Thusness, 2009, Dharma Overground:

I think realization and development will eventually reach the same destination.

A practitioner that experience the “Self” will initially treat
1.The “Source as the Light of Everything”.
2. He/she will eventually move to the experience that the “Light is really the Everything”.

In the first case, the Light will appear to be still and the transience appears to be moving. Collapsing of space and time will only be experienced when one resides in Self. However if the mind continues to see the 'Light' as separated from the 'Everything' , then realization will appear to be apart from development.

In the second case when we experience the “Light is really the Everything”, then Everything will be experienced as manifesting yet not moving. This is the experience of wholeness and completeness in an instantaneous moment or Eternity in a moment. When this experience becomes clear in practice, then witness is seen as the transience. Space and time will also collapse when we experience the completeness and wholeness of transience. An instantaneous moment of manifestation that is complete and whole in its own also does not involve movement and change (No changing thing, only change). Practicing being 'bare' in attention yet at the same time noticing the 3 characteristics will eventually bring us to this point.

However what has a yogi overcome when moving from case 1 to 2 and what exactly is the cause of separation in the first place? I think realizing this cause is of utmost importance for solving the paradox of realization and development.

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Hey Soh I hope you are doing good
I just had a question, just trying to make sure according to you what is the difference between mindfulness and awareness?

1:55 AM
the way i use the terms
awareness is your luminous essence, ever present as the very manifest sound, sight, or thought or sense of existence before concepts
for example when hearing just sound. always already so. hearing is always only sound. that sound is clearly 'self-aware'
already the case
you didn't make the sound 'aware' it is 'aware by itself' by nature
mindfulness is a mental factor that denotes the opposite of forgetfulness
so it is both the opposite of absent mindedness or distraction, as well as the presence of remembrance of the truth
remembrance of the three dharma seals - impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, non-self
so you can lose mindfulness but you cannot lose awareness
many people use the term mindfulness to mean something like bare attention, but bare attention is only part of it
you can have bare attention yet get stuck in the sense of being a background Witness
this is not being mindful of the three dharma seals
im doing good thanks.. hope you're doing good too

Im good

I see this where contemplation of the things like Bahiya sutta become important with remembrance of them
So non distraction is no awareness
Awareness-manifestartion is spontaneous and unfolds without a controller


awareness is 'essence', mindfulness is the practice, until it becomes effortless and spontaneous due to realisation and stabilisation of insight
even after arahantship, the arahants still dedicate quality time to meditate and practice mindfulness of breathing or the four foundations of mindfulness. this is so even though they done what is to be done and eliminated all I/me/mine-making, still practicing mindfulness in sitting meditation leads to a pleasant abiding. according to the buddha and his arahants
also 'awareness' or 'luminous essence' is usually over-stressed, what's even more important is the 'empty nature' of luminous clarity, this is what liberates
otherwise it becomes like Self of vedanta, etc
non-distraction and being mindful of the empty and luminous nature of presence in whatever arises is the practice, i mean. even though luminosity (awareness) and emptiness is never lost. it is not lost even in the most deluded unenlightened person in the world, just that they aren't mindful of their nature and thus suffer
at first mindfulness seems to be very efforting but after anatta realisation it becomes effortless. but it does not mean one should stop practicing, one should still practice diligently


This is clarifying so many things
How would you definite luminosity?


there are different definitions so you should be careful of the context being spoken. usually people use it to denote the aspect of 'luminous clarity' or clarity or presence-awareness, but according to Lopon Malcolm in his tradition the term 'luminosity' already implies the inseparability of emptiness and clarity. in my terminology, i usually use 'luminosity' to refer to the aspect of presence-awareness, so one can 'realise luminosity' but at the same time fail to realise its emptiness. both essence (presence-awareness) and nature (empty nature) or its inseparable union must be realised for liberation, that's the only way to liberate.
i wrote something on luminosity a few months back -

"Someone asked me about luminosity. I said it is not simply a state of heightened clarity or mindfulness, but like touching the very heart of your being, your reality, your very essence without a shadow of doubt. It is a radiant, shining core of Presence-Awareness, or Existence itself. It is the More Real than Real. It can be from a question of "Who am I?" followed by a sudden realization. And then with further insights you touch the very life, the very heart, of everything. Everything comes alive. First as the innermost 'You', then later when the centerpoint is dropped (seen through -- there is no 'The Center') every 'point' is equally so, every point is A 'center', in every encounter, form, sound and activity."

