Good videos for Self-Realization. "Who Am I?" - Greg Goode A Guided Self-Inquiry Exercise - Greg Goode



Partial excerpt of a teaching by Traktung Rinpoche from


Part Two


I was thinking about the story of Aristotle and Heraclitus. Heraclitus was a great mystic who lived during the times of Aristotle, but he was very enigmatic and somewhat trans-rational, and Aristotle was the father of modern logic, and an extreme rationalist. Needless to say, the two of them had certain misunderstandings. Anyway, one day Aristotle was walking down the beach and off in the distance he spied somebody running down to the edge of the water, running back onto the beach, down to the edge of the water and back onto the beach. And as he got closer he could see that it was Heraclitus and Heraclitus had in his hand a spoon, and he was running down to the ocean and he was getting a spoonful of water and he was running back up onto the beach and pouring the water into a little hole he had made in the sand. And he watched this for some time, amused. Heraclitus was known for his odd behavior, and so he just watched and after a bit of time he said, “Heraclitus, what are you doing and, even more so, why are you doing it?”

And Heraclitus said, “Oh, I’m going down to the ocean and filling my spoon with water and I’m putting into this little hole. And my goal is that I’m going to take all of the water out of the ocean and fill this hole with it until there’s nothing left in the ocean and my little hole is an ocean.”

And Aristotle laughed and said, “That’s absurd! The ocean is huge and vast and deep, and your little hole is tiny small, so it’s never going to fit. You can’t fit the huge, vast ocean in that little hole.”

Heraclitus laughed and said, “Well, I can see that won’t work, Aristotle, but how come you don’t see that the vast mystery of life is not going to be fit into the small hole you call reasoning and logic.” So, Heraclitus was known for giving teachings through demonstrations like this, and it was an excellent teaching.

I was thinking about this because I was thinking of Milarepa’s statement that there is no discriminating awareness, no logical intellectual way to understand the profound, vast nature of the view. And so, one has to practice because practice is the method whereby we develop the organ which is capable of realizing buddha nature. It is said in the view that buddha nature is there from the start. So, in some absolute existential sense there’s no difference between buddhas and sentient beings. Sometimes dilettantes or little spiritual faddists will use this sort of line: samsara and nirvana are the same; buddha nature is complete and whole from the start. So, they say, “Oh, well we don’t need to do anything. We don’t need to practice, yadda, yadda, yadda.” But the point is that human beings suffer and while they know that buddha nature is whole from the start—a few of them know it who study spiritual topics like this—they only know it intellectually; it doesn’t affect their suffering. It’s like someone who reads the menu but doesn’t order and eat the food. No matter how much you read the menu, it won’t satiate your hunger. You could starve to death reading a menu, sitting in a restaurant.

So, in the same way, just to blather and parrot words of Dharma, the words of the Buddha, won’t bring an end to suffering. Yes, sentient beings and buddhas are the same except for realization. Buddhas have realized the essence and nature of mind and this doesn’t mean just to have known the words, but they have realized it so that it pervades (as I said earlier, like wetness pervades water), it pervades the body, the speech, the mind, the embodiment, and enworldment of the beings who are called buddhas. Sometimes, you know, just like this, the hand is held up on one side, “This is buddhas,” and you just turn it around, “This is sentient beings.” It’s one hand but the view is slightly different.

So, Milarepa writes this next verse about the methods by which we can realize, or make real, the teachings that were just given in the view. He says, “To describe the nails of meditation, the three, all thoughts in being Dharmakaya are free. Awareness is luminous, in its depths it is bliss and resting without contrivance is equipoise.” So, there’s three but there’s really four here because awareness is luminous, (comma) in its depths, it is bliss. It is one divided into two aspects. And so, now let’s look at the methods that Milarepa gives for realizing view and these are very subtle methods. The further you go on the tantric path and especially as you enter the stages of Mahamudra or Dzogchen then the methods become more and more subtle, more and more simple, more and more diaphanous. The word in Tibetan is ‘zangtal.’ They become transparent and translucent until it seems there is almost no method at all because consciousness has been refined to a point that simply very subtle shifts in stance and embodiment in view can bring about the changes. So, in Ngondrö one is doing intense, difficult, hard work. There’s the body and all of these aspects involved, and it’s much more concrete. In Generation Phase this becomes more subtle, but Generation Phase is still a contrived practice using mind’s constructs and Generation Phase is designed then to remove the gross obscurations. As I’ve said so many times before, what is the gross obscuration? The gross obscuration is that there is anything ordinary. The grossest level of delusion is this notion that there is an ordinary world or ordinary beings. So, the Generation Phase of the tantric deity yoga removes that misapprehension. And then the Completion Phase removes the subtle obscuration, which is the dualizing moment when bliss-emptiness and awareness-appearance are mistaken as two. And in Dzogchen and Mahamudra, when we simply rest the essential openness with the luminous clarity, non-dually, this is very subtle. It requires very little activity.

