Posted by: Soh
Written by Thusness/PasserBy at forum topic Mind and Self-Liberation
Originally posted by An Eternal Now:
Something I wrote in another forum, and re-edited, after discussing with Thusness (and still probably imperfect).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subjectivity9 View 
Post
S9: No, what else are phenomena then, besides thoughts? Don’t say Awareness, please, as we both agree that there is ‘Constant Awareness,’ but sometimes Awareness is without illusions, illusion being described as wrongful view/or wrong perspective.

When we think that Awareness is being thought, what we are saying is that Awareness cannot be without thoughts. Any advanced meditator will tell you, in a New York minute, that this simply isn’t the case. Granted thoughts cannot be without Awareness, but this is because Awareness lends temporary existence to these thoughts, not the other way around. Can you see that they are not equal in this way? Thoughts are pure imagination, just as dreams are.
I think it is better to approach this way:

Non-conceptual thought VS conceptual thought instead of  Awareness VS Thoughts.

If you see it is “Awareness Vs Thoughts”, then it is dualistic and inherent view.  If you see it as non-conceptual thought, then eventually you will realize both non-conceptual and conceptual thoughts share the same luminous essence and empty nature.  Non-conceptual thought is non-verbal and direct.  It appears still and with the tendency to reify it is often mistaken as ‘Unchanging Witness’.

Therefore in your experience of the “I AMness”, I advise you to understand this experience from the perspective of “direct and non-conceptual aspect of perception” and how by being “direct and non-conceptual” creates that sort of ‘certain, unshakable and undeniable’ confidence.  That is, if a practitioner is fully authenticated from moment to moment the arising and passing phenomena, the practitioner will always have this sensation of ‘certain and unshaken’ confidence.
First of all there is no objective reality to thoughts, vision of tree, etc. Like David Carse said, what all this is is All That Is, pure Being Consciousness Bliss Outpouring; it is your perception of it as a physical world that is maya, illusion.

Awareness is not a tree or a thought in the sense that Awareness obviously is not objective like a 'thing' existing 'outside' separate from us. In fact, nothing exists 'outside', as explained earlier:

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
What David Carse said requires more than the “I AMness” realization you narrated in your post “Certainty of Being”.  It also requires more than just glimpses of the non-dual state that can be induced by penetrating the question:

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

It requires a practitioner to be sufficiently clear about the cause of ‘separation’ so that the perceptual knot that creates the ‘division’ is thoroughly seen through.  At this phase, non-dual becomes quite effortless.  The three following articles that you posted in your blog are all about the thorough insights of seeing through the illusionary division created by mental constructs.  They are all very well written.  It is worth revisiting these articles.

1. Body/No-Body
2. The Teachings of Atmananda and the Direct Path
3. The Direct Path

Of all the 3 articles, I like Joan’s article Body/No-body best.  Do not simply go through the motion of reading, read with a reverent heart.  Though a simple article but is not any less insightful than those written by well-known masters, it has all the answers and pointers you need. :)

Next, there are several points you made that is related to the deconstruction of mental objects but you should also note that there exist a predictable relationship between the 'mental object to be de-constructed' and 'the experiences and realizations'.  For example “The Teachings of Atmananda and the Direct Path” will, more often than not lead a practitioner to the realization of One Mind whereas the article from Joan will lead one to the experiential insight of No-Mind.  As a general guideline,

1. If you de-construct the subjective pole, you will be led to the experience of No-Mind.
2. If you de-construct the objective pole, you will be led to the experience of One-Mind.
3. If you go through a process of de-constructing prepositional phrases like "in/out" "inside/outside" "into/onto," "within/without" "here/there", you will dissolve the illusionary nature of locality and time.
4. If you simply go through the process of self-enquiry by disassociation and elimination without clearly understanding the non-inherent and dependent originated nature of phenomena, you will be led to the experience of “I AMness”.

Lastly, not to talk too much about self-liberation or the natural state, it can sound extremely misleading.  Although Joan Tollifson spoke of the natural non-dual state is something “so simple, so immediate, so obvious, so ever-present that we often overlook”, we have to understand that to even come to this realization of the “Simplicity of What Is”, a practitioner will need to undergo a painstaking process of de-constructing the mental constructs.  We must be deeply aware of the ‘blinding spell’ in order to understand consciousness.  I believe Joan must have gone through a period of deep confusions, not to under-estimate it. :)
4 Responses
  1. "Non-conceptual thought VS conceptual thought instead of Awareness VS Thoughts.

