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Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:21 pm
by Pema Rigdzin
TMingyur wrote: Now considering all this what is the use of specially emphasizing the "nature of the mind"?

Kind regards
The use is that the emptiness of the mind can be experienced right off, whereas the emptiness of the apple, for instance, can only be conceptualized right off. Beyond that, in a much shorter time than can emptiness of outer phenomena be realized, one can gain real experience of the emptiness of mind, of it's luminous nature, and of it's unobstructed capacity. Since when one gains actual realization of the nature of mind, not just glimpses and understanding, one also gains realization of everything else, it is a much swifter path for those suited to it. On the other hand, using analytical and conceptual methods takes much, much longer to realize. Analysis is a useful tool, but if one can use methods that allow for direct experience, that is obviously better. All 4 Tibetan traditions have these methods in addition to analytical ones.

To give a quote from a prayer by the late Dzogchen master Dudjom Rinpoche:

By means of the great weapon,
Indestructible primordial wakeful awareness,
May the void life-force of samsara and nirvana
Both be severed, at once.

Then, in the unending great bliss of Nyema’s feast
May we always enjoy the activity
That is beyond joining and parting.

In the pervasive space of evenness,
Even the word “suffering” does not exist—
So who ought to be striving for happiness?

In the Kingdom of Samantabhadra
Happiness and suffering are of one taste;
Without grasping, they liberate of themselves.

May I attain Samantabhadra’s kingdom in this very life!

This is much more easily realized by going directly to the nature of mind than it is by conceptualizing the emptiness of phenomena and meditating on that, which is why realizing the nature of mind is referred to as "knowing the one thing that frees all" in the Dzogchen tradition.

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:34 am
by Pema Rigdzin
TMingyur wrote: This is interesting because exactly the same has been validly said about those who cling to "nature of mind" or "buddha nature". And this exactly has been the reason for some to reason against those views and their methods.
Even the Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings warn of not correctly ascertaining the view, and thus meditation, which would mean one was not even applying the methods in actuality - one would still be stuck in concepts. In that case, further instructions from the lama and/or more preliminary practices of different kinds comprise the remedy. Those who have criticized Dzogchen and Mahamudra's methods and views have done so out of inability to comprehend them. They criticized that which neither of these approaches actually are and they've misunderstood context. In actual experience of the nature of mind, which is something altogether different than thinking about it or there being a watcher and a watched, there is nothing to cling to whatsoever. To assert otherwise would be to say that mind's nature is not empty.
TMingyur wrote: Actually the rejection of logical reasoning may be caused by a feeling of inferiority which would be no better then pride but also rooted in a deluded perception of "I" and "mine".
It's certainly conceivable that a less intelligent person might find comfort in avoiding a dialectical approach, although except for the extremely fortunate, most of these people would be doing themselves a disservice. I assure you, however, that the masters of Dzogchen and Mahamudra who seem to shun a dialectical approach are only doing so within a very specific context. The context is those for whom introduction to mind essence and recognition are simultaneous or those who have reached a rather advanced stage in Dzogchen/Mahamudra. For such individuals, distracting themselves with dialectics would truly be a disservice. For centuries though, I think most of these people typically started out by fully engaging in dialectics and conceptual meditations first anyway, before introduction to mind essence. For the rest of us who may have some capacity for Dzogchen or Mahamudra, the recommended course is generally studying dialectics and simultaneously engaging in both the two stages and Dzogchen/Mahamudra.
TMingyur wrote: to completely shun logical reasoning on the one hand or to completely shun non-conceptual approaches on the other hand are both erroneous positions.
This cannot be universally said. Again, it is all dependent on context, which can be either one of stage or of capacity due to practice in past lives. For most people, what you say is true, at the very least initially if not for life. Most people who practice Dzogchen or Mahamudra are best served by continuing to rely on dialectics and conceptual practices even while practicing Dzogchen/Mahamudra; very, very few are better off just focusing on the latter. That relates to capacity. When it comes to the stage of Dzogchen or Mahamudra practice one is at, for someone who has recognized rigpa or primordial wakeful awareness, whatever you want to call it, there can come a time when such a person is at a sufficiently advanced level in his or her practice that the time has passed for the utility of dialectics and conceptual practices. For those people it would be like the difference between thinking about sugar and tasting it. When masters like Longchenpa and others say things seeming to denigrate dialectics and conceptual practices, it is in just that context. They have huge corpuses of teachings in which they say quite the contrary for everyone else.

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:39 am
by ground
Hi Pema Rigdzin

the view you expressed is what I called "balanced", sort of "middle way". I like that. Thanks.

Kind regards

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:24 am
by muni
Thank you ronnewmexico, old guy.

"When the notions of real and unreal

Are absent from before the mind,

There is no other possibility,

But to rest in total peace, beyond concepts". Patrul Rinpoche.

"The awakened state is not presumed to be manufactured. Due to not being attached to ANY conceptual thing, it has no attachment." Guru Rinpoche about Ati.

Pema, your explanation is very appreciated! Thank you.

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:35 am
by muni
This text is worth to give a view on mind:

There are many aspects to the mind, but two stand out. The first is the ordinary mind, called by the Tibetans sem. One master defines it: "That which possesses discriminating awareness, that which possesses a sense of duality – which grasps or rejects something external – that is mind. Fundamentally it is that which can associate with an 'other' – with any 'something,' that is perceived as different from the perceiver." Sem is the discursive, dualistic, thinking mind, which can only function in relation to a projected and falsely perceived external reference point.

So sem is the mind that thinks, plots, desires, manipulates, that flares up in anger, that creates and indulges in waves of negative emotion and thoughts, that has to go on and on asserting, validating, and confirming its "existence" by fragmenting, conceptualizing, and solidifying experience. The ordinary mind is the ceaselessly shifting and shiftless prey of external influences, habitual tendencies, and conditioning: The masters liken sem to a candle flame in an open doorway, vulnerable to all the winds of circumstance.

Seen from one angle, sem is flickering, unstable, grasping, and endlessly minding others' business; its energy consumed by projecting outwards. I think of it sometimes as a Mexican jumping bean, or as a monkey hopping restlessly from branch to branch on a tree. Yet seen in another way, the ordinary mind has a false, dull stability, a smug and self-protective inertia, a stone-like calm of ingrained habits. Sem is as cunning as a crooked politician, skeptical, distrustful, expert at trickery and guile, "ingenious," Jamyang Khyentse wrote, " in the games of deception." It is within the experience of this chaotic, confused, undisciplined, and repetitive sem, this ordinary mind, that, again and again, we undergo change and death.

Then there is the very nature of mind, its innermost essence, which is absolutely and always untouched by change or death. At present it is hidden within our own mind, our sem, enveloped and obscured by the mental scurry of our thoughts and emotions. Just as clouds can be shifted by a strong gust of wind to reveal the shining sun and wide-open sky, so, under certain special circumstances, some inspiration may uncover for us glimpses of this nature of mind. These glimpses have many depths and degrees, but each of them will bring some light of understanding, meaning, and freedom.

This is because the nature of mind is the very root itself of understanding. In Tibetan we call it Rigpa, a primordial, pure, pristine awareness that is at once intelligent, cognizant, radiant, and always awake. It could be said to be the knowledge of knowledge itself.
Do not make the mistake of imagining that the nature of mind is exclusive to our mind only. It is in fact the nature of everything. It can never be said too often that to realize the nature of mind is to realize the nature of all things. :buddha1:

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:01 pm
by ronnewmexico
I have heard it said that our principal cause of our present state of samsara is in the main.......... the reinforcement or overemphesis of the aware state as opposed to the empty state of our being/things. This causes us with death to assume involuntary forms.

Thusly in our ignorance we create obejcts of like dislike self and other.

So if I enconter concepts of rigpa and such I am very careful to always approach such within the context of empty awareness. It being very easy to slip into the theist notions of soul and such from a objectified view of such things. Which I have experienced as some peoples in schools which do not hold to such notions eventually doing so. It being so easy when from a theistic soul holding backround. Hence perhaps the necessity for many preliminaries prior to such exposure or pointing out.

Not to state I in any maner shape nor form have a accomplished rigpa view(I certainly do not) but when considering such things in a conceptual fashion.

Suchly it is rightly said at the end of the quote.... the lack of descrimination between other and us.

As a personal observation to the excellent quote provided.

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:52 am
by muni
A soul in Rigpa? Well yes, being in a democratic place we should feel free to see so.
But I really understand your concepts about. As indeed by that, another concept as a soul can be in our observation. In a state of nondual or beyond dual-nondual (Longchenpa) like can happen in between two thoughts before falling asleep; mind can be totally at ease. No souls there.

Ron, I think it is very important we follow our path in order we can recognize what we are discussing here "essential nature" in moments of deep body pain, being helpless in fire due to in love, feeling pride by losing earth, a blow of anger and so on.
I deeply respect your view and that of all others, when that is the help on such moments. :bow:

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:24 pm
by Paul
catmoon wrote:What do you think he meant -

1. The mind has no inherent existence
2. The mind has no existence at all

Two quotes from Thrangu Rinpoche:

Question: In this process of looking, the scrutiny, when you have some direct experience that there is nothing there to find, you follow with the next step of insight of “I’ve looked; I’ve seen there is nothing there; therefore, I’ll keep looking; therefore, I’ll relax; therefore, I’ll let go.” I am just not sure what you might say to yourself, the next non-thought . . .
Rinpoche: This is discussed in the text when the student is asked, “What do you see when you look at your mind.” If they say, “Nothing at all; there is nothing there,” that means that they have partially seen their mind. This is called a partial seeing. The mind has two characteristics, emptiness and cognitive lucidity. When you see nothing at all, that is seeing emptiness, but it is not enough, because you have not recognized the cognitive lucidity. It is not enough, because the mind is not nothing. If the mind were nothing, then the whole world would be nothing; there would be no experience. If there were nothing, we would just be like corpses. So there is a cognitive lucidity to the mind, and that has to be recognized in the same way. So, if you are seeing nothing, you need to go back and look again, and you can read about this in your book.
The assertion that appearances are mind is properly an assertion of the mind only school. The assertion that mind is emptiness is properly an assertion of the middle way school. The middle way school begins by saying it is fine to say that appearances are mind. But it is not fine to say that the mind exists. According to the middle way school, the belief that the mind exists is mistaking the appearance of continuity for existence. Continuity in this case means that what we call a mind, anyone’s mind, is believed to exist because it stretches from an apparently infinite past all the way to the present. And it stretches from the present into the unforeseeable future. When we think about time, we can think about it in any way we want to. We can think about it in relatively long terms—like the past as last year, the present as this year, and the future as next year. Or we can think about it in shorter terms and say that the past is last month, the present is this month, and the future is next month. Or we can say that the past is yesterday, the present is today, and the future is tomorrow. Or, the past was this morning, the present is now, and the future is this evening. Or, the past is the previous moment and everything that went before that; the present is now; and the future is the next moment and everything that will occur after that. Everything that is past, from the previous moment and every other moment that came before that, going back infinitely, does not exist; all of that is gone. Everything that is in the future, from the next moment onward, does not yet exist. All that exists is whatever exists now. But what is the duration of now? Either now has duration or it does not. If is does not have duration, it is unreasonable to say that it exists. If it does not have duration, it is merely a hypothetical boundary between what is past and what is future. If it does have duration, how much duration does it have? Whatever unit of time you select to designate as now, you will see that half of that unit of time is past and half of that unit of time is future. No matter how finely you scrutinize time, you will see that what we call now has no duration. That means, among other things, that every thought you ever had is gone. And the thoughts that you have not had yet, of course, have not appeared yet. So right now your mind has no duration. According to the middle way school, this is why it is unreasonable to say that the mind exists. Because the time in which it might exist does not exist. We designate it as existent based upon the belief in the existence of time, and, therefore, continuity. That is the argument that is the basis for the assertion that you cannot assert that the mind exists. In meditation, of course, we do not entertain the argument. We simply look directly at the mind. As we saw earlier, when looking directly, you do not find any thing. What you discover is the mind’s emptiness. Therefore, it has been said, “It is not something and is not seen even by the victors.”* This is pointed out, because when you look at the mind and do not find anything, your first reaction may be to think, “I don’t know how to look,” or, “I’m not looking hard enough,” or, “I’m not smart enough to find it.” The point is that no one will ever find anything; even the victorious ones, the buddhas, when they look at the mind, do not see anything.
Taken from Shenpen Osel, volume 6, number 1 & 2." onclick=";return false;

Re: Essential nature.

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:35 pm
by muni