Sunday, 5 December 2010

Longchen Rabjam: Great Perfection

If you stray from your fundamental nature,
the functioning of conceptual mind is samsara,
pure and simple.

It involves cause and effect- you have not come
to the decisive experience.

A person who makes this mistake falls lower and lower.

Therefore, the sublime secret- great perfection-does not
stray from basic space, and the expressions of dynamic
energy resolve within the ground of being.

Enlightened intent abides as an
unwavering state of equalness.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Genuine practice

Repeating old words
from famous meditators
will not improve our meditation.

Imagining that by reading
the experiences that others
have had, we become good
meditators, we are fooling ourselves.

Looking at our mind in order
to see its real nature is
called genuine practice.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Awareness: The heart of consciousness






Five consciousnesses

Sixth consciousness

Seventh consciousness

Alaya consciousness


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Madhyamaka: going beyond thought

This blog is not useful

This blog is not useless

This blog is not useful and useless

This blog is not neither useful nor useless

Where does this blog originates from?

Where does this blog abides?

Where does this blog ceases?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Mahakala: Strength


The wrathful face of compassion.

Karmic law in action.

The STRENGTH of spontaneous presence.


protecting AWARENESS from delusion.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Self: Faking enlightenment

I can quote many masters,
I can fake spontaneity,
I can pretend to possess insight,
but while there is identification
with an I,
the great perfection of the mind
will remain hidden within confusion.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Garuda: Rigpa

Given spontaneous presence,
timelessly ensured and free
of hope and fear,
if you strive to achieve again and again,
you will see that there is nothing to achieve.

Nothing to achieve:
this is the fruition of
omnipresent awareness.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Longchenpa: Ati

Nowadays, those "elephants" who pride themselves on
being ati practitioners, allege that thought patterns,
stirring and proliferating, are awakened mind.

All of these fools are submerged in darkness,
far from the meaning of natural great perfection.

They do not understand even dynamic energy
or what arises from that energy,
to say nothing of the essence of awakened mind.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Lada: Certainty

Thoughts are like clouds,
invoked by the rocks of belief.

Drop clinging to opinions,
and the sky becomes blue.

The fresh wind of certainty,
clears the clouds of doubt.

Friday, 6 August 2010

The cave of Dawn: Beyond the intellect

Get in the dark cave of subconscious mind,
with the light of mindfulness,
and you will find out,
that there is nobody
neither outside,
nor inside.

In fact,
there is no real difference
between outside and inside.

This, my friend, is the
cave of Dawn.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Now: Non-conceptual wisdom mind

In this very moment,
mixed up with memories
from the past,
and expectations for the future,
hides the little grain of


Let IT shine.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Saraha: the vanishment of the Self

So simple,
yet so difficult to attain.

Unless we walk along the path,
ordinary mind will remain hiddden.

One and the same for all of us:


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Utilizing thoughts: Lada

When we practice looking into the ungraspable
nature of thoughts, we no longer need to be
scared of any thought that might occur;
we do not have to struggle with thoughts
nor be caught up in our thinking.

Instead, by recognizing its essence,
the thinking itself is used as the path.

That is the principle of



Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Prajnaparamita: A

Hidden in the midst of ritual,
you can find the formless technique.




Monday, 26 April 2010

Jigme Lingpa and the heart essence

From the Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse

Homage to glorious Samantabhadra!

The true nature of things is naturally free of conceptual projections.

It does not exist, since even the victorious ones do not see it.

Yet neither is it non-existent, as it is the ground of all samsara and nirvana.

There is no contradiction here, for it lies beyond the realm of expression.

May all realize this Great Perfection, the true nature of the ground!

In essence it is empty, hence free from the limitations of permanence.

By nature it is clear, and free from the limitations of nihilism.

Its capacity unobstructed, it is the ground of manifold emanations.

It is divided into three, yet in truth there are no such differentiations.

May all realize this Great Perfection, the true nature of the ground!

Inconceivable and free of all superimposition, one-sided fixation

On things being either existent or non-existent completely dissolves.

The full import of this turns back even the tongue of the victors.

Without beginning, middle, or end, it is a great expanse of deep clarity.

May all realize this Great Perfection, the true nature of the ground!

Its essence is pristine, unoriginated, and primordially pure.

