Saturday, August 9, 2014

Consciousness, Advaita, Emptiness

Helen Tam-Semmens shared her photo.
May 6
Nature of Evil and How to Get Rid of It To shine a light on evil, we must first understand the true nature of us humans. We humans are deeply rooted in the pure consciousness of divine Light/Love/Joy/Wisdom (reference: physicist Amit Goswami’s Quantum Activists; Hinduism’s Sat-cit-ananda; Christianity’s God, heaven and beyond). But in order to manifest physical existence in this world, our divine consciousness descends in measures of frequencies. Such frequencies can be seen in our chakras or energy centers (see pic below). The lowest is the root chakra, our connection to earth and our physical existence. It gives us our ‘love’ for broccoli and the aversion to poop, for instance. Such ‘love/hate’ instinct keeps us alive. Next one up is the sex chakra, which gives us ‘romantic love’ toward another who fits our pheromone profile (ie, with complementary immune system to ours) as well as other conscious or subconscious criteria to ensure healthy offspring for human existence. The other side of this coin is indifference or ‘hate’ toward those who do not fit. Third up is the solar plexus chakra, which is the center of ‘power’. Lack of such energy could trigger a subconscious need to steal it from others. A kid who bullies at school often feels powerless and gets a kick from stealing power from others through bullying, or even the abuse of animals and other violent acts. They are likely abused (verbally, physically, sexually or psychologically) at home where his/her solar plexus energy had been stolen. Rape as we know is not about sex, but rather power over another. Hence rape victims are often seen as not to have a full radiant energy body. Little do people know that such stealing of energy from another person is not only evil, but completely unnecessary, as healing divine energy is readily available for all of us to access. Further up you go in terms of chakra, the purer the energy is, and the more unconditional and sublime ‘love’ manifests. The highest and most original is maitri love. But having a physical body, the ‘love’ one experiences is likely a mixed bag of ‘love’ from the lowest chakra to wherever height one manages to scale. Such scaling of height is symbolic as well as physical. Climbing of chakras to access higher frequencies has been described as climbing the Jacob’s ladder, or the shaman’s tree, or to go to the upper world. Scientific study has shown that we are more charitable after we ascend some stairs or escalator. Charities get much more donations when they set up booths at the top of an escalator of a mall in opposed to at the bottom. Now, what about evil? Evil originates from the lack of divine Light/Love/energy. We long for, but cannot access the divine light in us. We feel disconnected from the universal soul (purusa), the Oneness, hence feel lost and disconnected from our fellow humans beings, our fellow earthlings, and Mother Earth as well. According to Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions, we are presently at an age or yuga that is quite far from our divine light. And so our human collective consciousness descends to focus on the lower chakras that surround the physical. Hence our runaway materialism these days. But we must be careful not to identify evil with the physical. Lions kill for need. And nature has a way of making the transition to death quick and efficiently. Evil mostly stems from our bumping around in the lower chakra energies without the benefit of light, mixing them up, causing perversions (such as mixing love and sex with violence and hate), as well as our inability to replenish solar plexus power, causing power struggles between countries, peoples… having all kinds of excuses to usurp power based on race, sex, class, who’s richer than who, etc. A lot of people in power today are the most pathetic. They are so lost and lack of power that the trail to secure real power is completely lost to them, not knowing that real power is limitless, and as free and natural as sunlight. All humans are connected in consciousness. And our consciousness have impact on physical things and phenomena (reference: Global Consciousnes project, Our human consciousness is also connected to the consciousness of animals and plants on earth. The left hand cannot keep cutting the right hand without pain and consequences to the entire being. So as long as there are wars in this world, even if they are at far corners of this world and completely out of our sight, none of us can have lasting peace. Tolstoy is also right when he said, “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” So how do we get rid of evil? 1. Good old boring morality taught in Sunday schools as well as by all religions all over the world. And I must emphasize that such morality HAS to be extended to animals, and to a degree our plant relatives as well. We must strive to “ do to others as you would have them do to you” and have that encompass all of our fellow earthlings. Morality, clean living, non-violence and veganism dissipate the dark clouds circling the earth, hence promote world peace and personal peace. It also purifies one’s energy for yoga, ie, to yoke with divine light or God. 2. Not to synchronize with evil or negative energies. Since we are all connected, we are prone to picking up any human follies and emotions. To a degree we also pick up consciousness from the animal world. The key is whether we synchronize with any of these actions and emotions or not. If we do, we would find ourselves caught in a story and compelled to repeat certain archetypes. In short, any of us can do evil, get caught in violence, negative emotions, etc. Evil can also manifest as demons, which are probably some human-created thought forms. When an energy body is not full but broken, with pieces of light stolen through abuse, etc, one is more vulnerable to external negative intrusions. And so it is important to rid our society of all kinds of abuses and violence, especially to protect children who come with full brilliant energetic bodies. It is also important for one not to synchronize with negative energies, not only in deeds, but also in thoughts and intentions. While I see certain art being valuable as jolts to wake people up, as well as a way for the artist to release some pain in him/herself, it is probably not a good idea to hang such painful or perverted art in people’s living rooms, as the negative energies could resonate and contaminate. 3. Honesty, integrity, acceptance. What if one has already internalized evil, or human errors such as greed or selfishness? #1 above of clean living and vegan diet would purify the body and reduce such tendencies. One’s honesty and integrity is also important in the healing process. I read of a KKK grandmaster being caught having sex with a black man. This is an example of how dishonesty to self and the inability to embrace the entirely of oneself can lead to evil. Integrity and honesty and forgiveness of oneself can remove blockage in chakras, and allow higher chakra energies to flow to all other chakras, resulting in healing dark tendencies. In short, we humans should not take ourselves too seriously. If we find ourselves doing or thinking something we don’t like, joke about it, accept it, embrace ourselves, then simply get rid of it. 4. Meditation and healing. The benefits of meditation is well-known nowadays - from reducing blood pressure and physical pain, to reducing prisoner re-arrest rates, to healing psychological wounds. Indeed, meditation has been shown scientifically to even reverse epigenetic changes that damage our bodies. All kinds of meditation methods are out there now. You’ll be sure to find one that fits you. Meditation not only works on the mind and allows one to have clear insight and right perception, but also works on the energetic body to restore it to full brilliance, and more. Meditation/prayers (not the kind that ask God for things) are useful tools in cleaning up evil. It is also a means to enlightenment. 5. Enlightenment, a flash of the highest divine light, will drive off all evil, burn off all shadows bumping around in lower chakras, instantly. There is lasting change in one, and the entire world. One would also be so overflowing with power that one is most joyful giving it to others. Following is an account of such enlightenment experience. This account gives hope to all that enlightenment can indeed be attained by anyone, under a variety of circumstances. The key is one’s will to do so. Obviously, to get everybody enlightened and back to their roots in heaven will take some time. Meanwhile, evil and other errors are causing much pain and dark clouds to gather in terms of environmental destruction, etc. Take heart that many beings at this point are working hard toward giving energy to this world, and on fixing the errors on many levels. Humans are also gradually waking up. Whenever a person scales higher in frequency and energy, whenever one refuses an evil or erred act or thought, whenever there is healing, whenever there is love ... our entire world just becomes a little brighter. World peace and human salvation is literally in each and every one of our hands, and mind, and heart, and spirit. So let’s do it!
Helen Tam-Semmens

Nature of Evil and How to Get Rid of It

To shine a light on evil, we must first understand the true nature of us humans. We humans are deeply rooted in the pure...
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    Stuffs RedTurtle, Marta Wrona, Goose Saver and 5 others like this.
    John Ahn Hi Helen, how can one without any direct experience of chakras, divine light, god, etc approach this post? There seems to be a lot of leaps in beliefs you are asking of the reader.

    Also what is the relationship between physical things and consciousness?

    And in solving the issue of selfishness...beside joking about it, how and what exactly is acceptance done? You didn't really go too much into 'simply' getting rid of it...

    What exactly does embracing oneself mean?
    May 6 at 8:33am · Edited · Like · 3
    Brian Zey Evil? That's a funny idea! I like Tom Waits line:"There's no Devil, just God when he's drunk." That's all evil is.
    May 6 at 8:58am · Like · 2
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn, no leap of faith needed. Just try some of the methods and see whether there is benefit. Also try to plug in my words to your situation or others' and see whether you find truth in the words. I initially wrote this to benefit certain people of specific need, not really meant for general audience. But I thought I'll post it here to share anyways, as some may find synchronicity.

    To believe that there is something called gravity is a leap of faith, as science is still trying to figure what gravity is. It takes much training and teamwork and equipment to figure out gravity. But to verify what I wrote, it takes only you, and a will to explore the truth. No belief needed.
    May 6 at 9:01am · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Brian Zey, as long as there are people who kick around the word evil, who perceive evil, who take what they think are evil actions, there IS evil on earth and in our collective consciousness. Our mind creates these things, and such archetypes go a long long way. To ignore them is to ignore a physical rock falling on you. Is there really a rock? Not really. But can you seriously ignore the falling rock when you have a physical body? If you can, well, you probably shouldn't be here
    May 6 at 9:05am · Edited · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn, you said, "What is the relationship between physical things and consciousness?"

    Consciousness is the ground of all physical things and physical existence. If you are interested in science, I suggest you watch Quantum Activists.

    "And in solving the issue of selfishness...beside joking about it, how and what exactly is acceptance done? You didn't really go too much into 'simply' getting rid of it..."

    Right actions, right thought, veganism, meditation, personal wellness - all these create positive feedback loop enhancing one another. You will find that each becomes easier to do with time. And in no time, the right action of non-selfishness and the experience of oneness will increasingly dominate your life.

    "What exactly does embracing oneself mean?"

    Accept yourself, love yourself. Not that you condone your bad behavior, which all of us humans are prone to have. But love yourself as a mother would, unconditionally, but vigilant in correcting errors.
    May 6 at 9:15am · Like
    Michael Zaurov "Consciousness is the ground of all physical things and physical existence. " Helen, I'm curious if you've ever been under general anesthesia? I'm curious how this belief held up in that situation. Also, if consciousness is a 'ground', are you saying that consciousness has inherent existence? If not, how can consciousness be a ground if it does not exist inherently and depends on causes and conditions?
    May 6 at 10:44am · Edited · Like
    John Ahn Hi Helen Tam-Semmens well, you did suggest many methods but they were generic and vague. Like de syncronizing with evil, getting rid of all violence (how about violence to plants?), and loving oneself. What exactly is loving oneself? It's such a loaded sentence that could be interpreted in so many ways. Your explanation could be taken to actually increase selfishness and pride.

    Also instead of suggesting to just go try it and see if it fits, wouldn't it be better to explain why it is so and how you have come to these views? Just reading through this post, it's statement after statements without much explanations grounded in personal experience or observation, let alone objective experimentation. I don't see a good bridge between your enlightenment experience and some of the suggestions you make here, such as the statement that all our consciousness are connected with animals and environment. Ok, but how exactly did you come to that by experiencing divine light?

