Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:00 am

deepbluehum wrote: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.

This is useful, thanks.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:51 pm

This approach to meditation is yielding strange fruit. (More like: no-fruit.)

I'm going to stay with it, see where it goes. (More like: doesn't go.)
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:26 pm

rachmiel wrote:This approach to meditation is yielding strange fruit. (More like: no-fruit.)

I'm going to stay with it, see where it goes. (More like: doesn't go.)


The fruit is no hope, no fear.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Azidonis » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:12 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
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.


What does the wandering mind shed?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:59 pm

Azidonis wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
Azidonis wrote:
Is "sloughing" the word you meant? If so, in what sense?


Just like a snake's skin.


What does the wandering mind shed?


No. Wandering mind is the shedding.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Jinzang » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:14 am

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.


Expectation is a hindrance, but not practicing is even more of a hindrance. As Khandro Rinpoche said during the Dalai Lama's Kalachakra empowerment, "I hope Westerners don't fall into the same trap as Tibetans, waiting for lightning to strike." Or as the Jewel Ornament puts it, "If you think that perhaps confusion will disappear by itself, understand that samsara is known to be endless." I have received extensive instructions on shamatha in the Kagyu by many lamas, so you can't tell me it is not presented there. I am holding in my hand a Drikung Kagyu text, "Shamatha to Mahamudra," where the author explains he wasted many years trying to look directly at the nature before mastering shamatha,
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:35 am

Jinzang wrote:
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.


Expectation is a hindrance, but not practicing is even more of a hindrance. As Khandro Rinpoche said during the Dalai Lama's Kalachakra empowerment, "I hope Westerners don't fall into the same trap as Tibetans, waiting for lightning to strike." Or as the Jewel Ornament puts it, "If you think that perhaps confusion will disappear by itself, understand that samsara is known to be endless." I have received extensive instructions on shamatha in the Kagyu by many lamas, so you can't tell me it is not presented there. I am holding in my hand a Drikung Kagyu text, "Shamatha to Mahamudra," where the author explains he wasted many years trying to look directly at the nature before mastering shamatha,


Oh, I know; we have this text too. I skimmed it. But it's sutra Mahamudra similar to Dakpo Tashi Namgyal. That's not really the co-emergent Mahamudra coming from Metripa and Tilopa. That's Gampopa's treatment coming from Kadampa for common people. I understand especially Karma Kagyu like this style. My teacher's lineage coming from Gelong Pachung Rinpoche basically glosses right over this. There is a shamatha method in Lord Jigten Sumgon's text too, but again, that part is glossed over. If you ever hear Garchen Rinpoche's instructions the emphasis is on clarity emptiness.

It doesn't mean confusion is going to disappear by itself. Mahamudra goes into shamatha through Vipashyana. As it says in Gonghig, "Insight also comes first." You can't make disappear what doesn't appear. Nonarising is the fundamental method. As Gampopa says, realization comes from one's Buddha-nature, precious human life, the guru, four foundations, two bodhichitta and six paramitas.

According to the pith instructions, all this boils down to one point. The root of mind. So the pith instructions give devotion as the one method to understand this point. Then the blessing lineage has so many methods of practicing devotion, guru yoga, 8 offerings, tsok, mandala offerings, etc., etc.

There are six parts:

1. Refuge in the Dharmakaya guru Buddha
2. To give up self grasping
3. To let needlessness dawn in the mindstream
4. To instantly recognize the nature of mind
5. To recognize thought as the dharmakaya
6. To recognize appearances as the dharmakaya.

This is how we are being taught by Drubpon Rinpoche. We never discuss shamatha, except for the union of shamatha and Vipashyana, the six paramitas in a single instant, etc. As I've been told, these things are the "real Kagyu," meaning minus the Sutra methods from Atisha. I realize this is very much a part of the greater Kagyu universe, but somehow the Drikung drubpons got none of this from Yeshe Rinpoche. It's all about devotion for them.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby Jinzang » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:32 am

As it says in Gongchig, "Insight also comes first."


