Sort of an unfinished essay on the wisdom of birdsong.
I’ve been working on the Will Johnson stuff. He talks about a sort of three sided approach to reality: the awakened body-mind; the enhanced visual field brought about by the gazing practice, which is a vibrant and very alive aspect of reality which helps one tune into “the great wide open”, and sounds, which constitute the third leg of this wide opened awareness which one might call reality.
As I have not commented all that much about sounds, perhaps I can take a crack at that.
I think it pretty much goes like that and sounds sort of come along last and give one the coup de grace, so to speak. One could talk alot about the first two and perhaps we will need to retrace our steps at a later time but a lot has been said already.
When one’s body and mind have achieved a state of alignment, relaxation, and resiliance; and when one’s gazing practice has evolved to a point that reality is slobbering all over our experience, kind of the last big news flash is delivered by the sounds.
This is the same news flash that has been delivered earlier by the imprint of a bird in the sky.
Traditionally, it goes like this.
The outstanding young monk, ripe with possibilities, is invited by Patrul Rinpoche to take a walk at night away from the monastery up to higher ground. They lay down on the grass and gaze at the sky for awhile.
Then Patrul Rinpoche says, “Can you hear the dogs barking?”
From far off at the monastery, the dogs are barking.
The younger man becomes enlightened or identifies that as the moment where he understood the nature of mind.
Such are my ramblings.
I had good teachers but I was lazy.
I got this off facebook. It is pretty deep but anyone could get something out of it.
❤ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche ❤
“When sitting, we should think of the guru above our head and direct our constant devotion to him. When walking, we should always feel that Guru Rinpoche and his buddha-field are just above our right shoulder and that we are respectfully circumambulating him. We should develop the thought that there is not merely one paradise of the Copper-Colored Mountain, but that within each pore of Guru Rinpoche's.body exist billions of paradises with Guru Rinpoche and his retinue in each one.
Before we eat or drink anything, we should first consider it transformed into pure nectar, amrita, and offer the first portion to the guru residing in our throat. Then we should consider that what we eat or drink-the remnants of our offering-has been given to us as a blessing in order that we might sustain our life. We will in this way eliminate any clinging to or craving for food.
At night, before sleep, we should think that Guru Rinpoche, who has throughout the day been dwelling above of our head, now enters·our head and slowly descends to our heart, coming to rest seated upon a luminous red lotus whose four petals are slightly opened. This lotus is very bright, translucent, and vivid. Guru Rinpoche then emanates boundless rays of light, which, having completely illuminated our body and our room, expand and fill the universe with radiance and light. When the entire universe has thus been transformed into pure light, we rest in simplicity, preserving the nature of awareness. Then, just at the moment when we feel ourselves slipping into sleep, we should see the outer universe of light dissolve into ourselves. We, in turn, then melt into light and dissolve into Guru Rinpoche, who himself, now the size of our thumb, melts into light and dissolves into space. Then we should just rest in equanimity in the vast, absolute expanse of void-luminosity. Since falling asleep and death are very similar processes, this practice is particularly important to prepare ourselves for the time of death.
If we awaken and find ourselves unable to retain this luminosity during the course of the night, we should pray fervently to Guru Rinpoche, saying, "May I be able to perceive the luminosity!" Resting in simplicity, we should then return to sleep. If our minds are restless and our thoughts become wild, preventing us from falling asleep, we should realize that these thoughts have neither origination nor dwelling place nor cessation. If we are untroubled by thoughts, we should simply rest undistractedly in the natural state. Should dreams arise, we should try to recognize during the dream that we are dreaming.
In the morning, as we awake, we should see displayed in the sky before us the vast array of Guru Rinpoche and his retinue. All the dakas and dakinis who surround him are calling us out of sleep by filling all of space with the sound of the Vajra Guru mantra and celestial music. When we rise from bed, we should think that we are stepping into the celestial field of Sangdopalri. All who dwell there are dakas and dakinis, and we ourselves are Vajrayogini, an unfabricated reality present from beginningless time.
We call out to the guru with yearning and devotion, "Lama Kyeno, Lama Kyeno!"-"You, the guru, you know, you know!" Guru Rinpoche has been dwelling at the red lotus at our heart center; now this lotus opens wide and he emerges, rising to dwell once more above our head. We ceaselessly entreat him, saying, "May my mind be turned to the dharma, may my dharma progress along the path, and may all delusory appearances be transmuted into wisdom."
We should cultivate this practice until our mind is constantly filled with the recollection of the guru. Whatever our activity, whether eating, sleeping, walking, or sitting, the thought of the guru should always be vividly present. One cannot attain accomplishment merely by thus having met the teacher and having obtained some brief advice. The guru is not only to be found externally, but is always present within the enlightened nature of our mind.
Guru Rinpoche said, "I am never apart from those with devotion." If we think that the guru is an ordinary being of flesh and bone, it will be quite difficult to generate the intensity of devotion necessary for progress. Thus we should perceive the guru as embodying the immutable wisdom of Guru Rinpoche, the Lotus-Born, whose omniscience pervades the three worlds and who knows precisely who is praying to him at the moment of their prayer, even if millions of beings are praying at the same instant.
Devotion is the essence of the path, and if we have in mind nothing but the guru and feel nothing but fervent devotion, whatever occurs is perceived as his blessing. If we simply practice with this constantly present devotion, this is prayer itself.
When all thoughts are imbued with devotion to the guru, there is a natural confidence that this will take care of whatever may happen. All forms are the guru, all sounds are prayer, and all gross and subtle thoughts arise as devotion. Everything is spontaneously liberated in the absolute nature, like knots tied in the sky. This is the supreme guru yoga, in which the guru is realized as the indivisible three kayas. This will be accomplished without having to rely upon rituals of the development stage, without having to rely upon dark retreat, void visions, or the holding of the breath and its entering into the central channel. Through this practice alone, all other practices simply merge into onepointed devotion, as happened with Gyalwa Gotsangpa and other great saints who remained in a state of single-minded devotion day and night, for months and years, letting time flow. by and not even noticing hunger and thirst.
Through this devotion, feeling nothing but revulsion toward the attractions of this life, one does not stray into worldly affairs. Acquiring a fine judgment regarding the way actions bear fruit, one does not stray into negative actions. All aspirations to attain peace for oneself alone having ended, one does not stray into the lower paths. Seeing all phenomena as deities, sounds, and great bliss, one does not stray into ordinary perceptions. Seeing all things as the guru, with all one's thoughts enveloped in fervent devotion, one does not stray into negative views. In this way renunciation and a total absence of distraction arise naturally, all that should be abandoned disappears by itself, meditation and postmeditation blend into one, and the true nature of the absolute, one's own wisdom awareness, becomes manifest.
