View Meditation Action – Part 1

Teachings Given By Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche

On View Meditation Action

July 2012

The following is the first day of three days of teachings by Dungse Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche from the summer of 2012. The remaining two days are posted separately.

Day One


Now, before the teachings begin then, we have to develop the right attitude and motivation. That is to say, recognising the infinity of all sentient beings as limitless as space who are connected to us, we will take upon ourselves to repay their kindness so that they too may understand the essence of mind and be liberated from all the sufferings in samsara. In the Buddhist tradition we formally begin by requesting the teachings, which you did, and I, on my part prayed to all my teachers. In particular, I prayed that I teach in the way that I received the teachings from them. In this way the line of enlightenment is passed on in the most clear and clean manner so that you too may understand the essence of this practice.

What is Meditation?

Now meditation, we are supposed to talk about meditation…what is meditation? Buddhist meditation is actually about realising the Buddha nature that we have within us. This meditation concerns realising the truth; not conventional or intellectual truth, but truth that is primordial. That truth reveals to us the essence of the Tathagatagarba (Buddha nature) that we have. The Buddhas have all said that we have Buddha nature.  This does not mean that we are realised beings. We have not realised Buddha nature but we do have that essence within us to realise this pristine wisdom. Though we have this nature we have not been able to work with this nature that we have. For instance, from milk comes butter, cheese, yogurt but if you don’t churn the cream of the milk you are not going to get anything out of it. The milk remains as milk. We have this nature but we have not worked with this. Now, meditation is how you work with this nature of the Tathagatagarba that we have. This nature of the truth cannot be pointed out, it cannot be verbalised, it cannot be explained, nor can it be shown as examples. It is beyond all of that. It can only be experienced through clear, vivid awareness.

Now what is this awareness? What is this mind we are talking about that we are trying to look at? Where is the mind? What is the colour of this mind? Where does it go? Where does it stay? Does it have any particular characteristics?  Do we really have mind or not? Well, if we don’t have a mind then we’re a corpse, simply put…but if we have mind, then where is it? Can you show me where it is located? The only way to look at it is to let the mind look at itself. By running after mind we will never catch up with the mind. You’ll not be able to confront mind face to face. Mind is not tangible. It is not something you can grasp. If you go into a forest to hear the animals and the birds, to see their natural habits and how they are moving, you need to go into the forest very quietly and sit very quietly and then watch. By your constant chattering you’re not going to see anything. They will take flight and run away. Similarly with the mind, we have to let the mind rest. That’s the point of now watching. Meditation really means meditating with no subject or object in mind, but simply letting the mind unfold itself. Just as, if you do not stir the water, the dust and dirt will all settle down. Similarly with all these thoughts that we have, we need to let them settle.  It is not by accepting and rejecting thoughts that we are going to see how the mind and thoughts work. But if you let the thoughts settle on their own, then we will notice that within the thought, when it is settling, there will be change. You will recognise the change that is now taking place in your thoughts. You will realise that the thoughts are not as solid as you thought they were. They are not solid. All thought is showing impermanence… they are showing the nature of emptiness. But with our emotion we grab these thoughts and we think there is a meaning there and we accept them and reject them. This is the cause of our own unhappiness.  This is our grasping to the thoughts that will then take us to different emotions and there we are caught in the emotions themselves. If you look at those thoughts it’s you who is chasing those thoughts and grasping those thoughts. Thoughts are not coming to grasp you. Who is the grasper??

In Tibetan, when we talk about meditation we are talking about finding the truth. What is the truth? That’s the meditation; meditation is showing you what is the truth, the truth that is not contrived. We are not talking about a contrived truth, but we are talking about the primordial wisdom of the truth that arises from this practice.

Human Conduct

To be able to practice on meditation, first you have to perfect your human conduct, this must be perfected. Without first perfecting human conduct, there is no way you are going to understand the nature of clear awareness. After perfecting human conduct, then you will go to the next phase, which is into godly conduct. The human part of the conduct is doing what is right; what is correct; what is the correct behaviour; what is the correct attitude; what is the correct training. All the disciplines that make you a better person; make you a trustworthy person; make you a reliable person, make you and your actions to be seen as free from causing karma, this is the proper human conduct. Practice of Dharma is based first on the proper human conduct only then can you come to the godly conduct. If you don’t have the proper human conduct there is no way you can have the godly conduct and if you don’t have the godly conduct there is no way you can have the clear awareness of the Buddha, the very Buddha nature. The enlightened conduct will not come to you. So meditation really depends on your conduct, human conduct. In Tibetan we say follow the sixteen proper conducts. But the sixteen proper conducts are really the right respect to your teacher; right respect to parents; right respect to your Guru; learning how to talk, how to walk, leaning how to go with the truth and being truthful so no karma is caused. That’s the human conduct. Respecting nature, respecting the elderly and working with bodhicitta, (the mind that strives for the enlightenment of all beings),  being with compassion, realising the teaching of the Buddha that all sentient beings are connected to us as our fathers and mothers; being able to see this first basic understanding.  Every action you do has consequences that actually happen. Understanding that this is the proper human conduct. In the way that you would not want to bring suffering to yourself, why would you bring suffering to others? Understand the law that if you cheat someone today then you will have to pay for what you have done. That action will follow back and it will counter hit you. It’s not as though you cheat somebody and then you go scot-free, you don’t. The law of human karma is unfailing, that’s what you have to realise in the proper human conduct first of all.

Godly Conduct

Once you have trained well on the proper human conduct then the godly conduct will appear to you. There was once a practitioner who was traveling. He was going to different villages in Tibet. One day, night fell and all of a sudden he had to take shelter. The first house that he saw he went to and there he found an elderly lady.  He asked her if he could have shelter there for the night and the lady said, “Sure, you can have shelter. Come in, come in, come in” and she invited him in.  When he sat down she said she’d like to offer him tea first of all and of course he was delighted to have tea, so she poured him some ordinary black tea. Tibetan tea is normally with milk and butter and everything but she gave him an ordinary black tea.  When he saw the tea, he looked at it and said, “this black tea, black as it appears, what hope is there for butter to be in it. Such tea as this, it is better for the wall to drink it.” He then threw it on the wall. Then the old lady straight away responded, “this wandering yogi, if he doesn’t even have proper human conduct, how would he have dharmic conduct? You get out of my house right now.” So she kicked him out. Basically she was saying, if he didn’t have the proper human conduct, how could she expect him to be a holy person who holds the holy view? It could not be possible. Since he didn’t even have the basic common training there was no way he could have the higher training. As a result she said, “You are not a practitioner. You should leave my house right now!” So the guy had to leave the house.