    Maybe it was supposed to be a very general write up.

    Without a precise presentation of why and how your views have been arrived at and methods are utilized, it unfortunately can sound like you went to a new age book shop and strung together random sentences ??.
    May 6 at 12:02pm · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael Zaurov, the 'consciousness' I'm referring to is the consciousness of Sat-cit-ananda, or Shunyata the Emptiness. Actually quantum physicist Amit Goswami also postulated that consciousness is the ground of all existence. If you look at neuroscience, scientists would tell you that there is no scientific definition for consciousness at this point. And if you are interested in consciousness further, you may want to read up on Stuart Hameroff's work. He is an anesthesiologist.

    And yes, consciousness has inherent existence.
    May 6 at 12:02pm · Like
    John Ahn In the Buddha's teachings shunyata means that everything including consciousness lacks inherent existence.
    May 6 at 12:06pm · Like · 2
    John Ahn Actually your reply to Michael is a bit funny. You first say in support of your statements about consciousness to go look up certain scientists. Then the next sentence you say there is no definite definition of consciousness among scientists.

    So maybe we are still at stages of theorization and postulation?
    May 6 at 12:11pm · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn, Einstein and Tesla said their theories came to them in complete detail, and they were certain that those theories were correct. Then it took them many years to write them up, put them in forms digestible by others. The methods I mentioned are the same methods taught by all religions. Nothing new. Some of my insight is also not new, such as the descend of purusa to the physical. Sri Aurobindo also mentioned that. As for how energy bodies work, I am not the only person who can see some of these energies. I am sure that has been written by others as well. Bottomline is: No belief needed. Just go by the methods and you will see the results yourself. Why ask what's up the hill when you can just walk up there yourself. Words are very limited in describing such things.
    May 6 at 12:13pm · Like
    John Ahn Hmm..what you said above is also a bit funny. You refer to many secondary sources like 'all religions' and Sri Arubindo in order to support your own statements. Like, hey look, all these people said so and so it should be right. Which is really the definition of how a belief works.

    Then the next sentence you write: no belief needed.

    I'm not really asking what is up the hill. But maybe looking carefully at how to climb in the first place can prevent us from drawing quick conclusions left and right at the onset of some extraordinary experience. Or relying so much on secondary sources like some quantum science book which can be readily rejected tomorrow upon new evidence.
    May 6 at 12:25pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens John, the shunyata that Buddha had experienced - who do you think had experienced that, if not some form of Buddha consciousness?
    May 6 at 12:23pm · Like
    John Ahn Aren't you first making an assumption that there needs to be a 'who' to experience?
    May 6 at 12:24pm · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn, ha, let's forget about the play with words - that's the problem with using words. How do you think Buddha came up with Shunyata if not through experience? And who or what, inside or outside Buddha, or not even Buddha that had experienced suchness and came to tell the tale?
    May 6 at 12:27pm · Like
    Soh "the 'consciousness' I'm referring to is the consciousness of Sat-cit-ananda, or Shunyata the Emptiness"

    This is a misunderstanding. As Dr. Greg Goode (who spent years studying and practicing Advaita Vedanta with deep personal experience and realization, before going into Madhyamika/emptiness teachings) wrote:

    How Is Emptiness Nondual?

    The most common connotation of "nonduality" is "oneness" or "singularity." Many teachings state that everything is actually awareness; those teachings are nondual in the "oneness" sense in which there are no two things.

    But there is another sense of "nonduality." Instead of nonduality as "oneness," it's nonduality as "free from dualistic extremes." This entails freedom from the pairs of metaphysical dualisms such as essentialism/nihilism, existence/non-existence, reification/annihilation, presence/absence, or intrinsicality/voidness, etc. These pairs are dualisms in this sense: if you experience things in the world in terms of one side of the pair, you will experience things in the world in terms of the other side as well. If some things seem like they truly exist, then other things will seem like they truly don't exist. You will experience your own self to truly exist, and fear that one day you will truly not exist. Emptiness teachings show how none of these pairs make sense, and free you from experiencing yourself and the world in terms of these opposites. Emptiness teachings are nondual in this sense.

    For those who encounter emptiness teachings after they've become familiar with awareness teachings, it's very tempting to misread the emptiness teachings by substituting terms. That is, it's very easy to misread the emptiness teachings by seeing "emptiness" on the page and thinking to yourself, "awareness, consciousness, I know what they're talking about."

    Early in my own study I began with this substitution in mind. With this misreading, I found a lot in the emptiness teachings to be quite INcomprehensible! So I started again, laying aside the notion that "emptiness" and "awareness" were equivalent. I tried to let the emptiness teachings speak for themselves. I came to find that they have a subtle beauty and power, a flavor quite different from the awareness teachings. Emptiness teachings do not speak of emptiness as a true nature that underlies or supports things. Rather, it speaks of selves and things as essenceless and free.
    Nondual Emptiness Teachings
    The Heart of Now Philosophical Consultation is devoted to understanding revealing inner peace, as well insights helping with everyday problems
    May 6 at 12:30pm · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    John Ahn Aren't you again assuming (actually I think it's really you who is caught up in words like who and what) that there needs to be a who or what to experience? Why not just experience itself without a who or what?
    May 6 at 12:32pm · Edited · Like · 2
    Soh There is the 'I AM' realization but there are also different insights which reveal that the 'Who' framework is flawed and erroneous like the realization of anatta -

    Also as I wrote in -

    I have seen that when I say "awareness/luminosity is only everything", or "sensation is self-luminous", a doubt or question may arise in some. That questioner may ask then, "What is it that knows the experience of luminosity, but yet itself is never experienced"?

    This question is not at all unfamiliar to me, I spent two years in the past practicing self inquiry day and night - who am I? Who is aware? Before birth what am I? Who is dragging this corpse along? To whom is this I-thought occuring? Who is the source? Etc etc (it all comes down to who is the source?). In fact self inquiry was vital for my self-realization (the realization of I AMness).

    But there are two points to this:

    1. One must realize that the current way of enquiry prevents the practitioner from intuitively realizing the non-arising nature of whatever arises.

    The gnosis should not be understood this way such as "beyond", "changelessness", etc - understanding this way does not mean the practitioner realizes "something" superior; instead one is falling prey to his/her existing dualistic and inherent mode of enquiry rather than truly and directly pointing the way of immense intelligence.

    2. The second point is that, when all enquiries and views are exhausted, how is it understood?

    In other words, the way and system of enquiry already defined what you are going to experience. Therefore the mind must realize and see the futility of such mode of enquiry and any form of establishment.

    This is why self inquiry is rejected by Buddha (though I advise it for beginners as it is a very potent, powerful, and direct path to Self-Realization, it is still a provisional method that has to be dropped later for further penetration into anatta, etc) as it is based on a not-so-hidden assumption that a self must exist, so the enquiry reinforces the sense of a subjective knower, it affects and prevents the complete experience of awareness.

    As Buddha said in MN2: "And what are the ideas fit for attention that he does not attend to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality is abandoned; the unarisen fermentation of becoming does not arise in him, and arisen fermentation of becoming is abandoned; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance is abandoned. These are the ideas fit for attention that he does not attend to. Through his attending to ideas unfit for attention and through his not attending to ideas fit for attention, both unarisen fermentations arise in him, and arisen fermentations increase.

    "This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

    "As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress."

    Having said this, I still highly recommend self-inquiry to realize I AMness. And don't be surprised if I talk solely about self-inquiry and I AMness to certain people. Today I still tell my mother to trace all thoughts and perceptions to her Source, I am teaching her to revert her awareness to itself or to her own source to discover her Self. I will only talk about Self to certain people and not talk anything at all about anatta or even non-dual. It may sound contradictory to anatta or emptiness teachings, but nonetheless it will lead to an important realization - that is the luminous essence of mind.

    As Thusness puts it in 2009, "When I talk to someone, I have specific purposes. If I want someone to have direct experience of 'I AMness', I will want him to have vivid experience of the 'I AM' Presence, and that includes the wrong understanding of inherent existence. Just like when your teacher is teaching you algebra, he or she cannot tell you about calculus. Similarly when you learn classical physics, the teacher cannot keep telling you about relativity. There is no point to keep telling you about quantum mechanics when you are studying newtonic views, for how are you going to understand quantum mechanics? You start from the newton way of understanding gravity, then slowly followed by relativity. Similarly when you study numbers, you start with discrete numbers - there is no point teaching you decimals or the rate of change, or see things as change. You see things in discrete first. If you keep telling people about wrong stuff under differing conditions, you only confuse people. I never wanted people to understand the ultimate truth, other people will lead them to the right understanding when it is appropriate. So I might talk about Advaita [e.g. I AM/One Mind realization] until the day I die, or about stage 4 to 5 insight and nothing about 6 or emptiness. The approach I employ is strictly dependently originated, it is about seeing the conditions of an individual practitioner, but whether that person understands dependent origination is another matter."
    Awakening to Reality: Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment
    I understand very little of what Thusness has said. The path that Thusness descr... See More
    May 6 at 12:40pm · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    Soh Kyle Dixon also wrote:


    Darryl, when one investigates the subject and object, the nature of that alleged dichotomy is what is being investigated. What are the causes and conditions that allow for these designations to be apparent, and what the nature of that seeming subject which is doing the investigation indeed is.

    The premise that the investigation itself is doomed from the start because it implies a subject relating to an object isn't allowing for an investigation, it's merely clinging to the initial presupposition that was to be investigated and doesn't even attempt to step outside of that box or play devil's advocate at all.

    The process that the emptiness investigation is proposing, allows for the subject and object etc.. to be conventional labels and titles without insisting that they indeed relate to actual objective qualities. And those objective (or subjective) qualities that we assume are being referred to are evaluated and deconstructed to reveal that they actually don't withstand scrutiny.

    The governing presuppositions must be addressed as well, for example the statement that an investigated or observed subject must be an object to that which observes it. One would have to really look at these suppositions such as a process of observation, a subject that is observed, the idea that a subject which is observed could simultaneously be a subject and also an object, what constitutes the 'subject', what constitutes the 'object', can the subjects innate knowledge of the known ever be found apart from the known and vice versa etc...

    Presuppositions of arising, abiding, falling, the notion that these sequence consecutively in time, time itself, time as memory, time as projected ideation.

    The presupposition that an appearance is an arising, that it indeed emerges from an undisclosed and/or unknowable location or state, the idea of that very triad: arising, abiding and ceasing.. being exclusively valid designations when abiding/cessation cannot be found upon the event of an arising, and arising/abiding cannot be found upon the event of cessation. A singular event in general would suggest other events, singular would suggest plural vice versa. Can arising be known, abiding be known, cessation be known.

