27 Resting in Awareness and Appearances on the Path to Convergence on Rigpa

13 Apr 2016

Alan begins by commenting that all teachings and sequences of practice have the goal of converging on realising the ultimate nature of mind, rigpa. This includes cultivating loving-kindness up to relative bodhicitta and ultimate bodhicitta, which in Dzogchen practice is no different from rigpa. The practices of shamatha and the four applications of mindfulness and so on, are directed towards realising the empty nature of our own mind and then converging on realising rigpa. Alan comments that the method of application of mindfulness to the body by firstly closely attending to one’s own body internally, then externally, then both internally and externally so that it encompasses a whole system, is the method taught by Tsongkhapa for applying mindfulness to the whole of reality by way initially of the five physical senses. This requires resting in stillness with clarity and discernment and attending to appearances in the space of awareness. All appearances have momentary existence, are all fresh, unprecedented, in constant flux, and directly perceived. By contrast, the conceptual projections (words, ideas) that we superimpose on appearances are static, like a snapshot. Our internal self-concept is also static in this sense. The practice is to rest in stillness, observe what appearances arise from that stillness and note the change in them and the nature of the projections we superimpose on them.

The meditation is initially guided on settling the mind by counting the breath twenty-one times and then from stillness partially opening our eyes to investigate the nature of appearances and our mental superimpositions on them.

After the meditation practice, Alan resumes the transmission of the Panchen Lama’s text, and comments on provisional and definitive views, and on examples of the different approaches of seeking meditation as the basis of the view (e.g. Padmasambhava’s Natural Liberation practice of first achieving shamatha) versus seeking the view as a basis for meditation (as in the Geshe training). Alan says for the next few days we will make an excursion away from the Panchen Lama’s text and he will, for the first time, offer the oral transmission of a chapter on shamatha from one of Karma Chagme’s treatises. He received the oral transmission of this chapter from Gyatrul Rinpoche in 1990. He then translated it, but it has never been published. The printed copy (20 pages) will be distributed to those on retreat in Tuscany and those people listening by podcast who would like to obtain a copy should individually send a message to Sangay at SBI, requesting it on the basis that it is for personal use, and must not be put on any website as Alan is still considering its formal publication.

The meditation starts at 13:25


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Transcript

27Spring2016_Resting in Awareness

Olaso. So all of the teachings and practices that we were exploring during these weeks together, they are all converging in on one point. The sequence from the loving kindness right on through, culminating in Bodhichitta, relative Bodhichitta. That’s all for the sake of realizing ultimate Bodhichitta which in the Dzogchen context is realizing Rigpa. Rigpa is ultimate Bodhichitta right? That non-dual realization of pristine awareness and Dharmadhatu, or absolute space of phenomena. So it’s all going in that direction; to wake up.

Then we have the shamatha route, where we’re starting here in the shallow end of the pool, but we’re in our bodies which is a good place to start. But where as you know we will be going from there to settling the mind, into awareness of awareness and that is going directly to... Oh, realization of Rigpa.

And then we are starting in the shallow end of the pool in this Vipashyana practice, very basic foundational, elementary practices of closely bringing mindfulness to the body to feelings and so on, which will be leading to, segueing over into the Mahayana approach, the Mahayana approach like Shantideva’s approach to the four applications of mindfulness, which is all about realizing the empty nature, the emptiness of inherent nature, of the body of feelings and so on. And then that of course is leading to realizing the empty nature of your own mind and that of course is right next door to realizing Rigpa.

So we’re converging in from three angles, but all end in the same point, all having exactly the same purpose the same point of convergence. So they would say in Tibetan ‘gompa chig’ it’s all converging in upon one view.

So on that theme I’d like to do now, with very little preamble, go back to the first of the four applications of mindfulness in this very foundational way, but drawing a bit from the Tibetan tradition. I studied this, when I left the Buddhist school of Dialectics a long time ago, it was to go off and practice the four applications of mindfulness that is why I left, so I could meditate more and try to integrate the teachings that I had received thus far. And I remember very clearly then it was by way of Tsongkhapa, Tsongkhapa wrote a brilliant concise explanation of these four applications of mindfulness and he made it very clear that when we are referring to the first one, close application of mindfulness to the body, it refers (as we see in the Pali Canon), it refers to one’s own body, one attends to the body internally, you might recall this yeah? And then one attends to or closely applies mindfulness to the body externally, and that is closely attending to the body the facial expression the body language and so on, of others, human and nonhuman, and then one attends to the body internally and externally. It’s really quite brilliant and this is where one is engaging with some other sentient being, let’s say a human being, but now you are attending to the whole system.

As you are observing, I am seeing Amy, the gentle Mona Lisa Smile... 3:01 you know...and now it’s broken into, you know the sun has come out and the teeth are showing, [laughter] you know, so my words are influencing her but then her, it’s nice to see people smile, you know, and that influences anybody who receives somebody else’s smile, you know - friendly - some good cheer. And so that was a whole system that took place there, you know and so there it is and so this obviously influenced my words and so it’s this internally and externally, in seeing how our physical presence with each other influences the physical presence with each other; it is very, it’s very deep. But Tsongkhapa takes it even a step further in this regard, he broadens it, he broadens it, and he said well these four close applications of mindfulness, in fact they are closely, when all is said and done, when you’re finished with them the whole set of four, you haven’t left out anything - that is there is nothing in reality which you have excluded, this is all inclusive, so these are four big categories and what is placed in the first one? The close application of mindfulness to the body - is the entire physical world, everything physical; planets elementary particles, you name it. But if we are doing this from a first person perspective we are not trying to do it simply conceptually, imagining electromagnetic fields and so forth, but applying mindfulness to the physical world as it manifests. Because of course I’ve never questioned and I think it’s silly to question that we are physical beings and we are living in a physical universe. That is not all there is to it of course but it is also silly to deny. And so we are attending to the physical by way of the five physical senses, the five physical senses. And so in our next practice which we are going to get to very shortly now, is we’ll come right back, come right back to this stillness, this is the common denominator, and this is the common denominator with Dzogchen practice, the Tregcho, the cutting through, to Rigpa, it’s that common denominator, resting in the stillness of awareness which unveils itself as pristine awareness.[5:31]

So we are going to come back to there because we always come back to there, whether we are practicing mindfulness of breathing all the way through, we come back to this point of stillness, of clarity of discernment. But rather than in the next session, I’ll talk a little bit about it and give a bit of guidance but it won’t need much when we’re actually doing it.

We’ll be, while resting in the stillness and doing our best not to move out, so we hear a bird chirping - we then don’t leap off the bench and then follow the sound of the bird. We hear maybe anything else or we see something or we feel something - we don’t leap off our throne and look ‘oh, there’s the tactile sensation’, ‘oh there’s a sound’, ‘oh, there’s the visual’, ‘oh I think I am smelling some incense’, or what have you, we’re not going out. We’re staying right where we are and attending to these appearances arising in the space of awareness. Because of course those appearances don’t exist outside the space of awareness, they don’t exist in physical space and they’re not physical. . But now we’ll add this element which makes it a bit more than simply bare attention, and that’s a hypothesis and it comes from the Sautrāntika system just in case anybody is interested. The Sautrāntika system in Buddhist philosophy; and that is that for all of these appearances arising to. For the time being I’m just going to talk just about the physical senses, we’re going to have time for the mental later, that’ll be be central, but right now we are covering the physical, we don’t want to overlook that. So from the Sautrāntika system for these five, [7:06 Alan comments on the recording and the podcasters saying, yes all the podcasters, you may thank me, [laughter] I didn’t just deafen you.]

