We mistake the functional centre of the phenomenal aspect of our noumenality for a 'self'. It has no more autonomy than a heart, a physical organ, no more volitional potentialities, and no more self-consciousness; yet we attribute to it the sentience which represents what noumenally we are.
A psyche-soma, phenomenal as it is, must have a functional centre, without which it could not be what is seen as a 'sentient being'. Such centre must be psychic, just as the heart is somatic. The five senses, interpreted by the sixth, depend on this centre for their manifestation as perception and cognition; all functioning, instinctive or rational, is directed therefrom, and it is logical, therefore, that this centre should be considered as the subjective element of the objectivised phenomenon. So, phenomenally, it appears, but itself this 'subject' is an object, so that never could it be what we are, but only a part of the phenomenal set-up of the discriminated and separate phenomenon which we think that we are. Never could it be autonomous, never could it exercise volition, never could it be what we conceive as 'us'.
Moreover our sentience is essentially noumenal, and we are mistaking the switch-board for the power-station, the reservoir for the source, an electronic computer for a mind: the functional centre of a sentient being is purely cybernetic.
The identification which gives rise to a supposed 'entity' that then and thereby thinks that it is in bondage, is identification of what noumenally we are, of our natural noumenality, with the functional 'organ' in the psyche-soma which becomes thereby a supposed 'self' or 'ego' with relative, if not full, autonomy and volition. We do not even care to remember that only a small fraction of our physical movements, of our organic functioning responds in any way to the initiatives of our personalised wishes.
How does this situation arise? It arises as a result of the splitting of mind, called 'dualism', whereby the phenomenal aspect of noumenality - that is pure impersonal phenomenality - divides into negative and positive, and there appear 'objects' which require a 'subject', and 'others' which require a 'self', each totally dependent on its counterpart for its apparent existence.
But mind, though apparently split in the process of phenomenalisation, remains whole as noumenon, and only in the becoming apparent, or in order to become apparent, is it obliged to divide into an apparent see-er and an apparent seen, a cogniser and a thing cognised, which nevertheless can never be different, never two, for though in function it divides yet in its potentiality it remains whole.
All phenomenality, therefore, is objective, that is appearance in mind, and its appearance is dependent on its division into a see-er or cogniser and what is seen or cognised, that is which becomes apparent to an observer whose existence is assumed in order that appearance may appear. It follows that in all this phenomenality there is no 'ens' anywhere, for neither the apparent cogniser nor the apparently cognised is an entity in its own right, i.e. having a nature of its own, autonomy or volition.
It follows also that the potentiality of 'sentience' whereby all this manifestation is cognised, called prajna in Sanscrit, is an im-mediate expression of noumenality. Utterly impersonal, as devoid of 'ens' as are phenomena, 'it' is nevertheless, and 'it' must necessarily be, what we are, and all that we are. In conceptualising 'it' as prajna, 'it' is conceptualising 'itself', via the familiar dualistic process of splitting into conceptualiser and concept or cogniser and cognised, so that in seeking for what we are - that for which we are seeking is the seeker: the seeker is the sought and the sought is the seeker, and that - as Padma Sambhava told us in plain words - is what we are.
There is no entity involved anywhere, and space-time here is seen as a conceptual framework which accompanies events in order that events may have the necessary extension whereby they may appear to occur.
Total negation is required, for the Negative Way alone abolishes the factuality of all phenomena and the existence of entity as such, but if a positive representation is to be attempted these are the elements out of which the image seems to be composed.