to do with whether one is practising letting go wrongly and strengthening the position of a Self or Subject instead.


Yes, well, these two lips of which function as the un-unified unity can speak in a way that is most accurate, but would other seemingly separate conglomerates see it as sane?
accurate understanding is very important for liberation and whether others see it as sane is not my business
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
J E B:
An Eternal Now:
Actually it is not a matter of semantics. "Dissociate" has a connotation of "separate" which would imply something like being a separate self removing one's association with objects. A subject separating or distancing oneself from object. After seeing through all notions of a separate self one would not practice dissociation. There is absolutely no observer apart from the observed that could distant or separate. Otherwise one would practice dissociation which is actually holding in disguise. It has nothing to do with whether dissociation sounds nice or not but everything to do with whether one is practising letting go wrongly and strengthening the position of a Self or Subject instead.


Yes, well, these two lips of which function as the un-unified unity can speak in a way that is most accurate, but would other seemingly separate conglomerates see it as sane?
accurate understanding is very important for liberation and whether others see it as sane is not my business


Say it isn't so cho.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

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Would not the Eternal Now consider something being seen as so in the past that is now seen as not so be seen as something differently seen? If so, what is the difference in saying that that previous seeing just is no longer associated with what is so?
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

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J E B:
Would not the Eternal Now consider something being seen as so in the past that is now seen as not so be seen as something differently seen? If so, what is the difference in saying that that previous seeing just is no longer associated with what is so?
Each moment is unique and disjoint which is true and I do not consider this as being related to dissociation. This is completely unrelated to the fact there is no Self to dissociate (separate itself) from things and any attempt to do so is a subtle aversion, ignorance, avoidance, delusion, etc.

The warning against dissociation is spoken in relation to the dualistic (subject-object) misperceptions that made people think they could 'distant' themselves from or control the flow of manifestation.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

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An Eternal Now:
J E B:
Would not the Eternal Now consider something being seen as so in the past that is now seen as not so be seen as something differently seen? If so, what is the difference in saying that that previous seeing just is no longer associated with what is so?
Each moment is unique and disjoint which is true and I do not consider this as being related to dissociation. This is completely unrelated to the fact there is no Self to dissociate (separate itself) from things and any attempt to do so is a subtle aversion, ignorance, avoidance, delusion, etc.

The warning against dissociation is spoken in relation to the dualistic (subject-object) misperceptions that made people think they could 'distant' themselves from or control the flow of manifestation.


But that is exactly what seems to be what is being done with mindfulness practice where one concentrates over and over again on the three characteristics of not self, not lasting, and not satisfying prior to that non-dual non-Self awareness is it not? They seem to be distancing the belief from self(ego), permanence(mind state), and satisfying(ego-trip-seeking). In other words dissociating the brain from the thinking patterns that would facilitate the belief in a dual self. In other words, the brain itself dissociates from the psychological self.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

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J E B:
They seem to be distancing the belief from self(ego), permanence(mind state), and satisfying(ego-trip-seeking). In other words dissociating the brain from the thinking patterns that would facilitate the belief in a dual self. In other words, the brain itself dissociates from the psychological self.

In my experience what transforms is not any sort of dissociation, but a waking up, an insight into what is always already the case. For example a young child may suddenly realize one day that santa claus was never real. From that point on he stops chasing after santa claus or believing that on Christmas day he will receive some present from santa claus. This is just an example.

You do not intentionally distance from the belief, the belief simply ends right there in insight. Also there is no self or mind apart from mental activities, so there is no self to distance from any arising. Dharmas arise according to conditions and subsides due to the cessation of conditions. You cannot force yourself to stop ignorance, you can only investigate, contemplate, one's direct experience and its nature and when realization arises, false beliefs and views naturally drop in the presence of wisdom. Each moment is either the total exertion of ignorance in which ignorance (seeing self and things as truly existing or inherently existing) shapes and is totally exerted as a moment of deluded experience, or as the total exertion of wisdom in which an experience is totally exerted or is actualized as a moment of wisdom experience.

