13 Oct 2012
Teaching pt1. Alan completes the 2nd cycle on the 4 greats with great equanimity. Literally, it refers to freedom from attachment to the near and aversion to the far. There is nothing closer than our own awareness. Thogyal—direct crossing over or leaping over—means traversing the bhumis in leaps and bounds to complete enlightenment.
Meditation. Great equanimity preceded by mindfulness of the mind.
1) mindfulness of the mind. Let your mind release all thoughts about that which has already happened and not yet happened, and let your awareness dwell in the fleeting present moment. Awareness is still, naturally clear, and rest in the flow of knowing of being aware. Can you identify from where it emerges? If it doesn’t arise from anything, it is unborn. Can you identify where it is to be found? If it cannot be found, it is non-existent. Does awareness cease? If it does not cease, it is ceaseless. Rest in awareness that is unborn non-existent, and ceaseless.
2) great equanimity. From that perspective, inquire 1) why couldn’t all sentient beings dwell in great equanimity free from attachment to the near and aversion to the far? 2) May we all dwell in great equanimity. 3) I shall bring all beings to great equanimity. 4) May I receive blessings from all the enlightened ones and the guru to do so. With every in breath, blessings in the form of light come in from all directions. With every out breath, light of purification flows out in all directions, dispelling all obscurations.
Teaching pt2. Despite India’s unparalleled history in exploring the mind, modern scientific materialism has become the dominant paradigm in its leading institutions. Modern science lacks testable theories of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of consciousness. The practices of shamatha, vipasyana, trekchö, and thogyal lead to direct experience of primordial consciousness and its energy, putting the following theories to the test. Does primordial consciousness give rise to substrate consciousness which in turn gives rise to individuated consciousness? Does the energy of primordial consciousness—non-dual from primordial consciousness—give rise to life? Does the dharmadhatu—also non-dual from primordial consciousness—give rise to the environment?
Meditation starts at 7:30
This morning we come to the end of the cycle of the four greats for the second time we return to great equanimity, the essence of which is may we all abiding in equanimity, “dwell in equanimity”, literally free of attachment to that which is close and aversion to that which is far. One is very literal. So we all know the normal meaning attachment to one’s loved ones, to one’s friends, possessions and so forth. But let’s move it up a few notches. I related the first three of the greats to the achievement of shamatha, dwelling in substrate consciousness, realization of emptiness, realization of rigpa of the tregcho that is achieve by way of breaking through the conventional mind, the relative mind, the substrate consciousness to rigpa and so then there’s only one step left and that is the thogyal which is translated as the direct crossing over. Now, first of all, the epistemology is not at all clear that is by listening to it, the break through, that’s kind clear, right? Breaking through. But the ‘direct crossing over’ I used to translate it as the leap, ‘leap over’, either one is fine, I just listen the people to know more about this than I do, but the meaning of this, this ‘crossing over’, ‘direct crossing over’, is that having gained realization of rigpa, if you have not achieved that, you’re not really a qualified thogyal practitioner, it’s something very easily missed. You might want to pause right there for a moment. But if you gain realization of rigpa then you are really prepared, you have the vantage point, you have the perspective to be able to authentically engage in thogyal practice. If you don’t - you don’t, it really is that simple, and again this is Dudjom Lingpa speaking, and all those whom he represents and so what are you leaping over? If you’ve achieved direct realization of rigpa, you are a vidyadhara, you have achieved path of seeing.
Now you have these nine bhumis in front of you, path of seeing is the first bhumi and this ‘leap over’ is you don’t incrementally step by step, by step, by step, move gradually, gradually through each of those nine bhumis. You leap like a deer bounding through a forest, you just jump over and then jump right into awakening.
