Also see:

Kenneth Folk on Anatta
Three levels of understanding Non-Dual
No Awareness Does Not Mean Non-Existence of Awareness 


Redditors who clearly realized anatta:

https://www.reddit.com/user/krodha (Kyle Dixon/asunthatneversets)
https://www.reddit.com/user/danielmingram
https://www.reddit.com/user/HakuninMatata
https://www.reddit.com/user/RealDharma

The last redditor wrote something quite good here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/94swuh/theres_no_such_thing_as_awareness/

There's No Such Thing As Awareness


Five days ago I posted an anecdote thread on /r/Buddhism here labelled "Do Nothing or Do Something?". Something else was missing though. I know it's only been five days but I've had a much deeper insight in between that and now.
This all started from the Buddha's own words in the Sabba Sutta:
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? 
Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, 
nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body 
& tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. 
This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who 
would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will 
describe another,' if questioned on what 
exactly might be the grounds for his 
statement, would be unable to explain, 
and furthermore, would be put to grief. 
Why? Because it lies beyond range."
When I first read this sutta in the past, it never gave any insight. With this new insight, I suddenly understand what the Buddha meant - it has an extremely deep meaning! To me at least, he was describing the true nature of Mind, of reality.
I'll start with the backstory.
My past was in Theravada, Thai Forest, the Pali Canon, as well as other schools of Buddhism like Mahayana (Pure land, Ch'an/Zen, Tiantai, and so on) as well as the Vajrayana (Nyingmapa's Dzogchen, Kagyu's Mahamudra, Gelug's Prasangika, and so on). All of that and personal inquiry/exploration with meditation, along with the help of an eminent monastic teacher, built up to this.
I've done nearly my whole Buddhism life thinking there was awareness. Ajahn Chah taught the Mind as Awareness, the Mahayana taught the purified Eighth Consciousness as Awareness, the Vajrayana taught the Awareness (rigpa) as the base beyond that of the eight consciousnesses.
My understanding moved in this sequence:
  1. Awareness looks at objects. There is a clear witness and a clear object being witnessed. So if we witness the breath, we call it breath meditation; If we witness a kasina, it is kasina meditation.
  2. Awareness with varying occupation with objects. This means that awareness can be focused like a laser to produce intensified jhana states (Samatha, called 'Hard Jhana' by some). If it was less focused and more lightly balanced, it is called 'Soft Jhana'. However, also, this means awareness can be completely expansive to encompass all the four bases of mindfulness arising and passing away (also called Vipassana).
  3. Awareness is not a Subject. Before, I had the insight of there being a subject and an object - so there was a subject-object duality. No matter how I meditated, there was always a sense of there being a meditator when I emerged. In this phase, I suddenly understood that any feeling, sensation or perception that arose as a 'sense of self' are actually Objects. There are never any Subjects. For example, an eyeball can only see things outside, it cannot see itself. Likewise, Awareness cannot see itself, it can only see other Objects - therefore any sense of self is necessarily an object.
So reaching the 3rd phase was liberating and freeing. I thought I had reached a good understanding of emptiness. But then I was so wrong.
This fourth insight phase hit me five days after my previous post, and I would call this insight "No Such Thing As Awareness".
This was a development from the third phase. I had already said that an eyeball is not able to see itself, and that it can only see things outside of itself. The Awareness likewise, can only see things outside of itself and not Awareness itself. This is where everything was wrong.
By assuming that there was something outside of Awareness, I made it a Awareness-Object duality. It was a duality of Perception and Non-Perception. Even though Awareness is not a Subject, by assuming that Awareness can only see something outside of itself already means that there are two things: Awareness and outside-Awareness-objects.
My insight is this: Awareness IS the object.
Referring back to the Blessed One's words in the Sabba Sutta, he had said -
"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All.
This was a perfect description of everything in reality, everything in experience, everything that can ever be right now in the moment, in experience, in time and space. This is what everyone experiences.
Buddha then continues:
Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
Did the Buddha ever talk about Awareness as part of the All? No way! Because it lies out of range, it is Nibbana. It is completely impossible to have something outside of the Six Senses.
This corresponded exactly to my own understanding here, because I realized that when I saw a bird flying out there in the sky, this bird was not something apart from my mind. It WAS my mind, it WAS awareness.
How far was the bird to my mind? Zero distance! If it had to travel distance or take time, then I would not have experienced this bird right here and now. It HAD to be part of my mind!
Now the paradox is that the Sixth Sense, the mental faculty, is going to become noisy and construct an 'experiencer', a Subject. It is going to also generate a false sense of an Awareness.
If you really, really, really analyse this right now in your experience. You will suddenly realise this clear as day: Awareness is a complete inference.
If you try to look for your Awareness, you will find nothing. You may find a sensation, a feeling, or a perception. But Awareness cannot exist, it only exists as a complete inference, a conjecture, a made-up projection.
This brings to me a famous Zen story between the First and Second Patriarch:
“Bring your mind here and I will pacify it for you,” replied Bodhidharma.
“I have searched for my mind, and I cannot take hold of it,” said the Second Patriarch.
“Now your mind is pacified,” said Bodhidharma.
Why? Because there is no Mind to grasp onto. There is no stain-able Awareness. It is a mere projection, inference, conjecture. Again, the Sixth Zen Patriarch illustrated this wonderfully in his poem:
Originally, Bodhi has no tree
And a mirror has no stand
If originally there is nothing (true nature is pure)
So where can dust rest on?
However, when the master of the Sixth Zen Patriarch saw this, he shook his head and said that he was not enlightened, asking Hui-Neng to see him in his room in private where he gave further pointing-out instructions and transmission.
The reason why is this... the Mind should not be thought of as Space either. Empty-space is also a perception, it is within the realm of appearances.
Instead, the Mind is whatever appears as the Six Senses.
Suzuki Roshi very wonderfully put it this way:
You may say, “The bird is singing there—over there.” But we think, you know—bird—when we hear the bird, bird is “me,” you know, already. I—actually I am not listening to [laughs] bird. Bird is here, you know, in my mind already, and I am singing with the bird. “Peep-peep-peep.” [Laughs.]
When we see other beings, it is not "other beings". It is our own mind. "Other beings" is "me". "I" am "other beings". There is no difference whatsoever, because "this being" appears with "other beings" as Awareness itself.
There is a certain freedom, of liberation, that happens when you suddenly realize that Awareness has always been a mind-trick, or at least, "the way we understand Awareness". There is no looker, there is just the looked. The looked itself is Awareness already. There is no looker, no separate thing that makes it lookable, any other processing deviates from what is true right here in experience.
The Mahayana and Vajrayana like to say - "A Bodhisattva is not attached to samsara or nibbana." Samsara is when the Six Senses are full, Nibbana is when it is outside the range of the Six Senses. Perhaps, just perhaps, in my very limited understanding, this is referring to not clinging onto an 'empty awareness space' and a 'filled awareness with objects'.
Hope you liked my little essay. I do not claim to know anything, neither do I want to argue for my essay. I do not reinforce whatever I've written here, neither do I disagree with it. I hope peace will be with you.



=================


Kyle Dixon I wasn’t sure what to make of this remark though, where he is stating there is always necessarily a mirror.
Manage

Reply8h

Soh Wei Yu Kyle Dixon my impression from reading his posts is that his insight is not very stable. Hovering between Thusness Stage 4 and 5

Recently he wrote about space and content. Seems to be falling back to the fault he originally refuted
Labels: , | edit post
0 Responses