That for all these appearances arising to the senses, actually all six but for right now we are on the body which means we will focus on five, all these appearances have momentary existence. All of these are arising from moment to moment to moment, they are always fresh, they are always in flux, always changing, they are subtly impermanent and they are rising and passing from moment to moment and that’s true for all of them, tactile sensation, sounds, the visual, the auditory, everything. All that green gustatory, but they’re all fresh, unprecedented, arising and passing. The whole world is just all of these appearances, these five domains of appearances, are all in a constant state of flux, like as if they’re fizzing or effervescent or just bubbling, bubbling all the time. In contrast to that, and these are what we directly perceive, these are what are given, these are ‘in the seen let there be just the seen’ etc, it’s that, it’s complete, just actually there’s nothing to grasp on to because by the time you’ve grasped onto it, it’s already gone.

[8:10] In contrast to what reality is dishing up by way of the five sense doors, in contrast to these appearances that are arising, there are the conceptual projections we superimpose upon these domains, in short - words and concepts, words and ideas and the hypothesis here is (because that’s the interesting way to approach this rather than just something to memorize) is that these words and concepts, are words and / or ideas that we superimpose upon experience, are static. They’re static.

So I imagine all of you’ve had an opportunity by now, to have some idea of the kind of person, and I am not going to criticise anything here, I’m just offering this to see whether it corresponds to your experience. You may have formed an opinion or have some idea - what kind of a person is Mr Donald Trump [laughter] Name ring a bell? You know anybody not heard of him? Anybody not have an opinion? You just kind of like just - the jury’s out ? Could be, no, looks like there are opinions, ok. So you understand there’s no point there’s no need for me then to express my opinion, and who cares? But the suggestion here is this - that whatever comes to mind when you think of this individual, or if you see him on the television, Internet is so forth, how you lock him in, the grid of your conceptualization - static. Not to say that it can never change, it’s just that while it’s there it’s like a snapshot not a movie. The name of course - Donald Trump, that doesn’t change at all. Unless you want to go to ‘Drumpf’. John Oliver had a very good piece on that and so if you want to shift over to Donald Drumpf [laughter] this is always a possibility, I actually see some merit in doing that [laughter].

But everybody else I think he probably would really prefer Trump. So there it is, but the way, the name itself of course remains static, it is the same name when he was a little kid I imagine they called him Donald Trump and now that he’s no longer a kid they call him the same name. I presume he’s no longer the same in all respects as when he was a little kid. But to watch this, joking aside, to watch this - how the appearances are never the same . They’re never the same. Similarities of course, but the same? Does reality really replay itself ? No, it never does, the contact is always different, and so the reality is always unprecedented,always changing. But that which we superimposed conceptually, is static static, is static. Which means one of those is realistic and the other one is not. Because nothing is static and yet if our concepts and labels are static then we know there is an incongruity, a disparity between what’s happening and what we’re imagining to happen. And so there it is -I just took an icon because he’s made himself so famous but...

In our personal relationships, relationships to spouses, children, friends, teachers, business colleagues and so forth, what we carry around with us is going to be relatively static. The actual person is never static, not even when they are dead! They’re still in a state of flux. And so distinguishing between these two because the general tendency is CON-fusion , fusing together, that which we superimposed and that’s what’s given as if there is no difference. As if we’re just witnessing all of it, as if that person really is as static as we imagine him or her to be, and that will give rise to a lot of suffering.

Now, if that’s too outwards, oh gee. [laughter] How about our self concepts? hen people are suffering from low self-esteem, a sense of a lack of self worth and so forth? Might that possibly be just a wee bit static? You know? In contrast to the ever-changing flow of thoughts, emotions, desires, mental states and so forth and so on? Or for people who are narcissistic, just the opposite - an inflated sense of their superiority, their outstanding qualities and so forth, is that not also static? And so it goes, every which way. So the practice’s really simple and then we will begin. Really simple, let’s rest in the stillness, be wide open without moving but observe what arises, arises, arises, arises in these very sense fields. So your eyes can be at least a little bit open, be aware of whatever’s arising there from that stillness and then note when the projections leap out, and whether you’re, as much as possible, from the perspective of stillness - see the projections going out, words, concepts superimposed - and observe, is this true or not? That the appearances are ever changing and that which is superimposed - relatively static- ok, let’s go for it.

Meditation

[14:00] If you have in mind the big view, the big picture, the path from where you are today, and your own perfect awakening, if you have the big picture, some vision, some view of the path from where you are today to the day that you’ll become a Buddha, then you can sincerely arouse Bodhichitta. As not only a general aspiration, but as an aspiration to pursue this path, follow this path to its culmination and with this motivation we take one further step on the path, with this simple practice which, by itself could be just an isolated technique of quite little significance, but within the larger picture - a step on the path to realising rigpa, to realising the empty nature of all phenomena, to knowing reality as it is. With this motivation let’s settle body speech and mind in the natural state.

[16:34] Come to that stillness of awareness by releasing all grasping, all thoughts of the future and the past. Simply sustaining a presence of mind, a mindful presence. And bearing in mind that shamatha is after all the foundation for vipashyana, this is everywhere true in the Buddhist tradition, test the level of your shamatha, very gently, out of curiosity, and see if you can count 21 breaths, full body awareness, one brief count at the end of each inhalation. One staccato count, and between the counts let your mind be as silent as possible, as continually engaged as possible, with the flow of sensations throughout the body corresponding to the in and out breath. 21 breaths. See how that goes.

[00:20:58] Then let your eyes be gently open, soft, relaxed, totally at ease and natural, blinking whenever you feel like it. As if you are in a room with 5 windows, open them all so that the fresh air blows in through all the windows. For the time being we will marginalize the sense door of the mind, because the object of mindfulness is the appearance or appearances arising by way of the five physical senses doors .Principally, centrally let your awareness rest right where it is, in its own nature, holding its own ground, illuminating these five sense fields.

And when the mind does become active whether internally generated or whether catalysed by some sensory stimulation, and you see some thought, some label or mental image arising relative to, or on the basis of, any sensory impression; observe the distinction between what is given and what is projected, and note - is it true in fact that the appearances to the 5 senses are in fact always changing, arising and passing moment to moment? And is it true that when the conceptual mind projects ideas, thoughts, images upon these five senses, that these conceptual projections are themselves relatively static? Simply observe with discerning, intelligent mindfulness.

[00:25:26] Of course we have a lot of habituation, to rumination, to mind wandering, so whenever you notice that your awareness has been carried away, set in motion compulsively - again let your first response be just to relax, to loosen up and let go, and return to your throne and let your awareness come and return to its own place, e and illuminate these five sensory Fields.

[00:37:30] [bell]

[ 38:52] Olaso. So let’s go right back to the text and meet Tracks because he’s going to again be dealing for a little while more, with this broad overview, so we can either go through it very quickly or extremely slowly because there’s so much content here, but we’d like to get onto his actual instructions in the practice so we will move quickly now.

