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Space Between Thoughts, Nature of Mind

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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 A thought may come, how does luminosity/awareness arise? This is based on a false idea that awareness arise. Awareness does not arise. It simply IS, regardless of whatever experience, but also AS whatever experience.

Awareness, Luminosity, is uncaused, unconditioned, unborn, spontaneously perfected. You can't fabricate awareness by practice, it is always unfabricated and ever-present. That is why Buddhahood is not fabricated or conditioned, it is discovered as our spontaneously perfected nature. Trying to attain Buddhahood by sitting is thus, just like attempting to polish a stone into a mirror. (this does not mean sitting meditation is not important, pls don't mistaken. rather it's saying that individual effort does not 'lead to' awareness, awareness is just something noticed, realised, discovered)

Yes, all experiences dependently originate. All experiences are caused. And all experiences are Awareness.

BUT Awareness is not caused.

Awareness is not a particular experience, it is the essence of ALL experience. But the essence cannot be separated from the appearance, you cannot separate awareness from appearance. The essence (luminosity), nature (emptiness), and energy (manifestation) is inseparable. Awareness has no inherent traits, attributes, forms, and has infinite potentiality to manifest. To say 'awareness can manifest' is not exactly right, as that would imply some sort of substance other from manifestation... it is not that Awareness manifest, but that all there is is Manifestation and Manifestation precisely IS Awareness, and it would be reification to state that there is an Awareness apart from manifestation.

Appearance is awareness.

All experience are clear and vivid. Nothing that arise could be without awareness, nothing that arise isn't 'made of' awareness. Everything is simply clearly and spontaneously perceived as uncaused awareness.

The entire universe of causes and conditions manifests as this manifestation that is spontaneously and uncaused-ly and by essence luminous.... as This Sound. This Scenery. This Thought. It should be noted that though the appearance is dependently originate, it does not 'come from somewhere'. What dependently originates does not come or go, does not transform from one thing to another. That is why the Buddha taught in Lankavatara Sutra that Dependent Origination is not the same as the (externalist, non-Buddhist) Philosopher's teaching of cause and effect.

As Mahasi Sayadaw says:

"Before a drum is beaten, its sound does not exist in the drum itself, the drumstick, or anywhere in between. Even though a sound occurs when the drum is beat, the sound does not originate from the drum or the drumstick. The physical phenomena of drum and drumstick are not transformed into a sound nor does the sound originate from anywhere in between drum and drumstick. In dependence on the drum, the drumstick, and the hitting of the drum, the sound is a completely new phenomenon each time the drum is hit. The drum and the stick are different from the sound.

In the same way, before you see something or someone, seeing does not exist in the eye, in the visible form, or anywhere in between. The seeing that takes place neither originates in the eye nor in the visible form. The seeing consciousness neither originates in the eye nor in the visible forms, which are physical phenomena. It also does not originate from anywhere in between. Seeing is actually a new phenomenon that arises due to the combination of the eye, the visible form, light, and your attention. Thus, the eye and the visible form are different from the seeing. The same is true for the other senses."

To those who think that awareness is created by the body: the body is just made of insentient elements that cannot ever perceive.

A corpse with all the sense organs is not conscious.

A combination of insentient elements does not 'produce' consciousness.

Consciousness, mindstream, is a separate element.

It is not your eyes that sees, your ears that hears, but Mind/Awareness that knows. However the sense organs is one of the many conditions for the arising of a particular sensory experience, which is in essence Awareness.

One is forgetful when the mind fixates on thoughts, mesmerising experiences, etc. What does he forget? He forgets the 3 dharma seals. This is being unmindful. Forgetting the three dharma seals, he gets lost in content thinking they are permanent, self, and satisfactory, and thus create suffering for himself. In other words, rather than paying attention to the present reality and observings its three characteristics, it dwells on the contents of thoughts and projects into the past and future.

In terms of practice, whatever practice it is, we must put effort in maintaining mindfulness. At first effortful, after some period of practice and insights, it turns effortless. Even if you aren't paying attention to what's present, the Present Presence is still Present, just overlooked. Not noticing what IS doesn't mean what IS isn't.

Mindfulness as an activity can be lost, but Awareness as Reality can never be lost. It is the basis of all experience.

Let's say, you lost mindfulness, and therefore you're lost in the contents of thoughts of 'self', but then, isn't the thought itself appearing in Awareness. Can there be a thought without awareness of it? Can a thought be occuring outside of awareness, and if it's occuring outside of awareness how can it even be experienced?

So let's say you think, 'I don't know if I'm aware right now'. But surely, you are aware and cognizing that thought isn't it? Isn't the thought just appearing and vanishing within the context of awareness?

Awareness is simply this sky-like, vast, luminous light that allows everything to be seen and exerpienced. If you get into this perspective/view, it feels like you are this vast space and the clouds just roll by, you feel you're unaffected by any of it. But this is still subtly dualistic, and when you inquire into the relationship between the cloud (phenomena) and the sky, you'll see they're actually basically inseparable, you'll see there's absolutely no distance between awareness and form, and all forms (thoughts, sights, sounds, etc) are basically 'made of' the same basic clarity and spaciousness. In Quantum physics, subatomic particles can be immaterial waves as well. Likewise, form/thought/perception is pure awareness/presence. Form/thought is pure awareness in its 'manifestation stage'. Pure awareness is 'essense stage'. There is this continuous change from manifestion to essense and so on so forth. Continuous stream of moment and change. There is no separation, but this very everchanging-ness.

However, through subtle intuitive knowingness, thought dissolves back to pure awareness. More and more of thoughts dissolve/revert back as the 'immediate' presence.

As for this sparkling awareness, which is called "mind,"
Even though one says that it exists, it does not actually exist.
(On the other hand) as a source, it is the origin of the diversity of all the bliss of Nirvana and all of the sorrow of Samsara.
And as for it¡¯s being something desirable; it is cherished alike in the Eleven Vehicles.
With respect to its having a name, the various names that are applied to it are inconceivable (in their numbers).
Some call it "the nature of the mind" or "mind itself."
Some Tirthikas call it by the name Atman or "the Self."
The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or "the absence of a self."
The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or "the Mind."
Some call it the Praj?¨¢p¨¢ramit¨¢ or "the Perfection of Wisdom."
Some call it the name Tathagata-garbha or "the embryo of Buddhahood."
Some call it by the name Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol."
Some call it by the name "the Unique Sphere."
Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or "the dimension of Reality."
Some call it by the name Alaya or "the basis of everything."
And some simply call it by the name "ordinary awareness."

Now, when you are introduced (to your own intrinsic awareness), the method for entering into it involves three considerations:
Thoughts in the past are clear and empty and leave no traces behind.
Thoughts in the future are fresh and unconditioned by anything.
And in the present moment, when (your mind) remains in its own condition without constructing anything,
awareness, at that moment, in itself is quite ordinary.
And when you look into yourself in this way nakedly (without any discursive thoughts),
Since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid clarity without anyone being there who is the observer;
only a naked manifest awareness is present.
(This awareness) is empty and immaculately pure, not being created by anything whatsoever.
It is authentic and unadulterated, without any duality of clarity and emptiness.
It is not permanent and yet it is not created by anything.
However, it is not a mere nothingness or something annihilated because it is lucid and present.
It does not exist as a single entity because it is present and clear in terms of being many.
(On the other hand) it is not created as a multiplicity of things because it is inseparable and of a single flavor.
This inherent self-awareness does not derive from anything outside itself.
This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things.