I was able to improve the explanation in the last couple of paragraphs of the final chapter. Now it should be a lot easier to comprehend, I hope. I previously posted the complete final chapter here; viewtopic.php?f=16&t=33773&start=165#p529097
So, there is a formless something, without us distinguishing, defining, or interpreting it via our six senses. We also experience the formless through our intuition and instinct. Once you have let go of the identification with form, you are left with the identification of the formless. Although you no longer distinguish or define a form, you do recognize that you experience something. The only difference between form and the formless is whether we distinguish it or not. Both are from the same nature.
The formless is also empty of an essence, because we cannot separate something from our experience. Something does not exist for us, without us experiencing it. So, the formless something is also really nothing, because we cannot separate it from our perception, even if we cannot distinguish it ourselves. If we realize the previous, we do not identify with the formless anymore, as there is nothing to identify with. The only identification which exists is our mental fabrication, an attempt to identify with something, out of the ignorance that there really is nothing to identify with, outside our perception.
If we do not identify with something anymore, we attain Nirvana, and liberate ourselves from Samsara. Samsara is the endless cycle of rebirth, which has been described in Buddhist texts. This rebirth occurs whenever someone tries to distinguish an experience in form, and every time when someone tries to identify with an experience which we do not distinguish. We now know that nothing is really formed, and nothing is without form. There is also really no coming (birth), as the manifestation of form already existed in the formless. Just as there is no going (death), as form will continue to exist in the formless when the form dissolves. So, nothing does not come, and nothing does not go. Nothing is permanent; everything is impermanent. We are dissolved into nothingness, as we were nothing to begin with.
When you come to the above realization, you become aware that nothing is really perceived, but this doesn’t mean that there is no perception. Through the realization that no form is really perceived, your attention shifts towards the formless; that which is non-perceived.
If the formless is seen as something that exists independent from our perception, like God, it is non-perceived. Which means that you are assuming that you can grasp it, without actually perceiving it. Apart from the fact that God’s existence, or non-existence, is not verifiable, and rests on faith, clinging to the formless is not full liberation, as you still identify with something. This creates a spiritual entity that is separate from our perception. You cannot actually comprehend what this something is, or what its intention is, through which you still experience a subtle state of unsatisfactoriness. Its intention is then a source of doubt and subjective interpretation, which can then lead to different views of people on its intention. In addition, this formless something would be the basis for the manifestation of form. Where every thing, experience, event, or phenomenon, can be seen as a manifestation of this entity. This can then be used as an excuse to label that what we are capable of doing to be its intention. This entity also stirs up a desire for meaning in what is being experienced, thereby creating a spiritual self. This spiritual self may be even more difficult to see through than a physical or mental self, because it is anchored in the formless. In addition, people with a spiritual self, have often walked through life to get there, which may give them the feeling that they have achieved something.
We now know that the formless is empty, and therefore it is not possible to really grasp what you non-perceive (that which is beyond your perception). Through insight in the above, your awareness is thrown back and forth between neither perception, because nothing is formed, and nor non-perception, because the formless is also nothing. Until you realize that this going back and forth is also perceived from some point. That point is the state of 'neither perception nor non-perception', where there is stillness of the mind, this state is also Nirvana.
So, Nirvana can be attained in two ways; one way is the realization of nothingness, by fully realizing the nature of being; dependent arising. Through this realization, you realize that there is no coming, and no going. This way is called liberation through the intellect, or 'paññāvimutti' in the Pali language. 'Paññā' is the base and refers to the intellect, or cognitive side of consciousness; the faculty of thinking. Ignorance is the cause of misunderstanding or confusion in the intellect. Through realizing the true nature of being, ignorance is dissolved, because one realizes form and the formless are of dependent arising, and therefore empty.
The other way is through liberation of the mind, or 'cetovimutti', by becoming aware of the state which is 'neither perception nor non-perception'. 'Citta' is the base and refers to the (emotional) mind, the affective side of consciousness; or faculty of feeling. Grasping is the form of dissatisfaction in the mind, through the desire to grasp. By getting to the state of 'neither perception nor non-perception', this desire is abandoned, because there is no perception to grasp.
Copyright 2019 Peter Cordes
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.