by Greg Goode in

(The Direct Path Group is for discussions related to Greg Goode and Sri Atmananda's teachings related to Advaita Vedanta)

= How silent meditation helped me with nondual inquiry =
This is about how silent meditation helped me with nondual inquiry. Silent meditation is different from inquiry, and helps prepare one for doing inquiry. It helps in several ways, which I’ll say more about below.
There are various forms of silent meditation and various paths of inquiry. For example, Shamatha is recommended if one wants to realize emptiness via analytic meditation.
Personally, I found Zazen helpful for nondual inquiry. How can it help? It stabilizes the mind so that the mind doesn’t get off track or fall asleep during the inquiry.
Here is a very rough and schematic quasi-Vedantic account of how this works. It’s not a DP account, but something that we were taught in the Chinmaya Mission. Vedanta looks at the body/mind apparatus as composed of various layers or sheaths of active energy. At the grossest is the body. At a more subtle layer is the “emotional body,” then the mind as controller of its activities. And more subtle still is the intellect, the process of ratiocination, making connections and insight.
All activities engage all of the levels, but some activities have their center of gravity more on one level than another. According to the present scheme, Nondual inquiry begins largely at the energetic level of the intellect. But the insights permeate all levels. And nondual insights deconstruct the levels altogether.
In order that the intellect do its appointed job well, it needs to be somewhat calm. It cannot be jumpy or inclined to nod off into sleep.
For the intellect to be calm, the less subtle levels need to be somewhat calm as well. This is familiar - if there is emotional turbulence, it is hard to think.
There are activities that address each of the levels. Such as karma yoga or recreational dancing or athletics for the physical level. Bhakti yoga or art or singing or performing music for the emotional level. Raja yoga or study or concentrated meditation for the level of controlling the mind. And jnana yoga or mathematics or other kinds of coursing stuff out for the intellectual level.
The calmer the levels that are less subtle than the intellect, the calmer the intellect will be able to be.
This is where zazen helped me. It came in at the level of the control-of-the-mind level and smoothed things out wonderfully. Plus it gives a taste of silence. For me, it helped the mind stay with the subtleties of jnana yoga without a a rage of chattering thoughts, and without getting drowsy and falling asleep.
Zazen is taught at Zen centers. Phenomenally (not doctrinally) it is a process of keeping the mind extremely steady on a subtle object like counting or the breath. There are two things that could depart from that: a chatty mind or a sleepy one. Whenever you notice that either has happened, you simply go back to counting or following the breath.
Besides calmness and stability and subtlety, I noticed physically healthy things, like better digestion, more energy on the lower body and more closely focused in everything where needed.
One can do zazen earlier in the day, and then nondual inquiry later in the day. And nondual inquiry will be supercharged. Of course there are other preparatory activities that will help. This was just my experiences with zazen!


Hi Andrej, Here are some examples of which inquiries were helped by Zazen.... I did years of inquiries, mostly before I did Zazen. The main inquiry I did with the aid of Zazen was later and extremely subtle: I was looking into why Truth and Reality were widely held to be nondual whereas I experienced a very slight, benevolent duality between witnessing awareness and the arisings that seemed to arise from/to it. There was no suffering (I was at the so-called "transparent witness" gestalt). But even so, I was drawn to this issue for over a year. I happened to be doing Zazen at the time - I only realized later that it helped, and how it helped. How did Zazen help? I was already pretty good at focusing and keeping my attention on an object. My father had this too. He brought it his work home and did it at the large dinner table while the TV was on a few feet away and we kids were running around. It didn't bug him a bit! He taught this focus to us. We were a family of introverted artists, so it was easy. All my school, military and corporate experience helped with focus as well. But this topic (subject/object distinction) was very slippery. In a word, Zazen helped make the mind more open and subtle. It quieted the mind so that it was more open to subtle insight coming from unexpected angles, as opposed to the usual ones. And it helped the mind recognize patterns and formulations of a vaguer and more subtle type. Here's a physicalist-type example. Imagine putting a long hair in a phone book and then cover it with one page. Then shut your eyes and try to trace the hair with your fingertips


Kyle Dixon: 

Sitting has been invaluable for me in my life, with positive, long lasting effects. I really cannot recommend it enough. Also the more I sat, and the more stable my meditation became, the brighter my mind became, like increasing the brightness on a lamp. Energetically things became very coordinated, like Greg mentioned, and what I would call instances of transcendent insight would erupt spontaneously. Which were like precursors to larger events of the same species. Meditation if done right is just a fantastic supplement to any spiritual endeavor. It breathes life into the process and makes everything easier and more enjoyable.
There are a couple of articles on 'No Awareness' or 'Beyond Awareness'. It must be emphasized that this does not mean the non-existence of awareness, or the denial of awareness or luminosity.