So, let’s go over these lines of Milarepa’s. When you understand these three things, the three points, that all conceptualizing, all thought is Dharmakaya. Awareness is utterly luminous and it’s deep, the deep of awareness, is bliss itself and that there’s no contrivance whatsoever and this non-contrivance is perfect stability, perfect equanimity, then your practice will be utterly stable. Now, it’s possible to understand the first one, “All thought is free as Dharmakaya,” from two different points of view and we’ll just look very briefly at how that is. It could be understood from the level of provisional teachings by understanding Buddha’s teachings on emptiness and interdependent origination. If you study, for instance, Nagarjuna, especially his “In Praise of Dharmadatu” and his “Karikas,” then you come to a subtle and refined understanding that everything is empty, and therefore, its essence is Dharmakaya and that everything has an equality to it. And so, what is that equality? The equality of chocolate and vanilla is not that they both taste the same, but that they are both empty and the emptiness is equal, and that equality when rested in, is luminous. So, if you study Nagarjuna, if you study Prajnaparamita, then you can come to understand the way in which everything is already freed as Dharmakaya.

But, Milarepa is talking about practice here, the methods of practice. And so, I think it’s best for us, in our Dzogchen tradition, to look at these three lines from the point of view of Longdé practice. In Dzogchen, there are three fundamental lines of teaching: Semdé, Longdé, and Menakdé. Semdé is said to be like the body, in terms of Dzogchen teachings. Longdé is like the heart and Menakdé, which are the Nyingthig teachings, these are like the heart-blood, the heart-essence teachings. Semdé is also said to be the series of teachings related to mind. Longdé are the series of teachings related to space, and Menakdé are the pith, direct instruction teachings. Each of these styles of teachings, within the context of Dzogpachenpo, refine the mind into more and more subtle realization of non-duality.

According to Dzogchen view then, all-appearance—and this is something—all appearance is the ‘rolpatsal,’ the playful creative potency of awareness that we spoke about in the first part of this talk. The playful potency, as I was saying, is the way in which appearances arise as the display of the radiance of awareness. This is related then to Kuntuzangpo of the luminous rays. Kuntuzangpo and Kuntuzangmo, the Ati buddhas, are the symbol of the totality or wholeness of wholeness. And the Semdé teachings connect with Kuntuzanpo. The Longdé teachings connect with Kuntuzangmo’s Samantabadri, who is the essential womb of space itself. And then the Menakdé teachings, the Nyingthig teachings, connect with the non-dual unity of Kuntuzangpo and Kuntuzangmo.

According to Longdé all appearance is simply an ornament of space. Each of these series becomes more and more refined. So, in Semdé there’s a certain amount of possibility for slipping into intellectual contrivance about these rays that move out, that become all appearance. We can then contemplate the way in which resting in the womb space, the rays move out and manifest as this and that. In Longdé, this is refined into the contemplation of space itself and the way in which the appearances simply, spontaneously appear as ornaments of space. They simply float there in space the way ornaments or jewelry, for instance, float on the body. The necklace is simply resting on the neck and the earrings are hanging from the ears. It’s important, then, to understand that appearances spontaneously ornamenting space in this fashion are inseparable from Kuntuzangmo and perfectly pervaded by Kuntuzangmo. Kuntuzangpo, the all-good father, is the rays of wisdom and Kuntuzangmo, Samantabadri, the all-good mother, is the womb-space, the great expanse of perfect wisdom and her empty, vast purity pervades everything. And, as I said before, not the way water pervades cloth but the way that water is pervaded by wetness.

