Andrew108 wrote:...I think a lot of Mahamudra terminology is confusing especially the term awareness. It is important to know that in Mahamudra terms such as self-arisen awareness, clear light, bliss, buddha nature etc have the same meaning. All are 'unfindable' and indescribable and unelaborated. So none of these is an object that can be experienced or held by an other. For example, clear light is not the object of awareness, buddhanature is not an objectification of awareness, bliss is not an object containing emptiness and so on.
I suppose various terms can be confusing when going from one language to another, especially when dealing with technical terminology. Depending on what one reads, these terms are usually defined somewhere. For example, I have read a lot of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's works on Mahamudra and have always found them to be straightforward and clear.
I always get a chuckle when I encounter the mention of "clear light". I was reading a translated work by Tony Duff once and came his glossary entry for "Luminosity". Tony's translations are an acquired taste, but he does make some good points. For some reason, I got a good chuckle out of this entry and have never forgotten the notion, always remembering it with a smile.
Luminosity, Skt. pravhasvara, Tib. 'od gsla ba: The core of mind has two aspects: an emptiness factor and a knowing factor. The Buddha and many Indian religious teachers used "luminosity" as a metaphor for the knowing quality of the core of mind. If in English we would say "Mind has a knowing quality", the teachers of ancient India would say, "Mind has an illuminative quality; it is like a source of light which illuminates what it knows".
This term has been translated as "clear light" but that is a mistake that comes from not understanding the etymology of the word. It does not refer to a light that has the quality of clearness (something that makes no sense, actually!) but refers to the illuminative property which is the nature of the empty mind.
Note also that in both Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist literature, this term is frequently abbreviated just to Skt. "vava" and Tib. "gsal ba" with no change of meaning. Unfortunately, this has been thought to be another word and it has then been translated with "clarity", when in fact it is just this term in abbreviation.
The knowing quality of the mind can know itself, but not as an object that is concentrated upon.