Entering the Cave of Winds

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Entering the Cave of Winds

Post by lojong1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:41 pm

Any info on 'entering the cave of winds'?
Namgyal Rimpoche (1931-2003, born Leslie George Dawson in Toronto) may have used the term.
It is just a colorful description of a common (necessary?) experience during anapanasati meditation, but I want to know: if the term is used more widely in Tibetan Buddhism (what is the Tibetan?); what texts mention it; whether it refers to the correct practice of one particular instruction within the sutta; and if one cannot properly move on to the next instruction without this experience.

I hope this will help me better understand the different interpretations of anapanasati instruction, and the various results that follow from them.

Karma Yeshe Gyaltsen
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Re: Entering the Cave of Winds

Post by Karma Yeshe Gyaltsen » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:21 pm

Dear Lojong

Namgyal Rinpoche wrote a manual for annapanasatti. Here is a link http://www.bodhipublishing.netfirms.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In terms of the practice, Namgyal advocated balance. That is, one should have a certain discipline and structure, but also should not get too hung up on "text book" interpretations of so called "results", but should let the exploration take it's proper course, without "you" or your expectations getting in the way. Here is a story he told that illustrates this:

When he was a monk in Burma, Namgyal, (Ananda Bodhi at the time) noticed an American monk rolling up the mat and preparing to quit and go home. He asked that monk what was going on. The fellow replied that after long and hard practice he had been unable to generate the "nimitta" or sign of completion of the practice he had been doing.

Namgyal asked him " Well ,what was the sign supposed to be?" to which the monk replied, " A blazing sun."

"And what did you get?"

"I only got an out of focus orange."

Rinpoche made it clear that this story demonstrated that ego clinging and clinging to results are the same. Ironic, in that the practice is designed to alleviate ego clinging in the first place. The other monk failed to relax and let the mediation have it's effect, even when the nimitta was emerging.

Lord Buddha had no textbook, no catalogue of what signs were supposed to occur, but he awakened with annapanasatti, by not clinging.

I do not know what the Tibetan word corresponds to the words you mention. But words are only provisional and matter little.

I was once travelling in Western United States. On the map the place I was at was called "THE BADLANDS". It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. Had I set out in search of "BADLANDS" I would have kept going.

The verbal descriptions of the nimmittas are only symbolic suggestions pointing to the actual experience. ""Entering the cave of winds" has a very different feel to " Swimming in a sea of sand" for example, and serves only to point towards, not to actually describe the experience, for which words are inadequate.

In reference to the Burmese story told above, if one had the " Blazing solar orb burns up the netted undergrowth" experience, it would blow 'you' away, and you would have no need to get affirmation of that experience, except to let your teacher know. Presumably he/she would already know!

Further words of advice on this matter, from Namgyal's teaching: If you get stuck on a practice, go back and do the previous level of practice for a while.

Wishing you well,

Karma Yeshe Gyaltsen

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Re: Entering the Cave of Winds

Post by Uniltiranyu » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:46 am

I know of this practice, from many years ago, whilst with the Namgyal Rinpoche on Pitjantjatjara tribal lands in Australia. We occasioned to be sitting in a cave at the base of Uluru, that great, reddish-orange rock formation so sacred to the indigenous people there, when the topic came up.

One seats oneself comfortably, and relaxes into meditation. A gentle swaying of the head, motioning from side to side, whilst exhaling settles one into a calm state. With calm breaths, one becomes sensitive to the breath-body - a sense of breath pervading oneself. Gentle sensations gather in the middle of the chest, then down into the belly and below, in a narrow, diffuse band - "And they hear the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden at the breeze of the day". Eventually, warmth develops in the belly, a very gentle, billowing warmth, that remains in the belly for the duration of the meditation. I like to think of it as the breath of a dragon in deep sleep. This the Cave of Winds.

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