So, you see, all thoughts are simply Dharmakaya. All appearance is Dharmakaya. All appearance is the great expanse of emptiness, itself. In this level of view, there’s no fight with thought, no problem with appearance. There’s simply instant recognition of thought the way that one recognizes one’s own face in a mirror. One recognizes the what and how and why and where of thought, conceptuality, or any appearance. What is it? It’s the ornament of the great expanse made from the great expanse. How is it? It’s simply the spontaneous play arising as ornament. Why is it? It is because awareness is, by its nature, endlessly creative self-presencing beauty and radiance. And, where is it? It’s exactly in the great space of awareness itself. Made from awareness, by awareness, for awareness as play and wonderment.

Sometimes in understanding the way in which appearances can also be great emptiness in Dzogchen teachings, people become confused and Longchengpa explains this in his commentary on Guhyagarbha Tantra when he’s talking about the red and white drops and how they relate to the mandala, which fixates and the mandala of that which is grasped. The mandala which fixates is mind’s cognizing aspect, which seems like a subjective entity. The subjective self fixates on external appearances. And the mandala, which is to be grasped are all the appearances which mind might grasp to. It’s said then that the mandala which fixates is equivalent to the white drop, which is the male aspect within the subtle body’s tiglés. Tiglés are bindu teachings. And all appearances are the red drop, which equates with the female aspect. Sometimes in the beginning, when people are first receiving teachings on the tsalung tigle, they learn that when the bindu, the tiglé, or drops, are divided up in this way, they become confused because the red drop represents all appearance, and yet female-ness is great emptiness. It seems that it might make more sense if the red drop represented the seeming emptiness of mind’s subjective aspect and the white drop were all appearances. Longchengpa goes on to explain that the reason this is, is that appearances are nothing other than great emptiness in their essence and, therefore, can be and are represented by the red drop.

And one can reference all the way back to Second Turning’s teachings of Prajnaparamita where it says, “Here O Shariputra, form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness and emptiness is not other than form.” So, in this consideration, in Prajnaparamita’s teachings on form and emptiness’ singularity, to Longchengpa’s teachings on the tsalung tiglé system as it would be practiced in the Six Yogas, to Dzogchen’s teachings on Longdé and again and again we are receiving instruction on the way in which form and emptiness are non-dual and that all appearances are Dharmakaya. And included with all appearances are thoughts. So, in meditation what is practiced is the understanding that thoughts are already free in Dharmakaya. They’re already free now—not just in Dharmakaya, but as Dharmakaya. All thoughts in being Dharmakaya are free.

So then in our meditative practice, if we rest within this understanding from having received direct introduction from the guru’s own mind-stream, embodying Dzogchen realization is directly introduced to us and then the practice is to rest there. In Garab Dorjé’s Hitting the Essence in Three Words, the first is direct introduction. The guru introduces us through wordless direct introduction, through symbols, or through words into the essence, nature, and energy of mind and not as an intellectual conceit but as a direct realization. And the second is to remove and clarify any doubts about this. And then the third is to not stray from that.

So, Milarepa here, as the technique or method of meditation, is saying the first is to recognize that all thoughts are free as Dharmakaya. And then when thought arises, nothing whatsoever is done with them. There is not the slightest duality in which there is a doer and a thought, to which something is done. And that doesn’t mean then that just that we accept the proliferation of thoughts and we are an ordinary person pretending to be a Dzogchengpa, calling all our identification with thought Dzogchen. This is not what it is saying. Because if we can rest in this fashion, in the direct cognition that all thoughts are free as Dharmakaya, then thoughts cease. In the same way that when we talk about the luminous aspect, the five sense fields are rested in the essence of awareness and they dissolve into luminosity. Thought immediately dissolves. Thought arises as a factor of the dualizing force of mind. And so, when thought is recognized as Dharmakaya, then it comes to rest in its own nature. Thought is liberated on the spot. And so often you hear this phrase, “Things are liberated. Appearances are liberated on the spot. Thoughts are liberated on the spot.” And it’s amusing because people listen to these Dzogchen teachings, but they listen only intellectually, but they don’t really practice, so they don’t ask the questions, which should naturally arise. On what spot? Thoughts are liberated on what spot? Well, the spot is what I mentioned earlier—the essence, nature, and energy of awareness. Longchengpa puts it beautifully when he says, “When the self-luminous glow of awareness mistakes itself for a cognizing subject and its luminosity as objects, that’s the spot where the dualizing force arises.”

