Some practice-related questions

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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Andrew108 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:14 am

Yontan wrote:I guess I'll offer something germane to the OP. I am sure most of us who practice with any dedication for a few years will have some dream experiences, and it can be very difficult to suss out what is wisdom and what is mind. I've had a number of dream experiences that - mind or not - have given me a very real and needed boost of devotion and faith, inspiration.

I want to point out that devotion is not really necessary in Dzogchen - it's not so important. My feeling is that for many it also arises as an obstacle. In the sense that a boost of devotion and faith are deemed necessary - well then that would definitely be an obstacle in terms of Dzogchen.
Why would devotion be an obstacle? It should be seen as a good thing right? Well when you have devotion to the form of the guru you are missing the point of the transmission. You have been caught up in a dualistic fixation that serves no purpose except to keep you spinning. I see a lot of this type of spinning and I have to say that all the teachers I've met care little for it.
Here is a quote from Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso on this subject:
''If one takes the guru's form or the guru's voice to be the guru, one has not seen the ultimate, genuine guru, which is the dharmakaya.'' and further ''The enlightened mind of the guru is ultimately the mandala of dharmakaya, the mandala of mahamudra. One needs to understand and to have confidence in that. The next step is to recognize that the guru's enlightened mind and the abiding nature of one's own mind cannot be separated; they are identical.''
As well as this Namkhai Norbu says: ''In the Dzogchen teaching it is not sufficient to have great devotion.'' and ''Devotion is not the most important thing in the Dzogchen teaching.''
This is not to say that it is wrong to have devotion but instead of furthering an understanding of integration it can be an obstacle to integration. One gets stuck in the dualism of teacher/student and spins around in the 'Dzogchen waiting room' so to speak. Namkhai Norbu always says that in Dzogchen the most important point is to understand your real nature and to work with your experiences. Working with experiences is the inspiration and where the teacher is. It's there all the time.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:33 am

Question:

Guru Tragphur comprises several deities, including Garuda, who is illustrated, the significance being clear.

Dorje Drollo (Drolod) also has a Garuda depicted over his head. What is the specific significance of it, please?

Does the practice also contain the Garuda deity or does the Garuda represent a specific quality, such as instant presence or primordial state of completeness?
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Fa Dao » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:32 pm

Josef wrote:Drollo is generally said to be more closely associated with Ati and the removal of obstacles.


I have heard this mentioned before. How and in what way is Dorje Drollo more closely associated with Dzogchen?
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:23 am

Andrew108 wrote:I want to point out that devotion is not really necessary in Dzogchen - it's not so important. My feeling is that for many it also arises as an obstacle. In the sense that a boost of devotion and faith are deemed necessary - well then that would definitely be an obstacle in terms of Dzogchen.


Are you sure? Assuming that "faith" in this context refers to saddhaa/sraddhaa, not blind faith but warranted confidence or conviction, and that "devotion" refers not to cloying saccharine-sweet piousness but to viriya/virya -- energy, persistence, "sitzfleisch", I believe that you are wrong. Together with sati -- mindfulness, being present as it were and as far as I can see, constitutive of what ChNNR calls "contemplation" as against "meditation, samaadhi -- concentration, and pa~n~na, wisdom, there are five interrelated faculties (ChNNR sometimes refers to them as five capacities) which are of great importance. Faith and wisdom need to balance one another out -- a surplus of faith unbalanced by wisdom certainly is an obstacle, as is the reverse; and devotion/persistence/energy and concentration also need to balance one another out. A surplus of energy runs to flurry and worry, while over-concentration runs to sloth and torpor (reading all the Zeds or Zees [depending on the side of the Atlantic puddle you come from] inscibed on the inside of one's eyelids).
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sönam » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:05 am

more than faith, for which can exist an ambiguous (westerner) co-notation (... blind faith), one may speak of conviction/confidence, unswerving confidence based on own experience ... eliminate doubt (not remain in darkness).

