B. Alan Wallace, 14 Sep 2012
Teaching: Who do you think you are? Are you identified with your body, your mind, or yourself? How does the I fit with the body and mind? We need to find out by probing experientially, not by thinking really hard. The image of a conglomeration of merchants with a CEO in charge. That CEO is the I. While that sense of there being a CEO or I is real, the referent, upon probing, is nowhere to be found and thus unreal. This sense of CEO or I is that which feels it is the agent or the observer in meditation or reacts to praise or criticism in everyday life.
Meditation: mindfulness of the mind via awareness of awareness. Let your eyes be open, and rest gaze evenly. For a while, just be present, without doing focusing on any object. Let your interest converge on what’s left over, that most intimate knowing. Simply rest in the flow of awareness of awareness. For the oscillation, 1) inversion –withdraw from all appearances into the luminosity of awareness itself and 2) release –release into space of non-objectivity. Ensure that the breath flows effortlessly—i.e., not arousing and releasing the breath. Now, invert deeply on 1) your sense of being the agent of this meditation, 2) who is this meditator, and 3) who is the observer. If an appearance comes to mind, is it really I or is it empty like a mirage? Release the oscillation, and let awareness come to the center, resting in its own place, knowing itself.
Q1. In settling the mind, there is a fuzzy TV channel running 3m before me. Rumination has reduced to 4 topics and seem to be arising from the I rather than the TV. Are there different levels?
Q2. In awareness of awareness, I’m not clear about what releasing means? And oscillation?
Q3. In awareness of awareness, I get it when I’m practicing with you in the group sessions, but back in my room, there’s no traction.
Q4. In awareness of awareness, is the oscillation experientially similar to tonglen?
Q5. Javana are mental events that arise from and dissolve back into substrate consciousness whereas mental appearances like thoughts and images dissolve into the substrate. Are mental appearances different from javana? Aren’t javana also appearances to the mind?
Q6. In awareness of awareness, I get the same experience during the oscillation, but when we release the oscillation, it feels different, like coming home. Why do exercises like the oscillation or sending awareness in different directions?
Meditation starts at 16:38
* Note part of the recording was taken from video camera due to system issues …
This afternoon we’ll put to the test of experience a hypothesis that is quite core to Buddhist philosophy and now very specifically to the Sautrantika philosophy, which I’ll call the classical Buddhist philosophy. It’s not the deepest level but it’s a very practical hypothesis; not so esoteric, so subtle that it doesn’t engage with our lives. In fact, this does engage with our lives. And here’s the hypothesis. The hypothesis is a response to the question: Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are? That can be asked in so many ways! You know, all in the intonation. But there’s the question. And I think the articulation of this question is just perfect, who do you think you are? And here is the response to that question; it’s a hypothesis, and it’s about our experience so you can test whether this hypothesis stands up to your own critical investigation or not. But you won’t get there by thinking about it a lot; you get there by probing into it a lot. Like Galileo didn’t figure out there were moons around Jupiter by just thinking really hard about Jupiter.
(1:20) So here’s the hypothesis. The hypothesis is that we have an innate – that is, it’s called lengge, we are born with it. So you can’t blame your parents or society or anybody else, you’re born with it. You are born with a mental affliction – that is, a whole host of them – but one of them is a delusional sense of who you are. And that is the assertion, of course, that it is delusional. And the sense here is, and I’ll speak first person:
Number one, “I am”, of course I am, and I actually am. But not only am I, but the sense is “I can stand on my own” or “you can stand on your own”. Who are you, are you a jelly fish, are you a wimp, are you just a follower or can you stand on your own? Are you really there or are you just a kind of a fluffy bit of imagination? Are you really there or not? Stand up and speak for yourself! Are you substantially there, are you really there? Or are you just some conceptual abstraction?
Now they [the Tibetans] flesh this out a little bit, and they’re talking about our experience that, again, we already have. That’s the hypothesis. Not that we’ll get by joining some delusional philosophical club or religion or what have you. So how do you relate to your body and mind – and that was the wording, and it was good wording, wasn’t it? When I say “how do you relate to your body and mind,” I didn’t just say gibberish. So how do you view your body? Are you comfortable with your body? Well that’s a meaningful phrase if and only if you’re not identical to your body, because “with” means “two things.” So do you feel comfortable with your body? How do you feel about your body? So there’s one.
And then, how do you feel about your mind? What do you think of your mind? Do you like it? Can you control it? Do you want to control it? And so your body, your mind. So now it looks like there’s three of you there. You’ve got a body; you have one, only one. You have a mind; many mental factors, but only one mind. And then there’s you.
So then now we ask the relationship. Now of course within the body, there are many, many parts; within the mind there are many, many mental factors, attention and emotion, desires and so forth. There’s a whole society there. So these are not two single, how do you say, monolithic entities. Two kind of groups: the bundle of your body, the bundle of your mind. And then there’s you! So now the question is, how do you fit into that? And of course the bundle of body and mind are profoundly entangled, right? Really very intimately related. We sometimes call it “embodied mind.” Not bad. Or the Buddha himself said your body is the basis for the mind. Or in Tibetan Buddhism: the basis of a life of leisure and opportunity; a “basis,” it’s your body.
So how do you relate? How do you as an individual, one person, how do you related to this conglomerate of your body and the conglomerate of your mind, which are profoundly entangled with each other. And the metaphor given here, in terms of this hypothesis, is that it’s like a group of merchants, or a consortium of merchants, and among the consortium there’s one who is the CEO, or the head merchant. And this one really is in charge. In other words, you could call it a corporation, you know with vice presidents and managers and all the way down to the – all the way up and all the way down. But when all is said and done, you’d have to say, in American English, the buck stops here. That is, there’s the CEO. So if the company does really badly, then you blame the CEO, and if the company does really well, the CEO gets a raise.
But you’re the CEO, the chief executive officer of the corporation of your body and mind. Which means that you can’t act entirely autonomously, you’re not entirely independent, and you’re probably at war there, but nevertheless when all is said and done, you’re the CEO. So that’s modern terminology, but it’s an old, old analogy: the chief merchant among a group of merchants who really is in charge of the consortium.
And so, you’re amongst them, but you’re not identical with any of them, and yet you do have some real – how do you say – authority over them; you more than anyone else there. So that’s the hypothesis. And of course the hypothesis is that, although there is such a sense of being that person, that CEO, there is no such person! That there is the grasping onto the sense that “I am,” but when you look for the referent of that sense of personal identity, nowhere to be found! In other words, it’s a delusional sense of personal identity.
