Angelo Gerangelo just shared in the new group Awakening to Reality

    Angelo Gerangelo Hi 🙂 I wrote this a while back. May be helpful may not. I think it’s too long so I will post in two parts.

    —-
    I have no idea who might find this useful or want to read it at all. You could say that I actually can’t find “anyone”, anymore than I can find a “my self” apart from the flow of phenomenality.

    When self is out of the way then the field of phenomenal activity informs Itself. There is only luminous self-manifesting presence. This all-encompassing absorption which manifests as color, movement, sound, bodily sensation, texture, taste and smell has no “outside.” In and of itself it is complete, self evident, spontaneous, and undeniable. It is also void of substance, identity, solidity, continuity, purpose or meaning.

    This is what is meant by Dogen’s “when one side is illuminated the other side is dark.”

    To the content-addicted mind this may sound unappealing. However, in direct experience this is blissful, profoundly peaceful and “right” in a way that nothing in the concept-identified world of “me, my life, my problems, my past and my future” even comes close to.

    It is also stateless, natural, and not “of time,” meaning there is no appearance of it coming or going, arising or subsiding. There is a deep intuition that “this is it,” however there is no longer anyone to hold that intuition.

    For example the direct experience of a single color is the culmination of all that Is and it’s underlying unmanifest potentiality, coming forth in and as that color. In this, the intuitive knowing of interconnectedness arises as a gut level instinct. This color “event” is distinct, pristine and has no remainder. The seeing is intrinsic to the color itself and thus the color cannot be said to be an object of seeing.

    The above is true of all sense modalities (five gates).

    This vivid aliveness is experienced as the maximum exertion of the cosmos coming forth to bring about this exact quantum event. This is the ecstasy of coming into Being, not as a discrete entity experiencing a world of phenomena, but as the phenomenon itself.

    This is precisely what is meant in the ninth oxherding picture by “the river flows tranquilly on and the flowers are red,” as well as, “the water is emerald, the mountain is indigo...”

    Released of the burden of a subject, a watcher, or an experiencer, phenomena are seen to be absolutely free by nature.

    In this freedom the flow of phenomenality is infinite in degree, quality and potential.

    The mark of this freedom is transience. This is where description really falters. No conceptual paradigm of transience can communicate transience.

    Conception is largely about description, which is the referencing of something in one’s previous experience and saying “it’s like that,” or “it’s like that only with such and such difference.”

    Transient nature contradicts this conceptual tendency on a moment to moment basis. Not only is there no “before” to compare present experience to, there is no background against which experience can be compared.

    Indeed what is being discussed here is not in the realm of experience, but rather is experience-less. To put it simply, “this isn’t like anything, it is exactly as it is.” This is why terms such as “is-ness,” and “such-ness” are used.

    Even to point to constant flux, endless change is not quite right. To notice constant change there must be a background or a standpoint of comparison, which cannot be found.

    So the use of conception, pointing, description to “get at” transient nature is very slippery business. The following may or may not be helpful.
    4
  • Angelo Gerangelo The most basic movement of consciousness is simple reflection, as if taking a picture with a camera of what seems to be happening in the sensory world. This is pre-conceptual and operates at a very fundamental layer of processing but if it could be made into a statement, this snapshot would say something like “oh this is how it is, this is the nature of reality.” I would call this the fundamental unit of “frame” or “view.”

    Only after the collapse of frame is transient nature experienced as natural and is expressed as infinite-degree freedom.

    It is imperative here to clarify that what is meant by view or frame in this context is not referring to mere opinion or belief. An opinion or belief can be examined at the conceptual level. This can indeed be quite profitable at earlier stages of realization “Who am I?” However in deeper stage realization this fundamental tendency toward frame can and often does go completely unnoticed. It underlies our most basic tendencies, motivations, assumptions. It is the foundation upon which the entire identity construct is built. This includes personal identity (before kensho or what some call “I Am” awakening), as well as the much more subtle identification with consciousness, universality, pre-conceptual experience that almost always occurs after awakening.

    The challenge is that the contrast between concept identification (pre awakening) and subtle identification with unbound consciousness, universality, the absolute (post awakening), is often so dramatic that it can be mistaken for enlightenment (anatta), and the remaining identification can be completely overlooked. This manifests as the belief “all there is is awareness,” like a constant state of watching with no watcher. We can become convinced either overtly or unconsciously that we have arrived.

    To further complicate the issue, we may have further realization beyond initial awakening where the illusion of subject/object division collapses and yet frame remains very much intact. This can become a “pseudo-completion” and lead to all kinds of subtle but profound distortions.

    More commonly we subtly suspect that the process of realization has not completed itself, but have no clue how to proceed. We often find that many of the drives that motivated us to awaken initially have subsided. We also often find that the approaches to practice that worked previously do not seem to have the same effectiveness or suddenly don’t feel relevant in the ways that they used to.

    So what to do? Well because the sense of being a watcher, a doer, and a volitional agent are built on top of and are thus effects of frame, we must investigate in a specific way so as to avoid remaining in a subtle watcher/doer frame unknowingly.