    If you see it is “Awareness Vs Thoughts”, then it is dualistic and inherent view. If you see it as non-conceptual thought, then eventually you will realize both non-conceptual and conceptual thoughst share the same luminous essence and empty nature."



    It seems to me that this might also be expressed by stating that it is the concept of conceptual / non-conceptual thought that is dualistic in nature and that it is this dualistic view which is an obstacle to experiencing "the luminous essence and empty nature."

    However, I don't believe that it is correct to state that awareness vs thoughts is dualistic, because in such a case we are talking about apples and oranges and not terms such as high and low, big and tall, near and far, all of which are indeed dualistic terms.

    Even complex concepts such as Samsara and Nirvana can be (and are) considered to be dualistic because it is acknowledged that the two are ultimately one.

    Although awareness and thoughts are both ultimately empty of inherent existence, they are not traditionally viewed as one in the same. Therefore I believe that to state that they are dualistic in nature is, in the context of abhidharma, an incorrect usage of the term dualistic.

    And all this by way of introduction! Thanks.

    [About me: Over the past several years I have been focusing my attention on the nature of emptiness, impermanence, a lack of inherent existence, interdependent origination, that sort of thing. Today, however, while reading an introductory book on dzogchen I suddenly realized that I knew/know almost nothing in regard to the inner workings of the mind.

    Anyone aware of a short, pithy text on the subject that I can read over and over again to get started? This method of learning seems to work best for me and, so I don't get too scattered, the text should be in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Again, thanks.]


  2. Hi,

    It depends on what do you mean by 'awareness'. Are you talking about 'awareness' as a form of wisdom that contrast ignorance? If that is the case then yes, there is a difference between awareness and un-awareness conventionally speaking, as there is conventionally a difference between Buddhas and sentient beings (but not in their nature and essence of mind).

    So I do agree that there is conventionally speaking a difference between Samsara and Nirvana, but I do not agree that this applies to 'Awareness and Thoughts' which I shall explain below.

    That is, if you are talking about awareness not as a form of 'wisdom vs ignorance' but rather as the luminous essence of all phenomena, then it is not something separate from thoughts that exists in-and-of-itself (that would be the non-Buddhist understanding - see http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html for a progression of insights on the nature of Awareness), just as the nature of 'emptiness' is not something separate/distinct from all phenomena - it simply is the nature of all phenomena. Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.

    As 14th Century Mahamudra Master Dakpo Tashi Namgyal states:

    "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."


    As Daniel M. Ingram would explain,

    "...Assume something really simple about sensations and awareness: they are exactly the same. In fact, make it more simple: there are sensations, and this includes all sensations that make up space, thought, image, body, anything you can imagine being mind, and all qualities that are experienced, meaning the sum total of the world.

    In this very simple framework, rigpa is all sensations, but there can be this subtle attachment and lack of investigation when high terms are used that we want there to be this super-rigpa, this awareness that is other. You mention that you feel there is a larger awareness, an awareness that is not just there the limits of your senses. I would claim otherwise: that the whole sensate universe by definition can't arise without the quality of awareness by definition, and so some very subtle sensations are tricking you into thinking they are bigger than the rest of the sensate field and are actually the awareness that is aware of other sensations.

    Awareness is simply manifestation. All sensations are simply present.."

    - excerpt from http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/09/rigpa-and-aggregates.html

    Lastly, you mentioned about wanting some 'short, pithy, complex, technical text on the subject' - I would highly recommend reading 'Clarifying the Natural State' by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, a 14th century Mahamudra texts that I think is one of the clearest meditation manual that also contains a lot of pithy instructions and advice on pointing out the nature of mind.

    I have posted some pointers from the book at http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2008/11/few-excerpts-from-clarifying-natural.html

    Guru Padmasambhava's text 'Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness' is also a good text for you to contemplate - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/self-liberation-through-seeing-with.html

    p.s. apologies for posting so many versions of this comment, blogger kept showing me an error whenever I submit, stating that the comment couldn't be posted, so I kept reducing the length of the comment until I realized that all along the comments had been successfully posted after all.


  3. James Says:

    As 14th Century Mahamudra Master Dakpo Tashi Namgyal states:

    "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."


    This is very nice. Thank you I think I'll post this on my FB page.
    And thanks for the reading suggestion as well. I will put it on my wish list.


  4. A flower demonstrates awareness when it tracks the sun. I suppose one could say that awareness occurs when a life form pays attention to an object of perception. -maximo hudson