Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby justsit » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:53 am

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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:55 am

Thanks, everyone, for the guidance. It's becoming clearer intellectually, which will hopefully infuse my practice with clarity.

I had a talk today with the guy (long-time Buddhist, now a student of Lama Surya Das) who recommended Gangshar's vivid awareness to me, and he clarified some key things. He said that it's quite common to feel overwhelmed by impressions when one first starts practicing vivid awareness, and that I should neither pay attention to the impressions nor try to stop them. Rather: Just let them be and focus on the pure awareness behind them. He said the more I do it, the less frenetic it will feel, the more like a continuous stream of awareness.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Jinzang » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:57 am

Something I should have said first:

The practice is simply to be aware of your thoughts, without trying to change or alter them. But to do the practice, you need to be able to clearly distinguish when you are aware of your thoughts and when you are not and they are simply running on. This is something an absolute beginner cannot do. It took me several years of meditation to catch the difference. If you can't clearly make the distinction, do some easier practice where the distinction between meditating and not meditating is clearer, like watching your breath. Above all, don't just sit there and let your mind wander. That has no benefit at all.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:06 am

Jinzang wrote: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.

My friend (who recommended that I check out vivid awareness) advised using the breath as a kind of stabilizer when things get too wild. Not to shift over to anapanasati, rather to let awareness of breath enter gently into vivid awareness and then let it go when things calm down.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:50 am

rachmiel wrote:
Jinzang wrote: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.

My friend (who recommended that I check out vivid awareness) advised using the breath as a kind of stabilizer when things get too wild. Not to shift over to anapanasati, rather to let awareness of breath enter gently into vivid awareness and then let it go when things calm down.


No. Don't do anything. Don't notice anything. Don't look for anything. Don't practice anything. Dont try to relax. Just rest.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Astus » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:52 am

As Jinzang advised, it's all about being aware instead of getting lost in thoughts and emotions. Vivid awareness is nothing more than that, so don't try to find any state or feeling that you consider "vivid awareness". Anchoring your attention to a simple object like breath or mantra makes easier to see when you are aware of what is going on and when your are lost in daydreaming. That's why generally the sequence of training is first samatha, then vipasyana, and finally resting (sometimes called the union of samatha and vipasyana).
"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 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:45 pm

deepbluehum wrote:No. Don't do anything. Don't notice anything. Don't look for anything. Don't practice anything. Dont try to relax. Just rest.

When I "just rest" I usually drift off into half (or full) sleep. Even at my peak awake hours. The feeling I have is that brain, having nothing to do or focus on, turns itself off and sleep follows. Surely this can't be a useful "practice" ... nodding off for 20 minutes in the middle of the day?

Btw, I'm not new to meditation. I've been doing it off and on for 20 years, both sitting (anapanasati, vipassana) and waking (mindfulness). Throughout this entire time, the moment I "just rest" -- stop trying to do/be anything and just sit there -- I fall into a near sleep (on the cushion) or get lost in thought (mindfulness). I.e., meditative states have never come to me without conscious effort ... unless you count being momentarily struck by the beauty of a landscape a meditative state.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:02 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Don't practice anything.

Hehe.

Meditation = "don't meditate".

Pull that off.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby conebeckham » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:17 pm

It's completely okay to focus on breath for periods, when one needs stability. Then, when one has calmed sufficiently, let go of the breath as object of focus and "rest" in awareness. This method of practice was taught to me by Very Venerable Mingyur Rinpoche, so I have no doubt that it is appropriate for anyone working with Mahamudra or Dzokchen.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:25 pm

rachmiel wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:No. Don't do anything. Don't notice anything. Don't look for anything. Don't practice anything. Dont try to relax. Just rest.

When I "just rest" I usually drift off into half (or full) sleep. Even at my peak awake hours. The feeling I have is that brain, having nothing to do or focus on, turns itself off and sleep follows. Surely this can't be a useful "practice" ... nodding off for 20 minutes in the middle of the day?

Btw, I'm not new to meditation. I've been doing it off and on for 20 years, both sitting (anapanasati, vipassana) and waking (mindfulness). Throughout this entire time, the moment I "just rest" -- stop trying to do/be anything and just sit there -- I fall into a near sleep (on the cushion) or get lost in thought (mindfulness). I.e., meditative states have never come to me without conscious effort ... unless you count being momentarily struck by the beauty of a landscape a meditative state.


Sleeping is ok. Drifting is fine. Getting lost is thought is fine. You get into no particular preference for some "state". No need. It will help if you can go longer than 20 mins so that you can experience how things change.