And so here we are. So these are the, these overviews of these different traditions. So the amulet box, the amulet box is the oral tradition of the scholar adept, the pandit siddha, the Khenpo and Naljor. It is shown by way of the threefold self descendent preliminary practice, the main practice - which is the self freeing of the four faults, and the result - the self appearing three bodies, just leave it at that.

The main practice is also said to be pointing out the thief, the principle instruction of the Shangpa so there’s one - the principal instruction of the Shangpa Kagyu. So one of the sub lineages of the Kagyu tradition is the six Yogas, six Dharmas or six, six Dharmas of Niguma who is the consort of Naropa, and the six Dharmas are: Inner heat - which is the foundation stone of the path. Illusory body; the self freeing or the self release of attachment and anger. Dream yoga - the self awakening of the deluded mind. Clear light -the dispeller of the darkness of ignorance. Transference, which is just phowa, transference of consciousness. Buddhahood without meditation, and the intermediate state - the bardo, the enjoyment body of the conquerors of the six Dharmas, the amulet box is principally the way of meditating on the clear light, which of course is Rigpa.

So just running through that quickly. I’m just giving an outline that is all we need for right now. The fivefold practice is a major practice of those of the Tagpo lineage, this is so Dhagpo Kagyu - another of the sublineage of the Kagyu tradition, it is proclaimed in the root song of Jigten Gonpo - “As for the stallion of awakening mind.” So as I recall there was an actual error in the translation here, I’ve done it myself, skipped a line, but I’ve corrected it, "As for the stallion of the awakening mind, Bodhicitta, if you do not race it along the course of altruism the cheers of the crowd of gods and humans will not arise. So assiduously apply your mind to this preliminary practice”. So and then we’ll just read through this. "As for seeing your own body as the royal divine body, (this is stage of generation practice) viewing your body as the body of the Yidam. As for this if you do not hold fast to your immutable throne, remain sustaining that sense of divine pride, the pure vision of your own body; the e hosts of Dakinis will not gather, so assiduously apply yourself to viewing your body as the divine Yidam, the personal deity. As for the snow mountain of the Guru’s four bodies, if the son of admiration and reverence, does not arise, the river of blessings will not flow. So the ice pack won’t melt, the river blessing won’t flow - so assiduously apply your mind to admiration and reverence. As for the vast sky of the ultimate reality of the mind, so this is the Cittata again, as for the vast sky, the vast space of the ultimate reality of the mind, if the mass of clouds of thoughts is not cleared away, the planets and stars of the two kinds of knowledge will not shine so assiduously apply your mind to non-conceptuality.

Two kinds of knowledge are the two aspects of a Buddha mind. They are called in Tibetan Jinye Khenpe Yeshe [?tibetan] the primordial consciousness that knows reality as it is - the very nature of reality, which is referring to Nirvana, Dharmadhatu, Sunyatta. So that’s one type of knowledge, and it’s a primordial consciousness a primordial consciousness of knowing reality as it is. There’s one, that’s knowing ultimate reality, Nirvana, and the other one is Jinye Zigpe Yeshe [?tibetan] and that is the primordial consciousness that sees the full range of phenomena. So one is ontological, the second one is phenomenological. These are the two types of knowledge that manifest fully when you’re perfectly awakened. So assiduously apply your mind to non conceptuality, because both of these modes of knowledge are non-conceptual. The Buddha doesn’t operate out of a conceptual mind. Not on the Mahayana view.

[44:10] As for the wish fulfilling jewel of the two collections, that is of merit and knowledge, if this jewel is not polished by your aspiration, your prayers, your aspirations, the results you need and desire will not arise, so assiduously practice yourself to this final dedication. But dedication of merit which of course is once again an expression of aspiration. So moving right on on this outlines we’ll just move right through briskly . “Those with the transmissions” - but it just does show something of this, just the tremendous richness of this culture, I mean it’s, I think it’s just an objective fact, I think there was simply no planet anywhere, no parallel anywhere in the planet, of six million people with 6000 monasteries? One monastery for every thousand people? One out of every five men was a monk, one out of every 7 women was a nun and some of the monasteries had 10000 monks in them and hermitages everywhere. I mean just all over the place. I doubt that there were many empty caves in Tibet [laughter] I think they all got filled, you know? So it’s, it’s really iconic. I think you can tell I’m not talking about a Shangri La, I mean they had corruption there they had all kinds of nasty things going on. But let’s keep on coming back to what was remarkably and quite gloriously not only unusual but I think actually unique about this culture, because it’s just like it’s Yin Yang, that is if modernity, which now dominates all the planet including Tibet, at least all the cities and towns of Tibet by way of the Chinese communist occupation, if this is the Yang of, and we all know about it, it’s oh so well it’s everywhere, Tibet was the dot. It’s the dot, this little, well it’s not that little but 6 million people, the size of switzerland, right? Same population, uhm, so little, little, not as big as Los Angeles, in terms of population. but so utterly complementary, so not us. So profoundly not us. When you can literally say their highest technology, could either be bridges or Pray-wheels and bridges were built a thousand years ago. The iron bridges by one of their great lamas who was an engineer, uhm, but the, but they were here and there, you know? They didn’t have that many. bridges, but prayer wheels were everywhere. you know? Prayer wheels. And so that was really their, their best technology, you know- the cutting edge. The prayer wheels 2 0 2 and 2.5 [laughter] you know? Really and they seemed to be contempt, they actually weren’t getting better ones that would go faster, you know? like [sound of fast spinning] Om Mani Padme Hum here I come, and we’ll go whip though that 100.000 so fast it’ll dizzy you, you know and I am talking about hundreds of years now, for hundreds of years, right into the 19th century, right into the 20th century. On the whole they really, number one they had basically no starvation, basically none, no bodies extended, of that kind of thing. Poor of course, there’s poor everywhere, there’s poor, I don’t know about Switzerland, I’m not sure about New Zealand, maybe no poor, but you know people have less for sure. American has poor, lots of poor people. Very, the richest country in the planet we have plenty of poor people. Tibet had poor people but they had nobody that was starving, that never happened.

[47:38] So this seemed to be overall, really and I lived with Tibetans for years and years and years, in India for example and I know a lot about it because it was only a few years separate and I’ve been there four times. They seemed on a whole really very content. with the level of technology, the level of wealth, you know? Their horses their herds, their farms, uhm, they were really, they truly were, sustaining a sustainable economy. And I think the growth of GDP was zero [laughter]. Because they found that everybody had enough to eat and the very wealthy, were not that wealthy. I mean they were wealthy but nothing like the wealth we see nowadays. Which is ridiculous, like frankly I think it’s obscene.

