B. Alan Wallace, 22 Aug 2014

The meditation was Mindfulness of Breathing with a literal interpretation on the theme from the Pali canon “When breathing in long one knows that one breathes in long”. Alan starts by reading from Dudjom Lingpa’s Vajra Essence, the beginning passage of the first three bardos or transitional phases. Alan stresses that in order to get the most benefit out of these teachings, we should recognize who is presenting the teachings to us. It is important that we don’t reify the teachers, but see through the lineage of teachers that passed this down to us right to Samantabhadra, who stands for our own pristine awareness. According to the Vajra Essence, we are in the transitional phases as long as we are not liberated. The essential nature of the transitional phases is pristine awareness. But since we don’t realize this, pristine awareness cristalyzes into the ethically neutral state of substrate consciousness, which itself doesn’t wander in samsara, but becomes the ground from which a sentient being within the six realms arises. Dudjom Lingpa then lays out the sequence in which the coarse mind of a sentient being manifests out of substrate consciousness. The substrate itself is of the nature of unknowing, and therefore as long as the substrate consciousness is dissolved in the substrate, like a sword being hidden in its sheath, it is in a state of only implicit awareness. Then due to the germination of karmic seeds, the substrate consciousness gets catalyzed and it becomes explicit. Then from the substrate consciousness afflicted mentation (klishta manas) arises, which is the primary root of self-grasping, the raw sense of “me” being over here and “not me” being over there. Then out of this, subtle and coarse mentation (manas) arises, with the subtle mentation being still non-conceptual, a simple differentiation of this versus that, and the coarse mentation being fully conceptual, enabling us to make sense of the world. Finally, the coarse mind (citta) arises in response to appearances. Questions: Q1: In the metaphor of the sword and the sheath, what is the sheath referring to again? Q2: Why does the Vajra Essence state that the substrate consciousness is being free throughout the three times?

Meditation starts at 08:02 min

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O la so! So I’ve had a request that I’d very much like to fulfill. And that is, I know that many of you here and also many people listening by way of podcast do not have English as their native language and do not also have American English as their native language. I find some dialects like the Scottish and even the New Zealand accent a little bit hard to understand sometimes. I have to listen very closely. But, in light of that, that we’re very multinational here, all sharing English language but to varying extents, I’ve been asked to speak a bit more slowly and to articulate clearly. I would very much like to do that…[laughter at the long pause] [Alan sings] “One day, over the rainbow…” [laughter] When I’ve achieved rainbow body I’m quite sure I’ll be able to do that. Um, but I want to invite you to do something and so please take my invitation seriously. In the meditations, quite clear, I’m generally very measured, clear and articulate clearly so I think that’s not much of an issue, but sometimes when, um, [ I ] kind of get into the flow, then two things happen: I’ll speak more quickly, and often I know, I’ve known this for years, that sometimes at the end of a sentence I kind of fade out, you know, like..... And so I’d like to try not to do that even when I’m giving commentary to our marvelous text this afternoon and so I’m inviting you to do something, and that is if I do start getting kind of fast, maybe even dropping, kind of fading out at the end of the sentences, here’s the mudra. [demonstrates] [laughter] Very simple. I’m inviting you to do that. I’ll know exactly what you mean, like, “Calm down.” [laughs] And anybody does it. All I need is one and I will take that one person seriously. [laughter] We’ll not vote, you know. One person and then I’ll… Just make sure I can see you. You have to, you know, make it an evident mudra and then I will try to, um, remember. All right. So that’s that one point, nothing else.

[2:25] So, um, does everybody have a buddy? Are you all buddied up? [ Some talk about getting retreatants paired up to look after each other ] So without further ado, um, I’m going to be now, from now on, very concise in my reference in the guided meditations to settling body speech and mind. That’s not because, “Oh, we already know that, let’s just whip right through it and blow it off.” Uh uh. But I don’t want to spend so much time. Number one, whenever I’m speaking during the meditation, um, I’m basically requiring you to multitask rather than being single pointedly focused on your practice, you’re going back and forth between listening to me, and then to your practice, listening. And that’s not optimal. Right? The optimal is I would just give you mind… Well I’d hold up a lotus, and I wouldn’t say a word for the next eight weeks, you know. But I’m not there and I’m not sure you’re there. [laughter] But then there’d be no multitasking so here we are. Sometimes, you know, also I can tell you, inside scoop, when I start speaking really quickly, it’s 'cause I don’t want to speak at all. I just want to throw a thunderbolt at your mind, blow it, and have it all take place in about five milliseconds. You know, with all the information there. Just, pow! And be finished, but then my tongue has to go wag, wag, wag, wag, wag, wag, you know laying out all those sentences one after another. And I just want to be done with it. I mean I want to throw, I mean, it’s kind of basically a thunderbolt in slow motion, you know. And so that’s why I do speak quickly sometimes just because I’m kind of impatient with speech and just want it to be done. I eat the same way. [ laughter ] I basically want it to be done so I can get out of there. [laughs] Sorry! That shows now I’m definitely not in, abiding in the pure equality of all phenomena but there it is. A work in progress, no question.

[4:50] But in terms of settling body speech and mind in natural state, uh, as I said, and very seriously this morning, it’s the beginning, the middle and the end, you know, really. And everything else one can say is commentary to that. Quite literally in Dzogchen it’s like commentary, making that practical. So if any of you are somewhat new or not thoroughly familiar with that step by step process: settling body with the three qualities - relaxation, stillness, vigilance; the speech, the outer speech - easy, inner speech - not so easy; and then settling mind. But all the nuance of that, settling mind in its natural state, if you’re not very familiar with it, then rather than my saying it again and again, here I’ll be using very few words and then as soon as the podcasts are up just go back and listen to that again until it’s totally familiar, like you just know it inside and out. Right? And then no more multitasking, you’re just doing it. Right? So, for that… so from now on I will start each session, alright, settle body, speech and mind. I’ll use a few more words, that is I’m not going to leave you with no words, a little bit of emphasis this time but far fewer words than in the morning session. And then there’ll be fewer words referring to that initial phase as we go into the main practices for each session. So, that’s that, [ I ] just wanted to make that comment, and now we will return to mindfulness of breathing in this very literal, almost not even an interpretation, this very literal reading of the Buddha when he said simply, When you breathe in long, you note, “I breathe in long.” And also, I don’t read Pali, but I’m not sure the personal pronoun’s there. Let me rephrase it, When the breath comes in long, there is a noting, “The breath is coming in long.” A lot of Tibetan’s that way. They don’t use personal pronouns much, as you know, yeah. There’s at least one person here. Anybody else here speak or read Tibetan? Okay, Natu. Okay, one person is more than zero. Um, but as you know Natu, they don’t especially in written, not much usage of personal pronouns. They just kind of dissolve into the flow of the language, which is about nouns, verbs and so forth and so on. And so I think the ambience of that is,

As the breath flows in long, there is a noting, “The breath is flowing in long.” As the breath flows out long, there is a noting that the breath is flowing out long.