In my lineage, Drikung Kagyu, the premeditation prayers of aspiration bodhichitta and action bodhichitta are taught to be in cause and effect relationship with Mahamudra which is what I've been describing to you.

You can see here. http://meditationtampa.com/dailyopeningprayers.html

Then dedicate with few Mani mantras. If you do like this, then you have perfect session no matter what happens in rest mode.

Consider the Six Advices of Tilopa

1. Don't think about the past.
2. Don't think about the future.
3. Don't think about the present.
4. Don't analyze.
5. Don't try to make something happen.
6. Just rest in your present state.

From what you are saying, you are imagining some samadhi to experience. Or you are importing Shmatha or Vipashyana and think to apply some technique. According to manifold path like Lankavatara Sutra, the only way to go is no mental projections. That means no idea about having some thought, and no idea about being rid of some thought, including feelings of drowsiness or inner monologues.

Here the fruit is no hope. So there no question of attaining a result or having a realization. This is how you really let go of everything.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Matt J » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:18 pm

I went through a similar period when I adjusted from vipassana to zazen, almost exactly. What I tried was to combine them--- take the technique with me. Then I discovered that the only way to learn from the method is to trust it completely. It was only when I let go of vipassana completely that zazen could begin to teach me new things. However, I also believe a teacher is more necessary for the formless methods since it is so easy to get lost.

rachmiel wrote:When I "just rest" I usually drift off into half (or full) sleep. Even at my peak awake hours. The feeling I have is that brain, having nothing to do or focus on, turns itself off and sleep follows. Surely this can't be a useful "practice" ... nodding off for 20 minutes in the middle of the day?
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If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Azidonis » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:21 pm

rachmiel wrote: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.


Do not cling to the snapshots.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Jinzang » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:58 pm

Sleeping is ok. Drifting is fine. Getting lost is thought is fine.


This is not good advice for 99% of meditators. Most need some focus and prematurely giving the instruction will hinder them. There are plenty of people spouting "the best meditation is no meditation" anc a conceptual view of ultimate reality (not necessarily you, of course.) This is not helpful. Buddhism is a path and we need to repect the fact that people need different instructions at different stages.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:20 pm

Jinzang wrote:
Sleeping is ok. Drifting is fine. Getting lost is thought is fine.


This is not good advice for 99% of meditators. Most need some focus and prematurely giving the instruction will hinder them. There are plenty of people spouting "the best meditation is no meditation" anc a conceptual view of ultimate reality (not necessarily you, of course.) This is not helpful. Buddhism is a path and we need to repect the fact that people need different instructions at different stages.


Maybe that's how you guys do it. Not us. We say all this focus meditation is the hindrance. Because you training in an expectation. This goes back to Tilopa. No one taught shamatha in Kagyu. The entrance into the mahamudra is aspiration and action bodhichitta. Pure Mahayana dharma. Leave Hinayana aside. Forget ideas of beginners and advanced and progress. When he doses off his body finally is getting rest it needs. When the mind is wandering it is sloughing. This method of rest is the best. Just stay with it through the awkwardness. It really pays off.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Azidonis » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:38 pm

deepbluehum wrote:When the mind is wandering it is sloughing.


Is "sloughing" the word you meant? If so, in what sense?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:12 am

I'm looking into cloning myself so I can try out each piece of (often contradictory) advice yous guys have given me! :rolleye:
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:22 am

rachmiel wrote:I'm looking into cloning myself so I can try out each piece of (often contradictory) advice yous guys have given me! :rolleye:


Heh. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:06 am

Azidonis wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:When the mind is wandering it is sloughing.


Is "sloughing" the word you meant? If so, in what sense?


Just like a snake's skin.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:08 am

deepbluehum wrote:No one taught shamatha in Kagyu. The entrance into the mahamudra is aspiration and action bodhichitta. Pure Mahayana dharma. Leave Hinayana aside.


Check Jewel Ornament of Liberation, chapter 16: The Perfection of Meditative Concentration. Gampopa gives you ample reasons to practise shamatha. It is "Pure Kagyü Dharma".
"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 deepbluehum » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:48 am

Astus wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:No one taught shamatha in Kagyu. The entrance into the mahamudra is aspiration and action bodhichitta. Pure Mahayana dharma. Leave Hinayana aside.


Check Jewel Ornament of Liberation, chapter 16: The Perfection of Meditative Concentration. Gampopa gives you ample reasons to practise shamatha. It is "Pure Kagyü Dharma".


Mahamudra shamatha is resting in the nature of mind. Not anapanasati. Six paramitas are simultaneous or their not paramitas.
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