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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: Some practice-related questions

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:33 am

Sally Gross wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:I want to point out that devotion is not really necessary in Dzogchen - it's not so important. My feeling is that for many it also arises as an obstacle. In the sense that a boost of devotion and faith are deemed necessary - well then that would definitely be an obstacle in terms of Dzogchen.


Are you sure? Assuming that "faith" in this context refers to saddhaa/sraddhaa, not blind faith but warranted confidence or conviction, and that "devotion" refers not to cloying saccharine-sweet piousness but to viriya/virya -- energy, persistence, "sitzfleisch", I believe that you are wrong. Together with sati -- mindfulness, being present as it were and as far as I can see, constitutive of what ChNNR calls "contemplation" as against "meditation, samaadhi -- concentration, and pa~n~na, wisdom, there are five interrelated faculties (ChNNR sometimes refers to them as five capacities) which are of great importance. Faith and wisdom need to balance one another out -- a surplus of faith unbalanced by wisdom certainly is an obstacle, as is the reverse; and devotion/persistence/energy and concentration also need to balance one another out. A surplus of energy runs to flurry and worry, while over-concentration runs to sloth and torpor (reading all the Zeds or Zees [depending on the side of the Atlantic puddle you come from] inscibed on the inside of one's eyelids).


Guru devotion in regarding your teacher as 'other' is an obstacle as it is duality.

Dedication to practice seems primarily to be in recommended in the form of integration of the natural state into every activity in life. I see that more as observational and mindful than devotional.

I think ChNN is careful not to over-intellectualise and in the last few days has emphasised that he wants us to prioritise White A rather than long practices and, although in the process of giving donwang etc. for a deity practice, he has also emphasised the effectiveness of simple purification with the elements and simple mantras, especially Om Ah Hum. The word he used with respect to that was 'confidence' rather than devotion or faith. If we practice a deity and then continue in the state of Guruyoga I guess it should be again a matter of observation and integration - 'devotion' doesn't somehow seem to fit that relaxed process.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:01 am

This is not a reply to something recent in the thread but harking back to the theme of dreaming. For a while, I've been working after a fashion at a practice of the night, doing Guruyoga in bed at night before drifting off to sleep. This is relatively new to me: I've been doing it only for a few weeks. Something which I noticed from relatively early on was that the texture of my dreams, as it were, seemed to change. I found myself remembering far more of my dreams -- not anything surprising in itself; but, perhaps more significantly, my dreams became far more vivid and "sharp-edged" than before, not to mention far more weird, sometimes frighteningly so. They are often violent and "raw".

In the early hours of this morning, I had what is possibly my first lucid dream or, more precisely, a dream which seemed to become lucid. It felt as if the partition between dreaming and being awake had become very thin, almost diaphonous. I was engaged in dream imagery and then noticed that my eyes had opened and I was looking at a pattern of shade and sunlight on the reddish surface of a counter on which I think I was resting my head. It perplexed me slightly, since I didn't want my eyes to open and to wake up, and I returned to the dream-narrative seamlessly, but found my eyes opening slightly from time to time and waking thoughts intruding. As a matter of fact, my head was on my pillow, my bedroom would have been in darkness, and I was actually asleep, though I suspect that sleep was getting thin. It has been raining, and it turns out that rain has penetrated the roof and would have been dripping onto the pillow beside my head. Back to the dream, though, which had become almost a dream -- a narrative with imagery, and a meta-dream of being awake or close to wakefulness. At that point, knowing that I was dreaming and remembering teachings about "the practice of the night", I decided to see how ati Guruyoga would work in this situation and did some ati Guruyoga. Doing Guruyoga felt and worked much as usual -- there were no cosmic firework displays.

Does that count as a lucid dream, and is it a sign of some progress in the practice? I'm not quite sure what to think.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sherlock » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:23 am

Sally Gross wrote:This is not a reply to something recent in the thread but harking back to the theme of dreaming. For a while, I've been working after a fashion at a practice of the night, doing Guruyoga in bed at night before drifting off to sleep. This is relatively new to me: I've been doing it only for a few weeks. Something which I noticed from relatively early on was that the texture of my dreams, as it were, seemed to change. I found myself remembering far more of my dreams -- not anything surprising in itself; but, perhaps more significantly, my dreams became far more vivid and "sharp-edged" than before, not to mention far more weird, sometimes frighteningly so. They are often violent and "raw".

