Posted by: Soh
Someone wrote:

Let's talk practice.
What can you DO to attain enlightenment?

I replied:

First off: for anything to work, there must be discipline and perseverance. Whether it is self-inquiry, meditation (vipashyana or shamatha), yoga, etc. Or even any mundane pursuits -- mastering your job skills, your fitness, etc. Effort, attention, consistency of practice are the foundational and crucial factors for success in any areas in life, including realizing our 'spiritual nature'. I personally do not like comments that suggest people "do nothing". While that sort of philosophy are thrown around in neo-advaita circle, in my eyes it is bullshit, misleading and leads nowhere, it doesn't lead to any kind of insight, realization, or mastery of anything*. You can waste your whole life 'doing nothing', then times up. I like Daniel M. Ingram's approach to things - pragmatic and methodical (although his practices and mine may differ).

The beginning of spiritual life is direct immediate realization of life/existence. It is to directly realize what the Heart of Existence -- what Reality/Life/Spirit is -- even in the absence of thoughts or perceptions. Just that pure sense of beingness or existence, that is most crucial. And anatta was realized through questioning the nature of Presence (investigating whether there was any 'Seer' or 'Seeing' or 'Presence' besides the vivid colours/display/manifestation, and likewise for hearing and sound, etc
, basically questioning the relationship of 'Presence' and 'Things' until that dichotomy was utterly seen through in an instant of realization), through contemplation on Bahiya Sutta the delusion of Presence or 'Seeing' as a background was penetrated and the 'manifold' of Presence is experienced fully. It is the extension of the realization of that very core essence of Being or Life, but now anatta allows you to touch the very 'Heart' or 'Life' of all things in complete intimacy, whereby the formless sense of Presence is only just one face of it. Then one brings this taste to all experiences, not only in the passive experience of 'lettings things happen' but in all activities where full engagement in that activity arising as universe -- maha. Every activity is experienced in complete 'oneness' and aliveness. All manifestations are equally so. And twofold emptiness allows us to penetrate the very delusion of that vivid manifest Presence as having any core, inherency, arising, abiding or dwelling, and directly taste Presence as illusory like empty mirages. But it requires a direct taste of Presence as the manifold, we question whether there is any essence or core to which the manifestation could arise/abide/cease and realize that it is empty and non-arising. The other aspect has to do with re-looking at the implications of constructs and the cessation of constructs through penetrating dependent designation.

The direct and unshakeable certainty of what that Presence or Existence is has been crucial for me, and practicing self-inquiry has been a very effective method to trigger that realization. But that initial realization must not be taken as an endpoint as delusions pertaining to duality and inherency remain until clear insight arises.

(*Also related, Thusness wrote before:

"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 abt overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities. There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is abt 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 b considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation.")
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