White Ah and Thigle

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White Ah and Thigle

Postby mike-b » Sat May 10, 2014 8:47 pm

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum, as i am to Dzogchen. I received the transmission from Namkhai Norbu via the webcast recently and am not sure what i was hoping to experience. I did feel something but I'm sure this is a very personal thing, so i won't go into it at the moment.
The help that i need is with the Guruyoga visualization of the white 'Ah' and Thigle. I am hoping not to sound too stupid, but as someone very much into sitting meditation (Soto Zen) would i be right in thinking that i visualize the 'Ah' and thigle at my heart and hold this image for as long as possible, or do i visualize it straight on, as if in front of me.

Sorry if this question is confusing, i'm sure there will be many more in the future,

Thank you,

Mike
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby CrawfordHollow » Sat May 10, 2014 11:16 pm

Hi Mike,

Welcome to the party!

The white A and thigle is not an object of meditation used to hold your attention. It is a symbol, symbolizing your primordial nature (sound, light and rays specifically). At this point it would be best for you to view it as the essence of all of your teachers and the teachings that you have received. In particular you should realize that it is linked to Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and the transmission that you have received.

The whole point of this practice is to get into the same state as the guru. After you sound the A with the visualization the best thing to do is to relax completely. It is in this state of relaxed awareness that you can discover this primordial awareness, what Rinpoche calls instant presence. Having experience of this state is called rigpa, and in a way the whole point of Dzogchen is to become more and more familiar with it and integrate it into all of your experiences.

You will learn that the sitting meditation that you may be used to, no matter how developed, uses your mind, while the purpose of guru yoga is to enter a state that is beyond mind.

If you become a member of the Dzogchen Community you can purchase a book called Guru Yoga that will clarify this approach. There is a wonderful book called The Crystal and the Way of Light, written by Namkahi Norbu Rinpoche, that would be a good place for you to start learning about dzogchen.

This forum is also an invaluable resource, and you will find many folks far more knowledgeable than myself that can help you. Hopefully this crude explanation didn't create more confusion and misunderstanding.

This has been my first post in many months, so I just want to give a shout out to all my friends at Dharma Wheel, its good to be back!
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby alpha » Sat May 10, 2014 11:39 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:Hi Mike,

Welcome to the party!

The white A and thigle is not an object of meditation used to hold your attention. It is a symbol, symbolizing your primordial nature (sound, light and rays specifically). At this point it would be best for you to view it as the essence of all of your teachers and the teachings that you have received. In particular you should realize that it is linked to Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and the transmission that you have received.

The whole point of this practice is to get into the same state as the guru. After you sound the A with the visualization the best thing to do is to relax completely. It is in this state of relaxed awareness that you can discover this primordial awareness, what Rinpoche calls instant presence. Having experience of this state is called rigpa, and in a way the whole point of Dzogchen is to become more and more familiar with it and integrate it into all of your experiences.

You will learn that the sitting meditation that you may be used to, no matter how developed, uses your mind, while the purpose of guru yoga is to enter a state that is beyond mind.

If you become a member of the Dzogchen Community you can purchase a book called Guru Yoga that will clarify this approach. There is a wonderful book called The Crystal and the Way of Light, written by Namkahi Norbu Rinpoche, that would be a good place for you to start learning about dzogchen.

This forum is also an invaluable resource, and you will find many folks far more knowledgeable than myself that can help you. Hopefully this crude explanation didn't create more confusion and misunderstanding.

This has been my first post in many months, so I just want to give a shout out to all my friends at Dharma Wheel, its good to be back!


And what happens if one, having already received transmission of guru yoga, only visualises the white A inside the thigle and resting afterwards ,as it is explained , but without seeing this symbol as the union of all the teachers and teachings ?Will this symbol still produce its function or not ?
I wondered about this a while back , whether one has to assign meaning or project meaning into the symbol in order for the guru yoga to lead to discovery of instant presence.
AOM
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby CrawfordHollow » Sat May 10, 2014 11:54 pm

My guess would be that the meaning of the symbol would have little effect on the function of the practice because the state of instant presence does not merely represent the teacher, but is the actual union with the teacher.

The ability to recognize that state rests on the transmission and the introduction, not on any conceptual understanding, or for that matter, any specific practice itself.

Of course, the understanding behind the symbol is important, especially for those of us who hold samaya with other teachers.

As always, don't take my words for anything other than the opinion of a poor, uneducated little rodent.
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby asunthatneversets » Sun May 11, 2014 12:50 am

alpha wrote:And what happens if one, having already received transmission of guru yoga, only visualises the white A inside the thigle and resting afterwards ,as it is explained , but without seeing this symbol as the union of all the teachers and teachings ?Will this symbol still produce its function or not ?
I wondered about this a while back , whether one has to assign meaning or project meaning into the symbol in order for the guru yoga to lead to discovery of instant presence.


Seems there are provisional and definitive aspects to guru yoga. The provisional or inferential aspect is the visualization of the thigle at the heart and sending-receiving tröndus etc. And then the definitive or direct aspect is the actual state of contemplation [ting nge dzin] i.e. the state of tregchö. The guru is fundamentally your nature, which is why it represents the state of all buddhas, bodhisattvas, vidyādharas and so on.

I would say the projected meaning attributed to the visualized symbol on the outset is helpful to intuit the essential meaning, along with having the practice empowered through the tröndus.
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby Andrew108 » Sun May 11, 2014 8:36 am

CrawfordHollow wrote:My guess would be that the meaning of the symbol would have little effect on the function of the practice because the state of instant presence does not merely represent the teacher, but is the actual union with the teacher.


It depends on what you mean by 'teacher'. Or actually it depends on whether or not you have had a direct experience of 'teacher'.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby Andrew108 » Sun May 11, 2014 8:40 am

alpha wrote: And what happens if one, having already received transmission of guru yoga, only visualises the white A inside the thigle and resting afterwards ,as it is explained , but without seeing this symbol as the union of all the teachers and teachings ?Will this symbol still produce its function or not ?
I wondered about this a while back , whether one has to assign meaning or project meaning into the symbol in order for the guru yoga to lead to discovery of instant presence.


I don't think it has meaning by itself. It is not a tangible object. It is that the teacher gives you a method or some knowledge on how to encounter your real nature. So one has to actively use this knowledge. The symbol can't produce the function by itself. In the end the symbol actually disappears. But that is another story.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby alpha » Sun May 11, 2014 10:04 am

This question about the projected meaning into the symbol arose from what CNNr said once when speaking about symbols. He gave the example of where one seeing someone else waving at them as in "come here" they would instantly know the meaning of that gesture.The gesture in itself is just a vehicle by which one is introduced to the meaning behind that gesture.
So I was thinking that this would make perfect sense when it comes to using the white A as a means to connect with and discover our true nature.In that sense the A would have to carry a meaning , an ultimate meaning.
The A is the gesture, the sign which introduces one to the signified.But in order for the bypassing into the ultimate meaning, to occur the sign would have to be imbued with that meaning from the start.
I think this is also the case in longde where one having all the signs together one is introduced , in a very experiential way , by way of these signs , to the basis.
AOM
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby mike-b » Sun May 11, 2014 10:38 am

Thank you all for your posts, i guess i have a lot to learn about Dzogchen, i'm not so sure that i experienced Rigpa during the transmission and i'm also not sure how relevant this is. So rather than hold the image of the 'Ah', as i have been doing, this is just while sounding Ah, then relaxing in awareness (as in Shikantaza?) How important are secondary practices, is it possible to practice guruyoga without the Tun, does this improve the quality of the practice? And finally, for the moment, what are Gakyil? i keep seeing this word n the internet and have no idea what it is

Thank you all for your posts,

MIke
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby Andrew108 » Sun May 11, 2014 11:50 am

alpha wrote:This question about the projected meaning into the symbol arose from what CNNr said once when speaking about symbols. He gave the example of where one seeing someone else waving at them as in "come here" they would instantly know the meaning of that gesture.The gesture in itself is just a vehicle by which one is introduced to the meaning behind that gesture.
So I was thinking that this would make perfect sense when it comes to using the white A as a means to connect with and discover our true nature.In that sense the A would have to carry a meaning , an ultimate meaning.
The A is the gesture, the sign which introduces one to the signified.But in order for the bypassing into the ultimate meaning, to occur the sign would have to be imbued with that meaning from the start.
I think this is also the case in longde where one having all the signs together one is introduced , in a very experiential way , by way of these signs , to the basis.


That's an interesting point. Just to counter this somewhat is that ChNN has said that we needn't visualize the Tibetan A. We can also visualize the English letter A. So if the sign was imbued with meaning then wouldn't the meaning change if the sign changed? It seems to me that the pronunciation of A is the key point. The fact that A is primary in language. That the sound uses little effort etc. Something like that which is perhaps related to energy rather than form.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby DarrinRice » Thu May 22, 2014 10:20 pm

mike-b wrote:Thank you all for your posts, i guess i have a lot to learn about Dzogchen, i'm not so sure that i experienced Rigpa during the transmission and i'm also not sure how relevant this is. So rather than hold the image of the 'Ah', as i have been doing, this is just while sounding Ah, then relaxing in awareness (as in Shikantaza?) How important are secondary practices, is it possible to practice guruyoga without the Tun, does this improve the quality of the practice? And finally, for the moment, what are Gakyil? i keep seeing this word n the internet and have no idea what it is

Thank you all for your posts,

MIke


I'm new to this site but I'm going to jump right in. :)

The transmission was your introduction to Rigpa, Rinpoche's mind to yours. Don't get caught up in what you experienced. The whole point is to lead you away from duality and to non-duality. Guru Yoga is the practice to help you recognize the state that you were introduced to so of course it is very important. ChNN's introduction is the finger pointing at the moon. Our teacher can only show us our true nature, it's up to us to recognize it. That is why we practice.

A good book to start with to understand Dzogchen is "Dzogchen Teachings" by ChNN
Amazon has it for under $14 plus shipping.

"Guru Yoga" by ChNN is necessary and can be purchased at http://www.shangshung.org/store/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Someone correct me if i'm wrong but the Gakyil is the leadership of the community.
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby muni » Fri May 23, 2014 7:18 pm

Hello,

I see here that book "Dzogchen Teachings" by Chogyal Namkhay Norbu Rinpoche here in Sale Edition for 3 pond or 5,5 dollar:

http://www.wisdom-books.com/Author.asp? ... khai+Norbu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby kfpanda » Sun May 25, 2014 11:26 am

Hi Mike B

I am also fairly new to Dzogchen. I have been told that you should visualise the white "A" inside a thigle within your body - in your heart centre, facing outwards. You can use the English "A" rather than the Tibetan "A" if you wish. This is because it is linked to the sound "Ah", which Buddha Sakyamuni described as being the root sound, so it is linked to the root of your nature - the natural mind. If you don't link the Tibetan "A" with that sound readily, then the English "A" would be more effective as it represents the sound "Ah" to those with English as a first language. I currently use the western "A" myself :smile:

ChNN was saying something like this in the retreat yesterday I think.

Regarding whether or not you experienced a connection with rigpa or not during the Direct Introduction.... I would say you probably did, but now you are in doubt of this. Garab Dorje said that the first two stages of Dzogchen are 1) Direct Introduction to state 2) Not remaining in doubt of the state. So now you practice the Guru Yoga and other secondary practices to get to know this state by yourself.

I've also been advised to take part in as many Direct Introductions as possible, to continue to be introduced to rigpa again and again, therefore supplementing your own practice.

Hope this helps. All the best to everyone with their practice. :)
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby Soap-Bubble » Fri May 30, 2014 10:36 am

mike-b wrote:So rather than hold the image of the 'Ah', as i have been doing, this is just while sounding Ah, then relaxing in awareness (as in Shikantaza?)

At first you hold the image of A, then you relax in awareness, but without literally letting the image go. When Rinpoche says "relax" it generally means that you're supposed to be in state of primordial awareness, it's not about doing something with the image of A or the sound.

I have no idea what Shikantaza means, but my advise to you would be not to draw parallels between this teaching and another for a time being. Otherwise you can make a mistake. As someone who came from another teaching, I always say that to others like myself. :smile:

mike-b wrote:How important are secondary practices

Generally they're either to help you accumulate merits or to help you do the main practices in a more direct way, like if you know that you have a particular obstacle you can use a secondary practice to eliminate it. For example, if your energy is imbalanced so much that you find it hard to practice (maybe you're suffering from depression, for example) then you do something like long-life practices or yantra yoga in order to strengthen your energy and eliminate that obstacle. If you find that practices "just don't work", you may try to purify your karma. There are methods to raise capabilities for practices, in case that you find you're lacking them. Etc.

mike-b wrote:is it possible to practice guruyoga without the Tun

Yes, absolutely, as well as other practices.

mike-b wrote:does this improve the quality of the practice?

No, it just saves time. We live busy lives, and it's better to do something without the tun than not to do it.

mike-b wrote:And finally, for the moment, what are Gakyil?

If you're talking about people, then these are people in charge of a specific ling or gar, for example. There are three: blue is responsible for cultural activities like retreats and practices, yellow for financial matters, and red for stuff like building and making improvements.

I would recommend you a Precious Vase book, maybe not as a first one, but as one of the most important ones. It's pretty much like a compendium of practices along with an explanation of the teaching. Apart from that, you'll need melodies and texts for practices, which can be gathered from retreats gradually, asked from other practitioners, or bought. You can PM me if you need any or if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help.

Good luck on your way :group:
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby alpha » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:48 pm

CNNr has said many times that after sounding A one relaxes in that state.
At this moment things can get a little confusing because there are a few questions which might arise .

For example what does one do with the attention which was previously focused on the symbol.Does one shift the attention outside of oneself , does one let go of the attention while in the context of the inside, in the place where the symbol was and continue an inside abiding ?.Then there is the aspect related to the state where "one relaxes in that state".What state are we talking here ? If as a result of relaxation of attention the immediate display remains the same as before the practice, then the state in which one should relax is no different from the state before one started the practice.
Is dzogchen teaching us that i actually need a method to practice something i knew all my life, a state which is ordinary and no different before and after the practice ?

But then some say that that state if is the real state should come together with an understanding, a seeing , a little revelation, poignant enough, of how the real nature of all things is.A seeing without seeing, of that which is nothing but in the same time is everything.

I have asked myself many times what constitutes a "state" or the "state" talked about in the context of GY.
AOM
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Re: White Ah and Thigle

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:09 pm

IMO state in G Y refers to state of non-fixation.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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