Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

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Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:29 pm

When practicing vivid awareness as taught by Khenpo Gangshar, if I follow his instruction to stay in the present moment without any trace of past (memory, resonance) or future (anticipation), my sense of continuity drops away and I am left with what feels like a succession of quick "snapshots" ... like a set of fast short edits in a movie: this, this, this, this, this, etc. It feels as if I am directly experiencing annica = constant change.

Normally a sense of deep and steady calmness arises when I meditate. But when I practice vivid awareness, things get kinda wild, and all I can do is hold on and watch as the world flashes by!

I'm a newbie to this technique. Does it sound like I'm "doing it right?" Should calmness arise from vivid awareness? Or the succession of fast discontinuous snapshots I've described?

Thanks for the help.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:41 pm

You can have so many experiences. This is a not good or bad. Anicca is of course a good thought but not what vivid awareness means. You just stay with it until you see what doesn't change.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:49 pm

Just to add a comment to DeepBlue's good advice, it sounds like you are focused on the "external content" of the awareness, that which awareness takes as it's object, so to speak. Turn awareness in on itself.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:54 pm

That's fine. But after that don't aim.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:55 pm

deepbluehum wrote:You can have so many experiences. This is a not good or bad. Anicca is of course a good thought but not what vivid awareness means.

What, as you see it, does vivid awareness mean?

You just stay with it until you see what doesn't change.

Isn't that also just "a good thought?" To look for what doesn't change?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:57 pm

conebeckham wrote:Turn awareness in on itself.

How?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:59 pm

Look at what Gangshar says,

"At that time, there is no though of, "Sights and sounds are out there!" Everything appears without obstruction. There is also no thought of, "The perceiver, the six types of consciousness, is within!" Clear and nonconceptual naked awareness is unceasing. ... When you rest your mind in unfabricated naturalness, no matter what thought may arise, good or evil, happy or sad, the mind-essence which is free from concerns about joy or sorrow is clear and empty, naked and awake."

It's not about focusing on something, it is relaxing, i.e. not grasping at whatever appears. It is called being in the present because you are naturally with whatever occurs without obstructing or upholding, taking or rejecting anything.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:10 pm

Astus wrote:Look at what Gangshar says,

"At that time, there is no though of, "Sights and sounds are out there!" Everything appears without obstruction. There is also no thought of, "The perceiver, the six types of consciousness, is within!" Clear and nonconceptual naked awareness is unceasing. ... When you rest your mind in unfabricated naturalness, no matter what thought may arise, good or evil, happy or sad, the mind-essence which is free from concerns about joy or sorrow is clear and empty, naked and awake."

And charged with ever-changing energy (for me, in any case).

It's not about focusing on something, it is relaxing, i.e. not grasping at whatever appears. It is called being in the present because you are naturally with whatever occurs without obstructing or upholding, taking or rejecting anything.

I'm not so much focusing on these "snapshots," more just taking note of them as they flash by, then dropping each when the next appears. At least that's what it feels like ...

So is Gangshar instructing us not to even take note of the impressions that arise, as one does in Vipassana? Rather to go soft-eyes/mind and take note of the arising itself, the pure flow/awareness, not the specific ephemeral impressions?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:24 pm

rachmiel wrote:I'm not so much focusing on these "snapshots," more just taking note of them as they flash by, then dropping each when the next appears. At least that's what it feels like ...

So is Gangshar instructing us not to even take note of the impressions that arise, as one does in Vipassana?


Correct. Noting things that appear is not relaxing, it's not natural. If you want to follow that style of Vipassana, it's fine, but that's a different path. Here what matters is that you don't fabricate anything. A thought, an emotion or a sense-impression appears, but you leave it alone. Don't hang on to it by generating further thoughts, etc., and don't repress it by trying to stop its presence. The vividness of awareness comes from not creating any reference point, you just take in the vista of appearances just as they are.

You might want to make use of a more detailed instruction, like this one: A Meditation Guide For Mahamudra
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby wisdom » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:50 pm

If you have not done so, seek out direct introduction. If you have no teacher who can do this for you, consider taking it from ChNNR when he next does one. Without direct introduction it will be very difficult for you to ascertain the state of mind you are aiming for. Contrary to being a series of snapshots, the experience of Vivid Awareness should arise as an unbroken continuum of awareness, presence, and non-distraction without fluctuation. Although the experience of vivid awareness will come and go and so appear to fluctuate, when it does arise it does so as a flow, and not as a series of moments. It transcends the three times. The fluctuation does not arise within the nature of the experience itself, fluctuation is in essence just distraction, attachment, duality. What you seek is unchanging, as deepbluehum said.

This is just my understanding from my own limited experience, so take it as you will. I wish you the greatest of good fortune and success on your path!
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:11 pm

deepbluehum wrote:You just stay with it until you see what doesn't change.

