Posted by: Soh
This is a clarification to the previous post, Four Levels of Insight into Emptiness

David replied to me:

The singularity of seeing is self evident. The absence of a seer naturally gives rise to the absence of an object (of seeing), the knowing of which is clarity itself.
2 hrs · Like

I (Soh) replied:

David what you're writing is more about non-dual awareness. But there can be different phases in seeing the nature of non-dual awareness.

Non-dual awareness can reveal everything to be Mind as subject-object dichotomy is deconstructed, but this Mind may be seen to be changeless and inherently existing, which is the substantial nondualism of One Mind. Therefore it is said there is no objects, everything is Self/Awareness/etc. The reflection is none other than the mirror, yet the mirror is not its reflections. This is not yet understanding anatta.

Then it can be realized that 'awareness' is none other than the transience, the manifestation, that there is really no inherently existing/changeless Awareness containing, subsuming, or even 'being inseparable with' manifestation, just like the word 'weather' does not exist as something that contains or subsumes the rain and wind and clouds but is merely a convention collating them, empty of being something in itself.

That, is anatta, and any sense of self/Self behind manifestation is seen through. And this is case 1) -- the emptiness of a background. Then one can proceed on to 2), where by zooming into the impermanence and insubstantiality of pure clarity/manifestation, one tastes the shimmering appearance to be fluxing wave-like or cloud-like or water-painting-like patterns, or like what I scribbled down during a journey: "everything is so pure, clean, unfiltered, manifest, clear, just that sensation... consciousness forms/"modulates" (not exactly a good word) like cloud patterns, insubstantial... appears and disappears like a mist".

3) emptiness is directly realized to be the true nature of clarity/manifestation not by zooming into impermanence, but by contemplating Dependent Origination and suddenly it is realized how appearances, like mirror reflections that appear dependently, is really never there. (For example sometimes two of the same faces appear on the 'same mirror' at different locations depending on which eye you use to look at it, which again is due to dependent origination) And what dependently originates is fundamentally non-arising -- uncreated, unborn, never abiding and never ceasing. Zooming into impermanence is unable to remove the fundamental inherent view of seeing 'arising/abiding/ceasing', however it does lead to a taste of the whole field as being insubstantial.

This is where in my previous post it's stated, "But even when it is realized that there isn't any awareness/observer besides the sensations and manifestation and there is no more sense of
duality, one still has yet to penetrate 2 folds. The "absence/emptiness"
of appearance/sensations/dharma will still be understood as some
ultimate true existence (sensations) undergoing the phase of arising,
abiding and ceasing in a flickering instant. The depth of 2-fold
emptiness in terms of insights and actual taste will not be there.
Spaciousness and Illusion-like emptiness will not permeate one's entire
being in actual experience."

Now, in Phase 3, that instant of clarity is realized to be non-arising not by seeing how they momentarily manifests/shimmers for an instant and subsides, but the very presence itself is absence, non-arising, unborn, uncreated, like mirror reflection... the taste of illusory is present in the clarity/appearance without its disappearance, and the illusion of something going through arising/abiding/ceasing is seen through.

4) The realization of non-arising results in an actual taste of everything being illusory appearances, yet it is not like the sort of 'everything is just an illusion, the only reality is Mind/Brahman/Awareness' kind of substantialist view, rather, it is the very vivid non-dual presence itself that we're talking, the very non-dual and luminous display which in all its intense wonder and clarity, is empty and illusory. This is the 'yogic view' of the two truths as one, absence and presence.


David:  "The singularity of seeing is self evident" doesn't necessarily assume, Mind, background, or Awareness for that matter. The functioning itself doesn't necessarily lead to, arise in, or come from anything.
January 10 at 12:05pm · Unlike · 3
Soh: Yes.. of course you're not referring to Awareness as a background or one mind haha... that's very clear from your writings previously. But just shedding some clarity on the differences..
January 10 at 12:06pm · Edited · Like · 3
David:  Much appreciated too......
January 10 at 12:07pm · Like
David:  Only concepts appear and disappear, while the field is always packed and constantly 'modulating' (not exactly a bad word, Soh:)). It's never not packed, Empty yet full. How can emptiness feel full? How can it not? Thoughts stop in their tracks when it's seen there's nothing happening apart from what's happening. Questions? There's no room for them.
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Neony: chaser
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Soh: Yet what's happening dependently is nothing happening... just like movie or mirror reflections
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Soh: Emptiness here is not about seeing 'nothing besides happening'... that is just anatta, the first aspect.
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Soh: For example, Phase 1 will not result in illusion-like spaciousness. More likely it will result in experiencing foreground as real and magnificent.
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Neony: Please tell me what you mean by 'foreground' and (I suppose) 'background' Soh . I think you did elsewhere, but I can't find it again. Thanks.
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Albert: in anatta the witness is seen through so you get foreground PCE as your experience. That could mean a sense of continual nowness as the very sound, smell, taste, thought, sensation, color.