Whatever manifests is the expression of this unconditioned spontaneous presence.

Without perceiving them as other, realizing the great unity of awareness-emptiness,

One’s understanding of the ground will reach a point of culmination.

May there be no deviations and mistakes concerning this key point of the path!

Pure from the beginning, even the term “view” does not exist.

Aware of the original state, the sheath of meditation falls away.

There are no reference points, hence no need to restrain one’s conduct.

In the spontaneously present nature, this state of naked simplicity,

May there be no deviations and mistakes concerning this key point of the path!

Not falling into partiality towards positive thoughts or negative ones,

And without giving free rein to a state of indifferent neutrality,

Manifestation and liberation—an expanse unrestricted, unbridled, and spontaneously free.

Understanding that the nature is inherently devoid of needing to accept and reject,

May there be no deviations and mistakes concerning this key point of the path!

Like space, awareness is the universal ground and starting point.

Manifest ground spontaneously present, yet vanishing like clouds in the sky,

The mind radiates out, projecting outwards and then returning within

To the youthful vase body’s inner space, possessing six unique characteristics–

May all seize the throne of this majestic fruition!

From the very beginning, awareness itself is Samantabhadra.

Within it, all hoping for attainments dissolves into the sphere of reality,

The true character of the Great Perfection, beyond intentional effort;

The sphere of reality and awareness, the inner space of Samantabhadri–

May all seize the throne of this majestic fruition!

Utterly non-abiding–the nature of the Great Middle Way;

All-embracing and spontaneously vast–the state of Mahamudra;

Freed from limitations and wide open–the key point of the Great Perfection.

The virtues of the levels and paths fundamentally complete–spontaneously present inner space.

May all seize the throne of this majestic fruition!

This profound prayer, a summation of the seal

Of the quintessential vast expanse,

Was set down at the behest of the protector of the teachings,

The Rishi Rahula, who took the form of a monk.

To make meaningful the spread of the profound reality

And bring to perfection this prayer of interdependence,

I let loose this profound seal to the mad yogi of Kong.

Entrusting it to this hidden master of awareness

Who himself has been blessed by Akashagarbha.

May its benefit for beings equal the extent of space!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Experiences and realization

This is bringing brass to mind as gold.

You think carrying this experience onto
the path will accomplish the ultimate.

That is like being attached to the bliss
of a dream.

You claim that the aggregates are impermanent
and bliss is permanent?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Fourth symbol: Beyond the intellect

Intellect, mind and mental appearances
have this very nature.

All the worlds appearing in their diversity
have this very nature.

All the varieties of the seen and the seer
have this very nature.

Attachment, desire, aversion and bodichitta
too, have this very nature.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Saraha: Nothing to negate or construct

There is no negating,no constructing,
and no apprehending: it is inconceivable.
The ignorant are bound by mental categories.
The inseparable, the coemergent,
is utterly pure.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Nonduality: Appearance and emptiness

First a thing, and in the end a nonthing-
neither is established;
likewise, there is nothing
other than these two.

There is no place to abide in the
beginning, middle or end.

For those whose minds are
obscured by continual concepts,
emptiness and compassion
are expressed in words.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Understanding Dependent Origination

Today, in this tenth session, we are going to take up a very important topic in Buddhist studies and this is the teaching of dependent origination. I am aware of the fact that many people believe that dependent origination is a very difficult subject and I would not say that there is no truth in that belief. In fact, on one occasion Ananda remarked that despite its apparent difficulty, the teaching of dependent origination was actually quite simple; and the Buddha rebuked Ananda saying that in fact the teaching of dependent origination was very deep. Certainly in the teaching of dependent origination we have one of the most important and profound teachings in Buddhism. Yet I sometimes feel that our fear of dependent origination is to some extent unwarranted. There is nothing particularly difficult, for instance, in the term dependent origination. After all, we all know what dependent means, and what birth, origination or arising means. It is only when we begin to examine the function and application of dependent origination that we have to recognize the fact that we have a very profound and significant teaching. Some indication of this can be gained from the Buddha’s own statements. Very frequently, we find that the Buddha expressed His experience of enlightenment in one of two ways, either in terms of having understood the Four Noble Truths, or in terms of having understood the nature of dependent origination. Again, the Buddha has often mentioned that in order to attain enlightenment one has to understand the Four Noble Truths; or similarly, one has to understand dependent origination.