And so we’ll go there, and I’ll give a little bit more nuance to that practice in this session right now, okay? So, please find a comfortable position.

Meditation [8:05]

[8:21] I invite you to enter into each session in the spirit of loving kindness, wishing well. As we follow the Buddhist teachings in the Pali canon, this loving kindness is first directed to ourselves and then we extend it outwards in all directions, finally excluding none, including everyone evenly. But venture into each session as an act of kindness to yourself, an expression of loving kindness to yourself, a well-wishing, that you may realize your heart’s desire. Experience genuine happiness, freedom, awakening, and cultivate the causes of such fruitions. And with such gentle motivation, loving motivation, to wish yourself well and on that basis, extending this out in all directions. May we all be well. May we all find genuine happiness and the causes of such well being. With this motivation of loving kindness and extending this all the way to bodhicitta itself then begin each session.

[10:14] Then settle your body in its natural state, the state of dynamic equipoise and at the same time deeply relaxed and yet vigilant and that balance sustained with stillness.

[10:56] Then settle the inner speech of your mind in its natural state by settling your respiration in its natural rhythm. This is very subtle and the more deeply you go into it, the subtler it appears as you release layer upon layer of grasping, layer upon layer of control and preference to enable you to be totally present with the in and out flow of the breath but with no grasping whatsoever, simply a quiet discerning witnessing.

[11:59] If you can master that, at the very end of exhalation, and then simply allowing the inhalation to occur, without influencing it with your will, then you have found the key to settling the respiration in its natural rhythm.

[14:03] Then set your mind at ease, carefree, releasing all concerns of the future and the past. Set your mind free by releasing it and simply remaining in awareness, a simple, clear cognizant awareness, resting in its own place, naturally still, naturally luminous. Being aware and doing nothing.

[15:40] Whatever thoughts come up, as soon as you’re aware of them let your first response just be to relax, to loosen up and allow those thoughts, memories, images to release themselves. You don’t need to remedy them. You don’t need to block them. And certainly no point in following them. Just let them release themselves right back into the space of the mind from which they arose.

[16:32] And from this vantage point of your own awareness resting in its own place illuminating the space of the mind without directing your attention to it, without trying. You’re already aware of the rhythm of the breath. Make that explicit.

[17:26] If you prefer to have your eyes closed, that’s just fine for this practice.

[17:46] It is imperative in this and all the other practices we’ll explore during this retreat to maintain a flow of cognizance, clear cognizance. Never spacing out or just blanking out. But it’s a nonconceptual cognizance. It’s not caught up in concepts and words. It doesn’t need to be. It knows before the concepts and words come tumbling in.

[19:08] So with that flow of nonconceptual cognizance or knowing, when the in breath is long, note that it is long; when the out breath is long, note that it is long. And on occasion, or over time, when the in breath is short, note that it is short; when the out breath is short, note that it is short. Keep it simple, primal.

[20:52] And now as an interpretation I will introduce into this practice an element not found in the Pali canon, but found in multiple teachings of Padmasambhava, both in his termas as well in his revealed teachings such as those revealed to Dudjom Lingpa, and that is the element of oscillation. It is not a matter of contraction and expanse but rather arousal and release. As the breath flows in, be it long or short, arouse, focus, concentrate your awareness, attend closely, and as the breath flows out, relax from your core. Let the whole field of your body relax into a more and more mellow, loose, almost melted state. With every out breath, release the breath all the way through till there’s nothing more to release. With every out breath, release any thoughts, images, memories that may have come to mind. Total release, body, speech and mind with every out breath, while sustaining the flow of cognizance.

[24:24] As you arouse your awareness with each inhalation you unveil the natural brightness, the clarity, the luminosity of awareness. And as you release, releasing all grasping, as you breathe out you unveil the natural stillness of awareness. In this way this becomes a shamatha practice not so much to develop stillness and clarity but to discover or unveil the natural luminosity and the natural stillness of your own awareness when it’s free of grasping.

[25:15] Let’s continue practicing now in silence.

[32:03] Meditation ends

[33:13] O la so! So I’ll turn now to this excerpt from The Vajra Essence. I mentioned yesterday, last night, that Samantabhadra, who’s the teacher, manifesting as the Lake Born Vajra manifestation of Padmasambhava, one of the eight manifestations in this pure vision of Dudjom Lingpa, Padmasambhava speaking to a circle of disciples who are of the same nature as his own mind in this vision and then Dudjom Lingpa is attending to all of that and then wrote it down. And so for this excerpt of the first three of the six bardos, and I’ll read only the first and then go back to Natural Liberation when I finish the first of the six bardos here. So Dudjom Lingpa wrote them down and then they were passed on of course some, quite a few years after he received them. He just kept them quiet. The time wasn’t quite ripe. They were ripe for him but not quite ripe to go public. It was transmitted when he passed away in 1903. He took birth not as one individual, one tulku, but five simultaneously and my lama, Gyatrul Rinpoche, from whom I’ve received everything here really. Words really cannot express the kindness he’s shown me, he received the oral transmission, the commentary from three of the five emanations of Dudjom Lingpa, Natsok Tulku, Kunzang Nyima and His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche. He received them in Tibet. From two of them, he received them in Tibet and from Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche he received this in Nepal. And so three currents, from three emanations flowed into Gyatrul Rinpoche who was then appointed by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche to become his representative for all of North America and his head of Yeshe Nyingpo, which is his network of Dharma centers for the whole Pacific coast. So Rinpoche granted me the oral transmission, the commentary, authorized me to teach. And specifically for this passage, this whole section on the six bardos I asked him whether it would be possible, allowed, for me to teach this to people who have not had the empowerment, the empowerment or anything like that but just come with open heart, with sincere wish to put it into practice. He said yes.