(3:23) And that is what that’s about, that’s an enormously quick mind bogglingly swift way to move through those nine bhumis. But of course, if you have not achieved the first bhumi then you don’t have a ticket to enter in that club. But if you do, then this is extremely rapid. And what I find so remarkable about this thogyal, I mean it’s remarkable in many ways, is that once again one can say it’s effortless, it’s effortless, you’re not really doing anything, you’re not constructing, you’re not visualizing, but with this preparation and adopting a certain set of postures and doing the practice, which is actually very very simple, images directly from, emerging from, dharmadhatu arise, arising from this ground dimension of reality and there arises the five Buddha’s family without visualizing anything, they just arise as the five Buddha’s family. And then they elaborate, they elaborate, it’s visionary, it’s just an elaboration, an expansion of visions stemming purely from the non-duality of primordial consciousness and dharmadhatu until your world is filled with such pure vision. And this entails four visions on the Thogyal, four sequential visions and the final one is called the “vision of the extinction of phenomena into ultimate reality” and what that means is that all impure appearances, you being in the center of your mandala, all impure appearances, all appearances that are conditioned by your own mental afflictions and by karma, all of that are extinguished, they dissolve without trace forever irreversibly into dharmata, into ‘ultimate reality’ and you are finished forever. You are now in the center of your mandala and all appearances are only pure appearances and yet in some inconceivable way, because, after all, dharmakaya is inconceivable, while in the center of your mandala all appearances are pure without visualizing anything that is simply how they arise - unmediated, unfiltered, unconditioned directly from rigpa without configuration by karma, kleshas or anything of that sort. At the same time you have a non-dual awareness as everybody else’s reality and that is, of course, where compassion comes from, everybody, each individual being in the center of his/her own reality.
(6:03) So from that vantage point we’re now really going to into the pinnacle of “upeksa”, equanimity attachment to that which is close, it doesn’t even say people who are close, so attachment to the near. What is nearer than our own awareness? What is nearer than that? And if you fathom the nature of your own awareness, you really penetrate to its nature is really there or not, then you realize the emptiness of your own awareness, that does not inherently exist and the emptiness of your own awareness is nirvana. It doesn’t get much closer than that, if you’re looking for something really close, there’s nothing closer than your awareness and there’s nothing closer than the essential nature, the ultimate nature of your own awareness, there is nothing closer than nirvana. So, relative to nirvana everything else is far away like all impure appearances, samsara, is over yonder, my thoughts, my feelings, my dreams, my mental afflictions, my, my, my, as I am pointing my finger at this object and that appearance and so forth and so on, and he is not very nice but she is really nice and that place really stinks but that is really lovely and all out there, that’s just distant.
(7:23) So the challenge in Dzogchen is to give up attachment to nirvana and give up aversion to samara and to dwell in ‘the one taste and equal purity of samsara and nirvana’. And, of course, that is possible if only, if you’re just dwelling in rigpa, if you’re not then in this make believe, right? So it is quite extraordinary.
Ola so, do you want to practice? A bit of stretch.
Settle your body in a state of equipoise, balance between relaxation and vigilance, sustained with stillness. Settle your respiration evenly, free of the effort to expel or to inhale the breath, free of any constraint that might inhibit the effortless flow of the breath.
Release all thoughts and concerns about that which no longer exists and does not yet exist and let your awareness non-conceptually come to rest in the present which is so fleeting and one may wonder is even this real.
With an utter sense of mental release, let your awareness be still, naturally clear. And rest in that flow of knowing that is so near, so intimate, the knowing of being aware.
This present awareness as you examine closely, can you identify that from which it emerges?
That which does not arise, not really arise from anywhere, is unborn.
Can you identify as you closely scrutinize your own awareness, the boundaries between awareness and not awareness, awareness is present and awareness is absent? Can you identify where it is and where it stops, the real abode of awareness? Where is it to be found?
That which is really not found anywhere, is not present, does not exist. And as you closely examine your own awareness, observe closely. Does it vanish, does it dissolve, it pass away, does it cease? And that for which no cessation is found, is unceasing.