On the basis of the Buddha’s own statements, we can see a very close relationship between the Four Noble Truths and dependent origination. What is it that the Four Noble Truths and dependent origination have in common? The principle that both have in common is the principle of causality - the law of cause and effect, of action and consequence. In one of our earlier lectures we have mentioned that the Four Noble Truths are divided into two groups. The first two - suffering and the causes of suffering, and the last two - the end of suffering and the path to the end of suffering. In both of these groups, it is the law of cause and effect that governs the relationship between the two. In other words, suffering is the effect of the cause of suffering; and similarly, the end of suffering is the effect of the path to the end of suffering. Here too in regard to dependent origination, the fundamental principle at work is that of cause and effect. In dependent origination, we have a more detailed description of what actually takes place in the causal process.

Let us take a few examples that establish the nature of dependent origination. Let us take first an example used by the Buddha Himself. The Buddha has said the flame in an oil lamp burns dependent upon the oil and the wick. When the oil and the wick are present, the flame in an oil lamp burns. If either of these is absent, the flame will cease to burn. This example illustrates the principle of dependent origination with respect to a flame in an oil lamp. Let us take the example of the sprout. Dependent upon the seed, earth, water, air and sunlight the sprout arises. There are in fact innumerable examples of dependent origination because there is no existing phenomenon that is not the effect of dependent origination. All these phenomena arise dependent upon a number of causal factors. Very simply, this is the principle of dependent origination.

Particularly, we are interested in the principle of dependent origination as it applies to the problem of suffering and rebirth. We are interested in how dependent origination explains the situation in which we find ourselves here. In this sense, it is important to remember that dependent origination is essentially and primarily a teaching that has to do with the problem of suffering and how to free ourselves from suffering, and not a description of the evolution of the universe. Let me briefly list the twelve components or links that make up dependent origination. They are ignorance, mental formation, consciousness, name and form, the six senses, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, becoming, birth, and old age and death.

There are two principal ways in which we can understand these twelve components. One way to understand them is sequentially, over a period of three lifetimes: the past life, the present life and the future life. In this case, ignorance and mental formation belong to the past life. They represent the conditions that are responsible for the occurrence of this life. The following components of dependent origination - consciousness, name and form, the six senses, contact, feeling, craving, clinging and becoming - belong to this life. In brief, these eight components constitute the process of evolution within this life. The last two components - birth and old age and death - belong to the future life. According to this scheme, we can see how the twelve components of dependent origination are distributed over the period of three lifetimes, and how the first two - ignorance and mental formation result in the emergence of this life with its psycho-physical personality and how in turn, the actions performed in this life result in rebirth in the future life. This is one popular and authoritative way of interpreting the twelve components of dependent origination.

But for today, I am going to focus on another interpretation of the relation between the twelve components of dependent origination. This interpretation too is authoritative and has the support of recognized Buddhist masters and saints. This interpretation might be called a cyclical interpretation because it does not depend upon a distribution of the twelve components amongst three lifetimes. Rather, it divides the twelve components into three groups, and these are defilements (Klesha), actions (Karma), and sufferings (Duhkha). This scheme has the advantage of not relying upon a temporal distribution amongst three lifetimes. According to this scheme, ignorance, craving and clinging belong to the group of defilements. Mental formation and becoming belong to the group of actions. The remaining seven, that is, consciousness, name and form, the six senses, contact, feeling, birth, and old age and death belong to the group of sufferings. Through this interpretation we can see how the teaching of the Four Noble Truths and particularly the teaching of the Second Noble Truth - the truth of the cause of suffering, is conjoined with the teaching of karma and rebirth; and how together these two important teachings explain in a more complete way the process of rebirth and the origination of suffering.

You may recall that in the context of the Four Noble Truths, we have said that ignorance, desire and ill-will are the causes of suffering. If we look here at the three components of dependent origination that are included in the group of defilements, we will find ignorance, craving and clinging. Here too, ignorance is the most basic. It is because of ignorance that we crave for pleasures of the senses, for existence and for non-existence. Similarly, it is because of ignorance that we cling to pleasures of the senses, to pleasant experiences, to ideas and, perhaps most significantly, to the idea of an independent, permanent self. This ignorance - craving and clinging - is the cause of actions.