    Firstly an investigation of the nature and function of frame can be helpful. This investigation should be conducted in as direct a way as possible. What I mean is that the functioning of frame will never cease by mere understanding, conceptualizing etc. Having a conceptual framework can be a good jumping off place but the inquiry must be non-conceptual, direct and with the innocent curiosity of a child. As Christ said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    Returning to the snapshot analogy, the reflective mind (consciousness) takes snapshots of sensory input on an ongoing basis and uses these snapshots to construct a frame which is used as the foundation for “how things are.” This tendency to construct and maintain an objective reality through frame has tremendous momentum. It begins as a small child as we become self aware in the most fundamental way somewhere between the first and second year of life. In early childhood this frame tendency is intermittent, but over time it starts to feel quite solid. This solidity is experienced as continuity (self and world in time). This continuity is fundamental to who we think we are and how we think the world is. By early adulthood it has typically become so solidified that most people would consider it absurd to even question. To question the assumption that I am a choice maker moving through a world called ‘my life,’ in which I solve problems and I have a distinct past and a future that I’m creating, would be akin to insanity in the context of what we consider normal human experience.

    Even with later stages of realization we don’t appreciate the breadth and magnitude of the binding nature of frame until it ceases (anatta).

    So to “get under” frame we must become very clear on the basic units of its construction. This must take place in direct experience only. A mere conceptual understanding will be useless at best and a distraction and hindrance at worst.

    So start to become familiar with these “snapshots.” To do this it is imperative that we spend time directly investigating the sensory phenomena. There are many ways to do this but the key is to look directly, closely, sincerely and repetitively.

    For example: As a color, shape or movement (visual phenomenon) is perceived we should directly investigate its nature without thought. When we do this earnestly we will begin to see the point at which the snapshot is taken. We will see where the direct experience of that color becomes “red” or “red shirt.” We will begin to see where that direct experience of red, when the eyes are closed becomes a mental image of what was previously viewed. These are two examples of thought-reflection (snapshot). One is conceptual (verbal/words/labels), the other is non-conceptual (visual/image).

    Begin to clearly perceive the difference between direct sensory experience and reflective consciousness in this way.

    Do not reject either experience just see them for what they are.

    Similarly when sound is heard, simply experience it directly. Notice the difference between direct experience and the thought that follows that labels that experience. Furthermore recognize that only a thought following direct experience of a sound can state or suggest the presence of someone who heard that sound.

    In this way we begin to perceive sound as it is. We start to experience the no-thingness of it (you can never actually find it in real time bc it’s gone as soon as it’s there). At the same time we start to experience the non-dual (no subject object) aspect of it. This is the direct, all encompassing, “just this” aspect.

    As you clarify both of these “sides” of the direct sensory phenomena there will be clearer and clearer direct knowing that there is no seer, no listener, no sensor, there is only hearing, seeing, sensing. In addition each sensory “event” will clearly be realized as interconnected, complete, vivid and “with maximum absorption.”

    As this is clarified over and over the sense of a doer, seer, hearer, perceiver will begin to fade as it is only found in a thought, never in the phenomena.

    As my zen teacher used to say years ago, “at some point, the mountains, rivers and flowers simply replace you.”
    5
  • Reply
  • 15h

  • John Tan Angelo, is this ur daily experience now?
  • Angelo Gerangelo John Tan it feels odd to call it an experience however I’d say yes. It’s more simply a way of pointing to the natural phenomenal world as experienced through/by/as the senses. There’s a completely indescribable sense to everything as well. The best way I can say is that there is no “way that things are.” Constant flux so the moment I describe anything it’s already gone. Even the sense of wanting to describe everything here is momentary and based on conditions (this conversation) and is dissolving as it is forming. There’s no sense of having arrived indeed the vessel through which one could say to have arrived or left is only a momentary appearance.

    The transient nature again just defies explanation but I could liken it to this. It’s as if one were walking down a lighted hallway and only the section of hallway that you are in is illuminated. As if the lights turn on and then off again as you walk past. Only there’s no you walking and no hallway only the lights creating appearances of movement and phenomena in that section. The lights in that analogy are the sensory phenomena. Just vivid direct experience self-experiencing.

    Further it seems to quite paradoxically become more and more solid/physical. The physicality of body/world is experienced as interpenetrated with the “realization.” Like a mountain of emptiness, universe walking, talking, sitting, working. The more I write the more I realize this defies description.

    There is value to the precision of description/language in describing stages of realization etc. personally I’m only interested in that insofar as it helps others who genuinely want to wake up to the deepest truths. With that said there can also be subtle fixations on precision of descriptions etc. There is of course a whole other side to realization that is totally instinctual, mysterious, unknowable. The innocence, vulnerability, wonder and awe cannot be overlooked, particularly if we are going to carry this into daily life as usual. I would never say anything is complete here, I am in awe moment to moment and learn from everyone and everything. It is literally impossible to have a sense that “I am liberated but others aren’t.” In a very real way all thatcis seen is Buddha nature. So if I speak to someone in process of awakening this is how I see them. They are both awakening process and Buddha nature. Those cannot be divided out. Not sure if that is helpful.

    Disclaimer- I don’t stand by anything I say, it’s gone as soon as it arrives 🤣
    3
  • John Tan Yes Angelo, total exertion!

    I like ur description of walking down a lighted hallway.

    Like while walking in a shopping mall, there is no self, just the full fluxing sensations forming the the appearance of the “shopping mall”. Then when entering the car park, the entire fluxing sensations turn into a “carpark”. The taste of this wondrous fluxing appearance is beyond description.

