Thusness wrote in the comments section of the LuminousEmptiness blog in 2009:

http://luminousemptiness.blogspot.com/2008/12/reflections-on-naropa-summary-of.html

Great and wonderful insight!
Just a 2 cents from a PasserBy, nothing intense.

It is pointless to know the nature of mind is luminous and empty,
If there is no insight that this innate nature is the direct seal of Great Bliss.

After insight of anatta, emptiness and non-dual luminosity,
It is advisable not to retract to practices that made mind contrive.

Never underestimate this direct path of great ease,
Even aeons lives of practices cannot touch the depth of its profundity.

Deeply experience this luminous yet empty nature, its thorough effortlessness and spontaneity.
It is the heart of Mahamudra, the great art that simply be.

Deep bow and reverent to Naropa for this view concisely put and,
Homage to the ground, this natural state of Great Bliss.

Happy Journey!

...

"I don't personally find it pointless - rather, a step along the way ;-)..."

Indeed and thanks for pointing out. :)

The degree of “un-contrivance” is the degree of how unreserved and fearless we open to whatever is.
For whatever arises is mind, always seen, heard, tasted and experienced.
What that is not seen, not heard and not experienced is our conceptual idea of mind.
Whenever we objectify the “brilliance, the pristine-ness” into an entity that is formless,
It becomes an object of grasp that prevents the seeing of the “forms”, the texture and the fabric of awareness.
The tendency to objectify is subtle, even ‘nowness’ and ‘hereness’ are as ‘selfness’. :)
Whatever arises merely dependently originates, needless of who, where and when.

All experiences are equal, luminous yet empty of self-nature.
Though empty it has not in anyway denied its vivid luminosity.

Liberation is experiencing mind as it is.
Self-Liberation is the thorough insight that this liberation is always and already is;
Spontaneously present, naturally perfected!

Just a sharing.

Happy new year to you!

....

http://luminousemptiness.blogspot.com/2009/03/all-experience-is-mind.html



Yes indeed. From the perspective of awareness, there is no way to point to a moment of experience and say this is ‘in’ and this is ‘out’. All ‘in’ are as ‘out’; to awareness seamless experience is all there is.

Yet in addition to this ‘ungraspability and unlocatabilty’ nature, emptiness is also about this maha sensation when a moment of luminous experience comes into being due to the inter-being and interdependency of everything asif the universe is doing the work and nothing ‘me’. When there is no sense of self, ‘Tong!’, the sound, the person, the stick, the bell, hitting, vibration of the air, ears...all come together as the moment of experience called 'sound'. The universe is giving its very best for this moment of experience to arise.

Also when experience is seen as the manifestation of dependent origination, there is a sensation of always right wherever and whenever is. A sensation of home everywhere yet no place can be called home.

Just a sharing.


Very good summary by Jared K Jones

-----------

To pull this out of a subthread from a different forum. My main teacher has an extensive background in the Zen tradition of Dogen (about 50 years), as well as 30 years in the Gelugpa and Tibetan Tantric traditions. So, what's the difference between Chittamatra and Madhyamika?

Within the Mahayana traditions of Asia, they are dominated by the writings of two main schools of thought - both originating in the Suttas and Sutras, but fully fleshed out in the 1st and 2nd century - Chittamatra and Madhyamika.

Chittamatra was enumerated by Vasubandhu, Asanga, Dignaga, and others and the Madhyamika was enumerated by Nagarjuna, Bhavaviveka, Buddhapalita, Chandrakirti, and others. Wikipedia has a pretty good record of the dates and major works of these yogi-scholars if you'd like to read their works.

Chittamatra said that the best method for getting at Emptiness (Sunyata) was to realize the conventional nature of mind: the non-duality of ”everything that appears in perception” with “the six senses.” In other words, the notion and direct perception that a sound, for example, only occurs when a valid basis (vibration in the air) meets a functioning organ (ear), and that gives rise to a consciousness (sound-consciousness).

The object, sense organ, and mind form one inseparable system. If you take away any component in the system, then nothing happens - no minds, no organs, and no objects. Hence, when a tree falls in the forest, no sound occurs if no ear organ and no sound-consciousness are present. Also, the mind is the aspect of reality providing identity, characteristics, and relationships to objects. So, mind plays a central creative role in your experience.

Like that, the early writers and commentators of Chittamatra said that it is okay to see mind (Awareness) as self-existent for a while because you are deconstructing everything else that appears. You are seeing the emptiness of all appearances.

At some point, seeing that all appearances are empty, you will also see that "that to which appearances appear" is also empty. The emptiness of awareness is your tathagatagarbha, your true nature, your Buddha nature, and the “face before you were born.” This is not mystical, nor paradoxical. It’s simply applying emptiness to the creative center of all experience: mind, cognition, awareness, knowing, or consciousness.

Ven. Dignaga uses various types of introspective-epistemological analysis to help get at emptiness. For example, he famously introduced the idea of Universals Vs. Specifics to the Buddhist discourse:

1. A word is a "Universal" because it applies to a universal category of things: "cow."

2. A specific instance of "cow" looks nothing like any other cow. When you look closely, each perception is utterly unique.

3. Not only that, what appears to your senses is constantly changing from moment to moment, so it can't even be called "self-similar" from one moment to the next (much less similar to other cows).

4. Further, you can't explain or make known the color of an orange to a blind man. Perceptions are actually utterly ineffable. What you perceive cannot be put into words.

5. Therefore, all language is inferential. The word and object have no fixed relationship. Words are learned and have an ambiguous relationship with objects of experience.