As my friend Kyle Dixon quoted before,

"…The process of eradicating avidyā 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
J E B:

But that is exactly what seems to be what is being done with mindfulness practice where one concentrates over and over again on the three characteristics of not self, not lasting, and not satisfying prior to that non-dual non-Self awareness is it not?
First of all just to clarify and make sure we're on the same page: non-dual non-Self awareness is not a state of experience achieved at some point in one's practice, but what is always already the case - experience is always already self-aware and non-dual, never was there a subject/object, or perceiver/perceived dichotomy (other than as conceived delusions), and this is always already the nature of experience. Being the nature of what is always already so, we do not achieve it as a stage, but we realize what it is and what its nature is.

Your statement "three characteristics of not-self, not lasting and not satisfying prior to that non-dual non-Self awareness" may give some the impression that by dissociating from the not-self, you discover Awareness that transcends the not-self, or that non-dual Awareness is somehow changeless and transcending transiency. By investigating according to the three dharma seals, by penetrating into the truth of Anatta, there is both correct experience and correct discernment of non-dual awareness and its nature (as an insight into anatta will deconstruct the dualistic views of seer-seeing-seen), but not self/not lasting/not satisfying is not to be seen as a method or means to get somewhere more ultimate but are simply the nature of this very manifest naked awareness/experience. Being so, you realize the three dharma seals and emptiness of this very naked manifest awareness, you realize the three seals to be the nature of non-dual awareness itself and actualize the wisdom of three seals and emptiness so that experience is intimately/gaplessly and lucidly experienced yet self-liberating (rather than skewing towards vivid non-dual luminosity and leaving subtle traces by resting in that clarity either as one mind/a subject or a subtle grounding to a here/now/objective-universe) - you do not dissociate from experience that manifest the three dharma seals, you simply realize and actualize that wisdom (of the nature and essence of everything that is always already so) so that experience self-releases.

There is not any Awareness other than manifestation (the sensate universe, this immediate moment of experience) as they are - already self-luminous and self-aware without any observer or any separate 'awareness' that is aware of that manifestation. It could be said to be a 'quality' of experience - that without the quality of awareness of all manifestation, nothing could be cognized, felt, experienced. It could be conceptualized as something like the 'wetness' of water - awareness is a quality seen in every manifestation just as wetness is a quality that is seen in every drop of water. But it should not be mis-conceptualized as some metaphysical essence that "pervades but transcends" everything (as many people with the Atman-Brahman/Advaitic leaning view would conceive of Awareness in such manner) - because although all drops of water is wet, it also goes the other way round - there is also no wetness to be spoken apart from the drop - or from drops of water. There is no wetness apart from drops of water, no heat apart from the manifestation of burning fire, etc etc, likewise no awareness apart from "in seen only the seen, in heard only the heard, in cognized only the cognized". It is not the case that Awareness pervades drops of water but transcends those drops of water - if there were no drops of water there is no wetness, if there were no burning fire there is no heat, if there were no sugar then there is no sweetness - they (wetness/heat/sweetness/etc) are simply characteristics and experiential-descriptions of manifestation and likewise for 'awareness' and 'manifest experience' (which can then be categorized in many arbitrary schemes like five aggregates, twelve ayatanas, eighteen dhatus or just one dhatu - all also conventional designations). Incoherent as it seem, substantialists reify Awareness much like conceiving there to be a changeless and truly existing 'sweetness' that pervades but remains unchanged throughout the presence and absence of sugar. But the realization of "in seeing just the seen, no seer" is not by logical inferences or analogies or intellectual exercises but by direct experiential contemplation (for me, I was contemplating and challenging the seer-seeing-seen framework of viewing things with pointers of Bahiya Sutta, when the realization arose) which leads to a moment of direct gnosis/realization/insight/wisdom/awakening and lasting transformation thereafter.