They had wealthy people of course, all countries do even poor countries have wealthy people in them. uhm But on a whole, hedonically, and in terms of technology and so forth they seemed very content. Whereas they would direct their best and brightest, fairly, this is a good generalization - they’d direct their, you know, their youth, the best and brightest, they would direct them to Dharma. That’s where the creativity, the brilliance and so forth, all their literature, first virtue all the literature was about Dharma. So it’s quite remarkable it’s quite stunning how profoundly not us they are. And when I first went living with Tibetans in 1971, moving into this refugee community., which was dirt poor. I mean pretty much everybody was poor. By Western standards I think they are all poor. And finding to my amazement, because I didn’t know what to expect, that they were the happiest people I’ve ever lived with. As a community, not just monks here and there, yogis here and there, ordinary villagers, ordinary villagers, but they were just not question about it, and I’d lived in Europe for years, California for years and so forth, I’ve never been with such a happier people, with such a happy people, and kind kind, warm. So it’s quite interesting that they seem to be quite, content with the level of hedonia, but as they get into older age, you know, like my age, that you know, kids are grown up, kids start taking care of their parents - that was normal and then the people, you know, senior citizens by and large, not an exception, the rule was they would just turn to Dharma. Not deep meditation but devotional practices whatever their level was, reading prayers, maybe studying reciting mantras, circumambulations, doing devotions and so forth. And my, those older Tibetan people just seemed so content. No, really. I am not, I’m not idealising anything here, there is what I lived in for four years. So this, and so this was a culture where this is the richness, we have tremendous richness in our modern world in so many ways, but it’s not this, it’s not this richness. We know what our kind of richness are. They are hedonic, so - "Those with the transmissions from Dharma Lord Samba Gayre practiced and gave instruction on the 8 great guidelines”, or guidance, I prefer guidance, it’s not written like ‘guidelines’ - I think it’s really guidance or guidances. The 8 great guidances, the six spheres of equal taste, and the mountain Dharma.

[50:47] So these are again sub lineages of the Kagyu, the eight great guidances are ‘Ti’ in tibetan, ti [?tibetan] means to guide, like guiding on a path. So the eight great guidances are: the guidance - yes - [laughter] I’m checking right now, right now. Are the guidance on the guru’s three bodies Oops, yeah. The guidance on the guru’s three bodies, guidance you don’t, you don’t, you don’t, need “the”, simply guidance, on love and compassion. Maitri and Karuna]. Guidance on the five fold nectar drip, I’m not going to try to figure that one out right now. Guidance on joining the connate. Guidance on the six Dharmas of Naropa, guidance on equalizing the eight worldly dharmas, or eight worldly concerns, and guidance on meditating to reverse ill fortune through secret practices.

So I’m sure one could spend months and months on that. The six spheres of equal taste are: Taking thoughts as the path, taking mental afflictions as the path, taking sickness as the path, taking gods and demons as the path, taking sufferings as the path, and taking death as the path. Seems pretty complete, and of course that would imply these are all lojong, these are all transmuting whatever comes up - into nourishment, sustenance for preceding along the path. Then the [Richur Tibetan 52:18] it’s called Mountain Dharma this is for Yogis living up in retreat. In the mountain Dharma there are four ornaments of the profound Dharma, the ornaments of the oral instructions on the three spheres. Of these the first is the mountain Dharma - the source of all virtues. The great boat of secret empowerment, the hidden explanation of the vajra body and guidance on the intermediate state. These are the four. And the the second is the ornament of direct guidance for clearing away hindrances, the ornament of the catalogue of manyfold spiritual songs, and the ornament of minor scattered categories. So just various topics. Moving right on - the four letters the explanation is drawn from the word AMANASI which is the sanskrit original for inattention. ‘Manasi’ meaning attention, ‘a’ is the negative. Its meaning is shown by way of the words 4 letters - a ma na si that’s the first ‘a’ the first ‘a’ is cutting to the root basis of the mind. The second ‘ma’ shows the method of settling the mind, the third ‘na’ cuts off mental error, and the fourth ‘si’ shows how to take the mind as the path. That looks kind of familiar.

[53:26] So then the holy dharma of Dampa Sangye - this is now going way back to the origins of the practice of chö, the pacification of suffering is called zhi-je (zhi byed) in Tibetan. So it’s an old tradition, been around for many many centuries. One of the great, great yogis of Tibet - Padampa Sangye, the guru of, the guru of Machik Lapkyi Drönma who was one of the earliest great, great yoginis in the whole history of Tibet.

[53:55] Thus he says - this holy Dharma, the pacification of suffering, when subduing harmful male and female demons, bind them in a magic circle of austerities, when sickness arises in the body may the Dharmadhatu and awareness mix the Dharmadhatu and awareness into one. When subtle conceptualisation arises cut the mental afflictions out, (again this is klesha , afflictions. When sleeping alone in private place your awareness in bare, place yourself in bare awareness. When out amidst a multitude look directly at whatever arises. That’s a nice, that’s something we can use right now.

When sleeping alone or resting alone, sitting alone you’re in your own room, when alone in private place your awareness in bare awareness. So you know a lot about that but then when you’re out and about going for a walk and so forth, then look directly at whatever arises. So if, that’s maybe not a time to withdraw, after all you’re out in the world so bring your awareness out, it’s refreshing. Bring your awareness out to the sense fields, I’ve mentioned this on one on one to a number of you. Bring your awareness out to the visual field, out to the sky, out to the auditory field. Bring it to the tactile right down to the ground and look directly at whatever arises, In the seen let there be just the seen and so on. That would be a one good interpretation. When laxity arises arouse yourself by saying PHE! [tibetan], [laughter] that’ll wake you up. When dispersion or excitation occurs cut it at the root, just release it right there. When excitation, so dispersion is just that it’s this kind of outflowing of the mind. When excitation, agitation turbulence, when this occurs rest in the Dharmadhatu, or rest in the space of awareness. And when consciousness goes out after an object look at the reality of the object. Well it’s clearly mindfulness.

This Holy Dharma, this holy dharma the pacification of suffering when bad omens occur, this was a mistranslation Denge [? tibetan] means bad omen, some kind of ill portent, when bad omens occur take them as auspicious - in other words transmute them into the path. Whatever concepts there are delight in them, of course you can do that if and only if you are not cognitively fused with them. When sickness, when sicknessess occur take them as boons, o again the whole notion of transmuting. Whatever happens take delight in it. Regard everything as blessing - viewed from the perspective of pristine awareness it’s actually true. When death occurs take it as the path. Whatever the lord of death may be - delight in him. Sounds fun. [laughter] Good. This holy, This holy Dharma -the pacification of suffering - is the enlightened view of the Conquerors in the three times. This is their view, their perspective. So Dampa taught when he met the exalted Milarepa

[56 m:57 s:77 ms] Hmm that’s interesting. Then there are severance, this is chö the very well known practice of chö, which is well known as the instruction of Dampa, Padampa Sangye, and the profound Dharma of Machig. Labdrön, Machik Lapkyi Drönma, the great yogini, the garland of views, is special instruction, and other texts of the great perfection. And other texts of the great perfection. The vital essence extracted from the mind of master Padmasambhava. Guidance on the profound madhyamaka view, and others . Okay, [checking the text] it doesn’t look like a complete sentence to me but there it is, he just gave a list of these various traditions without explicating them all, although all of these teachings, maybe that should be a colon or something um, I’ll put in colon just to have a full sentence. Although all those teachings are given various different names that designate their individual instructions or purposes and here these familiar theme. It’s very important one but I’ve talked about it already. When the wise examine them well through scripture and reasoning, that distinguishes how they are -, provisional or definitive?

So provisional means they are contextual, they are provisional, they are not necessarily to be taken completely literally. And definitive are the ones that are just straight telling it like it is. Ok this is the whole issue of hermeneutics; interpreting which are the teachings are to be taken literally, which to be interpreted or which are provisional, which are definitive. So in other words reading, reading the great text call them scriptures, the great treatises and so forth and reading them with discerning intelligence, applying reason to them and bringing all your intelligence to bear, to determine which of the teachings are provisional - contextual relative. Which ones are definitive which means there is invariant there.

Uhm from the madhyamaka view it is said that there is only one type of teaching that’s definitive and that’s the teachings on emptiness and everything else planets, stars, Mount meru, the four continents - everything else is provisional, it’s provisional, it’s contextual, it’s relative to perspective, whereas according to the madhyamaka view. Uhm there is a term I like here, ahh - a cognitive invariant - , so just, let’s just play with this just briefly.

[59:19] And that is in basic relativity theory, just ordinary special relativity you have these different frames of reference. Like one train is travelling at you know 200 miles in one direction and another train, so if you are in this train you are in that frame of reference if you are in this train going in the opposite direction another frame of reference, very, very, very clear. And what the remarkable , one of the great discoveries and it’s it’s weird, is that, how, whatever your frame of references is, which is to say however fast you’re travelling, at one mile an hour or you are travelling it, you know two thirds the speed of light, from your perspective, from your frame of reference - the speed of light is always the same. So if you’re moving in one direction at two thirds of speed of light and you shoot a beam of light out in front of you - it’s travelling away from you at the speed of light, but if you shoot it backwards it’s travelling away from you at the speed of light. If you shoot it off to the side it’s travelling at the speed of light. And so it’s an invariant. Whatever your frame of reference is - the speed of light is invariant, which is it’s constant it’s definitive. It’s definitive it’s an invariant across all frames of reference . Now that’s a metaphor, but it’s, it’s really, really, weird, and then the implications of that, which has been very well tested empirically, this is a very well established truth, is that given this invariant - then space, time, matter and energy all wind up being variant, depending on frame of reference. You have two frames of reference, and you can say ok well here we have a certain body of mass, has an amount of energy what is it really? So how much mass? How much energy? How long does it last? You know some event taking place, how long does it last? Well you can’t say. You can say within that frame of reference it’s this, but another frame of reference somebody travelling by two thirds the speed of light it will be entirely different. So matter, energy, duration and size, space - they are all relative to frame of reference. It’s really weird and the closer you get to speed of light the weirder things get, right?

[61 m:40 s:164 ms] Whereas in all of those different frames of reference the speed of light is the one thing that is invariant, so we say that’s definitive and the amount of mass size, duration and so forth - that’s provisional. It depends on context, it depends on perspective, frame of reference. So in a similar way all of that which is a deep, kind, it’s interesting anybody who has any interest in physics, that’s kind of very cool, that one man came up with that, on his own. But now we can ask all right - and with it we’ll go into this deeper when we get into the Vipashyana section, but, it’s said in the Kalachakra tantra for example that there are multiple descriptions of the universe. There is not, in Buddhism there’s not just one. And it’s said they’re all provisional, and that is there’s no account, no description of the Universe that is absolutely correct from every perspective. It’s all relative perspective, but now we come back to the perfection of wisdom and Madhyamaka - the one thing that is an invariant - whether you’re looking at the, at reality from the cognitive frame of reference. I spoke of this, of the physics frame of reference, how fast you are traveling, direction and speed. But from the cognitive frame of reference - are you a Deva? Are you a preta, a human being, an animal ? Are you an Arya Bodhisattva? Or an ordinary person?

[1:03:02] , Many, many different cognitive frames of reference. and there will rise many different realities relative to your cognitive frame of reference. Now this is just an obvious truth, dogs hear sounds that we don’t hear, bats pick up sonar we don’t, we don’t have that, and so forth and so on. Different, different species can see different bandwidths of light right? and that is just flat out physics but that means they are living in a different world. They are not living in the same world we are because the world that they are experiencing is rising relative to their cognitive frame of reference it’s a Kinano Centric universe, a anthropocentric universe, a felino-centric and so forth and so on, a bovino-centric, shall so we go on? [laughter]

But a preta-centric a hell-being-centric a deva-centric and so forth - the reality is rising relative to these multiple cognitive frames of reference and they are different, and they be very, very different. What is common to all of them is: everything they are seeing from whatever perspective, one common denominator, empty of inherent nature. That’s the one invariant, that’s interesting hey? That’s the one invariant, always true, doesn’t matter what your perspective is, you could be a hell being or a Buddha, doesn’t matter, you may not know it but this is true. That’s the invariant. So that’s kind of like a little unpacking of definitive versus provisional, or interpretive or contextual, one can say all of those. So the wise see that they all come down to a single view and as in the case of the complementarity of hot and cold - are not in contradiction. The stainless light is the great commentary on the Kalachakra tantra, the Vimalaprabha [sanskrit] and so here a verse from this great commentary, “it is like jewels on the Earth which are expressed or denoted by distinctive and differing names”, and here is a mistranslation, ‘from one region to the next’. This is obvious you know? One region calls it this, another region calls it that. “Even though they do not differ in being jewels.” So they can be the same jewels but they’ll be called different by different names, by different languages, dialects and so forth and so on, and that is what he’s saying. And Geshe Rabten years ago, it was waaaay like long time ago 74, 75, he was giving a talk in the library of Tibetan works and archives, I remember this so vividly, it was long time ago, ahh but he’s giving, he’s giving giving a public Dharma talk. Normally he was sitting up in his little shack up in the mountains meditating but he was invited down to give a, give a talk and I don’t remember exactly the topic of the talk but I do remember a point he made very clearly and emphatically, as he’s referring to the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism - Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug. And he said, you know? they do differ, they have different interpretations, they emphasize different practices, different interpretations, they have sometimes different texts, this is the sakya text, this is a Nyima text, and so forth, there is a lot of variation, a lot of vary, there is no question about it. A lot of, as we’ve just seen, we gave a lot of, list upon list of different traditions, but for all the diversity of them, he said you should know this - they’re all like a single lump of gold that is shaped in different forms - but the Gold is the same. It was helpful.

[1:06:29] So we move right on. So, the actual meditation, how then is Mahamudra meditation, meditation ordered? This is interesting and I’ve seen this before, but I’ve, but I first encountered it here when I received the teachings, the transmission of this text in 1976. “Thus of the two systems” , Ok there are two approaches, I think approaches would be be better, either way, “seeking meditation on the basis of the view or seeking the view on the basis of meditation”, we have these two systems or approaches. “The explanation here is according to the latter system. “Seeking the view”, in this case, we will see that in this context he is referring to the Madhyamaka view. The view of Nagarjuna. The middle way view of Emptiness and dependent origination, but there are two approaches here and that is one is that you seek meditation on the basis of the view. Well this has become almost universal nowadays, not quite universal but very very common, especially in the Gelukpa tradition but elsewhere as well. And that is if you’re a bright young monk or nun in the Gelukpa tradition and you say I want to devote the rest of my life to Dharma and you are living in a Buddhist context, you are living in India or Tibet, what have you, then most likely you’ll be sent off to the Monastery and you will train to become a Geshe, and happily, very happily now women have that opportunity as well, for long time they didn’t but now they do. So they are willing Geshes, and not only Tibetan but now also some Westerners, , I had to say, yeah good excellent, why shouldn’t they? But they do, good. Uhm how long will that would take, to become to get your degree and having become very, very well-versed in Buddhist ethics, Buddhist phenomenology, Buddhist epistemology, Buddhist philosophy, Madhyamaka, the whole, the, the, the, five paths the ten bhumis the five treatises that will be studied very, very carefully. by and large a memorized verbatim, and you will then study the commentaries and you’ll spend 5, 6, 7, 8 hours a day debating them, so you, really are introduced to the Buddhist world, Buddhist view. And when you complete that kind of training then you are very very well prepared to give articulate, clear, authentic teachings on the Buddhist view. The Mahayana view rooted in India, following in Tibet, and you really have learned the Buddhist view including the Madhyamaka view. Which you may study for four years straight with just that as your focus. And then once you become a Geshe then it might occur to you, and it might not, to then go off and single pointedly apply the teachings, the view that you’ve learnt, to meditation and sit down and practice Lam Rim, and go through it, develop renunciation, Bodhichitta, practice and achieve Shamata as the next step. Practice and achieve realisation of emptiness by way of Vipashyana. as the next step, and then proceed right into, if you are a classic Gelukpa, going into stage of generation and completion. And there have been, there have been yogis like that. I think they’ve always have been a minority, in fact they’ve always have been probably a tiny minority, ahh but boy when it works, it works. If you want to see an example of that look at the one of the first Tibetan Buddhist books I ever read. Again a long time ago, of the way of the white clouds by from Anagarika Govinda, it is an old one, 50 years ago or something like, that written, and he describes about his own adventures which is cool, but what I found really inspiring in his book is not his own story so much, nothing against him at all, but his account of his Lama - Tomo Geshe Rimpoche. And so he was Geshe, he was a Geshe, he went through the whole training. He did this he did the view first and then he did go on to meditation and he spent something like 12 years living in a cave. Went up into high mountains and lived in a cave there, he just disappeared he got his Geshe, and once you become a Geshe you know you get all kind of job offers [laughter] offers to teach, become an abbot of a monastery you’ll, you’ll not be unemployed, because it’s a prestigious, it’s a prestigious degree.

Well he got his degree and he disappeared, and he went high into the mountains way above the tree line. He just disappeared. He was off the map. Nobody knew where he’d gone. Nobody knew really how he was even eating, how he’d maintained his body. Uhm but something like like 12 Years of solitude, based on like 20 years of really rigorous training in view. Then on that basis he on to meditation and the story which I read 45 years ago or so, so it could be a little bit rusty but I think I got the basics still, is he was up there and he was living in total solitude, total isolation, total focus on his practice and having been extremely well trained so he knew exactly what he was doing, and he was up there and he was out doing, one day he was doing his daily ritual practice with his bell and his Damaru [sound of percussion] and a herdsman lost his goat or something, some type of livestock and was out searching for the missing livestock. Let’s say it was a goat and looking all over for him, and then this herdsman, way up where they just knew nobody lived there, which is so remote, so wild, this herdsman then heard this bell and Damaru and his first response was “oh it must be demonic.” I mean nobody lives here, we know that, it must be some spook, you know? Some demon or something, ‘cause it’s demons, you know, they believed in demons, spirits and so forth as much as we believe in viruses and bacteria, [laughter] there’s not a matter of question, it’s like, they are there, be careful, Nagas, lookout for Nagas, they can be really nasty, so they took all of this very seriously, as we seriously, you know, wash our hands after you know we’ve been messing around, doing something that is, you know unclean, whatever, anything. So he heard this and he thought it was a spook, some demon or demonic force or something. Why a demon would want to ring a bell and Damaru I don’t quite know the logic, but basically he just kind of assumed, - we know that nobody lives here so therefore it can’t be human. If it’s not human is one of those spooky creatures. So he got really freaked out and hunched down but then his curiosity overcame him and he peeked around the rock, you know got closer, you know - what’s [what’s the spook? And he saw it was this Yogi and then just day and night from being kind of, freaked out and thinking that was going to be some apparition to then immediately very big reverence. That would be just the natural response for any tibetan, traditional tibetan, then reverence - ohh then we are dealing with a holy man here. Because he knew he is from the nearby village, he knew nobody is giving any supplies. Everybody would know that, you know, you go up once a week, once a month, bring up some Tsampa, nobody was doing that. So he taught well this man must be really, the real deal, because he’s been living up here, with no food and who knows how long. So then he kind of crept up to him very humbly, to the Yogi and asked for a blessing. And then of course he went down to the village and blabbed to everybody [laughter] there is Yogi up there, oh boy let’s go see. That was the end of, that was the end of the Geshe’s retreat, you know, forget it [laughter] he’d been discovered. But if you read, Anagarika Govinda’s account of this man, he was spectacular ,really spectacular, the way he lived, the siddhis he displayed, the power of his Wisdom, and then the manner in which he died was really quite spectacular, quite amazing. So when it works, it works, and it doesn’t matter at, at all whether it would be a Gelugpa, Kagyu, Sakya, The tibetans don’t care, that I can tell you. When they see it’s a holy person the last thing they are thinking is - what are you Sakya or are you Gelukpa? [laughter] They are not checking credentials, you know? If he’s a holy holy man, and they really frankly they don’t care whether it’s a man or a woman, if he’s a holy person it’s a holy person. I don’t think, on that level I think gender bias is gone. In many other cases it’s there, but not here.

[1:14:44] So when I read that I was really inspired. And then of course he passed away, and then not too long after that, several years back, later, they sent out search parties, sent out search parties because the Tomo Rimpoche actually established monasteries not only in Tibet but also in Sikkim, in Sikkim. And I think in Darjeeling in India, way up there in northeastern India. So they, they did, the tibetans did what they always do with the great lamas - they looked for the Tulku - the reincarnation and I’m sure they did divinations and so forth and they sent out search parties, travelling as usual incognito, so nobody knows. They look like merchants or just traveling people, and but they knew where to go. They knew which village to go to, and it was actually in Sikkim. And so they sent the search party down and this is all written in the book, so you can read the book to see whether my memory is completely bonkers or whether I am telling what actually I read 45 years ago, but I think it’s correct. So they sent out a search party and their, you know they have their kind of the GPS on the little Tulku [laughter], by their divinations they knew where to go, And so the search party is walking down this little street in this village in Sikkim and the little, a little boy comes out, like five year old, four year old and he takes one look at them, he runs back in the house and he calls up to his mom and said “Mom, they’ve come to take me back to my monastery”. Then they did tests, he recognised some of the people in the search party by name. They brought him back to his monastery, he recognised buildings that had been erected since he died, said - “ oh this wasn’t here last time I was here” - and so forth and so on.

I read that and that is one of hundreds upon hundreds of accounts like that. If it’s one then they’d say - ohh probably it’s just superstition or whatever. It’s every generation, it was common. So I read that, I think boy I think they know something we don’t know. that was my impression . So when it works it works. Meditation on the basis of the view. If you have only the view, you never get around to meditation well at least you can probably be a virtuous person with good knowledge and maybe articulate teacher, and that is not trivial. But you don’t speak from realization, right? But that is not the approach he’s taking here, the approach he is taking here is seeking the view on the basis of meditation, well as we’ll see in this context, seeking the view on the basis of meditation is first achieving Shamatha. Basis of meditation doesn’t mean any kind of meditation it means Shamatha. Let’s be very clear here. So first of all, before you go for elaborate or concise teachings on The Middle Way view, Perfection of Wisdom and so forth, first make your mind a suitable vessel; practice and achieve shamatha and then with the sublimely purified mind; sane mind, free of the five obscurations, richly imbued with the five jhana factors, serviceable, blissful, stable, clear, very low signal to noise ratio, ready to be put to work, then be introduced to the view.

[1:18:11] And he says between these two I’m following the latter. So this is really the Yogi’s approach, ok? Now for those of you who’ve heard earlier podcasts from me, you know, like Amy and others I’m sure, Claudio, you ever heard this one before? [Claudio: yeah] Natural liberation by Padmasambhava and he says exactly the same thing. And he says it right before he goes into his explanation of Shamatha, he said there are two approaches. there’s those who seek the view on the meditation on the basis of the view, and those who seek the view on the basis of meditation and he’s taking exactly the same approach as the Panchen Rimpoche here. Now in the Gelukpa tradition it’s said that the Panchen Rinpoche, in his previous incarnation, he had many of course, ahh he was Atisha. Atisha took birth as the Panchen Rimpoche and Atisha himself was said to be a speech emanation of Padmasambhava. So like - goes around comes around. So, and the lake, and the speech emanation of course is the Lake Born Vajra , so from Padmasambhava to to Atisha, to Panchen Rimpoche - all in the same family, okay? So how is it that one acts according to the second system? So If you’re going to do that, if you’re going to seek the view on the basis of meditation - in other words take a very a very empirical approach, the other one which can be very strong I just gave an elaborate account of how it can really work well. Geshe Rabten also spent 24 years earning his Geshe degree, earned top marks highest level, and then it was very moving, I mean I learned this when I received his autobiography, he was absolutely first grade scholar, absolutely first grade ahh and so he could have really had any job he wanted within the Gelukpa tradition, I mean he was outstanding, he was also a brilliant teacher, outstanding teacher. Um, but what he commented - which I found very moving when I received his life story when I was 22, 23 or so. So there he is he started his training when he was 19, quite old for a tibetan, and he finished his final degree and this was an all day exam where you are examined on everything you’ve studied for the last 24 years, and you are equally responsible for everything you’ve studied. It’s not anything like getting a university degree where they assume by the time you’ve graduated you’ve forgotten 90/95% of what you’ve learned [laugher] , literally you’ve forgotten 95% of what you’ve learned and I know that, it’s very true. Whereas when you’re up for your final exam and it’s an oral exam, and it will take all day and you’ll be examined by most brilliant scholars available, and it’ll be all day, they can ask you about anything you’ve studied over the last 24 years, and they will. They will. And they may quote a text that you memorized 20 years ago and you better remember it because they’ll ask you to unpack it, interpret it and defend your interpretation. And if you blow it, well when the Dalai Lama took his exams 30000 people were watching. {laughter] So if he blew it, and they did not pull punches with him - , oh he is the king we have to be sweet ohh ohh. They brought up the sharpest of the sharp to examine him, and he did pass with flying colours, but he earned every bit of that. They did not get the you know, the soft touch approach. So it’s quite an awesome, but here’s the point, so he passes his final exams, got the highest like summa cum laude, the highest highest honours degree, and he really could have any job he wanted and then this thought came to his mind, he told me and it’s in the book, “The Life and teaching of Geshe Rabten” published in 1980. Long time ago, he said - well, there I was, so he’s 43 years old, finished his degree, he did on, he went on to a little bit of further kind of addendum studies little bit more study just to kind of round it off a bit, but then he thought basically the world is his oyster, yes you know the world is his oyster he could , you know? become an abbot a teacher, all kind of things. He was already, he was appointed to be a secondary tutor like doctrinal consultant for the Dalai Lama, that was quite prestigious. But then he made this comment - he said - now as I’m getting older, he’s moving towards 50. He said well I know now that most of my teachers have passed away, that are either old or they passed away, and how can I pay repay their kindness? Now specially so many are gone already. And he said there is only one way, only one way I can repay their kindness and that is to devote myself day and night to single pointedly practising the teaching they gave me. So, where he could have been the abbot of a big monastery etcetera, he moved into a cowshed. It was a cowshed, four walls, a slate roof, branches for rafters. No utilities, forget about it, no water, nothing, just a cowshed, he moved into there and lived there for 6 years and single pointed practice, devoted himself to meditation, and that’s where I met him, and that’s where I received his life story in his cowshed.

[1:23:43] So, so that’s another example of a person who had tremendous erudition, really was immersed in the view, and then single pointedly and, immersed himself in practice and he was there for 6 years and during the that 6 years or so, during the latter part we had the, there were these western hippies showing up in Dharamsala. This is late very late 60s very early 70s, and they show up and you know want to learn about Buddhism. Well , none of, basically none of the Lamas could speak english and that was even the most common language among the westerners. But Geshe Rabten had a student who could speak a little bit of english, and that means a little bit more than anybody else, {laughter] it was very little. And so the word got out that there’s a student of this Yogi up in the mountain who could speak english and so one by one one, just one on one, one, one student would seek out the translator and say could I receive some, some personal instruction, meditation guidance from this Lama? And they would give on one on one teachings, here and there, ahh but he went down, Geshe Rabten went down to His Holiness and said I’ve got these, these, I don’t know exactly what he said but I got these western hippies pestering me, and what happened, and his Holiness said - teach them, you know? There’s nobody else can teach them. Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey wasn’t in town yet, he didn’t come until 71. And so Geshe Rabten got the name of hippie Lama [laughter], hippie Lama, not that he was anything like a hippie, but he was the only Lama that made himself available to teach the hippies, right? So this went on for just a couple of years, but he was the one Lama in, in the whole town that had an interpreter who could give you, you know, get some of the information across, some of the teachings across. And then in the fall of 1971, that’s when I showed up, then for the first time a few, a few of them clustered, and I was among them, a few like maybe 20 said why don’t we ask collectively for some teaching. And and one of the, I don’t know who it was, [?maybe] Charles Junet [?Jenou], I can’t remember maybe Charles [?Jenou] or [?drisane], [?drisane] what was his name?. I can’t remember his first name right now, Geshe [?Kagpo] they called him back then. Anybody listening from the old days you know whom I’m referring to. But a couple who’d been there for like a year or so, old timers. They got together and they decided let’s ask Geshe, Geshe Rabten to give us teachings on the preliminary practices according to a text by Gampopa, a disciple of Milarepa and Geshe Rabten probably asked His Holiness again, “do I have to?” Or should I? But, the answer the answer is he agreed, and so, this I must just say, I mean my face is getting really soft and it’s because it was just magic, it was just magic you know. Bunch of, we’re all like 20, 22, we were all young and we, we’re all of, all over the west, you know, all of Europe, New Zealand, I knew one guy from New Zealand, America and so on. And we’d hiked up to his little cabin, this little hut, and we cram 20 people into his little cowshed, sitting on the dirt, and Gonzo Rinpoche would be sitting right next to him and he would give us these teachings and they were wonderful, really wonderful. Like once a week we go up there, he was the Yogi from whom we received teachings. And then eventually a French woman, no a Swiss French woman, Madame Ansermet. Quite, quite the lady, a woman of great culture, she got to know Geshe Rabten, and his Holiness and she had a lot of connections, she was very highly placed in Swiss society. Society woman, she had a beautiful house right on the lake of Geneva, and she asks his Holiness, she asked Geshe Rabten whether he’d be willing to come to the west. and live in the west, in Switzerland and really turn the wheel of Dharma there. And Geshe Rabten then went to his Holiness and said what? And His Holiness said yeah, go. And that was the end of his retreat. Otherwise he would have stayed in retreat for the rest of his life. Okay, that was a little bit of storytelling, but those were remarkable times, really they were. Really tough, really tough, man tough, physically awful, spiritually incredible, big mix.

[1:28:16]So Shantideva so how is it that one that can act according to the second system while as the guardian Shantideva says - “knowing the insight Vipashyana possessed of serenity shamatha destroys mental afflictions. You must first seek, serenity” Shamatha, classic. And he speaks with enormous authority. Also The Jeweled Heap - The Ratnamega Sutra says “abiding in morality you obtain concentration and abiding, obtaining concentration you cultivate Wisdom.” As stated this is the system in which one seeks the view on the basis of, of meditation - in other words you first prepare your mind to exceptional sanity. Balance, clarity, freedom of obscurations, supple, pliant clear, and so bringing like a pure golden chalice and then you say please pure into the chalice the nectar of the teachings of the middle way. And that’s the way that Panchen Rinpoche is teaching here. And that’s where we will pause.

It’s now 6 o’clock right on the button, so that was good timing. And I’m going to do something, maybe not predicted, but he is going to go now into the specifics of Shamatha within the Mahamudra tradition. I can say, ‘cause I know the text kind of well, he is going to be drawing overwhelmingly, for this section on Shamatha, he is going to be very drawn I think frankly hundred percent, on the Kagyu tradition of the methods of Shamatha that are right in the grove, right in the flow of Mahamudra. There are many many techniques, I think you know of that, Buddha image and forth and so on, Stage of Generation can be an avenue for achieving Shamatha, but if what you really intent in, what your passion is, are like oh like you for example, like you and me, if your passion is to understand the nature of mind, to fathom the nature of the mind. What is the nature of consciousness? When you dissolve the mind what’s the nature of that from which your mind emerges? If you fathom that, is it inherently existent? Is it not? Is that ultimate? Or is there even a ground state beyond that, beyond the substrate? If you what you would like to do is fathom the nature of the mind from the top to the bottom, right down to Dharmakaya, then you better get your act together. Because this is a very very large challenge, an enormous undertaking, and the first thing you better do is. achieve Shamatha. Because if you bring in if you bring a flip flop crappy mind alternating between laxity [laugh] laxity and excitation, I mean it’s so, half-assed, really it’s so flaky. Just like, really? Really? That’s all your preparation? You’re bringing crappy little mind into this? Into Mahamudra? So I’ve given all kind of analogies for that.

So I’m gonna pause here. Not only do we stop now but we’re gonna switch. And we’re going to go to another text, one you don’t have [laughter]. In 1990 after I received the first teachings that I ever received from Gyatrul Rinpoche which were on Dream Yoga, it blew my mind and I asked him to be my Lama. No long after that then he asked me for the first time to serve as his interpreter, to be his interpreter. He’d been invited to a Shambhala center, Shambhala center tracing back of course to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Down on Hollywood. Invited to come down and give teachings and and Gyatrul Rinpoche asked me to come down and act as his interpreter. Of course I accepted very gladly, joyfully. And I then was his interpreter , primary interpreter for 7 years. But it began there in Hollywood, and the first text that he taught was a chapter that he, he pulled out of another great big treatises it’s called actually the [Del Chen tibetan] The Great Commentary, by Karma Chagme Rinpoche, the same author of course as Naked Awareness, Spacious Path to Freedom. But another text, never been translated, it’s called The Great Commentary, it was this great scholar and adept, Karma Chagme Rinpoche, his commentary on teachings by his incredible prodigy of a disciple of Mingyur Dorje called [?namchö], Space Dharma. And he had one whole chapter, about 20 pages or so, all devoted to Shamatha. So Gyatrul Rinpoche plucked out of that very large text a chapter on Shamatha and a Chapter on Vipashyana. And he taught them and he completely blew my mind, just blew my mind. And as I have done so many times when I received teachings on a text that I think is fantastic, then I translated it. And so I translated that chapter and received the oral transmission and commentary from Gyatrul Rinpoche. Not too long after that, a year or two years later, three years later, then Gyatrul Rinpoche authorized me to teach everything, for me to teach everything he taught me. Which of course includes this, and so I’ve never taught it. It was 26 years ago, something like that I’ve never taught it, but I did translated it. I just kept it on my computer like a Dharma, a little treasure on my hard drive [laughter] and it’s just sitting there, and I might one day want it published, but I don’t have any plans right now. So for those listening by podcast, this is everybody here, Claudio has already kindly asked the administration here to print up this text. About 20 pages or so. All on Shamatha, right from the Kagyu tradition. Kagyu, Nyingma, Mahamudra, Dzogchen tradition. So that will be available by tomorrow. People here, can have hard copy. Because I might want to publish it someday, and it’ll be unpublishable if somebody just puts it on the Internet. No publisher would publish anything that is already in the public domain, so then you’re finished. And so since I may want to publish it so many people could read it I won’t simply send it to Sangye for her just to put it on the Internet, cause then it’s public domain. I don’t have any clinging to it but that means I can never publish it, and so here for anybody listening by podcast if you would like to receive this text, digital copy of the text, you can follow along, and read it. It’s translated, it’s polished I won’t have to be retranslate it. I think this translation is sound. I did it directly under, you know with Gyatrul Rinpoche’s, oral commentary. If anybody listening by podcast would like to have a text yourself then you may write to to Sangye, write to Santa Barbara Institute and request it. In requesting it, I’m asking you to make a pledge and that is that it’s just for your private use. Please don’t post it on the internet. If you then I’ll never be able to publish it. You can share it with friends but please just use it for that. And so that is my request. So anybody who requests Sangye and I’ve already checked with her, she is very happy to send it but she’ll send it out one by one. So it’s a bit of extra work for her but she is happy to do it and so then it’ll just be honor system. That you will use it for your own sake, you’ll practice it share it with friends if you like. Just don’t publish it on the internet. Unless you want to make sure it won’t ever be published and nobody else will ever see it except by the internet. And it’s hard to find of course, and some of it disappears in, into a billion, you know websites where, where can you find it? S o that’s it. We’ll do that. We’ll go focus on that. That will take us on a little excursion for a few days, and then we’ll come right back to Penchen Rinpoche’s text. So is that all clear? Right? Very good. So sure. Yeah, it is precious that I say that I’m very happy to share it with you. It has the blessings of the lineage. And so as the Panchen Rinpoche is uniting the Gelug and Kagyu, Karma Chagme is uniting the Kagyu and the Nyingma. And so this is a big happy reunion [laughter]. Okay, good, enjoy the day. See you tomorrow morning. [01:36:44] .

Transcribed by Felipe Bernal Arango

Revised by Cheri Langston

Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Special Thanks to Jon Mitchell for contribution of partial transcripts.

Discussion

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