Post-meditation practice

posted in: Ati yoga, Mahamudra | 0
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


The everyday practice of Dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit.

We should realize openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.

Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.

When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.

We shouldn’t make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception.
We shouldn’t become like a cat watching a mouse.
We should realize that the purpose of meditation is not to go “deeply into ourselves” or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.

Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being – the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as the pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectness and absolute spontaneity.

All aspects of the phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed – everything is mutually interpenetrating.

Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment, yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.

The everyday practice of Dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some “amazing goal” or “advanced state.”

To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons – we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.

When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realize that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.

Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think “I am meditating.” Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become “peaceful.”

If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation.
If we have “interesting experiences” either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.

All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present, and future. They are experienced in timelessness.

The continual stream of new discovery, revelation, and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity. We should learn to see everyday life as mandala – the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism, the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.

In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present, and future – our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?

We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.

This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.

– Excerpts from Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life by H. H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

All good

posted in: Ati yoga, Dzogchen | 0

“…Here in this womb-like spaciousness,
In the spontaneity of the now, 
Samsara is all good and while nirvana is also good 
In this all-good matrix, in the now, 
Neither samsara nor nirvana exist. 
Appearances are all good, 
And while emptiness is also all good 
In this all-good matrix, in the now, 
Neither appearance nor emptiness exist. 
Life is all good, and while good and bad feelings are also all good 
In this all-good matrix neither life nor feelings exist. 
Self and other are both all good 
And while acceptance and rejection are also all good 
In this all-good matrix, no self and other, 
No affirmation or negation is possible….”

– Longchenpa

Spaciousness >>

The Power of Everyday Life

posted in: Tantra | 1

It is my observation that aversion is one of the most frequent and also underestimated obstacles in the lives of many practitioners here in the West. Aversion in this context translates to pushing away, negating or suppressing, a certain aspect of normal human existence. Been there, done that – it didn’t and still doesn’t work (for me).

It is so very easy to focus only on the spiritual, amazing, and more fulfilling transcendence, isn’t it? Mantras, murtis, sacred objects, stupas, secret teachings, emptiness, special and secret instructions, ancient rituals……oh, my.
Who wants to deal with problems in everyday life, financial difficulties, the coldness of parents, lies in the business world? This is not at all spiritual!

And, even more, who wants to deal with inner emotional needs (for closeness, love, respect, warmth) and yearnings for stability, security, and acknowledgment? All of this is not spiritual, either!

🙂

Well, there is the absolute reality and there is the relative reality.
And sooner or later, in this life or the next, sincere and dedicated practitioner will be brought (by his/her own aspirations and inspirations) face to face with the relative reality of everyday life, or if we put it into other words, inner conceptions about the normal human experience. And these, after profound transformation, meditation, and awakening turn out to be non-dual with the awakened nature, dharmakaya, Mahamudra.

Aversion should not be entertained, true masters proclaim:

“…We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole.

When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.

The everyday practice of Dzogchen is just everyday life itself…”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (see the whole text on practice in everyday life here >>)

It is so easy, it seems, to withdraw from everyday life experience, basically negating the natural Reality itself.

The King of Yogis, beloved Milarepa, clearly knew this quite well, for he stated:
“My religion is not deceiving myself”.

How long can a sincere practitioner avoid or deny everyday life experience in the name of spiritual enlightenment?

 

Tantric master Chögyam Trungpa puts it quite interestingly:

“There’s no need to philosophize your work in order to make it spiritual. It has spiritual bearing anyway. If you regard yourself as a person on the spiritual path, then whatever you do is part of the path, an expression of the path.

Decentralization, the absence of ego, the lack of searching for happiness, and not avoiding pain — all of that brings us into the reality of dealing with things directly and thoroughly.

Dealing with things in this decentralized, egoless manner is known in the buddhist tradition as upaya, or skillful means. Without that, there is no means of discovering the inner guru, or inner teacher, as one might call it, which is the constant instruction that you begin to receive on the path.

The daily living situation becomes the teaching; it becomes a constant learning process. There’s no way of developing that sense of inner teacher if you fail to relate with daily living situations directly because without that, there’s no interchange with your world.”

– Chögyam Trungpa, see the book below.

More on the grounded spiritual progress in The Idiot Compassion >>

 

 

Embracing Life

posted in: Tantra | 0

The non-dual 

The non-dual states of awareness are described in great details in various sutras and tantras by making it abundantly clear that these states can only be pointed at through symbolism. In the Heart Sutra, for example, a well known Mahayana scripture, the awakened state is described using negation (no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no form, no sound, no odor, no taste, no touch, no object of mind, etc.)

And in tantras, we can read a lot about terms like space, non-arising, non-abiding, self-liberating, emptiness, timelessness, spaciousness, mirror-wisdom, enlightened-mind, etc.

But what do these states actually mean in daily life? 
How do they manifest?
And, how does it feel like to integrate these (for the lack of a better word) “ultimate” states into daily existence?

Well, knowing pretty well that words are quite limited, and, taking into consideration my limited experiences, I will try to share my current empirical knowledge on this (to me) rather important matter.