In the Completion Phase practices of the Six Yogas, first in Tummo, and then in Karmamudra its refined, and one comes to the place where the wisdom of bliss-emptiness is realized. This is the force of the dualizing moment. And then the subtle most aspect, which is prior to any energy at all, is the point where awareness appearance are dualized. And this is the place where the self-luminous glow of awareness mistakes itself for a subjective entity and objective experiential objects. And so, the spot on which one liberates thought or appearance is this place. And when the thoughts or appearances are liberated, they cease to exist in the conventional sense. There are no thoughts. There is no thinker. There are no appearances. First, thinking, thinker, and appearances are purified from the gross delusion during Generation Phase so that it’s understood that there are no ordinary appearances. But here the five-aggregate house of cards falls down and there is something more mysterious than perceiver, perceived objects, and the act of perception. There is a singularity of awareness-appearance. So, when thoughts are rested as Dharmakaya, the binding force of thought simply dissolves instantly and completely. Thinking, to a large extent, simply ceases. Some residual movement of the physical karmic body remains, and thoughts arise now and then, but are instantaneously recognized as free in and as Dharmakaya. Their binding force ceases.

So, the Dzogchengpa is not bound or convicted by the implications of any thought whatsoever. So, this is important to understand that the meditation—and one may or may not be able to do this meditation and that will depend entirely on whether one’s mind-stream has been ripened by the stages of the path. What is terrible is when someone hears these words, and understands the words, and pretends to themselves that they can do this meditation. And because the meditation is so sublime, ethereal, and translucent, it’s very easy to pretend. “Oh, I am just recognizing all thoughts as Dharmakaya.” And in that thought, the notion ‘Dharmakaya’ is simply a thought that has not been liberated in Dharmakaya. And the notion ‘I’ is a thought that is not liberated in Dharmakaya. Otherwise there is no thought or sensation in body, speech, or mind, which could be called ‘I.’ The movement of the sensation is liberated.

So, this is the first nail of the mediation—that when thought is recognized as always, already free in Dharmakaya, then the second aspect of the meditation of Longdé can be practiced. So, in Longdé, fundamentally, meditation is done according to four symbols. And the symbols are: (1) the five gates of the sense powers not stopped—vivid luminosity, (2) unmoving transparency within non-thought, (3) binding the downward voiding wind in contaminated bliss, and (4) the inseparability (to rest at ease free from any direction beyond the touch of thought). When Milarepa says, “Practice is involved with seeing directly, knowing directly, beyond intellect, that mind is Dharmakaya realizing this.” This equates to what is traditionally the second symbol in Longdé, the unmoving non-thought. Dharmakaya is unmoving. And how is it that Dharmakaya, which is pervaded by this luminous clarity, this radiance, is also unmoving? How can that be understood?

Maybe the best thing here is to tell you a little story about the great Zen swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, and his teacher Takuan. Takuan used to give advice in swordsmanship to various different practitioners of the art. Miyamoto Musashi was in a duel over years with a clan and Takuan gave advice to both sides in this duel. And his fundamental advice was that the mind which stops is the mind which brings about death in combat. So that at any point in which your mind stops is the point in which you die. Even before the swords are drawn, if your mind stops with the notion of an opponent, or when the sword is drawn by your opponent, if your mind stops with the idea, the concept of their sword, or if it stops with the feeling concept of fear, at that moment you have slashed your own life vein and your blood is spilling on the ground. Even if the battle hasn’t actually started yet. So, the mind which never stops, the mind which never dualizes in the midst of combat, is the mind which can move effortlessly and spontaneously through all the motions of combat. Death in combat only comes about at the moment mind stops.