6. The word does not resemble nor infuse the perception with any new properties when applied to the perception. For example, the "chair" of a company does not resemble a chair nor is he or she infused with "chairness" when validly called a chair.

7. Words do not make know either specific instances nor universal categories. When you say "chair" you do not become aware of all chairs in the universe, nor do you become aware of all of the properties of any specific object.

8. Based upon all of this, how could the current object of perception be a chair or a cow in and of itself? Look at it - it's just the useful or utilitarian play of mind: we call an utterly unique, ineffable, unbounded, and constantly changing set of phenomena “a table” for a practical purpose - holding up our coffee mug.

Because objects aren't self-established, the subject also isn't self-established. The knower doesn't exist without the known. Awareness is always "awareness of" and never just "awareness." Therefore, consciousness is also interdependently arisen and empty of inherent existence. However, if you stop the process of non-dual inquiry too soon, you will arrive at an "Awareness-All-There-Isness" or a "Mind-Only" position. So, this is a big danger within the Chittamatra approach.

You see this error in the writings of many Zen adepts. The “Big Self,” the “Real Self,” ”You are the drop experiencing itself as the Ocean,” and “the Oneness” are nothing other than falling into the trap that Awareness gives rise to the universe, and therefore, Mind is all that exists. You are just making “I/mine” more subtle, without removing ignorance from the root. However, there is less chance of becoming a Nihilist with this approach.

Madhyamika comes in two main flavors - Svatantrika and Prasangika. Their pedagogies for getting at Emptiness/Sunyata involve logically deconstructing the various components or arrangements of phenomenon: parts-whole, one-many, cause-effect, and so on. The Svatantrika mainly uses syllogisms (If A = B then C) and posits that phenomena have "characteristic marks" or defining features prior to mental designation - i.e. dependent designation or prajñaptir upādāya.

Prasangika uses mainly reductio ad absurdum (logical consequences) to show that holding essentialist viewpoints always leads to logical impossibilities. For example, if you think the tree is permanent, then it must be unchanging. If it’s unchanging, then it can’t interact with light and appear to your eye consciousness. Therefore, if trees were permanent, they would be invisible.

Prasangikas also refute that phenomena have any defining features, properties, or characteristics whatsoever - they are utterly empty of self, at all levels. The most famous of the reductio-consequentialist masters is Ven. Nagarjuna. His most well-known quote is found at the beginning of the Mulamadyamikakarika - the Four Diamond Slivers (Nagarjuna's Tetralemma):

"Not from self,
Not from other,
Not from both,
Not without a cause (neither),
Does anything, anywhere, whatever arise."

He then goes on to extensively refute each of the four ways something might inherently arise by using the absurd logical consequences for each mode of inherent cause-and-effect: self, other, both, and neither. To take a practical example of how the Prasangika approach works, look at the below:

1. The chair is not something which pervades.
2. The chair is not among.
3. The chair is not the collection.
4. The chair is not outside the chair.

>If the chair pervades all the parts of the object, then we should have as many chairs as there are parts. If we cut it in half, we should have two chairs. This contradicts ordinary perception, so the thesis fails.

>If the chair is among the parts of the chair, we should be able to eliminate all the other parts and still have a chair. This contradicts ordinary perception, so the thesis fails.

>If the chair was all these parts collected together, then there could only be one chair in the world. Not only that, if it lost even a single atom, the chair should go out of existence. This contradicts ordinary perception, so the thesis fails.

>If the chair were outside the chair, then chairs should pop into and out of existence all over the place without reason and without relying upon parts. This contradicts ordinary perception, so the thesis fails. Like that, consequences are presented as refutations.

Prasangika posits full emptiness, in which all phenomena are empty of self at all possible levels: no inherent characteristics, no inherent absences, no inherent awareness, etc. To find a corollary in the Suttas, look up the Suñña Sutta. This is not unique to the Mahayana nor a fabrication of the minds of later Mahayana thinkers:


Like that, Madhyamika does not rely on recognizing the conventional nature of mind to give practitioners access to emptiness, and it does not have the danger of "Mind-Only" essentialism. On the other hand, it has a heavier danger of ontological, functional, and teleological Nihilism: you may wrongly decide that nothing exists; if you think things exist, you might wrongly think they exist but do not have any function; if they exist and function, you might wrongly feel they have no meaning or purpose.

You see this with many bad Tibetan Buddhists who turn emptiness into post-modernism or moral relativism, and then makes statements like, “Buddhism means you hold no views whatsoever, and you get to ‘skillfully’ do whatever you want. Nothing matters.” I see this a lot within bad Dzogchen, especially on the internet. This destroys the path and is vigorously refuted by all the great masters. This is a big danger with the Madhyamika approach, but there is less chance of becoming a Mind-Only essentialist.

I hope this helps - Ven. Mahasiddha Tilopa’s necklace pictured below.
 