The Key Towards Pure Knowingness

"The key towards pure knowingness is to bring the taste of presence into the 6 entries and exits. So that what is seen, heard, touched, tasted are pervaded by a deep sense of crystal, radiance and transparency. This requires seeing through the center." - Thusness

What is Luminosity?

DhO questioner: What is Luminosity?

Daniel M. Ingram:

Luminosity is both a useful and possibly very misleading term.

Here's what it is doesn't mean: that a person will suddenly see things more brightly, that there will be more light in things than the standard amount, or anything like that.

Here's what it points to, said a number of equivalent ways:

“1) In the seeing, just the seen. In the hearing, just the heard. In cognition, just the cognized. In feeling, just the felt... This standard line from the Bahiya of the Bark Cloth Sutta in the Udana is one of the most profound there is in the whole of the Pali Canon. It means that sensations are just sensations, simply that, with no knower, doer, be-er (not beer, as that is a beverage), or self in them to be found at all.
2) Point one, taken in its logical inverse, means that the "light" of awareness is in things where they are, including all of the space between/around/through them equally.
3) Said another way, things just are aware/manifest/occurring where they are just as they are, extremely straightforwardly.


when all thoughts drop... what remains is purely a sense of PRESENCE. there is no subject-object in it. You do not observe it. You touch the heart of your Being, not by 'knowing' but Being the Being. It is You. and when hearing... how do you touch the 'heart' of the vivid luminosity of Sound? there's no how, you just realise that in hearing there's only sound, hearing IS the sound... the vivid PRESENCE/SOUND... there's only that. there is no one there to even 'recognise the sound'. that's not what mindfulness mean. mindfulness of sound is just SOUND, enter into it, the heart of it. and then the same goes for colors, sensations, taste, touch, smell, thought
that's luminosity and not just a state of heightened clarity
when you realise anatta you will realise the purpose of buddha teaching the four foundations of mindfulness, why the buddha taught that it is the direct path to liberation, why he is so confident in that practice that he assures everyone will attain full liberation through that practice in as little as 7 days and no more than 7 years
“What are the Four Establishments? 1. “Bhikkhus, a practitioner remains established in the observation of the body in the body, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life. 2. “He remains established in the observation of the feelings in the feelings, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life. 3. “He remains established in the observation of the mind in the mind, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life. 4. “He remains established in the observation of the objects of mind in the objects of mind, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life.”
as thich nhat hanh said, "While we are fully aware of and observing deeply and object the boundary between the subject who observes and the object being observed gradually dissolves, and the subject and object become one. This is the essence of meditation. Only when we penetrate the object and become one with it can we understand it. That is why the sutra reminds us to be aware of the body in the body, the feelings in the feelings, the mind in the mind, and the objects of mind in the objects of mind."

but what i'm saying is not even 'gradually' but a sudden realisation.. then the path becomes known and direct


Its so funny to see the myriad of interpretation people have. This was the interpretation I had of those statements of the Buddha the first time I practiced vipassana

this is similar to

We can only perceive the suchness of things through an awareness that opens to them nonconceptually and unconditionally, allowing them to reveal themselves in their as-it-is-ness. As the poet Basho suggests:

From the pine tree

Learn of the pine tree

And from the bamboo

of the bamboo.

Commenting on these lines, the Japanese philosopher Nishitani (1982) explains that Basho does not mean

That we should ‘observe the pine tree carefully.’ Still less does he mean for us to ‘study the pine tree scientifically.’ He means for us to enter the mode of being where the pine tree is the pine tree itself, and the bamboo is the bamboo itself, and from there to look at the pine tree and the bamboo. He calls on us to betake ourselves to the dimension where things become manifest in their suchness. (p. 128)

In the same vein, Zen Master Dogen advises: “You should not restrict yourselves to learning to see water from the viewpoints of human beings alone. Know that you must see water in the way water sees water” (Izutsu, 1972, p. 140). “Seeing water in the way water sees water” means recognizing water in its suchness, free of all concepts that spring from an observing mind standing back from experience.