Now, how is that to be understood as being synonymous with the unmoving non-thought of Longdé? You’ll have to remember that mind’s essence is a spacious emptiness and it’s pervaded by a luminous clarity. Instantaneously and ceaselessly the radiance extends past the boundary or edges of infinity. This is similar to the Tibetan tradition of Dzogchen where the example given is the garuda. The little baby garuda breaks out of its shell fully grown and in a single instant crosses the expanse of space itself. In the same way, faster than time, and in a greater extent than space, the radiant, luminous clarity of mind pervades all possibility of space. And so, it is simultaneously radiant and unmoving because there is nowhere left for it to move. The unmoving non-thought is simply the fact that the radiant clarity has already moved across space to its infinite extent and there is nowhere left for it to go, yet it is always crossing that space simultaneously. The Buddhist deity Achala, a powerful and wrathful deity, whose name means unmoving like a mountain, is the representation of this manner in which the radiance is unmovable because it has already moved across the extent of space.

So, the mind which never stops means the mind which is not interrupted in its infinite radiance. When mind’s radiant movement across infinity is interrupted, it’s interrupted by the formation of a conception, of a thought, of an idea, of an intellectual proposition. Otherwise, mind’s radiance has the direct, gnostic capability of immediate cognition, what Mipham calls, “Knowing one liberates all.” The “knowing of the one” is the knowing of everything and the direct non-perception of mind’s radiance without there being a one who knows, or an intellectual proposition, or idea that is known. It’s important to understand the way in which the mind’s radiant aspect and the unmoving non-thought are one and the same. So, un-enlightenment is the interruption of infinite radiance of natural great awareness. Delusion is the point where mind stops, and the radiance is blocked and stagnates. Then radiance is no longer unmovable, in its true sense, and has become temporarily stopped, blocked, stagnated.

Ego, which is a collection of conceptual propositions plus self-referencing as one of those propositions, is nothing more than the stagnation of radiance. In the same way, in a river sometimes a branch or a tree will fall on the edge and create a small pool to the side. The water enters this pool and swirls around and becomes stuck there and all the trash and garbage of the river gets swept into that pool and becomes a stagnating, stinking, festering scum. In the same way ego, as the blockage and stagnation of mind’s infinite radiance, collects all the garbage of memory and stored experience, all the hurts and resentments, and all the hopes, which are grasped after, and the fears which are avoided. When mind is unmovable because it is radiant to infinity it is what in Tibetan is called the ‘zangtal,’ the unmoving radiant transparency, subtle beyond subtle, profound beyond profound. This is such great beauty. This is the proper understanding of the luminosity aspect. So, when thoughts are freed as Dharmakaya and thoughts come to rest then this quality of ‘zangtal’ is the resting state of the unmoving mind.

And so, then when Milarepa says that awareness is luminous and in its depths it is bliss, this is the resting state. And now the practice of luminosity is enhanced by the second aspect that Milarepa is talking about, which is also then the first of the four symbols—luminosity. How is luminosity practiced in Longdé? How is the first symbol of Longdé practiced? It’s practiced by allowing the sense fields—here now the five sense fields because mind is already rested by thoughts being recognized as Dharmakaya—the five sense fields are left completely open and active. When we train the mind to have a subtle purity and an unmoving discipline, then we integrate the five physical senses: sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell. The five senses are simply left as they are, functioning. The sense gates are open, completely open, in the expanse of Kuntuzangmo and Samantabadri. Kuntuzangmo, the great expanse, is the sphere in which Longdé is practiced.

So, what does that mean that they are left as they are—left open? It means not forming any concepts whatsoever regarding the sense fields. The sense activities themselves are instantaneous. When the sense faculty meets the sense object and the sense field is there, if no sense consciousness arises in terms of conceptuality, grasping hold of the seeming sense cognition, then the sense itself dissolves into its own ground, is liberated on the spot. And what is the spot? The self-luminous glow. So, in this way, the luminous aspect of awareness is tremendously enhanced and strengthened by the activity of the sense fields. The sense fields, rather than seeming to create a duality between the apprehender and the object which is apprehended, instead of creating a duality between the subject who sees and the object which is seen, when no concept of subject or object is allowed to arise or no concept about object arises, then all senses are immediately, even as they arise, liberated into their own ground, which is the luminous emptiness.

