[1:59 PM, 12/6/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle Dixon in Nonsectarian Dzogchen Atiyoga & Mahamudra:
"The real difference is that in Dzogchen, appearances are 'non-existent clear appearances' [med par gsal snang].

Not mind because they are ultimately unfindable, and then distinct on the level of convention."
[5:44 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Meaning?
[7:15 PM, 12/6/2019] Soh Wei Yu: To dzogchen, mind and appearance are ultimately unfindable, but distinct conventionally
[7:15 PM, 12/6/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Therefore they are not same in dzogchen
[7:55 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: That is correct and accurate
[7:57 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Actually when we say appearance is mind, it is an experiential taste.  Conventionally it should treated as distinct and DO [dependently originating].
[7:58 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: However even saying they r different is incorrect.
[7:59 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Language cannot define this relationship appropriately ...
[7:59 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Therefore 2 truth
[8:00 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Also it is true to talk abt emptiness
[8:00 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Appear and not-found
[8:01 PM, 12/6/2019] John Tan: Rather than to talk about it as if we r talking about One Mind.
Someone asked me if Toni Packer described Maha.

I said,

"This is maha

Toni Packer, The Wonder of Presence:

“When I talk about listening, I don’t mean just listening with the ear. Listening here includes the totality of perception—all senses open and alive, and still much more than that. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are receptive, open, not controlled. A Zen saying describes it as “hearing with one’s eyes and seeing with one’s ears.” It refers to this wholeness of perception. The wholeness of being!
Another Zen saying demands: “Hear the bell before it rings!” Ah, it doesn’t make any sense rationally, does it? But there is a moment when that bell is ringing before you know it! You may never know it! Your entire being is ringing! There’s no division in that—everything is ringing.”"


Excerpt from Finding a New Way to Listen
Din posted:
“There is that sphere, monks, where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air, no sphere of infinite space, no sphere of infinite consciousness, no sphere of nothingness, no sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, no this world, no world beyond, neither Moon nor Sun. There, monks, I say there is surely no coming, no going, no persisting, no passing away, no rebirth. It is quite without support, unmoving, without an object,—just this is the end of suffering.”
~Nibbana Sutta - The first Discourse.

I replied:
Actually what the Buddha taught here is easily misunderstood as formless awareness but that is not what he meant.
Buddha:
“‘He has been stilled where the currents of supposition do not flow. And when the currents of supposition do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.’ Thus it was said. With reference to what was it said? ‘I am’ is a supposition. ‘I am this’ is a supposition. ‘I shall be’ is a supposition. ‘I shall not be’ … ‘I shall be possessed of form’ … ‘I shall not be possessed of form’ … ‘I shall be percipient’ … ‘I shall not be percipient’ … ‘I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient’ is a supposition. Supposition is a disease, supposition is a cancer, supposition is an arrow. By going beyond all supposition, he is called a sage at peace.
“And further, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, ‘He has been stilled where the currents of supposition do not flow. And when the currents of supposition do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.’ Now, monk, you should remember this, my brief analysis of the six properties.”
...
““Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.”2
Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance. Having exhorted Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth with this brief explanation of the Dhamma, the Blessed One left.
Now, not long after the Blessed One’s departure, Bāhiya was attacked & killed by a cow with a young calf. Then the Blessed One, having gone for alms in Sāvatthī, after the meal, returning from his alms round with a large number of monks, saw that Bāhiya had died. On seeing him, he said to the monks, “Take Bāhiya’s body, monks, and, placing it on a litter and carrying it away, cremate it and build him a memorial. Your companion in the holy life has died.”
Responding, “As you say, lord,” to the Blessed One, the monks–placing Bāhiya’s body on a litter, carrying it away, cremating it, and building him a memorial–went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to him, “Bāhiya’s body has been cremated, lord, and his memorial has been built. What is his destination? What is his future state?”
“Monks, Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth was wise. He practiced the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma and did not pester me with issues related to the Dhamma. Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth, monks, is totally unbound.”
Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:
Where water, earth,
fire, & wind
have no footing:
There the stars don’t shine,
the sun isn’t visible.
There the moon doesn’t appear.
There darkness is not found.
And when a sage,
a brahman through sagacity,
has realized [this] for himself,
then from form & formless,
from bliss & pain,
he is freed.”
.......
John tan/thusness, 2013:
To Jax:
The place where there is no earth, fire, wind, space, water…
is the place where the earth, fire, wind, space and water kills “You” and fully shines as its own radiance, a complete taste of itself and fully itself.
Lastly, it is interesting to get know something about Dzogchen however the jargons and tenets are far beyond me.
Just wrote due to a sudden spurt of interest, nothing intense.
Thanks for all the sharing and exchanges.
Gone!
.......
A monk asked Tozan, “When cold and heat come, how can we avoid them?”
Tozan said, “Why don’t you go to the place where there is no cold or heat?”
The monk said, “What is the place where there is no cold or heat?”
Tozan said, “When it’s cold, the cold kills you; when it’s hot, the heat kills you.”
This is not advice to “accept” your situation, as some commentators have suggested, but a direct expression of authentic practice and enlightenment. Master Tozan is not saying, “When cold, shiver; when hot, sweat,” nor is he saying, “When cold, put on a sweater; when hot, use a fan.” In the state of authentic practice and enlightenment, the cold kills you, and there is only cold in the whole universe. The heat kills you, and there is only heat in the whole universe. The fragrance of incense kills you, and there is only the fragrance of incense in the whole universe. The sound of the bell kills you, and there is only “boooong” in the whole universe…
~The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing, Ted Biringer
....
“In our bustling daily life we may feel that we have neither the time nor place to listen quietly, to look freshly. But if we are truly interested in a place and time to listen, an opportunity will present itself. It is one of the amazing graces of being alive that when there is a small flame of yearning to find out, we unexpectedly come upon a bench to sit on out in the open and realize that there is more space in this universe than the tight cocoon we have lived in all our life.

With renewed questioning comes new wondering and listening. Heaven and earth are open in simply being here as we are, breathing in and out with an airplane humming in the sky—the miracle of this moment! Nothing is separate. Everything is here as it is, utterly simple. No one is here to lay any claim to it.

...

Open listening embraces all the senses as one whole perception. There is no division between looking, listening, smelling, touching, or tasting—just undivided openness of all senses perceiving as one whole without a separate me at work. There is no doer and no recipient here—just spontaneous presence without fragmentation.

...

Is it our task to find out whether or not there is total and complete enlightenment like the Buddha proclaimed? I always liked the Buddha’s saying: “I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled enlightenment, and that is why it is called complete, unexcelled enlightenment.” No-thing, no one to attain it, spaceless space, no one there to occupy it. Just alive presence with the evening star in the sky. Dying to all the stuff imagined and clung to about oneself—what I am, what I was, what I will be, what I could be, should be . . . Can we see all concepts as concepts with deepening clarity and wisdom? Not immediately lurching toward something promised in the future that has its sole existence in thought? Can we clearly discern what constitutes thinking and what is actually present right here without needing to think it? Can we discern it effortlessly? The open windows, fresh air touching the skin, bright sunshine everywhere, all kinds of twittering sounds, crows calling and breathing, pulsating life! Caw, caw, caw, caw . . . Sensations throughout the body, breathing, beholding it, not the words, but the aliveness of it all. Can we realize now that “complete unexcelled enlightenment” is a concept?”