    As for physicality and senses, they are simply conventional designations. In total exertion, all designated boundaries dissolved and the six senses seamlessly inter-permeate each other into one miraculous functioning. In the exertion of seeing for example, it is not only the eyes see; the ears see; the nose sees, the colors see. The entire body-mind-universe marvelously arise as this moment of vivid scenery. In this moment, there is no seer and no seeing, just the beautiful scenery.

    Look, appreciate and dwell deeply into it in non-dual and ask,

    Where is this scenery?

    Unlike sound, taste, thoughts and smell that vanish like evanescent mist, the scenery is vividly and obviously there, but where is it?

    Powerfully present, yet empty like reflection.

    Integrate the two taste and happy journey!
    2
Join the Awakening to Reality Facebook Discussion Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AwakeningToReality/

This is a facebook group based on the blog Awakening to Reality. For newcomers who are new to the blog, please read this article for a basic understanding of what this group is about and the terms we use: Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment

Any member of this group can invite anyone who might benefit from joining this group.

The purpose of this discussion group is to facilitate any discussions about the contents of the blog. Also, if anyone has questions, or requests for any guidance, my hope is that someone else more experienced can serve as a guide to him/her.

I am in part inspired by what Liberation Unleashed has been doing - direct pointing has successfully led many people to have certain breakthroughs in their realization. Due to time constraints I am unable to do personal 1 on 1 pointing and guidance for everyone who contacts me through the blog, but I trust that many in this group have the capacity to help others who need help.

I was heartened to hear from Angelo Gerangelo (who personally went through similar progression i.e. I AM to non dual and anatta) today, who told me that someone he knew "...took 20 years to break Mu. That’s 20 years to I Am. I personally think that cannot be blamed on the student but on the clarity of the teaching. If someone wants to wake up and is willing to work at it sincerely I take 200% responsibility to show them exactly how it is possible. That’s on me. Doing the work is on them."

It is thus my wish that this group serve as a place to facilitate any sort of constructive discussions that can be of benefit to one's spiritual growth.

However, unlike Liberation Unleashed, the scope of this group is *not* limited to direct pointing only, as other forms of discussions related to the blog contents are also welcome.

Another point - earlier on Piotr wrote about keeping this group focused on direct pointings to anatta, dependent origination and emptiness - although those are certainly part of the 'scope of discussions' for this group. I'm going to broaden the scope of this group a bit, to include everything the blog talks about, including self enquiry and I AM realization, and other topics like karmic tendencies, so on and so forth.

Rules -

As a general guideline only: Please keep discussions constructive, try to keep idle talks to a minimum, and it is a rule that no personal attacks are welcomed here (please be kind to each other).


-------------

Lately more people have been contacting us. I just wrote to someone who wanted to meet up with Thusness and I:





That should get you started. Any further discussions it will be best if we can take it to https://www.facebook.com/groups/AwakeningToReality/ 😊

Also, I do not buy into the old model of guru. I do not buy into the model that teaches a need for “surrendering to the guru”. Some people find that helpful, that’s fine, but it is not necessary for enlightenment. I prefer the modern (actually not so modern – it is so even in the days of early Buddhism) model of spiritual friendship as explained by Greg Goode: https://greg-goode.com/article/from-the-age-of-the-guru-to-the-age-of-the-friend/

Which is also why the Awakening to Reality group is a good one, as Daniel M. Ingram wrote:

"the collective wisdom of a group of strong practitioners at various stages and from various traditions and backgrounds is often better than following one guru-type".

I am not a teacher, and Thusness does not wish to teach. We are people with a busy life and job/work/friends/family. We do not hold teachings, satsangs, meet ups (Thusness has not participated in any spiritual gatherings for many years and only meets me a few times a year), retreats, and so on. We are not monks nor do we work at a spiritual organization to propagate teachings. It is not realistic given our circumstances to be in frequent contact with “followers” and to be giving personal guidance to others. Hence, an online community of like-minded practitioners (some of whom are deeply realized and have gone through similar realizations) is more helpful in this case.
 
Lately I have successfully guided a few people. As of now, more than 30 people have realised anatta through encountering this blog, myself or Thusness, a feat rarely achieved by dharma teachers. (Buddha had thousands of enlightened students but that's another story) This is only possible due to the use of modern technologies that allows easy access worldwide and the unique clarity of Thusness's writings (I'm sure Thusness will be quite displeased with me for stating my opinion openly, haha).

However in the future I do not foresee that I will have time to do personal coaching. It is also not fruitful to neglect one's practice, as a deva addresses the following verse to Ven. Ānanda as Ven. Ānanda had been spending too much time teaching Dhamma to laypeople, "Coming to the bower at the root of a tree, placing unbinding in your heart, do jhāna, Gotama, don’t be heedless. What use is this chitter-chatter to you?". This is why recently I have compiled a list of articles so that the essentials are covered and sufficient for one's personal contemplation, and do not require any personal coaching. Personal pointing can be of benefit (like what Liberation Unleashed is doing), but that will take time, effort and responsibilities.

You are welcome to join our Facebook group Awakening to Reality to discuss anything related to this blog, or request for guidance from others who are ahead of you on the path. For other general discussion of Buddhadharma (teachings of Buddha/Buddhism), you can also join the Dharma Connection facebook group. I have also updated Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment with further clarifications towards the end of the article as I found that many people who read that article continue to misunderstand those stages.