Release all grasping onto awareness and not awareness, rest in unborn awareness that is unceasing and nowhere present.
And from this perspective arouse the question.
1) Why couldn’t all sentient beings dwell in equanimity, free of attachment and aversion to that which is close and far?
And arouse the aspiration:
2) May we all dwell in such equanimity.
3) I shall lead all to such equanimity. I shall lead all to such equanimity free of attachment and aversion even to samsara and nirvana.
4) May I receive the blessings from all awakened ones, from the guru, to enable me to lead all beings to such state of equipoise, of perfect equanimity.
Arouse this aspiration and with each in breath as you imagine bringing in, drawing in or simply accepting the light of blessings from all directions, suffusing and saturating your entire being and with every out breath, breathe out this light of purification that all obscurations may be dispelled.
(32:49) So this morning I received the very encouraging response from the personal secretary of His Holiness, a very strong encouragement to move full speedy ahead, definitely there is an endorsement from His Holiness for creating this contemplative scientific research facility in Bangalore so it is encouraging. But yesterday I received a message from very close friend of mine in India, very well educated at the, I think is probably the primer institute of higher learning in India, it is called the India Institute of Technology. It is more competitive than MIT or Call Tech, it’s really up. He’s being graduated there, obviously streaming bright and when I mentioned to the possibility of bringing in some Indian neuroscientists psychologists into this endeavor, he was very hesitant to say the least. He said ‘you know, when I was studying at my own institute, took a course in cognizing science or some sort, maybe psychology, and he said the professor would not allow us to use the word ‘mind’, would not allow, you talk about –behavior that is scientific, you talk about the brain - that is scientific, you talk about the ‘mind’- not in this classroom buster. To say that is a form of demensia would be universally true, but that this should occur in India, it kind breaks my heart because I really do actually feel India has great heritage for something like four/five thousand years of any culture on the planet for rigorous, rationale and profoundly empirical, exploration of the nature of the mind, the origins of suffering, the origins of the genuine happiness, multiple dimension of consciousness, the role of consciousness in the universe. I don’t think China, the Aztecs the Mayas, let alone the Europeans, the Jewish, I don’t think any them matched, I really don’t. And there it is, can you imagine? At the pinnacle of the higher education, the Eurocentric ideological domination of this country is so thorough, they strangled them to death. There is all kind of imperialism, it’s saturated by racism and that’s just for starts, in economic and so forth but ideological imperialism perhaps is the most pernicious. Of course it is not uniform statement, there are psychologists, in fact I wrote today to a friend of mine who knows a lot of India’s psychologists, neuroscientists, said ‘give me some names’, they got be there, definitely there, who have not been brain washed, at least open minded and highly trained, very professional. I want know who they are and inviting to the party and all the rest that could not even talk about mind could stay home, you will die of soon or later.
