Jes Bertelsen?

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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Sönam » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:00 pm

heart wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
Sönam wrote:One recognizing his real nature after having receive pointing out instructions is less rare that you say ... and it does not need any previous training in tibetan buddhism. Some experienced it on a more longer period (days).


What?! Someone recognized their real nature without completing ngondro? C'est tout simplement impossible!


:smile:

/magnus


:smile:

Sönam
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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Poorbitch » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:48 pm

Sönam wrote:
heart wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
What?! Someone recognized their real nature without completing ngondro? C'est tout simplement impossible!


:smile:

/magnus


:smile:

Sönam


:smile:

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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Barney Fife » Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:29 am

Thank you everyone for the diverse and interesting contributions. Read several times over and contemplated all the posts from the early part of page 4 up to this point in the thread. Really helpful info, especially when read all together. Fascinating details about how Dzogchen understands those deepest questions of existence. Dzogchen is so unique.

Also, a consensus appears to emerge. Don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, in case I missed something (or missed everything). If I have understood properly after putting together what everyone said in the last three pages, it sounds like the consensus is:

What Jes Bertelsen calls "Unity Consciousness", and what Dzogchen calls "ignorance" are the same thing.

Yes? No? Maybe?

Magnus wrote:
In Dzogchen ignorance is an active state that we continuously create, not something we are born in to.

Pero wrote:
Hmmmmm, yet is ignorance why we are born at all... :stirthepot:

Magnus wrote:
True, ignorance is a continuous activity creating birth/death and all kind of experiences.

Quotation from "Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen" by Jes Bertelsen:
Perhaps the meaning of life is to discover that everything has emerged from unity consciousness? Perhaps the physical universe is a windfall event, a celebration sprung from divine cosmic creativity? Perhaps from a certain perspective in consciousness everything is continuously, in every moment, being created anew? Perhaps every tree and every leaf really is a song of praise?"
(Kindle Locations 895-903; p.68)


thanks,

b.f.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:57 am

Barney Fife wrote:Thank you everyone for the diverse and interesting contributions. Read several times over and contemplated all the posts from the early part of page 4 up to this point in the thread. Really helpful info, especially when read all together. Fascinating details about how Dzogchen understands those deepest questions of existence. Dzogchen is so unique.

Also, a consensus appears to emerge. Don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, in case I missed something (or missed everything). If I have understood properly after putting together what everyone said in the last three pages, it sounds like the consensus is:

What Jes Bertelsen calls "Unity Consciousness", and what Dzogchen calls "ignorance" are the same thing.

Yes? No? Maybe?

Magnus wrote:
In Dzogchen ignorance is an active state that we continuously create, not something we are born in to.

Pero wrote:
Hmmmmm, yet is ignorance why we are born at all... :stirthepot:

Magnus wrote:
True, ignorance is a continuous activity creating birth/death and all kind of experiences.

Quotation from "Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen" by Jes Bertelsen:
Perhaps the meaning of life is to discover that everything has emerged from unity consciousness? Perhaps the physical universe is a windfall event, a celebration sprung from divine cosmic creativity? Perhaps from a certain perspective in consciousness everything is continuously, in every moment, being created anew? Perhaps every tree and every leaf really is a song of praise?"
(Kindle Locations 895-903; p.68)


thanks,

b.f.


Depends on what he means by 'unity consciousness', I would assume he's speaking of a unified consciousness, as a source, that everything emerges from, or something of the like. If that's the case then 'unity consciousness' and the ignorance Dzogchen speaks of would not be the same. Dzogchen doesn't posit a unified source-consciousness that creates everything, for Dzogchen, 'everything' is a product of delusion and arises out of confusion. When that delusion is resolved, phenomena are resolved and realized to be non-arisen. Bertelsen appears to be conceiving of an unafflicted divine-like source (like the Brahman of Vedanta) which gives rise to phenomena (like a physical universe) as an expression of its creativity... this isn't the view that Dzogchen employs.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:32 am

On top of that, most dharmic traditions (including Dzogchen), see consciousness as an afflicted product of delusory fabrication.

In most Buddhist traditions consciousness isn't held to be absolute, but is considerd samsaric in nature (meaning it arises from ignorance). Consciousness is usually attributed to the collection of 'consciousnesses' which correlate with each sensory modality. In the conventional model, consciousness and the organ cannot function without each other i.e. they are dependently originated.

In some traditions there are 6 consciousnesses: [eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness]

and in others there are 8 [eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness, emotional distortion consciousness, all-basis consciousness]

Consciousness itself is the fifth aggregate i.e. skandha which serves to constitute a sentient being (which is the opposite of a buddha), and are recognized as empty in wisdom. Consciousness is defiled by nature and represents a dualistic condition (as opposed to the defect-free condition of a buddha), though more precisely it is attributed to the various capacities of mind such as the sensory modalities, in addition to the other cognitive capacities (of mind) such as the intellect and memory. Therefore in the context of the dharma, consciousness signifies the faculties which apprehend and apperceive the various objects of experience which are perceived to be external from the organism. The afflictive sensory and cognitive consciousnesses which dualistically fixate and grasp at projected objects must be divested of the ignorance which dominates their perceptual functioning if they are to be expressions of primordial wisdom.