We should continuously practice pure vision until we naturally see that the universe and all beings are completely pure and perfect. Particularly, whether the movements of our mind are directed toward outer phenomena or are gathering internal impressions, we should recognize their nature and let them be spontaneously liberated. We should. avoid indulgence in active memories of past activities, cutting through them as they arise. If left unchecked, thoughts such as remembering victories over enemies or savoring schemes that yielded wealth, or any thought of repeating in the future what gained worldly success in the past, will engender a proliferation of thoughts, just as wind over a lake creates ceaseless ripples. If we lose ourselves in memories of situations involving desire, hatred, pride, and jealousy, then we chain ourselves more securely to delusion. It is through preoccupation with these kinds of situations that karma develops and suffering ensues.
When a thought arises, we must simply note that it has occurred, while at the same time remembering that it has come from nowhere, dwells nowhere, and goes nowhere, leaving no trace of its passage, just as a bird, in its course across the sky, leaves no mark of its flight. In this way, when thoughts arise, we can liberate them into the absolute expanse. When thoughts do not arise, we should rest in the open simplicity of the natural state.
In short, no matter what activity we engage in, we should never be apart from the vivid recollection of Guru Rinpoche. Great benefit results from this. In addition, all of our activities should be consciously directed and dedicated toward the benefit of all sentient beings throughout the vast universe. This thought of others is the first point, the basic preparation for the development of the precious bodhicitta.
In the context of the main practice, all of our actions should be illuminated with the realization of emptiness, and our minds should be fixed one-pointedly on the practice itself. This is the second point. If, for whatever reason, it is difficult or impossible for us to generate the realization of emptiness at this early stage in our practice, then we should concentrate with great diligence upon Guru Rinpoche himself, preventing our minds from entertaining even the slightest negative emotion.
Finally, and this is the third point, we should conclude all that we do with a dedication of merit, consciously offering any merit accumulated through our practice and our other positive actions to the benefit of all sentient beings.
These are known as the three supreme points of the great vehicle: the preparation, which will allow our practice to achieve its ultimate fruit; the main part, which will protect our practice from obstacles and deviations; and the conclusion or dedication, which ensures a limitless increase to the benefits of our practice.
If we have developed the ability to focus the mind, then we should find little or no difficulty in practicing this guru yoga. But if we have failed to train the mind properly and have not cultivated the qualities of the path of the great vehicle, and instead insist that we are only willing to practice the Dzogpa Chenpo, or Great Perfection, it will not help us. The view of Dzogchen is quite lofty, while at this time our stream of being is quite low. A child two or three years of age lacks the experience, faculties, and understanding enjoyed by a mature person of twenty. If throughout all of our lives we remember the instructions of the guru, then he will never abandon us, and gradually there will develop in us a sound realizaion of the various stages of the path.
To ensure that the guru always remain with us, we must practice constantly. It is of little benefit to think that a few months or a year of practice will be all that is necessary for attainment. We should practice from this moment until we draw our final breath. Such diligence is necessary if we are to gain the confidence to maintain our faith and our understanding at the difficult and terrifying moment of death. We must ask ourselves if, when death finally comes for us, we will be able to remember all the guru's instructions. Even if we can remember them, it might be quite difficult actually to put them into practice when we are afflicted with the suffering of death, unless we have prepared ourselves by a lifetime spent in constant practice.
A dharma practitioner should be able to cope with all possible circumstances, neither elated by the good nor cast into despair by the bad. In either case, free from expectation and doubt, one should remember the guru. Happiness and sorrow, joy and suffering, though nothing in themselves, can become either a help or a hindrance on the path. What we ourselves make of these experiences is the test of the genuineness of our practice. This is the true essence of this guru yoga and is itself the main practice. If we practice this to the best of our ability, then there is no other so-called "profound" teaching.”
~ The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel
The Practice of Guru Yoga according to the Longchen Nyingthig Tradition
"In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, devotion to one's guru or spiritual master is considered to be of the utmost importance in spiritual practice. The instructions of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, based upon the teachings of the great eighteenth-century saint and visionary Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa, focus on the devotional practices of Guru Yoga, "Merging with the Mind of the Guru."
The direct method versus the indirect method
Always the direct method fails. Always the indirect method works. The direct method may seem to work but always the cost is much too great. Really, it is the idea of aggression versus nonaggression. “The Art of War” explains it.
It applies in relations between people also. If there is an intractable, subtle problem, it won’t work to tackle it directly. One must use the indirect approach. It one takes the direct approach one will create resistance. A fight or struggle of wills will ensue. One wants to avoid that type of thing.
In war, one never attacks the opponents strength directly. In the pacific campaign, they bypassed all strongpoints and rendered them irrelevant. Much the same happened in Europe in WW2. At least, the successful campaigns.
In relations between men and women, One wants to turn it into play and delight. One really never acts too seriously. It’s all humor and lightness and indirect references.
It’s like skillful martial arts. Tai Chi or Akido or judo. The aggressor has lost before any movement.
The hard, aggressive one is just hopelessly behind and clumsy.
The Regent would say, “They were trying to pin me down (put him in a box; mischaracterize him) , but I was too quick for them.”
When one is relaxed, nonaggressive, and nimble, and clever, victory is already won. Aggression is already defeated.
It’s like the petty tyrant in Carlos Casteneda’s system.
One does not avoid tricky situations and difficult people necessarily, but one can use situations to hone one’s spirit and one’s skill in the indirect method.
There’s bound to be conflicts in marriage but there is glory to be gained there also. It’s all in the indirect method.
In our lineage
We can get blood from a stone
We melt fire with ice
We rest on peaceful clouds when riding the wind.
From the snow crest of the highest mountain
We see the world of anguish
And rain tears of sadness
Enriching the fertile soil.
If you are to wear the warrior’s armor
And protect and defend the glorious banner,
Forge the indestructible metal of true confidence
By recognizing your own intrinsic dignity.
The three jewels and the precious one--
What more good fortune can appear?
Pull up your socks and tighten your belt
Look forward with unconcerned naiveté.
With a gentle wounded heart and mind of no thought
Join in the vajra company
And trample the dense jungle of obstacles
— Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin
16 November 1978
"Luminous Heart of Inner Radiance: Drawings of the Togal Visions" by Robert & Rachel Olds. I put some excerpts and pictures from it as well as some minimal commentary from me.
The Olds did a nine year Dzogchen Togyal retreat. They are/were artists. Rachel passed on. They did a notebook of drawings they produced of their experiences gazing in the practice.
Dzogchen is divided into Trekcho and Togal, roughly shamatha and vipaysana, or Development and Completion stage. Customarily, Togal is understood to be more secret.
