Based on some conversations earlier this year and last year by Thusness/PasserBy which I have slightly edited:
First experience the Isness of the gap between 2 moments of thought, then the Isness of the thought between 2 moments of gap.When we discriminate between awareness from thoughts, awareness appears as the 'space' behind and between thoughts. And because of discriminating awareness and content thinking, the behind background reality is preferred over content, so background awareness appears as 'awakening' -- but it is really only treating a particular speck of dust as mirror and thus unable to see all as mirror... and so instead of being 'awakening' it is actually being 'lost'. That experience is just a dimension of Presence... but due to deeply rooted habitual tendencies to grasp dualistically, one tightly clings to the 'background subject'. That is, Presence is mistaken as a true Subject or True Self behind all objects, as some kind of unchanging background. Or it becomes the Eternal Witness perceiving (dispassionately) and untouched by all impermanent objects coming and going (where in reality the knowingness cannot be separated from the flow of phenomenality). (See Stage One of Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment) But it is not the entirety of Presence -- the aspect of non-dual, Anatta (no-self), Emptiness and Dependent Origination are not included. Because of this, it is difficult to see that the five aggregates (the 'heaps' of experiences that are designated as 'self': forms, feelings, perceptions, volition and consciousness) are Buddha-Nature.
When we talk about naked awareness it is not a state where not even a single thought arise. When it is taught about the gap between 2 moments of thought, it is to first have an experience of the nakedness of awareness. To touch just that aspect of awareness. When we extend the gaps, our thoughts become less and clarity becomes more obvious.
However it will come to a time that no matter what is done, how much effort is being invested, how long, the other aggregates do not subside. This then is the crucial moment whether one can break through into non-duality (of subject and object).
Awareness is a seamless experience that is non-dual in nature. In this seamless experience, there is no boundary whatsoever, no experiencer experiencing experience; whatever arises is experience, is awareness -- as the sound of birds chirping, as words appearing on the screen, as the thoughts itself. There is no separate hearer, seer, watcher, observer, thinker. Everything is shining, self-felt, self-luminous, without a center. It is always just spontaneous arising and ceasing. There is no center, agent, boundary, inside or outside... merely a seamless whole experience.
Whether perception or no perception, whether momentum or no momentum, whether there are thoughts or no thoughts, it doesn't matter. That is the arising of the non-dual wisdom, with the understanding that the transience are the Presence.
Then no thoughts and thoughts are thoroughly understood. When no thoughts and thoughts are clearly understood, it becomes Gap-less. That is true effortlessness and is the pathless path without entry and exit.
Going before the arising of thoughts and perception and have a glimpse of that luminous nature is simply just a glimpse. If a practitioner mistakes it as the entirety of Buddha Nature by maintaining the mirror bright and attempt to go after that particular state, it will eventually proof futile. If we see only the realm of no-thought, then the gap between two moments will eventually becomes an obstruction.
Then the practice becomes the thought moment between two moments of gaps. To experience that luminous empty essence of that thought. It is in essence clarity, awareness itself, and is empty. The waves and the ocean are one and the same. All waves are One Taste. Experiencing Isness as an ocean and shunning away thoughts and manifestation is equally lost, the further insight (insight into non-duality) is the insight into everything as self-luminous awareness or Mind.
However, start by practicing the gap between 2 moments of thought and expand it but with the right understanding of no-self/non-duality. Then when the luminosity shines, it will gradually understand because it knows what blocks. When it tries all its best to do away the transients and yet the transients persist, one will have to wait for the right condition to come, such as having someone to point out or some verses that serves as a condition for awakening.
So first experience the Isness of the gap between 2 moments of thought, then the Isness of the thought between 2 moments of gap.
Excerpt from Pointing Out Innate Thinking:
"Is it an aware emptiness after the thought has dissolved? Or is it an aware emptiness by driving away the thought from meditation? Or, is the vividness of the thought itself an aware emptiness?"
If the meditator says it is like one of the first two cases, he had not cleared up the former uncertainties and should therefore be set to resolve this for a few days.
On the other hand, if he personally experiences it to be like the latter case, he has seen identity of thought and can therefore be given the following pointing-out instruction:
"When you look into a thought's identity, without having to dissolve the thought and without having to force it out by meditation, the vividness of the thought is itself the indescribable and naked state of aware emptiness. We call this seeing the natural face of innate thought or thought dawns as dharmakaya.