So just to make that point really clear, because for some people this may be new, I’m going to give my silliest example, then we’ll move right on. But imagine that I think – and I know this is really silly, but I can live with it – but imagine that I am the incarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte. And I’m taking it really seriously, so I’ll go out speaking with a French accent, or at least my best approximation. And when you address me, I want you to say “mon general,” I want you to salute me, and if you don’t, then off with your head! So I can be walking around really thinking that I am Napoleon Bonaparte come back to life and I make sure that – you see my mudra – you’ve all seen the paintings, right? [unintelligible]
So I could be walking around thinking I’m Napoleon Bonaparte, and this can strongly influence my emotions, [unintelligible], and then if you show me respect as Napoleon then I feel really happy; if you think I’m a total idiot, that I’m not Napoleon at all, I’d be very upset.
And so is there any Napoleon Bonaparte here? There’s not even a shred of Napoleon Bonaparte; there’s zero Napoleon Bonaparte. Nevertheless, I may be tenaciously clinging – but I am, I am! So the grasping onto “I am Napoleon Bonaparte”: is it real, or is it unreal? The sense that I am Napoleon Bonaparte: is it real or unreal? Real! It has efficacy; it’s making me miserable! It’s making me put my hand in my shirt! It’s making me speak with a French accent!
So I’m doing all kinds of crazy things here because I think that I’m Napoleon Bonaparte. Is there Napoleon Bonaparte? No! Not even a shred. Nothing! So one thing is real, but the other thing doesn’t exist at all. Napoleon Bonaparte here doesn’t exist at all; but the sense “I am Napoleon,” that is very real.
So in a similar fashion – that was a silly one, now we’ll just set it aside – but to show one is real and the other one doesn’t exist at all, and that is, and here’s the hypothesis, we really do grasp onto ourselves as being that CEO of the corporation of body/mind. And is there any such CEO? No! Not even a shred. That’s the hypothesis.
So now, let’s put it to the test of experience. That’s what we’d debate about when I was a monk 38 years ago; we’d just think and think and think! Now let’s just put it to the test of experience. And it’s very personal. Do you have that sense of grasping onto “I am the agent, I am the observer, I have a mind, I have consciousness”? “My consciousness gets dull; my consciousness gets clear; my consciousness gets agitated; my body gets too fat, too skinny, etc!” My, my, my! In others words, you’re describing your corporation. So is there such a quasi-autonomous, controlling, real, substantial person? And also, where the rubber really hits the road, really gets – ok I’m not going to choose any target here, sometimes I’ll say “Jack and Jill” so you know I’m not meaning anybody – ok, Jack, you’re just ugly! You’re just ugly! Yeah, my body’s fat. Jack, you’re just stupid. Yeah, my mind’s not very [can’t hear]. Jack, I just find you disgusting. That hurt! Insult my body if you like, I just inherited it, what am I going to do? And insult my mind if you’d like, it arises in dependence on my body, what can I do? But you got really personal when you said, “I find you disgusting.” You hit my body, then you hit my mind, but then you really got to me. You said, “I just find you disgusting.” You’re a real – here’s the word I like – you’re a real jerk! Your mind’s ok, actually, and your body’s just a body, but Jack, you… I’m not talking about your mind or your body here – Jack, you’re just a jerk! You’re really just a jerk. And if there’s anyone who says, “You talking to me?” “I know you weren’t talking to my body; you weren’t talking to my mind; you’re talking to me! I don’t like that!”
Or likewise – here’s good cop/bad cop – Jack, I’ve met a lot of people in my time, and frankly, I just think you’re the finest person I’ve ever met. I think you’re just great; you’re fabulous. I just stand in awe; I just find you amazing! You’re just one spectacular human being. My hat’s off to you. You’re just incredible! Unbelievable! I’ve never met anybody like you; you’re just an amazing person. Is anybody there enjoying that? Because I didn’t say a word about your body or your mind; I was talking about you.
So is there any resident? Does anything rise to the occasion? It’s like a fly fisherman: you threw out the flies, any fish come up and say, “I’ll take that!” Yes, you’re referring to me. And I don’t like it, or I do like it. Or Jack, I just find you boring. So now we’ll check. Now, why would we check? Is it just philosophical exercise, psychological fun and games? And the assertion here is that mental afflictions – there’s gradient upon gradient upon gradient of mental afflictions.
Even when you’ve achieved shamatha, you’re resting there in the substrate consciousness; while you’re there, all of the mental afflictions associated with the desire realm, they’re dormant. You’re not in the desire realm; you’ve crossed the threshold – when you’ve achieved shamatha – you’ve crossed the threshold into the form realm. Right? That’s why it’s called “access” to the first dhyana. So your cravings, your hostility, jealousy, pride, arrogance, everything, all the mental afflictions which arise within that bandwidth of the desire realm: they all fall asleep. They all just go dormant, hibernate, when you’re resting there in substrate consciousness, enjoying the bliss, the luminosity, the non-conceptuality. Does this mean that all your mental afflictions have gone dormant? Uh uh! I like that luminosity! I like that bliss! I like that non-conceptuality! And I don’t want to let go! That’s grasping; that’s attachment. Subtler attachment. So there it is. Level upon level upon level.
But there’s a whole bandwidth of mental afflictions, and then all the ensuing misery, the types of distress, anxiety and so forth that arise from this particular dimension of delusional grasping onto oneself. There are subtler ones. Grasping onto oneself as an inherently existing entity. So that’s subtle. That’s quite deep! It’s difficult even to identify clearly. But this one’s easier, and to identify the sheer absence of this self, that Napoleon Bonaparte, can cut right to the root of all the mental afflictions that arise from that level of delusion. And that can be very freeing. Much more peaceful life; much more realistic life; much more relaxed life. All the craving, hostility and so forth that come from that level of delusion – of grasping onto “I am the CEO of my corporation – that doesn’t happen, because the root’s been cut.
So, enough! Now let’s put that to the test of experience. We do that by probing right into the core.
First of all, establish your base of relaxation, an inner calm, stability, clarity, settling body, speech and mind in the natural state, and calming the mind with mindfulness of breathing. Let your eyes be open, evenly rest your awareness in the space in front of you, but without deliberately focusing on any object, external or internal. Just rest and be present in the present moment.