The Essence – Two Truths, One Taste

There are different meditations but when we come to the Tibetan meditation here, it is more about understanding emptiness, understanding luminosity and the way your mind works; coming to a complete understanding the nature of your mind and how it works. That is the Tibetan meditation. There are some benefits, physical benefits that come but it is not geared for any particular benefit. It is to realise the truth, what the truth is.

So now its good that you do your recitations and its good that you do all your visualisations. |All of those teachings and practices are important and they are good but nonetheless to really penetrate the essence of enlightenment, then you have to look at the nature of mind. That is essential. Without looking into the nature of the mind it is not possible to get any realisation. So although all your recitations and visualisations are good, it has to be bridged with understanding the void nature of the mind. That is very important. From this void nature of mind the relative truth manifests, the absolute truth manifests and these manifest simultaneously together at the same time.  The absolute truth and the relative mind, both come from the void space of this mind.

It is necessary to understand this mind. If you don’t understand this point then you will still be stuck in the duality state of this mind, as there being something good to get and as there being something bad to avoid. You will not be able to combine everything into one taste. Samsara and nirvana must come into one taste. Just as a bird requires two wings to fly, you too in your practice require the absolute and the relative truth to be brought into one taste, within one awareness. Otherwise, if you rely too much on the relative, that’s an error and if you rely totally on the absolute truth, that is also an error. Relying too much on either of the extremes is mistaken.


If we talk about meditation, then your health must be good for this. If you have poor health you will not be able to meditate much, that’s one thing. Also if you are meditating and you have a lot of problems, you can’t meditate and your mind is too agitated, that means you have a lot of impurities, which need to be purified. So you need to correct your health and you need to correct your impurities, if they are there. For this you have to go into confession, do tsok (gathering of offering substances) and all of that. It is not so easy to just go to sit and meditate just like that. Meditation needs good health, and to meditate properly, it needs a pure mind.

Health-wise now, you need to take care of your health first. You need to eat all the nourishing food that you can so that your wind is strong and the movement of the blood is not interrupted. Then you’ll have strength and stamina to go through the practice. That’s important. In addition the mind must be clear of obstacles that are preventing you from doing practice by having a kind of agitated mind. All that has to settle down.  That has to settle down with purity either by doing Dorje Sempa practice or giving alms to the poor or doing some constructive, consecrative work like building, making tsa tsa, (clay replicas of deities or stupas) circumambulating, sponsoring or feeding the poor. Some charitable work is needed for you to have merit so you can really sit and practice. You need merit. Meditation also needs merit. You need causal merit and you need wisdom merit, you need both of these merits.  To penetrate into trying to understand the enlightened awareness definitely needs merit. The ground of that success is based on the merit that you generate.


Now, with this practice the way you breathe and how you breath in meditation is also extremely important. Thoughts relate with the wind that you breathe. The wind travels with the thoughts. Thought and wind are therefore interrelated. So the breathing is crucial, you have to learn how to breathe. Breathe calmly so that your nerves and the winds can relax and the mind is not agitated. Breathing in and breathing out very calmly is important and when you breathe in and out you have to learn to breathe from the lower abdomen. Not from the top of your lungs and from all up here. Most of us we breathe from the throat up outwards. No, the deep breathing comes from the base of the navel centre where the breathing should start. The calm breathing will start from the navel centre.  You have to learn how to breathe calmly in and out.

Once your breathing settles down then your winds will settle down. What makes the meditation unsmooth are the agitated winds. Now you know in our system we have five winds: – ‘The life-grasping lung’ (Tib. tog dzin lung), ‘The upward moving lung’ (Tib. Gyen-gyu lung), ‘The all pervading lung’ (Tib. Khyab-jyed lung), ‘The fire accompanying lung’ (Tib. Me-mnyam lung’), and ‘The downward cleansing lung’ (Tib. Thur-sel lung). These five winds in their pure forms are the winds of the five wisdoms. Unrelated to wisdom they are just the five winds. These five winds must be settled down properly.

Meditation Posture

The position of how you meditate doesn’t matter. So long as you are comfortable it is fine. Some will stay cross-legged, some will stay leaning against something with the shoulders back, but the thing is you have to keep your spine totally erect. That’s important. The spine must not be bent at all so that the wind can pass through the uma, i.e. the central channel, smoothly. That’s important. It doesn’t matter if you are crossed legged, or with one leg in front of the other. If your leg is in the front, it is called the beggar’s resting posture. That is also acceptable in meditation, because beggars when they rest with their load, that is how they rest with one leg in front and the arms supporting the two sides taking the weight of their burden. You can do that or you can lean yourself back against a wall. So long as you keep your spine erect that is also ok. Whatever your posture, there should not be any physical irritation coming into the meditation. Your physical body should be relaxed, that’s important.  Relax this as far as possible.

The Small Vase

As far as the breathing is concerned if you have the small vase technique called ‘bum chung’ in Tibetan, I would say and His Holiness would always say, apply that before your meditation. Apply the small vase technique called the ‘jam lung bum chung’ in Tibetan, i.e., gentle small vase wind. Now this small vase is very important because it will pacify the thoughts and it will also burn the impurities. For this reason it is called the ‘yogi’s best friend’. For example, it is important when you do the kyerim, (creation stage) when you go through visualisation, because you’ll have a clearer visualisation by holding this small vase. The small vase is also called the wisdom wind, which is what you need to generate first before you begin your practice. To generate the wisdom wind, you have to expel the three poisonous winds and then you inhale the wisdom. Most of you should be familiar with this. I have given you the book on that. Some of you may have it. So this wisdom wind once you hold it inside, then, you breathe normally but you breathe from the navel. Your breathing is from the navel, pulling up gently and then out through the nostrils and then in. Breathe whichever way is normal to you at this moment, that’s most important. Whether you take in with the mouth and breathe out through the nostrils or in with the nostrils and out through the mouth, it doesn’t matter. Just breathe normally but deeply and gently on top of the small vase you have created in your lower belly and settle down.

Meditation, the Skandhas and the Four Strayings

Now the meditation that we are doing must be totally free from the five skandhas. These skandhas, aggregates or heaps are; form, feeling, perception, formation/intent and consciousness. In Tibetan: – gzugs, tshor-ba, ‘du-shes, du-byed, nam-par-shes-pa, respectively.  We are not going to meditate with any skandha involvement. We are going to meditate purely, free from these five skandhas. If you are connected to the five skandhas, then, that’s not a meditation, that’s an intellectually devised meditation. At this point we are not going to talk about meditation as rigpa. No, we are just going to talk informally about thoughts. Let’s just leave it at the level of thoughts. I don’t want to push the thought level into the luminosity level at the moment. So the meditation should have no involvement with the five skandhas now. Because awareness doesn’t have any form, colour, shape, feeling or perception. Nor does it have motivation, or any consciousness. If our meditation is relating to our perception according to a feeling that we have, then that’s not a meditation. Our meditation has to be totally free from the five skandhas.