(35:31) So this whole mentality was formulated, crystalized by Thomas H. Huxley in nineteen century when he formulated what he called ‘the church scientific’. It is the institutionalization of the scientific materialism, he said, and insists, there are only four gospels in the book of nature and they are the gospel of matter, energy, space and time, and nothing else is allowed therefore consciousness, mind subjective experience either is simply denied altogether because you can’t find in it space, time, matter, energy, is nowhere to be found in which, ok, then it doesn’t exist. So you’ve just actually performed this massive lobotomy on yourself to deny the existence of your own subjective experience. It really, really boggles the mind. You can either do that which quite a number of people have done, the radical behaviorists, the elective materialist, subjective experience doesn’t exist. One very prominent mind scientist said: qualia don’t exist. Qualia, you know, actually experiences of color and sound, they don’t exist, it is just photons, photons, sound, waves and so forth. Amazing. So either you just simply deny it exists altogether and say, as I said, there’s space, time matter, energy and that is all. And emergent properties of course. Or you can say, ok, we’ll let it back, it just feels a little bit too embarrassing to actually say in public that subjective experience doesn’t exist, mind and consciousness don’t exist but we allow in consciousness through the back door and we’ll allow it in if and only if, we equate with something that is space, time and energy, in another words the brain or behavior then you come back in and that is what is happening now. That is the state of the affairs. Globally, China, India, South America, I have been there , North America, Europe, Australia, pretty much this is the absolutely dominant world view and what they’re so keen on this: we banish the supernatural, we deny the supernatural for lack of evidence there is no supernatural, no God, no soul, no heaven, no hell, no transmigration, reincarnation, none of that business. As we said, matter, energy, space, time, that is it, emergency properties, ok, they get really complex. It’s an interesting view, I mean it’s complete psychotic but it is very interesting because if one looks to the origins of the physical universe, go back to the big bang, 30.7 billion years ago, it’s a magnificent theory, it’s a brilliant theory, very good working hypothesis based on empirical evidences, superb math, but then you ask, ok, what have caused it? I mean, that is a simply question, we have – here it is, this is an event, our universe - what caused it? These are various ideas but none of them are scientific, because scientific theory unlike philosophical speculation, a scientific theory is one you can put the test. If you can’t, then there is no reason to call it science then anything goes fairies, leprechauns, anything. Oh, this is my scientific theory of leprechaun is - they are green but invisible or whatever. That is not science, that is your belief, cool.
(38:48) There is no scientific theory of the origins of the universe, so it’s kind of assumed it just came out of nothing and so that is supernatural nihilism, so supernatural nihilism is how you start science, it’s based upon science. This scientific view of the universe is based upon on supernatural nihilism. Then eventually, at some point, like on our planet here, we have the emergence of life 3.5 or 4 billion years ago, something like that. There is no scientific theory of the origins of life in the universe. There’s all kind of ideas, they all contradict each other, none of them have been tested and no one has ever even really gotten close to replicating, actually creating life, living organism that reproduce, eat and poop and all of that, out of just organic chemicals. Nobody’s done it, they’re not even close, they’ve been saying they’ve been close for more than fifty years and they’re not. So they haven’t been able to do it and they have no scientific theory of how it happened because a scientific theory is the one you can test. So modern Biology asks the origins of life, this is based upon supernatural physics and chemistry. Because they’re insisting: all of life emerge out of complex configurations of organic molecules and electricity. In another words, physics and chemistry - and your theory is? We don’t have one.
Is there anything in physics or in chemistry that would predict that life would emerge from inorganic chemicals and electricity? No!!
So, it’s not the physics and chemistry we know, it’s supernatural physics and chemistry. The kind of physics and chemistry that nobody knows about, but, that’s the origins of life. But give us more time and money and we’ll find some way to prove what we believe and we’ll absolutely refuse to doubt.
(40:40) So Biology is based upon supernatural physics and chemistry, then we have the mind sciences.
And the mind sciences have no theory whatsoever for the origins of consciousness, not on the planet, not in human fetus, not in anything else. There is no scientific theory. Tons of books, tons of speculation pretty which mutually contradict, no consensus, no knowledge and no scientific theory that can be put to any test whatsoever and moreover they certainly have not been able to generate consciousness in robots, computers, or anything else. In another words, the mind sciences, but nevertheless just take my word for it, consciousness, all mental states arise out of the sufficiently complex configurations of biological processes, neurons, synapses dendrites and so forth. In another words the mind sciences are base in supernatural biology.
(41:42) It is all based on supernatural views for which there is no scientific evidence, no scientific theory, it is science base upon supernaturalism. Gosh, when I look at that, I’m disappointed. I expected more from you because I love science but you’re really letting me down here. No theory for the origin of the universe, no theory for the origins of life, no theory for the origin of consciousness. I was hoping for more. That’s why I left Western civilization and went to India.