John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:02pm UTC+08
Why is he talking abt 靈妙覺體 [spiritual and marvellous body of awareness]
Soh Wei YuWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:03pm UTC+08
its just the luminosity?
Soh Wei YuWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:03pm UTC+08
what do you mean
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:04pm UTC+08
there is no deny of clarity or luminosity, it is the singling out of luminosity that is the problem.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:04pm UTC+08
Y is luminosity luminous?
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:05pm UTC+08
Is an irrelevant question

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:09pm UTC+08
There is no such [inherently existing] clarity

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:11pm UTC+08
Because of inherent thought, we understand 靈妙覺體 [spiritual and marvellous body of awareness] as standalone, singled out from DO (Dependent Origination) or otherwise we r understanding it as "interaction".
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:12pm UTC+08
Or if conceptuality is a problem then non-conceptuality must b the solution.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:13pm UTC+08
Or subsuming object into subject or subject into object...
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:13pm UTC+08
It is addressing this way of thinking, of understanding is a misperception.

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:15pm UTC+08
It is not to imply that there is no clarity...but what is clarity when it is not understood using this flawed mode of perception.

John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:21pm UTC+08
In Buddhism, it is not how. It's always under what conditions such phenomena arises. So when this cause & condition persists, the phenomena will arise.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:35pm UTC+08
First is to bring out the point to ask why appearances "arises" in Awareness is the same as asking why is awareness aware in awareness teaching. Why so? For the convention we call awareness is only ever appearances.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:36pm UTC+08
Then address what is flaw mode of perception...
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:36pm UTC+08
As I hv given above.
John TanWednesday, September 3, 2014 at 7:37pm UTC+08
So why does appearances appear to arise in Awareness? Because of ignorance

John TanFriday, September 19, 2014 at 10:12pm UTC+08
If Buddha ask ananda, where is mind...if mind is not outside, not inside, not in the middle, not within the body...then is he ananda going to think that Buddha doesn't dare to affirm where is the mind?

John TanFriday, September 19, 2014 at 10:12pm UTC+08
Then ananda will nvr know the meaning of DO.

John TanFriday, September 19, 2014 at 10:14pm UTC+08
And the problem of how inherent thought blinds one from seeing and having direct experiential insight of what is meant by freedom from extreme.

John TanSaturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:10am UTC+08

When u present to 不思, u must not deny (awareness). But emphasized how (awareness) is effortlessly and marvelously manifests without the slightest sense of referencing and point of centricity and duality and subsuming it here, now, in, out...this can only come from realization of anatta, DO and emptiness so that the spontaneity of (appearance) is realized to one's radiance clarity.



(11:42 PM) Thusness:    i have always said it is not the denial of eternal witness.
(11:42 PM) Thusness:    but what exactly is that eternal witness?
(11:42 PM) Thusness:    it is the real understanding of eternal witness.
(11:43 PM) AEN:    yeah i tot so
(11:43 PM) AEN:    so its something like david carse right
(11:43 PM) Thusness:    without the 'seeing' and 'veil' of momentum, of reacting to propensities.
(11:43 PM) AEN:    emptiness, yet luminous
(11:43 PM) AEN:    icic
(11:43 PM) Thusness:    however when one quote what buddha said, does he understand first of all.
(11:43 PM) Thusness:    is he seeing eternal witness as in the advaita?
(11:44 PM) AEN:    he's probably confused
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    or is he seeing free from propensities.
(11:44 PM) AEN:    he never explicitly mention but i believe his understanding is something like that la
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    so there is no point quoting if it is not seen.
(11:44 PM) AEN:    icic
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    otherwise it is just saying the atman view again.
(11:44 PM) Thusness:    so u should be very clear by now...and not to be confused.
(11:44 PM) AEN:    icic
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    what have i told u?
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    u have also written in ur blog.
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    what is eternal witness?
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    it is the manifestation...moment to moment of arising
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    does one see with the propensities and what is really it?
(11:45 PM) Thusness:    that is more important.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    i have said so many times that the experience is correct but the understanding is wrong.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    wrong view.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    and how perception influence experience and wrong understanding.
(11:46 PM) Thusness:    so don't quote here and there with just a snap shot...
(11:47 PM) Thusness:    be very very clear and know with wisdom so that u will know what is right and wrong view.
(11:47 PM) Thusness:    otherwise u will be reading this and get confused with that.


(3:55 PM) Thusness:    it is not to deny the existence of the luminosity
(3:55 PM) Thusness:    the knowingness
(3:55 PM) Thusness:    but rather to have the correct view of what consciousness is.
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    like non-dual
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    i said there is no witness apart from the manifestation, the witness is really the manifestation
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    this is the first part
(3:56 PM) Thusness:    since the witness is the manifestation, how is it so?
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    how is the one is really the many?
(3:57 PM) AEN:    conditions?
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    saying that the one is the many is already wrong.
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    this is using conventional way of expression.
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    for in reality, there is no such thing of the 'one'
(3:57 PM) Thusness:    and the many
(3:58 PM) Thusness:    there is only arising and ceasing due to emptiness nature
(3:58 PM) Thusness:    and the arising and ceasing itself is the clarity.
(3:58 PM) Thusness:    there is no clarity apart from the phenomena
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    if we experience non-dual like ken wilber and talk about the atman.
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    though the experience is true, the understanding is wrong.
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    this is similar to "I AM".
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    except that it is higher form of experience.
(4:00 PM) Thusness:    it is non-dual.