Plenty of words and discussions are pointless, sometimes (in fact, often times) just one stanza is enough to trigger one's awakening if taken seriously in one's practice. Bahiya attained liberation upon hearing a single verse of Dhamma from the Buddha. As Buddha said in the Dhammapada, A man is not versed in Dhamma because he speaks much. He who, after hearing a little Dhamma, realizes its truth directly and is not heedless of it, is truly versed in the Dhamma. However, as Thusness pointed out before, unless one has directly realized the truth of anatta, and one's view and practice is completely refined, pointers from good teacher(s) and/or clear dharma books are still necessary. Only after direct realization of anatta (Thusness Stage 5) does it become "safe" to explore on one's own, "because after anatta, one is able to see what is meant by direct, gapless and pure, and he is on his own to mature this experience, until the next phase comes" (See: The Path of Anatta by Thusness), and "all practitioners must experience for themselves and not read". (One can still read, but it takes secondary role in one's practice) On another occasion, Thusness said, "Only after seeing the 6 phases of insights, you can then be said to be safe to explore on your own. The actual experience cannot be communicated." And as Thusness commented about Simpo (Sim Pern Chong) after he had certain breakthrough realizations, back in 2007, "given enough time, whatever he said will be like Buddha. But he need not read what that is taught by Buddha. However by reading it, it may help him and speed up his progress.", "...longchen (Sim Pern Chong) has realised the importance of transients and the five aggregates as Buddha nature, time for unborn nature. you see, it takes one to go through such phases, from "I AM" to Non-dual to isness then to the very very basic of what Buddha taught... can you see that? The more one experience, the more truth one sees in what Buddha taught in the most basic teaching. Whatever longchen experience is not because he read what Buddha taught, but because he really experience it."

We are blind at the start, pointers from good teachers and books bring us to the right track, and once we're in the right track, we will have to boldly walk forward ourselves. Unfortunately very clear teachers and clear books are hard to come by, so I try to provide a list of good resource that can be of help. I seldom read dharma books nowadays, though I have read plenty years ago. Even back in my army days (compulsory national service, about 8-9 years ago) I read thousands of pages of Buddhist scriptures, thousands of pages of dharma books, thousands of pages of non-Buddhist texts. It has been of help along my journey. But nowadays, I am more interested in actualizing my insights in living experience.

Many have awakened to anatta through reading this blog and contemplating accordingly, without personal coaching. And what I can advise is already documented in my blog articles and my e-book, and I think I have covered all the essentials quite thoroughly. If you have realized anatta through this blog, do write to me, I might even post your story up. Always good to hear an inspiring story.

After reading those articles and my e-book, if you still have doubts that need to be clarified, you're welcomed to contact me. However if you have not read through those articles and/or my e-book, please do so first, as otherwise I will simply be directing you to the existing articles that addresses your questions. Perhaps try doing a search on this blog to find your answer.

Someone asked me for book recommendations. What books you should read depends on where you're at, what practices you're doing, what realization you're aiming for.

If people ask me for advice on where to start, I usually recommend self-inquiry with the aim of attaining Self-Realization (the doubtless realization of I AMness). If you're still trying to attain I AM realization, focus on the books listed under the Self Inquiry sections. If you feel like you're having glimpses and experiences of the I AMness/Witness, do note that there are differing degrees and having glimpses and experiences are not the same as having the direct realization and complete certainty of I AM/Self. See I AM Experience/Glimpse/Recognition vs I AM Realization (Certainty of Being) and the first point in Realization and Experience and Non-Dual Experience from Different Perspectives by Thusness - anything short of the unshakeable and doubtless certainty of Being is not the I AM realization but more like a glimpse or experience. Self-inquiry will lead to the realization. I had glimpses of I AM experience for 3 years prior to the doubtless and unshakeable Self-Realization in February 2010 after less than 2 years of self-enquiry, which I detailed in my e-book, after which the Self/Presence/Awareness was no longer 'maintenance state' or passing glimpses for me and the certainty of what I am was never lost, I no longer felt the 'lose it/gain it' syndrome.

If you have realized I AM, focus on the four aspects of I AMness and other advices in my e-book and the two types of nondual contemplation.

If you're already past I AM and/or nondual but aiming for anatta realization, just focus on Bahiya Sutta contemplation and its related articles, read The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh especially the chapter on 'There is Knowing in the Wind' and 'Each Action is its Own Subject', The Breakthrough by Ajahn Amaro (mentions Bahiya Sutta in it) as well as MCTB 2nd Edition by Daniel Ingram, focusing more on post 3rd Path practice with the aim to attain MCTB 4th Path (meaning don't do noting, as noting is more suitable for lower stages in MCTB, you need a more direct apprehension mode of contemplation, like the way Daniel M. Ingram describes Vipassana here or how practice and contemplation is described in Gesture of Awareness).

If you think you already realized anatta, more often than not, you haven't. Most people who say they realized anatta are only having a more minor realization of non-doership or having experience of no mind, or are unable to distinguish between Thusness Stage 4 and 5. It is also common to fall into the disease of non-conceptuality, mistaking that as the source of liberation and thus clinging to or seeking a state of non-conceptuality as the main object of practice, whereas liberation comes only through the dissolving of ignorance and views (of inherent existence) that cause reification, by insight and realization. See: The Disease of Non-Conceptuality

Hence, do go through all the links in the comments section of Thusness Seven Stages of Awakening and read the article carefully before making a diagnosis on where you are as it is very common to think that one is there when one is not.