Thanks again Soh I will devour the ressources you sent to bring clarity to my practice
One thing I wanted to mention
Last weekend I was contemplating and I suddenly had on of those "Aha" or "Eureka" moment about the I thought or the sense of existance. I saw like sights, sounds and other manifestation, it appears and disappears, it is not personal it is just an arising. Since then I felt like an empty shell of just dancing senses. As you told me before sensations cannot see, even if the tactile center is here, there is no substrate to cognizes, there is no awareness that links
Things feel so ordinary
I am nothing

that's good.. only arising and disappearing. but at the same time total presence is experienced and realised as that very arising

Yeah it seems I need to investigate more, I was locked in a sort of nothingness a few days ago but movement in multiplicity is coming back
I havent realized anatta but I cant find awareness, at least the one that was there before. The one existence, self-evidence that knows. Seeing, hearing and so on are self evident
It becomes even clearer in the moments when I spontenously get out of distraction


means you are having experience and glimpses of no-mind... but the realization is still lacking. so continue contemplation on bahiya sutta and anatta view, like this one - , and the realization will come and no-mind will become your natural state

I got you man
Thanks for sharing the dharma 👊🏿

Dainen-ji, November 17, 2017

Each moment unfolds as a display of richness, of colours and forms and sounds, as a myriad of sensations. Sincere practice is allowing the whole bodymind to live as the brightness of seeing, the depth of sound, as ever-changing sensations, as the Luminosity of experiencing as a whole. And when we allow ourselves to do even a measure of this, there is a quality of questioning, of interest, of intimacy with everything that is being experienced. But to do this requires that we choose to stop following the congealing of attention into fabrications that lead to further contraction and inevitably, suffering.
Anzan Hoshin roshi says, in the series of classes on “The 8000 Line Prajnaparamita sutra”:
Fear is the underlying mechanism of self-image, the attempt to reify reality in the most basic kind of way by simply freezing it and contracting. And the conventions of consensual experience or the experience of those who are unlearned, those who have not studied their experience, those who have not heard the Dharma, who have not practiced it, those whose lives are based on the understanding of a culture which is itself founded on contraction, will allow themselves to fall into that fear and will allow themselves to be held back by that fear from their own freedom.
What this points to is that we must wordlessly examine absolutely everything, taking nothing for granted: not who we think we are, not our memories, not what we think the body is, not what we think the mind is, not what our tendencies and habits tell us to do, not what our anger or fear is telling us to do. Any state you experience, any stance, any structure of attention you experience is not necessary. They are all recoil. They are all self-inflicted damage.
As the Roshi explained in Class 4 of the series “The Development of Buddhist Psychology:
All conditioned existence gives rise to dukkha or unsatisfactoriness, suffering, contraction, confusion; that this suffering, this dukkha, is fueled by the mechanism of grasping, of trying to hold on to something when it cannot be held and by continually misunderstanding the nature of our experience.
“Dukkha” does not describe one particular kind of state and the "suffering" isn’t necessarily traumatic or dramatic. I mention this because sometimes students will describe a particular kind of state, such as boredom, as dukkha. For example, a student might describe a state of sinking mind, of disinterest, when what they really mean is boredom, and boredom is the result of stupidity klesa. In other words, boredom is a way of experiencing that is poisoned by a flattening of attention that you are fabricating, following, propagating. It is a kind of pouting that one is not being entertained. It is not as dramatic as the tantrums of anger or grasping. But it is still a childish tactic.
But dukkha refers to all  states which are the result of conditioned experience, and all states create suffering, unsatisfactoriness and bondage.
The roots of the Pali word "dukkha" are "jur" and "kha." "Bad" and "space". The root metaphor behind this is the hole in a wheel through which the axle passes being blocked. So the word means obstructed space.
We need to learn that the space of who we are, which is present as seeing and hearing and just the fact of experience is already open. When you are in a state, you think you have no choice about that, but the truth of the matter is that you are not choosing. You are following compulsion. Choose to actually practise and open attention and the axle will turn freely.