    What is it that performs or is endowed with qualities and characteristics, what is it that performs actions, do we find something apart from the action, do we find something apart from qualities and characteristics, do we even find qualities and characteristics within imputed qualities and characteristics.

    When deconstructing ends, did it ever occur, was there indeed something deconstructed or was one's own ideation and projections all that was addressed and assessed. What is left? Does something remain when nothing stood prior, what is the soteriological benefit derived in that release, does a release or liberation happen, that would have to be predicated on bondage having existed before, is removing these notions of both bondage and liberation itself the liberation, deeming bondage and liberation themselves the bondage?

    At any rate, the rabbit hole gets deep, and you seem to be resting upon the assumption that your own presuppositions are indeed inherent and infallible. There has to be a ruthlessness to an emptiness investigation, and openness, a burning want and desire.

    The type of person that benefits from emptiness investigations is the one who ravenously pours themselves into the process like they're on fire and discovering emptiness will put that flame out. You strike me as a man who enjoys being on fire.

    But to each their own!"
    May 6 at 12:41pm · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens Soh The 'consciousness' I was talking about is not the ordinary awareness or consciousness. That's why I elaborated this 'consciousness' by mentioning Shunyata. However, the awareness that Dr. Greg Goode referred to is the ordinary awareness. And of course, that is not Shunyata. There is really no word to describe. Talking about it inevitably invokes circular logic. The easiest is to practice the methods, then you can experience it directly.

    With Shunyata, there is no object or subject, no this or that, but Unlimitedness! All consciousness! But conscious of what? Of nothing! Yet potent of everything. Knowledge of what? Of nothing. But yet there is all knowing.

    One should also be careful not to equate Shunyata with non-dual experiences. I remember when I was young, started about 5 or 6, I sat many years in the bathtub perceiving who I am, etc, experienced non-dual, and breaking space-time perception for the first time. The stages you described is the clearing of perception, but not a drastic shift in consciousness to 'Consciousness'. is literally an Awakening, as if you are awake after a long deep slumber. Awakening is not a metaphor. The 'Consciousness' is completely different. It is not just an understanding or epiphany. It is a death. More profound than death.
    May 6 at 1:19pm · Like
    Michael Zaurov Helen, sat chit ananda is not the same as emptiness. Buddhism is a bit different than Advaita, as Soh already explained.

    " consciousness has inherent existence." How do you know that to be true? It seems you are relying on the assumptions of quantum physicists, inventors, anesthesiologists, etc. Have you yourself confirmed that consciousness exists inherently through your own experience?

    The goal of Buddhism is not to realize a 'pure awareness' -- this is not a goal of any Buddhist traditions and is not the result of Buddhist practice, no matter what perennialists may say. That's not to say that Buddhists do not experience what you talk about, but it is not seen as the end result, rather the first opening into 'mind' -- the next step then is to see how there is no mind or awareness apart from phenomena, that arising phenomena themselves are 'awareness' and there is no awareness apart from phenomena. Awareness is always of something, but in direct experience, this is no awareness apart from that something, so that 'something' is actually awareness arising as some form. And there is no awareness apart from that form. (some non-Buddhists do talk about this too, but most only stop at the first realization of the 'I AM' or Witness) But this too isn't shunyata yet. Anatta is realized when one sees that there never was an 'awareness' to begin with, only the different streams of consciousnesses (sight, sound, hearing, tactile sensation, etc) which are only linked by thought. So the sense of 'self' is deconstructed and seen in direct experience to be (and always has been) the streams of the senses carrying with them the thought of inherency/independence, permanence. "It is seen very clearly in anatta that all views and notions of consciousness/super-consciousness having some independent or unchanging true existence is not true, awareness is simply the quality of transient sensate world, " As anatta is the deconstruction of 'self', shunyata is deconstruction of the 'world' where it is directly seen that the world, like the self, is illusory and lacks substance. Not that the self or world do not exist, but it is directly seen that they lack any inherent core and are experienced due to causes and conditions (dependent origination). Experienced by who you may ask? This question assumes that an 'experiencer' is necessary for experience. This is the assumption of Advaita and is why Buddhism does not lead to the same result.
    May 6 at 1:22pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Michael Zaurov Helen, Soh has already directly experienced what you are talking about, and so have many others in this group. As I wrote above, it is the initial awakening into mind, but it is not final and there is further to go.
    May 6 at 1:24pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael, the ultimate goal of all legitimate religion is liberation. Talk and words would NEVER get us there. Talk can only convince you start walking. One has to walk, ie, practice.
    May 6 at 1:25pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael, of course it is not final. Keep walking. Stop talking. Words confine us to a conceptual box made of words. Get out! The more we talk about a tree, about it's color, it's function, etc, the more we don't 'know' the tree. Communicate with the tree directly!
    May 6 at 1:28pm · Like
    Soh What you're talking about is precisely what I mean by I AM - the all-pervading, nondual Consciousness, but then reified as an ultimate Subject. This is not what Shunyata means.
    May 6 at 1:29pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael, this is not a competition, of who experienced more than who. We have to completely abandon our experiences, and be a new born. Every moment I start with knowing nothing.
    May 6 at 1:29pm · Like
    Michael Zaurov In Buddhism, the 'view' is part of the practice. This is why Tibetan monks would debate each other as part of their upbringing in monestaries. Buddhism sees that having the right conceptual understanding is essential to liberation, since enlightenment does not exist by itself in a vacuum. Even in Zen, which is notoriously anti-conceptual, the Heart Sutra is chanted daily by monks. Nirvana is not a 'state' that one gets to by not thinking. Rather, nirvana is clearly seeing reality, and in order to clearly see we must have right view. Right view is like cleaning your windshield. If you do not clean it, it will be quite dirty and you'll have no idea where you're going, leading you to get stuck and not even seeing the nature of your predicament.
    May 6 at 1:30pm · Edited · Like
    Michael Zaurov I never said it was a competition. I am only saying that many folks here know experientialy what you are talking about.
    May 6 at 1:30pm · Like
    (Article last updated: 29th October 2009)

    (Much of the following are a compilation of what Thusness/PasserBy wrote from a few sources with minimal editing.)

    Like a river flowing into the ocean, the self dissolves into nothingness. When a practitioner becomes thoroughly clear about the illusionary nature of the individuality, subject-object division does not take place. A person experiencing “AMness” will find “AMness in everything”. What is it like?

    Being freed from individuality -- coming and going, life and death, all phenomenon merely pop in and out from the background of the AMness. The AMness is not experienced as an ‘entity’ residing anywhere, neither within nor without; rather it is experienced as the ground reality for all phenomenon to take place. Even in the moment of subsiding (death), the yogi is thoroughly authenticated with that reality; experiencing the ‘Real’ as clear as it can be. We cannot lose that AMness; rather all things can only dissolve and re-emerges from it. The AMness has not moved, there is no coming and going. This "AMness" is God.

    Practitioners should never mistake this as the true Buddha Mind! "I AMness" is the pristine awareness. That is why it is so overwhelming. Just that there is no 'insight' into its emptiness nature. Nothing stays and nothing to hold on to. What is real, is pristine and flows, what stays is illusion. The sinking back to a background or Source is due to being blinded by strong karmic propensities of a 'Self'. It is a layer of ‘bond’ that prevents us from ‘seeing’ something…it is very subtle, very thin, very fine…it goes almost undetected. What this ‘bond’ does is it prevents us from ‘seeing’ what “WITNESS” really is and makes us constantly fall back to the Witness, to the Source, to the Center. Every moment we want to sink back to Witness, to the Center, to this Beingness, this is an illusion. It is habitual and almost hypnotic.

    But what exactly is this “witness” we are talking about? It is the manifestation itself! It is the appearance itself! There is no Source to fall back, the Appearance is the Source! Including the moment to moment of thoughts. The problem is we choose, but all is really it. There is nothing to choose.

    There is no mirror reflecting
    Manifestation alone IS.

    There is no invisible witness hiding anywhere. Whenever we attempt to fall back to an invisible transparent image, it is again the mind game of thought. It is the ‘bond’ at work. (See Thusness's Six Stages of Experience)

    Transcendental glimpses are misled by the cognitive faculty of our mind. That mode of cognition is dualistic. All is Mind but this mind is not to be taken as ‘Self’. “I Am”, Eternal Witness, are all products of our cognition and is the root cause that prevents true seeing.

    When consciousness experiences the pure sense of “I AM”, overwhelmed by the transcendental thoughtless moment of Beingness, consciousness clings to that experience as its purest identity. By doing so, it subtly creates a ‘watcher’ and fails to see that the ‘Pure Sense of Existence’ is nothing but an aspect of pure consciousness relating to the thought realm. This in turn serves as the karmic condition that prevents the experience of pure consciousness that arises from other sense-objects. Extending it to the other senses, there is hearing without a hearer and seeing without a seer -- the experience of Pure Sound-Consciousness is radically different from Pure Sight-Consciousness. Sincerely, if we are able to give up ‘I’ and replaces it with “Emptiness Nature”, Consciousness is experienced as non-local. No one state is purer than the other. All is just One Taste, the manifold of Presence.

    The ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’, the ‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’ must ultimately give way to the experience of total transparency. Do not fall back to a source, just the manifestation is sufficient. This will become so clear that total transparency is experienced. When total transparency is stabilized, transcendental body is experienced and dharmakaya is seen everywhere. This is the samadhi bliss of Bodhisattva. This is the fruition of practice.

    (continued in URL)
    Awakening to Reality: Buddha Nature is NOT "I Am"
    May 6 at 1:31pm · Edited · Like · 5 · Remove Preview
    Michael Zaurov I think this quote from this article is relevant

    "Non-conceptuality does not mean non-attachment. For example when you realize the I AM, you cling to that pure non-conceptual beingness and consciousness as your true identity. You cling to that pure non-conceptual thought very tightly – you wish to abide in that purest state of presence 24/7. This clinging prevents us from experiencing Presence AS the Transience. This is a form of clinging to something non-conceptual due to the false view of duality (subject-object duality) and inherency (perceiving an essence that is truly existing). This is a form of clinging to something non-conceptual. So know that going beyond concepts does not mean overcoming the view of inherency and its resultant clinging clinging. Even in the substantial non-dual phase, there is still clinging to a Source, a One Mind – even though experience is non-dual and non-conceptual. But when inherent view is dissolved, we see there is absolutely nothing we can cling to, and this is the beginning of Right View and the Path to Nirvana – the cessation of clinging and craving."
    May 6 at 1:35pm · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael and Soh, have you asked yourself why you like to compare experiences? I don't. Is your purpose here to argue? To establish who's right and who's wrong?

    What will that serve?

    Wisdom does not come from arguing or establishing who's right and wrong, but through practice and realization. My purpose is one and only - to help others. If I die at this moment, it will be the same as if I live.

    What I'm trying to illustrate in my post is the important of practice. I find too many people being content about talking and meditation, but missing important components which are right action, right living, right eating and right thought. Buddhism taught about all these as well. Without such practice, progress is very difficult.