If you truly realized anatta and are wondering how to progress, read Advice for Taiyaki and +A and -A Emptiness (On the two experiential insights involved in Thusness Stage 6)

Also, it is very important to understand that having a conceptual understanding of no-self, dependent origination and emptiness is very different from direct realization. As I told Mason Spransy in The Importance of Luminosity, it is very possible to have the conceptual understanding of Thusness Stage 6 but lacking in direct realization, as that was his issue at that time. Days after that conversation he had direct realization of anatta and total exertion (see: Suchness / Mason Spransy). As Thusness pointed out in Purpose of Madhyamaka, if after all the analysis and contemplations of Madhyamaka (Buddhist emptiness teachings taught by Nagarjuna) one is unable to realize that the mundane is precisely where one's natural radiance is fully expressed, a separate pointing is necessary.

If you have attained all Thusness 7 Stages, do note that it is not a finality but the beginning of endless actualization. Have you perfected all elements of the Noble Eightfold Path? If your insight is clear, how about samadhi ("right concentration")? Furthermore, wisdom is just one aspect of practice. Another equally important aspect of practice is compassion or metta, which you can read more on your own from other sites, beginning with Metta Sutta. This blog hasn't dealt as much in topics like samadhi and metta/karuna, compared to topics on insight and wisdom. This is not because meditation, samadhi and metta/karuna are less important subjects, but there are resources out there that deals with these subjects quite thoroughly. Having a daily and disciplined meditation practice is important (refer to books under Mindfulness Practice/Meditation below). On the other hand, the insights and wisdom presented here by Thusness are very rare, and the clarity on the distinction of View, Realization and Experience can hardly be found elsewhere, therefore I have placed more effort to present these insights/wisdom aspect of the practice. As Thusness pointed out to me, there has to be a balance between insight, samadhi and compassion, in the sense that all these aspects are important in one's practice. Thusness is also deep into Yoga and energy practices and sees that as important for further progression in one's practice after insights, however it is beyond the scope of this blog at the moment, as I myself am not at the level of expertise like Thusness. It is important to have an "integral" approach to practice rather than skewing towards insight.

Regardless of where you're at, I still recommend reading the 'General Buddhadharma' books to get a rough understanding of Buddhadharma, even if one hasn't realized it yet.

Lastly, if you can find a spiritual community and living teacher, it can be of immense benefit for you. Thusness adviced before to "find a good teacher that has gone through the various phases of insights, at least until phase 5 of insight. However [in phase 5] one might still miss certain point [disregarding Dependent Origination]". Realistically speaking, it is quite hard to find someone who has at least realized Thusness Stage 5. That realization is very rare. For example, I searched around in my country and did not find any, though I can find lineage teachers at the I AM and Non Dual phases of insight (Stage 1 to 4). However, it should be known that whether the teacher has the exact same understanding of dharma, or whether he/she is coming from a very deep level of realization, there are always things that can be learnt, and a community of practitioners can be of a great help and encouragement to one's practice. Therefore I hope you will not have too much of an expectation for a dharma/meditation teacher, such as an expectation for a teacher to be fully realized. If there is someone who can help you grow spirituality, then seek their guidance. But you yourself must have clear understanding of dharma, have right views, and not be misguided. So read through this blog and the book recommendations. Group practice of sitting meditation can often be beneficial, it is something you have to experience for yourself. Refer to the book Meditation Now or Never by Steve Hagen for advice on how to find a good and qualified meditation teacher and practical advices on meditation. You need to overcome the common issues of 1) motivation, 2) monkey mind, 3) drowsiness. Mindful awareness is key, it solves dullness or drowsiness. Tranquility and release is key, it solves monkey mind. Consistency and discipline is key, getting habituated to a consistent practice solves the issue of motivation, especially when one tastes the higher state of bliss and clarity from meditation. I currently practice Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) and Satipatthana (Four Foundations of Mindfulness) while actualizing my insights like how Suzuki Roshi describes. This actualization is not confined to sitting but continues in everyday life (also see: What is Total Exertion?). See also: How silent meditation helped me with nondual inquiry

Happy New Year and may you attain Nirvana and realize all appearances are fundamentally in Nirvanic quiescence - the unity of two truths.

Not in any particular order -

General Buddhadharma

Buddhism Is Not What You Think by Steve Hagen (see some excerpts in https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2010/04/buddhism-is-not-what-you-think.html
Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen 
What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula


Mindfulness Practice/Meditation

Why do I need meditation training?
Meditation Now or Never by Steve Hagen
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Sun My Heart: Reflections on Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight by Thich Nhat Hanh
Quietening the Inner Chatter


On Theravada/Vipassana

Gesture of Awareness: A Radical Approach to Time, Space, and Movement by Charles Genoud (excerpts can be found here)
Mastering the Core Teachings of Buddha 2nd Edition by Daniel M. Ingram, available in hardcopy for purchase, or online for free: https://www.mctb.org/
The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, translated by Bikkhu Nanamoli and Bikkhu Bodhi
"Udana" and the "Itivuttaka": Two Classics from the Pali Canon by John Ireland -- Bahiya Sutta is in this
The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations Paperback –  by Gil Fronsdal
Measureless Mind by Geoff - https://www.scribd.com/document/274168728/Measureless-Mind
The Breakthrough by Ajahn Amaro
In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Early Buddhism's Model of Awakening