It is connected to the premise of vajra chains, normal visionary experiences one has as one's meditation progresses. One sees out of the corner of one's eyes, little connected bubbles or spheres, colorful and luminous. It is a natural phenomena, a product of vipaysana and gazing. It is really love, as the Olds explain. It will take one on a journey. Much like the journeys we have been talking about. It is just a further walking out the door and entering a different dimension, a return to the source as they explain. The usual precautions are emphasized. Do not hit the high wall of insanity. That is not the goal. Keep it grounded and stop gazing when things get hairy. Return to shamatha. Alternate shamatha and vipaysana.
Homage to primordial essence,
beyond all language or culture,
pure potential, an intent whose reflection
manifests as the natural world,
arising in concentric spheres of influence,
curving lines through undefined space,
a dewdrop falling into the surface of a pond.
How to practice for the dying, dead, people in the bardo. The extreme efficacy of this type of practice for everyone involved. Teachings for the bardo and the time of death. The four stages of gazing (meditation).
I did a video in 4 parts. 40 minutes total.
There are also 6 prayers for the dead.
A chapter from “Vajra Heart Revisited: Teachings on the Path of Trekcho”
by Tulku Urgyen
To recognize your nature, that is the first vital point.
If you have not recognized the view, there will be nothing to sustain through the meditation, so it is essential to first recognize the view. That is to say, you are introduced to the self-existing wakefulness present in yourself, which is not something to be searched for elsewhere. It is not something arising within your being that wasn't already there.
Let me go into a bit more detail about the first point in the teaching of the Tsik Sum Nedik (Tshig Gsum Gnad Brdeg), Three Words Striking the Vital Point. Tsik sum means three words and ne is the vital point, just like the vital point in our body is our heart. Striking the vital point is analogous to striking the heart with a weapon if we want to sever the life force and kill someone. Likewise, to cut through the life force of confusion, which makes sentient beings continue in a confused state, we need the weapon of awareness wisdom. By means of that, we can kill the life force of confusion. That is the meaning of hitting the vital point. Therefore, the teachings are called the Three Words Striding the Vital Point. To repeat, these three words or statements are as follows: recognize your own essence, decide on one thing or on one point, and gain confidence in liberation.
In order to kill the life force of confusion, we should understand what is meant by the state of confusion. Here we use the analogy of gold. In its original state, gold is simply pure. Then it can get covered with dirt or defilement, so that one doesn't know it is gold. The original state is the same as the state of the primordial buddha, Samantabhadra, where no confusion took place. It was simply the original state of pure gold itself. Samantabhadra didn't have the cause of confusion and, therefore, didn't need to clear anything away. That is called the state of primordial enlightenment.
We, on the other hand, did not recognize our own nature, and, therefore did not know that gold was gold. Thus, our nature became as if covered by defilement. That is the confusion of not realizing our own nature. What happened, at that point, is that we did not recognize the three aspects of our nature, which are called essence, nature, and capacity. They were obscured by three kinds of ignorance. It is said that the empty essence was obscured by the single-identity ignorance. The cognizance, or luminous nature, was obscured by the co-emergent ignorance. Finally, our unobstructed capacity was obscured by the conceptual ignorance. We did not recognize what our nature actually was and fell into temporary confusion. This is the state that is like gold being mistaken or confused with something else. The defilements, like the dirt on gold, are the three ignorances. However, the actual basis is essence, nature, and capacity— awareness wisdom, self-existing rigpa. This is what destroys the three ignorances. Once the temporary ignorance is cleared away, it is the fruition. For us it is impossible to be primordially enlightened; that has been lost. What is necessary now is to become re-enlightened, recognizing the primordially pure essence of wisdom, which we already have. By doing that, it is the same as having the gold that is covered with dirt, purifying it, and ending up with pure gold itself. That is called the re-enlightenment.
The end result, the fruition we can attain, is not something that comes from another place. It comes from us, from what we already have to begin with, just as in removing the defilement of the gold, we end up with the pure gold, as it was originally. The confusion, or the state of being obscured, is not something eternal. It is a passing or temporary thing, and because it is temporary or passing, it can be cleared away. This is just like the sky being obscured by clouds: the clouds are temporary or momentary, and because of that, it is possible to end up with a clear, cloudless sky once again. The buddha-nature that all sentient beings have is not temporary or passing. We have had this enlightened essence since primordial time. It is present in all beings, just as oil is present in sesame seeds–--if you squeeze them, there will always be some oil.
The buddha-nature essence is primordially pure; its nature is utterly or perfectly pure, and it is also free from temporary defilements. There is another analogy used for our enlightened essence. In previous aeons, like the golden aeon, there was something called the wish-fulfilling jewel.
One could make special wishes to this jewel, and they would all be fulfilled. Our enlightened essence right now is like a wish-fulfilling jewel that got dropped in a mud hole and was not noticed. Nobody knew what it was. Similarly, the enlightened essence of all beings is something we already have but it is not evident; we are not aware of that. If we knew that there was a wish-fulfilling jewel in some mud hole, we could take it up, rinse it, and put it on the top of a pole. In the past ages, people would put it on top of a pole with banners and make wishes that would all be fulfilled. Likewise, if sentient beings can have their enlightened essence pointed out, and if they recognize it, it is the same as purifying the wish-fulfilling jewel.
There was one story of a lama, a kind of unconventional, accomplished lama in Kham. He would do prostrations to anybody and also join his palms even to dogs and pigs. Other people would say, "Why are you doing that? It is just a dog." He would respond, "They also have the enlightened essence. What about the pig, the dirtiest animal? Yeah, they do too. The enlightened essence is still inconceivably precious, even though it is in such a form." Somebody said, "Hey lama, haven't you gone a little crazy to go and prostrate to dogs and pigs?" He said, "Actually not. You are the ones who are crazy, not knowing what the enlightened essence is. I am not prostrating or paying homage to the dogs and the pigs, but to the enlightened essence that is within them."
Right now, we find ourselves in what is called the path, and that is the same as the wish-fulfilling jewel that has fallen in the mud and is being mistaken or confused with an ordinary stone. Still we have our enlightened essence, which is no different in quality or size from that of the primordial buddha, Samantabhadra, or a dog or a pig.
The first sentence in the Three Words Teachings, is to recognize your own nature, the enlightened essence that you already have but haven't been aware of or acknowledged—that is what you recognize now. When it says, "Recognize your own nature," it doesn't mean recognize somebody else's essence. It means recognizing or acknowledging what you already have since the beginning. The key instruction is how to recognize your own essence and how to cut through or kill the life force of confusion—this is called four parts without three.
Our enlightened essence is not some conditioned thing. It is unconditioned. In the conditioned three times, we have the thoughts of past, present, and future. They are changing, whereas the unconditioned and unchanging nature is like space. The conditioned thoughts are like clouds, and they move away. The unconditioned nature is like space, unchanging. Space means the openness right here. We need to be free from the three conditioned, changing times and to recognize the unconditioned fourth time, which is simply called the timeless time.
