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Jnana wrote:Most Kagyu presentations of the four yogas of mahāmudrā include explanations of signs of progress. The main signs of the three stages of the first yoga are explained by Tsele Natsok Rangdröl in the Lamp of Mahāmudrā as follows:
When a worthy person who has cut attachment to this life and perceives his master as a buddha in person, has received genuine blessings and then rests in evenness, he abides in the states of bliss, clarity and nonthought and acquires certainty. To retain the fixation of thinking, “Meditation is the self-liberation of arising thoughts through recognition” is the lesser One-pointedness.
Although the forefathers of the Practice Lineage regarded the three stages of One-pointedness as only shamatha, according to my own understanding there must of course be different levels of people. Furthermore, for someone who has recognized the innate state, the nature of things is that shamatha and vipashyana are always present as a unity. Therefore, understand that here shamatha is embraced by vipashyana. The ensuing understanding at this point is dominated by fixation on solidity, and during the dream state you are also not much different from an ordinary person. In short, since at this time you are a beginner, you have various kinds of highs and lows in the ease or difficulty of maintaining the practice.
At the time of the medium One-pointedness, you can remain in the meditation state for as long as you desire. At times, samadhi occurs even without having meditated. The ensuing understanding grows less fixated on solidity so that perceptions become wide open and virtuous practice sometimes occurs during sleep as well. It is, in short, the time of meditation becoming meditation.
Following that comes the greater One-pointedness. Throughout day and night, the meditation state becomes, an uninterrupted experience of bliss, clarity and nonthought. Without divisions into ensuing experience, ensuing understanding and so forth, your samadhi becomes continuous. You are free from outer or inner parasites and do not become involved in clinging to sense pleasures. It is taught that you will also attain some superknowledges and miraculous powers. Up to this point, however, you are not free from the experiences of clinging to something excellent and are not liberated from the fetter of conceptual mind fixating on meditation.
Numerous differences exist in levels of capacity of those who have begun these three stages of One-pointedness as well as in the individual degree of their diligence. That is to say, whether or not you have seen the essence of One-pointedness is said to depend upon whether or not you have attained the confidence of self-knowing within the states of bliss, clarity and nonthought. Likewise, the difference between whether or not you have perfected the training lies in the difference between these experiences being continuous or occasional. Whether or not thought arises as meditation depends upon whether or not all arising thoughts become meditation by merely being embraced by mindfulness. Moreover, the arising of qualities depends upon whether or not your mind-stream has become pliable. The sowing of the seed of the rupakaya depends upon whether or not unfabricated compassion arises during the ensuing understanding. The difference between mastering and not mastering the relative lies in whether or not you have achieved certainty in the dependent connection of cause and effect. There are the measurements taught by the Kagyu forefathers.
underthetree wrote:Actually I've found a master and my original post almost seems as if it was written by another person.
But thank you all for the input!
My practice was becoming contradictory. From Mahamudra I had gone off in a Ch'an direction, using hua-tou and very intensive investigation, but it kept leading me back - very specifically - to Dzogchen. I had tuned in to a direct transmission from Chogyal Namkhai Norbu last spring (2011) but hadn't been confident that it had taken. But then I started to have the strong impression that I had, after all, got it. After a few more odd coincidences and dreams I couldn't ignore the promptings any longer. I looked for and received some very incisive guidance, emailed Rinpoche, and was totally amazed to get a reply within hours. He answered the question I had asked. And after that it all slotted together. I won't go on about this any more, except to say that having a master, does, after all, change absolutely everything.