In addition, our meditation should be free from the faults known as the four strayings. That is to say do not stray into the emptiness of substantial knowledge. So that means first of all don’t see the meditation as some kind of substantive knowledge that you are going to get. There is nothing like that to obtain. Nor should you see it as a path. It’s not a path, the meditation that you’re are doing. Nor see this as an antidote; it’s not an antidote.  Worst of all is the mistake of straying into emptiness and an imitation of emptiness. Not really understanding emptiness but straying into a copy of emptiness. These are the four strayings that we must avoid straying into. Now some of you say that meditation may give you good health. Don’t put that into the thing. It is nothing to do with your good health here. The whole thing is not to attach the meditation to any kind of intention. Do not put the meditation into intention. It is even wrong for you to say “I’m going to sit down and meditate”. That’s also wrong for you to say that. You cannot pre-impose the intention onto what you’re doing. If you say you’re going to meditate then it is already a pre-conceived concept. You are already working with a preconceived concept of mediation, i.e., what meditation is going to be. Do not have any mental target in this; do not have any mental target at all.

So though our purpose is to extract clear realisation, that’s what the meditation is, to extract the clear realisation awareness, we will not put any hope in that, we will not put in any hope at all.

Now those are important points that you have to remember, not to have any preconceived notion of meditation.

Meditation Itself Versus Grasping Thoughts

Now let us look at the meditation itself. The most important thing involved in meditation is simply letting the thoughts be. That is the first thing that’s involved, not trying to grasp the thoughts, not trying to reject the thoughts; neither accepting nor rejecting but just simply having the ability to let them move. Let the thoughts move without grasping, without colouring the thoughts, without giving the thoughts a shape and a form. That’s very hard for us to do because we are extremely quick in grasping things, it’s not easy for us to let go but with the grasping, we have no problem; as many things as we can grasp, we grasp. So for us, it doesn’t take even the smallest moment to grasp.

Why do we grasp? We grasp because of hope and fear. Hope and fear makes you grasp those thoughts; hope that the gods will help you and fear that the demons will harm you.  Any thoughts that there are, you will immediately want to ask, what is for my benefit in this thought? What’s in it for me? Or what harm is that thought going to bring me? It’s hard for us to accept that thought as just thought. There is no substance in the thought. For example if somebody came and stood in front of you and said to you, “You’re a piece of shit!” you would flare up into indignant anger immediately, “he said I’m a shit,” but if you look at it, shit is just a word. How did the shit personify to such an extent that you almost felt a slap on your face and reacted as if it were real and solid? That is how solidly we hold on to the words and amplify the meaning. Rather than learning how to deconstruct their meaning and to simplify, we add more to it. ‘Shit’ is just a word. It is an empty word coming from an empty space. That’s how we react to all our thoughts, thoughts become so solid, then we react and then we build chains around the whole thing, further amplifying it.

In shiné now first we have to be spacious enough to let the thoughts breathe, let them move, let them go. Don’t go on holding to the thoughts, thinking, ‘this is such and such a thought, this is this, this is that…’ no by holding the thoughts, that is exactly where you are in samsara now. This is because of the thoughts. If you can understand that thoughts are none other than a projection of the mind you would be enlightened already but that is not the case.  Now we have to let the thoughts move.

Your first instance of meditation then is simply sitting quietly, not in a noisy place. Sit in a quiet place and just breathe normally. You can keep your eyes open if you want. It’s not a problem. If you feel it is easier to close your eyes, you may close your eyes but phenomena are not going to jump into you. It’s you who are getting attached to phenomena. From the Dzogchen point of view it’s better to keep your eyes open and not to react to phenomena. Just relax. Let the thoughts come. There is no need to fear the thoughts. The problem with us in our normal way of looking at it is that we always think that our thoughts are significant and important. We give importance to the thoughts and that’s how we tag them down.  Here the first instance of meditation now is not to be caught by the thoughts; not to play with the thoughts, just simply let the thoughts appear and let the thoughts move. Thoughts will appear, there is no meditation in the world in which you can block the thoughts. No! It doesn’t exist. Thoughts are the display of the mind.  Therefore thoughts will arise. Blocking them is not the point. The fault is the grasper that is grasping the thoughts, that is the fault. That is your mind grasping it. Not letting the thoughts go, but grasping them. The play of emptiness is that all phenomena will arise from it. There is no way you can put a lid on it or close it down and say, “No, stop this”. No, it doesn’t exist. Mind will always display thoughts. Its inherent display will arise. If you don’t grasp the thoughts and just let them be then these thoughts will settle. They have to settle. Where do they come from? They come from the emptiness and they will go back into emptiness. There is no other way.  From that emptiness the thought goes back into it again and then another thought will arise. That’s the continual display of emptiness.

There is no harm in the thoughts themselves, whether they are peaceful or wrathful. Harm is when you grasp. That’s where the harm is. Thoughts themselves…they are not harmful at all. But you have to have the patience to watch thoughts, patience to let it be. Do not immediately jump into grasping. That’s the problem with us. We have been grasping so often, for so long and so much that even when you watch the moon up there, it almost seems like you can grasp it with your hand. That’s how quickly our mind goes there. The moon hasn’t come even remotely near us here but we can already grasp it with our hand. So in the first instance, see your thoughts and see the movement of your thoughts. This is the first thing you have to see, how one thought after another arises. You have to see these constant bubble-like thoughts and how they come.

Types of Thought

These thoughts will come whether they are in clusters, singular, as an undercurrent or as scattered thoughts, it doesn’t matter. There are different thoughts that will come to you now. Some are very easy to recognise. Some thoughts are not so easy, but instead, subtle. You know it’s there but you cannot put your finger on it. Other thoughts come in a chain, one after another and its almost impossible, it drives you crazy, there’s no end to the thoughts that come. Sometimes you’ll have no thoughts at all, you are looking for the thoughts but can’t find any. These are generally undercurrent thoughts. It doesn’t mean you don’t have any thoughts. Thoughts are constant all the time, don’t forget, but you fail to recognise them because they are submerged deep under the surface of your consciousness. They are submerged just as if they were under water. They are underneath the surface level of consciousness so you don’t see them.