    Traditional Buddhism wouldn't even start imparting meditation method to anybody until the person's energy is somewhat cleansed by right action, right eating, etc. Have you realized that morality is common among all religions? You may think it to be a social side of religion. Not so. It is an important strategy to attain liberation.
    May 6 at 1:52pm · Like
    Michael Zaurov Hmm Helen why do you think I'm just trying to argue rather than help? Also, I'm talking about direct lasting insights or realizations, not temporary experiences. Nobody is just trying to argue with you. This isn't about who is right or wrong. I'm only sharing what the goal of Buddhist practice is based on my experience, as well as how Buddhism differs from what you wrote, also from my experience.
    May 6 at 1:55pm · Edited · Like
    Soh Helen, the point is you are putting forth a very obvious misunderstanding to us. None of the Buddhists actually equate emptiness of inherent existence with Consciousness. Emptiness is different from Consciousness. You are assuming that they are the same thing, and that the Self-Realization is the realization of Shunyata, they are not.

    It is important to have right view, and contemplate accordingly, then one can progress on one's path. The Buddha taught that Right View is the forerunner of the entire noble eightfold path, and that is the most crucial element, everything else like right mindfulness, right concentration, etc are established upon Right View. Right View, right understanding is hence most important.

    Morality is an important aspect of Buddhism but by no means the goal and only part of the path. Morality sets the condition for development of samadhi and wisdom, yet morality does not in itself lead to samadhi and wisdom. One must understand that morality is not owned by religion. Morality is non-secular. Non-religious people equally have morality, morality is being taught in non-secular settings and religious people can equally be immoral.
    May 6 at 1:58pm · Edited · Like · 2
    Soh Sorry "equate emptiness of inherent existence with Shunyata" -- typo, I mean mistaken emptiness with Consciousness
    May 6 at 1:59pm · Like
    Soh Realization of emptiness of Self, inherent existence, is essential for liberation in Buddhism. And it is not 'Self-Realization' or 'realization of Consciousness'
    May 6 at 2:00pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael, practice is key. Let's talk practice. That will get us somewhere. What good does talking about what we see on the road help us? Only the walking will get us somewhere. The only reason I mentioned briefly about experience is to give people hope that it is attainable by anyone. Some Buddhist sects prevent people from talking about experience altogether, for good reason.
    May 6 at 2:00pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Realization of emptiness of Self, inherent existence .. is a step. Keep going.
    May 6 at 2:01pm · Like
    Soh I'd say Self-Realization, realization of Consciousness, has been a step in my path. Realization of emptiness came later and revealed very subtle and liberating truth.
    May 6 at 2:02pm · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens A necessary step is the realization of compassion, that one loves and respects the lowest, the most ignorant, the most vile person on earth as much as one's most beloved.
    May 6 at 2:08pm · Unlike · 1
    Michael Zaurov Helen, talking about what we see on the road helps us extremely, since we may see those stuck at a particular point not realizing that there is further to go, and due to compassion we can try to help them. Those Buddhist sects that do not talk about experience are those where there is a master who guides them, so they share experiences in private. No Buddhist tradition says you should never talk about experiences to anyone. Also, realization of emptiness of Self is not something you have actualized yourself, at least not what we are talking about, since you are describing a lack of this realization due to your clinging to a formless background/awareness behind experience that exists inherently. If you did realize the emptiness of Self, then you would not write what you wrote above. But again, this is not a pissing contest or anything. I am only establishing the differences in our views and how what you assert to be shunyata is not accurate. Since this is a dharma group, I think it would be good for you to understand what the dharma is and isn't.. Otherwise there will only be misunderstanding.
    May 6 at 2:17pm · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael, does it make you feel good that I've not experienced 'emptiness of Self'? Are you sure I've not experienced it? Does it make you feel good helping others?

    Have you ever wondered why Buddha and his disciples begged for food? Because he knew that people feel good and establish good karma by helping others. So the ultimate way to help others is to be helped.
    May 6 at 2:18pm · Like
    Michael Zaurov "does it make you feel good that I've not experienced 'emptiness of Self'?" of course not. I do not take pleasure in teh suffering of others. "Are you sure I've not experienced it?" yes, it is clear based on what you wrote, or else you would not have written what you wrote.
    May 6 at 2:21pm · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Michael, as I said, what I wrote is for specific audience. Buddha had to say different things to difference audience. All words are incorrect anyways.
    May 6 at 2:25pm · Like
    Michael Zaurov Certain views lead to certain realizations. Other views lead to other realizations. Realization is dependent on view. Witihout right view, one cannot have proper realization. -- Buddha was actually pretty consistent. He never deviated from his main message of non-inherency. He never taught that consciousness is inherent, for example, as you claimed earlier, because if one has directly realization emptiness, then one knows that such a statement is not accurate and will not lead others to liberation, so there is no point in even uttering it.

    "All words are incorrect anyways." The words you use come from your current stage on the path, and when a teacher wants to help you move on, they will use words to help you, which then cause a shift in your perception. So, conceptual tools are not useless or meaningless, and are in fact necessary for liberation because the mind's habit of clinging to inherency is very strong, like taking non-conceptual thought as a Self for example. Only the right conceptual framework, right view, can jar someone who is stuck there by pointing to what needs to be analyzed and seen as illusory. The actual insight itself is direct and non-conceptual, but the right concept is necessary to point the mind toward that insight. So it's not that words are correct or incorrect, but rather that certain words have more pragmatic value in leading to certain realizations. A classic example is the use of koans in Zen. There are different koans utilized, and depending on which one is given, it will lead to a different realization.
    May 6 at 2:42pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens Soh, you said "Self-Realization, realization of Consciousness, has been a step in my path. Realization of emptiness came later and revealed very subtle and liberating truth."

    Note that there are many ripples of realization of Self, Oneness, Consciousness, emptiness of Self, of Self in All, the dissolution of physical existence, various Enlightenment experiences, before touching upon the freedom of Shunyata. Shunyata is not a realization of the mind, or knowledge of sort, but a completely different frequency, completely different CONSCOUSNESS, which is much much more drastic than physical death.

    Just as the love for apples is very different from motherly love or unconditional love, the CONSCOUSNESS I talked about is VERY different from ordinary consciousness or heightened consciousness or expanded consciousness or nonlocal consciousness, etc.
    May 6 at 2:46pm · Like
    Soh Helen, I do not equate 'I AMness' with 'ordinary consciousness or heightened consciousness or expanded consciousness or nonlocal consciousness, etc.'

    My 'I AMness' realization is equivalent to what you call 'Consciousness'. And that is not the same as Emptiness at all. You have to look at Emptiness teachings from its own teachings, not from what you think it means. And it has nothing to do with any sort of 'Consciousness'. The nature of Self, physical universe, consciousness, etc, all of them are empty (empty of inherent existence), but emptiness does not mean some ultimate consciousness or sat chit ananda or brahman.
    May 6 at 2:50pm · Edited · Like
    Michael Zaurov Yes, it is very clear Helen that you are talking about the I AM/Witness See here under 'Realization of I AM' -- give that a read and let me know if I'm wrong. Also, you can read further in that article to see how the I AM differs from non dual, anatta, and shunyata, which are distinct realizations
    May 6 at 2:52pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Dean Pistilli I'll just add my 2 cents worth and say there's absolutely nothing wrong with sitting in the "I AM", and indeed there's 'nobody' to go any further. It might not be 'the end', but I also can't see the point in objectivising Emptiness and banging on about the need to 'go further'..
    May 6 at 5:26pm · Like
    Stefan Beyer On the difference between Advaita and Buddhism: as I see it finally there is no difference. It is not a real argument, but it is not plausible for me that Ramana was suffering more than Buddha. Advaita inquiry usually has two steps: In the first one Awareness is freed from its identification with a part of the whole (f.i. the bodymind), in the second one it is seen that Awareness and the so-called "awared objects" are not separate, so that "there is only Awareness" and "there is only what is" become equivalent sentences about the same kind of experiencing. I may have not understood the Buddhist term "emptiness" but it would make sense in the following (Advaita-)sense: A "world as such", which exists objectively but cannot be perceived "as such", is a construct, a theoretical model. Otherwise I can not see what about "what is given" or "what is" (I am avoiding the word phenomena as it implies duality) would be "inherently non-existing".
    May 6 at 7:50pm · Edited · Like
    John Ahn These distinctions are only truly applicable to direct practice and mulling over them intellectually isn't very helpful until the distinctions become relevant. It won't make sense why such seemingly subtle differences are obsessed over again and again.

    So there is the practice of abiding in awareness or fusing this awareness with the world by seeing the world as awareness


    Direct cognition that the awareness is merely the luminous aspect of dependently originating phenomena.

    The taste of nondual brilliance of presence is the same. It has both to do with awareness, as in the experience of our very aliveness without constructs. Yet the latter is a cutting insight into its relationship with manifesting phenomena that makes the experience of presence more and more effortless and totally ordinary in all sense fields. It's this effortless integration that goes deeper into loosening the bonds of centeredness and self ness that gives this insight value. It's got nothing to do with some dogma of Buddhism being better.

    So in context of practice, in the former, the focus is on subjective awareness and then fusing it with manifestation. So the practice is that of continually abiding as this awareness.

    The latter, which we call anatta, is that of effortless liberating and releasing via applying and deepening the view that arose out of that initial penetrating insight: that awareness is merely a label applied to the luminous quality of manifestation.

    Just my take on it from personal experience. .
    May 6 at 8:18pm · Edited · Unlike · 5
    Soh Hi Stefan Beyer, I think John Ahn puts it quite clearly across. He's one of quite a number in this group who has personal experience having gone through the journey from I AM to One Mind to Anatta.

    There is non-dual insight in Advaita, however there is still a difference between a substantialist subsuming of subject-object into one seamless awareness (One Mind), but awareness is still seen as inherently existing, changeless, substantial, independent etc - and the non-substantialist insight that sees 'awareness' is only ever the very self-luminous manifestation (which is D.O.).

    I described the differences in
    Awakening to Reality: Substantial and Insubstantial Non-duality
    This is one of the most brilliant blogs I´ve ever come across. Especially differ... See More
    May 6 at 8:20pm · Edited · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    Soh Awareness is also empty of inherent existence. Non-existence also do not apply. The extremes: existence, non-existence, both, neither, do not apply when X is empty of inherent existence. They only apply when there is an entity there to exist or become non-existent, which is never the case
    May 6 at 8:26pm · Edited · Like · 5
    Alan Koek Consciousness does not exist inherently... no no
    May 7 at 12:08am · Like
    Greg Goode Soh, I wrote an emptiness vs advaita post in another thread. It might be more relevant here, since it mentions realizations in both paths. Feel free to move it!
    May 7 at 2:00am · Edited · Like
    Soh Hi Greg, maybe put it in both threads

    Greg Goode = Advaita vs Madhyamika =

    I agree with John Ahn. Apart from theoretical speculations, how helpful is it to talk about these things apart from a context of practice?