This is why this kind of pervade-but-transcend metaphor is flawed (although perfect for Advaita) and people have mistaken Daniel Ingram's "True Self/No-Self" chapter (which I think has potential to be very beneficial especially to those with an Advaitic/Awareness-teaching sort of background, but the contents need to be thoroughly clarified) to be implying that he holds Advaitic sort of true-self teaching, although I'm sure Daniel does not hold that kind of view but it is easy to pick on one particular part of the chapter that one likes and be blind to the whole context and overall point or message that the article is trying to deliver, which is that other than the five aggregates there is no 'awareness' whatsoever to be spoken of. When direct insight into Anatta arise, the view of pervade-and-transcend is made irrelevant and incompatible, there is just manifestation and nothing else pervading manifestation nor transcending manifestation, there is no true-self of any sort in a definitive sense, only a provisional, skillful-means teaching of true self to guide those non-Buddhist ascetics that fear the teaching of anatta and emptiness (Lankavatara Sutra: "O Mahāmati, the tathāgatas thus teach the garbha in so far as they teach the tathāgatagarbha in order to attract those who are attached to the heterodox ātmavāda. How can people whose minds fall into the conceptual theory bearing on an unreal self (abhūtātmavikalpa) attain quickly the complete awakening in the supreme and exact sambodhi, possessing a mind comprised in the domain of the three gateways of emancipation? O Mahāmati, it is because of this that the tathāgatas teach the tathāgatagarbha... ...O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self (anātman)."). Many Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhists however have a very Advaitic sort of view on 'Awareness' (though there are also many who don't).

In other words, there is no awareness whatsoever to be spoken apart from 'in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard, in the cognized just the cognized' - awareness is not an Observer, not something apart or transcending vivid and self-luminous manifestation but is simply that self-luminous, self-aware quality of manifestation, and apart from manifestation there is no awareness to be found whatsoever. There is ONLY manifestation, and it is of that manifestation with a lucidly clear, vivid, cognizant, conscious, sentient and alive quality that one may then impute labels like 'awareness'. In the end, the term 'awareness' is seen to be quite extraneous. We often talk in terms of subject-object predicates, such as, "I am seeing the tree over there", implying a seer seeing an object seen, but in actuality there is only just that self-luminous single activity of 'seen', and even the 'seen' is ultimately empty since 'seen' is only spoken in reference and context of seeing/seer etc, i.e. all (seer/seeing/seen) are just conventions collating a single self-luminous manifestation or activity, to conceive them as distinct inherent realities or entities is to fall into delusions. To speak of "I am seeing the tree" is extraneous - there is no inherent "I" or "seer" apart from the seeing/seen happening, to speak of "seeing the tree" or even "seeing" is extraneous, to speak of "awareness" is also extraneous, just "the seen" is enough as that already implies seeing, and seeing is only ever just the seen. Or as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says, "We can say, 'Wind,' and that is enough. The presence of wind indicates the presence of knowing, and the presence of the action of blowing'" - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2008/10/sun-of-awareness-and-river-of.html

Now, awareness being mere manifestation or quality of manifestation or some people call it the nature or essence (or characteristic) of mind/mental activities/six senses activities/etc, and not a Self or a thing-in-and-of-itself, being mere conditioned manifestation luminous clarity cannot be pinned down as a Self, and as manifestation there is only transiency.

Awareness is the transience field of manifestation, luminous-mind itself is not-self, is impermanent, and all manifestations being impermanent and not-self, cannot satisfy one's attachments and craving (only permanent, graspable, abiding, stable subjects/objects can satisfy one's attachments and cravings - which is desire to obtain things and hold on to them indefinitely).

This is why one must let go non-dual luminosity, but not by dualistically separating 'oneself' from 'it' which would again be the deluded, false, dualistic situation in which there is a conceived observer and object observed. Instead, it is still very important to have direct insight into non-dual luminosity and this becomes naturally obvious by penetrating through the 2nd stanza of anatta (http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html), but further insights will reveal the disjointed, groundless, empty and self-liberating nature of whatever arises and non-dual luminosity is no longer grasped, subjectified or objectified in any way but simply releases upon inception without leaving traces like painting on water.

In other words, we must have insight into the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) OF that non-dual luminosity, it is not that we arrive at non-dual luminosity (as if it is something ultimate and absolute transcending the three dharma seals) after contemplating on the three dharma seals.