(42:16) So here is an alternative theory. That is – with the materialists, they’ve taken consciousness out of the universe and either not allowed it in at all or let it in as the lowest of the lowest of the lowest, a mere secretion of complex neuronal activities in the brain. In other words ‘sit in your closet and shut up ‘cause we’re really busy here understanding the real world.’ You know? So they demote is down beneath the janitor of the universe and it doesn’t do anything and if you do anything we going to call it a placebo effect. So just shut up. We will not give you credit for anything because you don’t do anything
So the absolute demotion of consciousness into either nothing or marginally more than nothing needs some ‘fresh air’. Whew – Good. Thank goodness Eurocentric civilization is not the only one on the planet.
(42:59) How about this other view, that you can put to the test of experience, it is called, how do you do this? Maybe shamatha, vipashyana and thecho, that may do it. To realize directly through your own experience the existence of dharmadhatu, that is emptiness. To realize through your own experience primordial consciousness that is thecho and then to realize Togyal, the power, the capacity, the infinite capacity really of that dimension of consciousness, the energy of primordial consciousness which manifests big time in Togyal, you see it and also then it flows through you and you are able to start displaying some of the powers of the Buddha. And those three, the absolute space of phenomena, dharmadatu, primordial consciousness and the energy of primordial consciousness, primordially non dual, non local atemporal, but that out of which the entire phenomenal world emerges. Now, there’s a theory that you can actually put to the test.
Of course you had to invite consciousness back in and put it on the throne and take it out of the mop room, put it back where it belongs as absolutely fundamental to the whole universe. So there it is.
And I want to end on a note of whimsy – I’m really god at whimsy, if you hadn’t noticed.
(44:25) What if the emergence of all consciousness throughout the universe, fundamentally that is, in terms of its ultimate taproot, all consciousness, consciousness of all sentient beings, of course of all Buddhas, is none other than primordial consciousness that crystallizes as substrate consciousness which then further crystalizes as individual consciousness that is humans, animals and so forth and so on, but its taproot, fundamental ground, nothing other than primordial consciousness. That is Dzogchen view. But further now, and this is where the whimsy comes in because I don’t know if it is true or not but might be, what about this energy of primordial consciousness, this prana. What is that the origin of all life in the universe when a planet first forms and so forth? What if all life consists of configurations, crystalized configurations of this fundamentally bio-energy, vital energy? That is non-dual from primordial consciousness? What if life emerges not just from the sufficiently complex configurations of chemicals and energy, but from a fundamental energy? That is right down there at the ground of the universe, in other words, life is intrinsic to the universe itself, as consciousness is intrinsic to the universe itself? And when it comes to dhamadhatu, absolute space of phenomenon.
(45:55) What if all configurations of space, time and inanimate mass energy are all emerging out of that as the environment? So, every so often I have seen this in the Dzogchen literature but many other places as well. Speak of the nisho, the ni is the inanimate environment and the cho literally is the vessel and the cho, is the kind of the nutrition, the vital essence, that is all about, the cho, like the cho of food is the nutrition, that is that makes the food, food. And so the cho of the ni, the cho the vital essence of the environment, the sentient beings. This is all created for sentient beings. The notion ‘we just kind of happened along because some chemicals got sufficiently complex, and they said: oh, I am life, nope!
(46:55) Life is right at the core, consciousness is right at the core and the manifestation of the environments, of the universes, space, time, mass, energy, configurations, the vessel that’s also at the core right there in dharmadhatu, manifesting when catalized. So there’s a theory you can actually test. (47:28)
But it means that we are not casual and very brief interlopers in the universe, here for a few decades and then snuffed out like a light, which is the ultimate nihilism of materialism. We came from nowhere, we are going nowhere and in the meantime have a nice hedonic pleasures but you probably won’t much.
That is one view extremely sad, pointless, nihilistic, dehumanizing, demoralizing, disempowering but if that’s the best as you got, OK I guess, you can live with that. The other one seems a bit more lively, has a bit more potential, upward mobility.
Enjoy your day.
Transcribed by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Revised by Diane Strully
Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti