Whether it is expressed as “exist conventionally but ultimately empty” or “appear but are empty” is simply a matter of flavour.

What is important is the taste of seeing conventional things as empty till one’s entire body-mind is pervaded with emptiness - like space, free and unobstructed.
John Tan Geo, I think it is not just about putting mind to a rest as certain specific insights regarding the ultimate nature of mind and phenomena need to arise. Putting the reasoning mind to a standstill can have several outcomes:

1. A dull state of non-conc

2. A taste of Presence but not necessarily free from duality.

3. Perceiver seen as perceived. Subsuming all as Mind.

4. Both perceiver and perceived are liberated by realising they r empty; what appears is free from elaboration. Boundless and spontaneous, naturally perfected.

Seeing the emptiness and dependent arising of “this” and “that” relates to 4 imo.

No behind, presence as form is anatta
Presence-as-form is merely appearing, nothing there, that's emptiness (the nature of Presence)


Not only no who, but truly no it, no there, no here, no now, no when, no where, no arising, no ceasing, no abiding or place of abidance. Coming to rest in the nature of presence with no place to rest, whole field of spontaneous illusory display emerges as empty-clarity-bliss.


Soh Wei Yu I really like a statement by Tsongkhapa, “appearance negates existence”

· Reply · 22h
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Say some more about that Soh?


· Reply · 16h
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu It starts with the very vivid "Presence" (or you can call it Awareness or Clarity) that is simply shining as the very vividness of forms, sounds, thoughts, whatever appears, as the subject/object or perceiver/perceived dichotomy has collapsed into a non-conceptual experience of the vividness of whatever manifests with zero sense of distance. There is no more standalone Presence or Awareness or Clarity in anatta. The illusion of a background Self/Mind has been penetrated. Even so, the very empty nature of 'foreground Presence' may not yet reveal itself initially.

Let's say you're looking at the floor, or a table, or whatever it is. It seems very solid and real, but then upon some investigation it's realised to be merely appearing without substance or essence, and that happens to be the very nature of Presence -- vividly appearing according to conditions but completely empty of anything 'there', empty of an 'it-ness' or 'floor-ness' or any sort of substance. Basically it's sort of like suddenly an apparent figure you've been looking at or talking to is suddenly realised to be literally a hologram. The very nature of Presence as merely appearing without substance basically negates the extreme of existence.

For me the nature of Presence reveals in a more experiential sort of examination rather than through analytical reasonings. Like what Thusness wrote in his article "On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection",

"If we observe thought and ask where does thought arise, how does it arise, what is ‘thought’ like. 'Thought' will reveal its nature is empty -- vividly present yet completely un-locatable. It is very important not to infer, think or conceptualise but feel with our entire being this ‘ungraspability’ and 'unlocatability'. It seems to reside 'somewhere' but there is no way to locate it. It is just an impression of somewhere "there" but never "there". Similarly “here-ness” and “now-ness” are merely impressions formed by sensations, aggregates of causes and conditions, nothing inherently ‘there’; equally empty like ‘selfness’."

· Reply · 1m · Edited
Soh Wei Yu

Soh Wei Yu That said not everyone uses or likes the term "Presence". Tsongkhapa doesn't use that term. You can substitute that for other terms like "dharma" etc, it's just the empty and luminously clear nature of the display.

Foreground emptying has this taste where appearance negates existence.
Session Start: Saturday, March 14, 2009

(11:50 PM) AEN:    'Nevertheless it is a very key phase'
u mean very important key phase?
(11:51 PM) Thusness:    yeah
(11:52 PM) AEN:    icic..
btw wats the difference between stage 4 and 5 other than stabilizing non dual
(11:54 PM) Thusness:    u need to face the problem to know
it is not in words
(11:55 PM) Thusness:    because u have not experienced non-division
(11:55 PM) Thusness:    so u do not know what is non divison
(11:55 PM) Thusness:    what is no-doership and what is no agent in experience
(11:56 PM) Thusness:    and it is difficult to know what is that 'marks' that prevent the experience of spontaneity
(11:56 PM) AEN:    oic..
(11:58 PM) Thusness:    there is a difference seeing thinker/thoughts as one
(11:58 PM) Thusness:    and hearer/sound as one
then sound is awareness, no hearer
(11:58 PM) Thusness:    stage 4 is more like hearer/sound as one
(11:59 PM) Thusness:    that is why i said one thought, then another thought
just like u, u said u feel like an open space
(11:59 PM) Thusness:    then u hear sound
sound and awareness seem to be one
(11:59 PM) AEN:    oic..
(12:00 AM) Thusness:    indistinguishable but u cannot have that experience that there is only sound
only in logic u have but not in experience
(12:00 AM) Thusness:    until one day u mature that experience
(12:01 AM) AEN:    icic..
just now i saw a website from truthz's blog lists
i mean not truthz's blog but the blog link appeared in his
(12:02 AM) AEN:
Correct Understanding - the first of the eight aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path - arises out of noticing the impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal nature of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile objects. When all these phenomena are realized to be not self, the mind will turn inwards, seeking out what it might cling to as ‘me’. But if it looks with absolute clarity it will find emptiness. Behind sensations, feelings, thoughts, and consciousness, there lies clear, endless space. I sometimes call it ‘Buddha Space’.
(12:05 AM) Thusness:    yeah
that is wrong view.
(12:05 AM) AEN:    oic..
(12:06 AM) Thusness:    it is very difficult to see the truth of this until our insight matures
even at stage 4, it can be difficult but it is already the first steps towards anatta
(12:06 AM) AEN:    difficult to what
see anatta?
(12:06 AM) Thusness:    yeah
(12:06 AM) AEN:    oic
(12:07 AM) Thusness:    u must see the no agent
not only no division
(12:07 AM) Thusness:    like i told u there are 3 stages
(12:08 AM) Thusness:    later into just this non-dual luminosity
(12:09 AM) Thusness:    if u ask non-dualists, they will not realise that they are an arising thought
(12:09 AM) Thusness:    like what jeff foster said
(12:09 AM) AEN:    oic..
(12:10 AM) Thusness:    they will feel damn ultimate
(12:10 AM) AEN:    ic..
like brahman
(12:11 AM) Thusness:    yes so they see self
not events, process phenomena
(12:12 AM) AEN:    oic..
(12:12 AM) Thusness:    they see brahman, not sunyata
(12:12 AM) Thusness:    even the experiences are very similar
the insight has not matured into anatta
(12:13 AM) Thusness:    like shingon sort of practice, the experience can be said to be maha like
but it is not the maha sort of experience i am talking about
(12:13 AM) Thusness:    it is oneness sort of experience
but it is a stage
(12:14 AM) Thusness:    what i said is oneness is always there
(12:14 AM) Thusness:    when one realises that presence is always a manifestation and full embodiment of interconnectedness
(12:15 AM) Thusness:    no effort needs to be done to induce a maha experience

(12:23 AM) Thusness:    there are few conditions to experience maha as a ground
(12:23 AM) Thusness:    1. mature in non-dual experience
2. DO (dependent origination)
(12:24 AM) Thusness:    3.  experience and understand that 'interconnectedness' is the universe itself
then 'self' and even non dual becomes quite irrelevant
(12:25 AM) Thusness:    in fact now presence is not understand as non-dual to me.
(12:26 AM) Thusness:    but as DO
(12:26 AM) Thusness:    where non-dual is already included
Kuei-shan asked Yang-shan, "How do you understand the immaculate mind?"

Yang-shan replied, "Mountains, rivers, and plains; sun, moon, and stars."

Kuei-shan said, "You only get the phenomena."

Yang-shan rejoined, "What did you just ask about?"

Kuei-shan said, "The immaculate mind."

Yang-shan said, "Is it appropriate to call it phenomena?"

Kuei-shan said, "You're right."

- Cleary's The Five Houses of Zen

I like these Mahamudra quotes on non-meditation, deeply resonates:


For a realized mind the duality
Of meditation and meditator does not exist.
Just as space cannot perceive itself as an object,
So emptiness cannot meditate on itself
In a state of nondual awareness
The diverse perceptions blend uninterruptedly.
Like milk and water, into the one flavor great bliss.


No duality of meditation and meditator exists
In the expanse of the mind's instrinsic reality
Which is empty of any identity.


By detaching itself from the duality of observation and observer,
The mind achieves self-liberation from division;
By thus smashing the [contrived] practitioner
The mind frees itself from striving and seeking;
By discarding the [concern for the] fruit of inner development,
The meditator unshackles himself from hope and fear;
By eliminating the [sense of the] "self" or the "I,"
The mind emerges victorious in its battles against inner adversaries;
By dismantling the clinging to substance,
The meditator will gain liberation from both samsara and nirvana.


One will not depart from the mode of oneness,
If one understands all these actions
To be an extension of the mind -
Seeing, hearing, touching, and remembering,
Eating and smelling,
Wandering, walking, and sitting,
Talking and gossiping.


For one who transcends the duality of knowledge and knower
There is neither discrimination nor partiality;
For one who attains pure evenness
There is no duality of separation and integration;
For one who has realized this
There is nothing to ask of others;
For one who perceives all diverse forms as dharmakaya
There is no thought of accepting or abandoning;
For one who has gone beyond the duality of meditation and no meditation
There is no stain of deluded perception.
This [state] does not depends on sensory appearances or no appearances;
Being detached from all conceptual images,
It is free from any concerns for action and actor;
It has turned away from yearnings, hope, or fear.


Where mind detaches itself from discrimination
There is neither defilement nor doubt;
Where mind perceives intrinsic reality directly
There is no duality of knowledge and knower.

Je Gampopa:

Where there is no nurturing of mindfulness, there is no fear of distraction;
Where there is no separation between absorption and postabsorption, there is no intermediate state;
Where there are diverse perceptions in the expanse of reality, there is neither acceptance nor abandonment;
Where there are designations of everything, there is an awareness of the falsity of such assumptions.


in the discipline of quiescent Mahamudra
There is nothing to meditate on, not even an atom.
Do not meditate, for the perfect meditation
Is to remain inseparable
From the state of nonmeditation.

Kalachakra and Guhyasamaja:

Because it is devoid of any innate substance
Meditation does not exist.
The act of meditation is not meditation;
Because it is neither substance nor nothingness,
Meditation cannot be a conceivable reality.

Je Shang:

When the state of nonmeditation dawns,
Inmost awareness is separated from its support.
The yogin will gain freedom from the acts of meditation,
Will eliminate the meditator in himself,
And will realize the expanse of reality.

(Excerpts from Mahamudra the Moonlight: Quintessence of Mind and meditation by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal)

“Post anatta, what you need is to be fully open like space.  Centerless, natural, completely non-dual.  This is because you (are) fully just the everchanging phenomena, so there is no keeping of anything.”

~ Thusness
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