~ Toni Packer, The Wonder of Presence


... 
Do you see now that Buddha is not speaking about formless awareness but the insight into the absence of self/Self thus putting an end to the deluded sense of Being that drives craving and rebirth in samsara?
The place where the five elements do not land is simply the place where the earth, fire, wind, space and water kills “You” and fully shines as its own radiance, a complete taste of itself and fully itself.
....

  • Din Robinson is this also called "The Great Cessation"?
  • Soh Wei Yu Din Robinson

    Yes

    http://measurelessmind.ca/nirodhasanna.html

    The Recognition of Cessation (Nirodhasaññā)

    For whom there is neither a far shore,
    Nor a near shore, nor both,
    Who is free from distress, without ties,
    Him I call a brāhmaṇa.

    — Dhammapada 385
    When the recognition of dispassion is fully developed and realized, and with no self to be found, nothing to be identified with, one realizes the gnosis and vision of liberation (vimuttiñāṇadassana). This is non-referential inner peace (ajjhattasanti). This is the full recognition of cessation. AN 10.60 Girimānanda Sutta:
    Now what, Ānanda, is the recognition of cessation? Here, Ānanda, a monk, gone to the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, discriminates thus: ‘This is peace, this is excellent, that is: the calming of all fabrications, the release of all acquisitions, the elimination of craving, cessation, nibbāna.’ This, Ānanda, is called the recognition of cessation.
    This is the complete absence of agitation (calita natthi). Ud 8.4 Nibbāna Sutta:
    There being no agitation, there is tranquility. There being tranquility, there is no inclination. There being no inclination, there is no coming or going. There being no coming or going, there is no passing away or arising. There being no passing away or arising, there is neither a here nor a beyond nor a between-the-two. Just this is the end of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the calming of all specific fabrication and volitional intention. MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta:
    One does not form any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence. Not forming any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence, he does not cling to anything in this world. Not clinging, he is not excited. Unexcited, he personally attains complete nibbāna. He discerns that, ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, done is what had to be done, there is nothing further here.’
    This is the freedom of absence which is revealed through the complete recognition of selflessness. Ud 1.10 Bāhiya Sutta:
    ‘The seen will be merely the seen, the heard will be merely the heard, the sensed will be merely the sensed, the known will be merely the known.’ This is how you should train, Bāhiya.

    When, Bāhiya, for you the seen will be merely the seen, the heard will be merely the heard, the sensed will be merely the sensed, the known will be merely the known, then Bāhiya, you will not be that. When, Bāhiya, you are not that, then Bāhiya, you will not be there. When, Bāhiya, you are not there, then Bāhiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor between-the-two. Just this is the end of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is noble liberation which is the elimination of craving and clinging. MN 106 Āneñjasappāya Sutta:
    This is death-free, namely, the liberation of mind through not clinging.
    This is the effortless clarity of consciousness which is non-abiding and not established (appatiṭṭha viññāṇa). SN 22.53 Upaya Sutta:
    When that consciousness is not established, not increasing, not concocting, it is liberated. Being liberated, it is steady. Being steady, it is content. Being content, he is not excited. Unexcited, he personally attains complete nibbāna. He discerns that, ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, done is what had to be done, there is nothing further here.’
    There is no more seeking of any kind. There is no more personal agenda. There is no identifying with any phenomena or turning anything into a fixed reference point. There is no “here” nor “beyond” nor “between-the-two.”
    The awakened mind is measureless (appamāṇacetasa), free from any sort of measuring (pamāṇa). In evocative terms, an awakened one is deep (gambhīra), boundless (appameyya), and fathomless (duppariyogāḷha). Utterly free from any reference to specifically fabricated consciousness (viññāṇasaṅkhayavimutta). “Gone” (atthaṅgata), the measureless mind is untraceable (ananuvejja) even here and now. It doesn’t abide in the head, or in the body, or anywhere else for that matter. It doesn’t have size or shape. It’s not an object or a subject.
    Just as the sky is formless and non-illustrative, the measureless mind is non-illustrative and non-indicative (anidassana). This effortless clarity is unmediated by any specific fabrication or volitional intention. It is unaffected knowing: The seen is merely the seen (diṭṭhamatta). The heard is merely the heard (sutamatta). The sensed is merely the sensed (mutamatta). The known is merely the known (viññātamatta). But there is no you there. Of course, this liberating gnosis and vision can’t adequately be pointed out or indicated by words alone. It is to be individually experienced (paccatta veditabba).

    The Recognition of Cessation and the Seven Factors of Awakening (Satta Bojjhaṅgā)

    Sustained, dedicated practice of the recognition of cessation will gradually create the optimal conditions for the arising of all seven factors of awakening. SN 46.76 Nirodha Sutta (abridged):
    Here monks, a monk develops the awakening factor of mindfulness accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of meditative composure accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of equanimity accompanied by the recognition of cessation, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go.

    It is in this way that the recognition of cessation is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit. It is in this way that the recognition of cessation is developed and cultivated so that one of two fruits is to be expected: either final gnosis in this very life or, if there is a residue of clinging, the state of nonreturning. It is in this way that the recognition of cessation is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great good. It is in this way that the recognition of cessation is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great security from bondage. It is in this way that the recognition of cessation is developed and cultivated so that it leads to a great sense of urgency. It is in this way that the recognition of cessation is developed and cultivated so that it leads to dwelling in great comfort.
  • measurelessmind.ca
    The Recognition of Cessation | Nirodhasaññā
    The Recognition of Cessation | Nirodhasaññā
  • Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
    awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com
    Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
    Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
  • Din Robinson Soh Wei Yu I actually asked the same question of Jackson Peterson and he told me no, said there was never anything there to begin with that could "cease"
  • Soh Wei Yu Din Robinson

    In the early tradition of Buddhism as taught by Buddha, the emphasis is on 'Cessation'. But this cessation is not about ceasing sense perception, rather Nirvana is precisely defined by Buddha as having these characteristics: 1) Cessation of all clinging 2) Cessation of all identity - I Am, I shall be, I have been, I am the Witness, etc - the Buddha listed all possible ways of identification and refuted them all 3) Cessation of passion (craving), aggression (anger), delusion 4) With the cessation of the three poisons in number 3., comes the cessation of rebirth in samsara, as rebirth in samsara is predicated upon the three poisons. The cessation of these delusions occur even while one is fully aware in waking state - therefore 'in the seen only the seen' -- in fact there is only seeing, no seer, and also no seeing as seeing is just colors. No you.

    All these characteristics of Nirvana are interlinked.

    Then about 500 years after the passing of Buddha, the Mahayana teachings developed and emphasized Bodhicitta - the compassionate aspiration for not only one's personal liberation but the attainment of full awakening of Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. In this tradition, the emphasis is that samsara - the world of experience - is fundamentally non-arisen, quiescent and equal to cessation, fundamentally no different from nirvana as it is non-arising, non-abiding and unceasing. This is because whatever originates in dependence is fundamentally non-arisen, an example would be a reflection of moon on water or a rainbow. Due to various conditions a reflection appears but we cannot say that a moon has truly arisen or been created in the water. Whatever originates in dependence are free of the extremes of existence or non-existence, arising and ceasing. The nature of appearance is merely empty clarity, free of extremes. The nature of conventions is such that they are dependently designated and fundamentally empty of essence/substance and unfindable when sought, just like the analogy of chariot and parts.

    So there are three parts to emptiness 1) conventions are empty of essence and substance, entities and mental constructs are empty and unfindable when sought, non-arisen, 2) the nature of all appearance are empty-clarity free from the extremes of existence and non-existence, 3) whatever originates in dependence are fundamentally non-arising and non-ceasing.