    Also, who has actually done serious, intense inquiry in BOTH formats with successful realization? I'm not sure of everyone's experience and practice trajectory here. But I'm familiar with my own, and Soh's and Kyle's. Have others too? We have all done both formats intensely, and with results. Myself, it was a radical difference: direct-path Advaita, which is all about global Awareness, and the Prasangika Madhyamika, in which notions of global awareness simply DO NOT EXIST. That is a huge gestalt shift if done right.

    Sure, there is a soteriological goal in common: freedom from suffering, happiness, compassion, love. The heart wants to say "SAME" here. That's fine.

    But beyond that, the mechanics, concepts, and languaging are very different.

    Something Michael Zaurov said makes a lot of sense, and it has extremely radical consequences:

    "Certain views lead to certain realizations. Other views lead to other realizations. Realization is dependent on view."

    If realizations can affect views, then views can affect realizations. The views of Advaita and Madhyamika are quite different. In fact, Madhyamika owes much of its presentation to the rejection of essential nature and absolute truth that Advaita proposes. The two paths could not be more different on this. Even the "ultimate truth" in Buddhism does not map to the Absolute Truth in Advaita, though there has been a Vedantic and perennialist effort to combine the two into a master Vedantic meta-view for about a century. Swami Vivekananda and others have tried to do this, and the efforts to say "they are the same thing" most often comes from the Advaita side. And it would put its own teaching on top of the stack.

    The Buddhist side would not insist on either "inherently same" or "inherently different." The Buddhists would be more like, "You do your thing, we'll do ours. Let's just all be kind to each other."

    So I think it is not helpful to try to stand in a neutral place and compare the truths or the metaphysics of these teachings. We can't do it. Where would we find a neutral place?

    We can give a Mahyamika interpretation of Advaita or an Advaitin interpretation of Madhyamika. Or a historical story about them. Or an everyday psychological assessment of both paths, if we have had experiences in both.

    But to try to give a metaphysical comparison and ordering and ranking of views from a place that is "neutral" or "impartial" or "unaffected by views" cannot be done. Comparisons and ordering and ranking and assessments are never neutral, but always themselves dependent upon certain standards. And standards are dependent upon views.

    It SEEMS possible to do make these assessments neutrally, but that's only if we are blind to the emptiness of view, blind to how our conceptual or experiential assessment is already conceptually implicated in some view or another. In my experience reading so many of these essays and posts, the comparative efforts usually (not always) tend to favor the perennialist view, resulting in a kind of projection and imperialism of the "mine."
    2 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 3
    May 7 at 2:25am · Like · 7
    Stefan Beyer Before I become a Buddhist let me try to defend my above position: I don't think that the reification of Awareness is the point of Advaita. It is rather a trap if one gets stuck with the first part of the inquiry. And I would not describe the second step as fusing Awareness with phenomena (which indeed sounds like an effort and quite arbitrary) but as realizing that there is no distance between Awareness and so-called awared objects. So since Awareness is self-luminous (it "perceives" itself by identity) or self-luminosity you may call it the luminous aspect of things. Maybe the Buddhist view is a good antidote to getting stuck with a reification of Awareness. The words that are used instead of Awareness like manifestation (in Soh's article: "awareness is manifestation only") or that something just is are less likely reified (for instance into a Beingness that is things). On the other hand if awareness is divided related to senses perhaps in order not to reify it this may be understood as implying a dualistic idea of perception, which is avoided if I see it as "I perceive things by consciously being them".
    May 7 at 4:16am · Edited · Like
    Greg Goode Stefan, I agree with what I think you are saying. Advaita can be done without reification even of awareness. At least the Direct Path can be done this non-reifying way, if one takes it far enough. Shri Atmananda himself is even on record as saying that in the end, "you can't even say it's consciousness." But in many cases, Advaita is not done in this way, and one actually ends up solidifying their sense of separation while believing at the very same time they are eradicating their sense of separation.

    I think Madhyamika itself is not immune from pitfalls. It can be too scary. I know one nondual teacher who began to study it and then backed out when he got around to examining the emptiness of his role as a teacher. He said that emptiness was too destablilizing, and went back to the awareness model.

    Or one can cling to emptiness as a "no-thing" or as a super-refined essence, or as awareness, or some other stage or stage or quality or aspect.
    May 7 at 4:39am · Like · 1
    Soh I haven't given Tony Parsons a call yet, but apparently some of those neo-advaitins kind aren't reifying awareness too.

    "Dear Soh

    Thank you for your interesting email and I feel it is better if we speak together.
    Please therefore give me a phone number and a good time to call you.

    In the meantime, since we are using words to point to the unknowable, perhaps we need to be clear about what some words and ideas mean to us.

    From this "perspective" consciousness is a function of knowing or awareness which only arises in the deluded story of me and has no meaning or relevance.
    Therefore all of the Norquist ideas about consciousness are still dualistic . . . there is no before, in or after manifestation, nor is there a "feeling of existence", nor does manifestation arise from consciousness, live and then return.

    What is your meaning for substratum? What is your vivid reflection? How can there be what you call "non-dual awareness".

    For here there is no union, container, or mirror.

    best wishes
    May 7 at 10:32am · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Soh you said, "The nature of Self, physical universe, consciousness, etc, all of them are empty (empty of inherent existence)". Yes, and this is the CONSCIOUSNESS I was talking about. CONSCIOUSNESS is very different from consciousness. As one cannot equate the love of apples to the unconditional LOVE of mothers, love and LOVE are very different things, yet the same word is used. If you talk to a 2 year old boy about unconditional love or sexual love, you may only get as far as 'like how you love an apple'. Now you see words can mislead, and people can get into endless useless exchanges just circling around a few words.

    You can also look at this from a logical standpoint. How do you think Buddha found out about Shunyata/Emptiness if not through some CONSCIOUSNESS or SOME KNOWING or SOMETHING? If you don't want to use the word CONSCIOUSNESS, use SOMETHING or NOTHING or invent a new word for it. If Shunyata/Emptiness is not reachable by any means or any stretch of our consciousness or connection to us, or within us to be recognizable, Buddha wouldn't have been able to KNOW it, isn't it? It would remain an unknowable. And how much unknowable truth are out there? We really know nothing.
    May 7 at 10:47am · Edited · Like
    Soh No Helen, obviously that is not what you were talking about. After all, you said Consciousness is inherently existing. I'm saying that Consciousness is empty of inherent existence. That is the meaning of emptiness. Emptiness is the nature of everything. For example: the so called physical world is empty of inherent existence, but it does not mean emptiness is equatable with 'the physical world' conventionally speaking'. Consciousness is likewise. The nature of Consciousness (yes including the capital C) is empty of inherent existence.

    There is no rejection of Consciousness, but Consciousness is empty of Self, empty of inherent existence, is mere manifestation that dependently originates.

    You are reifying consciousness into an observer. Consciousness is just the manifestation. When seeing the scenery, there is just the scenery that is seeing, no seer. In thinking just thought, no thinker, In hearing just sound, no hearer. To see this is the realization of anatta.
    May 7 at 10:50am · Edited · Like · 4
    John Ahn Helen, knower and known need not be dual.

    Also, Malcolm did say emptiness is not perceivable. But then again nothing is being perceived, but manifested.
    May 7 at 10:53am · Unlike · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn, you said, "knower and known need not be dual."

    Of course not.

    "Also, Malcolm did say emptiness is not perceivable. But then again nothing is being perceived, but manifested."

    More words, 'perceived' and 'manifested'. All is ONE and Unlimited. Call it XX. Substitute my 'CONSCIOUSNESS' with XX. And all will be clear.
    May 7 at 10:59am · Like
    John Ahn If you are going to take the position that all words are meaningless or equal then we might as well not attempt to communicate at all.

    These distinctions have a purpose and utility to our practice as I wrote above. It's not a mental game nor to show that Buddhism is superior.
    May 7 at 11:05am · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens We must be careful not to be content with the knowledge of words, and substitute that for Direct Knowledge. Our ego self likes to keep us at the level it's comfortable with.

    When a person's energy body is full and radiant, Direct Knowledge comes naturally. Right living, right diet, right action, right thought ... all leads to an integrated being. Yin and Yang becomes One and back to the Original.
    May 7 at 11:05am · Like
    John Ahn We must also be careful not to be content with meditative states especially as they become more blissful and offer us a sense of security.
    May 7 at 11:07am · Edited · Like · 4
    John Ahn But I agree that working with the subtle body and our conduct are very important. We are just pointing out a particular distinction that becomes important when certain experiences dawn, as pointed out by Buddhism. .
    May 7 at 11:10am · Like
    John Ahn Also, I guess this is a personal preference of practitioners, but my aim isn't to become an integrated being but to become liberated, which is an effort to end the chain of becoming.
    May 7 at 11:12am · Like
    Michael Zaurov Helen, why do you keep insisting that people here only have knowledge of words, rather than the direct insights being discussed? Why do you insist that those who have direct realization cannot use words to describe that realization?
    May 7 at 11:14am · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn, I remember when I was a teenager, I read many philosopher books, etc. I believed in nothing and used only reason. Later I found that the main good that reason did was to conclude for me that words and reason would not get me anywhere. The only chance left for understanding is direct knowledge as the mystics would say can be attained through practice.

    Later I found out another use for reason is to exhaust one's reason, like what Zen koans do. Yes, that is the purpose of Zen koans. And at the point of intellectual exhaustion, enlightenment is possible.

    Reason and words would otherwise block one's progress.

    Hindsight, enlightenment is easy. My searching for it in words and reason made it much harder.
    May 7 at 11:15am · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Good luck folks. I've said it all in the many replies. No point to keep repeating. Love you all.
    May 7 at 11:16am · Like
    Greg Goode (long post) Some of the neos don't even use consciousness as part of their teaching.

    It's funny - I came into nondualism through the Wei-Wu-Wei, Ramesh, Wayne branch of what later came to be called "neo-advaita" (it's something that Dennis Waite and I coined in the late 1990s, and we never meant it in a derogatory way. It was to be distinguished from the more devotional satsang movement from Papaji at the time).

    Anyway, Ramesh and Wayne had a very curious teaching. Officially, "everything is consciousness and consciousness is all there is."

    But that was never an important part of the actual teaching. It did no actual soteriological work. It didn't even seem like it was being used as an inspirational vision of reality.

    The actual teaching that Wayne and Ramesh used more or less left consciousness out of the picture. The actual teaching was how there is no individual authorship or doership or free will. How what happens just happens. Sometimes he's say it was "God's doing" but of course that was rhetorical only. Many of Ramesh's examples were quite materialist in nature, as though we are machines or sacks of meat with some kind of animating energy running through us. He'd say,

    "We are like kitchen appliances, each one with its different wiring. One person is a microwave oven. Another is a toaster. Another is a blender. None of them acts on its own, but only through the electricity (consciousness) flowing through it."