On Zen

Flowers Fall by Hakuun Yasutani
The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing by Ted Biringer
Zen Cosmology by Ted Biringer
Living By Vow by Shohaku Okumura
Infinite Circle: Teachings in Zen by Bernie Glassman
Hakuin on Kensho: The Four Ways of Knowing, Edited with Commentary by Albert Low
Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist by Hee-Jin Kim
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Hearing with the Eye: Photographs from Point Lobos by John Daido Loori
Yasutani-roshi's Introductory Lectures on Zen Training -
https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/yasutani.html

Eight Gates of Zen by John Daido Loori
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Suzuki Roshi
Man on Cloud Mountain | Shodo Harada Roshi in America


 
On Mahamudra

Poems of Mahamudra in the blog Luminous Emptiness and its comments
Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal  (some excerpts in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2008/11/few-excerpts-from-clarifying-natural.html)
Essentials of Mahamudra by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
The Royal Seal of Mahamudra by Khamtrul Rinpoche III (some excerpts in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2015/12/self-liberation-by-khamtrul-rinpoche-iii.html)
Mahamudra: The Moonlight -- Quintessence of Mind and Meditation by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
Garland of Mahamudra Practices by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen



On Dzogchen


Way of Bodhi by Yogi Prabodha Jnana and Yogini Abhaya Devi
Dzogchen vs Advaita, Conventional and Ultimate Truth by Kyle Dixon (also see linked articles inside)
Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness by Padmasambhava
Buddhahood in This Life by Malcolm Smith
(also check out the interview at http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2017/11/podcast-with-malcolm-smith-on-dzogchen.html)
The Self-Arisen Vidya Tantra (vol 1) and The Self-Liberated Vidya Tantra (vol 2): A Translation of the Rigpa Rang Shar (vol 1) and A Translation of ... (vol 2) (The Seventeen Dzogchen Tantras)
by Malcolm Smith
https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-self-arisen-vidya-tantra-vol-1-and.html


On Madhyamika

How to See Yourself As You Really Are by Dalai Lama (Greg Goode has some good chapter summaries for this book in https://greg-goode.com/article/dalai-lama-summaries/)
Greg Goode on Advaita/Madhyamika
The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by Nagarjuna/Jay Garfield
Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara with Commentary by Ju Mipham
Ocean of Reasoning: A Great Commentary on Nāgārjuna's Mulamadhyamakakārikā by Tsong khapa, Translated by Geshe Ngawang Samten and Jay L. Garfield
In Praise of Dependent Origination by Tsongkhapa
Emptiness Yoga: The Tibetan Middle Way by Jeffrey Hopkins


On Tibetan Buddhism

Jamgon Mipham by Douglas Duckworth
The Dharma's Gatekeepers: Sakya Pandita on Buddhist Scholarship in Tibet by Jonathan C. Gold
Mipham's Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness: To Be, Not to Be or Neither
A Garland of Views: A Guide to View, Meditation, and Result in the Nine Vehicles - Padmasambhava's classic text with a commentary by Jamgon Mipham



On Chittamatra/Yogacara

Distinguishing Phenomena from Their Intrinsic Nature with Commentaries by Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham (The Dharmachakra Translation Committee)


Mahayana Sutras (Scriptures)

The Heart Sutra (The most famous Mahayana sutra today. Short and brings out the essence of emptiness succinctly.)
The Diamond Sutra by Red Pine (This one triggered the awakening of 6th Ch'an Patriarch Hui-Neng)
The Lankavatara Sutra by Red Pine (This one was brought to China by 1st Ch'an Patriarch Bodhidharma, Thusness likes it very much)
The Samdhinirmochana Sutra by John Powers (Another sutra Thusness recommended 10+ years ago)
All the Sutras and Tantras as translated by 84000
Lopon Malcolm: "The most highly revered Sūtra in India was the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines."
The Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines
Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra
Non-Arising of Phenomena is the Most Vital and Definitive TeachingThe Mahayana Model of Awakening
 

Others


A New Buddhist Path by David Loy
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing In The Bardo by Chogyam Trungpa (Author), Francesca Fremantle (Author) (comments by Soh: I posted some excerpts of this book in my article Fearless Samadhi)
Nonduality by David Loy
A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber (comments by Soh: I like what Ken Wilber writes, but I also find that the critique on Ken's metaphysical beliefs very valid as well - http://www.integralworld.net/visser99.html and furthermore, Ken Wilber mischaracterized the teachings of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, an issue I pointed out in A Common Wrong Explanation of Hinayana vs Mahayana)
This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience by Alan Watts
The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
A Process Model by Eugene T. Gendlin
Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis by David Loy


Books for People Seeking Self-Realization (Realization of I AMness) and/or are Practicing Self-Inquiry

My e-book has a chapter on Self-Inquiry: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-e-booke-journal.html
The Direct Path to Your Real Self
Who am I? by Ramana Maharshi
Some Writings on Self-Enquiry and Non-duality by Ken Wilber
Essentials Of Chan Practice (Hua Tou/Self Enquiry) by Ch'an Master Hsu Yun
All books by Eckhart Tolle (perhaps start with The Power of Now – this is always the first book that I pass to friends and relatives if they show an interest in spirituality, as it is easy to read, inspiring and practical – it is a #1 New York Times bestseller that sold millions of copies)
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer (if you like Eckhart Tolle's books, read this one too. It is another #1 New York Times Bestseller in a similar vein and also sold over a million copies. This book also teaches about Self-Enquiry ala Ramana Maharshi)
True Meditation by Adyashanti
All books by Ramana Maharshi
Sri Ramana Maharshi - JNANI 2018
Sailor Bob with John Wheeler, Feb 2012
The Way of Liberation by Adyashanti (free PDF here)
All writings/books by Ch'an Master Hsu Yun
All books by John Wheeler
The Simple Feeling of Being by Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber - I Am Big Mind
Descartes: Reviving the West's Greatest Modern Vedantist
Numinous Awareness Is Never Dark: The Korean Buddhist Master Chinul’s Excerpts on Zen Practice


Advaita Vedanta

Standing as Awareness: The Direct Path by Greg Goode
The Direct Path: A User Guide by Greg Goode
After Awareness: The End of the Path by Greg Goode
Anything by Ramana Maharshi, Rupert Spira, Ramesh Balsekar and Nisargadatta Maharaj



Neo-Advaita

Anything by Tony Parsons
Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse
Anything by Jeff Foster

Comments: Neo-Advaita is good at pointing out nondual ala Thusness Stage 4 and in Tony Parsons' case more like Stage 5 especially recently, but I do not agree with their 'nothing to do' philosophy and neglecting conditionality/karmic propensities.

And as Thusness wrote before, "People that have gone into the nihilistic understanding of 'non-doing' ended up in a mess. You see those having right understanding of 'non-doing' are free, yet you see discipline, focus and peace in them.
Like just sitting and walking... ...in whatever they endeavor. Fully anatta."


 
Christian Mysticism

Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic by Adyashanti 
Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the 21st Century by Marcus J. Borg


Dream Yoga and Practices

Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep by Andrew Holecek and Stephen LaBerge
The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Mark Dahlby
Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and Michael Katz


Non-Traditional

The Wonder of Presence and The Silent Question by Toni Packer
Anything by Joan Tollifson
Books by Judith Blackstone

Comments:

Toni Packer is an ex-Zen successor-in-line of Zen Master Philip Kapleau, Toni was later influenced by anti-authoritarian/iconoclastic spiritual teacher J Krishnamurti and left her tradition. She founded the Springwater Center. Toni Packer was able to express the non-dual insight of anatta well along with mind-body drop. Like J. Krishnamurti, she placed emphasis on 'choiceless awareness'.

Joan Tollifson was a student of Toni, as well as a follower of other neo-Advaita teachings/teachers.

However, besides the great insights expressed in Toni and Joan's books, my main criticism of their approach is similar to what Thusness wrote before,


"After this insight, one must also be clear of the way of anatta and the path of practice. 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 about overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities.  There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is about 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 choiceless awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as the "default way" and such practice can hardly be considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation."

In 2013, Thusness said, "Anapanasati is good. After your insight [into anatta], master a form of technique that can bring you to that the state of anatta without going through a thought process." and on choiceless awareness Thusness further commented, "Nothing wrong with choice. Only problem is choice + awareness. It is that subtle thought, the thought that misapprehend (Soh: falsely imputes/fabricates) the additional "agent"."

“A state of freedom is always a natural state, that is a state of mind free from self/Self. You should familiarize yourself with the taste first. Like doing breathing meditation until there is no-self and left with the inhaling and exhaling... then understand what is meant by releasing.”

For those who have not yet gone into one mind, Judith Blackstone has some good techniques for accessing non-dual awareness and transparency, although more from the perspective of one mind.

Related: Bahiya Sutta, Dispassion and Spontaneous Perfection
Practice Before AND After Anatta
Non-Doing and Actualization
Non-Action
Non-Meditation and Daily Activities

Lately there's been some postings on non-arising (-A). Here's something on the other aspect, +A - total exertion with the car/driving analogy.
 
Thusness: (Total exertion is a) Key experience in my journey. Soto Zen emphasis is different from empty clarity but I see both are equally important.
 
The post by Jundo Cohen seems quite similar to something I wrote about a year back: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2017/12/what-is-total-exertion.html 
 
...........
 

Partial Excerpt from Zen teacher Jundo Cohen (see full post here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SotoZenGlobal/permalink/10156894347920692/ )

Further (and this is where I get all "Dogen" on ya ... Drivin' a Dodge Dogen on Genjo Koan Blvd.), as one sits, one may soon realize that driver and road and car and wind and sun and cow and mailbox and path ahead and present and beyond are all ONE! You drive the road as the road drives you, as the sun and silo drives the road and the driving drives driving ... the whole universe driving. Even trash and crash and coming on the on ramp of birth and leaving from the exit of death and flat tires and bumps ... all Buddha Highway. All Buddha driving Buddha, the whole trip Buddha all Along! The hard borders that separate driver and driven and drive and driving, inside the wind screen and outside ... and the wind itself ... all soften or drop away. I will slightly modify Dogen's famous passage from Shobogenzo Zenki:

-----
[L]ife is the manifestation of the Whole Works Driving ... There is nothing at all, not so much as one time or one phenomenon, that is not together with the Driving. Even be it a single thing, a single mind, none is not together with this Driving .. Life is like when one drives a car: though in this car one works the wheel, the shift, and the pedals, the car carries one, and one is naught without the car. Riding in the car, one even causes the car to be a car. One should learn this precise point. At this very moment, the car is the world is the road-even the sky, the blacktop, and the passing scene all have become circumstances of the car, unlike circumstances which are not the car. For this reason driving is our causing life to drive, the drive causing us to be ourselves. When driving a car, the mind and body, object and subject, are all drivings of the car; the whole earth and all of space are both drivings of the car. We that are the drive, life driving that is we, are the same way. ... That the whole road appears has nothing to do with beginning and end ...
-----

Though talking about those ox carts, Dogen said something like this in Zazenshin, a wonderful image of the relativity of motion and stillness, for is it the car moving or the road or is the whole world or the mind moving ... all ultimately stillness moving?