Inner disharmonies

After studying the Sutrayana path (the Theravada system) and after attaining various non-dual insights or states (anatta, sunyata, cessation trance) several years ago, my perception at the time has been transformed quite deeply. It was a challenge for me to sleep, wake up, live and indeed to breathe knowing empirically that in reality there is nothing independent to base my cognitive processes (reasoning, learning, remembering, learning, decision making, and everything else) on.

It was like walking around with a great black hole in my chest. But in time, after several years, things got more relaxed. There indeed was more space in my inner psychological climate and more peace manifested. 

I say “more peace manifested” because, at times, there was still quite an articulate disharmony present. Now I know that it was because my attachments, emotions, passions and especially aversions have not been brought onto the path yet, meaning, that I really haven’t dealt with these aspects of everyday life, at all.

My previous well-established methods of dealing with daily and spiritual life simply did not work. Whatever I did, nothing helped. I like to use the ‘old keys – new doors’ analogy quite often, so I might as well use it here: old keys cannot open new doors.  

In my case, old keys were my attempts to withdrew from burning emotional life and windy mental atmosphere into monistic samadhi. Even taking refuge in samadhi, the blissful state of being at-one-with-the-only-true-reality did not help.
I am talking about the Advaita reality here, or the Causal level as per the established Wilber map. Being a witness to the inner and outer drama did not bring inner peace.

It is almost funny now, and as difficult as it is for me to admit, even with entering samadhi, I was merely trying to escape from this fu**ed-up life, never really succeeding.

Well, my Gurudev must have seen that I would have never ever made it on my own, and instead of letting me re-invent the wheel, He silently guided me to Vajrayana.

To make a long story short, using the specific methods of transforming ordinarily perception of the outer world and inner misconceptions (a part of anuttarayoga tantra), the inner disharmony abated to some extent over the years. The process still goes on…


Nowhere to escape

Non-dual states are very precious to me! There is one main reason for that, as far as I can see currently:
I can escape nowhere. Wherever I go, my inner reality (thoughts, feelings and everything else), well, I take along.

And regardless of “outer” reality or how things appear on the outside, there is still my inner state that takes the precedence.

And having empirically tasted the ‘spaciousness’, ’emptiness’, ‘non-arising and non-abiding’, there is not much left to hide behind. 

In whatever form the outer world appears to me (my friends, my daughter, everyday duties, etc.), there is always this inner silence and ‘absence’ present.

In practice and in everyday life that translates to being open like a highway, and the world is so close, even intimate. And that used to scare the hell out of me. Not being able to explain these things to others was the least of my problems. Also, living in daily life here in the West did not really contribute. In time, however, things got more relaxed or better yet, I relaxed more into this openness.

Also, being open like that, I could easily see through the charade and clowning of others…and that used to make me upset and sad. There was so much pretense, drama, and lies all around me…

…until I realized that all of that negativity I perceived all around me was (and still is) only on the inside, in me in the form of misconceptions.

The difference now, however, is that slowly, slowly, even the so-called ‘negativity’ inside is self-liberating.

What does that mean in real life?

Well, it means that I cannot really point fingers and blame others anymore. It is getting exceedingly difficult to argue with others. It also means that, as I already mentioned, others and the world is so up close and even intimate. And I value that the most. 

My daughter for example, only in the last few years have I been able to really see her, hear her, feel her emotions and needs. And my dear friends, only now there is space present to really understand them, without trying to force my perception of reality onto them.

There is no escape: this is glad tidings! The non-dual states of awareness are the most down-to-earth living and breathing natural states of awareness I have experienced thus far.

And sometimes it is really difficult for me to live like that. But, then again, when I am relaxed, present, aware, there is so much joy and freedom on the inside. And continuously trying to not deceive myself, embracing everyday life as it comes is the path for me, no need to go someplace else.

In time, may I relax even more.

May my loved ones, my friends, my family, and all others experience what is joyful and liberating for them.

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clouds of offerings Dharani

posted in: Tantra | 2

 

OM NAMO BHAGAVATE
VAJRA SARVA PARAMADANA
TATHAGATAYA ARHATE SAMYAKSAMBUDDHAYA
TADYATHA
OM VAJRE VAJRE
MAHA VAJRE 
MAHA TEJA VAJRE
MAHA VIDYA VAJRE
MAHA BODHICITTA VAJRE
MAHA BODHI MANDO PASAM KRAMANA VAJRE SARVA KARMA AVARANA VISHODHANA VAJRE SWAHA

MP3: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-_JtSzDfElZtF2wsYpuPe9gG8TlaQBSO/view?usp=drivesdk

(chanted by Lama Zopa Rinpoche)

Salutations and homage to the perfectly accomplished pramordial Buddha who crushes ignorance with the vajra essence.
It is thus:
Praise to the one who is the vajra,
is the great vajra,
is the splendorous vajra,
is the vajra of great knowledge,
the vajra of the great awakening mind, the essence of great bodhicitta and
the vajra of removing the veils of ignorance and purifying all actions.

This mantra is not only for blessing, it also has the power to multiply the offerings. There are numberless buddhas and by reciting this mantra each buddha receives skies of offerings. That’s why it’s called the Mantra of the Clouds of Offerings. The mantra has two functions: blessing and increasing.