    Now, the early and later traditions do not contradict each other. I would say they are complementary. The Mahayana tradition simply expands upon the insight of emptiness that the Buddha already taught in the Pali canon (like Phena Sutta, Kaccayanagotta Sutta, Dhammapada, etc) with greater emphasis and clarification because it tends to be misunderstood and misinterpreted by some 'Hinayana' commentators.
  • Soh Wei Yu In the Mahayana tradition ala Lankavatara Sutra, it is taught that the Arahat of the early tradition is equivalent to the 8th bhumi stage of the Mahayana Bodhisattva in terms of eliminating all emotional obscurations (passion, aggression, delusion) through realizing and actualizing the emptiness of person (subjective self), while the end of the 10th bhumi culminates in the end of not only emotional obscurations but also all cognitive obscurations that misapprehends that there is true existence of phenomena by clearly realizing the right view of emptiness of all subject-action-object and the empty nature of phenomena. Then one attains Buddhahood, when all emotional + cognitive obscurations are eliminated through the eye of omniscience that apprehends the nature of all phenomena completely without hindrance. Emptiness of subjective person/self clears away emotional obscuration, while emptiness of phenomena clears away cognitive obscuration.


    Soh Wei Yu Din Robinson to clarify further, all traditions of Buddhism including even Dzogchen teaches cessation/nirvana, cessation here does not contradict the “non arising, non abiding and non ceasing” nature of all dharmas that dependently originate, rather it simply means the cessation of afflictions and cognitive obscurations/delusions.

    For example in Dzogchen it is taught:

    “There are three traditional methods of dealing with emotions: abandoning them, transforming them, and recognizing their nature. All three levels of Buddhist teaching, all three yanas, describe how to deal with disturbing emotions. It is never taught, on any level, that one can be an enlightened buddha while remaining involved in disturbing emotions - never. Each level deals with emotions differently.



    Just like darkness cannot remain when the sun rises, none of the disturbing emotions can endure within the recognition of mind nature. That is the moment of realizing original wakefulness, and it is the same for each of the five poisons.



    In any of the five disturbing emotions, we do not have to transmute the emotion into empty cognizance. The nature of the emotion already is this indivisible empty cognizance.” - Vajra Speech, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

    The Dzogchen master Śrī Siṃha also said the following:

    “A so called ‘primordial buddhahood’ is not asserted. Full awakening is not possible without being free of the five afflictions... It is not possible for wisdom to increase without giving up afflictions. Wisdom will not arise without purifying afflictions.”
  • Soh Wei Yu Buddha: "And what, monks, is the not-fabricated (asaṅkhata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-fabricated. " .... "And what, monks, is the death-free (amata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the death-free." - SN 43 Asaṅkhata Saṃyutta
[2:13 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Kūkai (e.g. in his Sokushinjôbutsugi, ch.3) discusses Dainichi as a “body of the six great elements” (rokudaishin, rokudai-taidai), which are the five universal material elements (godai) of earth, water, fire, wind/air, and space, representing the “known,” plus the universal mental element (shindai) of consciousness, representing the “knower.” Ultimately the five material elements make up the body of Dainichi and the sixth element designates the mind of Dainichi. Their dynamic but harmonious interplay constitute the “timeless yoga” or samadhi (Jpn: jô) of Dainichi’s body-and-mind. But since Dainichi is equated with the cosmos, all things comprising the whole world are generated and perish through the interplay — “non-obstruction” and “interfusion” — of these elemental constituents. Kūkai then is definitely not an idealist taken in its western philosophical significance, and Shingon thought in this aspect is distinct from the teachings of the “mind-only” (Yuishiki; Skrt: Vijñapti-mâtratâ) school of Buddhism. For the mental and the material, for Kūkai, are two non-dualistic (interpenetrating and mutually non-obstructing) aspects of the same Dharma — as depicted in the two mandalic embodiments, which we shall discuss below. In other words Kūkai does not reduce reality to either mind or matter; his perspective is neither merely idealist nor merely materialist.

The interrelationship amongst the elements signifies their non-substantiality, i.e. the fact that they are not ontologically independent, and in Buddhist parlance this means “emptiness” (śûnyatâ, kû). Hence all elements and things they constitute, including the entire cosmos is empty. Dainichi’s body, as the hosshin that embodies the Dharma, is an embodiment of emptiness, analogically understood as a vast empty space — it is in part analogical but also exemplary of emptiness. Rather than obstructing the emergence of things, this emptiness permits it through their interdependent origination, which is the meaning of emptiness. Their materiality is then just as real as their emptiness, and emptiness and matter are non-dualistic. True to the “middle way” of Buddhism, Kūkai treads a path that avoids reifying substantialism on the one hand as well as utter nihilism on the other hand. And in the non-dualistic interrelationships between body and mind, matter and emptiness, known and knower, the Dharma itself, as the truth of non-duality in interdependent origination qua emptiness is revealed in every physical and mental process of the cosmos as the embodiment of the Dharma.

The “horizontal” interpenetration between the elements, i.e., the interdependence and mutual non-obstruction amongst the immanent phenomena of the cosmos, also translates into the “vertical” interpenetration between the whole and its parts, that is, between Dainichi as embodied in the cosmos and all thing-events within. The implications of such cosmic non-duality for the practitioner is immensely significant. In non-duality with the cosmic Buddha, one’s unenlightened self in both mind-and-body is thus an expression of the hosshin, an embodiment of the Dharma. That is, as one’s mental states express the samadhi of Dainichi, so also one’s body along with the bodies of all living and non-living things, in every bodily movement, manifests Dainichi’s body and its movements. Dainichi is preaching the Dharma through all phenomena of the cosmos. But as we ourselves are the bodies through which Dainichi preaches, we are enabled to realize the cosmic samadhi that our bodies-and-minds express. This points to the non-dualistic significance between the two exemplary concepts of Shingon Buddhism: hosshin seppô and sokushinjôbutsu, both of which we shall examine in detail in the following sections.

3.6 Hosshin Seppô: The Buddha’s Cosmic Preaching of the Dharma
As the hosshin, the Buddha Dainichi preaches the Dharma via his omnipresencing, that is, through every sensible media of the cosmos. Kūkai called this, hosshin seppô (literally: “the dharmakâya’s expounding of the Dharma”), and used its concept (e.g. in his Benkenmitsu nikkyôron) as an important criterion for distinguishing esoteric Buddhism from exoteric Buddhism. In his work Shôjijissôgi, this concept of hosshin seppô serves as the starting point. The seppô (“preaching,” “expounding”) therein is equated with the phenomena of the cosmos as comprising shôjijissô, that is, sound, sign, reality, and their meanings. (We will discuss the linguistic or semiological significance of this idea in the following section.) The point is that every thing and every event in the universe, as objects of our six senses, are the Buddha’s preaching of the Dharma. Each phenomenon manifest serves to explain (setsu) the truth, the Dharma. The hosshin in its omnipresencing throughout the cosmos, permeating every aspect of it, is perpetually informing all things of the Dharma. This cosmic omnipresencing of the Dharma via hosshin seppô entails a dynamism of continuous activity that accounts for the movements within the universe — both physical and mental.

Since everything to which Dainichi preaches, is itself his manifestation as an embodied part of the cosmos, the sermon is ultimately a monologue. The expounding of the Dharma is in one sense then really the Buddha’s monologic expression of his own self-enjoyment in samadhic bliss. And yet simultaneously it expresses Dainichi’s compassion for the unawakened (though ultimately they are non-dualistic with the Buddha) so that they may also enjoy the fruits of the Dharma. Through the help of Dainichi’s compassionate con-descension or kaji (more on this in a later section), the practitioner is enabled to inter-resonate with the sermon of the cosmos.

The idea of hosshin seppô also expresses a universalization in Shingon of the Mahâyâna Buddhist notion of expedient (or: skillful) means. The Shingon doctrine of hôben kukyô (“ultimacy of expedient means”) means that any phenomenon or thing-event of the cosmos can serve as a means to enlightenment, entailing a gradation of understanding, hinging on how the event speaks to the person relative to the time, place, and situational context. This also corresponds to the levels of mental states discussed in Kūkai’s Jûjûshinron (which we will examine in a further section below). The key to immediate and complete enlightenment however is to understand the comprehensive (or holistic) sense of the truth being spoken by the cosmos as a whole even if through the medium of a particular thing-event.

Kūkai’s claim was that only through the Buddhism of esoteric teachings can one attain to an experiential recognition of hosshin seppô, i.e. that the cosmos itself is describing the immediate enlightened body-and-mind state of the Buddha. By contrast exoteric truths preached by other forms of Buddhism are meant for a specific audience in a specific place and time, and hence are conditional, relative, and provisional. Moreover exoteric truths are limited by human language, which is inadequate to describe the state of enlightenment and the absoluteness of the Dharma. The esoteric truth revealed in hosshin seppô on the other hand unfolds through a non-human language, that is, a cosmic and esoteric language originating in the hosshin itself. This is the language of the mantra or in Japanese, shingon, literally meaning “the word of truth,” and from which Kūkai’s brand of Buddhism derives its name. Mantra (shingon) is the language of the cosmos involving all mental and physical-sensible phenomena. The esoteric truths expressed in this mantric language of the Buddha/cosmos reveal themselves only in accordance with the reader’s capacity to attune himself to, and read, this cosmic (con)text of the mantric universe.

3.7 Mantra: Cosmic Sound and (Con)Text
[2:23 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: - https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kukai/
[2:29 PM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: 👍
[2:34 PM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Interesting they have such a view.
[3:11 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: “The cosmos as such is a text articulating the Dharma within the empty space of the vast limitless and formless body of the hosshin. The cosmos as mantra is hence hosshin seppô.”
[3:11 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Using mantra to experience maha
[3:14 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: “
It should be remembered however that while Kūkai thus links the hosshin’s preaching to the mantric sound and letter of A, this same preaching, symbolized in A, in fact encompasses all movements of the cosmos, involving colors, shapes, silence, bodily movements, etc., not just the explicitly vocal. Dainichi preaches the Dharma via all phenomenal means through the three media, the “three mysteries,” of body, speech, and mind, omnipresencing himself through all objects of the six senses (the five physical senses plus thought). The entire cosmos is hence the language of the Buddha, inseparable from the Buddha’s body that is in fact the embodiment of the Dharma (i.e., hosshin, dharmakâya). We now turn to the mandalic aspect of the embodiment of the Dharma and of Dainichi’s preaching of the Dharma.”*
[3:43 PM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: This hosshin is good...all about total exertion and maha...also anatta



*Similar to:
Zen master Bernie Glassman on chanting and maha:
http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/…/no-yellow-brick-ro…
Some people say it's not necessary to read the Heart Sutra in its English translation, that the essence of this Wisdom literature can be achieved by just chanting it in the original Sanskrit. Before I review the meaning of the title, let me say that when you truly just chant the Heart Sutra, all of it is contained in the act of just chanting. When we chant in such a way that nothing else is happening, that all our concentration, all our mental and physical energies are condensed into just being the sound A (the first syllable of the original text, from "Avalokitesvara"), that is all that exists. Just A! Just the elimination of any trace of separation between subject and object, which is nothing but our zazen itself. If we put all our energy into just chanting in this manner, there is no separation, and that state of no separation is the state of sunyata, or "emptiness," or what I also call not-knowing. That is the state of 100 percent action; everything is fully concentrated in this very moment. This is the heart of our practice, to be totally in this moment, moment after moment. It doesn't matter what words are being chanted; when you are totally A, it is not even A anymore; it is the whole universe, it is everything.
This is the essence of the first word of the Sanskrit title of the Heart Sutra: Maha.
[11:37 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: 🌺 ~Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche🌺

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ།
E Ma Ho!

When we say 'Emaho' ('Wonder')(in german : 'Wunderbar') it is the wonder or surprise that comes from realizing the unborn nature. Phenomena have never been born in the past, they do not dwell in the present, and they will never cease in the future. They neither come nor go. This is the real meaning of the absolute truth, the primordial nature.

Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – (Zurchungpa's Testament Commentaries – on Wisdom –Collected Works, Vol III – pg 291, Shambhala)
.
[11:38 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: "What we call ‘Buddha Mind’ is synonymous with the three temporal worlds of past, present, and future. This Mind and the three temporal worlds are not separated from each other by so much as one single hair’s breadth. Even so, when we are discussing the two as things that are distinct and separate from each other, then they are farther apart than eighteen thousand breadths of hair. Thus, if I were asked what the phrase “This is the mind of the past” means, I would have to say in response, “This cannot be grasped.” If I were asked what the phrase “This is the mind of the present” means, I would have to say in response, “This cannot be grasped.” If I were asked what the phrase “This is the mind of the future” means, I would say in response, “This cannot be grasped.”

As to the mind of which I am speaking, if I say that there is Mind, which at the present moment is described as ‘Mind that cannot be grasped,’ then I say, “At the present moment, It cannot be grasped.” I do not say, “The mind cannot be grasped,” I say in all earnestness, “It cannot be grasped.” I do not say, “The mind can be grasped,” I say in all earnestness, “It cannot be grasped.” Further, should you ask me, “What is the mind of the past which cannot be grasped?” I would say, “It is synonymous with being born and dying, going and coming.” Should you ask, “What is the mind of the present which cannot be grasped?” I would say, “It is synonymous with being born and dying, going and coming.” Should you ask, “What is the mind of the future which cannot be grasped?” I would say, “It is synonymous with being born and dying, going and coming.”

In sum, there is Buddha Mind, which is the fences and walls, tiles* and stones, and all the Buddhas in the three temporal worlds directly experience It as something that cannot be held onto. There are only the fences and walls, tiles and stones, which are Buddha Mind, and all Buddhas directly experience It in the three temporal worlds as ungraspable. What is more, That which is ungraspable within the great earth with its mountains and rivers exists there by Its very nature. That which is ungraspable in grasses and trees, wind and water, accordingly, is Mind. Also, It is what is ungraspable in “Letting our mind abide nowhere and giving rise to the Mind.” 3  And also, the Mind Beyond Grasping, which gives voice to the eighty thousand Gates by means of all the Buddhas throughout all generations everywhere, is the same as this."

- Dogen (Shin Fukatoku)
[11:38 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Seems contradictory but i think both are impt lol
[11:40 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: ?
[11:40 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Which one u r talking about?
[11:40 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Dilgo khyentse and dogen quote
[11:41 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: One talks about no three times, no coming and going. The other talks about buddha mind as three times, coming and going
[11:41 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: It's the same
[11:42 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: But for one to understand Buddha mind as the 3 times is to understand anatta.
[11:43 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: There is no mind beyond 3 times. There is no beyond.
[11:44 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[11:45 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: One is talking about non arising the other is anatta right
[11:48 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Dunno never read the below 2 articles.
[11:50 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Dogen is clear... non-arisen frees one from the extremes of existence and non-existence...
[11:51 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[11:51 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: I think if people dont realise what dogen said, mind will be substantiated
[11:51 AM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: But if they dont realise what dilgo said then phenomena may be substantiated
[11:52 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Yes
[11:53 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Like I said, there is nothing wrong using Awareness.
[11:53 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: However one should see that it is only a conventional expression.
[11:55 AM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: But the teaching of DO, emptiness and non-arisen about the chariot analogy is pointing more to the actual taste of what appears in a conceptual way. To get us familiarised and understand in the right way.
Meditation tip:
If you are sleepy, you can try chanting the Oooommmmmm mantra slowly and many times. This will raise your vibrational and energy frequency and bring you to a state of wakeful and alert pure Presence. It can also be a doorway to Maha total exertion, where the chanting vibrates as the universe.
Labels: , 1 comments | | edit post
Someone sent me this article. This article is a good article at explaining emptiness teachings, with the added caveat by Thusness/John Tan, "Yeah but what is important is know that relativity has a taste like earth, water, air, space and fire that we mistaken them concrete things. We also only see "relative and relations" as conceptual thought and fail to see and taste them in "live"."

https://emptinessteachings.com/2014/09/11/the-two-truths-of-buddhism-and-the-emptiness-of-emptiness/
Was flipping through the Works of Kukai and other books on Shingon Buddhism. The founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kukai, was into anatta and total exertion. Sent some excerpts to Thusness and he too said "Yes. Total exertion.", "Yes, Kukai's expression is good."

It should be noted that Li or Ri (理) is better translated as 'Principle' than 'Noumenon'. 







"Although mind is distinguished from form, they share the same nature. Form is mind, mind is forms. They interfuse with one another without difficulty. Therefore, knowing is the objects of knowledge, and the objects, knowing. Knowing is reality, reality knowing."

- Kūkai

GAMPOPA & THE 1ST. KARMAPA, DÜSUM KHYENPA

Gampopa’s Instructions to the First Karmapa

Among the many oral instructions that the first Karmapa received from Gampopa was the mahamudra view that thoughts need not be artificially amputated during meditation. Gampopa said, “This co-emergent unification of ours is one of our key oral instructions. Whatever thought occurs in your conscious mind, no matter how much you may want it or not want it—you simply observe that thought as mind. Likewise, whatever arises as appearances is seen as mind. In this way, we take thoughts and appearances onto the path. Thoughts are not the problem; it is our discursive attachment to those thoughts that creates obstacles.” [Note: Dudjom Lingpa takes exactly the same approach in his dzogchen instructions. He calls it, “taking the impure mind as the path”.]

After Karmapa had practiced in retreat for a time, he felt he had a genuine experience of bliss, luminosity, and non-conceptuality, so, he told Gampopa about it. The teacher replied, "Ah, you looked directly at it; that’s good. Now tell me—where did the root of those experiences come from?" Dusum Khyenpa couldn’t answer that, so Gampopa said, "Well then, you need to continue to meditate just like that. Meditate often, but only for short sessions. Keep that up, and whatever else you do, make consciousness your servant!"

So Karmapa continued alternating like this, meditating in retreat and then discussing it with Gampopa. One night he dreamt that a monk appeared and explained a new dharma to him that he had not heard before. The dream was very lucid, so he hurriedly reported it to his guru. Gampopa asked him, "Did you like that dream?" Karmapa said yes indeed, he liked it a lot! Gampopa flew into a rage and rebuked his student, “Listen, you are going to have all sorts of marvels happening when you meditate, but you have to understand that they are all just illusory appearances. Treat them as illusory appearances, and they will turn into the path. But, if you hold those appearances to be real entities, they will remain obstacles! So, whatever comes up in mind, do not cling to any of it as good, and do not reject any of it as bad. Understand all of it to be non-dual. Whenever a thought arises, don’t let it spawn a discursive stream of analysis; know it simply as conditioned mind arising from latent karma, and let it go.”

So, Karmapa continued this sequence of retreats and interviews, and one day he came down and reported, “The rigpa that I have developed is usually clear during the day, but at night there is still distraction.” Gampopa answered, “Yes, you still have a fault. You have the fault that when the awareness is clear you like it, and when it is not clear, you don't! That is not the right approach. Put your rigpa in empty clarity as usual, and then whatever arises, know it as non-dual mind. During the day, the luminosity will mix rigpa with appearances, and at night the luminosity will mix with dreams. No matter what arises, remain in equanimity. When you are among crowds, regulate your speech and meditate! Whatever you are doing, be mindful of the stillness of your awareness in the midst of the movements of samsara.”

So, Karmapa continued on with his practice, and eventually he was able to report progress to Gampopa. He said, “Finally, my abiding has lessened. When I entrusted everything to pure rigpa, any discursive thought that arose also went into the state of pure rigpa. As each discursive thought arose, the experience was deepened by it. Then, when I let that rigpa go free as well, an experience of luminous emptiness remained in unfabricated equanimity. Even in post-meditation, the result was that nothing arising in the six sense consciousnesses was reified as inherently existing externally. Everything was present as mind.”

When Gampopa heard this, he replied, “Well… that’s it!”

***Adapted from the Complete Works of Gampopa, translated by Tony Duff in ‘Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra’, 2011]
[5:58 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: Now as I told you, there are two level... one is seeing through conventional constructs as empty and non-arisen. As I always asked you, why not just say the constructs are non-existence?

[6:00 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: Is non-existence a more appropriate phrase than "emptiness" and why DO? why do we say whatever arises in dependent is empty and non-arisen? why brings in DO at all?

[6:01 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: Isn't non-existence I mean.

[6:04 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: I told you that the purpose of telling you that is to allow you to understand the nature of mind/phenomena. It is to train the mind so that when it comes face to face, it recognizes that is the nature of presence.

[6:11 PM, 10/28/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Emptiness is not non existence because emptiness is empty presencing/appearing, which is not the same as non existence but neither is it existent, rather empty presencing is like reflections that appear via dependencies but empty

[6:13 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: So what is the purpose of teaching us the idea of conventional constructs are empty and non-arisen? What is the purpose of teaching DO?

[6:16 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: For this recognition right?

[6:16 PM, 10/28/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah

[6:17 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: So that when you come face to face this empty presencing you can directly recognize it...appears but not found..

[6:19 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: When you look at this empty display, you realize it cannot be said to be mind nor not mind, neither internal nor external, either here nor not here...

[6:19 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: Nothing to do with non-conceptuality

[6:19 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: But the nature of it.

[6:19 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: Get what I mean?