Session Start: Sunday, October 19, 2008

(1:01 PM) Thusness: Yes
(1:01 PM) Thusness: Actually practice is not to deny this 'Jue' (awareness)

(6:11 PM) Thusness: the way u explained as if 'there is no Awareness'.
(6:11 PM) Thusness: People at times mistaken what u r trying to convey.but to correctly understand this 'jue' so that it can be experienced from all moments effortlessly.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: But when a practitioner heard that it is not 'IT', they immediately began to worry because it is their most precious state.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: All the phases written is about this 'Jue' or Awareness.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: However what Awareness really is isn't correctly experienced.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: Because it isn't correctly experienced, we say that 'Awareness that u try to keep' does not exist in such a way.
(1:01 PM) Thusness: It does not mean there is no Awareness.


(12:02 AM) Thusness: it is not that there is no awareness
(12:02 AM) Thusness: it is understanding awareness not from a subject/object view
(12:02 AM) Thusness: not from an inherent view
(12:03 AM) Thusness: that is dissolving subject/object understanding into events, action, karma
(12:04 AM) Thusness: then we gradually understand that the 'feeling' of someone there is really just a 'sensation' of an inherent view
(12:04 AM) Thusness: means a 'sensation', a 'thought'
inherent view
(12:06 AM) Thusness: how this lead to liberation requires the direct experience
(12:06 AM) Thusness: so liberation it is not freedom from 'self' but freedom from 'inherent view'
(12:07 AM) AEN: icic..
(12:07 AM) Thusness: get it?
(12:07 AM) Thusness: but it is important to experience luminosity

Session Start: Saturday, 27 March, 2010

(9:54 PM) Thusness: Not bad for self-enquiry
(9:55 PM) AEN: icic..
btw what do u think lucky and chandrakirti is trying to convey
(9:56 PM) Thusness: those quotes weren't really well translated in my opinion.
(9:57 PM) Thusness: what needs be understood is 'No I' is not to deny Witnessing consciousness.
(9:58 PM) Thusness: and 'No Phenomena' is not to deny Phenomena
(9:59 PM) Thusness: It is just for the purpose of 'de-constructing' the mental constructs.
(10:00 PM) AEN: oic..
(10:01 PM) Thusness: when u hear sound, u cannot deny it...can u?
(10:01 PM) AEN: ya
(10:01 PM) Thusness: so what r u denying?
(10:02 PM) Thusness: when u experience the Witness as u described in ur thread 'certainty of being', how can u deny this realization?
(10:03 PM) Thusness: so what is does 'no I' and 'no phenomena' mean?
(10:03 PM) AEN: like u said its only mental constructs that are false... but consciousness cant be denied ?
(10:03 PM) Thusness: no...i am not saying that
Buddha never deny the aggregates
(10:04 PM) Thusness: just the selfhood
(10:04 PM) Thusness: the problem is what is meant by 'non-inherent', empty nature, of phenomena and 'I'


(11:15 PM) Thusness:    but understanding it wrongly is another matter
can u deny Witnessing?
(11:16 PM) Thusness:    can u deny that certainty of being?
(11:16 PM) AEN:    no
(11:16 PM) Thusness:    then there is nothing wrong with it
how could u deny ur very own existence?
(11:17 PM) Thusness:    how could u deny existence at all
(11:17 PM) Thusness:    there is nothing wrong experiencing directly without intermediary the pure sense of existence
(11:18 PM) Thusness:    after this direct experience, u should refine ur understanding, ur view, ur insights
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    not after the experience, deviate from the right view, re-enforce ur wrong view
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    u do not deny the witness, u refine ur insight of it
what is meant by non-dual
(11:19 PM) Thusness:    what is meant by non-conceptual
what is being spontaneous
what is the 'impersonality' aspect
(11:20 PM) Thusness:    what is luminosity.
(11:20 PM) Thusness:    u never experience anything unchanging
(11:21 PM) Thusness:    in later phase, when u experience non-dual, there is still this tendency to focus on a background... and that will prevent ur progress into the direct insight into the TATA as described in the tata article.
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    and there are still different degree of intensity even u realized to that level.
(11:23 PM) AEN:    non dual?
(11:23 PM) Thusness:    tada (an article) is more than is phase 5-7
(11:24 PM) AEN:    oic..
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    it is all about the integration of the insight of anatta and emptiness
(11:25 PM) Thusness:    vividness into transience, feeling what i called 'the texture and fabric' of Awareness as forms is very important
then come emptiness
(11:26 PM) Thusness:    the integration of luminosity and emptiness

(10:45 PM) Thusness:    do not deny that Witnessing but refine the view, that is very important
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    so far, u have correctly emphasized the importance of witnessing
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    unlike in the past, u gave ppl the impression that u r denying this witnessing presence
(10:46 PM) Thusness:    u merely deny the personification, reification and objectification
(10:47 PM) Thusness:    so that u can progress further and realize our empty nature.
but don't always post what i told u in msn
(10:48 PM) Thusness:    in no time, i will become sort of cult leader
(10:48 PM) AEN:    oic.. lol
(10:49 PM) Thusness:    anatta is no ordinary insight.  When we can reach the level of thorough transparency, u will realize the benefits
(10:50 PM) Thusness:    non-conceptuality, clarity, luminosity, transparency, openness, spaciousness, thoughtlessness, non-locality...all these descriptions become quite meaningless.