The two components of dependent origination that are included in the group of actions are mental formation and becoming. Mental formation refers to the impressions or habits that we have formed in our stream of conscious moments - our conscious continuum. These impressions or habits are formed by repeated actions. We can illustrate this by means of an example taken from geography. We know that rivers form their course by means of a process of repeated erosion. As rain falls on a hillside, that rain gathers into a rivulet. That rivulet gradually creates a channel for itself, and gradually grows into a stream. Eventually, as the channel of the stream is deepened and widened by repeated flows of water, the stream becomes a river which develops well-defined banks and a definite course. In the same way, our actions become habitual. These habits become part of our personality and we take these habits with us from life to life in the form of mental formation or habit energy. Our actions in this life are conditioned by the habits which we have formulated over countless previous lives. So to return to the analogy of the channel of the river and the water in it, we might say that mental formations are the channel of the river, and the actions that we perform in this life are the fresh water that flow again through the eroded channel created by previous actions. The actions that we perform in this life are represented by the component known as becoming. So here, as regards mental formation and becoming, we have the habits that we have developed over the course of countless lives combined with new actions performed in this life, and these two together result in rebirth and suffering.

To summarize, we have the defilements which may be described as impurities of the mind - ignorance, craving and clinging. These mental impurities result in actions, actions done in previous lives which have resulted in the formulation of habit energy, and actions done in the present life which on the whole are liable to conform to the patterns established in previous lives. Together, these impurities of the mind and these actions result in rebirth. In other words, they result in consciousness, in name and form, in the six senses, in contact between the six senses and the objects of the six senses, in feeling which is born of that contact, in birth, and in old age and death. In this interpretation, the five components of dependent origination included in the groups of defilements and actions - ignorance, craving, clinging, mental formation and becoming - are the causes of rebirth and suffering. Consciousness, name and form, the six senses, contact, feeling, birth, and old age and death are the effects of the defilements and actions. Together, the defilements and actions explain the origin of suffering and the particular circumstances in which each of us find ourselves, in which we are born.

You may recall that in one of our earlier lectures, we refer to the fact that whereas the defilements are common to all living beings, actions differ from individual to individual. So whereas the defilements account for the fact that all of us are prisoners within samsara, yet actions account for the fact that some are born as human beings, others are born as gods, and others as animals. In this sense, the twelve components of dependent origination present a picture of samsara with its causes and its effects.

There would be no point in painting this picture of samsara if we do not intend to use this picture to change our situation, to get out of samsara. It is in this sense that recognizing the circularity of samsara, the circularity of dependent origination is the beginning of liberation. How is this so? So long as defilements and actions are present, rebirth and suffering will occur. When we see that repeatedly, ignorance, craving, clinging and actions will lead to rebirth and suffering, we will recognize the need to break this vicious circle.

Let us take a practical example. Suppose you are looking for the home of an acquaintance whom you have never visited before. Suppose you have been driving about for half an hour or more and have failed to find the home of your friend, and suppose suddenly you recognize a landmark that you saw half an hour previously. Suppose you again come upon the landmark, and it dawns upon you that you have passed the landmark half an hour ago. At that moment it will also probably dawn upon you that you have been going around in circles, and you will stop and look at your road guide, or enquire the way from a passer-by so as to stop going around in circles and reach your destination. This is why the Buddha has said that he who sees dependent origination sees the Dharma and he who sees the Dharma sees the Buddha. This is why the Buddha has, as I have mentioned earlier, said that understanding dependent origination is the key to liberation. So once we see the functioning of dependent origination, we can then set about breaking this vicious circle of dependent origination. We can do this by removing the impurities of the mind - ignorance, craving and clinging. Once these impurities are eliminated, actions will not be performed, and habit energy will not be produced. Once actions cease, rebirth and suffering will also cease.