In the progressive stages of inner Tantra, one is prepared to do this through, first, in Generation Phase, meditating on all appearances as the wisdom mandala of the deity and then on the inner aspect of the Generation Phase, meditating on the body mandala in which the sense faculties, sense objects, and sense fields are known as Bodhisattvas in union. We meditate upon them as Bodhisattvas in union. Now here without any anthropomorphic symbology at all, without contriving them as Bodhisattvas with particular forms and colors and shapes, we simply allow them to rest in their natural state. And what is important here is to understand—in the same way as mind is liberated as Dharmakaya—that when the sense fields are laid to rest in their ground in Longdé’s practice of Dzogchen, then this luminosity is not neutral. It’s completely and perfectly divine. It is brilliant wonderment and bliss beyond any imagining.

If one practices Dzogchen without the proper foundation in Ngondrö and Generation Phase and Completion Phase, then one’s Dzogchen practice tends to become a kind of dry, aloof, untouchability. One may really become an asshole Dzogchengpa in that fashion, filled with the conceit of conceptual enlightenment. If you are actually practicing Dzogchen, then mind becomes utterly pure and radiant and one recognizes all of appearance as divine wonderment, unbearable in its blissful quality. When there is no concept to solidify and make the sense perception rigid and false, then its immediate moment enhances and always points to the true nature of perception, which is the luminosity of awareness. This is called ‘rangbop’ in Tibetan. ‘Rang’ meaning the self-nature of awareness, ‘bop’ to settle in. And so, this is what Milarepa is saying in the line that says, “Awareness is luminous, in its depths it is bliss.”

And this brings up then the next symbol within Longdé, the practice of bliss. Each of these is the further enhancement of recognizing and resting in awareness’s inherent intrinsic quality of luminosity, bliss, and emptiness. All of these three: awareness, luminosity, and bliss are actually one. They are only again divided up for the purpose of discussion, like essence, nature, and energy. Awareness, luminosity, and bliss. You cannot say that you’re a Dzogchengpa resting in the nature of awareness unless your life is suffused and pervaded profoundly by an inherent, natural, luminous blissfulness from which emerges the ten wholesome deeds. The all-goodness of Kuntuzangpo—this Milarepa touches on then in the next verse, the verse pertaining to the conduct. So, in Longdé, when we have begun to recognize the way in which the thoughts are freed as Dharmakaya, the sense fields are active but resting in bliss. These are done through meditations in certain postures. This is where, for instance, the ‘gomtag,’ the meditation belt, is used. The gomtag places pressure on particular subtle channels and nerves in the body, allowing for meditations in certain postures with certain gazes, and then mind comes to rest in this fashion. And then there are very subtle practices, which bind the downward-moving wind. This is the Tummo or Chandali of Dzogchen—just the most subtle binding of the downward wind causes suddenly ripples of bliss to pervade the body, to pervade the awareness to the extent of space.

When we are discovering that awareness is luminous and blissful and we rest in that state, we discover that awareness, luminosity, and bliss are a singularity and non-dual. That’s what I was expressing earlier—that there are three only in name, but not in reality. And when we rest in the deep, we’re practicing the postures and the gazes of Longdé, and mind authentically comes to rest: thoughts freed as Dharmakaya, sense fields open and active, dissolving into luminosity, the downward wind bound, and bliss pervading. When we recognize and rest in this as singular and inseparable, this is the fourth symbol of Longdé and the last of the lines in Milarepa’s verse on meditation, “Resting without contrivance is equipoise.” This inseparability of awareness, luminosity, and bliss is uncontrived. It’s just the spontaneous way things are in their reality. And when that reality is undistorted by duality or confusion or delusion then this inseparability is present. It’s simply the self-presencing of awareness and it is unshakable and unmovable as mentioned earlier. And this is what Milarepa calls ‘equipoise,’ equanimity without contrivance. Resting without contrivance is equipoise.

So, what exactly is meant by contrivance? Contrivance is mind’s forming any proposition about appearance or meditation. This is why in Longdé, the key point turns out to be the meditation on non-meditation. There can be no contriving of meditation by mind or thought. If there is any thought about meditation in meditation’s practice, this is not the meditation of non-meditation, which is the result of Longdé. Non-contrivance is very important for Dzogchengpas. It is the essence of Dzogchen. In essence, it’s simply put, that non-contrivance means that the realization of Dzogchen is not intellectual but pervades the whole of the body-mind world as the natural resting stance of awareness-appearance, spontaneous with no need for thought—equipoise and equanimity. An outer version then would be cultivated in various considerations. But here in Dzogchen’s uncontrived equipoise, it’s simply the spontaneous result of mind resting and dissolving in its own ground. When appearances are liberated on the spot, in their own ground, no matter what arises, then you don’t stray from resting in the luminous awareness, which is blissful, unmoving, and undisturbed because it’s beyond the reach and the touch of contrivance— ‘shardröl.’

Dzogchen is very direct. There is so much mental speculation, consideration, and intellectual contrivance about Dzogchen these days. People read Dzogchen books. They consider the words and then they parrot the words back as if this had any use. As if this could bring an end to suffering. But one should follow the path in its correct form by receiving teachings on Ngondrö, going into retreat and accomplishing the Ngondrö, not in seven years or ten years but in six months. Then receiving teachings on Generation Phase, and go into retreat and practice until accomplishment—and not the accomplishment of just a certain number of mantras or a certain amount of time—these are mechanical accomplishments. But accomplishing the essence is the destruction of ordinary view. Then receiving teachings on Completion Phase’s Six Yogas and practicing until the realization of the singularity of bliss-emptiness and appearance-emptiness. And next receive the teachings on Dzogchen’s profound view and subtle practices. Then go into retreat and practice until accomplishment. This produces realized beings. The methods of Dharma practiced purely and correctly, duplicate the experiment and produce the same results—just as if you boil water at sea level it will always boil at the same temperature. If you follow correctly the sublime wisdom beings’ instructions, following the path purely, it will produce the same result. So, it’s important to read carefully and understand. For that we need to take breaks, now and then, so that we can refresh mind and relax it from its concentration. Go walk around outdoors in the sunshine, chant Guru Mantra, sing prayers until mind becomes refreshed. Sit and let mind’s thoughts relax as Dharmakaya and the sense fields dissolve in luminosity.


Of late I had a few conversations with a number of people whose experience of no-self is skewed towards non-doership rather than pellucid no-self, the pellucidity of luminosity in nondual and no-self. John Tan too have similar encounters. At the most their insight is into the first stanza of anatta but not the second .
I think I will need to write an article on this in AtR blog and guide.
[8:39 PM, 6/9/2021] John Tan: Yes more on no-doership.
[8:40 PM, 6/9/2021] John Tan: 1. Dzogchen has a phrase "spontaneous presence". I do not know it's exact meaning in dzogchen however the phrase is intimately related to the 2 experiences of the 2 stanzas:
1. No doership = spontaneous
2. Mere appearances as Presence
Imo, she is more on 1 not so much on 2 so far in her descriptions."
"[11:25 PM, 5/23/2021] John Tan: Like in prasangika mmk, the non-affirming negation, in the phases of insights approach of the 2 stanzas,one is not interested in the affirmation, just the thorough deconstruction of self construct. The seeing through of self in anatta is the direct experiential taste of non-dual, purity and spontaneity.
[11:39 PM, 5/23/2021] John Tan: So when someone describe to u, they say they have deconstruct self/Self but there is no direct taste of colors, smell, sensation, sound, no direct face to face of the radiance, pellucidity, purity, spontaneity, insubstantiality and non-duality of appearances, is that genuine authentication?
[12:00 AM, 5/24/2021] Soh Wei Yu: No its not.. more like impersonality
[12:00 AM, 5/24/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Or nondoership"
“Immediate Present, Ultimate Dharma
Since our activity is not a progression from delusion to enlightenment made solely by the independent self, Dogen defines the first thought of practice as 'immediate present ultimate Dharma' or genjokoan: the presence and perfection of all dharmas as they are in the here-and-now.' Hee-Jin Kim further explains the meaning of genjokoan:
'It does not suggest an evolutionary ascent from hidden-ness to manifestation, or from imperfection to perfection, or conversely, an emanational descent from one to many, or from reality to appearance. Rather, things, events, beings are already unmistakably what they truly are; what is more, they are vibrant, transparent, and bright in their as-they-are-ness.'” - Zen teacher Shinshu Roberts
“I was having a conversation with someone today (he had some history with various practices, vipassana, actual freedom, and recently came across a famous Thai ajahn, etc) who shared about an experience of dissolving into centerless space. I told him what I call anatta is not just being centerless, it is the effulgence and radiance of the transience. And John Tan concurs with me on this point. That is, regardless of any realization of no-self, and no matter how centerless one feels or how centerless is one's experience of awareness and so forth... still, anything short of direct realization of the radiance or luminosity as the very stuff of transiency is still not what I call the realization of anatta. (And that too is also just an aspect of anatta, and furthermore not yet into the twofold emptying)”
Soh Wei Yu is at Gardens by the Bay.
JuotSplyu 1sgolnu2,s Sour2cSr020coenld · Singapore ·
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At this time, everything in the Universe in the ten directions - soil, earth, grass, and trees; fences, walls, tiles and pebbles - perform the Buddha’s work... The grass, trees, soil, earth reached by this guiding influence all radiate great brightness, and their preaching of the deep and fine dharma is without end.
~ Zen Master Dogen
John Tan
Coincidentally I was watching anime 斗罗大陆, it expresses the experience and taste of total exertion beautifully. I can feel for the character where his clarity loses every trace into the natural radiance and purity of the trees, the flowing river, the wind, the smell and the light.
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But this does not mean the non-doership or no agent aspect of first stanza is less important. As John Tan also said about someone else:
"More towards second stanza, non-doership is equally important."


Anatta and Pure Presence

Someone told me about having been through insights of no self and then progressing to a realisation of the ground of being.


I replied:


Hi ____


Thanks for the sharing.


This is the I AM realization. Had that realisation after contemplating Before birth, who am I? For two years. It’s an important realization. Many people had insights into certain aspects of no self, impersonality, and “dry non dual experience” without doubtless realization of Presence. Therefore I AM realisation is a progression for them.


Similarly in Zen, asking who am I is to directly experience presence. How about asking a koan of what is the cup? What is the chirping bird, the thunder clap? What is its purpose?


When I talked about anatta, it is a direct insight of Presence and recognizing what we called background presence, is in the forms and colours, sounds and sensations, clean and pure. Authentication is be authenticated by all things. Also there is no presence other than that. What we call background is really just an image of foreground Presence, even when Presence is assuming its subtle formless all pervasiveness.


However due to ignorance, we have a very inherent and dual view, if we do see through the nature of presence, the mind continues to be influenced by dualistic and inherent tendencies. Many teach to overcome it through mere non conceptuality but this is highly misleading.


Thusness also wrote in 2018:


The anatta I realized is quite unique. It is not just a realization of no-self. But it must first have an intuitive insight of Presence. Otherwise will have to reverse the phases of insights”


“In addition to what you wrote, I hope to convey another dimension of Presence to you.  That is Encountering Presence in its first impression, unadulterated and full blown in stillness.


So after reading it, just feel it with your entire body-mind and forgot about it. Don't let it corrupt your mind.😝


Presence, Awareness, Beingness, Isness are all synonyms.  There can be all sorts of definitions but all these are not the path to it.  The path to it must be non-conceptual and direct. This is the only way.


When contemplating the koan "before birth who am I", the thinking mind attempts to seek into it's memory bank for similar experiences to get an answer.  This is how the thinking mind works -  compare, categorize and measure in order to understand.


However when we encounter such a koan, the mind reaches its limit when it tries to penetrate its own depth with no answer.  It will come a time the mind exhausts itself and come to a complete standstill and from that stillness comes an earthshaking  BAM!


I. Just I.


Before birth this I, a thousand years ago this I, a thousand later this I.  I AM I.


It is without any arbitrary thoughts, any comparisons.  It fully authenticates it's own clarity, it's own existence, ITSELF in clean, pure, direct non-conceptuality.  No why, no because.


Just ITSELF in stillness nothing else.


Intuit the vipassana and the samatha.  Intuit the total exertion and realization.   The essence of message must be raw and uncontaminated by words. It cannot be secondhand.


Hope that helps!

...There is nothing underneath everything, in the state of I AM, it is just I AM. The rest of the 5 sense doors are shut. Everything else is excluded. It is called I simply because of the koan, nothing else.


What’s experienced is similar to hearing sound without the sense of hearer. So keep the experience but refine the view.” - John Tan to someone in Awakening to Reality Discussion Group, 2019


If you are skewing towards non-doership, you can contemplate and practice to realise and experience the luminosity aspect:

etc etc