[36:03] And so, I have taught this on a couple of occasions, once in Brazil, I think some other occasion too, all the six bardos. But now we’re just going to cover the first three and for now, just the first one. And so really, as I mentioned before I’m coming here as simply a spiritual friend, very simple, very transparent, easy and kind of obviously true because that’s all I’m doing here. But as a spiritual friend I would really love you to derive as much benefit from the transmission, which I’ll pass on, the oral commentary, which I’ll pass on. And for you to derive as much benefit as possible then you won’t reify this person here. I’m a sentient being obviously, you know, not a Buddha. But you won’t reify that. It has it’s truth, there’s no question, it has its truth. Am I a sentient being? Yeah, but let’s not reify it. You can. You’re welcome to, but if you reify it then you’ll just get some information from me and that information will be valuable, but it’s pretty thin, it’s just information, right? Whereas if you can look through this appearance of a person here, really like a holographic image, as if there’s no one really here. And from an authentic perspective there actually isn’t any sentient being here from my own side. I’ve looked. I haven’t found one. If you can find me, let me know. I’ll cut his head off. [laughter] Am I a sentient being? Sure. But is there a sentient being here inherently by my own nature, from my own side? I’ve not found. Maybe I just have to look harder, you know. But that’s not your concern. To let your mind stop as if you hit a brick wall by plunking into Alan Wallace, sentient being, then not much benefit. I mean you get some information, for sure. If you can look right through as you would look at a holographic image, just right through. Look right through me to my guru, from whom I received everything of the Dudjom lineage, virtually everything. And then look right through him to the three emanations of Dudjom Lingpa from whom he received them. And look right through them to Dudjom Lingpa. And look right through Dudjom Lingpa to Padmasambhava, the Lake Born Vajra. And look right through Padmasambhava to Samantabhadra. And then look right through Samantabhadra as an embodiment of your own pristine awareness. Then you will have found the teacher. That’s the teacher. Everything else is a hall of mirrors, images, appearances, meaningful but devoid of any inherent nature. So look through them all. So your teacher, if you wanted to say who’s the teacher, you can say Samantabhadra. That’s as accurate as it gets, Samantabhadra.

[38:42] Who’s Samantabhadra? Some blue guy over there, you know? Personification, embodiment of your own pristine awareness. So, insofar as you can bring that view to the teachings, that the person teaching here is Samantabhadra, because it’s true, having said everything I’ve said before, now I can say that’s true. If I had not said everything before and I said Samantabhadra it sounds like, oh, Alan Wallace is Samantabhadra. Ppppp! Absurd, ridiculous, you know? But if you want to derive the greatest benefit then look through all the holographic images all the way back to Samantabhadra until you come back to your own pristine awareness. And that’s the source of the teachings, okay? So, oh yeah!

[39:40] So here you’ve already heard me say last night he’s laid out the whole path all the way to the culminating phase to the direct crossing over to spontaneous actualization, laid out the whole presentation of rainbow body on three different levels. He’s finished, he’s done. But then, during this roughly three, almost four hundred pages of teachings, setting out the whole path, there were various of his disciples in this pure vision who rose up and posed questions to him, at times really almost like a Socratic dialogue. I’ve never seen a text like it actually. Um, so one by one, but then, and then he would sometimes go on for many, many pages. So sometimes he would be back and forth almost like a debate, right? But now that he’s laid out the whole path, in its entirety, and now I pick up with the text. And by the way, one more interjection, I’ve just copied the excerpt of the presentation of the first three of the six bardos from the Vajra Essence. I’ve just copied them into a file, just sent them to Sangay Wangmo and asked her to send them to all of you, okay? So you’ll have them on file. Please don’t share it. It’s just for you, just for you, right? This version, this polished version will soon be published next year, but I really don’t see any reason why I should have this in the palm of my hand, and you don’t get it in the palm of your hand.

[41:10] O la so. So here it is. So here’s Samantabhadra speaking by way of Padmasambhava to Dudjom Lingpa who wrote this down and then I’m the translator.

Then the entire assembly of disciples including Vajra Pristine Awareness asked. "Oh, teacher, Bhagavan in this era afflicted by the five dregs, beings are under the power of barbarism.

[41:29] Five dregs you’re probably familiar with, it’s classic to all of Buddhism. These are the five dregs of our degenerate times and they refer to degenerate life spans gradually decreasing. Right now we’re having a nice spike. Don’t count on it lasting really long, but generally speaking, decreasing lifespan over long periods of time. Degenerate degrees of mental afflictions, mental afflictions, that’s kind of going crazy. They just kind of, you know, really burgeoning, very dominant. Degenerate sentient beings, just in terms of our deportment behavior and so forth. Degenerate times, really kind of… When it says time it’s very much like the German zeitgeist [spirit of the times]. You know like kind of the ambience, the mood, the feel. What’s it feel like, going down hill, degenerate.

[42:26] And then degenerate views, degenerate views, really the dominate degenerate view, I’m just going to be, again, in this context I’m just going to speak bluntly, I’m not going to be diplomatic. I could die tomorrow. I don’t want to die with diplomacy. [laughter] I just want to say what I believe to be true. The dominate degenerate view of our modern era is materialism. It’s like putting a bullet through your head, you know. Death on wheels. I don’t care how many smart people believe it - death on wheels, really just nihilistic. Thinley Norbu, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, the eldest son of Dudjom Rinpoche, he really, he said it’s nihilism and really depicted this is a major obstacle to any authentic Dharma practice. He’s completely right. He passed away not too long ago. Tremendously respected by Gyatrul Rinpoche and so many other lamas, especially of the Nyingma order. In any case, here we are. He says, Oh teacher, Bhagavan, in this era afflicted by the five dregs, beings are under the power of barbarism. Which means we’re in a dark age. We’re in a pre-contemplative era. Really modernity is pre-contemplative. I’m saying that optimistically, that one day we’ll no longer be pre, you know.

[43:40] So, Some because of poverty waste their lives in the pursuit of food and wealth. And one could read that… I’m going to read that in the way I think it’s intended. It’s just an expression of compassion. If you have a human rebirth, human mind, so much potential, but because of the ripening of karma you wind up in poverty, just struggling to make it through the day, just having enough food, clothing, shelter. And you have no choice really, you know. You have to really be focusing on the bare essentials of just getting by and not having you and your family starve. So, what do you do, you have no choice. But from the broader perspective, you’ve got a human rebirth and then… It’s almost like one of those rockets, we’ve seen it, you know, back in the early days of rockets. We see the rocket take off… Uh, uh, uhhh, [explosion sound]. [It] didn’t make lift off. It was a rocket, but it didn’t make lift off to realizing the full potential of a precious human rebirth with all the leisure, all the opportunities thereof because you’re stuck in poverty. So yeah, you’re a human being but there was no lift off because the whole life just spent in just trying to survive, which of course you will not be able to do. It’s only a matter of time, then you fail. So you’re trying to do something that you’ll… It’s only a matter of when you’ll fail, not if you fail.

[45:09] So some people waste their lives in the pursuit of food and wealth, some succumb to distractions and spiritual sloth and their lives are squandered in that way. I was in a subway I think, I can’t remember what city, there were a group of young people, teenagers talking among themselves and one of them just chirped up, “After all, you have only one life to live,” you know. And then they’re thinking about the next entertainment, the next fun. You know, here we are for a short time. Have as much fun as possible, now when they’re young, they’re beautiful, they’re healthy, you know, sexy. Have some fun, have some fun! Have as much fun as possible, because it’s only going to get worse. So do it now! You know. But then, all that life energy that could be put into Dharma, just then… just distractions, entertainment. Pissing away your life!

[46:05] So, so sad as,

squandered in that way. Others, while seeking to defeat their enemies and protect their families, spend their whole lives constantly pursuing profit and renown. Some people get caught up in activities pertaining to the eight mundane concerns and fall under the spell of the bounties of mundane existence.

Quite persuaded, “This is gonna work out. I know the combination. I’m so smart. I’m going to make samsara work.” You know. Fall under the spell, really almost as if you’re mesmerized, hypnotized, you know. “This is going to work out well.” And following your vision, thinking that somehow aging, sickness and death, you’re going to out-clever them. You know. Somehow it’s going to work out fine. So. So they all fall under the spell. Really it’s like hypnosis.

[47:07] Others are overcome by maras and obstacles, so their meditations veer off into ordinary mental states. Kind of these many temptations, these distractions, things that will take us off a straight path, then although you may be thinking you’re practicing Dzogchen, or Vajrayana, or Mahayana, or the Sravakayana, all of the noble, noble paths to awakening, to liberation, in fact you’re just being bumped off. Because of the paucity of favorable circumstances and the abundance of unfavorable circumstances, very few reach the state of liberation. It’s kind of… It seems to be obviously true and for exactly those reasons. All the auspicious fruits be conducive circumstances, authentic spiritual teachers, spiritual friends, conducive environment, good health, all of those need to come together to really be able to draw fully from, tap into the full potential of a precious human life. But those are rare. Whereas adversities, all you have to do is read the newspaper and then you just see the world is just filled with adversities, so many places, in so many ways including affluent countries. So many adversities! Just like a world of unconducive circumstances, you know.

[48:27] And so, if they are, so, …very few reach the state of liberation. If they are not liberated they must proceed into the transitional phases, So now again this is not just the bardo as the intermediate state following death, prior to the next embodiment, but now this gets unpacked, gets refracted and we see, “Oh, six bardos, six transitional phases.” So, If they are not liberated, they must proceed into the transitional phases, so Teacher, please explain precisely the essence of practice in those states. In the transitional phases, so that’s my translation for bardo. Bardo means you’re in between. There’s something here and something there and you’re in between, so it’s an interval, right? There’s not just one. He unpacks six, right, six transitional phases, that’s why I’m calling them… You can’t say six intermediate periods because then it kind of sounds weird, but transitional phase, yeah. And so, I often meet people that will say, you know… that come for teaching and say, “Well right now I’m in transition, you know. My marriage just broke up, or I just lost my job, or I’ve just moved to a new place, or I just had a baby, or just something… Right now I’m in transition, right?” The only individuals who are not in transition are Buddhas. And if you think you’re not in transition, you’re either a Buddha or you’re deluded, right? Because what you’re doing is you’re reifying wherever your… "This will last, this will last. I just got married. This is a keeper. I just got a good job. I got tenure at a university, now, now that’s stable, right, you know. We lock onto, we reify that which is impermanent to take it [as] permanent and then we think, “Now I’m settled down. Now I’m stable. Now I am frozen.” You know? And so it’s basically a fundamental point, we’re always in transitional phases, one or another. And that’s just what he’s saying right here. Within the whole of samsara, everything in samsara, you’re in one of these transitional phases, or you may be in multiple ones. Like you can be living and dreaming at the same time, of course. But you’re always in one or more of the transitional phases in samsara. The only people who are not in a transitional phase are those who are liberated or awakened. And I could even say, from a Mahayana perspective, even an arhat, a person who’s come to the culmination of the Sravaka path or the Pratyeka Buddha path, has achieved nirvana, right? Gone to the timeless. Well, from the Mahayana perspective, yeah, for a while. But the Buddha’s going to arouse you to come back because there’s only one final fruition, full Buddhahood. Nobody gets to stop short if you’ve not come to fulfillment yet. So, the only individuals who are not in transition are Buddhas.

[51:23] So, he says, ***If they are not liberated, they must proceed into the transitional phases so Teacher, please explain precisely the essentials of practice in those states. ***

The teacher replied, O Vajra of Pristine Awareness

So he’s speaking on behalf of all of them. He’s like their representative, right, of the whole assembly, he’s the mouthpiece, speaking of Samantabhadra, he says, O Vajra of Pristine Awareness and you other assembled disciples, listen! The essential nature of the transitional phases, or processes is simply this ordinary, limpid, clear, fresh, unstructured, uncontaminated consciousness of the present moment. That’s the essential nature of all of them. Why? By failing to realize this, By failing to realize this essential nature of consciousness, you must wander endlessly in samsara, but by realizing it, you are brought to nirvana.

[52:47] This is a very subtle paragraph. So, so far, judging by that one sentence there it can be interpreted in only one way, and this is going to be a recurring theme throughout this eight weeks and so hopefully at the end we’ll all be clear, including me. When he’s referring to this consciousness that he characterizes as ordinary, ordinary consciousness. Limpid, not a so well known word in English, it means transparent and luminous, like a limpid pool of water that’s crystal clear but filled with light because the sun is shining through it. Limpid, right? So this consciousness is ordinary. You already have it. It’s present right now, it’s ordinary. It’s limpid, clear, and clear also means luminous, fresh; unstructured, it means unmodified, unconfigured, uncontaminated by mental afflictions or any kind of obscuration. This consciousness of the present moment, what is that consciousness? What type of consciousness is that referring to? It can only be rigpa. It can only be rigpa. There are many types of consciousness, but when he says, By failing to realize this, you must wander endlessly in samsara, Then it can only be rigpa, right? But by realizing it you’re brought to nirvana. If you realize rigpa, you realize nirvana. You realize rigpa, you realize emptiness, shunyata. Shunyata, nirvana are synonyms, okay? So, so far, clear, no problem, nothing startling, right?

[54:30] Listen very carefully.

This very consciousness, being free throughout the three times, does not become enlightened; and since it is not freed, it does not [truly] wander in samsara.

It does not become enlightened nor does it wander in samsara, neither here nor there. Rather, it remains Now there’s a very interesting verb. You have to attend very closely here, otherwise it will be immediately confusing and you’ll literally fuse, con-fuse, fuse together, two phenomena. Rather, it remains It abides in between, in between. And now here’s what jars, -in an ethically neutral state- It remains in between neither in enlightenment nor wandering in samsara. it remains in between -in an ethically neutral state- and this is the defining characteristic of a sentient being.

Now what is he referring to when he said this is an ethically neutral state? There are phrases here that are just… that gives you a lock. “ethically neutral state” and “the defining characteristic of a sentient being,” what’s he referring to? Substrate consciousness, where you arrive when you achieve shamatha. Of course you don’t…but you don’t acquire… you know this by now, but just for everybody’s clarification, of course you don’t acquire a substrate consciousness when you achieve shamatha. You already have it, it’s unveiled through that process. So you’re referring to the right thing and then you said the right word - it’s the substrate consciousness. [56:09]

So this is very interesting. It’s almost like… If you’re not ready to get this, you just fell into a quicksand in that sentence. Because it’s almost inviting, if you’re not sharp, if you’re not right on your toes, then you’ll immediately read that paragraph and fall right into the sand trap of conflating rigpa with substrate consciousness. It’s in the same paragraph, right, but the wording is so subtle. It’s primordially uncontaminated, it’s rigpa. Know it, you achieve nirvana, not know it and you wander. But it remains in between, and that remaining in between is where it becomes crystallized, crystallized as substrate consciousness. So substrate consciousness, not something else, like you know, two people who are different people, but a crystallized version of rigpa. Not other than rigpa, not the same as rigpa. But whenever you see that phrase, it’s really an alert, it’s a sign, it’s an alert. “Ethically neutral state,” not referring to rigpa, it’s referring to substrate consciousness. It comes up again and again. And moreover then when he says, This is the defining characteristic of a sentient being. Well, sentient being compared to whom, sentient being versus whom? Buddha! So then you know, ho, he’s no longer referring to rigpa, because rigpa is equally present in a sentient being as it is in a Buddha. One’s not better than the other, right? One - it’s manifest, the other one - it’s obscured. But the substrate consciousness doesn’t wander. The substrate consciousness does not belong to any of the six realms of existence. Samsara is defined by the six realms of existence, right, and that includes the form and formless realms. There are those in the god realms, deva realms, right? Then you say, “Oh, six realms, that’s all of samsara.” Except substrate consciousness doesn’t belong to, hell, preta, animal, human, asura or deva. It doesn’t belong in any of those; but it is the ground from which all of those embodiments emerge, right? So it doesn’t wander in samsara, but it’s neither enlightened either and it is ethically neutral. From this ethically neutral, undefined, ethically undefined. It’s lung ma-bstan. Lung ma-bstan means it’s not, it’s not indicated, it’s not indicated in the teachings of the Buddha as being virtuous or non-virtuous, lung ma-bstan, right? So it’s unspecified, undifferentiated. It hasn’t crystallized in a virtuous state of mind like compassion. It hasn’t crystallized in a non-virtuous state of mind like malice, but it’s ready to go either way, you know. If it were by nature virtuous then it wouldn’t have the ability… Loving-kindness cannot transform into malice, cannot, not possible. It can go dormant, but it can’t transform into malice. Malice can’t transform into loving either. It has to subside. The two cannot coexist at the same time in the same mind-stream, right? But something that is undifferentiated, has not yet crystallized as virtuous nor non-virtuous that can then manifest as performing… phhh… ethnic cleansing; and it can manifest in serving millions of people, delivering them from poverty and helping them, right, everything within samsara. So that’s why he says, This is the defining characteristic of a sentient being. [60:28]

Oh, this next paragraph! The emergence of sentient beings out of ignorance of the ground is like the sun. The ground is the primordial unity of the absolute space of phenomena, dharmadhatu, and primordial consciousness, that’s the ground, the transcendent ground of being, beyond all conceptual elaboration. But ignorance of the ground, that is, sentient beings emerge out of that ignorance, are spawned by the ignorance of the ground. And it’s very relevant here that the substrate, the alaya, or in Tibetan the kun-gzhi, the substrate, that sheer vacuity, that space that is characterized by sheer absence of appearances which you clearly apprehend when you’ve achieved shamatha and you’re resting in substrate consciousness, clearly, vividly, without mediation aware of substrate. That substrate into which you slip when you fall deep asleep, non-lucidly, you’ve passed out. The substrate is of the nature of avidya. It’s of the nature of unknowing, unawareness, right? And it obscures the nature of dharmadhatu. It obscures… Dharmadhatu is right there. It’s not in some distant place. It’s not someplace in the future. It’s not something we achieve one day. You don’t achieve dharmadhatu, right, it’s always there, it’s the nature of existence. But the substrate is that which veils dharmadhatu, emptiness. It veils that. [62:26]

Generally speaking, [?]Audrey translates and I’m now translating, like so many other people, as relative truth, in Sanskrit, samvrtisatya , in Tibetan, kun-rdzob bden-pa. They both have the same etymology. Kun means totally and rdzob means to obscure, to veil. Vrti has the same connotation, to veil. So it doesn’t literally mean relative, but I tried alternative translations, they were just too cumbersome. Obscurant reality…ehh, okay, relative truth, you know? Yeah, it’s relative truth, it is true, but the etymology is that the whole of the phenomenal world, appearances as they are, during the dream state, the waking state, the bardo, and so forth, the whole of this phenomenal world with all of its appearances, this whole domain of reality, of relative truth, of relative reality - it obscures what’s really going on. It obscures, this world of appearances obscures the actual nature of existence, [?]nye-ruk, the nature of existence. And so, in a little microcosm of that, the substrate, which of course is a relative truth, or relative reality, obscures the nature of dharmadhatu. And it’s out of that unknowing that he says sentient beings emerge. We’re emerging from the darkness of ignorance. And the emergence of sentient beings out of the ignorance of the ground is like the sun, that’s the emergence. And now he continues. [64:01]

The emergence of… And I’m going to pause there. The emergence of sentient beings out of the ground, ignorance of the ground is like the sun, I know this from elsewhere in the text and multiple texts of Dudjom Lingpa, when he follows the evolution… Every time you wake up from deep sleep, every time you’re conceived and start to grow for example as a human being in a womb, there’s the substrate into which your substrate consciousness has dissolved. It’s almost… Again the image, I don’t know if it’s a good image or not, but it’s the image that keeps coming to mind, is like a knife that’s put into its sheath, like a radiant, sharp, glistening blade, but put into the sheath. The knife is still there, but it certainly doesn’t look like a knife. Maybe the sheath is made of leather or wood, right? So the substrate consciousness is there but it’s implicit, right? And what is explicit is just this field of unknowing, right, the substrate. But then out of that avidya, that unknowing, the first of the twelve links of dependent origination, there’s some activation, some catalyst, some germination of karmic seeds, the karmic seeds, samskara, karmic configurations, right? And activation of that symmetry, of that homogeneity, of that evenness, that homogeneous, pfff… sheer vacuity, there’s an activation, that’s the second of the twelve links of dependent origination and then comes the third, and that’s consciousness. [65:48]

And the consciousness, now I’m coming right back to Dzogchen, the consciousness that is catalyzed, that becomes manifest, like the sword being drawn out of its sheath, that consciousness is substrate consciousness, substrate consciousness, which is by nature luminous, right? And in this ongoing… And bear in mind this happens every time you come from deep sleep and you wake up. From the substrate emerges the substrate consciousness, from the substrate consciousness emerges klistamana, afflictive mentation, which is something very primal, very primitive. Every type of sentient being, no matter how primitive the sentient being may be, you know, higher cognitive faculties and so forth, yes or no either way, if you’re a sentient being this afflictive mentation arises and it’s on the most raw, primal level, a grasping to self. It’s a sense of differentiation, it’s a sense of being over here versus over there, a sense that there’s some demarcation, but it’s vague, it’s inarticulate. It doesn’t have language, doesn’t… before it crystallized into concepts. It’s just before words… me, not me. Klistamana, afflictive mentation, it’s some activation that’s kind of like your primal root for egotism, self-grasping, self-centeredness, self, self, self, self, self. This is at its raw, most primitive level, right? And then out of that arises mentation. [67:23]

Mentation comes in two manifestations, subtle and coarse. The subtle mentation is preconceptual. It is now a differentiation. It’s a differentiation of this versus that. So the most primal differentiation is: me over here, not me over there. But now mentation manas, the previous one is klistamanas, now manas, mentation comes in. And the first… And this evolving comes first nonconceptual mentation, which is now a differentiation, differentiating, but prior to concepts being explicit and articulate, right? And then after that comes then conceptual mentation and now we’re really starting to make sense of the world, right? [68:08]

So then we go back. Oh, yeah. So,

The emergence of sentient beings out of ignorance of the ground is like the sun. [- first metaphor.] The emergence of conceptual mental processes from the mind [now that’s mentation], is like the rays of the sun.

You’re really coming into your own in your most recent manifestation as a sentient being.

The emergence of appearances [like the six sense fields] The emergence of appearances from mental processes is like the light of the sun. The manifestation of the radiant and clear essential nature of the mind is like the eyes. And as for the etymology of mind, [citta], this term refers to the mental activity that takes place because of appearances.

All of our responses, reactions, our hopes, fears, desires, aversions, all the activities that arise in response to appearances, that whole array of subjective responses, that we call mind, big umbrella term.

Thus, the ground of the mind naturally arises as the essential nature of the transitional phases. or processes. The ground of the mind naturally arises The ground of the mind is the substrate consciousness. “Arises” implies some sequence, some emergence, some activity in time, right? So the ground of the mind, substrate consciousness, itself emerging from the substrate which is a sheer unknowing, with no explicit knowing of any kind.

The ground of the mind naturally arises as the essential nature of the transitional phases. Essential nature means it’s common to all of them, right? Whether you’re in the bardo, after death, prior to rebirth, whether you’re dreaming, whether you’re waking, whether you’re in the bardo of the dharmata, wherever you are the common denominator, the common ground among all of those within this realm of samsara is the essential nature of the mind on that relative level, substrate consciousness. It’s the ground of your own individual samsara. Sogyal Rinpoche calls it the ground of the ordinary mind. Ordinary mind is just the psyche, what we’re experiencing from day to day. Okay. O la so! That’s where we stop today. [71:06]

So we still have about fifteen minutes or so. So any questions, points of clarification, observations, experiences, anything you’d like to share about what we’ve covered so far, especially mindfulness of breathing, anything coming up?

Yes, please. Fran, correct? Yes, Fran, and the microphone’s coming. And if I don’t call you by name, simply chirp up your name, please. I haven’t memorized all the names yet.

Fran: Um, there’s quite a bit of that I didn’t understand, Alan, but, um, the metaphor of the sheath and the sword, the sword being the substrate consciousness, is the sheath then dharmadhatu?

Alan: No… Well the sheath in this context, bear in mind it’s my metaphor so it may not be good for much, just an image that came to my mind. No, the sheath here is the substrate. When I first read that, it comes early on in The Vajra Essence. And when I read… I was perplexed for some years when I was reading that. And then actually then the perplexity kind of evaporated because it’s just what’s happening when you’re in non-lucid dreamless sleep.

And that is, you’re not explicitly aware of anything. You aren’t even aware of the most obvious thing in the universe from your perspective and that is: you’re asleep. You don’t even know that. If you knew anything you’d know you’re asleep but you don’t even know that. If you don’t know that you don’t know anything else because this is like, “Hello, you’re asleep,” and you’re out. So your substrate, everything has collapsed. Your mind has withdrawn into substrate consciousness. It was the reverse… It was a devolution. This is what happens every time you fall asleep. Your mind with all of the awareness of the appearances of your room, you body, your thoughts, images, memories, hopes and fears, all the things that keep you up, keep you in insomnia, well sooner or later they collapse and we see this inverse process from all the appearances then withdrawing back into conceptual mentation. That withdrawing into non-conceptual mentation. That withdrawing into this really primal sense of klistamana, afflictive mentation. That withdrawing into the substrate consciousness. And that then dissolving like the sword finally going into its sheath. That dissolving and melting away like water into sand. The substrate consciousness then just slipping away, becoming no longer explicit, just melting into the sheer vacuity of the substrate, of the nature of unknowing, of the nature of avidya, right?

And then, if it weren’t for karma, we’re just… We’d wind up like the materialists think we wind up, just unknowing forever. You know just. “lights out, rest in peace.” We have all these phrases. “Oh, rest in peace, rest in peace.” If there were no karma, then just rest in peace, right? Just pfft, blotto, out for eternity, you know, just a sheer absence of any kind of explicit consciousness. But karma refutes materialists and it catalyzes that vacuum. It catalyzes it. It arouses it and then it catalyzes substrate consciousness to emerge from that and then it may emerge into a dream state. That’s what happens five to seven times a night I’m told. So it goes from the dreamless sleep to the dream state, but then the dream state comes to an end and this is dissolution right back into the substrate consciousness if you’re lucid and into the substrate if you become non-lucid in the dreamless sleep. So that’s that.

Yes, Natu. Microphone coming.

Natu: Um, to go back to the second paragraph, when he talks about substrate consciousness, he says, This very consciousness, being free throughout the three times.

Alan: Yeah.

Natu: I don’t understand that. [75:08]

Alan: Free throughout the three times Of course he’s referring to rigpa here, right? Well, rigpa doesn’t abide in the three times so it’s not only free throughout the three times, it’s freed of the three times because rigpa dwells in the fourth time.

Natu: So then I don’t understand the second paragraph because I thought he was talking about the substrate consciousness in that sentence.

Alan: And this is why it was really tricky.

Natu: Yeah, I know. Could you explain again. He says it does not become enlightened....

Alan: I know. It’s very subtle but… I’ll take two things that can’t be doubted in the context of Dzogchen. When he says if you know it, you are brought to nirvana and if you don’t know it, you wander in samsara, what else can that poss… and it’s a state of consciousness. Do you see any other options besides rigpa? It’s a real question. I need an answer. Is there any consciousness that could be referring to? Know it and it brings you to nirvana, don’t know it, you wander in samsara. Any other options besides rigpa?

Natu: No.

Alan: I think we’re out of choices.

Natu: But can you take me through the paragraph because I don’t understand how it goes?

Alan: I am. I’m showing two bookends. That when he says that, it’s impossible to interpret as anything else. It can’t be substrate consciousness. Knowing that, you’re about to liberation. I’m sorry. You know the substrate consciousness by achieving shamatha. And, we’ve had experience of shamatha numerous times in past lives. Here we are. So it can’t be substrate consciousness, no way, right? So there, we’ve got one bookend. That’s got to be rigpa, right? But the other end of the bookcase, here’s the other bookend, it abides in an ethically neutral state. That’s not rigpa. Rigpa’s never characterized in that way - ethically neutral. Rigpa is the fountain of all virtue. It’s not ethically neutral, right? And moreover he says, this is the defining characteristic of a sentient being. Well that’s not rigpa, otherwise the Buddhas would all be sentient beings because they have rigpa.

Natu: But it’s all in the same sentence.

Alan: What’s that?

Natu: It’s all in the same sentence.

Alan: I’m aware of that. [laughter] What I’m pointing out is two points that cannot be interpreted in any other way. There’s one at the start of the paragraph, even same sentence. It’s got to be rigpa. At the end of the paragraph, it cannot be anything other than substrate consciousness. It’s the defining characteristic of a sentient being in the same sentence. So then, here’s a point that runs through all of Buddhism, how do we find the middle way? Now this is my answer so it’s not necessarily the right answer, but I’ll give you my answer. How do we find the middle way as we’re studying Madhyamaka, trying to understand the Middle Way view beyond substantialism, beyond nihilism, middle way between extreme indulgence and extreme asceticism, so many middle ways, right? How do we find the middle way in practicality, in actual practice? By avoiding the two extremes and what’s left over is the middle way. That’s it by process of elimination. If it’s not this extreme and it’s not that extreme, “Oh, I guess I must be in the middle.” Right? [78:22]

It’s the same thing with shamatha. Here’s one extreme: laxity. Here’s another extreme: excitation. If you’re not in either of those, welcome to shamatha land. That’s the middle way of shamatha. Right? So there’s that sentence where he’s giving you two bookends. They’re not extremes as in wrong, but there’s rigpa here and then there is substrate consciousness there, and I think those two points are just not debatable. Right? And then the transition in between and I think everything hinges on the verb abide. It has to be… I’m not looking at the Tibetan right now, but it has to be [?] meba. - abides. So, I think what he’s highlighting here, now clearly it’s interpretation… There’s a text… And this is why in pretty much all my retreats I like to show those whom I’m teaching what am I interpreting so then you can see, there’s the [?] Buddhavatch. There’s the speech of the Buddha, or Tsongkhapa, Padmasambhava, Shantideva, whoever. That’s what they said and then you hear my commentary and then you can see, “Okay, that’s his commentary, that’s what he’s commenting on.” Then you have some way to judge whether I’m veering off into some, you know, error. If so, then you can check with another teacher. Alan Wallace’s commenting on this passage, he said this, what do you say? Maybe I’m wrong, but you’ll know what I’m wrong about, that I’m not just making up mistake all by myself in midair. Maybe I’m misinterpreting a certain passage. But now here’s my interpretation, and you know, okay, this is where I could be wrong, but the translation I stand by. It was done under the guidance of my lama. I stand by my translation. It doesn’t mean it’s infallible, but I’m quite confident about it. [80:02 ]

And so, we have a few more minutes. So we need to find, number one: why is he doing this, why doesn’t he make it easier for everybody? [laughter] Right? Here’s my interpretation… Because he doesn’t make it easy. I think that’s a factual statement. Right? Because he doesn’t say, “Hey folks, now I’m speaking about rigpa, now I’m going to speak about substrate.” You know when he does that, it’s like saying, "Here’s Gache, and here’s Natu. Right? Right there, there’s Gache. Tene Gache-la and there’s Natu. What have you just done? There she is, there she is. What have you just done? You’ve just reified them. You’ve just reified them. Natu is not Gache. Gache is not Natu Gache’s here. Natu’s there. And they’re different. Here’s substrate consciousness. Here’s rigpa. When we’re presented nice crystal clear. We’re going to reify both of them, chances are. [80:58]

Now elsewhere in the same text he does give a very sharp, crystal clear demarcation of what is rigpa, primordial consciousness, and what is substrate consciousness. He does do that. So that has it’s point, that has its value to clearly delineate, clearly demarcate, so we don’t conflate them, don’t confuse them. It happens a lot according to Dudjom Lingpa, according to, oh, quite many other teachers, Panchen Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen one of the great Panchen lamas, tutor of the fifth Dalai Lama. [81:35]

They both make exactly the same statement when they’re giving their teachings on shamatha and Dzogchen, Mahamudra style shamatha, taking the mind as the path, awareness of awareness. They teach it, and both of these great teachers, one from the seventeenth century the other from the nineteenth century, both of them say, “Many of the yogis of Tibet think that when they come, having practiced just settling the mind in its natural state and the whole world dissolves into an open expanse and they experience luminosity, and it’s blissful, and it’s non-conceptual, it’s open, it’s devoid of object, it’s… rigpa.” He said so many of them think they’ve realized rigpa. They think it’s this stage of Mahamudra, that stage of Mahamudra, and so forth. He said it’s very common among the yogis of Tibet. And that was in the seventeenth century and the nineteenth century. That’s pretty prime time in Tibet. They say many of the yogis conflated these. [82:40]

In other words they’re not distinguishing between substrate consciousness and rigpa, Mahamudra, Dzogchen. That’s a big problem. Because if you think you’ve already arrived, then you say, “I’m just enjoying being a vidyadhara. Why don’t I turn the wheel of Dharma for you and you too can gain my realization.” And you’re not even on the path yet. You’re not even on the path yet. Dudjom Lingpa says if all you’ve realized is the substrate consciousness, you’ve achieved shamatha, you haven’t even moved one hair’s breadth on the path. You’re right next to it. I mean it’s not far away, but you’re not on the path yet. Right, so it’s kind of a big deal. Don’t conflate the two. [83:21]

So he makes that really sharp on the one hand. But as soon we make a sharp distinction, what do we do? We reify. That’s Gache, that’s Natu. She’s not Natu, she’s not Gache. Right? That’s our tendency. We reify everything we touch. So in this sentence, bear in mind he’s already set out all those distinctions. It was a passage not too long ago. One distinction after another, difference between Buddhas and sentient beings, between the alaya-vijnana and the rigpa, between wisdom… between understanding and realization. It’s an absolutely brilliant passage, it goes on for maybe ten, fifteen pages of these sharp… like bringing down a razor sword, distinguishing, distinguishing… Do not conflate. If you conflate, you’re lost. Do not conflate. If you conflate, you’re lost. You know, so really sharp. Manjushri’s sword. But he’s already done that. Right. We’ve finished all of that. [84:21]

And so now he figures, well… He’s speaking to his own disciples… circle of disciples who are all his own emanations, right? You’ve understood everything thus far. We’re just doing a little footnote here. So at this point, since he’s explained with extraordinary clarity and precision the distinction between substrate consciousness and rigpa, now in one paragraph he highlights their non-duality. They’re of the same nature. Rigpa abides in between. Abiding in between, abiding in between, that’s where it crystallizes substrate consciousness. The very nature of substrate consciousness is rigpa, of course. It’s not something else, but nor is it identical. Middle way. But in this one he’s highlighting - don’t look elsewhere, don’t look outside of substrate consciousness like, “Oh, that was the wrong place, let’s look in this direction.” No. [85:12]

Garab Dorje, Prahevajra, the first teacher of Dzogchen in this historical era, makes very clear, in one text, that when speaking of the cutting through to original purity Ka dag Ka dag Trekchö, cutting through to original purity, original purity is of course original purity of rigpa. What are you cutting through? This is often not so strongly emphasized, but it’s there and it’s very important. What are you cutting through? Substrate… substrate consciousness, yeah. You cut through your ordinary mind with shamatha. What’s the big deal? You’ve cut through that. You’ve melted it away. You’ve made you way to the substrate consciousness. Your mind is nowhere in sight. It’s vanished, it’s evaporated, dissolved back into the substrate consciousness so you’ve cut through your psyche, your neuroses, your personal history, your personality, all that stuff. You’ve cut through that like a hot knife through butter when you achieve shamatha. So just cutting through… But bear in mind these two great lamas said, “Oh, a lot of people when they’ve cut through their psyche, tapped into the substrate consciousness, now they think it’s rigpa. Now they think they’re vidyadharas. Some may think they’re Buddhas. You know all they’ve done is cut through their coarse mind.” That’s nice, step in the right direction, but then you come to this substrate consciousness and that’s where the vipashyana comes in. [86:43]

That’s where our very next section comes in. After we’ve finished with shamatha without a sign we go directly to vipashyana. What’s the most important thing you need to realize in terms of emptiness in this trajectory, in Dzogchen - the emptiness of comets, particles, space, time, apple trees, your kneecap? There’s many things one could realize. Nagarjuna goes through the whole list in his Mulamadhyamakakarika. He goes through all these categories of existence, and then, one by one, shows how each one is empty of inherent nature. All good. It’s thorough. But on this path, which is a very sleek path, without elaboration, emptiness of your own mind. And now scale that back. Emptiness of your own mind in its primal, raw nature - substrate consciousness. Once you realize the emptiness of that, if you cut through that, then you’ve cut right through to rigpa. And that’s what Prahevajra, Garab Dorje says is what you’re cutting through is the substrate consciousness. Right? Is that clear? [87:57]

Natu: Thank you, I got it. [giggles]

Alan: All good. Ema! Good, good. All right. So, um, a quick vote. And really, whatever you decide is just fine by me, because we are here individually. I’m not going to put too much into… No, actually that’s… By the way if anybody knows how to fix this, if you can set it two minutes back. I’ve tweaked with it and I’m just a moron when it comes to this kind of thing. But if you can make it right now it would be 5:59. If anybody knows how to do that, please do it. Uh, it’s two minutes fast. Um, I just got tired and I said, "Oh, okay, you’re wrong and I’m right. [laughs] [88:32]

Um, we’re here with this balance. We’re here for let’s say forty, because there are a few people auditing, a few people yet to come, we’re here as forty individual retreats. We’re here collectively as one collective retreat and I really want to honor both. Right? And so having time to get to know each other, you know just that, simple. It’s very much part of this retreat. So it’s going to be a flat out vote. We’ve had one day. Today was a day of talk. This evening, again I invite you. So get to know each other, socialize. Uh, here’s the vote. And it’s going to be a hands up, just straight up majority rule. How many of you would like to have one more day of talking during the meals? How many would like that? The alternative is silence starts tomorrow morning. The meals will be in silence and then everything else I said about silence will hold. You can still go on a walk any time you like, you know. So I don’t repeat that. How many would like to have one more day of speaking through the meals? Hands go up. Okay, that’s one. Okay… [laughs] His name? Um, Kadim, Kadim, yeah. Kadim, yeah? Kamil, almost, almost… Kamil, not you, Camille. [laughter] He’s a very nice man. She’s a very nice lady. [laughter] And I think we pretty well took care of that. [laughs] [laughter] So tomorrow, good, then we just joyfully slip into silence and if you want to socialize, you’re always welcome to do that, just do it on a walk, very simple. Enjoy your meal. [90:06 ]

Ah! Just a quick bit more. This practice of mindfulness of breathing, it’s very sweet. Good way to fall asleep. So that’s what I would suggest. Supine position. Practice that. And then at some point, and I’ve said this many times in other retreats, just do that. It won’t… You know the practice. At some point, when you feel just kind of a nebulous quality, a fuzzy, it could be kind of a daydreamy kind of dreamy wuh-wuh-wuh-wuhp-woo-woo. Woo-woo land, you end in a woo-woo land. Or you do feel maybe more explicitly kind of a veil of again it’s wooziness. Woo-woo, it has a very soporific sound. Woozy, either feeling woozy, like, like that or daydreamy, like ooh, like that. Either one of those two, kind of mild fuzzy-wuzzy excitation or mild fuzzy-wuzzy dullness. When you see either of those clearly cropping up, that’s the time to mentally snap your fingers [snaps fingers] and say, “My final meditation session for the day is just coming to an end.” Switch posture. Because you were in the meditative posture. Any other posture. Stand on your head if you like, but not that one. Right? Slip into a sleeping posture and then just get a good night’s sleep. Okay? O la so! Have a good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow morning.

Transcribed by Mark Montgomery

Revised by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Final Edition by KrissKringle Sprinkle


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