(7:39 PM) Thusness:    it is always witnessing...don't get it wrong
just whether one understand its emptiness nature or not.
(7:39 PM) Thusness:    there is always luminosity
since when there is no witnessing?
(7:39 PM) Thusness:    it is just luminosity and emptiness nature
not luminosity alone

(9:59 PM) Thusness:    there is always this is the divided sense that u have to get rid
(9:59 PM) Thusness:    that is why i never deny the witness experience and realization, just the right understanding 


(2:58 PM) Thusness:    There is no problem being the witness, the problem is only wrong understanding of what witness is.
(2:58 PM) Thusness:    That is seeing duality in Witnessing.
(2:58 PM) Thusness:    or seeing 'Self' and other, subject-object division.  That is the problem.
(2:59 PM) Thusness:    U can call it Witnessing or Awareness, there must be no sense of self.

(11:21 PM) Thusness:    yes witnessing
not witness
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    in witnessing, it is always non-dual
(11:22 PM) Thusness:    when in witness, it is always a witness and object being witness
when there is an observer, there is no such thing as no observed
(11:23 PM) Thusness:    when u realised that there is only witnessing, there is no observer and observed
it is always non-dual
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    that is why when genpo something said there is no witness only witnessing, yet taught the staying back and observed 
(11:24 PM) Thusness:    i commented the path deviates from the view
(11:25 PM) AEN:    oic..
(11:25 PM) Thusness:    when u teach experience the witness, u teach that
that is not about no subject-object split
u r teaching one to experience that witness
(11:26 PM) Thusness:    first stage of insight of the "I AM"


Daniel M. Ingram:

"So you have these two extremes - both of which I find pretty annoying (laughs) - and uhm, not that they are not making interesting points that counterbalance each other. And then, from an experiential point of view, the whole field seems to be happening on its own in a luminous way, the intelligence or awareness seems to be intrinsic in the phenomena, the phenomena do appear to be totally transient, totally ephemeral. So I would reject from an experiential point of view, something in the harshness of the dogma of the rigid no-selfists that can't recognise the intrinsic nature of awareness that is the field. If that makes sense. Cos they tend to feel there's something about that's sort of (cut off?)..."

Interviewer: "And not only awareness..."

Daniel: "Intelligence. Right, and I also reject from an experiential point of view the people who would make this permanent, something separate from, something different from just the manifestation itself. I don't like the permanence aspect because from a Buddhist technical point of view I do not find anything that stands up as permanent in experience. I find that quality always there *while there is experience.* Because it's something in the nature of experience. But it's not quite the same thing as permanence, if that makes sense. So while there is experience, there is experience. So that means there is awareness, from a certain point of view, manifestation - awareness being intrinsically the same thing, intrinsic to each other. So while there is experience, I would claim that element (awareness) is there - it has to be for there to be experience. And I would claim that the system seems to function very lawfully and it's very easy to feel that there's a sort of intelligence, ok, cool... ...the feeling of profundity, the feeling of miraculousness, the wondrous component. So as the Tibetans would say, amazing! It all happens by itself! So, there is intrinsically amazing about this. It's very refreshingly amazing that the thing happens, and that things cognize themselves or are aware where they are, manifestation is truly amazing and tuning into that amazingness has something valuable about it from a pragmatic point of view."


5/24/2012 8:05 PM: John: But experientially same but just the degree of right understanding
5/24/2012 8:07 PM: John: Not exactly one mind
5/24/2012 8:07 PM: John: Do u feel everything as Self now?
5/24/2012 8:08 PM: John: As in that experience of I M powerfully present at this moment
5/24/2012 8:09 PM: Soh Wei Yu: yes presence, but as change
5/24/2012 8:11 PM: John: As if like Awareness clear and open like space, without meditation yet powerfully present and non-dual
5/24/2012 8:12 PM: John: Where the 4 Aspects of I M r fully experienced in this moment
5/24/2012 8:14 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Yeah
5/24/2012 8:14 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I think the four aspects is only fully experienced after nondual and anatta, especially effortlessness and no need to abide
5/24/2012 8:15 PM: John: This experience will become more and more powerful later yet effortless and uncontrieved
5/24/2012 8:17 PM: John: How so? If it is not correct insights and practice, how is it possible for such complete and total experience of effortless and uncontrieved Presence be possible?
5/24/2012 8:18 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I do not see it is possible without the proper insights and practice
5/24/2012 8:20 PM: Soh Wei Yu: In anatta every activity is it, is buddha nature, so no contrivance at all
5/24/2012 8:21 PM: Soh Wei Yu: No need to meditate to get anywhere
5/24/2012 8:21 PM: Soh Wei Yu: But meditation is still important to cultivate certain aspects like tranquility
5/24/2012 8:22 PM: John: Indeed and this is being authenticated by the immediate moment of experience. How could there be doubt abt it. The last trace of Presence must be released with seeing through the emptiness nature of whatever arises.
5/24/2012 8:22 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I see..
5/24/2012 8:25 PM: John: After maturing and integrating ur insights into practice, there must be no effort and action.... The entire whole is doing the work and arises as this vivid moment of shimmering appearance, this has always been what we always called Presence.