The three times are merely concepts. There is no other conceptual thinking that is beyond or apart from the three times. When you are free from conceptual thinking, you experience timelessness. This timeless time is also called the fourth time of equality. We talk about four parts without three, which simply means the three times with conceptual thinking. When free from that, automatically there is only the unconditioned nature left. That is what is called awareness wisdom.
To identify the timeless time, you need to get to the immediate present. The present is when you hear the sound, like when I clap my hand. In the present moment, when hearing the sound, the past thought has ceased and the future thought hasn't come yet, but there is still an involvement in what is known as the present. This is called the present thought. Sentient beings are incapable of stepping out of present thought; instead, they attach a new thought activity to the previous one, and it becomes a continuous chain, which is called samsara.
Instead, in the present moment when the past has ceased and the future hasn't arrived, don't follow or continue the present thinking. How do you do that? Don't accept or reject; then the present vanishes as well. There is no concept—the moment there is no thought involvement in the three times that is the naked state, rigpa. At that moment, there is no covering of the thoughts of the three times. There is only our essence itself, nothing else. What obscures the essence is the thoughts of the three times. When there is no thinking of the past, no anticipating the future, and no conceptualizing the present, in this absence—the vanishing of thinking—there is the essence itself, nothing else. That is called recognizing the nature.
When you recognize your nature, the thoughts vanish; there is simply the essence itself. Then it lasts for a few seconds, not longer than that, because since beginningless time until now we have had the opposite habit. But this short moment is flawless. It is flawless because it has not been overtaken or corrupted by conceptual thinking yet. It is thought free.
Some people think that because there is no thinking, we become incapacitated. It is not like that at all, because there is a natural luminosity present. Luminosity means that luminous cognizance is still present. We are not oblivious. Some people think they become mindless because there is no thinking, but mindlessness or oblivion means that somebody knocks you out. When you are knocked out, then it is all right to say that the thoughts ceased without knowing anything either. What I am pointing out here is called thought-free knowing. There is no thinking taking place, but still the capacity to know is unblocked. The mindless thought-free state is different. When knocked out, the present vivid experience is brought to a halt. However, in the thought-free moment of knowing rigpa, the present sense experience is not blocked at all.
Right now, try to remain without involvement in past, present, and future. All sense impressions are not blocked. You sec whatever is present, right? You can still hear whatever sound there is. Even though thoughts have ceased, awareness doesn't cease. You are free of conceptualizing but the quality of knowing is still present. Everything is perceived through the senses yet there is no conceptualizing. This is called the vividness of appearance. In that short moment, there is no thought involvement concerning past, present, or future. That is called cutting the thinking in itself.
When the three times are absent, there is the fourth time of the great equality, which is actually timeless. This is how the nature of mind is pointed out according to the tradition called the four parts without three. As long as there is concept or thinking, there is time, but the absence of thought or concepts is the timelessness, the time of the timeless time.
When you talk about the four parts, you need to be free from three— free from past and future, and also not conceptualizing the present moment. By conceptualizing the present, the present exists. If we are not involved in conceptualizing what is perceived in the present moment, there is no thought left at all. The four parts without three style is the tradition of Dzogchen.
According to Dzogchen, you first investigate whether you can find a thought that arises, remains, or ceases. Failing to find any such thing in the thinking, you can establish with certainly that the mind is utterly empty, just like space. Can you say that space comes into being, that it remains anywhere, or that it ceases to be? When we look closely and scrutinize how the mind really is, we cannot fail to discover that it is beyond arising, dwelling, and ceasing. Just as the space here has no arising, dwelling, or ceasing, in the same way, empty mind doesn't arise, dwell, or cease either.
Mind is still cognizant. Mind perceives. The mind being empty and able to cognize is a unity that doesn't arise, dwell, or cease. As long as we ftail to clearly see this unity being empty and cognizant, we get involved in unaware thinking that arises, dwells, and ceases. Once we recognize the indivisible, empty cognizance, we realize what is beyond arising, dwelling, and ceasing. Being unaware of that and merely involved in normal thinking, the thinking will still arise, dwell, and cease. As sentient beings, we are controlled by this expression of normal thinking, which arises and ceases, arises and ceases. However, once it becomes the empty cognizance with the core of awareness, this knowing aspect sees what is beyond arising and ceasing. In the absence of thought, how can there be something that arises or ceases?
The ultimate or final thing to discover about the nature of mind is that it is empty and thought-free yet cognizant. We do not know that. We get so busy, always forging, forming, and creating everything that we make; this is called samsara. Yet these two, essence and expression, the nature of mind and the thinking, coexist. They are co-emergent, like flame and its heat, the sun and its sunlight, the ocean and its waves, the body and its arms and legs, the sky and its clouds. If we try to look, where do the clouds exist? They do not exist anywhere outside space. To what are the arms and legs attached? They are directed by the brain. The heat of the flame or the smoke from the fire comes from the flame or the fire itself. The wave in the ocean is dependent upon the ocean itself; it does not exist independent of the ocean.
In the same way, the pleasure and pain we feel are based on the empty mind. They don't exist anywhere else. The moment we recognize what it is that feels happy or sad, we cannot help but connect with the empty mind. At that moment, pleasure and pain vanish, collapse, disappear. Conceptual thinking can be disbanded, discarded; it disappears. The outcome of this disappearance is called awareness wisdom.
How do we recognize the fourth without the three? We recognize it through a pointing-out instruction or introduction. The method is to abandon conceptual work and recognize that moment, free from conceptual thinking; it is also called cutting through. Let's say we have a string here that is blocking free space. If we cut that in one second, the whole thing falls apart, and there is a moment without anything joined together just like clear space. When free from the past and future, and also from the thought of the present, there are no thoughts. When we cut the string, everything becomes one space. Right now, the conditioned thinking is blocking or interrupting the unconditioned. Usually we talk about the present, but the present refers to the present thought. If we can recognize the nature of the present thought, we discover the fourth time of timelessness. There is no kind of thinking that is not about the past, the present, or the future. When free from these kinds of conditioned thoughts, we experience a timeless moment free from any concepts. It is called the unchanging wakefulness.
There are various means to recognize this awareness wisdom. In a strong moment of emotion, like faith, if you suddenly acknowledge your own mind, because of the strong emotion, there is no thought left behind in the mind. At that moment, the enlightened essence is not obscured by anything whatsoever. Similarly, in a moment of strong compassion for other beings—one that is so overwhelming that tears come to your eyes—there is a moment when no thought is left in your mind. If you recognize your mind essence at that moment, there is nothing to obscure this unchanging wakefulness.