And now let your interest, your attention, converge in upon your most intimate knowing, your most indubitable knowing, and that is your knowing right now. The awareness is good [unsure if this is correct], the awareness of awareness itself. Intuitively, non-discursively, non-conceptually, simply rest in that flow of being aware of being aware, knowing the knowing. Gently initiate the oscillation that we practiced earlier, withdrawing your awareness quite forcefully – but not too forcefully! – from all appearances, right into that luminosity of awareness itself, the ultimate retreat from all appearances. At least relatively! And then release – relatively – into a space of non-objectivity; that is, just releasing, but with no target, no referent except the gentle continuity of awareness of being aware. Invert and release at your own pace.
See that your breath continues to flow utterly effortlessly, that you do not arouse your breath as you invert your awareness in upon itself, or expel the breath in release. Just let the breath flow in and out, effortlessly.
And now as you invert your awareness, penetrate a bit more deeply, and with discerning intelligence, with a question: and that is, you are doing something voluntarily, if you are doing it, nobody’s making you do it, this inversion and release of awareness. You’re doing it. So you must be the agent, right? You’re controlling your mind, directing your attention like a CEO in a company. So when you invert your awareness, invert deeply. See if you can get a glimpse of your sense of who you are as the agent; pull back the screen. Who do you think you are? You, who are in charge of your mind, controlling it, releasing and inverting it. Probe inwardly in depth, see what you see, and then release once again, inverting deeply in upon the very agent, and release.
Bear in mind, we are looking for something that does exist – that is the hypothesis – an actual lived sense of being the agent who’s in charge of your body, and in this particular case, in charge of your mind. When you invert, see what arises, see what comes to mind when you direct your awareness in upon yourselves of being the agent.
On occasion, you’re going to think, “I’m a pretty good meditator.” On occasion you may feel, “as a meditator, I’m a failure; I stink.” Who are you referring to, as you invert your awareness? Who is this meditator? Show your face. And if some appearance comes to mind, ask of that appearance, “Is this I?” Or is it merely an empty appearance, like a reflection in a mirror, like a mirage?
Then probe even more deeply. Even when you’re not doing anything, and you’re just sitting there as inactive as you can be, do you have a sense of being the observer? Someone in here and now, a person, an entity, a subject that is observing over here on the subjective side. Invert your awareness, and invert it so deeply that you lift the veil on your sense of being the observer, and see what you see. And then release into objectless space, inverting and releasing as before.
And when you invert your awareness, if some appearance does come to mind, some impression, then ask of that impression, “is this really you; is this really a person; or is it simply an appearance?”
And now release the oscillation; release all effort. Let your awareness come to rest in the center, in its own place, holding its own ground, knowing itself.
Question and Answer Session transcribed by James French.
So I’m just going to go back and forth between written and spoken again. Here’s one from Patrice.
When I’m practicing settling the mind in its natural state, the usual, fuzzy TV channel eventually appears about 3 meters in front of me.
That’s good, your parents trained you well: not too close to the TV.
After watching that awhile, a thought often follows and eventually arises, usually from one of my four main topics of rumination. Yes, thankfully after three weeks, I have now wittled it down to four! In front, behind, to the left and to the right. These, however, do not seem to arise and dissolve from the fuzzy TV channel, as you have described, but from a place where awareness seems to exist somewhere within the seemingly true existent body labeled “I.” Are even my delusions a bit more confused than the average bearer?
Well, I think we’d have to do a poll. That would be difficult to say. Well, maybe that just pertains to the point I made earlier this afternoon, and that is that mental afflictions arise from multiple levels, some of them utterly acquired, that we learn from other people. I don’t believe – I think there’s a little bit of data that could give rise to interesting discussion – but I don’t believe that anybody’s born a racist. I don’t think so. I think we have to learn that one. There are just a lot of delusions that we acquire through life from various sources, without pointing fingers in any direction.
And in dependence upon a delusion – like thinking that people of one’s own country are somehow superior to people from other countries. How about that just generically? You know, “I am from Guatemala, we Guatemalans,” whatever. So that’s an acquired [delusion], no one’s born that way. But then, on the basis of that, then you can have a lot of mental afflictions stemming from that particular delusion.
So there’s very acquired, very superficial, and then there’s deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper, until we get to the level that’s connate. “Connate” means we’re born with it. And even there, there are layers upon layers.
And so likewise there are layers and layers of sources of rumination. We can have rumination stimulated just by hearing somebody else in conversation: quite superficial level. Rumination may be aroused as we start dredging the psyched, through deeper and deeper shamatha practice. It starts to bring up older memories, emotions, desires and so forth, and they’ll just come with their own little parade of rumination. And then, I would say – from my belief system, my way of viewing reality – we can have rumination stemming from experiences from past life. And that’s a pretty deep source; so that’s really straight from the substrate. But if you go deep enough you can catalyze memories and so forth even from past life, and that again can give rise to ruminations. And often when we feel that ruminations are coming from out of the blue, so to speak – “I don’t know where that came from” – I think the Buddhist understanding would be, well that just came from a dimension that you’re not presently aware of. But there are layers and layers of activity.
But there it is. We just have to deal with it. And you can either simply continue releasing the rumination all the way through, which is the method for mindfulness of breathing. Settling the mind you know: be lucidly ruminating, that is, allowing the thoughts to arise but in the bright headlights of awareness.
And then – especially if we follow Panchen Rinpoche, in his teachings on Mahamudra and shamatha within the context of Mahamudra – then we he goes into the awareness of awareness, he gives two options. And I think it’s very nice. A number of people I’m training in long-term meditation, they’ve found this really very inviting. And that is when you’re resting in that awareness of awareness, you’ve got two options, and one of these, as soon as you see the little head, the furry top of some little rumination coming up, just cut it right off. There’s no harm here; there’s not a sentient being. As soon as you come up, cut it! Almost like – a nice one, without getting really bloody with, you know, guillotine and all of that – but the groundskeeper for the greens in a golf course, if he sees one little blade that’s up too high – CUT! – don’t want you messing with the golf balls here! Like that, right? No big swooping cuts with a broadsword. As soon as you see a little blade of some rumination come up – little cut! Really quick, like that. That’s one possibility. Just cut them off as soon as you see them, but don’t make a big deal out of it, just little sharp, staccato cut. Because they haven’t really lunged up and grabbed you yet; they’ve just poked their head up, so give them a haircut. Give them a flat top. So that’s one possibility.
