20 July 2010

Hi Ed, a short question which I hope you can address.  I have been meditating for many years, mainly Soto Zen, but have come to see within the last 2 years or so that this is leading nowhere.  As I listen to the "master" at the local temple go over and over the Dharma that it is very clear is not coming from a "pure place" so to speak.  It is mainly old talks repeated over the years. 
So, I am now interested in pursuing a way of inquiry that follows from the following statement you made:
"Inquiry can mean merely abiding in the inner light of consciousness, doing nothing."
While I do not witness the inner light of consciousness, I am constantly aware of the ever-present "sound of silence"...the nada sound...a high energy sound. Can this be referred to as the "inner sound of consciousness?"  My main question is: can this be used in Inquiry by asking "Who is aware of this sound?" and stay with that?

Thanks for your response,


Well, you can use that sound in this way, but the primary focus of your meditation is the sound, which is an object of you.  It is better to look for You directly, the looker. But more easily, is to find the sense of I, which gradually expands to become the light of consciousness. You don't want to have to depend on an object to find the subject, because it gives the object too much life.


  1. I can certainly relate to this feeling about the "inadequacy" of Soto Zen, having also been a long term practitioner. And I found this to be true also of the Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhist practice. In this instance, I wasn't focused on a particular object as such, but sustaining the "open eye" approach kept me altogether too focused on whatever I observed in the outside world at the cost of having a sense of the "I am".
    In that sense these were essentially just "relaxation" techniques.

  2. I often experience the I AM as sound vibration, but have found that it is easier to sink into it as the feeling of being. I think it is similar to using different senses; you can experience the fire through hearing its roar or through feeling its radiant heat. Which mode of perception takes you further in the direction you want to go?

  3. Is this I AM sound the same as tingling and vibration in both ears (and sometimes top of head,)when abiding in the silence? Is this Nada?

  4. What does it matter? Attaching a label to it does not make it sacred or different from any other experience. No experience has anything to do with you. Focus on Nada takes you away from you.

    I have to say this over and over: IGNORE EXPERIENCES AND CONCEPTS. Liberation comes after you drop all these mental games of trying to figure things out and make sense of things. You must become the silent, know-nothing witness.