[6:21 PM, 10/28/2019] John Tan: That is you see through conventionalities and recognize the nature of what appears...
[27/10/19, 1:14:30 PM] Soh Wei Yu: All appearances are appearance of oneself in dzogchen but not cosmic consciousness
[27/10/19, 1:49:11 PM] John Tan: Quite good youtube. Who is he?
[27/10/19, 1:52:33 PM] John Tan: All appearances are one's radiance clarity. However since both object and subject are seen through, it cannot be said to be mind or other than mind.
[27/10/19, 1:53:56 PM] Soh Wei Yu: He is a quite famous dzogchen teacher i think
[27/10/19, 1:54:00 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[27/10/19, 1:54:07 PM] John Tan: What appears are neither in here nor out there.
[27/10/19, 1:54:53 PM] John Tan: The very idea of in or out, me and other are conceptually designated.
[27/10/19, 1:56:31 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. i think he is trying to point out non solipsism and non cosmic consciousness.. different mindstreams. In another video he said how his view is not solipsism
[27/10/19, 1:58:04 PM] John Tan: The "neither this nor that" of freedom from extremes is not the same as "neither this nor that" of non-conceptuality.
[27/10/19, 1:58:10 PM] Soh Wei Yu: _______
[27/10/19, 1:58:15 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[27/10/19, 1:58:22 PM] John Tan: Can provide the link.
[27/10/19, 1:58:47 PM] John Tan: He is ______?
[27/10/19, 1:59:01 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah
[27/10/19, 1:59:26 PM] John Tan: His lecture seems to be better than his writings...lol
[27/10/19, 1:59:32 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Lol
[27/10/19, 1:59:37 PM] Soh Wei Yu: you read his writings before?
[27/10/19, 1:59:50 PM] John Tan: But still a subtle sense of awareness
[27/10/19, 1:59:55 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic..
[27/10/19, 2:02:47 PM] John Tan: He is using simple English...like mind is the creator which is no good
[27/10/19, 2:03:27 PM] Soh Wei Yu: you mean book or lecture
[27/10/19, 2:03:43 PM] John Tan: Both
[27/10/19, 2:04:31 PM] John Tan: His lectures link that you sent me but explanation is quite good.  However the taste of anatta is not there.
[27/10/19, 2:05:08 PM] John Tan: Means it can still be an explanation of non-dual.
[27/10/19, 2:09:03 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic.. ya i get the impression of one mind from his old writings
[27/10/19, 2:11:12 PM] John Tan: For anatta to be clear, that background is gone that is why experiences become direct. It has to because there is nothing there to dualify as simple as that...no need li li loh loh (be longwinded)...
[27/10/19, 2:11:36 PM] John Tan: Grasper and grasped disappeared.
[27/10/19, 2:16:10 PM] John Tan: Now when there is no self, you are left with those aggregates.  What are those aggregates?
[27/10/19, 2:54:57 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Empty radiance in total exertion
Labels: 4 comments | | edit post
Great articles as usual by James M. Corrigan - https://medium.com/@StillJustJames
[10:51 PM, 10/17/2019] Soh Wei Yu: malcolm (Arcaya Malcolm Smith) wrote:


https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=30365&p=479718&hilit=AGENT#p479718

There is no typing typer, no learning learner, no digesting digester, thinking tinker, or driving driver.

...

No, a falling faller does not make any sense. As Nāgārjuna would put it, apart from snow that has fallen or has not fallen, presently there is no falling.

...


 It is best if you consult the investigation into movement in the MMK, chapter two. This is where it is shown that agents are mere conventions. If one claims there is agent with agency, one is claiming the agent and the agency are separate. But if you claim that agency is merely a characteristic of an agent, when agent does not exercise agency, it isn't an agent since an agent that is not exercising agency is in fact a non-agent. Therefore, rather than agency being dependent on an agent, an agent is predicated upon exercising agency. For example, take movement. If there is an agent there has to be a moving mover. But there is no mover when there is no moving. Apart from moving, how could there be a mover? But when there is moving, there isn't a mover which is separate from moving. Even movement itself cannot be ascertained until there has been a movement. When there is no movement, there is no agent of movement. When there is moving, there is no agent of moving that can be ascertained to be separate from the moving. And since even moving cannot be ascertained without there either having been movement or not, moving itself cannot be established. Since moving cannot be established, a moving mover cannot be established. If a moving mover cannot be established, an agent cannot be established.

...

 Hi Wayfarer:

The key to understanding everything is the term "dependent designation." We don't question the statement "I am going to town." In this there are three appearances, for convenience's sake, a person, a road, and a destination.

A person is designated on the basis of the aggregates, but there is no person in the aggregates, in one of the aggregates, or separate from the aggregates. Agreed? A road is designated in dependence on its parts, agreed? A town s designated upon its parts. Agreed?

If you agree to this, then you should have no problem with the following teaching of the Buddha in the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra:

This body arises from various conditions, but lacks a self. This body is like the earth, lacking an agent. This body is like water, lacking a self. This body is like fire, lacking a living being. This body is like the wind, lacking a person. This body is like space, lacking a nature. This body is the place of the four elements, but is not real. This body that is not a self nor pertains to a self is empty.

In other words, when it comes to the conventional use of language, Buddha never rejected statements like "When I was a so and so in a past life, I did so and so, and served such and such a Buddha." Etc. But when it comes to what one can discern on analysis, if there is no person, no self, etc., that exists as more than a mere designation, the fact that agents cannot be discerned on analysis should cause no one any concern. It is merely a question of distinguishing between conventional use of language versus the insight into the nature of phenomena that results from ultimate analysis.



-------


[11:36 PM, 10/17/2019] John Tan: Yes should put in blog together with Alan watt article about language causing confusion.


-------

From other threads:

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=26272&p=401986&hilit=agent#p401986

There is no "experiencer" since there is no agent. There is merely experience, and all experience is empty.

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=102&t=24265&start=540


Why should there be someone upon whom karma ripens? To paraphrase the Visuddhimagga, there is no agent of karma, nor is there a person to experience its ripening, there is merely a flow of dharmas.


...

There are no agents. There are only actions. This is covered in the refutation of moving movers in chapter two of the MMK.

...

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=116&t=26495&p=406369&hilit=agent#p406369

 The point is that there is no point to eternalism if there is no eternal agent or object.


...

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=16306&p=277352&hilit=mover+movement+agent#p277352

 Things have no natures, conventionally or otherwise. Look, we can say water is wet, but actually, there no water that possesses a wet nature. Water is wet, that is all. There is no wetness apart from water and not water apart from wetness. If you say a given thing has a separate nature, you are making the exact mistaken Nāgārajuna points out in the analysis of movement, i.e., it is senseless to say there is a "moving mover." Your arguments are exactly the same, you are basically saying there is an "existing existence."

...

This is precisely because of the above point I referenced. Nagārjuna clearly shows that characteristics/natures are untenable.

Candrakīrti points out that the possessor does not exist at all, but for the mere purpose of discourse, we allow conventionally the idea that there is a possessor of parts even though no possessor of parts exists. This mistake that we indulge in can act as an agent, for example a car, we can use it as such, but it is empty of being a car — an agent is as empty of being an agent as its actions are empty of being actions. 



Thusness/John Tan: “Alan Watts is truly insightful. I like all his writings and lectures.”


  • Soh Wei Yu Elsewhere

    From "The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are" by Alan Watts:

    As soon as one sees that separate things are fictitious, it becomes obvious that nonexistent things cannot “perform” actions. The difficulty is that most languages are arranged so that actions (verbs) have to be set in motion by things (nouns), and we forget that rules of grammar are not necessarily rules, or patterns, of nature. This, which is nothing more than a convention of grammar, is also responsible for (or, better, “goeswith”) absurd puzzles as to how spirit governs matter, or mind moves body. How can a noun, which is by definition not action, lead to action?

    Scientists would be less embarrassed if they used a language, on the model of Amerindian Nootka, consisting of verbs and adverbs, and leaving off nouns and adjectives. If we can speak of a house as housing, a mat as matting, or of a couch as seating, why can't we think of people as “peopling,” of brains as “braining,” or of an ant as an “anting?” Thus in the Nootka language a church is “housing religiously,” a shop is “housing tradingly,” and a home is “housing homely.” Yet we are habituated to ask, “Who or what is housing? Who peoples? What is it that ants?” Yet isn't it obvious that when we say, “The lightning flashed,” the flashing is the same as the lightning, and that it would be enough to say, “There was lightning”? Everything labeled with a noun is demonstrably a process or action, but language is full of spooks, like the “it” in “It is raining,” which are the supposed causes, of action.