Likewise, you have that kind of feeling in a moment of shock, great fear, or panic, when, for example, a tiger or lion suddenly jumps out from somewhere and is about to eat you. If you have some stability in practicing, at that moment the mind is totally divested of concepts. It is very easy to recognize the essence. Most people, because of the panic, become kind of oblivious. Before becoming oblivious and losing your senses, there is a moment where you can recognize the naked wakefulness directly, the fourth without the three. Also, if you have run up a mountain without taking rest anywhere and you are totally exhausted, there comes a point where you can't run any longer. You simply sit down, out of exhaustion, and then your mind stops totally. The awareness, however, doesn't stop. Most people, though, become oblivious or mindless at that point.
It is said that the moment conceptual mind ceases, the dharmakaya is nakedly manifest. At the moment our conceptual thinking is brought to an end, there is nothing other than naked wakefulness present. There are many different words for mind—like mind, thinking mind, and consciousness—which is what sentient beings have. Those words always refer to a state of mind where the essence is not realized or recognized— but you can recognize the essence within thinking.
Any being with a mind will have a thought happening. When a thought occurs in your mind, instead of looking at what is being thought of, recognize what is it that thinks the thought; look into its source. At that moment of looking into the source of the thought, you cannot find any specific place or pinpoint it in any way that this is exactly where it came from. It has totally vanished, nothing. It is not because one is not very bright or unlucky or kind of missed it. Actually, it is because it is the unconditioned nature, which is like space. There is not a thing as such to find. It is not that there was a thing to find and one missed it. One actually found that there was not a thing.
There is also a way of recognizing the essence after the thought has vanished. For example, a master will shout very forcefully and suddenly, the sound phat, which is the unity of means and knowledge. It should be abrupt and forceful, just like a flash of lightning or a thunder crack. Because one's mind doesn't have a chance or time to have any concept yet, there is kind of a gap or moment where there is nonconceptual wakefulness. Since there is no time for a thought to arise yet, there are a few seconds, not very long, where one can and should realize one's essence. What should be recognized is without fabrication, the naked, present wakefulness, which is unconstructed.
There is one song that says the mind is free from concepts, the fresh nature. When, for example, the sound phat has been exclaimed suddenly and forcefully, it is said that our wakefulness, the basic state of mind, is totally naked. Naked means that it is stripped of all the different kinds of emotions or concepts that we usually have—the five, six, or different numbers, such as twenty-one or eighty different kinds of thoughts. At that time, none of these has a chance to arise. This is the authentic four parts without the three, the fourth time. The mind is totally naked, like a stainless crystal. That is the introduction by means of shouting phat.
There are two basic ways of pointing out the mind essence, from within thought and when the thought has ceased. In either case, pointing out is not enough. The master can point out mind nature, but the student has to recognize it. The two ways of pointing out are either when the mind is still or when the mind is moving. Before I talked about the mind when there is thinking, recognizing what is it that thinks. Now I am explaining about mind when it is still.
According to the root verses of the Tsik Sum Nedik, you should first
rest naturally without deliberately trying to think of something and without trying to either concentrate or not think. At that time, there is no strong thought; it has disappeared. You are remaining in the alaya, in indifference. When simply resting like that, without any deliberate thought activity, that is shamatha, and of the two, ordinary and special, it is the special shamatha. This needs to be destroyed. This is the introduction within stillness. When remaining in that smooth state of equanimity, suddenly and forcefully shout the mind shattering phat, which is sharp and not premeditated. As Paltrul exclaims, "How wonderful! E maho!"
Nothing whatsoever—totally disengaged.
Disengaged but utterly open.
A total openness, which is indescribable.
Not fixating outwardly or holding inwardly is the shamatha without support, an indifferent state that needs to be blown apart. After shouting phat, the abiding is destroyed. Here, when you simply rest, there is no thought going on, but there is still some subtle fixation on that stillness and that has to collapse. After you shout a sudden, very strong, and sharp phat, the abiding and not abiding are destroyed. It shatters that fixation so there is only the dharmakaya awareness left. Then there is a blank and free state, which is indescribable. Recognize this as the dharmakaya awareness. This is the introduction to naked dharmakaya through stillness.
There are two different ways of recognizing the essence of mind: when it is still and when it is thinking. The introduction through movement is when a thought arises; here you recognize the one who has thoughts. By recognizing the knower, you are introduced through movement. At that time, simply remain naturally free. In recognizing your own rigpa, the movement disappears. Recognize the dharmakaya awareness.
All sentient beings have arising and ceasing (of thought); mind will not only stay or only move. A thought doesn't arise by itself. It needs the circumstances of a mental or external object, our senses, and our conscious mind directed toward that—these three are the basis of movement. There have to be some factors coming together for a thought to arise. Movement comes when there is the external grasped object and the inner fixating mind. When thoughts of happiness and sadness arise, if you simply look directly, as it is said in the very well-known Mahamudra teachings, then the essence of thought is the dharmakaya. When a thought arises, if you immediately recognize who is it that thinks, the thought self-vanishes, self-evaporates. Once the thought vanishes, there is nothing but unimpeded awareness.
Thoughts do arise and there are different ways of recognizing essence, as I previously mentioned—through a strong emotion like devotion or compassion, or with the strong exclamation of phat, or simply recognizing who it is that thinks. Through any of these ways, the thought will disappear. Recognize (the essence of) the thought and the thought will vanish. It will be traceless, as in the example of writing in space. It does not stay; this is the example.
Since beginningless time, we have been so accustomed to conceptual thinking. We need the moment where a thought has vanished, just like a cloud-free sky, which is only pure sky. Pure sky means without anything to obscure. Likewise, when a thought has vanished, there is nothing to obscure our enlightened essence. However, if we deliberately try to throw the thoughts away or prevent them from arising, that is simply another thought, and it will cause more obscuration. The thoughts are like the natural expression of our empty essence. They are not something we can block or suppress. If you try to suppress thinking, it increases; you cannot throw it away. You cannot suppress it. What has to happen is that it should spontaneously dissolve. The moment a thought has vanished, the wakefulness left behind is nonconceptual or thought free. I have now spoken about the method of being introduced (in various ways).
The first thing that is important is, if one hasn't recognized, one should recognize. The second point after that is, to decide on one point. It is not that somebody decides on one point because you should decide on one point. But by recognizing one's essence, then naturally, the doubt will fall away, and one decides on what the essence is. One's mind cannot be resolved by somebody else; it has to be resolved from one's self. At the moment of being free from doubt, you have resolved. If you cannot tell me, "This is how it is, I decided on that," I will still feel, "Yeah, he says so, but is it really true or not?" Since the essence is a moment totally stripped of conceptual thinking, and one experiences that, it is very easy to decide 'that's it.'
