Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

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TharpaChodron
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Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by TharpaChodron » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:32 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:40 pm
You can be grateful because you are exhausting your previous negative karma. I know teachers who say to be falsely accused of wrong doing is a great thing and an excellent opportunity etc. In my job, being falsely accused is de riguer. Now when someone deliberately lies or accuses me of something I did not do, I'm not shocked. After all, the person accusing me of such thing typically is a habitual lier, drug addict and criminal and my job is to expose their bad behavior. So, I calmly stand my ground because I have the courage of my convictions and that's that.
Isn't this the truth. So many times I get told how the job I chose to do for low pay I am actually doing because I want to "make money off of them"...if they only knew. I once had someone accuse me of being in league with the prosecutors office...this when working in conjunction with an alternative sentencing program that avoided their prosecution entirely...lol!

The first few times it really bugged me, now it's somehow kind of charming. Also there is something oddly therapeutic about being around such big explosions of emotion and outrage all the time, it's easier to see through my own nonsense sometimes.
Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:32 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:40 pm
You can be grateful because you are exhausting your previous negative karma. I know teachers who say to be falsely accused of wrong doing is a great thing and an excellent opportunity etc. In my job, being falsely accused is de riguer. Now when someone deliberately lies or accuses me of something I did not do, I'm not shocked. After all, the person accusing me of such thing typically is a habitual lier, drug addict and criminal and my job is to expose their bad behavior. So, I calmly stand my ground because I have the courage of my convictions and that's that.
Isn't this the truth. So many times I get told how the job I chose to do for low pay I am actually doing because I want to "make money off of them"...if they only knew. I once had someone accuse me of being in league with the prosecutors office...this when working in conjunction with an alternative sentencing program that avoided their prosecution entirely...lol!

The first few times it really bugged me, now it's somehow kind of charming. Also there is something oddly therapeutic about being around such big explosions of emotion and outrage all the time, it's easier to see through my own nonsense sometimes.
Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...
Are you familiar with the Motivational Interviewing/Enhancement people's take on denial? IMO their argument is more convincing, and simpler: Denial is a basic human response to ambivalence, and in fact in some cases the 'denial' is made worse by the counselors attempt to confront or 'break' said denial. So basically, we are partially response for resistance as counselors. It's not a pretty answer, but I find it rings true.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by TharpaChodron » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:11 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:32 am


Isn't this the truth. So many times I get told how the job I chose to do for low pay I am actually doing because I want to "make money off of them"...if they only knew. I once had someone accuse me of being in league with the prosecutors office...this when working in conjunction with an alternative sentencing program that avoided their prosecution entirely...lol!

The first few times it really bugged me, now it's somehow kind of charming. Also there is something oddly therapeutic about being around such big explosions of emotion and outrage all the time, it's easier to see through my own nonsense sometimes.
Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...
Have you ever read the Motivational Interviewing/Enhancement people on denial? IMO their argument is more convincing, and simpler: Denial is a basic human response to ambivalence, and in fact in some cases the 'denial' is made worse by the counselors attempt to confront or 'break' said denial. So basically, we are partially response for resistance as counselors. It's not a pretty answer, but I find it rings true.

I sure have, but I still like defense mechanisms theory, even though Motivational interviewing is "usually" the most effective intervention. I think it's possible to use M.I. but also have an interest in defense mechanisms and how they operate? Even if it's all ultimately ambivalence, when the ambivalence causes people to do strange things like repressed homosexuality turning someone into a mass murdered (for example), defense mechanisms seems like a good basis to understand the behavior, imo.

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:20 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:11 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm


Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...
Have you ever read the Motivational Interviewing/Enhancement people on denial? IMO their argument is more convincing, and simpler: Denial is a basic human response to ambivalence, and in fact in some cases the 'denial' is made worse by the counselors attempt to confront or 'break' said denial. So basically, we are partially response for resistance as counselors. It's not a pretty answer, but I find it rings true.

I sure have, but I still like defense mechanisms theory, even though Motivational interviewing is "usually" the most effective intervention. I think it's possible to use M.I. but also have an interest in defense mechanisms and how they operate? Even if it's all ultimately ambivalence, when the ambivalence causes people to do strange things like repressed homosexuality turning someone into a mass murdered (for example), defense mechanisms seems like a good basis to understand the behavior, imo.
See, I think that a lot of the stuff that people ascribe to individual personality characteristics in counseling and clinical environments is more easily ascribed to simple ways of behaving in certain environments, combined with learned behaviors, values systems etc. Maybe defense mechanisms fits in there somehow. I think people's actions usually come from less complex motives than we often ascribe to them.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by TharpaChodron » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:06 am

I think it can ultimately be boiled down to our good ol Buddhist "passion aggression and prejudice" and ego but I guess I may be predisposed to an "integrated approach." I pretty much see some truth in a lot of different models, but then I'm just working on my licensure and am in no way an expert.

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:12 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:06 am
I think it can ultimately be boiled down to our good ol Buddhist "passion aggression and prejudice" and ego but I guess I may be predisposed to an "integrated approach." I pretty much see some truth in a lot of different models, but then I'm just working on my licensure and am in no way an expert.
Same here, and I am minimally educated, to be honest. My views are all "this is how I feel at the time".
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by TharpaChodron » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:33 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:12 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:06 am
I think it can ultimately be boiled down to our good ol Buddhist "passion aggression and prejudice" and ego but I guess I may be predisposed to an "integrated approach." I pretty much see some truth in a lot of different models, but then I'm just working on my licensure and am in no way an expert.
Same here, and I am minimally educated, to be honest. My views are all "this is how I feel at the time".
since we're talking about this stuff, I'm seriously considering starting Lama Tsultrim Allione's "Feeding your demons" training for clinical work because it seems like a very good integrative approach towards modern Western psychology and our dear ancient Buddhist tradition. have you thought of starting that program/practice?

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:33 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:33 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:12 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:06 am
I think it can ultimately be boiled down to our good ol Buddhist "passion aggression and prejudice" and ego but I guess I may be predisposed to an "integrated approach." I pretty much see some truth in a lot of different models, but then I'm just working on my licensure and am in no way an expert.
Same here, and I am minimally educated, to be honest. My views are all "this is how I feel at the time".
since we're talking about this stuff, I'm seriously considering starting Lama Tsultrim Allione's "Feeding your demons" training for clinical work because it seems like a very good integrative approach towards modern Western psychology and our dear ancient Buddhist tradition. have you thought of starting that program/practice?
I engaged in the practice for a while, at the advice of a therapist who is a practitioner, no less. It's a powerful practice. It really helped me to move past some things, or maybe just to accept them. IMO it's a real blessing what Lama Allione did putting it together, accessible to anyone and exceptionally powerful.

I didn't know there was a clinical training for Demon Feedng though, I looked at some of the material and it looks great, sounds a lot better than more CBT stuff, heh.

That said, no one but another Buddhist or someone very open minded about therapy is going to do it, it is a serious practice , especially if you are applying it to deep trauma. Basically, at leat with what I experienced, you'd need someone to be stable and somewhat resilient already to really do the practice in a meaningful way, it is too intense otherwise...just my two cents of course. I imagine any therapist or counselor could certainly benefit from some of the principles, and it probably depends on the population you work with, but I would say pretty much zero of the clients I've worked with would ever even consider it. For most of them simply being aware of their thoughts and emotions without running away screaming is challenge enough, heh. The demon feeding practice is fantastic, but it is for people who are fully ready to well, meet their demons. So yeah, I imagine it depends a lot on the population.

As far as stuff that I've used with clients, Tenzin Wangyal's "Three Precious Pills" have been great for me, I used to use some variation of these with clients and they were very effective.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by Anders » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:47 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:32 am


Isn't this the truth. So many times I get told how the job I chose to do for low pay I am actually doing because I want to "make money off of them"...if they only knew. I once had someone accuse me of being in league with the prosecutors office...this when working in conjunction with an alternative sentencing program that avoided their prosecution entirely...lol!

The first few times it really bugged me, now it's somehow kind of charming. Also there is something oddly therapeutic about being around such big explosions of emotion and outrage all the time, it's easier to see through my own nonsense sometimes.
Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...
Are you familiar with the Motivational Interviewing/Enhancement people's take on denial? IMO their argument is more convincing, and simpler: Denial is a basic human response to ambivalence, and in fact in some cases the 'denial' is made worse by the counselors attempt to confront or 'break' said denial. So basically, we are partially response for resistance as counselors. It's not a pretty answer, but I find it rings true.
The approach to defence mechanisms in our therapeutic school is not to confront or break defence mechanisms, but instead lower them by creating a therapeutic space of sufficient trust that the client eventually feels safe enough to go there, in that space, by him or herself.

On the contrary, they are often encouraged to be kept early on, to help situate them as appropriate protective responses that one may explore without the threat looming that they are supposed to be broken down. That when defence mechanisms are created, they are created as natural and appropriate protections of ones organism.

Later, the client will ideally realise that the protection such mechanisms offered initially may not be serving you quite as well now as it did to begin with. But this is not a realisation meant to be forced, or even suggested openly to the client.

Awareness of defence mechanisms is usually achieved by inquiring into bodily feelings when it is apparent to the therapist that it is happening, so that the clients begins to acquire an experiential understanding of what is happening.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by lobsangrinchen » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:13 pm

This is a great thread. I have worked in substance abuse/addictions treatment in the past and am considering getting my certification to become a professional in that field, so all of this is very relevant to my interests. I hope to be able to include some Buddhist perspectives with treatment, but in my experience working with people in their first 28 days, I can't even get them to sit still for a one hour meeting, much less silent meditation. :shrug:

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by TharpaChodron » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:17 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:33 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:33 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:12 am


Same here, and I am minimally educated, to be honest. My views are all "this is how I feel at the time".
since we're talking about this stuff, I'm seriously considering starting Lama Tsultrim Allione's "Feeding your demons" training for clinical work because it seems like a very good integrative approach towards modern Western psychology and our dear ancient Buddhist tradition. have you thought of starting that program/practice?
I engaged in the practice for a while, at the advice of a therapist who is a practitioner, no less. It's a powerful practice. It really helped me to move past some things, or maybe just to accept them. IMO it's a real blessing what Lama Allione did putting it together, accessible to anyone and exceptionally powerful.

I didn't know there was a clinical training for Demon Feedng though, I looked at some of the material and it looks great, sounds a lot better than more CBT stuff, heh.

That said, no one but another Buddhist or someone very open minded about therapy is going to do it, it is a serious practice , especially if you are applying it to deep trauma. Basically, at leat with what I experienced, you'd need someone to be stable and somewhat resilient already to really do the practice in a meaningful way, it is too intense otherwise...just my two cents of course. I imagine any therapist or counselor could certainly benefit from some of the principles, and it probably depends on the population you work with, but I would say pretty much zero of the clients I've worked with would ever even consider it. For most of them simply being aware of their thoughts and emotions without running away screaming is challenge enough, heh. The demon feeding practice is fantastic, but it is for people who are fully ready to well, meet their demons. So yeah, I imagine it depends a lot on the population.

As far as stuff that I've used with clients, Tenzin Wangyal's "Three Precious Pills" have been great for me, I used to use some variation of these with clients and they were very effective.
I found out about the Feeding Your Demons training recently, too. I agree it's not really something which would be helpful to all or most people. But I like the idea of utilizing the training with specific people who might be a good fit, however rare that is. Hell, not only our clients, but even 99% of co-workers would not be appropriate for this stuff. I did a "mindfulness" group a while back and it was amazing how hard it was for people to understand that it was about becoming aware of their thoughts rather than silencing and shutting down their thoughts. Meeting your demons could be quite dangerous for those who are entrenched in thinking their thoughts or perception are reality.

That said, they do have a "secular" program which sounds pretty intriguing.

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by TharpaChodron » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:18 am

Anders wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:47 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm


Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...
Are you familiar with the Motivational Interviewing/Enhancement people's take on denial? IMO their argument is more convincing, and simpler: Denial is a basic human response to ambivalence, and in fact in some cases the 'denial' is made worse by the counselors attempt to confront or 'break' said denial. So basically, we are partially response for resistance as counselors. It's not a pretty answer, but I find it rings true.
The approach to defence mechanisms in our therapeutic school is not to confront or break defence mechanisms, but instead lower them by creating a therapeutic space of sufficient trust that the client eventually feels safe enough to go there, in that space, by him or herself.

On the contrary, they are often encouraged to be kept early on, to help situate them as appropriate protective responses that one may explore without the threat looming that they are supposed to be broken down. That when defence mechanisms are created, they are created as natural and appropriate protections of ones organism.

Later, the client will ideally realise that the protection such mechanisms offered initially may not be serving you quite as well now as it did to begin with. But this is not a realisation meant to be forced, or even suggested openly to the client.

Awareness of defence mechanisms is usually achieved by inquiring into bodily feelings when it is apparent to the therapist that it is happening, so that the clients begins to acquire an experiential understanding of what is happening.
Sounds a little Gestalt like, no? What is your therapeutic school?

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:25 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:17 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:33 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:33 am


since we're talking about this stuff, I'm seriously considering starting Lama Tsultrim Allione's "Feeding your demons" training for clinical work because it seems like a very good integrative approach towards modern Western psychology and our dear ancient Buddhist tradition. have you thought of starting that program/practice?
I engaged in the practice for a while, at the advice of a therapist who is a practitioner, no less. It's a powerful practice. It really helped me to move past some things, or maybe just to accept them. IMO it's a real blessing what Lama Allione did putting it together, accessible to anyone and exceptionally powerful.

I didn't know there was a clinical training for Demon Feedng though, I looked at some of the material and it looks great, sounds a lot better than more CBT stuff, heh.

That said, no one but another Buddhist or someone very open minded about therapy is going to do it, it is a serious practice , especially if you are applying it to deep trauma. Basically, at leat with what I experienced, you'd need someone to be stable and somewhat resilient already to really do the practice in a meaningful way, it is too intense otherwise...just my two cents of course. I imagine any therapist or counselor could certainly benefit from some of the principles, and it probably depends on the population you work with, but I would say pretty much zero of the clients I've worked with would ever even consider it. For most of them simply being aware of their thoughts and emotions without running away screaming is challenge enough, heh. The demon feeding practice is fantastic, but it is for people who are fully ready to well, meet their demons. So yeah, I imagine it depends a lot on the population.

As far as stuff that I've used with clients, Tenzin Wangyal's "Three Precious Pills" have been great for me, I used to use some variation of these with clients and they were very effective.
I found out about the Feeding Your Demons training recently, too. I agree it's not really something which would be helpful to all or most people. But I like the idea of utilizing the training with specific people who might be a good fit, however rare that is. Hell, not only our clients, but even 99% of co-workers would not be appropriate for this stuff. I did a "mindfulness" group a while back and it was amazing how hard it was for people to understand that it was about becoming aware of their thoughts rather than silencing and shutting down their thoughts. Meeting your demons could be quite dangerous for those who are entrenched in thinking their thoughts or perception are reality.

That said, they do have a "secular" program which sounds pretty intriguing.

Yeah, it sounds like our experience is pretty similar, I will take a closer look at those trainings for sure.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:29 am

Anders wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:47 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:02 pm


Well, despite some naysayers opinions, that whole Freudian defense mechanism theory is pretty accurate, I think, on how some of that works. The whole denial and projection thing...
Are you familiar with the Motivational Interviewing/Enhancement people's take on denial? IMO their argument is more convincing, and simpler: Denial is a basic human response to ambivalence, and in fact in some cases the 'denial' is made worse by the counselors attempt to confront or 'break' said denial. So basically, we are partially response for resistance as counselors. It's not a pretty answer, but I find it rings true.
The approach to defence mechanisms in our therapeutic school is not to confront or break defence mechanisms, but instead lower them by creating a therapeutic space of sufficient trust that the client eventually feels safe enough to go there, in that space, by him or herself.

On the contrary, they are often encouraged to be kept early on, to help situate them as appropriate protective responses that one may explore without the threat looming that they are supposed to be broken down. That when defence mechanisms are created, they are created as natural and appropriate protections of ones organism.
Interesting, this is much more practical approach, in my opinion. Unfortunately the world of substance abuse treatment (which I work in) is often stuck in the idea that you must confront someone's denial directly, and often do not realize that in some cases, 'defense mechanisms' are a manifestation of a kind of self protection, and in that sense, can have positive aspects. I'm interested to hear about your approach as well.

I primarily like the MI people's view on this stuff, "rolling with resistance" and all that.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by Anders » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:04 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:18 am
Sounds a little Gestalt like, no? What is your therapeutic school?
A mixture of gestalt, existential, client-based and body focused with a few Danish influences on the side.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: How to face false accusation

Post by TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:35 am

Anders wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:04 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:18 am
Sounds a little Gestalt like, no? What is your therapeutic school?
A mixture of gestalt, existential, client-based and body focused with a few Danish influences on the side.
Sounds very interesting! Danish influences would definitely be completely new to me.

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Re: Denial and defense mechanism - Western Pysch perspective

Post by Grigoris » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:53 pm

This is my favorite therapeutic Danish influence:
cranberry danish.jpg
cranberry danish.jpg (46.86 KiB) Viewed 667 times
:smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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