@rachmiel: IMHO this is the only thing you need to know.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Nosta » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:01 pm

About Vipassana, on higher levels you dont need to note isnt it?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:03 pm

Wouldn't just noting and seperating from past, present, future be a form of Shamatha? Basically isn't this shamatha with nothing, rathing than something as an object?

If you look at the Mahamudra manual that was posted, this seems akin to the "just sit" and "joyful rest" practices.


I would understand it as Vipassana if analysis of thought, phenomena was going on, but just watching impartially isn't analysis, is it? Unless one is trying to actually analyze the watching as it goes on.

As to calm and all that, I don't think meditation is really meant to make one feel good or bad, the purpose extends beyond that, there is no point forming viewpoints about what you experience, the experience itself is the thing. There are really pleasant, and really unpleasant experiences. That manual has very good advice in terms of finding the middle place between excitement and sluggishness, it sounds like maybe excitement, rather than technique might be the issue?

Oh yeah, and the usual internet qualifiers: 1) I don't know what i'm talking about and 2) you should find a teacher ;)
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:36 pm

To Jonny D:

Hello again, my friend. Have you read anything by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche? I would highly recommend exploring his teachings. I have to run so I can't explain much more, but I think that you would really find his work useful. He talks a lot about going beyond shamatha and the difference between the experience of Dzogchen- which is all about non-duality, and the experinence of shamatha- which still has a sense of subject/object. "Vivid Awareness" itself is a monumental work about putting Dzogchen and Mahamudra to use in a practical way. I think that you would do well to study Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, though. I'm not trying to say that your understanding is lacking, I just think that you would find his teachings benefitial.

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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:03 pm

rachmiel wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:You can have so many experiences. This is a not good or bad. Anicca is of course a good thought but not what vivid awareness means.

What, as you see it, does vivid awareness mean?


Clarity without involving thought. If you move your eyes from right to left across a room for one second, no thought comes into play, just raw perception. There is vivid awareness, a mirror. Then if you just rest without moving awareness becomes clearer of its own. Tell me what isn't vivid? Even confusion is vivid and blazing like when you're livid as hell and the fire element courses through your channels. Who don't know that?

You just stay with it until you see what doesn't change.

Isn't that also just "a good thought?" To look for what doesn't change?


Actually, don't look. Awareness sees everything without looking. Never changing is its nature, the fundamental nature of mind. So you never come to it or depart from it, the basic innate. With nothing to look at, no one sees nothing like space on space. Just forego speculation and rest in place.
Last edited by deepbluehum on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:05 pm

rachmiel wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Turn awareness in on itself.

How?


Look into the looker.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby justsit » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:05 am

deepbluehum wrote:
rachmiel wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Turn awareness in on itself.

How?


Look into the looker.

I had this very exchange with a teacher one time.

My next question was, "Who or what is the looker?"

The translator asked the teacher, and the teacher replied, and they both laughed heartily.
The translated answer was, "No one can tell you that. You have to find out for yourself."
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:51 am

justsit wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
rachmiel wrote:
Look into the looker.

I had this very exchange with a teacher one time.

My next question was, "Who or what is the looker?"

The translator asked the teacher, and the teacher replied, and they both laughed heartily.
The translated answer was, "No one can tell you that. You have to find out for yourself."

No question.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:54 am

wisdom wrote:If you have not done so, seek out direct introduction. If you have no teacher who can do this for you, consider taking it from ChNNR when he next does one. Without direct introduction it will be very difficult for you to ascertain the state of mind you are aiming for. Contrary to being a series of snapshots, the experience of Vivid Awareness should arise as an unbroken continuum of awareness, presence, and non-distraction without fluctuation. Although the experience of vivid awareness will come and go and so appear to fluctuate, when it does arise it does so as a flow, and not as a series of moments. It transcends the three times. The fluctuation does not arise within the nature of the experience itself, fluctuation is in essence just distraction, attachment, duality. What you seek is unchanging, as deepbluehum said.

This is just my understanding from my own limited experience, so take it as you will. I wish you the greatest of good fortune and success on your path!


Not everyone goes this way in Dzogchen land. Anyway I follow everything beyond signs and something to introduce. Go straight to self appearance togal.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Jinzang » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:38 am

Usually when we meditate we separate our thoughts into two types, what we are meditating on and our judgments and comments about our meditation. Examples of the second type are thought like, "my mind was wandering," "I'm having a hard time doing this," or "this is going well." In meditation you need to treat all thoughts the same. None are any better or different than another. It's a simple concept and you are probably familiar with it, but it needs to be applied.

If it happens that things start getting a little wild, or too intense, that is scattering, and you need to relax and loosen up on noticing your thoughts. If you get drowsy or bored, that is sinking, and you need to step up your attention and notice finer details.

That's the basic instruction on staying in the present and noticing your mind. Don't worry about turning the mind around or looking at the looker. Thought like that are just a distraction from your practice and if they occur in meditation should be treated the same as any other thought.
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