The essence of dharmakaya is simultaneously free from thoughts and naked. That is how it should be. There is also another way of being free from thought while being kind of dull and stupid. That is not called nakedness. It should be a moment free from any concepts but at the same moment wide awake, cognizant. That is the naked dharmakaya. There is one quote that says, "Free from concepts, the original, fresh essence." Original means it is our primordial, pure essence, and fresh means it is not adulterated, covered, or spoiled in any way by the different disturbing emotions and so forth. The very instant a thought vanishes, there is a moment that is fresh and wide awake. It is not an oblivious state, where we are dull or murky or half-fainted, as if somebody knocked us out from behind. This is something that we understand in the post-meditation; it is not something we ponder in the meditation.
In the very instant of this immediate awareness or wakefulness, the three mental poisons—attachment, anger, and stupidity—are not present. What can be more special than that? When we have a flame, a hair will not be able to remain in it. Likewise, in this moment of nonconceptual wakefulness, thoughts such as the three poisons will not be able to stay.
In the Tsik Sum Nedik teachings, the first point is how to recognize if you haven't recognized. That is the moment free from thoughts of the three times, the immediate kind of wakefulness free from concepts. That's it. As it is said, "It is free from all defects," which means that the three poisons are not present at that time. You should first recognize what has not been recognized. This was about what should be recognized. After having recognized, you should enhance that.
This is the pointing-out instruction, according to the Dzogchen tradition. In Mahamudra, there are three other words used. In Tibetan, they are called (gshi, gdang, and rtsal), which mean essence, manifestation, and expression. The essence is nonarising; you need to establish that in order to realize Mahamudra. The unobstructed manifestation is exactly the same as the cognizant nature. In the expression, there are myriad displays; it is the same as the capacity, which is the indivisibility of being empty and cognizant. According to Madhyamika, you need to transcend extremes. Extremes here means conceptual formulations, such as it is like this or that. In other words, totally free from extremes means that you remain without formulating any construct or concept whatsoever, until it is only wide open and bare like space.
Our nature, or basic state, is defined or described as empty, cognizant, self-existing wakefulness. When you start to try to alter, improve, forge, or form that, it gets spoiled. You capture your natural seat, which is the original state as it is, before starting to create or form anything. This is an extremely subtle, but very simple, noncomplex state, the unity of being empty and cognizant. But when we start to talk about it, we also have to eliminate the ideas about how it is not. All the different ways of establishing exactly how this basic state is and how it isn't become very, very complex. According to how subtle that explanation is, you have all the different levels of vehicles and so on. But on the other hand, what about letting it be as it is, without having to formulate it? Then it is like that at the outset, simply leaving it like that is the path, and realizing fully just as it is, is the fruition—not three different things.
In Mahamudra, there is a famous statement that says: "Basic wakefulness is utterly subtle, extremely subtle. It is indestructible like the center of space. It is more subtle than subtle." In other words, it is not something that can be held as an object of thought; it is indestructible like the center of space. The indestructible vajra here means the changeless quality, unchanging. You need to recognize that which is unchanging—like space itself, it doesn't begin, doesn't have a middle, and doesn't end.
The third statement in the pointing-out instructions of Mahamudra is this: you are your own father. Relax or rest in the experience that is beginningless and endless. These are the vajra words used in the pointing-out instructions in Mahamudra.
The Prajnaparamita is the precious teaching of Lord Buddha himself. This also contains the pointing-out instruction, which is the transcendent knowledge or prajna. It is inexpressible, inconceivable, and indescribable. In other words, it is not something that can be made an object to be spoken of, thought of, or illustrated through example. It is called transcendent knowledge because it transcends the prajna intelligence, which in the normal sense is discrimination, discriminating knowledge, which means to discern, and to conceive. The state of transcendent knowledge is not something that is either discerned or discriminated
First of all, the main thing to understand when recognizing your nature is that the present momentis being pointed out. It is right now. It’s obvious that there is present mind. No matter how much you look into it, you never find a thing about which you can say, “That is what it is,” even if you look for a million years. Like Machig Labdron said when she was talking to some demon, "You demon, besides the empty movement of an empty mind, I don't see you as having any existence. Even the enlightened buddha does not see you anywhere." She was pointing out to the demon that it is actually empty as well.
No matter how much we analyze and try to track down the mind, we don't find anything other than it being just empty. This should be completely settled. You agree? The example is that it is like space, but we cannot settle that it is space, because then it becomes a void, noncognizant state, so we can't say that either. It is not space; it is empty, but space doesn't know anything. This empty whatever we call it can also cognize. That is called in Tibetan salwa cognizance, (gsal ba). This is the 'ta' in shunyata in Sanskrit.
These two are indivisible. You cannot separate being empty and being cognizant. Even though we may be completely uneducated or stupid, we can acknowledge as a fact that we don't find something called mind; it is empty, and also this empty whatever can still cognize. It is not like space that cannot. We can know that our mind is empty because it is cognizant; it is the knower of all things. Without this knowing, this capacity to perceive, this world would be completely empty. Even forms and sounds and so on are empty forms, empty sounds; they don't know anything. The knower is the cognizant quality. The elements that make up the world— earth, water, fire, wind, and space—are all lacking cognizance.
Aren't you completely sure now that there is nothing more important or precious than mind itself? Mind is the one that experiences everything, all pleasure and pain. It is also this mind that makes all the trouble and creates samsara, when it is empty and cognizant yet unaware or ignorant of its own nature. In this moment, when it is empty and cognizant and knowing its nature, the thinking has been cut in itself. In the very moment of knowing the indivisible, empty cognizance, it is impossible for thinking to remain. Within knowing, ignorant thinking has no place.
However, when being in the state of indivisible empty cognizance that is unaware or ignorant of its own nature, it is very possible to be involved in thinking, the deluded thinking. That is how sentient beings function. Indivisible empty cognizance that knows its own nature is called the immaculate dharmakaya, which is in itself not something to be created through meditation or forgotten through distraction. This is the first point.
video on meditation on compassion; bodhichitta practice; the mother's love; tonglen; the way of the bodhisattva; 12 minutes
I did a video. Talking about a recent visit to the prison. I minister a group of 30 prisoners, a buddhist group. I teach them buddhism and also do a good bit of teaching on the Alexander Technique. A humorous look at the last class. Sort of some insight into the homophobia present in the prisons. How much they have their own culture in there. 8 minutes.
I did a alexander video resume for Abilene. I dumbed it down a bit.
I did a little video inspired by a dream. It has the dream and some teachings on dreams, including Milarepa's instructions on dreaming.
I did a video I called glance. I was inspired by my dream to give some teachings on dreaming including some pith instructions from Milarepa on the most important points of dream practice.
I sent out a little letter.
I wish to promote myself somewhat as a buddhist teacher, an Alexander Technique teacher, and a devotee of Dzogchen. I am also entirely devoted to the Shambhala Teachings and the Mahamudra system.
Many people realize in a theoretical way the power of the Alexander Technique but do not realize how profound it can be, applying it over 50 years as a teacher and combining it with the Dharma.
There are just not too many people around who have done that.
I have faced some headwinds in my path related to this.
I have been slandered some by some on the path who were threatened by me.
I am sure my interest in promoting dzogchen, alexander technique, etc. confused and surprised some people and I am on the side of more widely disseminating the Dzogchen teachings and stepping out of the “secret” box a bit. This was a transmission given to me by Tulku Urgyen, Rinpoche. He said this. It is time to bring out the Dzogchen teachings, much like the Shambhala teachings, and they will resonate with people.
Really, it is always about control; some people are more about their ego trip. The politics in small dharma centers are almost always really tough. Probably in larger ones sometimes also. We have been experiencing a lot of that.
That is not what I want to focus on, but just to be positive, have fun, and be a help to people.
There is a lot I have put on my website. 1200 pages, maybe. 15 hours of video.
A lot of talks I give are skillful means in the beginning, mindfulness, applying Alexander Technique in the first half and wisdom, dzogchen later on.
Please check it out.
My friend asked me somewhat sarcastically if I was teaching Dzogchen. I wrote this.
I have devoted myself totally to studying, contemplating, and meditating on Dzogchen for the past 15 years. Let’s just call it 4 hours a day which would be 22,000 hours.
Really, it has been a bit more 24/7 for at least the last 4 years and approaching that before.
I’m sure that is an exaggeration as that is pretty much the definition of enlightenment in this case.
My grasp of the profundity of all of this is that of a child but I aspire to do good and help others.
I suck at the sleeping part. I can easily get distracted if I get in any kind of a hurry or am driven in some way. Working a lot would be a challenge.
One can only try and often fail.
I have no permissions or particular empowerments to teach Dzogchen formally and do not presume to do so. I do a little teaching and it’s just what comes out. Most of my teaching is to a group of 30 men in a maximum security prison in Abilene. I have been going in there once a month for 2-3 hours for 5 years.
I have done a very few videos and posted them on my website.
I am heavily influenced by the style of Kyabje the Venerable Tulku Urgyen, Rinpoche.
He gave birth to a fantastic Publishing House, Rangjung Yeshe, which is a tremendous resource.
I have studied the writings of many great Dzogchen masters, including Longchenpa, Padmasambhava, Dudjom Lingpa, Patrul Rinpoche, Mipham the Great, and many others.
I sat at the lotus feet of Vajracarya, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, the Outstanding Dzogchen master of the age.
I received many blessings from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse, Rinpoche.
The Sakong Mipham said on one occasion, “You people wonder what we (myself) are doing out there on those golf courses all those many hours. I am teaching him Dzogchen. I am teaching him LOVE...........”
I enjoyed many blessings and teachings from the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin.
I am a total believer in the Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
I was lucky to spend a great deal of time with His Holiness the XVI Karmapa.
The most influential books I have read are the following:
“The Treasury of Scriptural Transmission” by Longchenpa
This is the highest thing there is. I read it once. It took me 8-9 months, I believe. I immediately read it again. I took some time and read it again. I have read the text only “The Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena” many, many times.
“As It Is” by Tulku Urgyen. It is 2 volumes. I read them once. I immediately read them again. I immediately read them a third time.
“The Golden Letters: The Three Statements of Garab Dorje, First Dzogchen Master”; this book is really the one I teach from mostly. There are many other books on the same topic. I take most of my talking points from this book, somehow. It is sublime and covers the whole Dzogchen path, at least a lot of the salient points.
Tulku Urgyen was described by his teacher as a simple person who believes that the whole thing is just very simple and just very easy to do. And he talks about it in that way. As if it is really the most easy and logical thing to do, to just rest your mind in the nature of your mind. He just pounds this point over and over until one starts to believe it, too.
Tulku Urgyen never ever left his house. He would speak every afternoon. Many, many people would come to see him, many high lamas. But mainly, it was a bunch of raggedy Westerners who showed up every day.
Tulku Urgyen would essentially give them pointing out instruction. Pointing out the nature of mind.
Some people criticized him for this as many of these vagabonds had little formal preparation for such teachings. But that was just Tulku Urgyen’s way and he shifted the Dzogchen world somehow.
I bow at the lotus feet of my teachers and just try and spread the simple message of dzogchen and the holy dharma, trying to step on no one’s toes and keeping it light, just like Tulku Urgyen would have wished.
Check out my videos on my website.
I numbered them 1, 2, 3.
The last half of each talk has some dzogchen.
Maybe I will have something to say in the future; probably, but not beyond what I have done already, I don’t think.
I really don’t know what to call what i teach. I did a 1200 page website to answer that question. Alexander technique/mindfulness and tulku urgyen’s easy way. Mind-body of no name. Nalanda view. An idiot speaks.
If you say dzogchen, people start hiding their children
How can you not say dzogchen when dzogchen is all it is.
There are so many charlatans that it’s a no win situation
I beg the buddha’s forgiveness for my myriad shortcomings, particularly for my arrogance, my deep lack of compassion, my immense impatience, and for ever thinking i was above anyone else.
For 35 years i avoided controversy and then i just totally went off the rails. I knew i would as soon as i opened my mouth. I should have kept quiet.
Many thanks to the kind only father guru, the kind and patient sangha, and the inestimable holy dharma.
My friend Gary Rogers and I are doing a book class on “Quinterssial Dzogchen: Confusion Dawns as Wisdom” Introductory Teachings by Tulku Urgyen; Translated and Compiled by Erik Pema Kensang & Marcia Binder Schmidt.
It is the most advanced portion of a Dzogchen Trilogy.
Chapter 6 of this book is included herein and it extols the virtues of reading the Seven Treasuries of Longchenpa.
The highest of these is recognized to be “The Precious Treasury of Scriptural Transmission”.
Another one is just the text, without commentary, of this text, entitled “The Basic Space of Phenomena”.
I propose to do a zoom book class of “The Basic Space of Phoenema”. Normal logic might say do the much larger book and one might contemplate that in the future, but this way is a much simpler project. Much.
Perhaps I might say a little something about how these 2 texts have helped me.
I am rather devoted to the books produced under the umbrella of Tulku Urgyen by his fabulous students, Erik and Marcia. The catalog of Rangjung Yeshe Publications is beyond compare.
A number of years ago I undertook to read “The Precious Treasury of Scriptural Transmission”.
