Posted by: Soh
Someone asked me:

"What does "realized as non-inherent" mean?

I don't understand what Thusness said:

(in Buddhism) non-dual is understood from a non-inherent and anatta perspective, when non-dual is understood from an inherent but non-dual perspective, it is advaita.

Could you elaborate?"

I said:

I wrote this post based on what Thusness/PasserBy said about 2 months ago.

There are two kinds of bond: one is the bond of seeing dualistically, experiencing in terms of subject and object. The other is the bond of seeing inherently, where consciousness and objects of consciousness are treated to have inherent existence/essence. Both bonds must be removed, but they are separate bonds.

Seeing, hearing, smelling, etc... even thoughts, when realised as not divided into an observer and observed, inside and outside, then everything is experienced as the display of consciousness. To see everything is consciousness is non-dual insight, but there must be further insight into anatta and emptiness to realise the empty nature of consciousness. This is the transition from Stage 4 to Stage 5 and 6 of Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment

It is not that manifestation are 'display of THE Consciousness' - there is no 'The Consciousness' as Consciousness is empty, in the same way we cannot accurately say that 'Clouds and Rain are the display of THE Weather', as 'Weather' as such is a convention but utterly without substantiality, essence, and location.

In other words, we may have notions of an all-pervasive Awareness, or Self, and experientially it is non-dual and this is a correct experience. But it is like the word 'Weather' - you can say everywhere you look into the sky, weather is not apart from that, but is there a truly existing 'Weather' apart from thinking about it? Is it located somewhere, or is it only these patterns of weather that dependently originate moment to moment? Similarly 'Awareness', 'Self' is simply a convention but is ultimately 'empty' - it is simply these self-luminous manifestation that dependently originate, it is just the stream of aggregates. That is why the Buddha talks about five skandhas instead of a One Consciousness, however non-duality (no subject and object) is already automatically implied by fully understanding anatta and five aggregates or eighteen dhatus. It is not that all five skandhas are just one awareness - that is just non-dual insight, but the insight into anatta is to see that the 'one awareness' cannot be found in or apart from the skandhas and dhatus, that there is simply the stream of aggregates. The experience is however still non-dual. When we understand that 'Awareness' like 'Weather' isn't something inherent, we also free ourselves from notions like 'things happening in Awareness' - just like you cannot say 'things happen in Weather' - weather isn't a findable essence or container of those phenomena, rather there is just those stream of phenomena which are conventionally called 'weather'.

Next is... can there be Consciousness without conditions? In Buddhism, no. In other religions, Consciousness is treated as a metaphysical essence, Self, substance, an ultimate source of everything that is one with yet transcends all manifestation, God, that has inherent existence. But in Buddhism we do not understand Consciousness in such ways. We have to factor in dependent origination.

So in other words, those in other religions who experience non-duality (subsuming subject and object into undivided One Mind) may claim something like "All There Is Is Consciousness", but they disregard conditions. They treat Consciousness as something inherent. But in Buddhism, we have to factor in causes and conditions. As Thusness commented on my friend Longchen's insight into Emptiness after realisation of non-dual,

I can see the synchronization of emptiness view into your non-dual experiences --. Integrating view, practice and experience. This is the essence of our emptiness nature and right understanding of non-dual experience in Buddhism that is different from Advaita Vedanta teaching. This is also the understanding of why Everything is the One Reality incorporating causes, conditions and luminosity of our Empty nature as One and inseparable. Everything as the One Reality should never be understood from a dualistic/inherent standpoint.

And as Longchen also wrote, "the conditions and factors are also inseparable from the non-dual oneness."

To understand the relationship between Dependent Origination and Consciousness one must study the Buddha's teachings on the 18 dhatus, the relation of conditions to the manifestation of consciousness, emphasis on anatta and emptiness instead of just emphasizing on discovering Brahman, One Consciousness, etc. It is not to deny All is Mind, but it is to understand All is Mind "due to" its empty nature and luminous essence, due to dependent origination and anatta. It is to see Consciousness not as an ultimate source of everything, but as interdependently originated manifestation, as Vajrahridaya puts it: there is the concept of the creative matrix in Buddhism and this matrix is without limit and is infinite. But it's not an eternal self standing infinite. It's an infinitude of mutually dependent finites... or "infinite finites" that persist eternally without beginning or end and without a source due to mutual, interpersonal causation you could say.

First of all Awareness is not like a mirror reflecting the world, but rather Awareness is a manifestation. Luminosity is an arising luminous manifestation rather than a mirror reflecting. The center here is being replaced with Dependent Origination, the experience however is non-dual.

One must learn how to see Appearances as Awareness and all others as conditions. Example, sound is awareness. The person, the stick, the bell, hitting, air, ears...are conditions. One should learn to see in this way. All problems arise because we cannot experience Awareness this way.

Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma explains, "With the condition of the eye, forms are seen, With the condition of ears, sounds are heard, With the condition of nose, smells are smelled, With the condition of tongue, tastes are tasted, every movement or states are all one's Mind."

Also, Nagarjuna explains, "When sound and ear assume their right relation, A consciousness free of thought occurs. These three are in essence the dharmadhatu, free of other characteristics, But they become "hearing" when thought of conceptually."

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.

To summarize:
Awareness is just a term, a label, a convention. I don't mean there is an ultimate pure awareness outside of the skandhas.

The term 'pure awareness' is also confusing -- for example as Thusness said, the experience of Pure Sound-Consciousness is radically different from Pure Sight-Consciousness. There is no 'THE Pure Awareness'. There is simply the six consciousness that dependently originates along with the six sense objects and faculties. I believe I have been pretty clear on that in my previous post. I use 'pure' in the sense of directness, nakedness, without conceptual layering.

Lastly I shall leave a quote by Traleg Rinpoche which I think is very important. The shentongpas have a point, they are trying to point out that you cannot deny the luminous aware nature to prevent over negation by certain Madhyamika followers. But in that process they reified luminous awareness into something unchanging. However, true Buddhism, as Traleg Rinpoche suggested, does not deny luminous-awareness/Buddha-Nature, but it also understands it's empty nature (empty of inherent existence).

Traleg Rinpoche:

Accepting the reality of buddhanature does not mean that one has to accept the Shentong interpretation of emptiness. Shentongpas regard the nature of mind as empty of defilements but not empty of its intrinsic nature. The notion of buddhanature, however, does not in itself imply that mind has any intrinsic nature. Many of the great Kagyü and Nyingma masters, in fact, have interpreted buddhanature to mean that mind is empty of both the defilements and any kind of inherent existence.
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