Recognising Thoughts/Mindful Presence and Awareness

But nonetheless whatever these thought patterns are, you have to recognise it as thought whether it is a chain of thoughts, whether it is scattered, undercurrent or a cluster of thoughts, it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is you’ve got to recognise it. Now recognising it means awareness. The awareness must be there. We have an awareness that is ever present. It neither falls into the past nor does it fall into the future. Our awareness is actually the moment it is absolutely present in the ever-flowing timeless instant. But when we don’t recognise this, then space and time come by not recognising this awareness that is so vividly now, we don’t recognise that. Now for the meditation, that is what you’ve got to start to recognise, your mind ever present. We have fallen into the bad habit of not being truly present in the present moment. It is our habit that we have fallen into past and future. If you can experience the rigpa that is the ongoing experience ‘now’, this is the intrinsic nature of the Buddha. It is the nowness, nowness that is free from past, present and future. Its pristine clarity is nowness. This now will be a little bit hard for you to understand at this time.

Shiné and Observation

So, in shiné now what are you going to observe?

You are going to observe the arising of thoughts. As soon as you recognise a thought as thought, it is as if it’s game is over… it will dissolve. But then from the dissolution of that thought another thought will arise simultaneously. You don’t have to wait. It’s instantaneous. There’s no such thing as time or gap in the dissolution and arising, it’s constantly instantaneous. For you, it may take some time to notice the dissolving and arising but it is simultaneous. You’ll see the simultaneity after a while but just now you’ll see it in slow motion. Thought upon recognition, upon awareness, will dissolve into emptiness and dissolving into that same nature of emptiness another thought will arise.  It is called arising, stillness, dissolution and emptiness that’s how the thought will work itself out. So in Tibetan it is called shiwa, nyepa, gyurba. These are the three words we use here. So upon arising, there’s a tranquil settling before it goes into change. That’s exactly what it is. In Sanskrit it’s called shamatha, meaning peaceful abiding. If you keep watching that way, you’ll gain certain confidence. Certain confidence will arise within you. It will arise.


What is the confidence that will arise within yourself?

A few levels will arise. First of all, without any hesitation, it will arise that you are in control of your own fate. No one else is in control of your fate. That is one thing that will arise. So whatever suffering you are going through, you will see that it is your own creation. There was no one who created it for you. For the first time you will realise your own responsibility. You will not blame someone else for your situation in the way you are. Sometimes you think that society has been bad to you. Sometimes you will think that for no reason you are suffering like this, you don’t deserve it… No, you will see that you deserve what you are getting and it is you who created this yourself. There is nobody who was happy to give it to you. So you will realise that you are in command of your own fate. If you want to go in a positive direction, it is you directing this intent. If you want to go in a negative direction, that again is you. Certainly in your practice also it’s the same. Who tells you to practice Dharma, and who tells you not to practice the Dharma, it’s yourself. This mind doesn’t stop thinking. It thinks of so many things, it proposes so many things. Its fantasies are unlimited. The amount of thoughts that come into your mind are like blades of grass up on a hill, swaying back and forth in the wind. It’s continuous and uninterrupted. When you meditate in shiné for a long enough, true peace will arise within your mind, peace that is free from emotion will arise. You’ll realise that you are in charge of your own fate.

No one is to be blamed, that will come to you and for the first time you’ll feel a small tint of bodhicitta, compassion, which will start to grow in you. Bodhicitta will grow in your experience of the truth of this awareness. You’ll stop being hurtful and critical to yourself. Most of the time you like to hurt yourself. You think, ‘I’m not competent, I’m not like others, I cannot do this, I cannot do that’ and you try to lower yourself down as much as you can. But there is no need to do this. If you meditate a little bit you will see the heavy imposition you’ve made on yourself. Everyone else seems to be better than you. That is the feeling you often have. ‘I am not worthwhile.’ Even if you practice Dharma for many years you’ll have doubt. ‘Oh I, I’ve received nothing I’m going nowhere’. That negative side of you will unravel itself into the positive. I think that is very important. What do you get by being harsh on yourself? What do you get out of it? Nothing, you just get more depressed because you have more thoughts building up.  It is time to worm these habits of thought out in the practice of shiné. It’s time to worm this attitude out. Keeping that in yourself is not going to help anybody. You don’t improve anybody’s life by having such a negative view of yourself. If you have the essence of the Tathagatagarba that is enlightenment, so how can you have a negative view of yourself? So by shiné, you will realise, what karma means. It will dawn on you what karma really is.

The Four Experiences and Beyond

The most important thing is, shiné will show you your true enemy, which is your own thought. And that is important.  Generally in shiné practice, there are four experiences; in Tibetan dewa dam, which is bliss, selwa dam which is clarity, metokpe nyam, thoughtlessness and the fourth is vision nyam shi, or the space of emptiness. So when you penetrate a thought and you liberate it; you strike on that with your awareness, instantaneously there may be bliss. Sometimes, you’ll feel a sense of clarity, ‘selwa,’ and sometimes you’ll feel the state of ‘mitokpe nyam’ a state of thoughtlessness, and the fourth is the panoramic vision, where you’ll see the true nature or things as they really are. Now the importance in this shiné is not to have any kind of special experience, that’s not why we are doing shiné; No, the point of shiné is to be free of these four experiences. You should neither grasp at the bliss, nor at clarity, nor after the thoughtless state of mind, nor should you grasp the panoramic appearance of phenomena…none of them because grasping at any of these four leads to the four rebirths again. No, the whole point here is to be free of the four rebirths. If you are caught in the bliss you’ll be born in the god realm. The gods and goddesses enjoy union all the time so you’ll be caught there in this blissful state. These experiences don’t help us. These experiences arise in shiné for us to let them go, that’s what our meditation is about; it’s to let go of these experiences, its not to create some deep understanding of the bliss, to feel good about it and then to grasp at it even more. Nor is it to understand the clarity in which you see all the lights and beautiful different colours. The clarity also arises to cut through gross thoughts, that too is clarity but that also is not the point. It’s good to go through these experiences thoroughly and completely so that you can no longer be attached to any of them. That’s the reason you need to practice. It is to go beyond attachment to all of these experiences, all right?

Signs of Progress in Practice

How do you know that this practice is working?