 
Thusness, 2013:

"there is a very intense and much deeper state i assure u...but there is clear understanding that the manifestation is it....however awareness is like an unbounded and limitless expanse field

the luminosity is intensely clear

the experience is like Non-Dual Awareness broke lose and exist as a unbounded FIELD

there is a difference in seeing sound and a hearer and realizing sound as awareness itself

u cannot focus and there cannot be any sense of effort
there cannot be any sense of boundaries

just itself

u must be very very stable and mature in the anatta state

and u cannot be in an enclosed room...

it is the effortlessness and crystal clear transparency and intensity of luminosity...

but duality must no more trouble the practitioner, phenomena is clearly understood as the radiance...so nothing is obscuring then in total effortless and emanation arises and the expanse just continues"

On how this differs from one mind:

"one mind is subsuming

therefore there is a sense of dual

in this case there isn't

it is like a drop of water landed on the surface of a clear ocean. the nature of water and ocean are one and the same...nothing containing anything

when sounds and music arise...they are like water and waves in ocean...everything is it"
In some very early versions of this work, I had a model called “the heart sutra model”. The simple model is the less mysterious, stripped-down version of that earlier model, though it is essentially the same. While in one sense it is also rephrasing the revised four-path model, as it has no numbers and is free of the traditional names, it has some advantages over that terminology.
I present this somewhat novel model here because it focuses on real insight directly and treats any emotional benefits of this as side effects. Further, there are often too many cycles of insight before arahantship, making the four-path model troublesome. The phenomenon of too many cycles between each of the four paths gets worse as we work towards final awakening. As Bill Hamilton put it, and I learned the hard way, “The arahant fractal is vast.”
The simple model does not reinforce fascination with content, nor with life-denying ideals or with limited emotional range models in the way that the traditional four-path model often does. It hopefully does not tempt us to count paths. It keeps the focus on precise inquiry into the truth and into our experiences in all their richness and complexity.
This model basically says that awakening is about direct insight that progressively reveals something different in the relationship to the field of experience and gradually allows all qualities of manifestation in it to be held in their natural, intrinsic, proper proportion. It is a progressive non-duality model.
The first understanding is that sensations are sensations, thoughts are thoughts, and this forms the basis of further inquiry. When we begin to see the universal characteristics of these sensations, our understanding grows. Knowing the whole sense field directly and completely can cause an entrance into Fruition through one of the three doors, which represents the first stage of awakening.
When we appreciate the cycles of the process of awakening and have completed at least one more new progress cycle, we are at the next stage. When we begin to appreciate the emptiness, luminosity, centerlessness, agentlessness, etc. of phenomena in real time and this becomes the focus of practice rather than Fruition, this is the next stage. When the sense of the watcher, observer, subject, controller, doer, etc., is seen completely as it is and the knot of perception untangles, that simple, fundamental way of perceiving things is the next stage of awakening. When that untangling stays untangled, that is the next stage. As we integrate that understanding into our lives, we are at the next phase, though it is more an ongoing process than a stage.
The problem is that some of the purveyors of the traditions seem to want to make this understanding into so much more than it is and thus to add ideals of emotional perfection onto this righting and untangling of perception. There is some truth in the models dealing with emotions, but it relates to emotions moving through us faster and more fluidly, as well as being perceived more clearly and spaciously. It does not have anything to do with “bad” or unwholesome emotions not arising. I am reluctant to go there, as my goal is to give the emotional models the bashing they richly deserve, but I also do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Thus, here it goes.
As the deep-seated perceptual sense of a separate, continuous, permanent, observing agent stops being extrapolated from the same old patterns of sensations that appeared to be an agent, there is a broader, more inclusive perspective that can come into the consciousness of the awakened individual, depending on their level of awakening. There is also a slowly growing directness of perception that comes as reality is not filtered so heavily through thought. There is a growing sense of immediacy rather than a sense of temporality. There is a growing appreciation of ephemerality. There is a growing sense of spaciousness and openness to perspective. There is more softening and less contraction.
These perceptual upgrades can combine to give the emotions of awakened beings less sticking power, so that they may move through them more quickly than those who are not awakened. Those emotions also may be seen more quickly and clearly as they arise and vanish. There also may be less reactive or blind contraction into thoughts and emotions and a broader perspective which sees these normal, human, mammalian processes as just parts of a broader process like the textures of space, thus giving other parts of the brain more of a chance to create moderated responses to the emotions. That said, even when seen through, there seems to be a biological component to how emotions move through humans which can only be expedited so much. Still, the more that emotions arise in an awakened mind, the more something in the habitually conditioned reactions can change, lessen, soften, and relax due to having arisen in that improved perception. The more this goes on and the clearer and more awake the mind is, the stronger this effect becomes.
However, anyone who thinks these highly qualified statements are anything like a vision of emotional perfection or the elimination of all negative emotions is not paying attention! That is the last thing I would want to imply. I merely wish to say that there is some increased clarity about our basic human experience, and this clarity can help, but that is all. That said, you would be amazed how angry, lustful, or ignorant some technically awakened beings can be, and they can still do all sorts of stupid actions based on these emotions, just like anyone else.
Here I would like to tell a little story, a summary and simplification of a situation that unfolded over a few years. I knew four people, three were friends of mine before all this began, and two were people whose practices I knew quite well. They all began following a teaching in which a person claimed to have eliminated all emotions entirely. These four were good people, strong practitioners, and appeared honestly inspired by a practice that seemed straightforwardly helpful: notice feelings as they arise, see what causes them and how they function, and notice how they seem to relate to a sense of a self, with an emphasis on bodily awareness of those feelings and a commitment to being very present all day long and enjoying being here now.
The interesting thing is that all four of these people within a year or so of having started this practice claimed to have done it, and by “it” I mean eliminated all emotions entirely, replacing them with a perpetually wonderful perception of the freshness of the sensate world, a lack of time pressure, a reduced need for sleep, and some other benefits and odd side effects. This caused quite a stir in my community, but I was totally intrigued and impressed. Being willing to keep an open mind and revise my impressions as needed in the face of the seemingly honest reports of my fellow adventurers, I spent a reasonable amount of time with some of them trying to figure out exactly what they had done and how they did it, as well as adopting the basic practice of deeply embodying feelings as a focus all day long, and appreciating the sensuous beauty of the freshness of the sensate world; basically mindfulness of emotions and emphasizing rapture. I must say, it was in general a fun and interesting practice that seemed grounded on sound basic principles. I experienced various beneficial relative effects, but the elimination of emotions wasn’t one of them.
Time passed, however, and one by one, the four renounced their claims to have eliminated all emotions, with each stating something along the lines of having realized that their model had caused them to be in denial of what they were actually feeling to some degree. All four later arrived at the conclusion that the people who had inspired them were also clearly not free of emotions. One of the four ended up with some long-lasting psychological complexities, though the remaining three did better, and two of them did say that they did change something useful in the way that emotions were experienced, though the elimination of emotions was not that something.
So ended an interesting saga, but the end result, at least from my point of view, has led to four conclusions:
1) Beware of the limited emotional range models!
2) Investigating the sensuous beauty of reality, emphasizing rapture, and tuning in to the freshness of the sensate world, the body, and its feelings can be a fun and rewarding practice.
3) Be careful with claims of having done something final before really giving reality time to show you what subtleties and complexities remain.
4) Strong, dedicated, intelligent practitioners can be led astray and confused by golden promises of the spiritual marketplace, just like anyone else, so keep reality testing your practices to see how they hold up.
I know of a few other people (some of whom I have met, some by reports of good friends who have met them) who still claim to have eliminated all emotions (as well as nearly all thought), though those who have spent time with them all say that they still appear to have emotions, and can be moody, snippy, arrogant, and the like, just as anyone else can. Can I be certain I know exactly what is going on with them regarding their internal experience? Obviously not. Am I very skeptical? Yes, I am. However, in the interest of fairness, I present these examples just so that you can do your own research and realize that there is still controversy about this. Best of luck sorting it out for yourself. Regardless, the ability to modulate responses to emotions skillfully can sometimes give the impression that these emotions have been attenuated or eliminated, but that ability and emotional elimination are not the same thing.