It took me maybe 9 months of daily sessions (often multiple sessions) to accomplish this task. It completely transformed my life. It was like my mind was totally transformed. I might read a page or a page and ½ and I was in the realm of the great ones.
After that I repeated the process. I really have never been the same.
I have read the text 3 ½ times.
Then I started reading the shorted text, “The Basic Space of Phoenema”.
It was pretty much the same experience. I have read it 7 times.
These books are obtained from Padma Publishing.
It is logical that one might use the larger text as a companion for a deeper dive into this project.
Yours in the Dharma,
I wrote a little letter to a friend who was going through some difficult times and experiencing some extreme emotions.
Our purpose in meditation is to deal with everything at the level of thoughts.
One of the most important understandings that one can come to is that thoughts create emotions.
One must become familiar with this process and begin to understand this process.
Trungpa Rinpoche says that thoughts are like soldiers and, for us, emotions are like generals. Our purpose is to demote emotions to the level of normal soldiers.
Then it becomes very easy to transform negative emotions into wisdom.
For us, all emotions are considered painful. Really, we just get off the emotional merry-go-round.
This does not diminish our sensitivity, openness, compassion and engagement. It just reduces the pain.
We are no longer bound in samsara.
One has to sit a lot to slow things down enough to perceive this.
But it turns out this is the only really meaningful purpose in our lives.
Everything else is sort of wasted.
We are here to grasp the freedom, peace, stability, and evenness which is the nature.
I did a short video about my prison ministry.
Some Information on Posture and Movement related to the Posture of Meditation Video. Some of this is repeated from other places on this site.
Also included is some info on the Chi Kung that I have been doing but have really stepped up lately.
Psoas Release Party
“Psoas Release Party: Release your body from chronic pain and discomfort” by Jonathan FitzGordon
“Deep in the bowl of the pelvis lies the psoas major, the body’s most important muscle, which many people have never heard of. This muscle, my favorite, is both the main engine of movement and the main recipient/warehouse for trauma.”
“When the psoas is in an unhappy state, there are a host of physical conditions that can be connected to it’s issues–lower-back pain, hip pain, groin pain, bladder problems, constipation, poor circulation, leg-length discrepancy, scoliosis, bad menstrual cramps, and the list goes on.”
“What concerns me is when the nervous system doesn’t successfully integrate a traumatic event, very often manifesting this through pain and injury to the psoas. When this happens, the trauma can become trapped in the body. This imbalance can register in many ways–emotional, postural, energetic–but it will always involve the psoas, and from my perspective, the road to relief from trauma must go through the psoas.”
“If you knew that your psoas was meant to align in a specific way, and you were able to tell that alignment felt right and seemed to take stress off your legs or back, you might be willing to do it. That is why a general understanding of anatomy is a key part of my approach to helping people make the necessary changes in the body.”
“However, for many of us, the thighs sink forward, pulling the pelvis down at the back. ...the lower back shortens as the upper back falls backward to compensate....In this position, the psoas is drawn slightly forward and open at it’s base, thus losing any tension that a pully system might provide.
I don’t know how to explain this but I will give it a try.
Your hips want to have a more forward orientation than they ordinarily have.
Most are having a backward orientation.
We teach this a lot when teaching meditation.
We talk about one’s sit bones. Two bones projecting at the bottom of the pelvic girdle. It’s what you sit on. Most people are sitting slightly behind those bones. You want to be sitting on top of or even a bit in front of those. A more forward orientation altogether. Less collapsed. When you collapse the psoas muscles get pulled tight and cannot mechanically work the way they are supposed to work. The whole system is a bit cobbled together as we went from 4 legged creatures to 2 legged ones.
You could discover this very quickly by riding on a horse. It does not in any way work if you do not do this. Riding collapsed is like committing suicide by beatdown. It’s an impossible situation. You have to learn the art or jump off the horse quickly.
Really, It’s the same without the horse. It’s just going to take longer to kill you and you are not going to know the reason with such definiteness. But you are not going to be very happy.
It works like a pulley if it’s working right.
If it’s not working right, it’s like a train wreck. Just a total mess and no chance of things working smoothly.
There’s a lot more to it but maybe this will help some.
The Gokale Method
“8 steps to a pain free back” by Esther Gokale
She was a scientist who got a bad back.
She resolved to figure it out.
She studied indigenous cultures which seem to have a minuscule amount of back pain compared to Western/advanced societies.
1 main difference she observed it that indiginous people have their butts sticking out a lot more. It’s a sort of release backward from the hips. She teaches a series of exercises to achieve this. It’s basically a release backward from the hips. Warning: don’t arch the lower back to try and achieve this. It’s really more of a release of the psoas muscle.
The other thing she observed it that indiginous people don’t slump in the upper back. She describes as a certain integrity to the scapula. One would not let them drift too far apart into a slump. One sort of maintains a proud integrity there, a refusal to slump.
I sent a letter to my associates in the prison sangha.
I hope you are well.
I am well. They dumped a bit more work on me but it is good to arise to the challenge.
I have been flat on the couch for 5 months but my energy is coming around.
I am hoping to see big changes in my work life as we are drilling a big oil well, estimated to commence October 20. I had six dreams indicating success in finding oil and I have a big piece of this one, thanks to my father’s generosity. Glory to the guru and to his gold lake oil project. It has been a fun and interesting journey. Many geochemical, radiometric tests have been favorable. My life’s work seems to be coming to an auspicious moment.
I am cheering myself up in other ways also. My devotion to dzogchen, mahamudra, and shambhala warriorship are encouraging me. The gurus Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, and Sakong Mipham are my guiding light. I try to remain inseparable from them. The alexander technique is a peerless way of mindfulness, awareness which leads me continually to the higher realms of gentleness and bravery. The subtleties pervade and my naivete gets broken on the hard rocks of a stainless reality.
I suffer from a clinging to eternalism and many fears and cowardice and refusing to accept the absolute demolition of my puny ego. I cling to tattered rags of my cowardice. It is good to be a warrior in this way. It is good to live in the challenge. It is goood to arise every day and undertake to change oneself, to let go of unhelpful habits, both mental and physical.
The path has lots of twists and turns and nothing is eternal. Clinging to one’s hopes will get one killed. Awakening in the freshness of the annihilation of the false self is the ultimate awakening and upliftedness. Always we continue to cling and have to find the fresh breeze again and again. We need the encouragement of the gurus, the buddhas, the community, and the precious dharma
And yet we stand alone. And yet we are totally interconnected. A strange mixture of sadness/joy.
I am honored to be taking this journey with you all. You are worthy sons of the enlightened ones.
I am encouraged that I will be able to be with you again very soon.
I think of you always.
There is a good bit of chaos and confusion in the world these days. It is good to have these profound teachings to sooth the heat of neurosis.
Be well, my friends.
Yours in the dharma,