How do you gauge that? It’s not very difficult to gauge. If your roughness is being reduced that’s a sign. If you have a rough character to begin with, by meditating your character should be softer. You’ll have more compassion, you’ll have more faith in the teachings, you’ll be kinder to people. The teachings of the Buddha are not that you should only be kind to your own community. It is concerned with all sentient beings. That’s where you need to work with the compassion. You should have already worked out how you should be with other sentient beings. First, it is very easy to give your love to your dear ones. But then the love that you have for your family, give that love to your friends, that’s the second step. Third, the love that you’ve given to your friend, give it now to your enemy. If you can give that love to your enemy then it will be easier to go to the fourth step and give your love to all sentient beings. It’ll be easier. Otherwise, to talk about parent sentient beings is merely mouthing words. The expression means nothing. But first give your love totally to your family. Then give it totally to your friend. Then give it totally to your enemy. Then next, all sentient beings will be there. When Buddha said that all sentient beings are connected to us as our fathers and mothers, he didn’t say it to please us. He said it because he saw the truth. We have no memory of our past connections, that is our problem. But with an unforgettable memory then everybody is connected to one another. It’s hard to accept that. For me also it’s hard to accept that you are my father, I’m going like ‘Oh my gosh!’ But with his wisdom eye, the Buddha said that you will see. When you are nearing realisation, you will see the infinity of sentient beings connected to you.

Letting the Thoughts Move in Meditation

So now in the meditation then, it’s very important to let the thoughts move by themselves. This is important. Don’t restrict the thoughts. It’s similar to having a cat in your house or your room and you close all the doors and windows, then the cat will cause havoc. He’ll scratch everything out. Nothing much will be left in your house. But if you keep the doors a little bit open, he’ll go in and out and there will be no damage.  Same with your thoughts, let your thoughts move you don’t have to suffocate them or antagonise them. You don’t have to do that. Thoughts themselves are not destructive. It is us who make them destructive. That is our fault.

Ego…What Ego?

So therefore the same thing now, with ego…you have ego right?

You have this constant current of thought ‘I, I, I, I, I, I.’ You have this ‘I’ coming the whole time. If somebody says, “You!” you say,  “Me?” Even if you are just sitting quietly and I say to you, “Hey you!” you say, “Who me?” straight away. Where did that ‘me’ come from? Where is the existence of ego in which you identify yourself as ‘myself’? Who is the self and where is the self? Does self exist? If so where does it exist?

We have not understood the egolessness of our self. We have not understood that.  Is the self the same you that is your arms, your eyes, your nose, your mouth, your liver, your internal organs. Which of these are really you and where are you? Where is this ego? Is it up on the forehead or down on the leg? Unfortunately we have not understood the non-existence of ego itself. Ego does not exist as entity. It does not. Many components and molecules have come together with the nerves, the winds and the essences. Everything comes together according to interdependent origination. What appears to be your ‘self’ has evolved itself into a reflection of what seems to be ‘me, myself and I’. You will not find the ego if you look inside yourself. Dissect every part of your body minutely going into every part of your body, you will not find your ego existing anywhere however hard and long you search. Yet despite the fact that the ego does not exist, we have caused karma. It is due to this ego that we have done so many things, protecting it, shielding it, trying to please it. So at the time of death the ego has to travel somewhere. Where it is going to travel depends on the karma we have engaged in during our life.

Verify through Shiné

You have to verify what the truth is. Don’t be gullible listening to somebody who looks like a holy or religious person telling you that this is what it is and that you should believe it. Buddha’s teaching was that you have to substantiate the teaching by examining whether it is the truth. Shiné is a wonderful practice to verify the truth. That is one aspect of this practice. Because it does not fall into any sides, it does not take sides of anything.

In the absolute truth then, we find that our awareness is the five wisdoms or the three kayas, i.e. the Dharmakaya,(the truth body, nature of reality, emptiness), Sambhogakaya (the enjoyment body, nature of clarity, luminosity) and Nirmanakaya (the form body, the dimension of ceaseless manifestation). We begin to understand the awareness of the Dharmadhatu, the primordial emptiness; we begin to understand that all the primordial wisdoms originate from this vast space of emptiness, emptiness that is knowledge and realization of the nature of reality and the nature of all things.  It is not an emptiness of nothing but emptiness of substantial knowledge that is authentic emptiness. According to the different schools, there are different ways to categorise this knowledge. Here we say it is empty but luminous. That is the emptiness we are talking about. From this emptiness, which is our primordial wisdom, our nature, there arises the relative truth. In the absolute truth, it’s true, Buddhas, Buddha fields, teachings, practices are all created and fabricated by awareness. That is absolutely the truth. These are all fabricated. But with respect to the relative truth, that which is fabricated from the absolute nonetheless appears as the relative truth. For as long as you are in the relative sphere, the relative truth is going to have a hold on you. If that relative truth is holding on to you then you have to respect everything that is arising in the relative sphere itself, you are not free. You are not enlightened…you are not free.

Exhausting the Relative

When you have purified all your perceptions totally, then each person’s Buddha nature will arise and then all phenomena will be in one taste but where you exhaust the relative, that’s an extremely high standard. So we need to understand and respect the relative because we are in the relative sphere. We have not been able to exhaust that. There are many realised beings who begin to exhaust the relative during their lifetimes. When they exhaust the relative they appear like they’re completely mad. They behave in ways not common to our understanding at all. What they see and do is different from what we see and do. What we think we are doing correctly as human beings, they see very differently.

Once, in Mindroling, my father’s teacher went with some Lamas to visit one of his friends who was in a deep meditation retreat in a cave up near Lhasa. When he went inside the cave and sat down, the Lama who was in retreat saw that a high Lama had come to visit him so he jumped up and said to himself, “Oh, my god, I have to offer something!” So he looked around his cave and saw there was something in the corner. He went to pick it up and said to the visitors, “Here, have this,” and handed over one of his dried stools. My father’s teacher looked at the Lama and said, “I haven’t reached that much of a purification yet!”  What the yogi thought he was offering was torma (ritual offering cake), which he was eating too. For him his perception was so purified that this is what he was doing. It is not that they try to see it, but they naturally see things as purity. If you haven’t reached that level then you see shit as shit; that’s what you see. You’ll know if you’ve purified your relative truth or not if someone gives you a glass of urine and you drink that. If you see it as pure nectar and you drink it, then you are moving towards purity, but if you see it as plain urine with its ordinary colour, smell and everything, then that’s it, you’re still in the relative. So, the point is we have to exhaust the relative.

Until Then…

We know we have the nature, but that’s not enough. As I said earlier, if it is golden ore you’ll be able to get gold. If it is not golden ore, you cannot get gold. Just as the Tibetans say, by squeezing sand you won’t get butter. Nor by planting wheat will you get rice, will you? No. Unless you have exhausted the relative phenomena then there is a need to be completely respectful to the relative. Therefore, your mantra recitation is important, you visualisation is important, your circumambulation is important.  All the relative merit-producing activities are very important to you.