John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:46pm UTC+08

Btw, r experience (appearances), immensely crystal, brilliance and sharp..without any crystal that a sense of transparency arise?
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:47pm UTC+08

It must b a natural and effortless
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm UTC+08

In normal circumstances, having enough rest and relax...without need to meditate...natural and relax
John TanWednesday  December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm UTC+08

Not when u r busy
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm UTC+08

So crystal that there is always this sense of absorption
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:50pm UTC+08

Openness like space, clear and boundless
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:51pm UTC+08

In later phase, it must be even stronger than the initial phase (Soh: of anatta)
John TanWednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:57pm UTC+08

U need to hv enough rest and if possible take more vege


Thusness wrote in 2012,

"I do not see practice apart from realizing the essence and nature of awareness. The only difference is seeing Awareness as an ultimate essence or realizing awareness as this seamless activity that fills the entire Universe. When we say there is no scent of a flower, the scent is the flower.... that is because the mind, body, universe are all together deconstructed into this single flow, this scent and only this... Nothing else. That is the Mind that is no mind. There is not an Ultimate Mind that transcends anything in the Buddhist enlightenment. The mind Is this very manifestation of total exertion... wholly thus. Therefore there is always no mind, always only this vibration of moving train, this cooling air of the air-con, this breath... The question is after the 7 phases of insights can this be realized and experienced and becomes the ongoing activity of practice in enlightenment and enlightenment in practice -- practice-enlightenment."

Thusness, 2012:

"Has awareness stood out? There is no concentration needed. When six entries and exits are pure and primordial, the unconditioned stands shining, relaxed and uncontrived, luminous yet empty. The purpose of going through the 7 phases of perception shift is for this... Whatever arises is free and uncontrived, that is the supreme path. Whatever arises has never left their nirvanic state... ... your current mode of practice [after those experiential insights] should be as direct and uncontrived as possible. When you see nothing behind and magical appearances are too empty, awareness is naturally lucid and free. Views and all elaborations dissolved, mind-body forgotten... just unobstructed awareness. Awareness natural and uncontrived is supreme goal. Relax and do nothing, Open and boundless, Spontaneous and free, Whatever arises is fine and liberated, This is the supreme path. Top/bottom, inside/outside, Always without center and empty (2-fold emptiness), Then view is fully actualized and all experiences are great liberation."

John Tan/Thusness, 2014:

"The purpose of anatta is to have full blown experience of the heart -- boundlessly, completely, non-dually and non-locally. Re-read what I wrote to Jax.

In every situations, in all conditions, in all events. It is to eliminate unnecessary contrivity so that our essence can be expressed without obscuration.

Jax wants to point to the heart but is unable to express in a non-dual way... for in duality, the essence cannot be realized. All dualistic interpretation are mind made. You know the smile of Mahākāśyapa? Can you touch the heart of that smile even 2500 yrs later?

One must lose all mind and body by feeling with entire mind and body this essence which is 心 (Mind). Yet 心 (Mind) too is 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable).. The purpose is not to deny 心 (Mind) but rather not to place any limitations or duality so that 心 (Mind) can fully manifest.

Therefore without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to limit 心 (Mind). without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to place limitation in its manifestations. You must fully experience 心 (Mind) by realizing 无心 (No-Mind) and fully embrace the wisdom of 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable)."

Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:35pm UTC+08

Im eating durian chendol in malacca
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:38pm UTC+08

Famous shop here v nice
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

The shop is playing jing kong fa shi vcd
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

He talls about an unborn undying ling xing - spirit
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

That which reborns in six realms he says is not the body but the ling xing spirit
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

It is that which goes to pure land
Soh Wei YuSaturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:39pm UTC+08

John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:33am UTC+08

His view is more substantial view.
John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:36am UTC+08

Buddhism does not deny luminous clarity, in fact it is to hv total, uncontrieved, direct non-referential of clarity in all moments...therefore no-self apart from manifestation.
John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:36am UTC+08

Otherwise one is only holding ghost images.
John TanSunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:39am UTC+08

So understanding a spirit traveling in the 6 realms is diff from recognizing these realms are nothing more than one's radiance clarity.
Also see: What is Total Exertion?

 Shinshu Roberts

Shinshu Roberts is a Dharma Heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, abbot of Berkeley Zen Center and in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. She received her priest training at San Francisco Zen Center and from the North American branch of the Japanese Soto School. She has been appointed Kokusaifukyoshi (International Dharma Teacher) by the Shumucho (Japanese Soto Administration). She co-founded Ocean Gate Zen Center in Capitola, CA with her spouse Jaku Kinst.