so the collapse of the background leaves the foreground because we still reify a ground. or rather we reify the aliveness and brightness of the present arising.
7 hrs · Like
Albert: i suppose it doesn't even have to be a witness. it could be a sense of background or container. a sense of a reference point here relating to whats out there or even in here based on being another thing.

in an experiential sense it is the bounceback that occurs when we place attention on anything. for instance we hear a sound and instantly there is a bounce back to some vague background where we relate the sound from. and thus construct the hearer.
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Neony: PCE??? Albert
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Albert: in any case there has to be a union of seeing A+ (positive emptiness aka do) and A- (negative emptiness aka absence).

So that means the very appearance-presencing of say a red water bottle is due to causes and conditions in direct experience. Eye meeting form equals the very appearance.

Which is exactly the absence of presence.

OR one can go about it the other way in which one tries to find an abiding principle and finds a lack and thus concludes its dependent arisen.

Both are used until they are seen to be exactly the same thing
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Albert: a pce is a pure consciousness experience.

it is the non-conceptual experience of the immediacy of the present arising. THIS color. THIS sound. This sensation. Absolutely no witness or watcher.

but its a peak experience that people chase without any consideration of how it came about.

the insight into anatta makes the pce mode of experience natural.
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Albert: and what is meant by consciousness is appearance. just to be clear.
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Neony: Thanks. That's what I call 'Straight, no chaser'.
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Albert: Yes. I think its also called no mind in zen. It's quite easy to move into so to speak if we emphasize not knowing and stick with the bare attention towards appearance.

This would also be the peak of shamatha practice in which directness and simplicity is the goal.

What prevents the pce as a natural state is the self. So simply if we examine where the self is in relationship to say the act of seeing we find a lack and automatically it cuts into a pce.

its almost as if the energy is spent so much on maintaining a sense of self or witness that once that assumption is seen to be false the energy is freed. so in that sense there is no longer a filter with experience. but experience has always been bare, non-conceptual, and vividly present. we just never related to it in such directness. and in fact we couldn't.
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David:  Maintaining self might as well be the definition of work. All other work doesn't compare once it's seen what it takes to maintain this fiction.
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Albert: yes its a lot of work. self and suffering is something we do. it isn't something done to us. we are active agents in our hell making.

if we cannot see through the assumptions present then all we can do is study habit and create wholesome habits.

but fundamentally its all bullshit.
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David:  " Phase 1 will not result in illusion-like spaciousness. More likely it
will result in experiencing foreground as real and magnificent."....This was very true for me. It was as if the foreground had finally become real, so to speak, almost too real. There was this sense that the absence of a background had given life to the foreground.
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David:  Fluidity, Illusion-like spaciousness, follows the realization that only pure functioning is what's happening. Knowing this verbing without object or subject eliminates the tendency towards reification. Singular functioning without agent, when realized with absolute conviction, is literally mind blowing. There are no longer 'things' which last, no source, no background. The ground has literally dropped out along with any question of how this might be happening or not happening. The brilliance of suchness lies in the fact it doesn't last.
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John Tan (Thusness): Hi David,

Not only that it does not last and is insubstantial but it is non-arisen.

Anatta sees through the self (background) and with that freedom from the layer that obscures, everything becomes magnificently clear and real.

However when we attempt to further deconstruct the foreground appearance, for example, looking clearly at a red flower, where is this "redness" of the flower?

Outside? Inside? My consciousness or Soh's consciousness or dog's consciousness?

So clear, vivid and undeniable yet was never truly there. How does what that was "never truly there" disappear?

Likewise for sound. Hit a bell - Tingsss..non-dually clear and undeniable. Where is this crystal clear sound? Outside? Inside? Soh's consciousness, Albert's consciousness, dog's consciousness? No one sentient being hears the same "tingsss"...

Look at everything vivid and lurid...touch solid and undeniable...when seen with DO, every intrinsic characteristic can never be found despite being fully present!

Same applies to sensations, colors, shapes, scent, sound, thoughts...all experiences r like that...empty and non-arising.

So when background self is negated, foreground appearances become magnificently real, it does not become illusion-like.

What is the actual taste of negating "A" from the "(inherent) existence" of A?

Only when foreground appearances r negated of it's existence, then experience becomes cannot be otherwise. For everything clearly appears but when seen with the eyes of dependent arising, it is never truly is just illusion-like (not that it wants to b named that way)

Seeing dependent arising is amazing!
Whatever appears is non-arisen; indestructible by being not real and phenomena links without being "connected".
Everything simply turns magic!

Good night!
4 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 4
David:  Beautifully said John. Thank you.
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