Of course you don't seem to be implying non-dual Awareness is Self or some ultimate metaphysical essence (as you clearly stated Awareness as 'non-Self'), but just pointing out that the 'non-dual luminosity' and the three characteristics and emptiness should be seen as talking about the (empty) nature and (luminous/clarity) essence of a single moment of arising, rather than one leading up to another, or as pointing to two different realities.

Just as Thusness wrote last year:

6/3/2012 9:23 PM: John: U cannot talk about emptiness and liberation without talking about awareness
6/3/2012 9:25 PM: John: Instead understand the empty nature of awareness and see awareness as this single activity of manifestation
6/3/2012 9:27 PM: John: I do not see practice apart from realizing the essence and nature of awareness
6/3/2012 9:30 PM: John: The only difference is seeing Awareness as an ultimate essence or realizing awareness as this Seamless activity that fills the entire Universe.
6/3/2012 9:32 PM: John: When we say there is no scent of a flower, the scent is the flower....that is becoz the mind, body, universe are all together deconstructed into this single flow, this scent and only this... Nothing else.
6/3/2012 9:33 PM: John: That is the Mind that is no mind.
6/3/2012 9:38 PM: John: There is no an Ultimate Mind that transcends anything in the Buddhist enlightenment. The mind Is this very manifestation of total exertion...wholly thus.
6/3/2012 9:42 PM: John: Therefore there is always no mind, always only this vibration of moving train, this cooling air of the aircon, this breath...
6/3/2012 9:47 PM: John: The question is after the 7 phases of insights can this be realized and experience and becomes the ongoing activity of practice in enlightenment and enlightenment in practice -- practice-enlightenment.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
I'm sorry EN, I agree with everything that you say, but I must not be making what I mean very clear. First of all what I am NOT saying or what I am NOT meaning to convey is that the three characteristics are dissociated from. I am saying that prior to seeing them as they already are, one is also already deluded not seeing things as they are. It is the false seeing, the identity that is believed in, and the false notion of the three characteristics that they are mistaken for that is dissociated from when one finally sees them as they already are. However, there is this sense of a dissociative process that one thinks one is doing at first, at least that is what it seemed like to me. If it was not my acceptance of doing that act of dissociation, convinced that I was doing it in a skillful way rather than according to the negative connotation that most people have, then I would have never begun to practice anything.

Yes, of course you are correct that the three characteristics are already the way things are, and yes, of course awareness is not some ultimate thing but the very non-dual transience of manifestation, but it is not seen that way at first, nor is it possible to even conceive that the universe can even be that way until it is finally seen the way that it actually is.

It almost sounds to me that what you are saying is that one doesn't even begin practicing until one already sees things the way that they actually already are, and that just does not ring true to me.
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Richard Zen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 1631 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
The practice is done properly if it's anti-narcissism. If you view a self-image and then go into perception/recognition of whether you like that self-image or not (eg. comparing your self-image to other people) and you release dopamine (if you like the image) or cortisol (if you don't like the image) then you're investing these emotions into a concept. Self-concept is just a self-concept. If you atrophy the self-referencing habit by continuously not clinging, then you are not taking that image seriously any more and will likely leak these chemicals more in line with what's happening in the present moment and actual circumstances instead of memories and projections.

Narcissist = addicted to self-referencing and making decisions based on that and rating self-worth based on that assessment.

Arhat = Not self-referencing and on top of that is disenchanted with any form of dopamine addiction.

Healthy self-referencer = someone who assesses his/her self-image less often and doesn't attach unhealthy beliefs that are inhuman to themselves. They may have passion directed in a good target (work/hobbies/family/etc). Whichever version you prefer please go towards it and away from a depressed narcissist. If you just want to attack bad beliefs with cognitive therapy and that's good enough for you the by all means go for it.

Assessment of performance in life should = only a rating of performance. Rating performance as a rating of self-worth is wrong and maybe evil. We know in society and with bullies that they are all about rating self-worth based on performance/success/wealth etc, and they rate people that way all the time. Then the weaker person who identifies with that self-concept is hurting themselves precisely because they believe the perception inputed into their brain by the bully and run with it. Unfortunately they may run with it for the rest of their lives.