    (Lol, a bit of consciousness rhetoric there...)

    Myself, I had a powerful insight from this teaching. Free will and choice and decision were what I thought of as the last possible refuge for the truth of my separate identity. I had spent years investigating everything else, including subtle psychic states and intuitions and levels of mind. But I hadn't encountered a teaching that investigated willing, deciding and doing. The sense of any separate individual "Greg" or anyone else simply dissolved, never to return.

    But I didn't think the work was done by a "consciousness" model, but just an "unfindability/incoherence of free will" model.

    And because of all the dualisms that remained in Ramesh's model, I knew it wasn't "nondual." After all, there's the huge dualism between the toaster and the inner electricity. Ramesh's teaching had no way of pointing out how the toaster IS the electricity.

    So I kept looking for more subtle and complete teachings. Because of my own background in Western idealism, I myself followed an awareness model. Even after the "no-more-separate-identity" realization, I still felt an experiential divide between the background awareness that I felt myself to be, and the arisings that came and went. Plus there we a duality among the multiplicity of arisings themselves. I was totally happy and no longer suffering, but these dualities had not come to rest.

    Later on, I would encounter the Atmanandan direct path teachings, and learn that that experiential distinction had a name: the "higher witness." For Atmananda, it dissolves on its own after some time. Or one can investigate it. I investigated it. It took a year of intense examination, but with Atmananda's help, all those dualities dissolved and came to peaceful, blissful rest.

    Of course Atmananda's teaching is all about awareness. From my decades-long Western idealist background, I was all about awareness too at that point. I found that with George Berkeley's help and that of my Berkeley teacher in grad school, I had actually done 95% of the Direct Path already. I was just very very curious about the very subtle (and sweet) experiential gap I was experiencing. And Atmananda's teaching can help there, help the witness collapse into "pure consciousness." There is a further wonderful irony there. At that point, even "consciousness" has done its job. It's no longer needed as a teaching tool. So as Atmananda says, and as I experienced, there's no way to truthfully say that "It's all awareness." At that point it would make no sense. It just becomes a non-issue.

    I have tried to discuss this evaporation in my direct path books. But if you look at the first 99% of the Direct Path, it looks very substantialist about awareness. But it actually gets left on the cutting-room floor.

    I coined a term for the odd circumstance, where one's very path seems to self-erase after it has done its job: "joyful irony." It is so sweet that I will never have enough words in all my life to talk about it!

    Of course emptiness as a teaching self-erases too. And it does so in a more explicit way, much more clearly explained (that would be another loooooong post). In the Direct Path, self-erasure is virtually a secret, hidden teaching, and some DP teachers don't even take it that far, to self-erasure.

    Sorry so long - I just wanted to give two examples of how awareness teachings don't necessarily have to reify awareness.....

    (I see that lots of those words have been used in this very post! )
    May 7 at 11:20am · Edited · Unlike · 8
    John Ahn Helen Tam-Semmens but do you see the difference in our views are not just logic vs. direct experience? That is not what we have been talking about at all.

    It seems like you don't even put much effort to understanding what we've been trying to share, but just dismissing them as intellectual jargon. If that is not the case, can you prove us wrong by presenting your version of understanding of our views and experience?
    May 7 at 11:23am · Like · 1
    Michael Zaurov Helen, As I wrote before, there are different ranks of koans used in Zen. The purpose is not just to stop thinking since anyone can do that by simply concentrating on the breath. Different koans lead to different insights. Also, you still assume that only you have this insight of CONSCIOUSNESS while everyone else here has no idea what you're talking about. But we do. You're not the only one to have such a realization, and we're not just philosophizing here, but rather trying to show you how your realization differs from what Buddhism aims for
    May 7 at 11:24am · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn I understand what you are saying and what the blog says about Shunyata. I just didn't want to say that it is wrong. Right and wrong is not important anyways. Just keep going, and one will see.
    May 7 at 11:24am · Like
    John Ahn Helen Tam-Semmens can you just share how you understand so at least there is no misunderstanding?
    May 7 at 11:30am · Edited · Like
    John Ahn Lol Greg, Piotr was for a time telling everyone about that secret ending! Ha cool that you confirmed it!
    May 7 at 11:31am · Like
    Greg Goode Helen, as for emptiness being known by consciousness. We had a long thread about this in the Emptiness group.

    I don't think that Soh or anyone else here is saying that emptiness exists without consciousness or is known WITHOUT consciousness. Consciousness is not absent from the picture. Knowing whether conceptual, sensory or direct/noon-conceptual cannot happen without consciousness.

    So the question becomes, "what KIND of consciousness are we talking about?"

    In the Gelugpa-influenced Prasangika Madhyamika teachings that I like, there is no Big Daddy Global Consciousness That Is the Nature of All.

    Instead, they use another epistemological model, where each separate object is cognized by a separate consciousness. Consciousness is highly pluralized. This is partly why consciousness is empty. Consciousnesses depend on each other. One consciousness can conceptualize another one: a mental consciousness can be aware of an eye-consciousness.

    So the table is cognized by a conceptual consciousness apprehending the legs and top, and designates "table."

    The emptiness of the table is cognized by a conceptual consciousness that realizes that the table does not exist without depending on other things. With more practice, the emptiness of the table is cognized non-conceptually by a yogic cognizing consciousness that apprehends the lack of true existence of the table. While the nonconceptual conciousness is apprehending the table's emptiness, it is simultaneously apprehending the emptiness of all phenomena. It is able to do this precisely because it is non-conceptual.

    In the emptiness teachings, consciousnesses depend on their objects, just like objects depend on the consciousnesses that apprehend them.

    In this way, consciousnesses and emptinesses are all empty.
    May 7 at 11:32am · Edited · Like · 5
    Greg Goode John, I'm gonna "out" that ending more clearly. Funny, I had already come to the point on my own before I saw a very obscure Atmananda text where he says it too. I'm writing a book about the "secret" teachings in the direct path.
    May 7 at 11:37am · Like · 3
    Greg Goode One reason I had not said more about it is pragmatic. To avoid nihilism in people using the path. You know how people like to read spiritual books starting at the last page.

    "Oh, no awareness at the very end? So then why do I need it now, on page 15?"

    But actually, it doesn't go like that. The dissolution is so subtle, most everyone misses it, and so they don't in practice do the nihilistic thing......

    In the DP, there is a constant thinning of awareness as one goes. So with competent guidance, a person will not be encouraged to reify awareness.
    May 7 at 11:41am · Edited · Like · 4
    John Ahn I agree, because we are so conditioned to practicing via mind, ignoring awareness leads to materialism, and teachings like anatta can be very misunderstood.

    To me the path of inquiry from start to finish is always about understanding this aliveness we are.
    May 7 at 11:48am · Like · 2
    Barry Ryder Read much of this - good to know so many are so far on their path that they have a grip on that which they have come to know. In getting to the essence it seems clarity will often be combined with the words 'you do not have it quite right'
    Seems pointing toward is at best yet when a sense that another has attained a degree of essence similar to an experienced degree of essence it must feel validating to compare notes even while saying 'not exactly but sort of'
    All a good read even though over my head.
    Yet this opening post bravely discussed frequency and how evil plays out. That is why my thoughts kept playing out thoughts on this throughout the day. Evil is an interesting way to put it as is that whole missing the mark way Christians call sin and Buddhists call ignorance. Can we actually power up our frequency by bullying another. Greed, hate and ignorance all are degrees of not getting on with our divine nature during practice. Instead of connecting with others within there is a separation that leads to pushing or pulling at others to satisfy self desires.
    The target audience in the world of Dharma is all of us. Connecting somehow. Dharma Connection. This talk of evil is about those that have methods to short circuit that connection and keep the frequency here where we are presently wandering.
    May 7 at 12:19pm · Like
    Barry Ryder BTW I have been trying to come to grips with the word evil and demonic as not so terrible things but just words that say not divine therefore all that are ignorant are evil and demonic. Easier to point fingers when judging others around this since the label in the past has been equated with torturous death.
    May 7 at 12:30pm · Like
    Daniel Noreen There really isn't such a thing as "evil" or as "good." Both have no existence, or meaning, other than a discrimination.
    May 7 at 1:17pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Daniel Noreen, you said, "There really isn't such a thing as "evil" or as "good." The following is what I responded to Brian Zey, "As long as there are people who kick around the word evil, who perceive evil, who take what they think are evil actions, there IS evil on earth and in our collective consciousness. Our mind creates these things, and such archetypes go a long long way. To ignore them is to ignore a physical rock falling on you. Is there really a rock? Not really. But can you seriously ignore the falling rock when you have a physical body? If you can, well, you probably shouldn't be here"
    May 7 at 1:31pm · Like
    Daniel Noreen I stand by what I said. All things are like illusions. Good or evil are views, concepts. Which, are empty of any inherent existence.
    May 7 at 1:42pm · Edited · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Barry, I talked about 'frequency', but that is a word I am not completely satisfied with. I heard others used the word. And since it is already in some people's consciousness, I may as well use it too. The actual experience is more of a luminosity. For instance, when one's consciousness travels in the subtle world, and climbs the Jacob's ladder, the higher one goes, the brighter the scene, the more detached is to one's physical body, and the more reliable the vision, ie, vision not superimposed by one's thought. One characteristic of light is frequency, so to use the word frequency is to a degree correct.

    As for the word evil, it has indeed a very bad connotation in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Such connotation has caused more problem than good, making people fragmented, not able to accept who they are, in turn causing more evil. Buddhism's use of the word 'ignorance' is much closer. It is indeed the lack of divine wisdom/light to shine on our ego deeds that has caused us to perform evil. If one can see that one and his enemy are One being in the greater sense, the left hand would not be ignorant enough to cut the right hand. And there will be instant world peace and personal peace/happiness.
    May 7 at 1:46pm · Like
    Daniel Noreen I also think you contradict yourself in your statement. Also, I don't agree or share the viewpoint of "collective consciousness." For consciousness to is too an arising from ignorance, is empty of a existance and is ultimately is another fetter and basis from samsara.
    May 7 at 1:46pm · Like
    Daniel Noreen You seem to be misunderstanding the Buddha's Dharma in a way. You are using ideology and concepts that are far more in the way of "New Age" than the Dharma, you also seem to connect these two together in a way that is in fact a contradiction.
    May 7 at 1:49pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Greg Goode, there are different levels of consciousness, from the most subtle to gross, from various degrees pf aggregates to the subatomic level, and beyond. Perhaps the string theory is correct, that the most fundamental (that we humans can access) are strings, or tiny frequencies of existence.

    Is there a "Big Daddy Global Consciousness"? Yes and no, as there are unknowns and there are unknowables. Is there Mommy Consciousness? Grand Daddy Consciousness? Or something beyond what we humans could comprehend? It is all in Direct Knowing, but with no verbal or conceptual explanation, as that understanding is no longer human.