    Does it really explain running to say that “A man is running”? On the contrary, the only explanation would be a description of the field or situation in which “a manning goeswith running” as distinct from one in which “a manning goeswith sitting.” (I am not recommending this primitive and clumsy form of verb language for general and normal use. We should have to contrive something much more elegant.) Furthermore, running is not something other than myself, which I (the organism) do. For the organism is sometimes a running process, sometimes a standing process, sometimes a sleeping process, and so on, and in each instance the “cause” of the behavior is the situation as a whole, the organism/environment. Indeed, it would be best to drop the idea of causality and use instead the idea of relativity.

    For it is still inexact to say that an organism “responds” or “reacts” to a given situation by running or standing, or whatever. This is still the language of Newtonian billiards. It is easier to think of situations as moving patterns, like organisms themselves. Thus, to go back to the cat (or catting), a situation with pointed ears and whiskers at one end does not have a tail at the other as a response or reaction to the whiskers, or the claws, or the fur. As the Chinese say, the various features of a situation “arise mutually” or imply one another as back implies front, and as chickens imply eggs—and vice versa. They exist in relation to each other like the poles of the magnet, only more complexly patterned.

    Moreover, as the egg/chicken relation suggests, not all the features of a total situation have to appear at the same time. The existence of a man implies parents, even though they may be long since dead, and the birth of an organism implies its death. Wouldn't it be as farfetched to call birth the cause of death as to call the cat's head the cause of the tail? Lifting the neck of a bottle implies lifting the bottom as well, for the “two parts” come up at the same time. If I pick up an accordion by one end, the other will follow a little later, but the principle is the same. Total situations are, therefore, patterns in time as much as patterns in space.

    And, right now is the moment to say that I am not trying to smuggle in the “total situation” as a new disguise for the old “things” which were supposed to explain behavior or action. The total situation or field is always open-ended, for

    Little fields have big fields
    Upon their backs to bite 'em,
    And big fields have bigger fields
    And so ad infinitum.

    We can never, never describe all the features of the total situation, not only because every situation is infinitely complex, but also because the total situation is the universe. Fortunately, we do not have to describe any situation exhaustively, because some of its features appear to be much more important than others for understanding the behavior of the various organisms within it. We never get more than a sketch of the situation, yet this is enough to show that actions (or processes) must be understood, or explained, in terms of situations just as words must be understood in the context of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, libraries, and … life itself.

    To sum up: just as no thing or organism exists on its own, it does not act on its own. Furthermore, every organism is a process: thus the organism is not other than its actions. To put it clumsily: it is what it does. More precisely, the organism, including its behavior, is a process which is to be understood only in relation to the larger and longer process of its environment. For what we mean by “understanding” or “comprehension” is seeing how parts fit into a whole, and then realizing that they don't compose the whole, as one assembles a jigsaw puzzle, but that the whole is a pattern, a complex wiggliness, which has no separate parts. Parts are fictions of language, of the calculus of looking at the world through a net which seems to chop it up into bits. Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time.



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


    Arcaya Malcolm:

    There is no typing typer, no learning learner, no digesting digester, thinking tinker, or driving driver.

    ...

    No, a falling faller does not make any sense. As Nāgārjuna would put it, apart from snow that has fallen or has not fallen, presently there is no falling.

    ...


     It is best if you consult the investigation into movement in the MMK, chapter two. This is where it is shown that agents are mere conventions. If one claims there is agent with agency, one is claiming the agent and the agency are separate. But if you claim that agency is merely a characteristic of an agent, when agent does not exercise agency, it isn't an agent since an agent that is not exercising agency is in fact a non-agent. Therefore, rather than agency being dependent on an agent, an agent is predicated upon exercising agency. For example, take movement. If there is an agent there has to be a moving mover. But there is no mover when there is no moving. Apart from moving, how could there be a mover? But when there is moving, there isn't a mover which is separate from moving. Even movement itself cannot be ascertained until there has been a movement. When there is no movement, there is no agent of movement. When there is moving, there is no agent of moving that can be ascertained to be separate from the moving. And since even moving cannot be ascertained without there either having been movement or not, moving itself cannot be established. Since moving cannot be established, a moving mover cannot be established. If a moving mover cannot be established, an agent cannot be established.

    ...

     Hi Wayfarer:

    The key to understanding everything is the term "dependent designation." We don't question the statement "I am going to town." In this there are three appearances, for convenience's sake, a person, a road, and a destination.

    A person is designated on the basis of the aggregates, but there is no person in the aggregates, in one of the aggregates, or separate from the aggregates. Agreed? A road is designated in dependence on its parts, agreed? A town s designated upon its parts. Agreed?

    If you agree to this, then you should have no problem with the following teaching of the Buddha in the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra:

    This body arises from various conditions, but lacks a self. This body is like the earth, lacking an agent. This body is like water, lacking a self. This body is like fire, lacking a living being. This body is like the wind, lacking a person. This body is like space, lacking a nature. This body is the place of the four elements, but is not real. This body that is not a self nor pertains to a self is empty.

    In other words, when it comes to the conventional use of language, Buddha never rejected statements like "When I was a so and so in a past life, I did so and so, and served such and such a Buddha." Etc. But when it comes to what one can discern on analysis, if there is no person, no self, etc., that exists as more than a mere designation, the fact that agents cannot be discerned on analysis should cause no one any concern. It is merely a question of distinguishing between conventional use of language versus the insight into the nature of phenomena that results from ultimate analysis.
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  • Soh Wei Yu Posted last year:

    Jun
    05
    Alan Watts: Agent and Action

    Just now I was reading an Alan Watts forum and noticed people were talking about anatta/anatman and it occurred to me that Alan Watts must have realised it himself. So I searched online and found a very clear description - beautiful description. Alan Watts does not see substance but formations, events, actions, operations, processes, relations and interconnectedness.

    Quote from his book “This is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience“ :

    The general impression of these optical sensations is that the eyes, without losing the normal area of vision, have become microscopes, and that the texture of the visual field is infinitely rich and complex. I do not know whether this is actual awareness of the multiplicity of nerve-endings in the retina, or, for that matter, in the fingers, for the same grainy feeling arose in the sense of touch. But the effect of feeling that this is or may be so is, as it were, to turn the senses back upon themselves, and so to realize that seeing the external world is also seeing the eyes. In other words, I became vividly aware of the fact that what I call shapes, colors, and textures in the outside world are also states of my nervous system, that is, of me. In knowing them I also know my self. But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was that I did not appear to be inspecting them from outside or from a distance, as if they were objects. I can say only that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head, having sensations. I was the sensations, so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened---not to me, but just happened---moment by moment, one after another.

    To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release. For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but of itself. The experiencer and the experience become a single, ever-changing self-forming process, complete and fulfilled at every moment of its unfolding, and of infinite complexity and subtlety. It is like, not watching, but being, a coiling arabesque of smoke patterns in the air, or of ink dropped in water, or of a dancing snake which seems to move from every part of its body at once. This may be a "drug-induced hallucination," but it corresponds exactly to what Dewey and Bentley have called the transactional relationship of the organism to its environment. This is to say that all our actions and experiences arise mutually from the organism and from the environment at the same time. The eyes can see light because of the sun, but the sun is light because of the eyes. Ordinarily, under the hypnosis of social conditioning, we feel quite distinct from our physical surroundings, facing them rather than belonging in them. Yet in this way we ignore and screen out the physical fact of our total interdependence with the natural world. We are as embodied in it as our own cells and molecules are embodied in us. Our neglect and repression of this interrelationship gives special urgency to all the new sciences of ecology, studying the interplay of organisms with their environments, and warning us against ignorant interference with the balances of nature.