The other day I shared my experience on the boundless Light and quoted something from the Upanishads and was asked about the Buddhist sutras... I don't read much nowadays, but years ago especially during army time, I did study texts of all religions. I read thousands of pages. So here are just a few of those quotes I had in mind. Here's a compilation of some quotations from all major religions on "light".

Although the teachings may differ in many ways, there are some fundamental experiential similarities or patterns throughout, a kind of common denominator in religious experiences across different cultures and traditions. I am however, not a perennialist (I do not assert that all religions are the same). You seldom see me quote other religions or do comparisons, I prefer to talk about my own experience nowadays.

But hopefully, we can see that religions have much in common, and "light" is an important factor which all religions talk about.


Buddhism

"Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9} "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements." {I,v,10}

"Consciousness which is non-manifestative,
Endless, lustrous on all sides,
It is here that water, earth,
Fire and air no footing find.

There the stars do not shine,
And the sun spreads not its lustre,
The moon does not appear resplendent there,
And no darkness is to be found there"

"Briefly stated, the Buddha's declaration amounts to the rev-
elation that the sun, the moon and the stars fade away before
the superior radiance of the non-manifestative consciousness,
which is infinite and lustrous on all sides."

"Though darkness gathers for a thousand eons.
A single light dispels it all.
Likewise, one moment of sheer clarity
Dispels the ignorance, evil and confusion of a thousand eons."

"The darkness of ages cannot shroud
The glowing sun; the long kalpas
Of Samsara ne’er can hide
The Mind’s brilliant light."

""...like the sun shining in the blue sky - clear and
bright, unmovable and immutable... illuminating
all."

"Since the Clear Light of your own intrinsic awareness is empty, it is the Dharmakaya;
and this is like the sun rising in a cloudless illuminated sky.
Even though this light cannot be said to possess a particular shape or form, nevertheless, it can be fully known.
The meaning of this, whether or not it is understood, is especially significant."

"Elevate your experience and remain wide open like the sky.
Expand your mindfulness and remain pervasive like the earth.
Steady your attention and remain unshakable like a mountain.
Brighten your awareness and remain shining like a flame.
Clear your thoughtfree wakefulness and remain lucid like a crystal."

"Emptying into the ocean of Mahamudra, the water becomes ever-expanding light that pours into great Clear Light without direction, destination, division, distinction or description."

Christianity

"No longer will the sun be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor. 20Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over"

"I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light."

"I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.

Split a piece of wood; I am there.

Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

"As long as I am in the world, I am the world's Light."

"Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light."

"If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.'

If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.'

If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"

Islam

"Your light is more magnificent than sunrise or sunset."

"One day the sun admitted, I am just a shadow: I wish
to show you the infinite incandescence!"

"The light which shines in the eye
is really the light of the heart.
The light which fills the heart
is the light of God*, which is pure
and separate from the light of intellect and sense."

"Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star,
Lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things."

Taoism

"The light is neither inside nor outside the self. Mountains, rivers, sun, moon, and the whole earth are this light, so it is not only in the self. All the operations of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom are also this light, so it is not outside the self. The light of heaven and earth fills the universe; the light of one individual also naturally extends through the heavens and covers the earth. Therefore, once you turn the light around, everything in the world is turned around."

Hinduism

"There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in your heart.”

"Pure it is, the light of lights. This is what the knowers
of the Self know. The sun shines not there, nor the
moon and stars, there lightning shines not; where
then could this fire be? This shining illumines all
this world."

"Radiant is my heart. Spirit lives inside all that is and all that is not, the end of love longing, beyond understanding, the highest in all beings.

