Padmasambhava Warrior’s Seat (Good Head and Shoulders) Warrior’s seat is connected to fearlessness. It is a certain stability and groundedness. It is a support for basic goodness or our experience of basic goodness. It means we are not afraid of ourselves. It means we have found some connection to fearlessness. It means we have the walk of an elephant. It means we do not waver. It means we do not freak out. It means we are always going forward. It means we can step out of our cocoon. Padmasambhava says “descend with the view and ascend with the conduct.” It means the finer our view becomes we also insure that our conduct is also very refined and correct. Some people do the opposite. They say “It is emptiness; what does it matter.” “I can do what I want and it will bring benefit because I am so above it.” Spiritual Materialism, as the man says. We would like for our mindfulness to be very good. We would like to develop a closer connection to synchronization of mind and body. Synchronization of mind and body would be it. I think what happens in our lower body is connected to warrior’s seat. Our lower body is connected to the principle of lu. Lu is similar to servants. They work hard to make the whole thing work. Our upper body is related to gentleness. Our upper body would like to be open and transparent. Relaxed. Drala. Above aggression, we say. Trungpa, Rinpoche says the most important thing for a warrior is his good head and shoulders. This is defined as the head not being in conflict with the shoulders. The head and shoulders lead and the body follows.
Whatever you do with your head will have profound effects on the whole body. It seems too obvious to us (but do we really get it on this level?) that thinking is controlling everything. It is saying the same thing, really. It all begins with an idea of ease. Gentleness. Non aggression. Basic goodness. We say a thought of ease but could it be a non-thought of ease? It is really all about intention. So it becomes clear that a warrior must make a real study of how he uses himself and how, in particular, he uses his head and shoulders. The result of such a study leads directly to the higher realms. One is convinced to plunge into such a study because of the tremendous sense of well being that one experiences. One feels unblocked. One feels one’s winds and channels are straightened. One feels a tremendous feeling of ease and lightness. Basic Goodness. Absence of struggle. Drala. Lungta. One feels that one has overcome aggression. One feels that one has found a golden key. Maybe it is only a silver key but it is a key and a catalyst. It is the silver mu chord. It makes us want to change. And for the better. You cannot really understand warrior’s seat without first being introduced clearly to good head and shoulders. Once you have that part going then maybe we can benefit from a discussion of warrior’s seat. As you sit and practice a great deal you begin to open up. You open yourself to energy. This energy can be a little wild. Things start to happen. You need a good seat. This openness needs support. Before, your closedness did not need such support. There was nothing beautiful and delicate to support. It was all about closing down anyway. Also, you need to support yourself so you will not fall down. There is the issue of suddenness or the nature of awakened mind. One has to be careful in discussing these things but you need to not freak out. Surprising things could happen. Rendering your cocoon in shreds might be a surprising adventure. The easiest analogy to use for all of this is the analogy of horse and rider. Trungpa, Rinpoche was very big on the student riding a horse. He said, “If you want to learn to meditate, learn to ride a horse.” This would be eastern tack (equipment: bridle, etc.). Kyudo (Zen Archery) is also a very good metaphor for this, as is calligraphy, etc. Words are unnecessary when you get on the horse. There is a knowing quality which we value very much. Otherwise, it’s just words. Almost a waste of time. Anyway, there is a lot of gentleness needed for the rider. Soft hands, they say. Your hands and arms react to the movement of the horses mouth. If you are not open not much can happen. But you can learn. Very quickly on a horse. The horse is directed, really, by the seat and motivated by the legs. The legs are long and relaxed but also working a good bit, in a way. Between the groin and the knees, anyway. For an experienced rider, it’s natural and they will say it’s not much effort, but for the beginner it can be a good bit of effort to urge the horse forward with the legs. There’s a big difference between making the effort and not knowing how to do it. Or just being lazy. The horse knows. He will not go forward. He knows he has a lazy (in effect) rider. In kyudo, we intensify the muscles between the groin and the knee. We create a warrior’s seat that way. A lunge or horse stance in the martial arts is another example. In calligraphy, we can sit in warrior’s posture. Warrior’s posture may be the best example of all. Try and sit a bit of your practice time in Warrior’s posture (seiza). You will discover all. Sitting on the cushion is plenty good, also. Maybe you need a little instruction, but not much. One thing that is good and very interesting is that your good seat on a horse is all that stands between you and disaster at any moment. It is not so uncommon for the horse to perform an amazing maneuver and instantly relocate himself a couple of feet sideways. It’s pretty easy to dream yourself into a head plant from a good height. Tremendous motivation for mindfulness. It’s so hard for us to get that. We don’t realize that things happen suddenly and that things are life and death, karmicly speaking. We think we have time to breeze along lost in our thoughts. “We ride the horse of freedom from laziness. We wear the armour of infallibility. We hold the sharp weapons of prajna.” We should do so.