Kunkyen Longchen Rabjam understood the absolute nature of mind and he realised it. He was a master of the nature of awareness, which he’d perfected. Yet he never gave up saying his prayers. He never gave up doing his tsok. He never gave up lighting his butter lamps. Why? His mind was equal to space. What need was there for him to do these practices? Why? Why was he still doing them? He understood the absolute already. His indestructible mind had already reached the clear, limpid state awareness of Vajradhara (the ultimate primordial Buddha). Why did he still do his practice? Respect to the relative.

In my father’s case it was the same. At the age of seven he met Guru Rinpoche and at the age of eight he had already composed the first Dzogchen practice. At the age of seven he was playing outside when Guru Rinpoche came to him and he said, “Son, do you remember what you are here for?” and my father said, “Yes, I am here to fulfill your work.” And then Guru Rinpoche gave him his first Dzogchen teachings. He kept it quiet until he was twenty three years old. He never told anyone about it. He just practiced it himself. Then at the age of thirteen he wrote the first Dzogchen treatise. At that time he wrote the most elaborate treatise, which shocked all the great scholars at that time. He passed away in Dordogne in France amidst many miraculous signs of accomplishment. Again all the way through his life he would be doing his practice with his mala. All the time he would do the Sang (ritual smoke offering) in the morning and the rest of his practice. Then one day he took his mala and he placed it on the table for the last time and said, “Now I have exhausted everything. Why did it take me so long? It was for the offerings of the people, for all people who have died. I had to make sure that I liberated each and every one of those whose name was brought forward to me asking for deliverance.” He said, “I have delivered them all. Now I don’t owe anything to anyone.” For me that was a sign that he was not going to stay much longer and that the time had come for him to leave us.  Then, a short while later I came back to New York to teach and my father got ill in La Pechardie. One night after I had finished teaching I had a prediction dream. In it my father came to me and said, “I have the last teaching to give you that I haven’t given you before. I have to give you this teaching now.”   Then he held a tube of light in his hand and said, “I want to point to you the meaning of the luminous mind, what it means.” He told me to look at the tube of light. At that moment I got a whole teaching from him. Instead of using the crystal we normally use in the teachings, he used this tube of light. The next morning I got up and thought, “What Rinpoche is saying now is that he’s leaving. I shouldn’t be here in New York.” At that time the two Khenpos were there and I spoke to Khenpo Palden Sherab and asked him what he thought about my dream. He said, “Oh god, I think what you are thinking and what I am thinking is the same.”  So that very day, I got the first ticket that was available and took a seven o’clock flight the next morning. I was lucky, there was a last minute cancellation, otherwise I wouldn’t have got back in time since the flights were fully booked. I went as quickly as I could to La Pechardie from the airport. When I arrived, sure enough the Bhutanese monks were all preparing a Chime Tsog Tik, Long Life practice for my father. They had finished his effigy and his head was just being made.  I went straight with my mother to Rinpoche and let him know that we were about to offer a Chime Tsog Tik for him and asked him to please accept. But Rinpoche said “No, don’t offer it to me.”

These were all signs, the signs I’d had and what was going on were interconnected. The reason I’m saying this, is that if such a realised master is still holding a mala to the very end, then what more do we need to say for ourselves needing to practice.  We have a lot of purification to go through. All the time offer Tsok, all the time be generous. Even for the meditation you are doing, it will definitely improve the quality of your practice. The more merit you have the better. You need merit to be able to penetrate realisation. Of course you need merit. You think that you can just walk into the house like that. No, you can’t. This merit for you here is constant devotion to your teacher and constant practice. Always practicing, always doing Tsoks on the correct days, giving charity and most important, if you have a little bit a wealth at the time of death, put it towards Dharma, put it towards Dharma.  There is nothing more meritorious than that.

Prepare Wisely

I have told you before, according to the teachings, how you should handle your possessions. Keep one section for yourself, keep one section for your family and relatives and the last section, give it to the Dharma. This is not my advice; this is the advice of the wise ones. If you don’t do charitable work for your own death, leaving your money behind for your relatives to do pujas (Skt) and practice for you …. forget it! Their attachment to your wealth will be of more cause for concern for you while you are wandering around in the bardo in a formless state. If they are attached to your wealth they’ll do nothing, they’ll give nothing, they’ll just keep it for themselves.  Most of the time what will happen is that the very person who doesn’t need your wealth will get it. That’s how it happens. This is the play of karma. Karma will play out that way. So be wise, do your own charity. If you have something and you want to give it to your children, give it to them now! Why would you give to them once you’re dead? You have no choice but to give to them then. What choice do you have? Are you going to take your wealth with you? No. You cannot even take that body of yours that you’ve taken so much care over. How could you take your wealth? There’s no way you can take your wealth. Not even a needle can you take with you. So if you have something to give to your children, give now. Let them enjoy it now.  Be wise. If you’re in the Dharma, be wise. Your actions should be noble. Be wise. Be noble. Be gracious. Be gracious with your charity. By giving you will receive. After you’re dead and they have received the wealth from you, it’s not of any great joy. You had no choice. When you have the dignity to give when you are alive, give. There’s no dignity after you’ve, died it’s just automatic. You don’t have much say in it. So, square up everything before you die. Forgive those people who you need to forgive. Have no enemy whatsoever at the time of your death. Just square off. And if you’ve not been getting along with your parents, square that off before you die because your rebirth is not going to be good if you still have a grudge against your parents. You’re not going to have a nice exit at all. For that karma you are going to have to pay because nothing is more precious than parents giving you your birth. There is nothing more precious than that. Can’t you see that they gave you life? Even if they’ve treated you badly, this was out of ignorance; they didn’t treat well due to a lack of wisdom. It is not that they lacked compassion for you. So understand that it is the ignorance side of them that treated you that way.   Most of the time you find fault in them thinking that they did this and that’s why you’re in this situation. No, it’s your own thinking that has put you in that situation. Don’t blame anyone else. You planted the seed and you got the fruit. For us it is so easy to blame others since we need to blame somebody for our own shortcomings. It’s like our aggression must be passed down through the chain. If I shout at you, then you’ll go and shout at someone else and they shout at someone who kicks an animal on the back and that animal in turn goes and bites another one, and so the chain goes on.

Shiné Distillation

Shiné has three aspects; peaceful, tranquil and abiding. Why tranquil? Because the mind is at ease. Just as Longchen Rabjam explains in his text “Kindly Bent to Ease us” from shiné, the mind is at ease. If you keep developing shiné, you can come to the extraordinary shiné. From extraordinary shiné again you can come to the Dzogchen understanding of shiné. Then once you come to the Dzogchen understanding of shiné, then you come to understand the real nature of awareness. But before you come to the real awareness you have to first know how to let the thoughts move and breathe. Otherwise, you will not know, you will not see rigpa. You cannot see rigpa just like that. Rigpa comes from the distilled purification of the shiné. Shiné is the thing that purifies and distils. Then you come to the understanding of the Dzogchen shiné. But first we have to point out to you what phenomena are. We have to point out who is seeing the phenomena. We have to point out the way phenomena are arising so that you at least know that. Then when you come to Dzogchen you will start to be able to liberate phenomena. But this is a very high expression of skill. You won’t have that ability to begin with. If you cannot even recognise your thoughts, what would you liberate? How can you liberate when you don’t even know the thoughts? You haven’t even recognised the different thought patterns. If you haven’t seen and recognised clearly all of these four patterns of thought, how will you liberate any thoughts? If you did recognise them, you would liberate them. But if you don’t recognise, what can you liberate?

Post Meditation

So then, you know that your practice is going OK when you are softer and more kindly spoken than you were before. Also in shiné, don’t forget, meditation in shiné is one thing but the post meditation is equally important. You have to join those two together. It can’t be like ‘Oh now I’m meditating so there’s compassion. And as soon as I come out of it, I’m my old self.’ There must be continuity from meditation to post meditation. There is no such thing as being out of the meditation. When we feel we are out of the meditation, it is just concept. We have to be in the same-streamed flow of meditation. There is no such thing as ‘in’ and there’s no such thing as ‘out’.  It should be continuous.  You have to learn how to speak softly in the post meditation. You have to learn to be aware all the time. All the time, be aware of the nature of thoughts.

The key is the awareness. Just as if a mother loses her only child, whether she’s sitting, walking or cooking, the face of the child is always on her mind. Similarly we have to keep this awareness all the time we are in meditation. Now that’s the difficult part to do.  With thoughts, when you’re watching, its just like if you are walking along and all of a sudden an arrow hits and pierces your stomach. At this time what is important to you? Do you want to know where the arrow came from, who shot it and why you were shot? Or is it more important to remove this arrow from your body as fast as you can? Questions like where did it come from and where did it go? There’s no time for this kind of longwinded rational analysis. You need to look directly into awareness, not into the questions and reasons. Awareness is the key. Walk with awareness, sleep with awareness, and get up with awareness. Also, when you talk with your mouth, you should have awareness of what you’re saying. Don’t just say something for the sake of saying it. Be careful! Take care over how this mouth of yours moves.

Before you start shiné, find out who is the master. Is the mind the master or is the speech the master or is the body the master?  If you look, you will find that it’s the mind that is the master of everything. So therefore get a grip on this mind. The body on its own it has nothing to do with it. Body and speech both come from the mind. They don’t come from anywhere else.

A Kind Heart

If you have a kind heart, which is always there, half your realisation is already there too. The whole point of shiné is to develop a kind heart. The roughness of your heart must be softened so that you are constantly and consistently kind to all beings. If you have a kind heart, you’ll see the suffering of others. You’ll not want to give suffering or add more suffering to others suffering. That will come to you and it will come to you naturally. If you have a kind heart, half of your Dharma is already accomplished, that’s what my father would say all the time. A kind heart is a sign that bodhicitta is already present.  This kind heart, feeling the suffering of all others, trying to improve the lives of others, is a crucial step in your practice of shiné. Those are the ‘je thop’(Tib.) ‘post meditative’ qualities that you need to develop, be familiar with and feel comfortable with. It can’t be something that is forced out of you. It has to flow naturally from you. It’s not a pretend thing. In this respect, positive perception towards others is extremely important. In emotion when we have the emotion, we paint everybody according to that emotion. That is our negative karma. This will cloud your perception and it will invert your view.

Tomorrow we will talk about the three techniques that we need to develop to stabilise the concepts. I will give you three different steps to show you how to do that. And then of course now when you have some time, don’t just listen to what I’m saying, the key thing is to put it into practice. I can keep talking for a few years, no problem. But that’s not going to make you any wiser at all. You have to churn it now. What you’ve heard you have to churn it right now. You have to say to yourself “OK Rinpoche said this, how true is it? What did he really mean?” Churn it over in your mind. When you find time, sit and meditate. Meditation doesn’t require you to be in a specific place. You can do it anywhere, any time and at any moment. Except don’t do it very late at night, that’s not beneficial because our central channel, Skt. avadhuti,  is in shut down mode.  When it closes it follows the law of the planets, it will reverse. At that time it’s called ‘the no progress practice.’ Of course, if you have a practice to cut the day and night, then of course you will practice at this time for that reason. But unless you have such a practice don’t do anything late at night, no recitations of mantras, no visualisations, it’s not helpful. The mind is in a dull state at that time.

So then now, I’ll take some questions on this subject.

Q. What does ‘exhaustion of all phenomena’ mean?

R. It means you work to the point that  concepts, Tib namtoks,  no longer appear. That’s called exhausting phenomena. And if you keep on working with it, phenomena will exhaust. It will exhaust. It doesn’t mean phenomena will not arise. But rather, in your perception it will not arise as solidity. Phenomena will arise. As I told you before, there is no stopping phenomena, you cannot. But it will not arise in the coarseness, in the heaviness aspect. It will be like, ‘Oh I can let that go’. It will be like that. Somebody says something unpleasant to you and you say, “Oh I can let that go,” that’s what will happen. Before you would just grasp it and say, “What!” with indignation. This time you won’t say anything like that or react in this way.

Q. Question about the difference between scheduled practice and shiné

R. Practicing according to your schedule is different from shiné in which you’re just letting thoughts go, that’s different. Practicing on the schedule, you have to be prompt and you have to be on the schedule. That’s not shiné, that’s a discipline you have to follow which is different. But if you’re meditating, you shouldn’t say “I’m going to meditate” that’s one thing. That’s a pre-conceived target that you are going to meditate. So the meditation is already preconceived. No, with this meditation it must be natural. It must not be pre-conceived. Don’t say I’m going… Just sit and do it. If you say I’m going to do this and that, it will build up your ‘powered’ courage but when actual war comes, it’ll just disappear. That’s exactly what will happen. Those people who don’t say anything, those are the dangerous ones, do you know what I’m saying?  People who keep boasting saying “I’m going to do this and that,” they have no strength. They’re boasting because they’re scared. They want to build up their strength. Better not to say anything when you go to do meditation. Just go quietly. Don’t tell anyone that you’re going to do your practice. Just go, sit and do it. Begin by doing short practice sessions. Don’t plan to sit for hours and hours. Don’t even think that. Just think of doing between ten to fifteen minutes. Then break. Then again do ten to fifteen minutes. The shorter the meditation the sharper the image will arise. If you do it for too long, then first there may be clarity but then all of the thoughts will start to rumble around and it’ll be no good. Just as when water from a waterfall falls from a distance, every time it crashes down and lands it makes the water purer. Similarly with your meditation, the shorter it is, the clearer the awareness will be. Once you have stabilised this, it will be beyond time. Time will be irrelevant to you. What will happen is you’ll be able to stay in deep concentration. Time is timeless at that point. Some meditators when they are in shiné, fall into the mind’s concentration and stay one year without realising the passage of time.

Q. Question about the difference between mind and rigpa…

R. First you will see the mind, Tib. sems  then you will see the intellectual min, Tib.sems nyid, and then you will see the rigpa.  We don’t talk at all about rigpa before the first two stages have been seen clearly and worked with thoroughly. If you don’t recognise the thoughts then there is no way that you’ll recognise rigpa.  So first there’s thought, then there is thought with the intellect, i.e. another thought that is the thinking mind. That thought again has to be recognised. There’s the mind that is thinking all the time, intellectualizing all the time, that thought is called Tib. sems nyid.  Nyid refers to imperfection. So we have to find the mind that’s perfect and the imperfection together.

The Small Vase and Tsa Lung

The breathing exercises are really important. Those of you who are not aware of the small vase, study from some of the older students. I didn’t explain this to you here but I have explained it thoroughly before and I have a short text that covers this major aid to practice. So you can get that from us and study it. Please read this. I think it is very important to read this because it explains how the vase is created and how the mind settles down. Everything I’ve explained about it is there and the text has both English and Spanish versions.  You can have that book. It will be good for you. See how to hold the small vase, because the small vase is a tremendous purification generating causal and wisdom merit. It’s very important. It’s important, because when you begin the yoga exercises and receive all the different wrathful and peaceful deities, male and female you have to work with the small vase first. You cannot do any of the exercises on your normal breath because your normal breath is impure. You have to learn how to filter the air of wisdom. First burn the noxious space and beings that are there, then suck in the wisdom air, whether it be with the three colours, or five colours, it doesn’t matter.

Then once you’ve taken that air inside and held the small vase as I’ve instructed, then you breathe out and begin the practice of Tonglen (Tib.).  You have to start to practice giving your virtues and merits away to other sentient beings and taking on and digesting their suffering. It’s called the exchange. You’re taking on their suffering in exchange for your bliss and merit. You’re exchanging the two. Alternatively, you can practice the du sum dorje de pa, (Tib.) which is reciting the three syllables, Om Ah Hung and using those three. Breathing in with Om, digesting with Ah and breathing out with Hung. Learning how to charge the winds of your breath with the mantra, the primordial wisdom mantra, Om Ah Hung, which is the body of the Buddha, speech of the Buddha and mind of the Buddha. Body, speech and mind of all the Buddhas will come into these three syllables Om, Ah, Hung. Once you do this, the feminine essence will improve, the male essence will improve. It is extremely important for us to improve the male essence because we have a lot of impurities in the male essence. So with Tonglen and Om Ah Hung, when you practice with these, the male essence will enhance itself, it will have more luminosity and that will turn into pure bodhicitta. So it’s important to do this practice. This small vase technique that’s being given to you is a particular speciality of the Dudjom Tersar. It doesn’t come in any other teachings at this stage. For a real Tsa Lung practitioner this is taught only when they come to the advanced practices. But in our tersar lineage, it is taught straight away at the level of Ngondro. Because of its benefit, Guru Rinpoche recommended teaching this. Then His Holiness said “teach it to anyone who wants to practice it.” If you learn it well, you can teach it to others who are interested. This is very beneficial. This is something that should spread out. Don’t keep it to yourself. But…do it correctly! (Rinpoche laughs).  If you don’t hold the winds correctly, it’ll upset your mind so be careful, don’t do it incorrectly. You’re holding the upward winds and the downward winds. So do it correctly otherwise you might upset your system. I’ve spoken of the advantages of this practice and problems that arise if it’s done wrong very clearly and it is extremely beneficial. For some of you who have a lethargic mind in the morning and you can’t wake up from your sleep then this is an excellent practice. It’ll cut through the fogginess of your mind. It’ll just cut through. Anyway everything is to do with your winds, whether you are walking, talking, eating or sleeping, everything is to do with the five winds. You have nothing apart from these, the five winds are always in motion. Digestion is part of the five winds and life force is one of the five.

Tsa Lung – High Science

If you gain strength in the winds, you’ll get strength in your speech, and you’ll get strength in your nerves. The central channel, the uma, and the two flanking channels the roma, and the kangma are the three principal nerves. In addition there are thirty-two Buddhafields in the crown, sixteen in the throat, eight in the heart centre, sixty-four in the navel and eight in the secret centre. All these chakras will rotate. We say chakras, but chakras really mean atoms. Chakra doesn’t really mean there’s a spoked wheel with a Buddha sitting on it. No, No, No.  Buddha is the potential energy of those atoms, that’s how Buddha is described as according to Tsa Lung. So you have these atoms, including sixteen at the throat. Now for us the sixteen at the throat are very important because that chakra relates to dream and speech. All those sixteen chakras are filtered from the thirty-two at the crown. The sixteen in the throat are filtered and drop down into the heart. So the small vase is important in moving these chakras. They vibrate and when they vibrate it produces energy and energy produces heat and heat melts the atoms and gives the atoms power.  Everything that is being described when the masters and the texts talk about such things as the wisdom fire and lotus petals, everything is dealing with the atoms of the mind and how they are purified. First, the atoms have to be purified by fire then they have to be purified by indestructibility. This indestructibility is the vajra, i.e. diamond, wisdom, the mind’s penetrative understanding of emptiness. This all relates to the science of mind according to the teachings of the Buddha. This is not ordinary science. It is high science.

So there I’ll conclude for tonight. Tomorrow we’ll meet at Ten am and I’ll explain the three steps and then we’ll go into shiné. And I’m going to stick to shiné, I’m not going to explain any rigpa teachings at all.  We’ll just be staying with shiné and how to perfect that. We will have a few sessions together, so I can see how you’re doing and I want to see if your posture and breathing are correct and all of that. And then tomorrow the teaching will continue in the afternoon until Four pm. Then at Four pm we will have a short break and then we’ll have Tsok since tomorrow is Guru Rinpoche day. The day after tomorrow, proverbially the teachings should end before lunch, that’s when it should end, but if not and if you still have queries then it can continue on into the afternoon also. Let’s see how things work out. By then some of you might have already gone into rainbow body haha! So that’s the schedule!

If you want to do your Sang or Ngondro please continue until the teachings start at Ten am.


Transcribed by Sam Brooks under the direction of Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche. Photograph by Ed Heckerman.

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