Self luminous in me rests all worlds and all beings. My head is fire. My eyes, the sun and moon - my ears - heaven, sacred images and prayers - my words, my breath - the wind, the whole universe, my heart. The earth - my imagination.

I am the spirit in all things. I am beyond the world of desire, sorrow is left behind. I embrace joy. My self is smaller than the smallest atom, greater then the largest spaces. I am infinite and I am no-thing.

No matter what - I keep my heart quiet and calm in the tenderness of love. Love is the living breath of my soul. I find joy in the eternal."



“It is palpably obvious, and yet, from the time we were born, no one has pointed this out. Once it is pointed out it can be grasped or understood very quickly because it is just a matter of noticing, ‘Oh, that is what I am!’ It is a bright, luminous, empty, presence of awareness; it is absolutely radiant, yet without form; it is seemingly intangible, but the most solid fact in your existence; it is effortlessly here right now, forever untouched. Without taking a step, you have arrived; you are home.“



“all things arise in awareness and never exist apart from awareness. It is all one substance, all one light; it is all that; it is non-duality. There is nowhere to go and nothing to obtain. Everything is resolved. We ‘live, move, and have our being’ in that one ocean of light and never, ever move away from that.”

"There was this light that became brighter and
brighter and brighter, the light of a thousand suns...
This brilliant light, of which I was the center and
also the circumference, expanded through the
universe, and... this light shone so bright, yet it was
beautiful, it was bliss, it was ineffable, indescribable."

"
Verily, for him who thus knows this Brahma—Upanishad, the sun does not rise or set. For him it is day for ever."

Sikkhism

"The Adi Granth makes frequent reference to the human encounter with a Divine Light: "God, being Truth, is the one Light of all.” God"shines out in His own splendour.”Moreover," His brightness shineth forth"With"The blaze of the splendour dazzling like the sun.”5

Guru Nanak added more on this issue in other writings. For Nanak, God is"The light of all light.”The light of God"Illumines land and seas.”God is"The embodiment of light; the lamps of the sun and moon and all their light emanate from Him....”God is"pure light" ... the"ever pure light.”This"All-wise Being of light sits on the throne eternal.”God's light is"Infinite," and God Himself"Is immaculate and all light.”6

The Adi Granth also makes it clear that this Divine Light can be found within one's self: "The Eternal Light indwells in the human mind, and the human mind is the emanation of that light.” Further," the best light is the Light of God in the heart.” Ultimately, the Sikh aspirant wishes to be immersed in the Divine light, as was Guru Nanak: "As waves blend with water, so my light is blended with the Lord's Light.”7

Nanak goes on to say that"In Thy creatures is Thy light...”; indeed," in every heart there is the same light....”In this ultimate union," our light blends with the light eternal," and Nanak encourages followers to"merge your light with the light eternal.” As the guru himself would put it,

within every body
Is the Lord hidden;
within every body
Is His light.
Searching his body, his home,
By the master's instructions one finds
the Name revealed within. 8 "

Shintoism

“A mirror has a clean light that reflects everything as it is. It symbolizes the stainless mind of the kami, and at the same time is regarded as a sacred symbolic embodiment of the fidelity of the worshipper towards the kami.”

"In ancient scriptures magokoro was interpreted as 'bright and pure mind' or 'bright, pure, upright, and sincere mind.' Purification, both physical and spiritual, is stressed even in contemporary Shinto to produce such a state of mind. The achievement of this state of mind is necessary in order to make communion between kami and man possible and to enable individuals to accept the blessings of kami."



...........................

TJ: My familiarity with some of these traditions leads me to believe that they are describing actual experiences of light in deep meditative absorption, rather than using light as a metaphor for the nature of consciousness.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu: Which tradition do you speak of?

Actually all religious traditions including Buddhism experience seeing white lights and other lights in meditation. It is very common and what Daniel calls a&p. most spiritual practitioners, including myself experiences it at some point. However such visionary experiences are not the more crucial point of religion. Though it is by far the most common spiritual experience, more so than any deeper realisations.

But when it comes to the mystics realization, including figures like Shankara, Jesus Christ, or any of those Islamic mystics, and so on, it’s very clear from the scriptures that they are talking about the divine Presence from realising Presence/Consciousness. E.g. Jesus said, Before Abraham was, I AM
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TJ
TJ: As for Christianity, Jesus did say "Before Abraham was, I AM", but there is no light metaphor here. And no Christian since has claimed that that statement also applies to him or her, they say "Jesus was unique", even the most mystical and spiritually developed Christians. They strove for imitation of Christ or union with Christ, not being Christ. Now, a something Jesus did say about the experience of light is "If the eyes be one, the whole body is full of light". Anyone familiar with yoga would recognize this as referring to prana entering the central channel at the third eye - ie. an experience of absorption.

As for Hinduism, you are familiar with the distinction between the Samkhya-Yoga school and the Vedanta school, no? In the Samkhya-Yoga system, the goal is not realizing you are Brahman as in Vedanta, but union with Ishvara (God) by attaining the highest meditative absorption, Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Ramana, for instance, emphasizes that the Samadhi of knowing your true nature that he taught is different from the Nirvikalpa Samadhi of the Samkhya-Yoga school.