It’s easy to cultivate states when you are sitting - states of boredom, states of calm, states of quiet, states of euphoria, shiny, shiny states. But all of these are dead ends because whatever is experienced within the state can only be the product of the state. The context is narrowed to the kind of content that suits it. And this is why such states can seem so convincing, and so compelling. This is why you fixate on them. There is no one who is better at lying to you than you are, and the thing that’s convinced by the lie is the same thing that’s doing the lying. It’s not magic once you understand how the trick works. The states define who and what is imagined as a self but is really just a process of obstruction and fabrication.
In Zen practice, however, what we are doing is attending openly, rather than fixating. You can’t ‘fix’ a state from inside of a state. You have to open around it and release it first. Anything you experience when attention is arranged in a structure (a state) is going to be biased and therefore cannot be true. Seeing these structures and learning to attend to them more and more openly with the whole of your experience is part of the many truths that zazen reveals. In the Class Six Outline in the series, “The Development of Buddhist Psychology”, the Roshi said,The Buddha has clearly seen that the root of dukkha was clinging to what  could not be clung to. This clinging was the result of conceiving of the impermanent and dynamic exertion of experience to be a collection of real and permanent objects and entities, believing that this clinging will bring pleasure and satisfaction whereas it results only in suffering and confusion, and that what is selfless and beyond the personal is self and personal. The succession of these moments of grasping and confusion he called “samsara”, the “flow”. He called the cessation of this useless struggle and strategic approach to experience “nibbana”, the “blowing out”. In many places throughout the early texts, we find the Buddha again and again asking students to give up their spiritual and secular strategies and just understand something so obvious that it is often missed.
This is why we ask students to sit according to a schedule, why the Roshi has said so often that “the schedule IS Buddha”. The dreaded committed sittings and the schedule you have promised to follow is important because you have to make choices that go beyond compulsion in order to do it. It is something in your life that will insist that you go further than your habits and tendencies dictate and can invite you into the world of the Buddhas. The world of the Buddhas is unfabricated and unborn and you arrive there by releasing yourself into it.
We sit zazen and we do this practice because moment after moment, we do not understand. Any snippets of understanding that come and go are not enough. We cannot afford to entertain ourselves with our states, our thoughts, our interpretations, our fabrications. These are all part of how we misunderstand and will not help us to clarify our understanding. We cannot afford to be lazy. So this morning and throughout this Dharma Assembly, please make the effort to really practise the richness of colours and forms and sounds, the nuance of sensations. Allow the whole bodymind to live as the brightness of seeing, the depth of sound, as ever-changing sensations, and as the Luminosity of experiencing as a whole, by opening all around, all at once.
Below is a compilation of some of Thusness's writings over the years about the practice after anatta realization, and the warnings against a nihilistic neo-Advaitin doctrine of 'no practices'. I personally like Daniel M. Ingram’s book title – ‘Mastering the Core Teachings of Buddha’ (a highly recommended book), as well as his criticism of the neo-Advaitin nihilistic doctrine with an article formerly title Why The Notion That You Cannot Become What You Already Are is Such Bullshit (now renamed as 'The “Nothing To Do” and “You Are Already There” Schools').

I think Daniel's book title is very much in line with the teachings of the Buddha, which presents the path very pragmatically and practically, as the Mastery of sila, samadhi and prajna (morality, concentration and wisdom) for liberation. The teachings of Buddha are not meant to be some arm-chair philosophy but a very practical manual for us to free our minds from suffering and attain true peace and happiness, which we have to put into practice. The Buddha made it clear that through no other way than by practicing the noble eightfold path (which is summarized as the three trainings just mentioned) can we achieve liberation. We should keep that in mind.


"After this insight, one must also be clear of the way of anatta and the path of practice. Many wrongly conclude that because there is no-self, there is nothing to do and nothing to practice.  This is precisely using "self view" to understand "anatta" despite having the insight. 

It does not mean because there is no-self, there is nothing to practice; rather it is because there is no self, there is only ignorance and the chain of afflicted activities. Practice therefore is about overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities.  There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is about wisdom, vipassana, mindfulness and concentration. If there is no mastery over these practices, there is no liberation. So one should not bullshit and psycho ourselves into the wrong path of no-practice and waste the invaluable insight of anatta.  That said, there is the passive mode of practice of choiceness awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as the "default way" and such practice can hardly be considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation."


"People that have gone into the nihilistic understanding of 'non-doing' ended up in a mess. You see those having right understanding of 'non-doing' are free, yet you see discipline, focus and peace in them.

Like just sitting and walking... whatever they endeavor. Fully anatta."


In my opinion many of our great aspirations and high views turn empty talks easily. After the direct insight of anatta, it opens the gate that allows one to experience effortlessly all sensations that arise without duality, without fear, without doership and without ownership. Many are unable to see the "Whys" and "Hows" of "directness" so don't waste your insights that have given the opportunity in this life. Train yourself to do that with sincerity and dedication first. Then you will be fully in touch with your original purity; you will be genuinely in touch with peace and openness.


We need to have time to practice and be focused otherwise very soon we will realize we have wasted this life.


I did tell him to visualize light and practice breathing with full no-self anatta insight intact.

The purpose of visualization and to have a prolong period of practice focus on breathing with anatta insight intact is to allow him to have glimpses of the relationship between visualization, concentration and the 3 states.


I do not want you to get into too high views and lose touch with genuine and simple practice.

If we want to experience fully and have genuine peace, be very sincere in sensing all your sensations for pretense, blames, rejections and contractions... ...don't rush...slow down your thoughts and scan all your sensations for these...see all these traces...see all these come from the "I"s and "mine"s...develop a strong willingness to let go with your insights of anatta. If you can for a brief moment be free from the conceit of I, the craving of mine and the background of I AM, that moment you are respectable even to the gods.


Soh Wei Yu, Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 11:59pm UTC+08

Jeff Foster ( 21 hours ago · Edited THIS In the end, as in the beginning, there is nothing more spiritual than having a cup of tea. We can talk about the absolute presence of the witness, the subjective objectivity of subjective conscious presence, the ecstasy of transcendental states, the pathless path to glorious enlightened futures, the spiritual realms with all their compelling promises of perfection. But soon, we tire of the words, however beautiful, and we long for simplicity, realness, a truth that cannot be broken. We long for the moment, however paradoxical that sounds. We long for our ground, our home. Connection. To get out of our heads and into the Heart. And so we are sitting with a friend in a café on a summer's morning, kids screaming in all directions, the reflection of sunlight on a tea-stained spoon, and THIS, THIS is life. Not life as abstracted by thought, not life as spoken by well-intentioned gurus and philosophers, but life as lived first-hand, life as nothing more than immediacy and presence and wonder, life as a tea bag, life as a sleeping dog, life as the shattering of glass, kids wild at play, oblivious to the seriousness that approaches in time. I once had a concept of the 'spiritual'. I once sought enlightened states. I once had an idea that I, or anyone, was an authority. I once felt superior to sleeping dogs and broken glass. I am now a tea bag. - Jeff Foster
Spiritual teachers argue over whether or not there is a self, and debate the illusion of free will. Spiritual seekers argue over whether or not their teachers speak the truth. Believers try to prove their beliefs. Atheists try to disprove the beliefs of believers. Lovers try to prove their love to each other. Dreamers try to hold their dreams. We cling to the holy books for dear life. We worship at the altar of concepts. When will we wake up from our mass hypnosis, our obsession with right and wrong, good and bad, our fixation with words and their polar opposites, and fall in love with what is vibrantly alive in ourselves and each other. Let us meet in the world before words, nothing to prove, nothing to defend. Only life, naked and raw, electric. Arms wide open to what is, and what can be. Self or no self, God or no God, the aware awareness awaring the consciously present witness of subjectively objective subjective Beingness prior to the emergence of .... Ah, fuck it. Finally awake to this living moment. Out of the head. Tumbling into the heart. All the words crumble. - Jeff Foster

Thusness, Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 12:27am UTC+08
Quite good. Right into the living moment and free from the bullshit of high views and arbitrary thoughts. Yet this is not the expression that interest me.