Being in the Present

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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:13 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Astus wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:What's the difference? Isn't it the same thing at first? Letting thoughts arise and waving at them as they pass?


If you take the position of watching your thoughts, that is still grasping at a mental state, a thought. So even if the instruction is to watch the thoughts, it means not grasping any of them, not forcing anything, not elaborating. If you try to be the watcher, that is a contrived and tiring practice. And it is also a mistake to believe that there is somebody looking at thoughts.
I still don't quite get it, but thanks.


As long as we're dipping our toes in other traditions, I'd like to point out that this is covered by Greg Goode (a "neo-Advaitist") as well as Kenneth Folk (originally Theravada, now trans-sectarian). Both say that being "the witness" is a very useful practice, but eventually the witness itself is eventually and naturally subsumed into consciousness or awareness (because, of course, there is nobody there). For my money, I'd bet that Tolle is providing this as a useful stepping stone to readers, and isn't how he operates "internally." I've had to do the same thing when sharing this idea with others.

As for "how" to watch without a watcher, therein lies the fun of Mahamudra, right? Awareness knows it knows, without anyone having to confirm it. That's why they say rigpa is self-confirming. There's no watching, but there is knowing. On that point:

We like to think we are the one watching the thoughts. But that is based on the assumption that otherwise we would miss them. Also, it is the idea that is the problem, the reification of the mind.


I'd like to thank Astus again because he recently helped clear this up for me in another thread. I wondered why they make us go through the vipashyana of noticing that mind is an empty cognizance before starting Mahamudra practice. This quote clears up both counts. If we don't know that it's intrinsically cognizant, we feel the need to post a watchman. If we don't know it's empty, we expect there to be something there.

Another useful tidbit is from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, who points out that the transition from unsupported shamatha to Dzogchen is like posting a doorman as a sentry vs. there being a laser sensor there. And hell, while I'm rambling on, this quote is useful too:

“Broadly speaking, there are six types of mindfulness, but they can be condensed into two: deliberate and effortless mindfulness. The latter is Dzogchen’s extraordinary king of mindfulness -- being inseparable from rigpa -- which can be applied wherever you are, in all situations.” -- Tsoknyi RInpoche


It's effortless because "it" (awareness) does all the work. Leaves you jobless. :broke:
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby muni » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:32 am

Thank you very very much, from the offered text here:..............just being there, being within :bow: the simplest state of ourselves.
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:05 am

gregkavarnos wrote: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

Very good teaching, especially the last part. Thanks for bringing this video to our attention. It's been a while since you posted it, but I hadn't seen it. Really great.
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:00 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Very good teaching, especially the last part. Thanks for bringing this video to our attention. It's been a while since you posted it, but I hadn't seen it. Really great.


I must echo DN, thank you Greg, I was not aware of this amazing teacher before now, what a blessing. I have so much to learn about all the different lineages and teachings.
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby viniketa » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:33 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:...what a blessing.


ditto :thanks:

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:09 am

Thanks for introducing us to this amazing teacher! I bought the book today, and have been reading it. It's wonderful, but I'm confused by one thing (in the same way I have been in other threads -- I hope my question isn't considered polluting this thread!).

In the section titled "Mental Calm and Intuitive Insight" (pp.173), he talks about the progression from one stage to the next. On page 175 he thusly describes the attainment of mental calm:

Our mind settles in itself in a natural way, beyond any duality. That is what is called mental calm, in the deeper sense.


But then in describing the next phase, intuitive insight (pp.178):

Intuitive insight refers to the condition in which the mind perceives itself without making a separation between seer and seen, subject and object.


I cannot reconcile the two. It first sounds like he's saying that mental calm alone reveals the non-dual nature of mind, but then it seems as though this recognition first takes place during the insight phase. Or is it more like a continuum, where the "end" of the calming phase reveals non-duality, and that's the start of the insight phase?

More context below.

pp.175:
Our mind then recognizes itself in all appearances, without creating any duality. There is no longer any subject that projects the perception of objects. Our mind settles in itself in a natural way, beyond any duality. That is what is called mental calm, in the deeper sense.


pp.178:
Our growing capacity for calm leads to the generation of intuitive insight. The clarity of our mind gradually increases and a dimension opens up that is not the object of thought. The line separating the meditator and the meditation increasingly dissolves, until neither the meditator nor meditation remain. This experience of the inseparability of the two leads into non-duality. As it becomes clearer and more transparent, our awareness separates itself from experiences and settles in a state of recollection of spontaneous non-duality, free from any perturbation due to dualistic patterns. It is here that the timeless awareness of penetrating, intuitive insight arises. There is no longer any separation of perceiver and perceived experiences.
...
Intuitive insight refers to the condition in which the mind perceives itself without making a separation between seer and seen, subject and object.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:04 am

monktastic wrote:In the section titled "Mental Calm and Intuitive Insight" (pp.173), he talks about the progression from one stage to the next. On page 175 he thusly describes the attainment of mental calm:

Our mind settles in itself in a natural way, beyond any duality. That is what is called mental calm, in the deeper sense.


But then in describing the next phase, intuitive insight (pp.178):

Intuitive insight refers to the condition in which the mind perceives itself without making a separation between seer and seen, subject and object.


I cannot reconcile the two. It first sounds like he's saying that mental calm alone reveals the non-dual nature of mind, but then it seems as though this recognition first takes place during the insight phase. Or is it more like a continuum, where the "end" of the calming phase reveals non-duality, and that's the start of the insight phase?
I would say the analogy would be the difference between (1)being asleep and (2)knowing that we are asleep and acting within our dreams based on that knowledge. The precondition for (2) is (1), but being asleep does not mean that we are aware that we are asleep.

Check out this book: Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning p119 and p159 to understand the difference from a practical perspective.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/9844773/Mahamu ... 0Dorje.pdf

If you were in Europe I would of reccomended a seven year course/transmission by Lama Lhundrup (personal doctor to (and student of) Lama Gendeun Rinpoche and one of the Druppon in charge of retreatants at Dhagpo Kundreul Ling) of the book. The course will consist of an annual ten day retreat, where the text will be taught, plus practice commitments for outside of the retreat.
:namaste:
PS For those who liked the video teaching check out this short but pithy teaching text on practicing without ego-centredness http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 156#p24785
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Astus » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:26 am

That is how samatha relates to vipasyana. In samatha the mind settles on an object (including itself), and in vipasyana one investigates the object the mind is settled on and the mind itself.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:25 pm

Thanks for those pointers, but what I'm wondering is something a little different (I think!). So let me try again.

I think I gave insufficient context on the "intuitive insight" section before:
In non-dual perception, the mind recognizes its own nature which at the same time is the nature of the world of experiences.

The mind then sees without looking. No longer is there a person who knows. Intuitive insight refers to the condition in which the mind perceives itself without making a separation between seer and seen, subject and object. The observer has disappeared. In this "self-recognition" of the mind, there is nothing that is seen by someone. This first seeing of that which cannot be seen is realization, the first completely clear lighting up of recognition.
...
It is undeniable that we have seen the nature of mind, but it still takes time to attain full realization. By analogy with the moon that takes fifteen days to become full, our mind has to go through ten bodhisattva stages until it recognizes fully...


It sounds like he's describing the direct realization of emptiness of phenomena, which I understand can be equated with the dropping away of the subject-object duality(?). One no longer experiences a subject apprehending objects, as that duality has collapsed.

Earlier, he seems to equate the same experience with mental calm:
Our mind then recognizes itself in all appearances, without creating any duality. There is no longer any subject that projects the perception of objects. Our mind settles in itself in a natural way, beyond any duality. That is what is called mental calm, in the deeper sense.


This sounds like a description of the same realization. What I infer from this is that the "completion" of the calming phase is coemergent with the dawning of the insight phase (and he does refer to them as successive stages, e.g. p 132). The transition is marked by the subject-object duality falling away. And from that I would infer that this transition happens around the time of completion of the yoga of one-pointedness, and the dawning of the first bhumi.

Or do I have this completely wrong? I don't see any other way to read his description of the attainment of mental calm.
Last edited by monktastic on Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:32 pm

You know what we say in the Kagyu tradition? Every practice we do is Mahamudra practice.

I would recommend for you to practice and see for yourself, rather than expect to understand what he is saying by reading a book. Do the shine practice, observe what is going on. Do the laktong practice, observe what is going on. Compare to what is being said in the book.

Who is your Mahamudra teacher "Monktastic"?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:54 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:You know what we say in the Kagyu tradition? Every practice we do is Mahamudra practice.

I would recommend for you to practice and see for yourself, rather than expect to understand what he is saying by reading a book. Do the shine practice, observe what is going on. Do the laktong practice, observe what is going on. Compare to what is being said in the book.

Who is your Mahamudra teacher "Monktastic"?
:namaste:


Right now, none :shrug: I did a retreat with Thrangu Rinpoche some years ago, and have sat in on a Norbu Rinpoche's webcast. Two weeks ago I received lung from one of Thrangu Rinpoche's lamas on Pointing Out The Dharmakaya. And now I'm reading supplementary material :)

One difficulty with reading is that different books give different presentations. In "Vivid Awareness," the sequence is Analytical Meditation (of a pandita) and then Resting Meditation (of a kusulu). In "Mind at Ease" it is first shine and then analytical meditation. And here the instructions sound like one long continuous practice (of Mahamudra) that gets roughly divided into calming and insight phases (and in this presentation, it's made clear that the calming phase is already imbued with insight -- so presumably it should be preceded with "basic" shamatha and vipashyana).

What this makes clear is that one needs a proper teacher to actually practice, of course. It sounds like the order is not set in stone. I'm just trying to understand Lama Gendun Rinpoche's presentation of it.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:26 pm

monktastic wrote:Right now, none :shrug:
Herein lies the problem.

Gampopa says:
No one other than the guru can teach us the path. All the Budhas in the three times rely upon a guru in order to achieve Buddhahood, so it's important to depend upon a guru...When you practice cast away all ambitions for this life behind you and rely on a genuine guru. If you have no guru, then it's as if you've lost the path to liberation. It is taught in the scriptures:
Though you may possess every good quality,
without a guru, existence will have no end.
If you do not have oars,
your boat will never reach the far shore.
Gampopa A String of Pearls
What this makes clear is that one needs a proper teacher to actually practice, of course.
:twothumbsup:
It sounds like the order is not set in stone. I'm just trying to understand Lama Gendun Rinpoche's presentation of it.
Like I said before, practice and see for yourself. Mahamudra is not an intellectual exercise, it is experiential. My teacher kicks my ass every time he finds out I've been intellectualising (again!).
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Astus » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:04 pm

As you quoted text says, in a deeper sense. A calm mind and an insightful mind unites in the final practice. Strictly speaking, samatha is just calming the mind, which in Mahamudra results in simply resting it in its natural state. Vipasyana is insight into the mind itself, seeing the mind that rests, seeing its nature. Vipasyana in its analytical form is looking here and there, checking and probing, asking questions and following steps of enquiry. Vipasyana in its resting form means that the investigation has finished, nothing conceivable has been found, there is awareness and emptiness without the minutest distinction.This whole process is actually also found in Kamalasila's manuals, so it's neither secret nor very specific to Mahamudra.

Another difference that can be said between samatha and vipasyana is that while in samatha you gradually move inside and you reach a stable mental state which you leave when you finish meditation, in vipasyana you open your awareness to everything that occurs and realise that the nature of mind is always unaffected by appearances, that phenomena are already empty as they are, and there is not a single state of mind you need to revert to in order to be free from suffering.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:14 pm

I agree that it would be best to just practice and not intellectualize, and that proper practice will only be possible with a teacher. Until now I was confused about what practice means, but now it's starting to come together. Why was I confused?

In Clarifying The Natural State, the shamatha presented is not imbued with insight. It seems to be "pure" shamatha (concentration, as in the lower vehicles), followed by vipashyana, and then pointing out. Thereafter one does Mahamudra practice of resting in the natural state.

In Mind At Ease (Traleg Rinpoche), he describes first "pure" shamatha, and then analytical vipashyana (a series of investigations), and then gives no further instruction.

In the manuals by Wangchuk Dorje, the instructions for shamatha are resting in the natural state. Then comes analytical vipashyana.

In Vivid Awareness, Thrangu Rinpoche says to do analytical meditation first, after which we do the "resting meditation of the kusulu" (resting in the natural state).

And finally, in the present book, there is only one meditation described. No explicit calming, no explicit analyzing. Just resting in the natural state from start to finish, and along the way both calm and insight are revealed. This is a novel presentation for me, and I think it's why I was confused at first. I had trouble reconciling the suggestions, but it's all clear now.

Critical passages:
Our mind will recognize itself by itself -- clarity recognizes its own nature, its own emptiness. Beyond that, there is nothing to do. Only our fear of missing the goal blocks our path. Through faith our mind will relax and get to know itself more and more clearly.


The crucial difference between fruitless states of meditation and true meditation is the presence of this awake and relaxed self-awareness of the mind, because only in this state of recollection is it possible for our mind to change over from mere mental calm to intuitive insight into its true nature.


So, basically: a deep thank you for pointing out this gem of a book to me. I think this presentation suits my disposition best, and I will follow this advice (at least up until the point I have a consistent teacher)! (And in case it is of any worry: I've done a 3-month shamatha retreat, as well as loads of analytical meditation, so I may be amply prepared to embark in his suggested way.)

:namaste:

Edit: and thank you, Greg, for your heartfelt advice.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Music » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:28 pm

I am still confused about watcher and watching. When I am watching, isn't the watcher already there? It is only the watcher who controls the mind, or else the mind starts daydreaming, getting distracted.
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:02 pm

Music wrote:I am still confused about watcher and watching. When I am watching, isn't the watcher already there? It is only the watcher who controls the mind, or else the mind starts daydreaming, getting distracted.
Nope, basic underlying awareness has no need of the watcher, the watcher is constructed later. If you can remain in basic awareness (ie without aversion and attraction) then no daydreaming. There is awareness of thoughts arising and fading but... Nobody controls, nothing to control.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:22 pm

Lord Jigten Sumgon explains in Gongchig that special insight also comes first.
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:29 pm

Music wrote:I am still confused about watcher and watching. When I am watching, isn't the watcher already there? It is only the watcher who controls the mind, or else the mind starts daydreaming, getting distracted.


Another way of looking at it might be this: if you conceive of experience as consisting of a watcher and a watched, then what characteristics might the watcher have? Can you even identify characteristics without "watching" them? Wouldn't that put them into the category of "watched"? In this way, you can logically convince yourself that any such "watcher" must be empty of characteristics. Experientially, any time you notice something you'd like to label as being part of the watcher, recognize that the mere noticing of it implies that it is a watched.

(On the other hand, you might get confused because most Mahamudra and Dzogchen texts say things like "mind is an empty cognizance." If you try to use "watcher" as a synonym for "mind," you might end up reifying it -- that is, turning a no-thing into a some-thing.)
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:37 pm

If you see Ganga Mahamudra by Tilopa, you will find shyamatha/vipashyana nondual: Rest in the innate state.
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Re: Being in the Present

Postby monktastic » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:31 am

Want to share another quote or two from the book that really hit home for me:

However, the biggest obstacle on the path is lack of faith in the teachings and the teacher. It seems that we constantly need confirmation, assurances and entire discourses on the how and why of our practice. Many instructions appear to be necessary before we arrive at a simple faith regarding the nature of mind and are certain that the path outlined does in fact lead to its realization. Before we are willing to take our first step, our teacher has to convince us that our work, with absolute certainty, will be crowned with success, that our "investment" will pay off. We are constantly propelled by doubts to seek further explanations and confirmation. But realization cannot be attained through complicated explanations and analyses or through an artificial, calculating meditation.


Whenever we lose our motivation, we should remind ourselves [that there is nothing to do or attain] and never have any doubts about our capacity to do nothing!
(Emphasis in original)
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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