This is the battle. Stupid negative self-beliefs can make people depressed and suicidal. It's perpetrated by rigid beliefs fostered by family/co-workers/peers/spouses. If it doesn't stop all we will have is increased societal breakup and emotionally damaged zombies walking the earth.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
One has to start somewhere. One does not magically appear on the other shore. One starts out being bombarded by all kinds of doubt, frustration, aversion, avoidance, delusion, ignorance, and wrong view, but that is where the person is when one starts. One’s brain starts out confused in a dual state. But little by little one begins to dissociate as a physical body, brain, and senses away from the wrong view towards the right view that is enlightened to the fact that it is not dual, that it is the manifesting of the universe. The brain comes to a place where the dual view vanishes and reemerges as the non-dual universe. The old deluded self dissociates, or vanishes, leaving what actually is, but one has to work towards that point because one does not start out there. It would be like telling a freshman medical student to just go ahead and do brain surgery.
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Richard Zen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 1631 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Dissociation has a negative connotation with insanity and unreality. The sense of self is simply reactivity towards the self-image. These things are conditioned. Yes it takes a long time to let go of the conditioning (which I never said otherwise) but to me dissociation is more what the general people are like. When you see people talking to themselves and fantasizing they are not in reality but are trying to experience something other than what's happening now. Eg. Advertising. My self-referencing is like 10% of what it used to be and I feel perfectly normal and with no special mindstate that I'm striving to get and certainly no dissociation.

Dissociation (psychology)

Dissociation is a term in psychology describing a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience. It is commonly displayed on a continuum.[1] The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality – rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.[2][3][4][5] In mild cases, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism or defense mechanisms in seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress – including boredom or conflict.[6][7][8] At the nonpathological end of the continuum, dissociation describes common events such as daydreaming while driving a vehicle. Further along the continuum are non-pathological altered states of consciousness.[1][9][10]


Buddhism gets you to sample these states and then get disenchanted with them. Many people are feeling dissociated in meditation because they are continually stuck in concentration altered states or low level insight and during those periods you do get a sense of a dissociated "meditator" self-concept being attached to that needs to be seen through. Insight practice ultimately makes you less dreamy and in the clouds and more in reality which is hitting your consciousness constantly while you are awake. It's like your brain is addicted to fantasizing and projecting and insight practice gets you weaned off that addiction.
J E B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: AENs article on Direct Pointing

Posts: 68 Join Date: 8/26/13 Recent Posts
Richard Zen:
Dissociation has a negative connotation with insanity and unreality. The sense of self is simply reactivity towards the self-image. These things are conditioned. Yes it takes a long time to let go of the conditioning (which I never said otherwise) but to me dissociation is more what the general people are like. When you see people talking to themselves and fantasizing they are not in reality but are trying to experience something other than what's happening now. Eg. Advertising. My self-referencing is like 10% of what it used to be and I feel perfectly normal and with no special mindstate that I'm striving to get and certainly no dissociation.

Dissociation (psychology)

Dissociation is a term in psychology describing a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience. It is commonly displayed on a continuum.[1] The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality – rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.[2][3][4][5] In mild cases, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism or defense mechanisms in seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress – including boredom or conflict.[6][7][8] At the nonpathological end of the continuum, dissociation describes common events such as daydreaming while driving a vehicle. Further along the continuum are non-pathological altered states of consciousness.[1][9][10]


Buddhism gets you to sample these states and then get disenchanted with them. Many people are feeling dissociated in meditation because they are continually stuck in concentration altered states or low level insight and during those periods you do get a sense of a dissociated "meditator" self-concept being attached to that needs to be seen through. Insight practice ultimately makes you less dreamy and in the clouds and more in reality which is hitting your consciousness constantly while you are awake. It's like your brain is addicted to fantasizing and projecting and insight practice gets you weaned off that addiction.


What you are saying is basically what I was trying to say. I guess I do not communicate as well as I thought that I did.

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