Excerpts from Being-Time: A Practitioner's Guide to Dogen's Shobogenzo Uji by Shinshu Roberts:

"...Moving Endlessly Up and Down

Dynamic movement can also be understood as a moment abiding as impermanence. Tanahashi translates this section as "actualized by ascending and descending of the time-being at each moment," suggesting a quality of staying put yet dynamically moving.

If you are a dancer, you respond to sound and rhythm with your body. Yet each dance has its own demands or particularity. If you are a ballerina, you have a certain set of forms defining the style of how you will dance, yet within these parameters, your options of expression are innumerable. As you dance, that moment also holds the moment of the music's composer, the moment of composition, the history and culture of the music, the creativity of the choreographer, endlessly naming and including everything in the universe. There is also the nondual, total inclusivity of each moment, as the dance dances the dance - no subject and no object. At the same time, there is just the unique, independent, exclusive moment of the individual dancer dancing. Both are happening together, both depend upon the other for being-time's expression. This is the moment's constancy in the midst of dynamic expression.

Abiding in the moment is the right-here-and-now of our experience: it is enduring suchness. This suchness is the dynamic interpenetrating connection with all of reality. You may have a feeling that this moment is tranquil and quiescent, separate and complete. Yet, this moment is still interacting with all of reality. We're not usually aware of the universality of the moment, but that does not negate its expression.

This moving up and down can be understood as a kind of deep penetration of a particular occurrence of our being-time. At the same time, it is all being-time. The universal quality is the connective glue of all dharma positions as they simultaneously actualize being-time. Because each moment is interpenetrating being-time and also independent in and of itself, we get a sense of impermanence expressed.

A Glimpse of the Entire World

Continuing the paragraph, Dogen writes, "This time realizes the entire world by being a creature with three heads and eight arms, and realizes the entire world by being a sixteen-foot golden body." Dogen is reiterating that a particular dharma position's independent nature might be perceived as a creature with three heads and eight arms or a sixteen-foot golden body..."

"Deep Investigation
In the United States, we often hear about mindfulness associated with Buddhism. A popular definition of mindfulness is a kind of complete attention on an activity and its object. For instance as we are washing dishes, we might be saying to ourselves, "I am washing a plate," and focusing our thoughts on the feeling of the activity itself. We might slow down, follow our breath, and put all our focus on the sensation of the task as an object of our attention.

This would not be how Dogen would approach the practice of deep investigation or exhaustive penetration. He might be describe the activity of washing dishes as washing washes washing, thereby removing the subject-object relationship. Mindfulness may be a dharma gate to intimacy, but it is not the Zen practice of exhaustively penetrating the totality of one's experience. In the true intimacy of complete engagement there is no labeling of self or other that comes from paying attention to something outside the self.

When engaging in work practice, a Soto Zen student is interacting with the totality of all the elements arising within the context of that activity. This means that one makes effort to fulfill the task in such a way that one is respectful of the tools used, the context of the work, the instructions of the work leader, the time allotted for the task, and working in unison with others. The purpose of our effort is to complete the job through our total exertion and practice with the task itself. It is not to be mindful of the activity as an object of our attention. When we are able to engage in work this way, we drop our own agenda and fully engage with the complete activity of cleaning and community.

Included in this intimate total immersion in the being-time of a particular moment is the simultaneous arising of all being-time. This nondualism is not separate from the relative or everyday. Washing dishes is not special. By entering the world of washing dishes, we enter the whole world, which is our world, by jumping in with wholehearted effort.

Dharmas Are Real Form

Nishijima and Cross translate Waddell and Abe's "penetrating exhaustively" as "perfectly realizing" and associate it with a phrase from the Lotus Sutra: "buddhas alone, together with buddhas, can perfectly realize that all dharmas are real form." Dogen unpacks the meaning of real form in "Shoho Jisso" (All Dharmas Are Real Form):

"Real form is all dharmas. All dharmas are forms as they are, natures as they are, body as it is, the mind as it is, the world as it is, clouds and rain as they are, waking, standing, sitting, and lying down, as they are; sorrow and joy, movement and stillness, as they are; a staff and a whisk, as they are; a twirling flower and a smiling face, as they are; succession of the Dharma and affirmation, as they are; learning in practice and pursuing the truth, as they are; the constancy of pines and the integrity of bamboos, as they are."

This perfect realization is all dharmas totally expressing their true nature. We are "buddhas alone, together with buddhas." We remember the true state of ourselves and all being(s).

The integrated self is therefore not separate from all being-time. For this reason, Dogen writes earlier in "Uji," "to set the self out in array is to make the world," which is the singular expression of "entirely worldling the entire world with the whole world.""

"...Practice-realization is predicated on the actualization of our interconnection with all of life. Our practice is about realigning our behavior to reflect the truth of interconnection, not only from the perspective of the self, but also from the perspective of the totality of each thing arising simultaneously in this moment. Dogen comments in "Gyoji" (Continuous Practice):

'When the continuous practice which manifests itself is truly continuous practice, you may be unaware of what circumstances are behind it, and the reasons why you do not notice them is that to understand such a thing is not that special.'

