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Dustin LindenSmith

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On Dzogchen practice and meditation

Issue #2508 of the Nondual Highlights (edited by Gloria Lee today) has a number of interesting snippets about the highly esoteric yet accessible form of Buddhist meditation practice called Dzogchen. These excerpts summarize it well, but further reading can be found on this page of Nonduality.com, this Dzogchen retreat report, the Dzogchen.org home page (also the home of Lama Surya Das), this Google results page on Dzogchen or this one on Dzogchen sky gazing. Furthermore, one book that's mentioned today is Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen (Amazon.com | Amazon.ca), which I couldn't recommend more highly, especially for anyone looking for motivation to develop a regular sitting meditation practice or for people who are pulled towards a "meditation-in-action" kind of lifestyle.

A question: If we simply dropped all of our concepts and "thoughts" about everything including self, ego, others, karma, Dzogchen, Buddhism, teachings, teachers, empowerments, paths of practice, techniques etc., and simply took refuge in our non-conceptual Presence of Awareness, what issues would remain needing to be clarified?

Jax on Dzogchen Practice
Intelligent practice always deals with just one thing: the fear at the base of human existence, the fear that I am not.

And of course I am not, but the last thing I want to know is that.

I am impermanence itself in a rapidly changing human form that appears solid. I fear to see what I am: an ever-changing energy field...

So good practice is about fear. Fear takes the form of constantly thinking, speculating, analyzing, fantasizing. With all that activity we create a cloud cover to keep ourselves safe in make-believe practice. True practice is not safe; it's anything but safe. But we don't like that, so we obsess with our feverish efforts to achieve our version of the personal dream. Such obessive practice is itself just another cloud between ourselves and reality.

The only thing that matters is seeing with an impersonal searchlight: seeing things as they are. When the personal barrier drops away, why do we have to call it anything? We just live our lives. And when we die, we just die. No problem anywhere.

-- Charlotte Joko Beck in Everyday Zen
In traditional Buddhist texts the five energies of Lust, Aversion, Torpor, Restlessness, and Doubt are called "Mind Hindrances" ...because they obscure clear seeing, just as sandstorms in the desert or fog on a highway can cause travelers to get lost. They hinder the possibility of us reconnecting with the peaceful self that is our essential nature. They confuse us. We think they are real. We forget that our actual nature is not the passing storm. The passing storm is the passing storm. Our essence remains our essence all the time.

Five different energies seem like a limited menu, but they present themselves in an infinite variety of disguises. Ice cream sundaes are different from pizzas are different from sex, but fundamentally they are all objects of the lustful desire....Grumbly mind is grumbly mind; sleepy mind is sleepy mind; restless mind is restless mind; doubtful mind is doubtful mind.

The fact that it's in the nature of minds for storms to arise and pass away is not a problem....[It] helps in keeping the spirits up to remember that the weather is going to change. Our difficult mind states become a problem only if we believe they are going to go on forever.

-- Sylvia Boorstein
"The particular skill required is that it must be a state of total relaxation which is not distracted or dull. It is not an objective experience of looking for the mind or looking at the mind. On the other hand, it is not a blind process; we are not unaware. There is seeing without looking; there is dwelling in the experience without looking at the experience. This is the keynote of the intuitive approach."

"While the mind is poised in the state of bare awareness, there is no directing the mind. One is not looking within for anything; one is not looking without for anything. One is simply letting the mind rest in its own natural state. The empty, clear and unimpeded nature of mind can be experienced if we can rest in an uncontrived state of bare awareness without distraction and without the spark awareness being lost..."

Ven. Kalu Rinpoche
by Jax on Dzogchen Practice
(x-posted to nonduality)

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wildgarden June 28th, 2006
This is a very good entry, and I appreciate reading it with my breakfast, and starting my day with Dzogchen.

Through your Google link I found a talk with Surya Das called "Sustaining Present Awareness", that I enjoyed very much. I have not investigated him before due to his appearance and best-seller popularity. I had thought that maybe his teachings were a watered down offering for the masses.

But I got a similar sense as in hearing Chogyam Trungpa, a kind of earthy simplicity that I can relate to, as underlying my own busy life of distractions. A sense that surfaces occasionally as a quiet awareness of being and presence.

Nice to be reminded. Thanks Dustin.

chaizzilla June 28th, 2006
my guru recommended everyday zen and while i feel various disagreements here & there with it, she does a great job articulating even guiding a buncha wonderful eye openers; the metaphor isn't entirely what i'm after but "can wield the pen like a sword" idea is there -- no band-aids sorta. good and concrete, too, and i think i remember really liking what read like wonderfully well-trimmed yet super-clear passages communicating the act of practice. a-somethin and a yea :)

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