"Previously, when you determined the thought's identity and when you investigated the calm and the moving mind, you found that there was nothing other than this intangible single mind that is a self-knowing, natural awareness. It is just like the analogy of water and waves."
~ 14th Century Mahamudra Master, Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
Dzogchen Master Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche:
Even if those who begin to practice this find it difficult to continue in this state for more than an instant, there is no need to worry about it. Without wishing for the state to continue for a long time and without fearing the lack of it altogether, all that is necessary is to maintain pure presence of mind, without falling into the dualistic situation of there being an observing subject perceiving an observed object. If the mind, even though one maintains simple presence, does not remain in this calm state, but always tends to follow waves of thoughts about the past or future, or becomes distracted by the aggregates of the senses such as sight, hearing, etc., then one should try to understand that the wave of thought itself is as insubstantial as the wind. If one tries to catch the wind, one does not succeed; similarly if one tries to block the wave of thought, it cannot be cut off. So for this reason one should not try to block thought, much less try to renounce it as something considered negative. In reality, the calm state is the essential condition of mind, while the wave of thought is the mind's natural clarity in function; just as there is no distinction whatever between the sun and its rays, or a stream and its ripples, so there is no distinction between the mind and thought. If one considers the calm state as something positive to be attained, and the wave of thought as something negative to be abandoned, and one remains thus caught up in the duality of accepting and rejecting, there is no way of overcoming the ordinary state of mind.
"Ananda, you have not yet understood that all the defiling objects that appear, all the illusory, ephemeral phenomena, spring up in the very spot where they also come to an end. Their phenomena aspects are illusory and false, but their nature is in truth the bright substance of wonderful enlightenment. Thus it is throughout, up to the five skandhas and the six entrances, to the twelve places and the eighteen realms; the union and mixture of various causes and conditions account for their illusory and false existence, and the separation and dispersion of the causes and conditions result in their illusory and false extinction. Who would have thought that production and extinction, coming and going are fundamentally the eternal wonderful light of the Tathagata, the unmoving, all-pervading perfection, the wonderful nature of True Suchness! If within the true and eternal nature one seeks coming and going, confusion and enlightenment, or birth and death, one will never find them."
"You still have not realized that in the Treasury of the Tathagata, the nature of form is true emptiness and the nature of emptiness is true form. That fundamental purity pervades the Dharma Realm. Beings’ minds absorb itaccording to their capacity to know. Whatever manifests does so in compliance with karma. Ignorant of that fact, people of the world are so deluded as to assign its origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the mind, are nothing but the play of empty and meaningless words."
Lama Surya Das:
I think this five skandha scheme is a very interesting one, in the sense that it can begin to raise some very interesting questions and help us dig deeper, rather than just having a vague, amorphous kind of understanding. We are individual. We are each responsible for ourselves and our karma and our relations. Our individuality is comprised of these five aggregates or skandhas. We can work with that. It is actually an expression of the Buddha-nature.
Now, doesn't anybody want to say, "I didn't hear anything about Buddha-nature in the five skandhas. Where's the Buddha-nature? Who made that up?" That's the right question. What Buddha-nature? I never said anything about it. Who made that up? What enlightenment? What nirvana? Who made all that stuff up? Is it in us or elsewhere? How to get from "here" to "there"?
We're all looking for something to hang our hopes on, but when we really get down to the present moment, to our own experience, to clear seeing, we come to what Buddha said: "In hearing there is only hearing; no one hearing and nothing heard." There is just that moment, that hearing. You might think, "Oh, a beautiful bird." How do you know it's a bird? It might be a tape recorder. It might be bicycle brakes squeaking. In the first moment, there is just hearing, then we get busy, our minds and concepts get involved. The Buddha went through all the five senses. "In seeing there is just seeing; no one seeing and nothing seen." And so on, with tasting, touching, smelling, and thinking. Thoughts without a thinker. In thinking there is just thinking. There is just that momentary process. There is no thinker. The notion of an inner thinker is just a thought. We imagine that there is somebody thinking. It's like the Wizard of Oz. They thought there was this glorious wizard, but it was just a little man back there behind the screen, behind the veil. That's how it is with the ego. We think there's a great big monkey inside working the five windows, the five senses. Or maybe five monkeys, one for each sense; a whole chattering monkey house, which it sometimes feels like. But is there really a concrete individual or permanent soul inside at all? It seems more like that the lights are on, but no one is home!