    Words limit knowing. If you call a tree 'a tree', you automatically invoke human knowledge of a tree, of it having a trunk, and green leaves that perform photosynthesis, etc. But if you call it 'Ah' and communicate with it directly through consciousness, now you can being to gain first hand knowledge of it. And if you manage to see it in complete silence, you may be able to see the entire universe, with you in it as well.
    May 7 at 2:07pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn said "can you just share how you understand so at least there is no misunderstanding?"

    I already did. And probably said too much already. You can read back my previous comments.
    May 7 at 2:11pm · Like
    Soh Hi Greg Goode:

    Nice sharing and good points. I might add: what Ramesh Balsekar described there is what I call 'impersonality' in my (and Thusness's) terminologies.

    As I wrote previously: "when the sense of personal self or ego is seen through and dissolved, one feels oneself and everything and everyone being the expression of an impersonal intelligence, one feels that one is being 'lived' by a universal mind/intelligence/consciousness/life. this is not merely nondoership but something more than that".

    Non-doership is important but there are more to impersonality. Non-doership is more on spontaneity without effort (things happening no its own accord without sense of doership) but "impersonality" still has that purging of ego effect to a state of clean, pure, not-mine sort of "perception shift".

    I also delineate 'various forms of no-self' - the no-self of impersonality is not the no-self of nondual (no subject/object duality - but still can be substantialist) is not the no-self of anatta and furthermore there is the no-self of emptiness of inherent existence (which is applied to both self and all phenomena).

    I often say, as I mentioned in the Liberation Unleashed - that there are various degrees of 'no-self'. Not many people are clear about the different faces/degrees of self/Self and the overcoming of those various aspects of sense of self/Self.

    For example, most people in Liberation Unleashed are talking about non-doership (not all of them, some get into nondual, etc). It is not the same as overcoming the sense of subject/object duality, etc. Then for many like Elena, the next phase for them became the realization of I AM. At this point there is a certainty of Presence, Beingness, Consciousness as if one discovers without doubt the Core of Existence which is infinite, formless, unlimited, not personal, but at this point that Awareness/Presence is being formulated into something like a Ground of Being, an underlying background behind all thoughts and perceptions (hence there is still a subtle duality between the ultimate Subject and the objects of perception). I think you call this the Higher Witness. However, they have seen/experienced non-doership, and possibly impersonality.

    As John Ahn said in his article:

    "...There are a few groups I have seen online that have shared the experience of selflessness but mostly, I realize now, they are talking about impersonality. So either physicality or divine consciousness becomes the direction of development. Anatta is not like that..its is truly the full emergence of the scenery that is the sound, sensation, taste, vision, etc. When inner and outer begin to dissolve, all appearances begin to share an equal taste of direct pristiness. Pristiness as in, this very sound, it has no past, future, or context..even the understanding of dependent origination does not escape this direct pristiness, let alone pure consciousness..."

    The actual 'taste' of each realization is quite different even if it may sound the same on the surface.

    For me, after non-dual, at first there is still the sense that all the perceptions are subsumed into Awareness, and this Awareness is a seamless undivided field into which everything is inseparable with, there is no sense of being a witness etc. But there are peak experiences where even that sense of an 'Awareness' is forgotten into the experience that John Ahn described as 'full emergence of the scenery that is the sound, sensation, taste, vision, etc.' However these are what I call the peak experiences of 'no mind'. At this point a practitioner may switch/move in and out of the 'perspective' of No Mind and One Mind so to speak, but there is still an unwillingness and inability to let go of an ultimate essence or Awareness itself and let the self-luminosity of transient experience express itself without leaving traces. There may be a desync of experience and view - on one hand experiencing No Mind and on the other hand trying to express it with a subtly inherent and dualistic view (I see this quite commonly happening).

    This is until what I call the realization of Anatta enables one to see through all sense of a Subject, Awareness, etc that exists in and of itself. One sees that there isn't even a 'seeing expressing itself as ...' there is simply no 'itself' to seeing, and thus seeing is ever just the flow of phenomenality happening non-dually, gaplessly, self-luminous-ly. It's like the word 'weather', is empty of a weatherness, being a designation based on the basis of designation which is various phenomena happening interdependently. Same way, that Self-ness of 'Awareness' is seen through and one directly pierce through the ghostly-image of an inherently existing Awareness to see 'Awareness' as it 'actually' manifest - not as something inherently existing. To put it in Buddhist terms: there is absolutely no self/Self besides the five aggregates be it pure or impure. But even manifestation further be seen as dependently originated and empty (I call that secondfold emptying).

    Anyhow, after the realization of anatta, there is simply no more 'unwillingness and inability to let go of an ultimate essence' - instead there is deep appreciation for the self-radiance of transience as one directly sees the true face of 'awareness' (not as an inherently existing something, nor as non-existent). 'No-mind' becomes natural and effortless, a natural state, instead of a peak experience. However this willingness/ability or unwillingness/inability to let go of an ultimate essence is not a matter of mastering an experience or peak experience but a matter of 'insight' that leads to a 180 degree transformation of view. (also even after anatta the 'view' can still be further refined - factoring in insight into the view dependent origination leads to maturation of anatta into 'maha' seamless interpenetration and total exertion of D.O. that further removes any trace of I, me, mine, plus the insight into the emptiness of phenomena)

    p.s. curious also, is there a specific realization in Atmananda's Direct Path that leads to the dissolution of 'Awareness'?
    Liberation Unleashed - Article - Integrating View and Experience
    Liberation Unleashed, article Integrating
    May 7 at 3:08pm · Edited · Like · 4 · Remove Preview
    Soh In October 2010 I wrote (entry in my ebook):

    "Oh and regarding 'On the other hand, feeling ‘universe’ has to do with the deconstruction of ‘identity’ and ‘personality’. You have to have clearer insight of what ‘deconstructions’ leads to what experience.' - it's my experience that dropping personality leads to experiencing Awareness as not an individual or personal presence but a Universal Awareness sustaining and containing all lives and forms... There is a sense of an all pervading Awareness that does not belong to any particular person or object but sustains them. At this point, Awareness is still treated as a background, but it is now seen as the Source and Ground of all beings and things... not a personal presence.

    However... the non-dual aspect is different as it is no longer 'Universal Awareness' but 'Awareness is the Universe'. There is simply the universe manifesting this moment as a pure nondual consciousness experience... Consciousness/Awareness is this arising sound, sight, thought, etc. Awareness AS Universe... no longer Universal Awareness. This part requires dissolving the sense of an ultimate background identity, the Big Self of Universal Awareness..."
    May 7 at 2:40pm · Edited · Like · 2
    Soh Tony Parsons also talk about the Witness and the collapse of Witness at times (not necessarily Higher Witness):

    "When there was a Tony Parsons that was seeking, one of the things that he or it became aware of sometimes was the sense of something watching it from behind, and it seems to have an impersonal nature to it. But when the 'me' vanished or was no more, that vanished with it, but in a sense that is very linked with the idea of an Awareness that is impersonal. But that is intrinsically for the me an experience of something happening to it, even though the watcher or observer or awareness seems to be impersonal, it's still in the story of experience. So when the experience is no more, what also collapses with it is Awareness, observation or watching." - - starting from 10:50

    However Tony does not teach 'steps', i.e. he does not teach about going into Witness then collapsing the Witness etc.

    I think Tony is quite clear about non-dual, but I don't know if he is still leaving any kind of traces of an ultimate essence or any subtle dualities, therefore I wrote an e-mail out of curiosity to understand his view more properly. Likewise I wrote an e-mail to Steven Norquist previously, and his reply clearly revealed that his view is strictly restricted to the perspective of 'One Mind' where manifestation arise and subside within a source and substratum of Consciousness yet inseparable from it instead of being a background witness. It would seem that this is not Tony's view at this point, as he seems to reject any sort of a metaphysical inherently existing non-dual Consciousness, even though his view is clearly nondual (no subject-object duality). But I can't say much until I speak with him

    And I think as John Ahn said, although Tony may have good experiences and realizations, his skillfulness is not that great. He's unable to lead anyone to those realization besides giving talks.

    Also as Daniel Ingram said about U.G. Krishnamurti:

    " Re: UGK: I don't know anyone who knew him personally, but his recommendations about a "Natural State" and this being simply discontinuous raw sense data is spot on, except for the part that there is nothing you can do to realize it. That wanting something other than this is a problem is perennially mentioned, and the whole point of practice is to shift one's future fixation to meditation on the here and now happening naturally on its own in a discontinuous way, so, while I agree with many of his conclusions, like so many who had no idea how they got something (there are plenty of them, BTW), he concludes that there is no clearly defined way to get there. However, as countless practitioners have noticed over thousands of years, noticing that things happen naturally now and are discontinuous and allowing them to be the thing itself flips things over to them being the thing itself, as they always were. See "Clarifying the Natural State" mentioned above: truly a remarkably spot-on book."
    Play Video
    Tony Parsons Berlin 24.06.2012 part 1 of 3
    Recorded in Germany, Berlin the 24th of June 2012 Tony Parsons website: http://w... See More
    May 7 at 3:24pm · Edited · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    John Ahn Helen Tam-Semmens

    Sorry, can you copy and paste where you did? I only see criticisms of others' use of language.

    Also if you don't ground your claims more on how you have come to them, you will just sound like someone who went to a new age bookshop and strung together phrases to spit out at people.

    It will just be a bunch of opinions. I read your enlightenment experience but it doesn't give basis for many of these claims you are making.
    May 7 at 5:27pm · Edited · Like
    Christoffer Sørensen I don't think Helen's view is New Age or anything, I know a Taoist teacher using frequency of the energy body as a means of one's development. The problem is New Age teachings have hijacked this concept and using it to water down the real teachings. But then again these are just mental concepts.
    May 7 at 5:27pm · Like · 1
    John Ahn I agree it's not the view, it's the presentation that is new age.
    May 7 at 5:28pm · Like · 1
    Helen Tam-Semmens John Ahn said, "Sorry, can you copy and paste where you did?"

    Here it is:
    "Soh, you said 'Self-Realization, realization of Consciousness, has been a step in my path. Realization of emptiness came later and revealed very subtle and liberating truth.'

    Note that there are many ripples of realization of Self, Oneness, Consciousness, emptiness of Self, of Self in All, the dissolution of physical existence, various Enlightenment experiences, before touching upon the freedom of Shunyata. Shunyata is not a realization of the mind, or knowledge of sort, but a completely different frequency, completely different CONSCOUSNESS, which is much much more drastic than physical death.

    Just as the love for apples is very different from motherly love or unconditional love, the CONSCOUSNESS I talked about is VERY different from ordinary consciousness or heightened consciousness or expanded consciousness or nonlocal consciousness, etc."
    May 7 at 9:20pm · Like
    Helen Tam-Semmens Christoffer Sørensen, you mentioned Taoism. I found the following to be quite accurate and revealing. Go to page 80, topic 'On cultivating the self'
    Understanding Reality by Chang-Po-tuan - Tr. Thomas Cleary
    Tao Alchemy Text
    May 7 at 9:36pm · Like · Remove Preview
    John Ahn Helen Tam-Semmens

    Uh, you just stated mostly your own views there. We never said shunyata is a conceptual realization. You are misunderstanding. We were also talking about luminosity of awareness as related to phenomena instead of seeing it as a background. There is nothing conceptual about this and rather this is a dropping of knowing into direct seeing.

    I don't think you are very interested in reading what many of us are writing about. You often conveniently throw everyone else's experiences and understandings as conceptual knowledge and only yours as direct experience.

    I think your experience is incredible and probably beyond a lot of us, including me, have ever tasted. But a few of us here have experienced higher frequencies of consciousness. I have once went about a week in total bliss awareness where even in sleep I was aware. Just like you have pointed out it makes regular awakefulness look like a slumber. It is intense and ime the physical body has a difficult time remaining with that intensity. There are also people who have gone through deep Jhanas and have for a time lived with the aim of stabilizing or deepening these states of consciousness believing it is the goal of enlightenment.

    But what we are talking about here, which is about direct insight into our nature and not cultivating states of awareness, is different. Buddhist teachings specifically warn about falling in love with meditative Jhanas. The buddha himself mastered the samadhis but he left the teachers who taught him those states because to him it wasn't liberation.There is insight that is non conceptual, and this is wisdom. Hence practice of dharma is usually divided into shamatha and vipassana.

    I hope you give our perspectives another look. I don't mind you disagreeing and going your own path. After all who knows which is the right one? But at least we should understand one another.
    May 8 at 3:42am · Edited · Unlike · 5
    Greg Goode (long again) = Coming to Madhyamika with Awareness teachings in your background =

    One of the most important points if you come to Madhyamika from an Awareness background is to realize the emptiness of awareness.

    Why? Because in Buddhism, everything is empty, not just stuff other than awareness. But in Buddhism, awareness is empty too.

    For such a person with such a background, this can create a paradoxical difficulty.

    One one hand, it might be easy to realize the emptiness of objects like tables and chairs. After all, according to the awareness teachings, these objects cannot exist on their own. Tables and chairs depend on awareness by being nothing other than awareness. The transition of this insight to Madhyamika is pretty smooth. (Of course in classical Madhyamika, tables and chairs depend on other things too, like elements and conditions. Sometimes awareness teachings pay lip service to these effects, sometimes not. But mostly in awareness teachings, things are nothing in themselves but are actually the nature of awareness.) So tables and chairs might be pretty easy.

    But on the other hand, it is harder to realize the emptiness of awareness itself. And this difficulty is something we see in so many of these cross-path discussions.

    This difficulty comes from the fact that awareness does so much work in the awareness teachings. It becomes something quite NON-empty when seen from the perspective of the Madhyamika teachings. In teh awareness teachings, awareness is the sum and substance and nature and identity and truth and being of everything. It depends on nothing else. In some awareness teachings, awareness is not even said to be self-knowing (for that would be a dualistic relation.) It just shines in its own glory.

    So when you come to the emptiness teachings, it can be very challenging and disorienting. It's difficult for many folks new to the emptiness teachings to see the emptiness of awareness. It is hard to see awareness depending on anything else. But that is what one must do according to Madhyamika.

    This difficulty is even harder to address if a person makes an equivalence in their mind as they cross paths, saying "awareness=emptiness, they are the same thing."

    Why is it so important to realize the emptiness of awareness?

    For two reasons.

    One, in Buddhism, it is important to realize the emptiness of everything. Everything is inter-dependent. If we still have the conception of the inherent existence of anything at all, then to some extent we are still clinging and grasping.

    Two, and more important, is this. In the case of most awareness teachings, it is taught that the self is nothing other than awareness. "I am awareness." So if I have the conception of awareness being inherently existent, then I will also have the conception that I am inherently existent. I won't be able to realize myself as empty unless I realize that awareness is empty.

    So it must be done. It's almost like a person coming from awareness teachings must investigate awareness as a special topic, a special dedicated set of emptiness meditations. It's that important, and the "awareness-is-all" assumptions are that strong when you come from those teachings. When you are doing emptiness meditations with that kind of background, seeing the emptiness of awareness has complexities and subtleties that other things don't have.
    May 8 at 3:50am · Edited · Unlike · 7
    Stefan Beyer Greg Goode, I think one can do a kind of reframing of the word "I". Even in the conventional usage there is a relationship to what appears as directly accessible. Btw. I doubt that there are many people who believe in a homunculus in their heads or something like that as their "I". Usually "I" is an indexical word like "here", "now" or "this computer". Indexical words assume different meanings in different situations, unlike for instance proper names. For most people "I" means something like "this bodymind". There is a conceptual part in this definition but it also refers to what is directly accessible: There is (usually) only one mind that I can read and therefore I take it to be mine or me. There is (usually) only one body I can feel as body sensations, therefore this. too, belongs to me. This idea of direct accessibility is also expressed in the term "first-person-perspective" in contrast to the perspectives of others and believing in concepts. I assume that "first-person-perspective" or "direct knowing" is also the base of the emptiness-teaching (?). So if only that is left of "I", which is imho the case in the Advaita-perspective, it is different from an ego which is based on third-person-perspective or concepts.
    May 8 at 6:46am · Edited · Like
    Greg Goode Stefan, I totally agree with that reframing of the "I". In fact, in full-fledged paths that examine the full range of experience, language itself undergoes a full reframing. So in the emptiness teachings for example, language shifts from a referential to a non-referential mode. So words can be used in a joyfully free way without the impression that they truly represent anything. Of course this affects "I" and all the other words in use as well....
    May 8 at 7:06am · Edited · Like · 3
    Stefan Beyer Maybe I understood a bit: "Empty" means "empty of ego". In that sense both awareness and (so-called) objects are empty. Is it that simple?
    May 8 at 10:20pm · Like
    Soh It depends what you mean by ego. Ego means 'self', however, many people use the term 'ego' to denote 'small self' in contrast with the 'Ultimate, Big Self' with the capital S that is also known as Brahman, etc. Wisdom of emptiness allows us to see that there is no inherently existing Big Self, not just the small self of so called 'ego' that is also taught in many religions [the dissolving of the 'small self' and realization of the Big Self]

    Wrote this in 2013 to an Actual Freedom practitioner who was wrongly accusing Buddha of teaching a 'Soul' or 'Ultimate Self' teaching:

    ...the original teachings of the Buddha leads to the complete relinquishment of all self/Self. In my experience this is the case. For me, the sense of a Soul or transcendental identity/Self has been terminated for good and no longer arise at all for years. I have been through the stage where there is identification with the transpersonal Self/I AM, and then such identification is put to an end with further insights into anatta.

    This is why Buddhadharma is radical.

    As Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm Smith wrote before:

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

    And as Thusness wrote to me in 2005 way before we knew anything about AF's Richard Parker (late 2009):

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

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

    ...And it is not just I or Thusness or Malcolm who is saying so - Buddha himself is saying so.

    Taken from accesstoinsight:

    "Cula-sihanada Sutta (MN 11) -- The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar {M i 63} [Ñanamoli Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans.] - , the Buddha declares that only through practicing in accord with the Dhamma can Awakening be realized. His teaching is distinguished from those of other religions and philosophies through its unique rejection of all doctrines of self. [BB]"

    Buddha did not reject only one view of self/Self but 84 kinds of views about Self - including the view that Self is the unchanging Consciousness or soul that survives after death in the Brahmajala Sutta. Also in the Mulapariyaya Sutta/MN 1, the Buddha was speaking to a group of ex-Samkhya followers who became converted and became his monks. Even though they have converted, they still held the belief in the Purusha (pure consciousness/awareness) as changeless Self or Soul, and they believed in a "root" or Source: an abstract principle out of which all things emanated and which was immanent in all things.

    Because the Buddha knew the monks still held onto this belief/view/position, he began the discourse with "I will teach you the sequence of the root of all phenomena". He described a whole range of phenomena that can be experienced, including subtle states accessible in meditation like the "infinite consciousness", "infinite space", "nothingness" and so on. In each of these experiences, he declared that they are not to be established as Self, not to be viewed as a Source out of which things emerges from. Even Nirvana/unbiding (the termination of all passions, aggression and delusion), he declared, is not to be established in terms of a Self or to be viewed as a Source.

    Interestingly, this is the ONLY teaching the Buddha taught that at the end of the discourse, the monks were unhappy and dissatisfied. ("Displeased, the monks did not delight in the Blessed One's words.") As obviously the monks wanted the Buddha to affirm their belief/view/position/experience instead of rejecting or refuting it.

    Fortunately, by paying heed to the Buddha's teachings, the monks practiced and eventually overcome all false views and conceits of "I Am" and attained complete Nirvana.

    By "cleansing True Self", Thusness means one's experience of consciousness is cleansed of ALL traces of self/Self including any form of identifying with a "True Self". As Thusness stated back in February 2006, "The different between hinduism and buddhism is they return to the "I AM" and clings to it. But in buddhism it is being replaced by "emptiness nature", (the sense that) there is a purest, an entity, a stage to be gained or achieved is an illusion. There is none. No self to be found. No identity to assumed. Nothing attained. So for a teaching that is so thorough and complete, why must it resort back to a "True Self"? For one that has experienced in full emptiness nature, does he/she need to create an extra "True Self"?"

    "In light of emptiness nature, "True Self" is not necessary. The so called "purest" is already understood, there is no clinging. There is hearing, no hearer...etc (This) is already beyond "True Self". Yet it exactly knows the stage of "True Self". If there is no hearing...then something is wrong. There is hearing but no hearer. Put your time into practice and understanding of no-self and emptiness. "

    The wisdom of "no-self" or "emptiness" is the realization that there is no actual self/Self/soul/any kind of substantiality. This realization releases all delusions and bondage. Otherwise, one can have PCEs but the delusion of identity can persist. This is why I posted the "No mind and anatta" thread.

    Sensate experience is immediately direct gapless without identity or reifications, in the direct actualization there is naturally no concepts, no emotions, no separation, stillness, without a sense of vantage point/center to measure movement, etc.
    Cula-sihanada Sutta: The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar
    'But, friends, is that goal for one affected by lust or free from lust?' Answeri... See More
    May 8 at 10:29pm · Edited · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    Greg Goode Stefan, It's more like. empty of self-establishment or true existence or objectivity.

    In awareness teachings, most folks would agree that a table is empty of those things, but they wouldn't say that awareness is empty of those things. Madhyamika would say that everything is empty of those things, even awareness, even emptiness....
    May 8 at 10:27pm · Edited · Unlike · 4

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