It says that for some (exceptional) people, insight precedes shamatha. If you are the sort of exceptional person for whom insight has arisen naturally and spontaneously from devotion, I tip my hat to you. But if someone comes on the Internet asking for advice on the practice of mahmudra, are you going to assume that they are the one person in a thousand, or give them step by step instructions starting with the mahamudra style of shamatha? The answer should be obvious.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:54 pm

Jinzang wrote:
As it says in Gongchig, "Insight also comes first."


It says that for some (exceptional) people, insight precedes shamatha. If you are the sort of exceptional person for whom insight has arisen naturally and spontaneously from devotion, I tip my hat to you. But if someone comes on the Internet asking for advice on the practice of mahmudra, are you going to assume that they are the one person in a thousand, or give them step by step instructions starting with the mahamudra style of shamatha? The answer should be obvious.


That's not what it says:

sec I, 15.

It is also the case that knowables' obscuration is purified initially.

It is said: "It is also the case that knowables' obscuration is purified first."
By the function of the including particle ("also"),
Another alternative is left.
Although [the defilements of] karman, kleśas and knowables
Are mostly purified in this order,
Some people purify the knowables' obscuration first,
While the other two are then purified automatically,
In this way Mi la [ras pa] explained.


I received the Gongchig from Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the holder of this transmission.

Some people doesn't mean some extraordinary people. It means people with the blessing lineage who receive Ganga Mahamudra pith instructions. Garchen Rinpoche goes around giving these all the time. The only prerequisite is refuge and bodhichitta. There is a big misunderstanding about what capacity means. It doesn't mean a tulku or a bodhisattva. It means someone with lineage and instruction who is willing to practice.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:10 pm

deepbluehum wrote:The only prerequisite is refuge and bodhichitta.

In other words, that I should take refuge in Buddha/dharma/sangha and nurture bodhichitta in my thoughts/actions?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:26 pm

rachmiel wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:The only prerequisite is refuge and bodhichitta.

In other words, that I should take refuge in Buddha/dharma/sangha and nurture bodhichitta in my thoughts/actions?


There is the refuge ceremony from the lama. But you can visualize the Buddhas and take refuge mentally like in bodhisattva way of life. You can do this daily by prostrating three times to Buddha photo in morning.

Bodhichitta at beginning of session, two prayers: Aspiration Bodhichitta (3x) and Action Bodhichitta (1x). Google these prayers.

Then just sit and rest without decorations. No focus. No concentration. This is ultimate bodhichitta.

Last dedication bodhichitta. You can say mani mantra three times sending bodhichitta to three realms.

This is very simple way. You won't be missing anything.

PS. The middle part is shamatha. Wink. You begin looking at mind in middle of resting by looking at space. What color or shape is space? Where is space? Like this. But if you can rest without effort or projecting this is already the fruit. These three aspiration bodhichitta, action bodhichitta and ultimate bodhichitta is Mahamudra, Dzochen, Madhyamaka, Prajnaparamita. Etc. Its not the shravaka nirvana. So nothing to focus on here.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:20 pm

I have a few followup questions on vivid awareness meditation (as taught by Khenpo Gangshar). Thanks in advance for the help!

In the text entitled, The Concise Mind Instructions Called Naturally Liberating Whatever You Meet, Khenpo Gangshar says: "For the main practice, let the mind and body be comfortable, soft, and relaxed. Do not think of anything, let yourself settle naturally, and look up with your eyes into space."

1. Are these instructions for sitting meditation or everyday mindfulness?

2. If they are for sitting meditation, how important is it to leave my eyes open and look up "into space?" I'm used to meditating with closed eyes; leaving them open is difficult for me.

3. Is it appropriate for me to start letting vivid awareness be part of my everyday (non sitting-meditation) life? When I don't need to be thinking about something -- on a walk in the woods, for example -- should I let vivid awareness arise? Is this part of the practice, or is it limited to sitting meditation?
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby conebeckham » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:13 pm

1. They are for sitting meditation.

2. It's important to keep the eyes open.

3. Let vivid awareness arise in all situations, and even encourage it. But maintain a sitting practice, primarily.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:22 pm

conebeckham wrote:2. It's important to keep the eyes open.

Why? Is it also important to look up, as Khenpo Gangshar said? If so, how far up? About like your eyes in your avatar photo? (In other forms of Buddhist meditation, I've been told to either keep my eyes closed or to open them and look towards the ground about six feet ahead. Hence my confusion.)