If you look at first person descriptions of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, they emphasize going from more basic experiences of light (which, as you said, are very common and not necessarily indicative of high level attainment) to the experience of complete absorption in an oceanic experience of light, to complete absorption in an oceanic experience of black/nothing, and even beyond that to seeing your "true self" in meditation as an actual being you see that looks like you, but also like Krishna or Vishnu or whomever you resonate with. For instance, Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, Paramahamsa Yogananda's guru's guru, described this in detail in his personal diaries. So you can see that the emphasis is completely different than the realization of a foundational consciousness of pure knowing-being underlying all states as your "true self".

The descriptions of the higher levels of Daoist meditation that I have seen are similar to Samkhya-Yoga - accessing increasingly rarefied levels of energy and wiring them into your body so that eventually, your Original Spirit can take residence in your body. Actually, this is what seems to me to be common to all religions - ascension up a "great chain of being". Huston Smith, the great scholar of comparative religion, opined that the thing the mystical paths of all religions have in common is a "great chain of being" (for instance something like God -> angels/devas -> humans -> animals -> demons) and the spiritual path being a kind of ascension up this chain of being. Indeed, this is in Buddhism too as the 31 planes of existence, to be traversed through samadhi. As you know, many forms of Buddhism de-emphasize this and instead focus on insight, and modern people are much more open to this, because it doesn't require believing in anything supernatural. But my point is Buddhism (and Vedanta ) are somewhat unique in having this insight comonent at all in addition to or instead of progressing through higher and higher levels of samadhi.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:I'm not sure if you are familiar with Ken Wilber, but he discusses the great chain of being (highly recommend "A Brief History of Everything" which I read more than a decade ago)

What you call the oneness with deity experience is called the Fulcrum 8, subtle mysticism. The I AM realization is Fulcrum 9. Non Dual would be Fulcrum 10 which is not a separate fulcrum but the "suchness" of all conditions. (This Non Dual described by Ken Wilber corresponds to my "One Mind")

Although Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya may have practiced and reached the culmination of Fulcrum 8 deity/subtle mysticism maybe as an interim to the even higher Fulcrums, I do not think that is his final/main aim. He is quoted as saying, "Through delusion you are perceiving yourself as a bundle of flesh and bones, which at best is a nest of troubles. Meditate unceasingly, that you quickly behold yourself as the Infinite Essence, free from every form of misery. Cease being a prisoner of the body; using the secret key of Kriya, learn to escape into Spirit." -- Beholding yourself as the Infinite Essence is talking about the I AM realization. Not a kind of 'form absorption'.
Yes, there is a great chain of being involved, but I think you are underestimating the number of people who get the I AM realization. It is actually quite common in all traditions not limited to Advaita Vedanta or Kashmir Shaivism, but also Christian Mysticism, Islamic Sufism, Judaist Kabbalah, etc. They all talk about it.

Even our country's founding father Lee Kuan Yew got Self-Realization and his realization was confirmed by a Christian/Catholic contemplative order monk -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RoSGUuAj1o , obviously they know what he's talking about.


Just last week one of the most influential and famous modern Christian mystic, Father Thomas Keating, passed away.


 Here's some of his writings --

“in what has become his manifesto on centering prayer, Open Heart, Open Mind, Fr. Keating provides:
God and our true self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true self are the same thing.”

“In this video, Fr. Keating says the essence of the spiritual life can be summed up in these three steps:
1. “The realization… that there is an Other, capital O.”
2. “To try to become the Other, still capital O.”
3. “The realization that there is no Other. You and the Other are one… always have been, always will be. You just think that you aren’t.””

“For Fr. Keating, prayer is a “journey to the true self”—the realization that we are God. And the key for this realization to occur is for the Christian to empty himself of all rational activity. He must make his mind an absolute void.
In Open Mind, Open Heart, we discover the essence of this “prayer”:
If you are aware of no thoughts, you are aware of something and that is a thought. If at that point you can lose the awareness that you are aware of no thoughts, you will move into pure consciousness. In that state there is no consciousness of self. . . . This is what divine union is. There is no reflection of self. . . . So long as you feel united with God, it cannot be full union. So long as there is a thought, it is not full union (73-74).”

Shinzen Young:

“The Christian mystics will often talk about the soul merging with God. Based on the words alone you might think that what they’re describing is quite different from the Hindu or Buddhist adepts. As far as I can see it’s part of the same re-engineering of the human. For example when St. Theresa of Avila talks about merging with God she says 'it’s like water and water.' But then she also says 'the self-forgetting is so profound it seems as though the soul no longer exists.' When a Roman Catholic in the sixteenth century says, 'when you merge with God it seems like your soul doesn’t exist anymore,' it is an extraordinary statement.

St. Theresa’s description of the contemplative path not only passed the test of orthodoxy, it has become orthodoxy! It is the standard map in the Roman Catholic tradition of the Christian meditative and contemplative path. So we can see that the Buddhist no-self model can be interpreted as akin to some of the things that St. Theresa says.”
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youtube.com
Lee Kuan Yew in conversation with Laurence Freeman OSB
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:The famous 13th century Christian mystic among many other Christian mystics Meister Eckhart clearly describes the I AM realization:

Meister Eckhart, Sermon 60 wrote:
I have sometimes spoken of a light that is in the soul, which is uncreated and uncreatable. I continually touch on this light in my sermons: it is the light which lays straight hold of God, unveiled and bare, as He is in Himself, that is, it catches Him in the act of begetting. So I can truly say that this light is far more at one with God than it is with any of the powers with which it has unity of being. For you should know, this light is no nobler in my soul's essence than the humblest, or the grossest of my powers, such as hearing or sight or any other power which is subject to hunger or thirst, cold or heat, and that is because being is indivisible. And so, if we consider the powers of the soul in their being, they are all one and equally noble: but if we take them in their functions, one is much higher and nobler than the other.

Therefore I say, if a man turns away from self and from all created things, then—to the extent that you do this—you will attain to oneness and blessedness in your soul's spark, which time and place never touched. This spark is opposed to all creatures: it wants nothing but God, naked, just as He is. It is not satisfied with the Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost, or all three Persons so far as they preserve their several properties. I declare in truth, this light would not be satisfied with the unity of the whole fertility of the divine nature. In fact I will say still more, which sounds even stranger: I declare in all truth, by the eternal and everlasting truth, that this light is not content with the simple changeless divine being which neither gives nor takes:

rather it seeks to know whence this being comes, it wants to get into its simple ground, into the silent desert into which no distinction ever peeped, of Father, Son or Holy Ghost. In the inmost part, where none is at home, there that light finds satisfaction, and there it is more one than it is in itself: for this ground is an impartible stillness, motionless in itself, and by this immobility all things are moved, and all those receive life that live of themselves, being endowed with reason. That we may thus live rationally, may the eternal truth of which I have spoken help us. Amen.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:Different Samkhya teachers teach differently, but according to this site and many others, http://www.swamij.com/prakriti-purusha-sankhya.htm , Samkhya practice is described as a process of 'retracing consciousness' back to the Source, to realize Purusha (which is Pure Consciousness) and therefore attain Self-Realization. The only difference between Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta is that in Samkhya, each person has its own individual Purushas while in Advaita Vedanta, Pure Consciousness is cosmic one without a second. (as I wrote in my e-book, I AM has many phases and one has to go through impersonality to experience a cosmic universal self or God, prior to that the I AM is similar to Samkhya's Purusha)

Taoism is usually not about Awareness teachings (I think its practices are mostly on dropping self into a state of oblivion and nondual spontaneity in line with the Tao), however, a Taoist teacher gave Thusness his koan "Before birth, Who am I?" that led to his self-realization. The Taoist text Secret of the Golden Flower translated by Thomas Cleary is clearly an Awareness text focused on turning around the light. That was also the text I quoted the "light" quotation from.
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Prakriti and its Evolutes: Sankhya-Yoga Practice of…
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:Other than the I AM realization, for the mystics a lot of emphasis is placed on submission/surrendering to God, so that when self dissolves, everything becomes a divine happening, where not I who lives but one is being lived (by/in/as divine Life and Intelligence). A mystic will go through the different sub phases of I AM (which I talked about in my e-book) and beyond but a summarized form of the four aspects of I AM is in the Jacob's Ladder map in this website:

http://www.innerfrontier.org/Practices/JacobsLadder.htm

At the mature phase, one will feel as Jesus said, “Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.” “I can of my own self do nothing.”

Or in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

Jesus made it very clear he wishes upon everyone his "oneness with Father" and on the day that one 'Lives', that oneness will be realized (as being already so): "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one."

“If you love me, keep my commands. … Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”



Why "I am in my Father"? Why not "I am my Father?" Because there is a sense of myself (as an individual), and all others, as merely being the expression of the greater Source -- it is not just an experience of non-doership but when purged of any sense of personality (being merely an individual person separate from life/the divine) all experience becomes the play of the greater divine Life and Intelligence. When that sense of individuality completely dissolves, the focus is no longer on an interiority, or the mere sense of Existence/Consciousness, furthermore it is no longer I (as an individual) who lives but the greater Source that lives me. It is not so much that I as an individual 'becomes Christ' but that 'I' must completely dissolve so that Christ becomes my Life.


 Interestingly, if you take the Gospel of Thomas into consideration, there's a phrase that sounds very much like Bahiya Sutta (I'm not saying it's the same but if you're familiar you will spot the similarity):

"Jesus saw some infants who were being suckled. He said to his disciples: These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom. They said to him: If we then become children, shall we enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the female not female, and when you make eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall you enter [the kingdom]."
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A Meditation: Climbing Jacob's Ladder
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SGH
SGH:Regarding [this appropriation of] Bahiya sutta:

Copy pasta from elsewhere (Source: https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155655822582601&id=509687600):

*

Another thing to mention is that it is time to let the Bahiya sutta go. If we want to refer to this extremely popular teaching of the Buddha, we should stop citing the Bahiya sutta and start citing the Malunkyaputta sutta.

The Malunkyaputta sutta contains the very same teaching given to Bahiya, but with more context, more explanation and it is given to a student and disciple of the Buddha, as opposed to Bahiya who was not ordained or educated in the other concepts of the Buddha. If we want to know how the Buddha saw his instruction fit with his overall teaching, we should look to the Malunkyaputta sutta and stop importing our own interpretations into the Bahiya sutta.

You can read the Malunkyaputta sutta yourself and make up your mind as to the significance of the instructions also given to Bahiya, but in case you wanted to know what I think:

Before the "in the seen, only the seen"-part, Buddha sets the stage by talking about how for things that have been and will remain unseen there is no desire or passion.

Then, after the "in the seen, only the seen"-instruction, Malunkyaputta repeats back to Buddha what he has understood by this instruction. In short, when, with an impassioned mind, mindfulness unestablished, one grasps a thing as desirable, then feelings, greed, aversion and stress grows, and one drifts away from the peace of nibbana. But, with a dispassionate mind, mindfulness firm, one experiences the thing cleanly and nothing more comes of it, and one makes strides towards nibbana.

After Malunkyaputta has said this, the Buddha repeats it back to him and confirms that this is how the instruction should be understood.