When we don't force a moment of practice into a preconceived idea, we find that we may not recognize practice-realization when it arises. Dogen writes in "Kajo" (Everyday Activity) that the Zen masters manifests their understanding while drinking tea and eating rice. Understanding is manifest in the everyday activities in which we all engage. When we are trapped in the supposition that realization must have some special quality, we miss the fact. We tell ourselves that our current life is not special enough; therefore, it could not be a life realized.

If we follow this way of thinking, when we read that Zen masters express realization while drinking tea and eating rice, we believe that the being-time of their drinking and eating must be special and outside daily life. How could our eating and drinking be in the same league as that of a Zen master? Zen masters sit in grass huts, stillness radiating from the holy mountains that surround them, accompanied by the sound of a creek. Their tea is as green as the frog leaping into a nearby pool and their rice is infused with their enlightened nature. Surely they do not put their pants on one leg at a time!

From this erroneous view, we extrapolate that Zen masters are enlightened outside of the interactive arising of all dharmas, so-called daily life. Actually, Zen masters are Zen masters because they do not get caught in some idea about reality. Rather, they respond to the arising dharmas in such a way that they include the totality of each moment, thereby enacting realization. This is a fluid, continuous, impermanent response state.

When we respond with an idea about how we should be, we are forcing the moment. We get caught in thinking Zen is special and outside daily life. From this view, how could we understand our life as realized response? How can we possibly understand that when nothing special is happening, our life, just as it is, can resonate with realization? We don't recognize the skillful things we do as practice-actualization. Yet, each moment that we are able to fully participate in the totality of that moment is realized response. Enlightenment is not a fixed state residing within an individual. Rather we engage in enlightened behavior, at this time, responding in concord with the continuous practice of all beings worlding the world.

Do not underestimate your realization by negating it, and don't make it more than it is by concretizing it. Just pay attention to the business at hand. Zazen, going to the bathroom, chanting, going to work, or any other activity you can think of is an opportunity to fully inhabit our lives within the context of all life. Most of the time we don't even notice when we are fully occupying a moment."

"A Wind-Bell in Space

Dogen offers an example of the multiplicity of passage as the transmission of Buddhist ancestors in his fascicle "Maka Hannya Haramitsu" (The Perfection of Wisdom):

My late Master, the eternal Buddha says:
Whole body like a mouth, hanging in space;
Not asking if the wind is east, west, south or north,
For all others equally, it chatters prajna:

Chin Ten Ton Ryan Ten Ton.
This is the chattering of prajna [transmitted] by Buddhist
patriarchs from rightful successor to rightful successor.
Iti s prajna as the whole body, it is prajna as the whole of
others, it is prajna as the whole self, and it is prajna as the
whole east, west, south and north.

The wind-bell exemplifies passing in and through this moment's moment. The particular moment of the wind-bell's sounding is the culmination of the passage of wind, metal, sound, the bell, and the effort of all being-time throughout time and space. It is not just the direct cause and effect of wind moving the clapper.

A wind-bell hangs in space. This bell exists as an independent moment of being-time. It does not try to control the direction of the wind. The wind-bell does not perceive the wind as sequential. The wind itself is just the is-ness of the being-time of passage, it has no particular agenda called "moving the wind-bell's clapper." This wind's arising and this bell's being-time are mutually penetrating and mutually engaged in their activity. There is the passage of the bell and the passage of the wind. The bell is pure response. The wind is pure response. The east is response. The west is response, south and north are response. Nothing is left out. The wind-bell's song is the mutual penetration of everything seen and unseen. All passage is just this, and yet there is the moment of the wind-bell's sounding. This can be said of each element mentioned in the poem.

All together, affirming, rings out the voice of "Chin Ten Ton Ryan Chin Ten Ton." Because the wind-bell's voice is also the voice of all being-time, Dogen writes this is the affirmation of wisdom transmitting passage from "rightful successor to rightful successor." It is the wisdom of the whole body of universal being-time. This is also true for spring's passage. It is the wisdom of the particularity of a dharma that is both the independent self and the self of no-self of that dharma. It is the wisdom of everyday life called spring's-passage-being-time."

"...In the main story, a young man was a student of Master Gutei. This student didn't seem to realize what he was learning or practicing. Dogen comments, "a boy who attended Master Gutei (Judi), without noticing when he was learning or when he was practicing, realized the Way because he served as a personal attendant to the master who had been practicing for a long time." In the course of attending to Master Gutei, he attained realization.

By focusing on the activity of helping Master Gutei every day, the student was not aware he was being trained. He probably spent his time making the master's bed and fetching tea. Yet those activities, in accord with Master Gutei's instruction, created his passage from student to master. This transformation was due to the confluence of all the activities: all the befores and afters and the independent moments of the student's life with the master. His interactions with Master Gutei resulted in his total immersion in practice-realization. Transformation was always present, yet there was a particular moment of its recognition when Master Gutei acknowledged his passage into spiritual maturity.