I would like to spend a little bit of time on another important meaning of dependent origination and that is dependent origination as an expression of the Middle Way. During one of our earlier lectures, we had occasion to refer to the Middle Way, and on that occasion we confined ourselves to only perhaps the most basic meaning. We have said that the Middle Way means avoiding the extreme of indulgence in pleasures of the senses and the extreme of self-mortification. In that context the Middle Way is synonymous with moderation. Now in the context of dependent origination, the Middle Way has another meaning which is related to the earlier meaning but deeper. In this context the Middle Way means avoiding the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. How is this so? The flame in the oil lamp exists dependent upon the oil and the wick. When either of these are absent, the flame will be extinguished. Therefore, the flame is neither permanent nor independent. Similarly, this personality of ours depends upon a combination of conditions - defilements and actions. It is neither permanent nor independent. Recognizing the conditioned nature of our personality, we avoid the extreme of eternalism, of affirming the existence of an independent, permanent self. Alternatively, recognizing that this personality, this life does not arise through accident, or mere chance, but is instead conditioned by corresponding causes, we avoid the extreme of nihilism, the extreme of denying the relation between action and consequence. While nihilism is the primary cause of rebirth in states of woe and is to be rejected, eternalism too is not conducive to liberation. One who clings to the extreme of eternalism will perform wholesome actions and will be reborn in states of happiness, as a human being or even as a god, but he will never attain liberation. Through avoiding these two extremes, through understanding the Middle Way, we can achieve happiness in this life and in the future life by performing wholesome actions and avoiding unwholesome actions, and eventually we can achieve liberation.

Buddha Dharma education association

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Pointing out: Now

Attachment to pleasant experiences
vanishes of its own accord.

Illusory and negative thoughts
are in their essence pure, like space.

In that simple state of mind there is
nothing that must be given up or
developed, avoided or attained.

May the truth of the uncomplicated
nature of reality be realized.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Shine: Experiences

May the waves of subtle and coarse thoughts subside
on their own, and the placid river of mind gently come
to rest. May the ocean of serene abiding, without the
silt and mire of torpor and dullness, remain steady
and unperturbed.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Saraha: Nonattachment to what is untrue.

Just as an image appears
on the mirror´s surface,
where the ignorant look
in their lack of knowledge,
so the mind that throws
away the truth relies on many
concepts that are not true.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Saraha: Attachment

Bugs on excrement are attached to its smell
and think the pure fragrance of sandalwood foul.
Likewise, attached to dense ignorance,
the source of samsara,
individuals toss away the
trascendence of suffering.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Saraha: Undistracted awareness

A mind cleansed of defilement
coemerges with its intrinsic nature;
such a mind remains free from disharmony.

Watch your own self,
for it represents intrinsic reality.
If unable to watch with an undistracted mind,
you will fail to penetrate the forest of substance
and will lose the gem of true reality,
for a distracted mind is uncapable of realization.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Second Yoga: Simplicity

The lesser simplicity is when you realize that
the identity of the thinking and perceiving mind
is devoid of such constructs as arising and ceasing.

However, you are not free from the fetter of savoring
the conviction that clings to it as being empty.

You realize that the identity of all phenomena
is devoid of the constructs of arising,
dwelling and ceasing.

You also still entertain hopes and fears concerning
samsara and nirvana.

As well, your states of deep sleep and dreaming,
for the most part, are still deluded.

There are considerable fluctuations in your dharma
practice, and it is possible that sometimes you have
trust in your master, dharma friends and practice,
and that sometimes you feel doubt.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Utilizing sickness

Use the acute feeling of ache and pain as the very
substance of the training and, without trying to alter it,
suspend it in being vividly present.

By continuing in this way, you find progress in that the pain
becomes the meditation training without having to be rejected.

Moreover, investigate the ego-clinging within the one who feels
sick, the one who hurts and the one who experiences, and suspend
it without artifice in the state that is free from any definable identity.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

First yoga: Je Gyare

The meditator has realized the one-pointed yoga when he has
with conscious certainty gained insight into his own inmost
awareness, which is an inseparable blend of its intrinsic
clarity and emptiness. Like the expanse of space,
this simplicity of mind is detached from any
substantive entity while manifesting itself
clearly and uninterruptedly.

On the other hand, the meditator has not gained insight
into the mind´s essential nature through the
one-pointed yoga if he has not achieved
such an awareness of certainty, even
though his mind is settled quietly
and serenely in the state of bliss,
clarity and non-discrimination.
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