So ask yourself: Which of these aligns most closely to the thousands of suttas? The popular interpretation, or the explanation given by the Buddha himself in the Malunkyaputta sutta?

No matter what you think, it is time to give up the Bahiya sutta and replace it with the less malleable Malunkyaputta sutta.

*

One might wonder how the following fits with not having desire:

> ... then there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

Well, the explanation is simple and very Buddhist indeed: Self is the ultimate passion. One does not have passion for what is not self. One does not cling to rubble in the street:

> Give up what's not yours. Giving it up will be for your welfare and happiness. And what isn’t yours?
[The six senses of contact, as well as the five aggregates.]
Suppose a person was to carry off the grass, sticks, branches, and leaves in this Jeta’s Grove, or burn them, or do what they want with them. Would you think: ‘This person is carrying us off, burning us, or doing what they want with us?’
No, sir. Why is that? Because that’s neither self nor belonging to self.
In the same way, [the six senses of contact, as well as the five aggregates] isn't yours: give it up.

~ SN 22.33, SN 35.101 & SN 35.138

*

Another relevant sutta that should be understood to expound on the instructions in Bahyia and Malunkyaputta sutta:

- Sir, may the Buddha please teach me Dhamma in brief. When I’ve heard it, I’ll live alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute.
- Mendicant, give up desire for what is not self.
- Understood, Blessed One! Understood, Holy One!
- But how do you see the detailed meaning of my brief statement?

- Sir,
Form is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Feeling is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Perception is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Choices is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Consciousness is not-self; I should give up desire for it.
That’s how I understand the detailed meaning of the Buddha’s brief statement.

- Good, good, mendicant! It’s good that you understand the detailed meaning of what I’ve said in brief like this. [Buddha repeats it back.]

And that mendicant became one of the perfected.

SN 22.68

This should be understood as not in the slightest different from the Bahiya and Malunkyaputta sutta: By methodically investigating experience, we find that it is empty of self and anything belonging to self--"there is no you there". And there is an intimate relationship between taking things as self or self's and having desire for them, such that when things are seen to be not self, then desire fades (nibbida & viraga) and one nears nibbana.
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Alejandro Serrano
October 17, 2011

"In the seen, there is only the seen, in the heard, there is only the heard, in the sensed, there is only the sensed, in the cognized, there is only the cognize...
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SGH
SGH:With all that said, how you make the Bahiya sutta into a corollary of that quote from the Gospel of Thomas will continue to baffle me.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:There is a similarity (in X only X) but it is not the same
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SGH
SGH:There isn’t even that similarity (“in X only X”) in the quote. You gotta supply quite a load of your own interpretation to see what you see there. Just sayin’.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:In this phrase as a whole, you can feel that the person is conveying nondual experience using analogies and parables. The Essence must be intuited in the gospels. However I’m not saying it is related to Buddhist emptiness kind of insight
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SGH
SGH:Then why are you relating it to Bahiya sutta?
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:as I said, in the x just the x. This is part of nondual experience/no mind but not necessarily imply a similar Buddhist realisation
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SGH
SGH:And like I said, there isn’t even any “in the x just the x” in the quote. But whatever; it’s nearly impossible to make people unsee something they’ve come to see.
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Soh Wei Yu Back to Jesus and Mysticism.. here's an interesting post from reddit I just found:

https://www.reddit.com/.../comm.../9auas2/jesus_you_are_god/

Posted byu/theChristianErickson
2 months ago
Jesus: “You are God”

In the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to have claimed to be one with God and to be God’s son. The passage goes on to say that the Jewish leaders at the time then took up stones to kill him, at which point Jesus asked them why he was being stoned. They replied that he was being stoned for claiming to be God’s son and thereby claiming equality with God.

What happens next is where it gets good...

Instead of claiming Divinity, Jesus then turns it back on them and says, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”? (John 10:34). His reaction to them being mad at him for claiming equality with God was to proclaim to them their own Divinity.

Now, it is often protested that Jesus tells them they are “gods” with a little “g” and not God, therefore Jesus is not going as far as to claim Divinity for humanity. But is that the case? In the New Testament version of the story, the Greek word used for “gods” is “theoi” which is merely the plural form of “God” (“theo” in Greek). This doesn’t help to shed light on this passage much. Let’s dig a little deeper...

Jesus was actually quoting a familiar Old Testament passage to them. That passage is Psalm 82:6, which says, “I have said, you are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”

What is interesting is that the word used for “gods” here is not what you would expect. It isn’t some different word that means a lesser god than God almighty. The Hebrew word here that gets translated as “gods” is actually “Elohim.” It’s the very same word used all throughout the Old Testament when referring to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s even the word used in the beginning of Genesis when it says that “In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.” Like many words in our english Bibles, the word we see in the text was chosen by translators with agendas. The translators do not have a grid for the reality of our shared Divinity and so have to translate it differently than what it says.

What the scripture is actually saying is “you are God.” When Jesus quoted that to the Pharisees, he was telling them of their true nature. He wasn’t just saying he was one with God. He was saying everyone is.

This is just one of many examples throughout the Christian scriptures. The truth is we are all one God manifesting as a multitude of people. As the great Christian theologian G. K. Chesterton once quipped, we are “the million masks of God.” Only we do not know it. This is why beings like Jesus come along every once and a while, in order for us to see in them what is true of us, so that in them we might, “behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

This is the inside joke of creation. It’s even one that Moses got in on. When Moses asked for the name of God, he was told that God was “I Am.” What is funny about this is that meant that every time Moses was asked who God was he would have to reply “I Am.” I don’t see how much clearer it can be than that.