And the other possibility is, while resting there, right in the awareness of awareness, if some rumination comes up allow it to rise, but don’t go there. In other words, it’s like, so you’ve got neighbors making noise? Ok make noise, but I’m not going there. So you don’t need to do anything, and they’ll just fade out of their own accord. They’re definitely out on the hinterlands, out on the periphery. So you don’t do anything about them; you let them rise up and pass, but you don’t – you’re not venturing into settling the mind in its natural state, now really attending to them, observing them arise and pass. You say, “if you want to arise in the neighborhood, you’re welcome to do that, but sorry I’m just going to have to ignore you, because I’ve got a full-time job here: awareness of awareness.”
So those are the two basic strategies.
Anybody on the right? Anything coming up? We’ll start with Kathy!
I may have missed some of your explanation, but I’m not clear what you mean by “releasing” from awareness of awareness. Is that what that means?
I did say “releasing” but I’ve never said “releasing from awareness of awareness.”
Ok, so what did you mean by “release” in this last meditation?
In this last practice? Yeah. When – and just by the way, if you want to know where this comes from, it’s Padmasambhava, Natural Liberation. It’s his culminating shamatha practice. He starts really easy! He starts on the shallow end of the pool. And he said, “put a stick, stone, or flower in front of you and look at it.” I can do it! So it’s really nice, really sweet. Will that take all the way to shamatha? No way! But can you get your mind to stabilize a little bit? Got it!
So he starts really coarse, and then he winds up at awareness of awareness, and when he comes to that one he says, “ok now just stay here until you achieve shamatha.” And then the next chapter is vipashyana.
So in that regard, he’s the one that teaches this inversion – there are others as well, but he’s classic – and where you’re inverting your awareness in upon awareness, then releasing. But when I just say Padmasambhava’s words, “invert your awareness right in upon itself,” people wonder, “where am I going?” Where am I going to? Inside my head? Shall I go cross-eyed? Or go into my heart? Where the heck am I supposed to go? Inverting from what? And that’s a good question. And so then I need to come up with an answer to give people, because people need a strategy. You can’t just say, “invert it,” and they’re not knowing how to do it.
And so if we consider what are we inverting from? Well, we’re going to stop doing what we have been doing, and that is, what we normally do is attend to appearances. That’s what I’m doing right now! I’m looking over in your direction; I’m looking at you. So in other words, imagine that I’m a one-horned snail. I got in a fight with a snail; he nipped off the other bud, what can I say? Normally, my little tentacle’s going here: “Hi Jordan! Hi Matthew! Hi Miles!” It’s extending in all different directions: visual, auditory, tactile, mental, and so forth. So my little tentacle; going in all different directions.
And this one is just – [vacuum sound] – pull it in. And that is, pull it in from all appearances; withdraw from all appearances. And that’s all six doors: pulling in from even the space of the mind, of course from thoughts, of course from the sensory. Just … I’m no longer interested in any of you for the time being, and I’m withdrawing from all appearances, and I’m going to see what’s left when I’m not attending to any appearances whatsoever. And what’s left is what was already there, and that’s just the awareness of awareness.
So that’s releasing all appearances, which means a withdrawal from all appearances. Which of course, what we’re seeking to do here is emulate what takes place as we’re falling asleep, but we’re seeking to do that lucidly. Because when we fall asleep, the awareness does withdraw from all appearances; when you go deep asleep, it even withdraws from the appearances of the mind, but it’s non-lucid, so we just slip into the substrate consciousness, and the substrate consciousness slips right into the substrate, and then we don’t know anything. But we have withdrawn from all appearances!
So we’re trying to emulate the falling asleep process, emulate the dying process, but doing it lucidly. That clear?
And then when you release – this is a bit easier to conceptualize – you’re releasing, but you’re not releasing out to a target, like the blueness of the sky or any other target. You’re just going, “Whew!” But with a caveat: don’t just space out! Space out, but while holding the slender thread of the awareness of awareness.
And then you said the word “oscillate.”
What was that?
Yeah. For a while, I used the image of a pendulum, but I don’t use it anymore because it’s linear. A pendulum goes back and forth, back and forth. We don’t want that, because it’s not going out in front of you, and then inside. That’s not a good image; it’s a misleading image. It would be more like – if we want an image as a metaphor – it would be like a sea anemone. Just releasing into space, three dimensionally. And then, “whew,” like all the light being sucked into a black hole, from all directions, into itself. And the oscillation is just that. In astronomy, there’s something called a quasar, and they pulse. So this is kind of like a pulsing. That’s the oscillation.
Ok? An easy one would be like a balloon, a balloon expanding and contracting. Or the universe! Expanding and contracting, like that.
So should we be feeling some kind of oscillation in that?
We shouldn’t try to feel anything other than what I’ve just said, and that is doing what I just said. It’s not tactile. And it’s just that release into objectless space, and then withdrawal right into awareness, withdrawing from all appearances. And the oscillation just means expanding/contracting, expanding/contracting; that’s all it means. And then you can set your own rhythm. Now, Padmasambhava doesn’t say anything about how fast; should it be five seconds in, five seconds out? So again, when I’ve taught this to people who’ve never done it, once again they can just find it so novel, so new, so difficult that they need something to hold onto. “Give me some point of reference here that I’m familiar with, because I don’t know how to do this at all.” Ok, when you’re breathing out, release; when you’re breathing in, withdraw your awareness in upon itself. Which means you’re multi-tasking, but then you’re multi-tasking when you count breaths, too.
So as a preliminary exercise, when you’re breathing out, just [Alan makes a “release” sound], and then when you just feel that breath naturally flowing in, then draw your awareness right in upon itself. So for a while, to get the hang of it, you can conjoin the rhythm of the release and the withdrawal with the breathing. And then when you get the hang of it, don’t multitask anymore: release the breath, and then just do it at your own pace, whether it’s 20 seconds out, 20 seconds in, or five seconds, do it at your own pace. Ok?
And part of it is, just do it more! Just practice a bit more. We’ve only done it for a couple of days.
And once you get there, once you get to the point of awareness of awareness, you just stay there, you rest there?