In the early hours of this morning, I had what is possibly my first lucid dream or, more precisely, a dream which seemed to become lucid. It felt as if the partition between dreaming and being awake had become very thin, almost diaphonous. I was engaged in dream imagery and then noticed that my eyes had opened and I was looking at a pattern of shade and sunlight on the reddish surface of a counter on which I think I was resting my head. It perplexed me slightly, since I didn't want my eyes to open and to wake up, and I returned to the dream-narrative seamlessly, but found my eyes opening slightly from time to time and waking thoughts intruding. As a matter of fact, my head was on my pillow, my bedroom would have been in darkness, and I was actually asleep, though I suspect that sleep was getting thin. It has been raining, and it turns out that rain has penetrated the roof and would have been dripping onto the pillow beside my head. Back to the dream, though, which had become almost a dream -- a narrative with imagery, and a meta-dream of being awake or close to wakefulness. At that point, knowing that I was dreaming and remembering teachings about "the practice of the night", I decided to see how ati Guruyoga would work in this situation and did some ati Guruyoga. Doing Guruyoga felt and worked much as usual -- there were no cosmic firework displays.

Does that count as a lucid dream, and is it a sign of some progress in the practice? I'm not quite sure what to think.


Hi Sally,

I have experienced the same thing with regards to macabre/violent dreams too when doing dream or sleep-related practice; I only started doing the visualizations related to dream yoga as ChNN teaches quite recently (a few weeks ago too) but when I did a kundalini-yoga practice to reduce time needed for sleep a few years ago, the same thing happened. Vivid dreams with macabre images. There was no fear during the dreams, but I always woke up with a strange sensation and felt full of energy after around 4-5hrs sleep.

For dream yoga as ChNN teaches, disordered dreams that were quite vivid started as soon as I did the visualization of a white A and thigle at my forehead before sleeping, if I didn't try to remember them upon waking the memory would fade away very quickly though. When I started the visualization of a red A at my throat, the violent images started again and I felt quite energized even with 5-6 hours of sleep. I wasn't the victim or the culprit in any of these dreams, more like a witness, sometimes I think I was disembodied and just looking at events. All of this is in a public book so I don't think I'm breaking any samaya.

I think you're probably making progress on getting lucid in your dreams, as for getting genuine dreams of clarity, I don't know. There was once a few years ago when I was just lying down in my room in the afternoon and shut my eyes. My body went into sleep paralysis but my eyes were slightly open and I was conscious -- the light filtered into my eyes in a strange, amazing away which I can't really describe. I think that might be similar to what you experienced?
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:44 am

Sherlock wrote:Hi Sally,

I have experienced the same thing with regards to macabre/violent dreams too when doing dream or sleep-related practice; I only started doing the visualizations related to dream yoga as ChNN teaches quite recently (a few weeks ago too) but when I did a kundalini-yoga practice to reduce time needed for sleep a few years ago, the same thing happened. Vivid dreams with macabre images. There was no fear during the dreams, but I always woke up with a strange sensation and felt full of energy after around 4-5hrs sleep.

For dream yoga as ChNN teaches, disordered dreams that were quite vivid started as soon as I did the visualization of a white A and thigle at my forehead before sleeping, if I didn't try to remember them upon waking the memory would fade away very quickly though. When I started the visualization of a red A at my throat, the violent images started again and I felt quite energized even with 5-6 hours of sleep. All of this is in a public book so I don't think I'm breaking any samaya.

I think you're probably making progress on getting lucid in your dreams, as for getting genuine dreams of clarity, I don't know. There was once a few years ago when I was just lying down in my room in the afternoon and shut my eyes. My body went into sleep paralysis but my eyes were slightly open and I was conscious -- the light filtered into my eyes in a strange, amazing away which I can't really describe. I think that might be similar to what you experienced?


Thank you, Sherlock. I've been visualising the white A and thigle at the centre of my body rather than at my forehead, but have been drifting off to sleep relaxing in that state, as it were, immediately after Guruyoga.

The sense of filtering-in of light reminded me a little of what used to happen back in 1982 very soon after I began to practice a specific method of mindfulness of breathing (as taught by the Samatha Trust). I would experience light filtering in, as it were, in the context of a practice which one did with closed eyes, and wondered why my eyes were opening. It took a while to realise that my eyes were not in fact opening at all, and that the light was internal "mind-light", as it were, either what is called obhasa (brightness, radiance, an aura as it were) or a nimitta (an acquired sign) in Paali.

As I noted, my own experience was two-storied, as it were. There was the dream, with the usual dream-imagery and narrative; and that dream was itself part of a dream about dreaming, what I described as a meta-dream. In the meta-dream, I saw the pattern of light and wondered why my eyes were opening a bit, and it was in the meta-dream that I understood that I was dreaming and that the boundary between dreaming and being awake had become very thin.

I don't think that this was necessarily a dream of clarity as such. My concern in the meta-dream was to learn how to use the dream-state for practice, that is basically where I would like to get: not revelations, but being able to channel sleeping-time into practice with awareness.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Pero » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:02 pm

In general you shouldn't discuss your practice experiences with others, especially not in public. The only person you can discuss your experiences with without restraint is your teacher. After that with a vajra brother or sister you really trust. But other than that it's really nobody's bussiness. Also, practice of the night and/or dream yoga are secret.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sherlock » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:11 pm

I don't think I said anything too specific, of course IIRC, the Communists created some trouble for the previous Panchen Lama for example when they discovered his dream journal.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:59 pm

Pero wrote:In general you shouldn't discuss your practice experiences with others, especially not in public. The only person you can discuss your experiences with without restraint is your teacher. After that with a vajra brother or sister you really trust. But other than that it's really nobody's bussiness. Also, practice of the night and/or dream yoga are secret.


Thank you, Pero. I reasoned, incorrectly it seems, that since the specific practice is in two unrestricted books, what I wrote did not go outside what is in the public domain. It didn't strike me that a practice the method for which is in the public domain is one thing, and that the experiences are another thing. :bow:
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Pero » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:33 pm

Sally Gross wrote:
Pero wrote:In general you shouldn't discuss your practice experiences with others, especially not in public. The only person you can discuss your experiences with without restraint is your teacher. After that with a vajra brother or sister you really trust. But other than that it's really nobody's bussiness. Also, practice of the night and/or dream yoga are secret.


Thank you, Pero. I reasoned, incorrectly it seems, that since the specific practice is in two unrestricted books, what I wrote did not go outside what is in the public domain. It didn't strike me that a practice the method for which is in the public domain is one thing, and that the experiences are another thing.

Yeah but also just because there is something available in public books doesn't necessarily mean it's ok to speak about it publicly. Books are just books. But a practitioner is a practitioner.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:45 pm

Pero wrote:Yeah but also just because there is something available in public books doesn't necessarily mean it's ok to speak about it publicly. Books are just books. But a practitioner is a practitioner.


Point taken, and thank you again for pointing this out to me. I've only one real-life Vajra-sibling with whom I have contact relatively infrequently. It is important to have older Vajra-siblings to give guidance and to put one right when needed, and it is a blessing to have people like you on this sub-forum.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:59 pm

What does Rinpoche say about disclosing dreams and visions to others?

This is a practice-related question, so I'll have a bash at an answer which others can clarify properly! LOL :)

My experience of Vajrayana is that if there are Tantric Vows, as with HYT, you should only discuss practice with the Root Guru ( the one who gave you the empowerment) and Vajra Brothers and Sisters (defined as those who have received the same empowerment from the same Root Guru).

It has been necessary for me to discuss my practice with Gelugpa Lamas who did not give me the HYT empowerments, but I was advised that all such Lamas are one. It was also the case that the Dalai Lama advised against one practice given to me by a Root Guru, so another complication arises... etc. etc.

I was lucky to have 1:1 access to a Lama for some time, but when that is impossible I would say 'work with the circumstances'.

I believe that in the case of the DC, your Root Guru is the one who has pointed out to you the true nature of your mind, so after DI and a belief that he has done so, it should be OK to discuss practice with others within the DC as Brothers and Sisters for Vajrayana also. If you wish for privacy either PM one of them or use Tantra Talk to ask a question if it is more general and then you will only receive private replies via PM.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Sally Gross » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:08 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:What does Rinpoche say about disclosing dreams and visions to others?

This is a practice-related question, so I'll have a bash at an answer which others can clarify properly! LOL :)

My experience of Vajrayana is that if there are Tantric Vows, as with HYT, you should only discuss practice with the Root Guru ( the one who gave you the empowerment) and Vajra Brothers and Sisters (defined as those who have received the same empowerment from the same Root Guru).

It has been necessary for me to discuss my practice with Gelugpa Lamas who did not give me the HYT empowerments, but I was advised that all such Lamas are one. It was also the case that the Dalai Lama advised against one practice given to me by a Root Guru, so another complication arises... etc. etc.

I was lucky to have 1:1 access to a Lama for some time, but when that is impossible I would say 'work with the circumstances'.

I believe that in the case of the DC, your Root Guru is the one who has pointed out to you the true nature of your mind, so after DI and a belief that he has done so, it should be OK to discuss practice with others within the DC as Brothers and Sisters for Vajrayana also. If you wish for privacy either PM one of them or use Tantra Talk to ask a question if it is more general and then you will only receive private replies via PM.


Thank you, Blue Garuda: your post is helpful. Pero's point, I guess, is that the Dzogchen sub-forum is a public space -- it is not restricted to practitioners of Dzogchen, let alone to members of DC. To someone like myself it often feels like a DC space, where everyone is a Vajra sibling, but it is not actually so. Use of PM is another story altogether. Tantra Talk -- this probably shows how new and naive I am, because I haven't a clue what it is. Once I've posted this message, I'll check the forum to see whether it isn't one of the many sub-fora I've never visited.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Dronma » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:06 pm

Pero wrote:In general you shouldn't discuss your practice experiences with others, especially not in public. The only person you can discuss your experiences with without restraint is your teacher. After that with a vajra brother or sister you really trust. But other than that it's really nobody's bussiness. Also, practice of the night and/or dream yoga are secret.


Yes, yes and yes! :twothumbsup:
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~ Padmasambhava ~
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Josef » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:52 pm

Fa Dao wrote:
Josef wrote:Drollo is generally said to be more closely associated with Ati and the removal of obstacles.


I have heard this mentioned before. How and in what way is Dorje Drollo more closely associated with Dzogchen?


If I can find a precise explanation I will let you know.
On that point I am just relaying what I myself have heard.
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Fa Dao » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:57 am

Thanks Josef...would be nice to know the answer to that...might have been Malcolm who said it..dont remember though...
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Some practice-related questions

Postby Dknaga12 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:46 am

@ Sally here is Bio of Michael Katz Psy.D. (1951 - ) is a psychologist, former Yantra Yoga instructor, author, photographer, and long time student of contemporary masters of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. He is best known as having authored the introduction and edited the popular book Dream yoga and the Practice of Natural Light by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light (1992). Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-007-7. Additionally he maintains an archive of lucid dreams see http://www.dreamyoga.net/

And if you are interested from his Recorded Dreams page "Welcome to "Recorded Dreams" section.

Here you can find dreams of Dr. Michael Katz, as well as dreams of his students and other Dream Yoga practitioners. Please mind that these are not regular dreams which many of us see almost on nightly basis, these are conciouss dreams which practitioners experienced after engaging in practice of Dream Yoga."

(If you wish you can submit your own dream to be published, for that please send Dr. Katz your dream for review.)

http://www.dreamyoga.net/recorded-dreams.html.... :namaste:
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