David Germano on consciousness:
"'Consciousness' (rnam shes; shes pa; vijñāna): rnam shes literally reads 'aspect-know', with 'aspect' generally signifying the various facets of objects which we can perceive (ther 'blueness', etc.); it often signifies something along the lines of 'consciousness'.... but in other contexts would perhaps be more precisely rendered as 'cognition', or even 'perceptual process'. In Great Perfection thought, the term rnam shes only applies to the neurotic psychic activity of ordinary living beings, and is understood in contrast to the ye shes (literally 'primordial knowing', and translated herein as 'primordial gnosis') which exclusively characterizes the psychic activity an Enlightened One (this is another way of expressing the distinction between 'ordinary mind' (sems) and primordial gnosis (ye shes)... In ordinary exoteric Buddhism, 'consciousness' is identified as the fifth of the five psychophysical components constituting human existence, and these 'modes of consciousness' or 'perceptual cognitive processes' are further classified into eight types: the five sensory modes (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile); the sixth 'psychic' or 'intellectual' mode (yid shes; mano-vijñāna) which synthesizes that sensory data, conceptualizes it, and deals with abstract images/concepts; the seventh 'emotionally distorted psychic' mode (nyon yid; kliṣṭa-manas) which involves our web of emotional reactions, cathexis, and ego-logical tendencies; and the 'universal ground consciousness' (kun-gzhi rnam-shes; ālaya-vijñāna), which is the 'unconscious' that constitutes a substratum that serves both as a type of psychic memory extending over many lifetimes, as well as ongoing source of all the other psychic modes' operations, which are like 'streams' of psychic energy trickling out from it. ...Longchenpa characterizes the five sensory modes of consciousness as 'cognizing (shes pa) aspects (rnam pa) of objects', which are thus 'cognitive energy' (shes pa) which develop resembling those (aspects), accounting for the term 'perceptual consciousness' (rnam shes, literally 'aspect-cognize').
In the Great Perfection (dzogchen), this 'universal ground consciousness' is understood as deriving from the 'brightness' (dangs) of the luminous channels, and is viewed as 'clouds' which obscure the heart's pristine awareness [Skt. vidyā, Tib. rig pa], which thus must be cleared away via contemplation in order to attain enlightenment. In addition, the Great Perfection tradition usually distinguishes between the terms 'universal ground' (kun gzhi; ālaya) and the 'universal ground consciousness' (kun-gzhi rnam-shes; ālaya-vijñāna)... It should be noted that this distinction between the 'universal ground' and the 'universal ground consciousness' has its precedents in Indian Buddhist literature on the subject, such as the Bodhisattvabhūmi passage which relates the 'universal ground' to 'non-conceptuality uninvolved with objects' (i.e. a total non-differentiation of any distinct objects), and the 'universal ground consciousness' to 'non-conceptuality involved with objects' (i.e. that which clearly sees presences, but doesn't conceptualize them); also see Sthiramati's commentary to the Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra... where he characterizes the 'universal ground' as the overall support or basis for the accumulation of karma (and thus resembling their 'house'), while the 'universal ground consciousness' is that which 'opens up the space' for these karmic energies (which Longchenpa explains as 'for the increase, amassing, decline, and so on of these karmic forces')."
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:21 pm

This is beginning to remind me of this statement made
by Magnus in a long ago buried thread:

Dzogchen is quite difficult to practice actually. If people say something else, and they will sure do, it is just because they think Dzogchen is doing some practice they learned. Dzogchen is also easy to misunderstand. Nothing can so easily be turned in to new age bs, and there are several examples of this. Dzogchen is also difficult to teach because of the previous reasons.

/magnus
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Sönam » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:31 pm

Adamantine wrote:This is beginning to remind me of this statement made
by Magnus in a long ago buried thread:

Dzogchen is quite difficult to practice actually. If people say something else, and they will sure do, it is just because they think Dzogchen is doing some practice they learned. Dzogchen is also easy to misunderstand. Nothing can so easily be turned in to new age bs, and there are several examples of this. Dzogchen is also difficult to teach because of the previous reasons.

/magnus


One could also have expressed it that way:

Dzogchen is quite easy to practice actually. If people say something else, and they will sure do, it is just because they think Dzogchen is doing some practice they learned.
Dzogchen is also easy to misunderstand. Nothing can so easily be turned in to old age bs, and there are several examples of this. Dzogchen is also difficult to teach because of the previous reasons.

Sönam
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby heart » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:45 pm

There is something my Guru sometimes say that goes more or less like this; "Rigpa is difficult to realize because it is to close, to brilliant and to easy." Kind of sums it up nicely. :smile:

/magnus
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:54 pm

I *nearly* bought that Jes Bertelsen book in a store in Evanston yesterday. I picked it up and looked through it and having heard about it on this forum, nearly took it to the counter. But then I recalled all the dharma books and editions of sutras that I have already acquired and not really read or digested yet, and also the fact that even my own basic minimal secular lay practice is not being very well implemented at this time. So I decided not to buy another dharma book even though it looks really interesting. Maybe in the future.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Adamantine » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:31 am

Mod announcement: I split topics to this one: http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=13886 called Rigpa vs. Nature of Mind.. please divert discussions re: that topic there, and continue the discussion re: Jes Bertelsen and his teachings here.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby LhodroeRapsal » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:50 pm

Thank you, asunthatneversets. An excellent clarification for sharpening experiential understanding.

asunthatneversets wrote:
The nature of mind is the inseparability of emptiness and clarity. A state free of thought is simply resting in clarity. Clarity must be recognized as empty for recognition of the mind's nature to occur. Otherwise clarity alone is merely the neutral indeterminate cognizance of the ālaya.


Woh, direct hit.....highly relevant to the topic of this thread.

b.f.


I would like to hear Barney if what he suggests is that the above quoted passage is highly relevant in regards to Bertelsen or to the thread 'Rigpa vs natural mind'?

Sincerely
Henrik
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby LhodroeRapsal » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:19 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
Dzogchen doesn't posit a unified source-consciousness that creates everything, for Dzogchen, 'everything' is a product of delusion and arises out of confusion. When that delusion is resolved, phenomena are resolved and realized to be non-arisen. Bertelsen appears to be conceiving of an unafflicted divine-like source (like the Brahman of Vedanta) which gives rise to phenomena (like a physical universe) as an expression of its creativity... this isn't the view that Dzogchen employs.


That is very interesting and it seems in conflict with Bertelsen. Because I would like to understand how the understanding of consciousness presented in this book by Jes Bertelsen is related with the understanding in classical Dzogchen. I meantioned in a previous post that Bertelsen originally (in the mid seventies) started categorizing his own and others experiences within the Theosophical/Vedanta understanding that divides the levels of existence into seven levels, and he still uses these levels.

These levels are:
1)Physical
2)Etheral/prana/vital energy
3)Astral/emotional
4)Mental/typical dual ego consciousness

The first four levels are sometimes catagorized as the 'outer' levels, because the mindstream is identified with the outgoing mindflow that includes the idea of ouside objects (outside is also ideas, selfimages and feelings).

5)Spiritual sphere
6)Sphere of joint consciousness
7)Sphere of unity consciousness (also what he names Rigpa)

The last three are levels where the mindstream starts recognizing a inward flow toward the source of everything. Each level has often a kind of initiation that indicates a deepening of this recognition. This is why these levels sometimes are called the 'inner' or 'higher' levels.

From what I understand from Jes Bertelsen many people when they recieve a pointing out instruction from a realized master they do not recognize the seventh level, Rigpa, that is actually extremely rare. Many people don't see the fifth level, but often mainly see a higher formless silent aspect of the fourth level that is in between thoughts.

In the following I have included some quotes that refer to these three levels in this specific book.

The first [fifth] level is the spiritual sphere. This level of consciousness is still dual, and the praying or meditating person is relating to something numinous and trying to get in touch with it. Perhaps you have an experience of grace streaming from the divine channel into your heart. Perhaps you have a vision of the divine, or you see Christ as an aura or a visual phenomenon, or perhaps you feel love streaming from an outer source to the yearning heart.

Bertelsen, Jes (2013-06-04). Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen (pp. 49-50). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

At the spiritual {fifth] level the divine is experienced as an object. The person seeks God. The heart longs for the divine. Here, the two poles are clear: the subject is seeking and longing, praying and striving ; and the object is the divine, either a more abstract form of the divine, or in the form of the divine thou. When the spiritual level opens, human beings meet God. The Christian sees visions of Christ. The Sufi mystic meets the formless Allah . The Hindu has visions of Brahma, and the Buddhist perceives the Buddha. This same level is active when the spiritual student sees his or her true master in an overwhelming encounter, infused with love. The training consists of praying to God, of visualizing the divine, either in a more abstract form (a yantra or a mandala) or figuratively (in icons or thangkas).

Bertelsen, Jes (2013-06-04). Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen (pp. 51-52). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

The next [sixth] level is the sphere of joint consciousness. This level is characterized by the beginnings of a real merging between the person and the divine. Experiences from the spiritual level are also perceived as a union, but they are still discernibly dual, which may be discovered through a clear-headed investigation of them during meditation or prayer. The hallmark of joint consciousness is that there is an actual flow of exchange between the divine object and the subject experiencing the divine, so the divine factor begins to be present inside the subject, in consciousness itself. Bidirectional awareness is the most precise way to reach the level of joint consciousness.

Bertelsen, Jes (2013-06-04). Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen (p. 50). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

The level of joint consciousness [sixth] allows the divine to open in the subject field. Either there is some form of unification with the divine, or the divine reveals itself at the very core of subjectivity itself. Now, this may easily be misunderstood to mean that the spiritual is about God being outside, and that joint consciousness is about God being inside. This, however, is untrue. God as an object of the hearts’ longing, or as a vision of Christ, is definitely an experience of innerness, as compared to some concrete God-individual on top of Mount Olympus or in Asgaard or Heaven. Nonetheless, this heartfelt numinousness does have form. The divine appears as a person. The perceived grace streams from some inner source, that yet is outside the subject.

Bertelsen, Jes (2013-06-04). Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen (p. 52). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

At the deepest [seventh] level we find the sphere of unity consciousness, the transdual level or naked awareness. This is the enlightened dimension, the sphere of divine love. It is even more dramatic, and at the same time more ordinary and anonymous, than the other states, and it results in compassion. An individual experiencing glimpses of contact with the third level is in a process of enlightenment. The main characteristic of this process is that the individual can maneuver reliably in the higher states, but that the ego is ascendant when these states are not active.
...
It is only in the unity of consciousness that duality is not only loosened or expanded, but fully overcome in true transcendence. Consequently, in the realms of spiritual and joint consciousness the function and structure of the ego is still present, although in a slightly more homeopathic version. It is only when one attains glimpses of unity consciousness that the limitations of the ego and the self-identity are fully suspended, only to return as soon as the glimpse, or series of glimpses, are over. Following contact with unity consciousness, the deep and irrational human belief in the supremacy of the ego and the importance of personality is broken. King Ego and Queen Self are finally dethroned in favor of unified consciousness and compassion.

Bertelsen, Jes (2013-06-04). Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen (p. 50-51). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

At the level of joint consciousness, the subject pole becomes actively engaged. It is one thing to see the beloved, and another to be unified with the beloved in a total merging of love. Figuratively, this is exactly the difference between the spiritual level and the level of joint consciousness. This union with the divine (the theosis of Hesychasm) is consistently described by the great mystics of the world religions. “I and my father are one.” Not “I live,” but “Christ lives in me .” “I am Brahman” (Aham Brahmasmi). “I am Allah” (Mansoor: al haqq). “This consciousness is Buddha.” At this point , the practice consists of identification, of surrender in love.
The ultimate level— naked enlightened consciousness— lies beyond these final veils and polarities. Unity consciousness is a transcendence of the very dialectic between the human and the divine, a ceasing of the difference between subject and object.
God has many masks to protect our eyes, so that we dare to look. For as long as our consciousness and our eyes are veiled, we will see veils.

The naked awareness is veiled and hidden behind six veils: the level of joint consciousness , the spiritual , the mental, the emotional, basic life energy, and finally physical matter. The unveiled naked awareness is beyond all dualities , including birth and death. It is like the moon: it is born all shiny and new, grows and expands and becomes whole and round and full. Then it grows old, shrinks, and dies. That is how it looks. But the moon is there all the time, full and round and unchanging. Veils and polarities make it appear to go through the phases in its cycle.

Bertelsen, Jes (2013-06-04). Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen (pp. 52-53). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

Could these levels be related to Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya in some way, like when there has been a breakthorugh to the seventh nondual level ?

Sincerely
Henrik
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby wisdom » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:50 pm

I find his approach very confusing in trying to relate it to Dzogchen. He appears to be confounding levels of development and experience with actual levels "inside of us", but this is not the case. Body, energy and mind are the three levels of our being, it is within this context that all phenomena and experience arises. However many stages one might traverse on the path, they happen in this context alone.

I would not say myself that these levels have any relation to the three bodies (Dharma/Sambhoga/Nirmanakaya), which arise from ones ordinary body, energy and mind when they are transformed into their enlightened nature from achieving realization.

This is not to say he is wrong, only that it doesn't appear to relate to Dzogchen much at all. From a Dzogchen point of view, almost all of his levels are simply dualistic thinking, grasping, mental fixation. In Dzogchen one would not make the distinction about whether one was grasping "internally" or "externally". The goal is to realize there is no difference, grasping is grasping, fixation is suffering and produces karma, good or bad. It doesn't even matter (and in fact could be considered a potential hindrance or pitfall) how awesome the experience a person is having is. He is encouraging people to grasp after experiences on a gradual path (by speaking as though one should seek experiences in the first place), and this is also not Dzogchen and can lead to a lifetime of thinking you are the messiah or someone special, when all you are is a sentient being fixated on a concept based on an experience. This is not even to mention the subsequent grasping after more experiences once the shock and awe of the initial ones wear off.

The more I see, the more I feel like I disagree with him using the term "Dzogchen" to describe what he is teaching. This is not to say he is not realized nor even that he is not able to lead others to realization, only that the methods, view, and so forth do not appear to accord with what I, personally, have come to understand Dzogchen to be. But Im also nobody special, certainly no master, so what do I know?
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Barney Fife » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:41 am

It looked like Wisdom was referring to the book “Essence of Mind” by Jes Bertelsen, and also maybe in part to this quote from another of Bertelsen’s books:
On p. 1 of this thread, Otsal offered his own translation of the passage below from Jes Bertelsen’s book, Bevidsthedens flydende lys (The Flowing Light of Consciousness), which is the final book in Bertelsen's series that he presents as Dzogchen teachings.
Bertelsen writes:
And then the actual pointing out came.
And the gates of consciousness opened.
The thousands of situations where practice had met the boundary, the veil or doubt, all arose at once, and like a domino effect the barriers collapsed and released the congealed energy as flowing light. Light and energy and bliss and love flowed freely through mind and body. And the distinction between mind and body and consciousness and Tulku’s consciousness melted away. A profound sense of ancient recognition. Streams of grateful tears; cascades of the laughter of realization. And simultaneously with all these waves and streams of insights and realizations, consciousness somewhere remained unaffected and allowed that whatever manifested dissolved of its own accord back into the source; a natural state of apperceptive openness and unlimited freedom. This unbroken apperceptive unity with Tulku Urgyen’s enlightened consciousness lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour. Nuclear fusion.

This meeting set in motion a process that lasted for more than two years: every morning when I sat and practiced alone for a few hours, consciousness and the heart would open to the same streaming state of love and flowing light that was liberated from all form and all distinction in the open limitless unity of apperception.

b.f.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Barney Fife » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:20 am

O.K., so people have finally gotten bored of this topic. No surprises there.

Thank you, Lhodroe Rapsal (Henrik), for your sincere questions and posts on this thread. Your great questions have promoted a broad discussion. And thanks to all contributors to this thread for the clarity they have given to the subject under discussion.
To compare Jes Bertelsen’s teachings, his view and meditation, to the Dzogchen teachings means to examine the starting point and key points of both teachings. If the root is the same, the tree, branches, and fruit will be the same.
As has been made clear by all the people with knowledge of Dzogchen who have generously posted on this thread, Jes Bertelsen’s teachings on Unity Consciousness are not the same as the Dzogchen teachings on awareness wisdom, the natural state. In other words, the root of Jes Bertelsen’s teachings is not the same as the root of Dzogchen.
In many of the quotes from Bertelsen’s book posted on this thread, and apparently throughout his books in English, Danish, and German, Jes Bertelsen teaches that his experiences of unity consciousness are the same as what Dzogchen calls naked awareness. Yet, all the posts on this thread seem to agree that what Jes Bertelsen teaches as unity consciousness is not the same as the primordial state, the ground of primordial purity, the three kayas of Dzogchen.
It has also been shown in this thread, in the very helpful posts by asunthatneversets, that Jes Bertelsen’s understanding of the meaning of consciousness is not the same as the meaning of consciousness in Dzogchen. In fact, reading back over this thread, all of the teachings of Jes Bertelsen that have been posted on this thread have been shown to be completely contradictory to Dzogchen by many people with good knowledge of Dzogchen. There appears to be no relation between Jes Bertelsen’s teachings and the meaning of Dzogchen. When Jes Bertelsen uses Dzogchen words, he gives them a completely different meaning than how they are understood in the Dzogchen tradition.
I have been in contact with both Danish and German people who know Tibetan and have read Jes Bertelsen’s later books that are supposed to be more about actual Dzogchen. One of them, The Flowing Light of Consciousness (Das Fliessende Licht des Bewusstseins), claims to be about Dzogchen, and the second half of the book claims to be an explanation of Dzogchen thogal. The book has Tibetan language calligraphy and paintings that look like DNA double helixes that are supposed to represent thogal vision. Those people with knowledge of Dzogchen who have read the book is just a continuation of the same basic theories and approach as in “Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen”, except that he copies quotes from Longchen Rabjam’s works The Treasury of Dharmadhatu (Choying Dzod) and The Treasury of the Natural State (Naylug Dzod).
The only problem is that the book and the other two that come before it (one is called “Innermost Consciousness” and one is called “Dzogchen”) have no actual Dzogchen teachings in them. They don’t contain a word of authentic Dzogchen teaching other than the quotations from actual Dzogchen books available in English. Jes Bertelsen’s interpretations of Dzogchen trekchod and Dzogchen thogal have no basis in any genuine Dzogchen teaching, and seem to be written entirely from his imagination. No need to take the word of the people I have spoken with, try to find someone who actually knows the Dzogchen teachings and reads German or Danish, and ask them what they think. They will tell you the same thing as my contacts told me. There is no ambiguity in these matters, either it is Dzogchen or it is not. And we are asked to believe that Jes Bertelsen is qualified to teach Dzogchen thogal. Really?
From the comments on this thread and those of yogi scholars critiquing the Danish and German books, it is clear that Jes Bertelsen does not have the Dzogchen View. No one I know of who knows the Dzogchen teachings and has examined Jes Bertelsen’s written teachings think that he has the Dzogchen View.
The Dzogchen teachings are divided into the Ground or Basis, the Path, and the Fruition. Corresponding to these are the View, Meditation, and Conduct, respectively. Having considered Jes Bertelsen’s View, what about his Meditation?
Before we consider Jes Bertelsen’s teachings on Meditation, let us consider his accounts of his own experience. We have been asked by Jes Bertelsen and his admirers many things. For example, we are told on Jes Bertelsen’s Wikipedia page quoting Bertelsen’s book, Bevidsthedens flydende lys (2008):
In 1989 Jes Bertelsen met the Tibetan Lama Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who authorized Jes Bertelsen to teach Dzogchen, the pointing out instruction, Tregchöd and thödgal; and to do so using his own judgment as to the most appropriate way to assimilate these teachings into Western culture.

Further, we are told that on his first meeting with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Jes Bertelsen remained in the natural state (naylug), the recognition of naked awareness, for twenty or thirty minutes.

LhodroeRapsal writes:
In one of his much later book from 2008 Jes Bertelsen shares how the first meeting with Tulku Urgyen was. Otsal translated a part of this book in a previous posting, here it says:

“This unbroken apperceptive unity with Tulku Urgyen’s enlightened consciousness lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour.”

So according to this the natural state was stable in Jes Bertelsen between 20 minutes and 30 minutes at their first meeting.

and Lhodroe Rapsal writes:
I am aware of that it was only for 20 to 30 minutes. How many do you know that was stable in the natural state for 20 to 30 minutes in their first meeting with a Dzogchen teacher? From what I have understood that is quite rare especially for someone without any previous training in tibetan buddhism, and without previous guidance from a teacher.

In the general account being circulated by Jes Bertelsen and his followers, we are told that Jes Bertelsen recognized naked awareness for twenty or thirty minutes the first time he received pointing out instructions from Tulku Urgyen. We are told that on this very first occasion of receiving pointing out, Jes Bertelsen was authorized to give pointing out instructions and to teach Dzogchen trekchod. We are told that in this regard Jes Bertelsen was greater than all the thousands of non-Tibetans who received pointing-out instructions from Tulku Urgyen, and that Bertelsen was more advanced than any of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s long time non-Tibetan disciples.
Let’s compare these claims with Jes Bertelsen’s own account of this occasion and the subsequent few years of his spiritual life:
Otsal wrote:
Bertelsen has written about his first meeting with Tulku Urgyen (when Andreas Kretschmar translated) in a few places, most extensively in Bevidsthedens flydende lys (The Flowing Light of Consciousness). Here's what it says there in my own quick translation from the Danish:

….
And then the actual pointing out came.
And the gates of consciousness opened.
The thousands of situations where practice had met the boundary, the veil or doubt, all arose at once, and like a domino effect the barriers collapsed and released the congealed energy as flowing light. Light and energy and bliss and love flowed freely through mind and body. And the distinction between mind and body and consciousness and Tulku’s consciousness melted away. A profound sense of ancient recognition. Streams of grateful tears; cascades of the laughter of realization. And simultaneously with all these waves and streams of insights and realizations, consciousness somewhere remained unaffected and allowed that whatever manifested dissolved of its own accord back into the source; a natural state of apperceptive openness and unlimited freedom. This unbroken apperceptive unity with Tulku Urgyen’s enlightened consciousness lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour. Nuclear fusion.

This meeting set in motion a process that lasted for more than two years: every morning when I sat and practiced alone for a few hours, consciousness and the heart would open to the same streaming state of love and flowing light that was liberated from all form and all distinction in the open limitless unity of apperception.

O.K., we are being asked to believe that at this first meeting, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche authorized Bertelsen to teach Dzogchen trekchod. Really? So, does anyone with knowledge of Dzogchen think that Jes Bertelsen actually recognized naked awareness, the natural state, according to his account? Based on Jes Bertelsen’s account, does anyone with knowledge of Dzogchen think that Jes Bertelsen remained continuously in the natural state for thirty minutes during these experiences?
Now let’s consider the rest of Bertelsen’s auto-hagiographical account. Jes Bertelsen continues, in the quote above translated by Otsal:
It took two years to integrate this to such an extent that I felt ready once more to make the journey and meet Tulku Urgyen.
This meeting became just as powerful. Where the first had been about Dzogchen and trekchö, the second meeting concerned Dzogchen and tögal – the science of the fundamental structures of the visions. Tulku showed me again and again how in my practice I failed to distinguish precisely enough between the visions and the one who experiences. There was a subtle fixation on the experiencer.
It felt like a thousand-headed ego-dragon, where every practice conversation – and there were many – was about Tulku Urgyen, with a friendly smile and surgical precision, chopping the heads of the poor ”I”. Several times I had an almost irresistible urge to run off and head home. It’s a long way from Nepal to Nørre Snede.

O.K., so according to the the mythology of Jes Bertelsen and his students, we are asked to believe that Jes Bertelsen was already, after the first pointing-out instruction he received, the first non-Tibetan authorized by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche to teach Dzogchen. And yet two years after this authorization, Bertelsen has the above encounter with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Is Tulku Urgyen acknowledging Jes Bertelsen as having the greatest realization of any of Rinpoche’s non-Tibetan students?
Further, the book “Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen” was written five years from Bertelsen’s initial experiences with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. From the contents of the book, it seems clear to everyone with knowledge of Dzogchen that Bertelsen shows no understanding of Dzogchen in the book. In other words, after five years of supposedly practicing Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s teachings, Jes Bertelsen published a this book that everyone agrees shows no understanding of Dzogchen.
Whatever Jes Bertelsen is experiencing, does it sound like the natural state? Does it sound like the descriptions of rigpa, like the descriptions of the nature of mind? Or does it sound like he is having an ongoing experience of an “altered state of consciousness”? The term “altered state of consciousness” is a translation of a Dzogchen term “shay nyam” (I think the spelling is shes nyams). It literally means “consciousness experience”, and is also translated as “meditation moods”” or “altered states of consciousness”. These are collectively classified under three categories: as experiences of bliss, of clarity, and of non-thought. In Dzogchen, meditation experiences are not the natural state, if I have understood correctly; you are either having meditation experiences, or you are in the natural state.
I am still very much a beginner in the Dzogchen teachings, so this is only what I have been able discern from the information given by many people regarding Jes Bertelsen, including those posting on this thread. Do Jes Bertelsen’s experiences, as described by him, correspond to the natural state of dharmata? Or is he merely caught up in meditation experiences, and not recognizing awareness at all? Does anyone with knowledge of Dzogchen feel that there is any actual evidence that Jes Bertelsen understood or experienced anything that Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche taught?

Thank you,

b.f.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby tingdzin » Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:56 am

Barney

Your summing up of the thread is excellent.

Ultimately, one cannot make a sure judgement on the content of JB's experiences, or even whether he had them or not. Even if he did,though, talking about them is a distortion in itself, and since his motivation for "going public" with them seems to be solely to buttress (or create) credibility as a teacher, this naturally causes even more suspicion. Unfortunately (to me at least), even formerly secret Dzogchen teachings have become so common in the marketplace that anyone with a gift of gab can read books, master the jargon, and become a "Dzogchen teacher".

Unless there is a living teacher to confirm his (or anyone's claims), it is perhaps best to pass them by. At least don't take such claims at face value.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Barney Fife » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:20 pm

thank you,

b.f.
Last edited by Barney Fife on Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:36 pm

In Dzogchen, meditation experiences are not the natural state, if I have understood correctly; you are either having meditation experiences, or you are in the natural state.


In Dzogchen, one is to train in the recognition of the "natural state" while having experiences. Bliss, clarity and non-conceptuality are distinct experiences used for this purpose.

Both movement and stillness are the energy of vidyā.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Barney Fife » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:19 pm

Thank you very much, Sonam and Malcolm. You raise important questions and offer helpful clarifications.

Malcolm wrote:
In Dzogchen, one is to train in the recognition of the "natural state" while having experiences. Bliss, clarity and non-conceptuality are distinct experiences used for this purpose.


Malcolm’s brief comments seem to allude to an important distinction. To my very limited range of knowledge, I've heard that bliss clarity and non-conceptuality are training methods in Dzogchen Longde as well as in Anuyoga and in Anuttaratantra. I’ve never heard of bliss, clarity, and non-thought as training methods for the main practices Dzogchen Upadesha/Men ngak de main practice, of which Jes Bertelsen says he is a master. The trainings of bliss, clarity, and non-thought are certainly found as part of many ngondro/preliminaries for many Dzogchen Upadesha cycles, where they are intermixed with the five foundation practices. But, in my admittedly second-hand knowledge, I have never heard of them as part of the training for the main practices of Trekchod and Thogal in the Dzogchen Upadesha cycles.

Malcolm wrote, quoting Barney Fife’s post:
In Dzogchen, meditation experiences are not the natural state, if I have understood correctly; you are either having meditation experiences, or you are in the natural state.
:
Malcolm responded:
In Dzogchen, one is to train in the recognition of the "natural state" while having experiences. Bliss, clarity and non-conceptuality are distinct experiences used for this purpose.

If I understand correctly (and I may not), it seems like in the Dzogchen Upadesha one is taught that initially, one must divest oneself of the “coverings” or “confines” of grasping on to, and being attached to, the meditation experiences of bliss, clarity, and non-thought. In other words, if one has any attachment to or fixation upon these kinds of experiences, then they become like shells that confine awareness within the bonds of conceptual thinking. In this case, these three types of meditation experiences become deviations or side-tracks that prevent actually recognizing the natural face of awareness wisdom, the natural state of Trekchod, which is divested of the fluctuations of dualistic consciousness and is unchanging like space.
One could assume that it is for this reason that there are instructions in the Dzogchen Upadesha for forcefully interrupting and cutting through these experiences in order to establish the natural face of awareness, as for instance in the Three Words Striking the Vital Point of Garab Dorje and its commentaries by Paltrul Rinpoche and others.
It is well known that Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and also his sons such as Tsoknyi Rinpoche hold special traditions for “breaking the shamatha meditation states” of students who come to them with habitualized meditation experiences based on former trainings. I remember reading a traditional instruction quoted by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in one of Rinpoche’s books: “There are many traditions who are able to teach meditation; but there are very few that know how to correctly destroy meditation.” It does seem from the written teachings that a central key point of the first of the Three Words Striking the Vital Point is exactly to cut through these experiences, as the very foundation of Cutting Through to Primordial Purity (kadag trekchod).
Guided Malcolm’s stimulating remarks, a more accurate way of expressing the teaching would be: “In Dzogchen, attachment to meditation experiences obscure the natural state. If there is attachment to meditation experiences, you are not in the recognition of the natural state of primordial purity. In Dzogchen, becoming attached to meditation experiences is not the same as resting in the natural state of primordial purity. If one is attaching to meditation experiences and having a lot of thoughts about them, one is not in the natural state but has instead experienced a side-track or deviation in the practice. One is confined within the coverings of the conceptual mind/sem, and has entered a path of confusion.”
In other words (again, if I’m understanding correctly), if there is any grasping at all onto a meditation experience, one would be in sem, dualistic mind, rather than in rigpa, awareness. In this case, the meditation experience would be the energy of sem/citta (sem tsal) rather than the energy of rigpa/vidya (rig tsal).
Then to refer back to Malcolm’s second comment, once one has cut through to awareness wisdom and begun to establish the natural state, then meditation experiences could potentially arise without any attachment. One would remain free from conceptual thinking; and having released attachment to experiences, the energy of meditation experiences, should they arise, would instead become an enhancement for and an expression of naked awareness.

The question remains, did Jes Bertelsen cut through? Did he understand what Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche was teaching him? Did he realize anything at all of the Dzogchen teachings? Or did he simply have exciting experiences and claim realization and authority? Sonam’s comments in his last post in this thread seem right on. Given the widespread information available on Dzogchen, it is pretty easy to present oneself as a teacher; and the question of motivation would open a whole other discussion. Sonam also very rightly says people like ourselves cannot know with any certainty about another person’s level of practice, and that only a genuine master can authenticate a practitioner’s experience.
But, subtle points of the Dzogchen teachings aside, and being duly respectful, then whether we are fresh beginners or experienced practitioners, what does basic common sense tell us in the case of Jes Bertelsen? If we may, let’s compare one of Bertelsen’s beatification accounts, from his vast body of auto-hagiographical literature, to the teachings of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Rinpoche’s sons. By this, we can see from our own limited perspective whether Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s lineage teachings in any way appear to validate Jes Bertelsen’s claims of Dzogchen realization and attempts at "cultus confirmation".

Otsal wrote:
Bertelsen has written about his first meeting with Tulku Urgyen (when Andreas Kretschmar translated) in a few places, most extensively in Bevidsthedens flydende lys (The Flowing Light of Consciousness). Here's what it says there in my own quick translation from the Danish:
“And then the actual pointing out came.
And the gates of consciousness opened.
The thousands of situations where practice had met the boundary, the veil or doubt, all arose at once, and like a domino effect the barriers collapsed and released the congealed energy as flowing light. Light and energy and bliss and love flowed freely through mind and body. And the distinction between mind and body and consciousness and Tulku’s consciousness melted away. A profound sense of ancient recognition. Streams of grateful tears; cascades of the laughter of realization. And simultaneously with all these waves and streams of insights and realizations, consciousness somewhere remained unaffected and allowed that whatever manifested dissolved of its own accord back into the source; a natural state of apperceptive openness and unlimited freedom. This unbroken apperceptive unity with Tulku Urgyen’s enlightened consciousness lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour. Nuclear fusion.

This meeting set in motion a process that lasted for more than two years: every morning when I sat and practiced alone for a few hours, consciousness and the heart would open to the same streaming state of love and flowing light that was liberated from all form and all distinction in the open limitless unity of apperception.”


From Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s book Vajra Speech, p. 9-10:
Another true accomplishment is to be unharmed by the experiences of bliss, clarity and non-thought, while being free from the two hindrances to meditation: drowsiness and agitation.
Do not attach any importance to temporary experiences, none whatsoever. There is only one thing to be confident in, the true state of realization that is unchanging like space. Understanding this is of utmost importance. What really matters is to increase your devotion to and confidence in the Buddhadharma, so that from within you feel that only the Dharma matters, that only practice is important. That is a sure sign of accomplishment.


From Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, As It Is Vol. 2, p. 237:
To be discouraged because nothing extraordinary has happened
since you began practicing is missing the point. Renunciation is the true
sign of accomplishment, blessing and realization. In other words, there
is a natural disenchantment with samsaric attainments, with any samsaric
state. Unfortunately, people sometimes yearn for the extraordinary.
Some expect the divine to come down from above and endow them
with special powers. Others think that by forcing a certain experience
forth in their minds to intoxicate themselves with, they can be high all
the time, drugged on Dharma practice. Such types run around with
their eyes turned heavenwards, not looking at the same level as normal
people anymore, thinking they are tremendously special.
Some people, when they get into an altered state of meditation, think that the very
subtle forms of the three poisons which are known as the experiences of bliss,
clarity and nonthought, are actually realization. Many people get stuck in their
beliefs. When you start having clear dreams, the demons will take advantage
of you. They will come and act as if they are messengers of
buddhas, bodhisattvas and deities. They can lead you astray in all sorts
of different ways.
Do not attach any importance to these temporay experiences, not at
all. There is only one thing to be confident in: the true state of realization
that is unchanging like space. Understanding this is of utmost importance.


From Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s book, “Rainbow Paintings” p.120-121:
Some people believe that they should just keep on meditating, and
someday their egg will hatch and they will fly out of the shell and ascend
to a completely different level. Actually, it’s not like that at all. We should
not think, “The awakened state must be something really special. If I
practice this long enough, one day a door will open and I will see it and all
the qualities will pour into me.” It’s pointless to have this kind of attitude.
If we really want something spectacular, we will indeed have opportunities
for that, in what is called the ‘temporary meditation moods’ of
bliss, clarity and nonthought. These can occur, but such sensational
experiences do not help to cut through thoughts. On the contrary, they
generate even more fixation because we start to think, “Wow! What is
that? This must be it!”. Many subsequent thoughts arise in response to the
fascination with these experiences.

As I mentioned before, realization involves a process called recognizing,
training and attaining stability. It’s similar to planting the seed of a
flower. You plant it, water it and finally it grows up and blossoms. We are
not like Garab Dorje, who, at the very instant of having mind nature
pointed out, became a fully enlightened buddha without having undergone
any training whatsoever. The moment of recognizing mind essence free
from thought is like holding an authentic flower-seed in your hand and
being certain of what it is. That itself is the self-existing wakefulness, the
source of buddhahood. Enlightenment does not come from some other
place.


And from the same book by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, p. 126:
In my tradition, true Samadhi is not an outcome of concentration,
settling or focusing the mind. True samadhi is the original, empty and
ungrounded state that is the nature of our awareness. This is not a product,
not a thing that is kept or sustained through the act of meditating; not at
all. It is a recognition of basic awareness that is allowed to continue.
We can have three kinds of thought activity. The first is called ‘surface
thoughts’. It is the normal coarse thinking whereby we label different
objects in our field of experience and become involved in an emotional
response towards them. The second type of thinking is an ‘undercurrent of
thought’. It is an ongoing mental commentary that we do not really notice.
There is a third type of thought activity, a thought movement that we
become involved in when we ‘meditate’. We sit and keep subject and
object: there is ‘me,’ or that which notices, and the state of ‘samadhi,’ this
sense of clarity and awareness. This creates the feeling, “Now, this is the
state and it is ongoing!” It is not fully formulated or obvious. Very often,
meditation practice is an exercise in keeping up that conceptual state.
Afterwards, we think that the meditation state lasted for quite a while.
What really lasted was the subtle notion of subject and object, appearing
as clarity, as a brightness, or as maintained mindfulness. This is not the
state of true samadhi that is totally free of home-made constructs or
fabrications. The key phrase here is ‘originally empty and ungrounded,’ a
state that does not require our making at all.


And from the same book by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, p. 204-5:
Training assiduously with devotion, compassion and loving kindness
while repeatedly letting be in unconstructed equanimity, you will surely
discover the true signs of spiritual practice. These signs are the acute feeling
that life is impermanent and that there is no time to waste; that the
Dharma is unfailing; that there is genuine benefit from training in
samadhi; and that it is truly possible to overcome conceptual thinking.
While these are taught to be the most wonderful signs of progress, a
materialistic type of person will not see them as being so wonderful. He
wants a flabbergasting meditation experience. If something astounding
happens that he can see or hear or maybe even touch, he thinks, “Wow! I
am really getting somewhere now! This is completely different from what
I am used to — such a beautiful experience! Such bliss! Such clarity! Such
emptiness! I feel totally transformed! This must really be it!” [Rinpoche
chuckles.]
On the other hand, when you reach the ‘even plains’ of nonthought, the
simple quiet after conceptual thinking dissolves, there is nothing very
exceptional to see or hear or grasp. You may feel, “Does this really lead
anywhere? There is nothing special in this!” Honestly, the view is not
something spectacular; on the contrary, it is free from pinpointing
anything particular at all….
Everyone is overcome by disturbing emotions unless they are stable
in nondual awareness. Only the moment of the awakened state does not
become caught up in deluded emotion. Nondual awareness is the most
effective way, but the materialistic practitioner does not appreciate this. He
wants an altered state, a special experience, an extraordinary dream. When
it happens he congratulates himself, “Excellent! This is the real thing!”
Such is the weakness of human nature.
My root guru Samten Gyatso once said, “I have not had a single special
experience. As the years pass by, my trust in the authenticity of the
Dharma grows. I am confident in the truth of the three kayas. From the age
of eight I looked into the essence of mind, and since then I have never
forsaken it. My diligence varied and of course I became distracted at
times, but mostly I have kept to the practice of mind essence.” I only heard
him say this once; otherwise he would never discuss such personal
matters.


Again from the same book by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, p. 153-156:
Here is another story about going astray in shamatha. A lama from the
Eastern Tibetan province of Golok came to see the great Jamgön Kongtrül
Lodrö Thaye. The lama told Jamgön Rinpoche that he had stayed in a
retreat hut meditating for nine or ten years, “My practice is quite good
now. At times I have some degree of clairvoyance. Whenever I place my
attention on something, it remains unshakable; I feel so quiet and serene! I
experience a state totally without thoughts and concepts. During long
stretches of time I experience nothing but bliss, clarity and nonthought. I
would say that my meditation has been rather successful!”
“Oh what a pity!” was Jamgön Kongtrül’s response.
The meditator left slightly downcast, only to return the next morning.
“Honestly, Rinpoche, my practice of samadhi is good. I have managed to
equalize all mental states of pleasure and pain. The three poisons of anger,
desire and dullness have no real hold over me anymore. After meditating
for nine years, I would think that this level is quite good.”
“Oh what a pity!” retorted Jamgön Kongtrül.
The meditator thought, “He is reputed to be an eminent master beyond
jealousy, but it sounds to me as if he is slightly jealous of me. I wonder!”
He then said, “I came here to ask you about the nature of mind because
of your great reputation. My meditation during day time is fine; I’m not
asking about that at all. I’m quite satisfied! What I want to ask about is
how to practice during the night; that is when I experience some
difficulty.”
Jamgön Kongtrül’s reply was again just “Oh what a pity!”
The lama thought, “He really is envious of me! He probably doesn’t
have a fraction of the clairvoyant powers I do!”
When the meditator explained his clairvoyance, “For me it is no
problem at all to see three to four days into the future,” Jamgön Kongtrül
again said, “Oh what a pity!”
The meditator left for his quarters. He must have begun to doubt
himself, because after some days he returned and said, “I’m going back to
my retreat. What should I do now?”
Jamgön Rinpoche told him, “Don’t meditate any more! From today on,
give up meditating! If you want to follow my advice, then go home and
stay in retreat for three years, but without meditating even the slightest!
Do not cultivate the state of stillness even in the slightest!”
The meditator thought to himself, “What is he saying! I wonder why;
what does it mean? On the other hand, he is supposedly a great master. I
will try it out and see what happens.” So he said, “All right, Rinpoche,”
and left.
When back in retreat, he had quite a hard time trying not to meditate.
Every time he simply let be, without the attempt to meditate, he always
found himself meditating again. Later he said, “That first year was so
difficult! The second year was somewhat better.” At this point, he found
that in the ‘act of meditating’ he had simply been keeping his mind busy.
Now he understood what Jamgön Kongtrül meant by saying “Do not
meditate.”
The third year he reached true nonmeditation, leaving deliberate cultivation
totally behind. He discovered a state utterly free from doing and
meditating; by simply leaving awareness exactly as it naturally is. At that
point nothing spectacular took place in his practice, no special clairvoyance
either. Moreover, his meditation experiences of bliss, clarity and
nonthought had vanished, after which he thought, “Now my meditation
practice is totally lost! I better go back and get more advice!”
Returning before Jamgön Kongtrül and relating his experience, Rinpoche
replied, “Right on! Right on! Those three years made your meditation
successful! Right on!” Jamgön Kongtrül continued, “You don’t need
to meditate by deliberately keeping something in mind, but also don’t be
distracted!”
The meditator said, “It may be due to my former training in stillness,
but, actually, the stretches of distraction are quite short. There isn’t much
distraction anymore. I feel I have discovered what you meant. I experience
a state which is not created through meditation yet which lasts for a while,
by itself.”
“Right on!” Jamgön Kongtrül said, “Now spend the rest of your life
training in that!”


From Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s book “Present Fresh Wakefulness”, quoted in Shambhala Sun Nov. 2002:
The meditative experiences of a yogi are good and they become evident because of letting mind settle in equanimity. The most famous of these meditative moods are called bliss, clarity and nonthought. They occur during vipashyana meditation, but they can also arise even during shamatha practice. Through meditation training, the mind becomes more clarified, more lucid. But if we are not connected with a qualified master or if we do not know the right methods of dealing with these meditative states, we may believe that we are somehow incredibly realized beings. That becomes a hindrance; it can even turn into a severe obstacle.


From Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s book “Fearless Simplicity” p. 192:
We have the preconceived idea or expectation that rigpa should be powerful,
something much more extravagant, incredibly blissful, with clarity in all
directions, totally free of thought, some sort of fantastic experience.
While the awakened state of rigpa is plain and simple, lucid, present,
and undisturbed, we refuse to acknowledge that it is actually rigpa, because
it is not fascinating enough.


And also from Fearless Simplicity by Tsoknyi Rinpoche, p. 194-5:
At the beginning of our training in being undistracted while not meditating,
certain experiences can take place, called bliss, clarity, and nonthought. The
Tibetan word for these is nyam, which is usually mentioned as the second
of three aspects. First is theory or technical understanding, next is
nyam, or the meditative experience, and the third is realization. We
should take extra care not to mistake these three. In a country where the
Dharma is new, there is always a mixing-up of what is seeming and what
is real, the superficial and the ultimately true. There is always a tendency
to confuse temporary meditation experiences, nyam, for realization.
There is a famous statement: "Theory is like patchwork; it wears out
and falls off. Meditation experience is like mist; it fades and vanishes.
But realization is unchanging like space." Theory is just getting the idea
of something: "Ah-ha! This is how it is." But it's never guaranteed how
long we can maintain such an insight. It's like a patch. In Tibet when
you got a tear in your clothes you'd put on a patch. It might not be
stitched on with much skill, just stuck on haphazardly, so that after a
while it would fall off. That is the metaphor for intellectual insight.
A meditative experience may at times arrive most compellingly, but
like mist, it eventually vanishes and then the sun shines again. Then
another cloud comes and the thunder cracks. The weather changes all
the time. Are these nyam experiences good or not? They are good, not
bad. They happen because of meditation practice. What is the problem
then? The problem comes when one believes they are the state of realization.
A disciple of the sixteenth Karmapa came for an interview after a
spectacular nyam and said, "My body feels like it's made out of rainbows.
I don't feel obstructed in any direction. I am almost sure I am
enlightened. I can't find any flaw anywhere." The Karmapa replied, "It is
very easy to settle whether you are enlightened or not. Go up to the top
of that building over there and jump. If you are not dead after you hit
the ground, you must be a buddha. If you die, of course, it is a shame,
but we will do some meritorious rituals for your benefit." That test is a
bit tough, isn't it? Please don't try it!
I'll give you a less drastic test to check whether a particular state is
nyam or realization. Sometimes a nyam can be "I am totally enlightened.
My entire body is bliss, clarity, transparent. Wow! This is enlightenment.
Nothing can harm me. I am also full of compassion. I am nothing.
I am so blissful, so full of care! I am going to save the entire world! Oh,
come to me, everyone! Come here, I will teach you! Bewildered masses, I
will help you." You can certainly have this type of nyam. In one way it is
good because it shows that you are just beginning to approach the true state of practice.
Meditation can produce this sort of temporary experience. To test it,
light a big candle and put your finger into the flame. If you can still say,
"I am enlightened. I love everyone. I am so full of goodness" without
getting burned, then, wow, I bow to you! But if it is terribly painful,
then keep practicing, taking refuge, accumulating merit, and developing
compassion. You still need to progress in rigpa.

From Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully p. 18-19:
Buddhism holds that the true nature of mind is as vast as the sky and that thoughts and emotions are like clouds that, from our vantage point, obscure it. We’re taught that if we want to experience the boundlessness of the sky, we’ll need to get curious about those clouds. When we look deeply into the clouds, they fall apart, and there’s the expanse of the sky. It never went anywhere. It has always been here, momentarily hidden from us by the fleeting, shifting clouds….Chogyam Trungpa has an image for our tendency to obscure the openness of our being; he called it “putting makeup on space.”

Thank you for your patience with this overly long post. Any insights and comments are most welcome and are always very helpful and interesting additions to a great discussion.

b.f.
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Barney Fife
 
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:34 pm

Barney Fife wrote:Thank you for your patience with this overly long post. Any insights and comments are most welcome and are always very helpful and interesting additions to a great discussion.

b.f.


Who knows? I know another person who claims they experienced rigpa by merely being in Tulku Orgyen's presence without him even uttering a single word, before they have even received a single word of Dzogchen, and according to this person, when TU was asked about this experience later on, this person claims that TU confirmed that it indeed was rigpa this person experienced. This person is also not a person who is setting themselves up as a teacher, etc.

The only really important question a person should ask, and then only to themselves "Would I take teaching from this Mr. Bertelsen?" There are three answers, yes, no and "wait and see".

At this point I do not really see what the benefit to this continued discussion is. I certainly think that Mr. Bertelesen would prefer it if we not make him a continued subject of our scrutiny, because as far as I can tell, apart from naively sharing his experience in a book, he is harming no one that I can see. After all, this is just religion and people can believe whatever the hell they want. Some people believe that Trungpa was a horrible person, other people believe he was a saint, for example. The same is true of HHDL. In the end we are merely left with our own judgements and speculations and these judgements and speculations harm us much more than they harm their object.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Malcolm
 
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