Yeah, Padmasambhava teaches this for two reasons, and he says so, so it’s not my interpretation. And that is – in fact, in this particular discussion, he makes no reference to introspection at all, which is really part and parcel of shamatha practice. But he doesn’t mention it. What he does say is that when you’re doing this inversion and release, the very fact of the releasing, that totally letting go, that just takes all the energy out of, or releases all the energy underlying excitation. Just dissipating into space. But then when you’re withdrawing, you’re not just withdrawing into your nose, or your kneecap, or even into a mental image. You’re withdrawing right into the nature of awareness, which is by nature luminous. So you’re converging right into luminosity, so you don’t need to add clarity to that! You’re converging where clarity emerges from.
So the point there is, when you’re inverting your awareness, that is a natural antidote to laxity, and when you release your awareness, that’s a natural antidote to excitation. So with every oscillation, with every cycle, you’re overcoming laxity and excitation.
Now it’s exactly in this phase of the practice - where you’re coming right in upon the agent, right in upon the observer, when you’re doing that – he said when you’re doing this, he said you may actually identify rigpa. You may actually identify rigpa, pristine awareness, dharmakaya, Buddha-nature. It’s possible. So again, just like Dudjom Lingpa says, if you’re a person of – actually he said “medium” faculties. I think I said “sharp” before; he actually said “medium” faculties. If you’re of medium faculties, and you just rest your awareness in space for three weeks, you may come out a vidhyadara. You’ll come out with realization of rigpa. That’s medium faculties!
Then you must be wondering, “well, how about sharp faculties?” And the sharp faculties is you just hear the instructions and you become a vidhyadara. Like Sariputra. He just heard that simple verse; he just heard the teachings. That was enough! He realized emptiness! Just by hearing about causality. So he was one very ripe guy. Dudjom Lingpa calls that a “simultaneous” individual. A simultaneous individual: those are the people with sharp faculties. That is, they hear the teaching and they get it. Boom!
So if you’re not quite that sharp, then they said, “ok now go off into solitude, rest your awareness in space for three weeks, and then maybe you’ll realize rigpa; if not, ok then you go back to the gradual, step-by-step.”
So likewise, this practice, for the person of pretty sharp faculties, while it’s designed as a shamatha practice to help your mind settle in its natural state, dissolve into the substrate consciousness – that’s what it’s designed to do – if you’re a person of very sharp – you know, at least moderately sharp, medium, whatever, a pretty gifted person – that practice there, right there, may be sufficient for realizing rigpa. And if you realize rigpa, as I emphasized this morning, if you realize rigpa, then you don’t need to do something separate, in addition to realizing emptiness.
Just as if you’re very lucid in a dream – you really know you’re dreaming – then you don’t need to learn something else to recognize the fact that there’s no one really there from their own side. Because that’s just part of being awake in the dream. You must know that, otherwise you don’t know that you’re dreaming if you still think that’s a real person over there from their own side, and that’s real mountain over there made of molecules. If you still think that, then you’re not lucid! If you are lucid, if you recognize the dream as a dream, then you are already realizing the emptiness of yourself as the persona in the dream, and the landscape and the people and so forth in it.
So that’s that. There was one other point. There was one other point, I’ll just sit for just a second, see if I can come up with it. No, that’ll do! Good! Let’s read one!
This is from Frank.
When I do awareness of awareness with you, I feel like I get it fairly strongly. But when I get back to my room, I lose it. No traction; spinning my wheels; feel like I’m wasting a lot of time. What to do? I know part of the answer: relax more deeply.
Yes, if in doubt, that’s always my answer. Except if the question is, “when I meditate, I just get really, really dull.” Then the answer isn’t, “relax more deeply.”
So, it’s a good question, and I’m sure you’re not alone there. And this is why we have all of these steps; it’s like taking you from the shallow end of the pool right into the deep of the pool. This is the deep end of the pool. This is awareness of awareness. That’s the deep end of the pool.
But I’ll tell you, if that’s just a little bit over your head, and you don’t quite know how to swim yet and it’s kind of going, “glug, glug, glug.” You’re just not getting any traction. There it is. It’s deeper than where you are. Then take a step back towards the shallow end of the pool; take a couple of steps back and see, ok, do you get traction here? And that is, when you’re settling the mind in its natural state, and you take a special interest in the intervals between the thoughts, you’re attending to that space of the mind. Can you sustain a flow of knowing? Or have you just gone blank? Just waiting; not getting anything. Can you be attending to the space of the mind and maintain a flow of knowing? If you can, that’s right next door. That’s something.
That’s not so easy; that’s pretty deep end of the pool. But if you can ascertain that, and know something such that you can actually pose questions about that space of the mind, and by attending closely, get an answer – for example, is it flat? The space of the mind: is it flat? Is it a screen? Two dimensional? Or is it three dimensional? That’s a reasonable question. Is it black? Or does it have any color at all? Is it small? Is it like a television set, three meters in front of you? Or is it a big screen? Or is it – I think, when I was a kid, I think they had at least one cinema in Hollywood that was 360 degrees. I think so; I think so, yeah? You look in all directions, you see it all around you like that. So is that the case? Is it all around?
So, if you can pose these questions and get answers by attending closely, then you are maintaining a flow of knowing: that’s pretty darn close. So if you’re there, and you’re attending to the space of the mind and you’re knowing it, then if you release a little bit of effort, and your effort is your one horn of your snail that was looking at the space of the mind and getting it – that’s a pretty sensitive little antenna there! And then, “I’m tired,” and pull in. That is, space of the mind? You’ve had your time; I’m no longer interested. Bye! And see what’s left.
And what’s left was something that was already there. You already knew you were aware. That’s not something new. It’s unveiling something old.
Ok? Jolly good!
Anybody on this side? Yes, over to you, Danny.
So, a follow-up to that question. I actually have the same questions, so I’m glad it was asked.
And you’re referring to whom?
To the one about the oscillating.
The oscillation, yes, from Kathy.
So, experientially, is the sense of that oscillation sort of similar to, let’s say, tonglen? Where there’s a sense of pulling something in and sending something out?
No. It’s not. The tonglen, in a very benign way, is saturated by grasping. Benign way; beneficial way. But it is grasping, because I’m attending to this person, I’m bringing this person to mind; this person is an other person than myself, and I’m sending light out to that person, and I’m drawing darkness in upon myself. And so, it’s filled with imagery; it’s filled with an “I-thou” (*) relationship, “I-you” relationship. It’s a very skillful means, but it’s saturated by grasping.