    The sensation that events are happening of themselves, and that nothing is making them happen and that they are not happening to anything, has always been a major feature of my experiences with LSD. It is possible that the chemical is simply giving me a vivid realization of my own philosophy, though there have been times when the experience has suggested modifications of my previousthinking. (1) But just as the sensation of subject-object polarity is confirmed by the transactional psychology of Dewey and Bentley, so the sensation of events happening "of themselves" is just how one would expect to perceive a world consisting entirely of process. Now the language of science is increasingly a language of process---a description of events, relations, operations, and forms rather than of things and substances. The world so described is a world of actions rather than agents, verbs rather than nouns, going against the common-sense idea that an action is the behavior of some thing, some solid entity of "stuff." But the commonsense idea that action is always the function of an agent is so deeply rooted, so bound up with our sense of order and security, that seeing the world to be otherwise can be seriously disturbing. Without agents, actions do not seem to come from anywhere, to have any dependable origin, and at first sight this spontaneity can be alarming. In one experiment it seemed that whenever I tried to put my (metaphorical) foot upon some solid ground, the ground collapsed into empty space. I could find no substantial basis from which to act: my will was a whim, and my past, as a causal conditioning force, had simply vanished. There was only the present conformation of events, happening. For a while I felt lost in a void, frightened, baseless, insecure through and through Yet soon I became accustomed to the feeling, strange as it was. There was simply a pattern of action, of process, and this was at one and the same time the universe and myself with nothing outside it either to trust or mistrust. And there seemed to be no meaning in the idea of its trusting or mistrusting itself, just as there is no possibility of a finger's touching its own tip.
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  • Soh Wei Yu Upon reflection, there seems to be nothing unreasonable in seeing the world in this way. The agent behind every action is itself action. If a mat can be called matting, a cat can be called catting. We do not actually need to ask who or what "cats," just as we do not need to ask what is the basic stuff or substance out of which the world is formed---for there is no way of describing this substance except in terms of form, of structure, order, and operation. The world is not formed as if it were inert clay responding to the touch of a potter's hand; the world is form, or better, formation, for upon examination every substance turns out to be closely knit pattern. The fixed notion that every pattern or form must be made of some basic material which is in itself formless is based on a superficial analogy between natural formation and manufacture, as if the stars and rocks had been made out of something as a carpenter makes tables out of wood. Thus what we call the agent behind the action is simply the prior or relatively more constant state of the same action: when a man runs we have a "manning-running" over and above a simple "manning." Furthermore, it is only a somewhat clumsy convenience to say that present events are moved or caused by past events, for we are actually talking about earlier and later stages of the same event. We can establish regularities of rhythm and pattern in the course of an event, and so predict its future configurations, but its past states do not "push" its present and future states as if they were a row of dominoes stood on end so that knocking over the first collapses all the others in series. The fallen dominoes lie where they fall, but past events vanish into the present, which is just another way of saying that the world is a self-moving pattern which, when its successive states are remembered, can be shown to have a certain order. Its motion, its energy, issues from itself now, not from the past, which simply falls behind it in memory like the wake from a ship.

    When we ask the "why" of this moving pattern, we usually try to answer the question in terms of its original, past impulse or of its future goal. I had realized for a long time that if there is in any sense a reason for the world's existence it must be sought in the present, as the reason for the wake must be sought in the engine of the moving ship. I have already mentioned that LSD makes me peculiarly aware of the musical or dance-like character of the world, bringing my attention to rest upon its present flowing and seeing this as its ultimate point. Yet I have also been able to see that this point has depths, that the present wells up from within itself with an energy which is something much richer than simple exuberance.

    One of these experiments was conducted late at night. Some five or six hours from its start the doctor had to go home, and I was left alone in the garden. For me, this stage of the experiment is always the most rewarding in terms of insight, after some of its more unusual and bizarre sensory effects have worn off. The garden was a lawn surrounded by shrubs and high trees---Pine and eucalyptus---and floodlit from the house which enclosed it on one side. As I stood on the lawn I noticed that the rough patches where the grass was thin or mottled with weeds no longer seemed to be blemishes. Scattered at random as they were, they appeared to constitute an ordered design, giving the whole area the texture of velvet damask, the rough patches being the parts where the pile of the velvet is cut. In sheer delight I began to dance on this enchanted carpet, and through the thin soles of my moccasins I could feel the ground becoming alive under my feet, connecting me with the earth and the trees and the sky in such a way that I seemed to become one body with my whole surroundings.

    Looking up, I saw that the stars were colored with the same reds, greens, and blues that one sees in iridescent glass, and passing across them was the single light of a jet plane taking forever to streak over the sky. At the same time, the trees, shrubs, and flowers seemed to be living jewelry, inwardly luminous like intricate structures of jade, alabaster, or coral, and yet breathing and flowing with the same life that was in me. Every plant became a kind of musical utterance, a play of variations on a theme repeated from the main branches, through the stalks and twigs, to the leaves, the veins in the leaves, and to the fine capillary network between the veins. Each new bursting of growth from a center repeated or amplified the basic design with increasing complexity and delight, finally exulting in a flower.

    From my description it will seem that the garden acquired an atmosphere that was distinctly exotic, like the gardens of precious stones in the Arabian Nights, or like scenes in a Persian miniature. This struck me at the time, and I began to wonder just why it is that the glowingly articulated landscapes of those miniatures seem exotic, as do also many Chinese and Japanese paintings. Were the artists recording what they, too, had seen under the influence of drugs? I knew enough of the lives and techniques of Far Eastern painters to doubt this. I asked, too, whether what I was seeing was "drugged." In other words, was the effect of the LSD in my nervous system the addition to my senses of some chemical screen which distorted all that I saw to preternatural loveliness? Or was its effect rather to remove certain habitual and normal inhibitions of the mind and senses, enabling us to see things as they would appear to us if we were not so chronically repressed? Little is known of the exact neurological effects of LSD, but what is known suggests the latter possibility. If this be so, it is possible that the art forms of other cultures appear exotic---that is, unfamiliarly enchanting---because we are seeing the world through the eyes of artists whose repressions are not the same as ours. The blocks in their view of the world may not coincide with ours, so that in their representations of life we see areas that we normally ignore. I am inclined to some such solution because there have been times when I have seen the world in this magical aspect without benefit of LSD, and they were times when I was profoundly relaxed within, my senses unguardedly open to their surroundings.

    Feeling, then, not that I was drugged but that I was in an unusual degree open to reality, I tried to discern the meaning, the inner character of the dancing pattern which constituted both myself and the garden, and the whole dome of the night with its colored stars. All at once it became obvious that the whole thing was love-play, where love means everything that the word can mean, a spectrum ranging from the red of erotic delight, through the green of human endearment, to the violet of divine charity, from Freud's libido to Dante's "love that moves the sun and other stars." All were so many colors issuing from a single white light, and, what was more, this single source was not just love as we ordinarily understand it: it was also intelligence, not only Eros and Agape but also Logos. I could see that the intricate organization both of the plants and of my own nervous system, like symphonies of branching complexity, were not just manifestations of intelligence---as if things like intelligence and love were in themselves substances or formless forces. It was rather that the pattern itself is intelligence and is love, and this somehow in spite of all its outwardly stupid and cruel distortions.

    ‪André A. Pais "The agent behind every action is itself action".‬

    ‪Great insight.‬
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    ‪John Tan Therefore it is the action that knows, no knower.‬
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