There are eight benefits of reciting this mantra explained in the Buddha’s teachings, the Kangyur:

FIRST, the minute you remember this mantra, you gain the benefit of having made offering to all the Buddhas abiding in the ten directions, equaling the number of the atoms of the sand grains of the Pacific Ocean.

SECOND, you get the benefit of having prostrated to the holy feet of all those Buddhas.

THIRD, you receive the benefit of having made offering of flowers, incense, garlands of flowers, ornaments, ointments, Dharma robes, umbrellas, banners, flags, animals, sitting cloths, divine dress, food, various ornaments and so forth to all the Buddhas abiding in the ten directions (as above).

FOURTH, you are freed from all negative karmas.

FIFTH, you gain all the merits.

SIXTH, you will see all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and they will “give you breath”.

SEVENTH, you will be protected by nagas, devas, nöjin, smell-eaters, asuras, garudas, myemchi, dorje chenpo, Vajrapani the Owner of the Secrecy, and the Four Guardians. They will always follow you perfectly, protect you and guide you. If others try to inflict harm, they will hide you from that.

EIGHTH, when you die, your consciousness will transfer from this world to Amitabha Buddha’s pure land, the Blissful Realm.

NINE, you get these special qualities without need for special preparation and practice, just by reciting the Clouds of Offerings mantra, whether you have made one light offering or one hundred light offerings.

You receive all these qualities and benefits just by remembering this mantra once, without any need to do retreat.

Buddha has explained in the Kangyur:
“Those who do not memorize and recite this mantra, are extreme fools.”
Why? They have no opportunity to get the extensive benefit of the mantra.

Honesty

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Jetsun Milarepa

 

Milarepa said:
‘My religion is to have nothing to be ashamed of when I die.’

But the majority of people do not give any importance to this way of thinking. We pretend to be very calm and subdued and are full of sweet words, so that ordinary people, not knowing our thoughts, say, ‘This is a real Bodhisattva.’
But it is only our outward behaviour that they see. The important thing is not to do anything that we might have to regret later on. Therefore we should examine ourselves honestly.

~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

 

om ah guru hasavajra sarva siddhi hum

Milarepa’ s Songs (I.)

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Milarepa

“How senseless to disregard one’s life by fighting foes
Who are but frail flowers.

How foolish to spend your lifetime without meaning
When a precious human body is so rare a gift.”

– Milarepa, The Song of the Snow Range

 

om ah guru hasa vajra sarva siddhi hum

 

 

Nondual: total identity collapse

posted in: Ati yoga, Dzogchen, Mahamudra | 0

After spending almost a quarter of a century on the spiritual path and having been able to enter samadhi or satori at will since 2007, coming into contact with the Buddhist teachings through direct experiences, has really been a turning point.

Especially the entry-level nondual and anatta insights have changed my inner (and outer) orientation pretty much completely. And after those initial, thorough and permanent insights, Vajrayana came into my life. Dzogchen and Mahamudra experiences have made a real difference!

There is one aspect of the Mahamudra and Dzogchen nondual realizations that I really love: they are completely grounded into everyday life. Completely.

Tantric Master Khyentse Rinpoche has put this beautifully:

“The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself.

This produces a tremendous energy which is usually locked up in the process of mental evasion and a general running away from life experiences.

Clarity of awareness, may, in its initial stages, be unpleasant or fear-inspiring; if so, then one should open oneself completely to the pain or the fear and welcome it.

In this way, the barriers created by one’s own habitual emotional reactions and prejudices are broken down. When performing the meditation practice one should develop the feeling of opening oneself completely to the whole universe with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind, ridding oneself of all protecting barriers.

One should realize that one does not meditate to go deeply into oneself and withdraw from the world. In Buddhist yoga, even when meditating on chakras there is no introspection concentration; complete openness of mind is the essential point.”
(Source >>, emphasis mine)

And opening up like that requires letting go of a lot of things within, the most important being the innermost identity:

“It is simply impossible to keep any trace of any kind of identity (whether from the Centuar, Subtle or even from the Causal stage as per Wilber map) when really moving on to the Buddhist Nondual, i.e. anatta and sunyata. No way. Even the slightest trace of identity implicates and indeed induces duality, albeit unperceivable.

If we consider Vedanta Advaita (monism, non-separateness), there are no problems with some kind of ultimate or causal identity or entity or inherent quality still present. No problems there.
But as soon as we move on to the Buddhist Nondual, namely anatta, and sunyata, then every single trace of identity, entity and inherent quality (even the higher Causal notions of the unmanifested Being or Brahman) must be left behind, entirely and unconditionally.”
– from my upcoming book, After Anatta

These experiences of identity transformation and collapse can indeed be quite challenging, to say the least. All in all, however, letting go of the identity and other notions of some kind of inherent existence within or without, is the most liberating experience! 
It is so much easier to live without constant and energy-consuming re-animation of identities!


“The very meaning of the ‘Dzogchen – Great Perfection’, refers to the true primordial state of every individual and not to any transcendent reality.”
— Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, my Dzogchen master

 

What do you think?
🙂