(*) Note from the reviser about the meaning of the phrase “I-thou relationship” mentioned above, which is:
"An “I-thou” relationship is something Alan mentions often. It derives from the English translation of the work of German theologian Martin Buber, who wrote a book entitled “Ich und Du,” which has been translated as “I and Thou.” The word “thou” is an archaic form of the English second person singular pronoun, used back when the English language distinguished between informal and formal registers: it’s the informal register. It’s now used to indicate a certain amount of religious solemnity, ironically enough. When Alan uses the phrase “I-thou relationship,” he means to regard the other as a being worthy of love, rather than as an object."
This practice is not a matter of sending out, but releasing. So sending out is what you do when you throw rice, right? And this, this release is what the little girl does when she releases the balloons. That’s not sending anything. That’s just – [breath out sound]. It’s not going, “Ahhh,” it’s just [breath out sound]. Doesn’t go anywhere. Just releasing. That’s why it doesn’t go for a while and then disappear. It just goes into space and just releases.
So there’s no sending out; it’s just release. And then the inversion is not drawing in anything; it’s actually another kind of release. And that is, right now it’s taking me some effort to direct my attention all the way over to you. Oh there you are, way over there! Like an old turtle. It takes some effort. But when you’re withdrawing your awareness from all appearances, it’s releasing that effort. Because now I’m having to know two things: I’m having to know you, but in knowing you I already know that I’m aware. So I’m knowing two things. Alright, that’s just a bit too complicated for me; I’m going to release my knowing of you. It’s more effortless. So I’m not drawing anything in; I’m releasing the extension, I’m releasing the effort of going out. So it’s just kind of release, and release, and release and release; effortless, effortless, effortless.
And among the various methods of shamatha – and there’s a wide variety – this is the one that is really the most unadulterated “discovery” approach to shamatha that I think there is. I think you’ve probably heard me use this model before, and it’s quite useful for many people. But in the standard Gelugpa model – and it’s classic, it’s not just Gelugpas, it’s all over Tibetan Buddhism – but we’re really trying to develop qualities of attention that we don’t have. We don’t have the ability to sustain the attention on anything for more than a few seconds, so we’re trying to develop that which wasn’t there. And then when we try to visualize a Buddha image, we do not have clarity, and so we try to develop that which isn’t there: a nice, clear, crystal clear, three-dimensional, radiant, high-definition image of the Buddha. We don’t have that, so we try to develop it, and it’s not there. And so that’s very developmental. And it’s a marvelous method. For many people, it’s worked extremely well. Developing that which was not there: the stability, the vividness, and so forth.
Here, it’s really not a matter of developing anything. Really! Because awareness, when it’s free of grasping, is, by nature, still. That which makes it restless, agitated, excited, ruminating and so forth, is just grasping. That’s what jerks it all over the place; it’s grasping. And so here we are, in both modes: releasing into objectless space, which means no grasping, and then inverting from all awareness, resting awareness in its own nature, that’s no grasping! So it’s doing two modalities of non-grasping. And both of these entail a releasing of effort, releasing of effort, which itself would be a releasing of grasping. Grasping and effort are very closely related.
So this is not a matter of developing vividness and stability. It’s rather releasing all grasping so you discover the natural stillness of your own awareness. And then by releasing all that obscures the natural luminosity of your own awareness, you discover clarity. And so it’s discovering stability, and discovering clarity, which are innate qualities of your own awareness. In other words, it’s discovering shamatha, which was already there. Something like that.
And once again, there was a little bit more! Kind of just teased me and … Yeah, that’ll do. Ok!
Good! Let’s read. From Francesca. Ok.
Could you please clarify the following questions. All jhavana, all activities of the mind, memories, imagination, ruminations, five sensory perceptions –
Good! Nice list.
All jhavana arise from and dissolve into the substrate –
Of course, if we wanted to keep this really homogenous, then we’d say “bhavanga”. But since I’m saying they’re identical, that will be our working hypothesis until somebody shows me I’m wrong. So,
They arise from and dissolve into the substrate –
Now, we should say this: substrate consciousness, that’s what you said –
They arise from and dissolve into substrate consciousness, while thoughts and appearances dissolve into the substrate –
Yeah, now depending on what you mean by the word “thought.” So what I mean by the word “thought” is the discursive chit-chat, like overhearing a conversation. The appearances of sounds, of words, of conversations, commentary and so forth of the mind. That’s what I’m referring to. Something you can actually attend to as if you’re listening with your mental ear. That’s a mental appearance arising to you. Likewise, seeing mental imagery, of colors and shapes, or mountains, landscapes, or again, appearances of tastes, smells, so forth.
So yes, I’m saying those objective appearances, they arise from and dissolve into the substrate; while your subjective mental processes, the mental impulses, arising from and dissolving into the substrate consciousness.
Are thoughts and appearances different from other activities of the mind? Why are they not included among the jhavana?
They are completely conjoined with jhavana, completely conjoined with jhavana. They’re simply kind of the objective pole of jhavana. So they probably are jhavana, because “jhavana” is referring to the activities of the mind. So they’re linked. Just like there’s no one who’s informed without there being something about which you’re informed. There are no thoughts, there are no appearances of thoughts without some subjective awareness, whether it’s explicit or implicit. So the two are entangled all the way through. Ok? So jhavana’s the whole system.
And moreover – this is where it’s a bit simpler to keep with a homogenous vocabulary – and that is, the Theravada, they don’t speak of the alaya. They don’t even have a word for it. Or the alayavijnana: no word for that either. It’s just bhavanga; all jhavana arising from bhavanga. So they’re just taking that substrate consciousness as one unified system. And that’s pretty much what the Gelugpas will do, too; they don’t talk about “alaya” and “alayavijnana,” they talk about “subtle continuum of mental consciousness.” So then we say those appearances and all of that, they arise from that dimension.
Aren’t all jhavana appearances to the mind, too?
In a manner of speaking, yes. And that is, when you’re aware of an emotion arising, aware of a desire arising, are those not appearances? Yes they are. Of course they are. They are objects of awareness; you know them, you know that you’re feeling upset, you’re angry, you’re happy, you’re content. You know that. How do you know that? By way of some experience of feeling content, or what have you. So it is an appearance, but my point here is that our awareness of these subjective impulses – and these are the sem jung, that which is arising from sem, from the mind – but our awareness of them is always retrospective, just like awareness of awareness itself. So this is a point – and this is where the teachings on awareness of awareness are completely compatible with prasangika-madkyamika, otherwise Shantideva wouldn’t accept it, Tsongkhapa wouldn’t accept it. But they do! Tsongkhapa very explicitly acknowledges, yes, awareness of awareness, resting in the sheer luminosity and sheer cognizance of awareness, that is a shamatha practice. He tips his hat to it, and moves right along.
And so when you’re aware of awareness, is it one pulse? One moment of awareness knowing itself? The answer is no. Not in prasangika, and I think, once again, I think they’re right. No, it’s retrospective. If these two fingers were two adjacent [Alan pronounces a Tibetan phrase], and that is “pulses of cognition” that actually ascertain something. So maybe it’s 50 milliseconds. So a cluster, a cluster of those extremely brief moments, but clustering all in upon the same object. So if I’ve got one cluster here of 50 milliseconds, of mental awareness, and then in the next moment there’s another 50 millisecond cluster, and they’re both of mental awareness and they’re both inverted right in upon awareness of awareness, the second finger is ascertaining the first finger. And the third finger is ascertaining the second finger, and the fourth finger is ascertaining the third finger. So each one is getting the immediately preceding one.
And since they’re so similar – because they’re all looking at the same flow of cognition – and since the cognition isn’t going out to shapes, colors, sounds and smells and so forth, but it’s just maintaining in samadhi a unified flow of awareness of awareness of awareness of awareness, then it’s quite smooth, quite homogenous. That is, what you’re aware of seems to be just, “I’m just sitting here being aware of being aware of being aware.” It’s just a smooth continuum, an ongoing flow of luminosity and cognizance, and it really seems to be the same flow, the same stream, quite homogenous. And that’s true, because each moment is so similar to its predecessor, because each one is looking over its shoulder at the preceding one.
So as that is, I think, the clearest and most precise analysis – it’s kind of a philosophical conceptualization of what’s actually happening, when we try to make sense of awareness of awareness, as that’s what occurs when you’re practicing awareness of awareness – likewise, when you’re aware of, “I’m feeling quite content,” that experience, the appearance feeling content is retrospective. So it’s just looking over its shoulder at a subjective impulse of feeling content, or angry, or agitated or what have you.
So yes, they’re appearances, but here’s the point of difference, and that is, when we are aware of the appearances of the immediately preceding moment of some subjective experience or mental process, that is retrospective. Whereas I would say, with a lot of confidence actually, that when I visualize an image, let’s say, of my mother, the appearance of that image and my awareness of it are completely simultaneous. That is, the image wasn’t there for 50 milliseconds and then my attention got caught up to it; it’s not retrospective. They’re actually right there, exactly simultaneous.
And likewise, the sounds that I hear mentally – when I’m in a dream, the appearances arising to my awareness, and my awareness of them, I would say simultaneous.
So that’s a bit different.
Which then, I mean when we’re really going to really subtle vipashyana into the nature of this, then more questions could be raised that are rather interesting. And that is, is there any difference in impact when you are aware of an objective appearance – like a mental image – when you are aware of a mental image arising in your mind, does that awareness of it, that attentiveness to it, does that have any different impact on what you’re aware of than when you direct your awareness in upon a subjective impulse? Do they affect that which you’re attending to in any different way? So for example, you can be – remember the song, who was it? “I’m so glad; I’m glad, I’m glad, I’m glad!” Who is it? “I’m so glad; I’m so glad; I’m glad, I’m glad, I’m glad!” You don’t remember? But you remember the song, right? Late ‘60’s. Cream, there we are! It’s Cream! You got it! Some of his neurons haven’t burned off. [laughter]
But there it is. It’s so nicely phrased, “I’m glad; I’m glad; I’m glad.” This guy is just resting in the flow of being aware of being aware of being aware [laughter], and it’s glad. And clearly, he’s glad that he’s glad, because that’s what keeps it going.
Whereas, if you’re enjoying some food, and then you invert your awareness right in upon the enjoyment that’s arising, you may find that that just breaks the flow. Therapeutically, this can be very interesting. If you’re depressed, and you kind of suddenly get, instead of just not liking being depressed, you say, “Oh the heck with it, why don’t I just see what it’s like?” And you invert your awareness like a probe to come right into the experience of being depressed, you may find it just evaporates. Not that it’s healed, solved, and you’re free forever. But you might just find that by probing right into, like with a sharp fork into the muffin of depression, it just deflates, you know? [laughter] Thank goodness they’re getting this all on video! People in future generations will definitely want these incredible words of profundity! Yep!
So, now we have one from, yes, go ahead.
When we do awareness of awareness, when I do the oscillation and I analyze the nature of my awareness when the awareness is out in space, when it comes back in on itself. For me, I see the same thing. It’s the same thing for me. Anyway, even if I say, “Am I doing this or not,” I have the feeling it’s the same. But when we finally release the oscillation, when we do awareness of awareness where we stretch in all directions and we release that –
Right, come back to the center.
There’s something about awareness that seems to have a home. That when we finish all this, then it just doesn’t move. It stays there; it’s perfect. Why is it so – what is it about it? And even the thought,”awareness of awareness,” when we bring it to the heart, we move it – it seems to have a home somewhere, a place where it’s – anyway.
Yeah, it’s good. She’s referring to something I know you’ve heard from the podcast, and I’ve taught it many times in all of the preceding 8-week retreats here, and I’ve not taught it here and I don’t think I will. That was just the culminating phase of this sequence from Padmasambhava, where you’re extending above, below, and so forth. So we won’t do that in this series.
But just one question for you. Because in that sequence of course, as you remember, you come into the heart, and then you just go supernova, right out into space. When you let your awareness, and as much as possible let the actual locus of awareness – not the object of awareness, but the locus of awareness – as if you’re stepping into an elevator, and it’s going down a couple of floors. And so you’re actually just resting in the heart chakra. Do you feel there that you’re home? Or do you feel that you’ve extended someplace else?
Yeah. So, good. All of this is good; all is fine. And …
It’s a question…
I know it is.
Why is it like that? Why do we stretch it, and why, when we release the stretching, why does it just stay?
So that when you come home, you know it. We find the middle way by finding that which isn’t the middle way. And then we find that there’s – so, when we come to some realization of the emptiness of an autonomous, controlling ego, that’s something of a middle way. But then, is there a more slender middle way? The answer’s yeah, let’s go into Madhyamaka. And then is there something – and so, the middle way gets narrower and narrower and narrower, right? In a way, you’re bouncing off fewer extremes.
And so likewise, when we’re normally just caught up in ordinary awareness, the attention’s going all over the place. And then when we relax, we fall asleep. And so here, in this exercise, you’re doing the oscillation, like so. And then just kind of like stretching, “just give me some elbow room here; to the right as far as you can go, to the left as far as you can go, up and down!” And you’ve done in and out. And so when you’ve done all of that, and you’ve done all these exercises – because it’s like working out in the psycho-gym – having extended yourself in these kind of subtle ways, and then you release all that effort of extending anywhere, all the effort of going even into space, all the effort of inverting into awareness itself, all of this is quite contrived. It is! It’s contrived. It’s something you have to make happen; it doesn’t happen all by itself.
So you realize that was just uncontrived, effortless, when you have extended your contrivances, your imagination, your extensions, your efforts. And having done that, you can see, now that you’ve done that, now what’s it like when you release that? You say, Oh, that’s home! So you find home by extending yourself in different directions away from home, and then seeing what it’s like to release all of that. And then you see, Aha, this is not one more thing to do. I think that’s a nice way to phrase it. Everything else was something to do! Do this, do that, do this, do that. And then finally, you mean this is not doing!
So it’s our closest approximation – within this relative framework – our closest approximation to rigpa. It’s not rigpa, but it’s a good preparation. Because you’ve probably heard in, when you’re authentically practicing trek Cho, you’ve identified rigpa authentically, and you’re resting there, two phrases come up: chame, and jadel, like Jadel Rinpoche! Of course, you speak Tibetan: ja means “activity,” del means “free of,” “disengaged from.” Chame means “no activity,” “absence of activity.”
And so once your awareness has now come to rest in its ground, jirigpa, in the ground awareness, then you’re absolutely doing nothing. You’re absolutely doing nothing. Which is to say that you’re not activating, at all, your conventional sense of who you are. Not even your – let alone delusional, like the CEO of the company. Or let alone delusion, as “I’m inherently existent.” Let alone that. Even conventionally; are you a sentient being or not? To be a sentient being is not to say something wrong. I mean, if you’re a sentient being, you’re a sentient being; if you’re a woman, you’re a woman.
But now, even that innocent, little statement – I’m a sentient being – even that’s being de-activated. So even a conventional truth is being de-activated. [Tibetan] Transcending all conceptual elaborations. So that’s the ultimate stillness. And when you’re there, there’s absolutely nothing to be done. Absolutely nothing!
So we can’t simply choose to go there. That’s why we have these steps. But this is a good approximation for that. That we’re resting there, doing nothing, but we do nothing by these various, subtler and subtler doings, until when we release the doing then what’s left over is just resting. [Tibetan] Just awareness, ordinary consciousness, but awareness resting in its own place, [Tibetan] holding its own ground. So it’s our approximation of Dzogchen.
And what this is – while you’re resting in rigpa, as in pristine awareness, you’ve completely de-activated everything about you that is a sentient being. Completely de-activated. Therefore, if you do anything to achieve enlightenment, you’re going in the opposite direction. So there should really be absolutely nothing to be done.
And here in this practice, this little old shamatha practice, we’re de-activating – completely – the coarse mind. Completely de-activating! That is, we’re not going to any of the physical senses – that’s coarse mind. But we’re not activating any of the jhavana of the coarse mind either: not attending to appearances, or subjective mental processes. We’re de-activating it all and just resting in relatively naked – “relatively” simply because it’s not rigpa rigpa – but relatively naked flow of mental awareness, unadorned by the desire realm, unadorned, unelaborated by the coarse mind, just resting there.
So ending I think, this is a long one, so we’re going to wait for tomorrow on that one.
But there’s an image I like, and it comes right back to the earlier point of, if you’re focusing on a Buddha image, then you’re really achieving shamatha. And for some people, that’s just the best way to do it. It’s absolutely authentic. Tsongkhapa taught it multiple times, and so did Karma Chagme Rinpoche, and so did Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava; it’s not a sectarian deal. It’s not Gelugpas versus Nyingmapas. Not true. Both of them teach all of it. They all teach all of it, within the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
I kind of just immersed myself in that; I have to pull myself out of it. Oh yeah!
So all the schools say that’s a legitimate, very effective method for achieving shamatha, developing stability and vividness: focus on a Buddha image. Could be self-generation; then you do it by way of Vajrayana, but it’s developing, by gum. You’re definitely doing something [uses Tibetan word], generating, developing something.
But now in this practice, there’s nothing to develop, and there’s nothing to generate. And so the image that I like is taking a – imagine you go to your pot-belly stove, which has coal in it, coal, and it’s red hot, just red hot – you take one of those red hot, glowing embers of coal out of your pot-belly stove and you go outside to a mound of snow, and you put that glowing ember right on the top of it. Release it, and stand back. What does the glowing ember have to do to achieve the substrate consciousness? Nothing! Just shine on! And just melt your way down, all the way down, until there’s nowhere to go. So you just release and let the locus of your awareness just melt its way through, until it comes to its ground: substrate consciousness.
And then you’re in your relative home, your samsara home. Like if every lifetime is a yo-yo: whee! into human, whee! into deva, whee! into et cetera. And back to pow! The palm is your substrate consciousness, and all the other ones are short stories, even if it’s, you know, formless realm for three eons – it’s called “the sleeper.” But sooner or later it comes back to the palm. And so your home in samsara that you keep coming back to like a homing pigeon as you fly out into all the six realms of existence, but the home you keep coming back to is your substrate consciousness. So conventionally speaking, it’d be really quite natural and easy to identify, well at least ok, I’m really a sentient being, this is who I really am. I take on the role of being a human being, a role of being this, that and the other thing, but when I’m unveiled, when I’ve slipped out of all my roles, then I’m just a sentient being, and my nature is substrate consciousness. And I’ve got a whole bunch of karma and mental afflictions and that’s who I really am. So that’s your home in samsara.
And then you blow up your home! Blow the basement out of your home, and see that’s just one more construct. And then you, then you drop in to the jirigpa, which is really the foundation. Which is then beautifully stated: [Tibetan phrase], it’s the ground of samsara and nirvana. Now that’s home! And that’s so home, that’s even outside of time. Because when you’re resting in the home of your substrate consciousness, that’s in time. No beginning, no end, perhaps, but it’s still in time. Whereas when you break through that to rigpa, well that’s home outside of space and outside of time. So that’s really home.
Ok? Good? Enjoy your dinner!
Transcribed by Rafael Carlos Giusti and James French
Revised by James French
Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti