Friday, May 28, 2010


The inseparability of appearance and emptiness

is the most essential and direct way of describing reality---

the absolute nature that has been present from the very beginning,


---Shechen Rabjam


  1. Or as Jeff Foster would say, Life without a Centre?

  2. I love this quote, and I enjoyed looking up the Tibetan teacher Shechen Rabjam, who I had never heard of before.

    For most of my life I was caught up in form- in one thought after the next- in appearances.

    Then a few years ago there was an intuitive flash of the formless- that pure awareness or emptiness or space in which forms appear. I became increasingly drawn toward emptiness, towards presence, towards the unmanifested- or whatever label/pointer you want to use.

    Finally there was a surprise: awareness and the objects of awareness are one! Form and formlessness are inseparable. There is no duality, there is no separation, there is no personal reference point- that is just an optical delusion of the mind.

    There is still a frequent "forgetting" when there is excessive focus on form as seemingly apart from formlessness...But quotes like the one in this blog happily wake consciousness up to the all pervasive oneness that never leaves. Thank you!

  3. Yes - or less poetic, but more technical, "life without a phenomenal (space-time) centre."

    Wei Wu Wei sometimes uses the term 'centre' to point to the "source" of the "Perceiving" that "we" think "we" do. And where is this "inevitable centre"? "Always and in all cicumstances it must be HERE." And HERE, "All IS" (inseparable).

    WWW has the following sentence which seems to clearly set forth these two 'centres.'

    "THIS extra-dimensional centre is what subjectively we are as 'I', and THAT, tri-dimensionally revealed, is what objectively we each APPEAR TO BE as 'me'."

  4. Colleen, you're more than welcome, and thanks for your beautiful report.

    By the way, that quote (which is actually the combining of two sentences), comes from his book titled, The Great Medicine (that conquers clinging to the notion of reality).

  5. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the clarification. It "feels" like there is a centre or personal reference point called "me." It feels like I am looking out through these eyes, it feels like I am the centre of my body/brain and surrounded by sights, sounds, and the world around me.

    Does it feel that way for you?

    WWW points out that HERE is a centre that never moves- it is the rock solid and immovable presence of being, of oneness. Am I correct in understanding that this centre is very different than the false egoic self-centre of the imagined separate self?

    Sometimes there is a relaxation of attention from the "me-ness", and then there is a sense that there is no self-centre and never has been. There was just a tension or constriction of focus that produced the illusion of a separate self sense.

    I appreciate this dialogue Tom as I am still not clear about the lack of a self-centre, and the presence of HERE as the unmoving center of being/oneness.

    Thanks for the book reference and I will likely get The Great Medicine. I recently finished a short, stunning book by a little known Tibetan teacher named Anam Thubten, who is fairly young (37, I think). The book is called No Self, No Problem. Anam Thubten escaped from Tibet when he was young at great peril, though he doesn't say much about this in the book. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

  6. Hi Colleen, you raise some very subtle questions that are not easy to talk about.

    I have to go to work soon, so I don't have time to post a response to them today - hopefully tomorrow.

    For now, let me remind you that everything IS "It", but that nothing we say about "ourselves" or "It" (which are not-two) can capture "It".

  7. "Nothing we say about "ourselves" or "It" (which are not-two) can capture "It."" Thank you for pointing this out! When I start to get that confused feeling it is a "wake up call" that I'm getting tangled up in the mind again and trying to capture (mentally) that which can never be captured.

  8. I like this:

    "The inseparability of appearance and emptiness"

    I also like the title of the book "no self, no problem." Reminds me of Seung Sahn's sense of humor ("Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake"

    Also, an excellent instance, in my opinion, of WWW's opacity - where does tridimensionality come into this?

  9. Hi Colleen, let's start with the pointer that "whatever is happening is ALL-inclusive; that there's NO possibility of separation from whatever This is."

    As you said, often what's happening "feels" personal or centred around the organism. I think that's so for "everyone." And at other times, the Impersonal nature of reality is evident.

    We can SAY that both of those are qualities of experience that come and go.

    But, as different as those "moments" appear to be, they are both still "ALL-inclusive." Whatever we are "goes along."

    We can point to this ALL-inclusive Now as the "Unmoving HERE." And of course, when we do, "It" becomes a concept.

    The same applies to whatever is said or felt ABOUT "our personal experience."

    And neither of these types of percepts and concepts causes suffering unless it is believed that there is "a self-centre" - SEPARATE FROM/INDEPENDENT OF/NOT INCLUDED IN the "ALL-inclusive Now" - that can truly claim these percepts/concepts as HIS or HERS (rather than part of What IS).

    Does this help clear things up?

    Of course, there's more that we can go into, but I'll leave it at that for now.

  10. DJH, glad you like those Tibetan "memes."

    The Tibetans have a lot to offer - if you can access it.

    It's not WWW's fault that I took a passage of his out of its context, which did have to do with 'dimensions'.

    BTW, I was remiss in not pointing out that his "two centres" are only conceptually "two."