-----
Now, when it is said, "the car doesn't go", what does that mean by the car's "going" or the car's "not going"? For example, is the road flowing by the car's "going", or is road's not flowing the car's going? We can say that flowing is road's "not going", and it should also be that road's "going" is not its flowing. Therefore, in investigating the saying, "the car doesn't go", we should approach it both in terms of "not going" and in terms of not "not going"; for it is time. The saying, "[the car] doesn't go" is not saying simply that it does not go.
-----

As we sit still in Zazen, the whole world is turning. Oh, and we do not need a seatbelt on a Zafu ... and the gas tank is always full. Hit the road! :-)

Does that convey the experience a bit?

It is worth the trip. The high school driving coach can only show you so much, and your job is to actually now get out there and drive! Drive a little each day, beyond long or short distances or fast and slow time, beyond coming or going or here and there and any other destination but THIS. "Zen driving" is moving yet perfectly still. This moment of pedal to the metal is all distances and all time, here and there and everywhere.

Gassho, J
Someone wrote:



If I'm alone in the forest, or my room, I find that anatta comes more naturally. The presence of other people takes me "away" from the view of "mere luminous activities".
But I've seen through it a couple of times (which feels rather peculiar), removing the personal aspect of the appearance of another person.
Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

I wrote:

The penetration of wisdom into all activities and the three states takes practice, so you might need to give yourself some time.

As practice progress, anatta and not only anatta but maha total exertion becomes natural. There must also be a certain degree of fearlessness (for boundless opening without reservation to any given situation/encounters) and non-attachment, then let this penetrate into sleep, then even if you face "monsters" (enough to scare the shit out of ordinary people), such experiences can transform into nondual bliss and clarity as I wrote in fearless samadhi https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../fearless... , otherwise there can be a habitual self-contraction. The Tibetans describe this as not letting the appearances turn into 'enemies' or 'others' but rather recognizing all appearances to be one's empty radiance, this is important even in death and bardo.


...

Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:38pm UTC+10

facing all kinds of stuff in life and yet experiencing the three characteristics of self-liberation like you said, "non-duality, non-attachment and fearlessness" is how i understand dong zhong xiu (practice amidst movement) now
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:39pm UTC+10

yes but with the direct and intuitive knowledge that there is no you facing anything, it is the entire universe facing it.
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:40pm UTC+10

it is like all the phases of ur insights actualized in this conventional world
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:41pm UTC+10

means when say talking to my children, it is neither me nor him....it is one activity
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:41pm UTC+10

like i talk to you
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:42pm UTC+10

it does not mean that soh does not exist
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:43pm UTC+10

it is just no thusness or soh, only the question on hand that makes up the situation...
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:43pm UTC+10

or when u talking to ur teacher, no teacher or student relationship...just a single activity...get it?
Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:44pm UTC+10

i see..
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:45pm UTC+10

teacher is not teacher, student not student...teacher becomes the student, the student becomes the teacher, the teacher is the teacher, the student is the student, no teacher, no student...all as one activity...
Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:46pm UTC+10

maybe thats what guru yoga is about :P
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:46pm UTC+10

i am not sure about guru yoga...lol
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:47pm UTC+10

everything interpenetrates, everything interdefines, there is no everything...
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:48pm UTC+10

when eyes are open...the spontaneous presence of scenery...no seer, no seeing, no seen...seer is the seeing is the seen...just this, the entire movement.
Soh Wei YuSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:49pm UTC+10

ic..
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:50pm UTC+10

this must be your moment to moment encounter in mundane activity
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:52pm UTC+10

deconstruct self, deconstruct physical, deconstruct external, deconstruct internal...be free from all arbitrary definitions and stories...then whatever experience is neither physical nor mental nor spiritual...just direct, non-conceptual as it is state of self arising...
John TanSunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:55pm UTC+10

be free from all arbitrary thoughts and definitions...don't let 'yourself' be troubled by all these so that this activity is unobstructed and uncontrived in clean purity...then experience will be transparent and total.



...

He wrote:

  Soh Wei Yu thank you. I find John's words there particularly poignant! 🙏

This investigation of anatta with others is getting interesting... Thank you all for the input. ❤️


I wrote further:


“Birth is just like riding in a boat. You raise the sails and row with the pole. Although you row, the boat gives you a ride, and without the boat no one could ride. But you ride in the boat and your riding makes the boat what it is. Investigate such a moment.”

- Dogen


(+A)
When u cook, there is no self that cooks, only the activity of cooking. The hands moves, the utensils act, the water boils, the potatoes peels …here there is no room for simplicity or complications, the “kitchen” went beyond it’s own imputation and dissolved into the activity of cooking and the universe is fully engaged in this cooking.
(-A)
30 years of practice and 23 years of kitchen life is like a passing thought.
How heavy is this thought?
The whereabouts of this thought?
Tastes the nature of this thought.
It never truly arises.

~ Thusness