Another example is found in "Udonge" (The Udumbara Flower). Dogen explains the awakening of Buddha's disciple Mahakasyapa. Buddha holds up a flower. Mahakasyapa, seeing the flower, smiles. The moment of Buddha-flower-smile is passageless-passage. Dogen describes it this way:

'All instances, however many, of the twirling of flowers, are individual instances of [the transmission from] rightful successor to rightful successor; they are the actual existence of the transmission. Indeed, forget the World-Honored One's twirling of a flower!... Because the time of twirling of flowers is the whole of Time itself, it is the experience of the same state as the World-Honored One, and it is the same twirling of flowers. The meaning of 'twirling flowers' is flowers displaying flowers [phenomena manifesting themselves as they are]: it is plum flowers, spring flowers, snow flowers, and lotus flowers.'


'Twirling flowers are twirled by eyes, twirled by mind-consciousnesss, twirled by nostrils, and twirled by flowers twirling. In general, the moutnains, rivers, and the Earth; the sun and moon, the wind and rain, people, animals, grass, and trees - the miscellaneous things of the present displaying themselves here and there - are just the twirling of the udumbara flower.'

Just one flower being held up for display is passage through all time and being, awakening each and every thing. This is what Mahakasyapa realized. Essentially his realization was already present as his own being, yet it was the passage of all buddha-nature in and through him that revealed his true nature. This is our passage too.

Carefully Examine the Matter

Dogen ends this paragraph with the admonition 'All of this you must give careful and repeated examination.' At each critical juncture of the text, Dogen reminds us to pay attention. We want to grapple with this teaching in such a way that it brings us back to our present situation. In particular, understanding passage is critical to conceptualizing how practice-realization is enacted. In this case, the story of Gutei's student is instructive. His awakening is the result of his complete immersion in the activity of his life, through the guidance of his teacher. His realization did not come about because of his preconceived idea about enlightenment.

Realization is not intellectual understanding. Dogen warns us in 'Bendowa' (Wholehearted Practice of the Way):

'We should remember that from the beginning we have never lacked the supreme state of bodhi, and we will receive it and use it forever. At the same time, because we cannot perceive it directly, we are prone to beget random intellectual ideas, and because we chase after these as if they were real things, we vainly pass by the great state of truth.'

Of course, this book, Dogen's 'Uji', and all of Buddhist writings and teachings are a product of the mind and heart. We must use them as pointers along the path of practice. Deep understanding of Buddhism is always grounded in dharma teachings, dharma teachers, and dharma community. Guidance in practice happens within the context of connection with these three elements. Teachings, teachers, and community give us the forum to explore, actualize, and be confirmed in our understanding. In this way we are able to 'carefully explore the matter' of being-time's actualization in daily life, not in our heads.

Before I began to write this book, I did not realize the immense scope of Dogen's vision of being-time. But no matter what I think I know about being-time, it is stopping and being in my being-time just as it is, enacting the no-self of my exertion with all being that is actualizing being-time. This is enacted in the context of my Buddhist practice community. It is actualized at the supermarket, while driving my car, or when walking the dog. Nothing other than living one's life completely in the Way is actualizing being-time's passage."

"...Practice-realization is only expressed in the now. Practice-realization is not something acquired and then never revisited. A fully realized being can constantly express buddha-nature in a continuous series moment after moment. As Dogen says (again in 'Gyoji'):

On the great road of buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana, there is not a moment's gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way."

"Immediate Present, Ultimate Dharma
Since our activity is not a progression from delusion to enlightenment made solely by the independent self, Dogen defines the first thought of practice as 'immediate present ultimate Dharma' or genjokoan: the presence and perfection of all dharmas as they are in the here-and-now.' Hee-Jin Kim further explains the meaning of genjokoan:

'It does not suggest an evolutionary ascent from hidden-ness to manifestation, or from imperfection to perfection, or conversely, an emanational descent from one to many, or from reality to appearance. Rather, things, events, beings are already unmistakably what they truly are; what is more, they are vibrant, transparent, and bright in their as-they-are-ness.'

This 'mind' of or intention for 'immediate present ultimate Dharma' is things-as-they-are-ness, or being-time. When we find ourselves wishing that we could experience our life with equanimity, compassion, and wisdom, we are listening and connecting with what is already present within ourselves and all of life. This inmost request is an expression of each being's continuous practice-realization. Even when we feel most alone, we are still embedded in community. Even when we think our delusion cannot go deeper, we are accompanied by enlightenment. In each moment that we glean a small part of the totality of life, the whole is never missing. As Dogen Zenji says, 'But do not ask me where I'm going / As I travel in this limitless world / Where every step I take is my home.'"

"'Uji' is one of Dogen's most revered and difficult texts. In it, he attempts to clearly elucidate the meaning of practice within the context of the totality of the world's expression. Reaching or not-reaching, blinking an eye, reciting the robe verse, driving to work, caring for a parent, or weeding the garden - in every activity, we transmit and receive the Buddhadharma. Everything recites the sutra of uji, in the midst of joy and gratitude, grief and pain. Heeding the words of Old Buddha Dogen, we have faith that nothing is missing; practice-realization is not apart from us."