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

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:46 pm

You should really try to get used to meditating with your eyes open. There are many different reasons for this. I would say that it helps to integrate everything into your meditation. You are not trying to block out anything. The type of meditation described in the book "Vivid Awareness" is not really shamatha in the sense that there is something to be meditated upon. He is describing resting in the nature of mind-essence. In order to do this, you need to be able to recognize mind-essence, which usually entails getting formal pointing-out insructions from a guru. In other words, this "vivid awareness" is beyong the limitations of a subject/object duality. I would suggest reading Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's Rainbow Painting and As it Is if you are interested in the difference between this vivid awareness and shamatha. I don't believe that you are looking up per se (although teachers may have different opinions about this). The instructions that I have been given by different teachers is that you keep your gaze straight ahead with your eyes open and fixed (although not fixed upon a particular object). I would suggest that you try incorporating this open-gazed meditation into your practice slowly. Remember, Khenpo Gangshar is not describing a technique- he is teaching about recognizing the true nature of your mind and resting in that. This recognition is not just limited to seated meditation. If you can regonize mind-essence in the midst of emotional upheaval, the emotions will be self-liberated naturally- hence self-liberating whatever you meet. It is important to realize that this is not a type of meditation or a technique being taught. Recogzition of mind's true nature- luminous clarity and emptiness is vital. Maybe you could check out the next webcast by Dzogchen master Choegyal Namkhai Norbu? He is not for everybody, but you will get an idea of where these teachings are coming from.

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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:18 pm

Apologies for getting a bit analytical. I'm trying to avoid doing something that feels like vivid awareness, but is not. To do this, I need to know if I'm on the right track.

Let's say there are two main types of awareness: awareness of objects (physical and mental) and pure awareness (no objects).

Awareness of objects can be very obvious: I see a tree, name it (tree/maple), and think about that time as a kid when I climbed a maple tree and found a bird nest in it. Or it can be subtler: I see a tree, name it (tree), but I don't go beyond that in interpretation/storytelling. Or it can be even subtler: I see colors and shapes, but don't name them.

Pure awareness is awareness with no objects, no subject/object division. One simply IS awareness.

My question: Which of these types of awareness is vivid awareness? Specifically, is it the subtlest form of awareness of objects, in which one perceives sensations without naming them? Or is it pure awareness, in which there are no objects, just awareness itself?

Thanks!
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:32 pm

I hate to sound trite or dismissive but... you really need the guidance of a qualified teacher to truly experience this "vivid awareness" that Khenpo Gangshar is speaking of. Rigpa, mind essence, luminous clarity, vivid awareness... all of these catch phrases are things that cannot be described. I haven't spent too much time with this book, but I really don't think that he is teaching a meditation style or technique. It sounds more like Trekcho, in which case you are going to need the blessings of a teacher and Dzogchen lineage to guide you and introduce you to the true nature of your mind. Do you have a teacher or have you looked into the Dzogchen teachings?

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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:52 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:I hate to sound trite or dismissive but... you really need the guidance of a qualified teacher to truly experience this "vivid awareness" that Khenpo Gangshar is speaking of. Rigpa, mind essence, luminous clarity, vivid awareness... all of these catch phrases are things that cannot be described. I haven't spent too much time with this book, but I really don't think that he is teaching a meditation style or technique. It sounds more like Trekcho, in which case you are going to need the blessings of a teacher and Dzogchen lineage to guide you and introduce you to the true nature of your mind. Do you have a teacher or have you looked into the Dzogchen teachings?

Troy

I understand.

I am an on-again/off-again student of Anam Thubten Rinpoche, Nyingma lineage, at whose retreat a couple of years ago I took refuge. I really like Anam Thubten, but drifted away, mainly because I was frustrated with only being able to communicate directly with him once every year or two (at retreats) for a few minutes. That's not my idea of a solid teacher/student relationship. Also, I'm not crazy about our local sangha, because their weekly services feel so much like a Catholic mass to me (a religion I gave up 40+ years ago!) that I just can't relax into them. So I'm more or less going it alone, with help from knowledgeable friends and reliable writings.

More than you needed to know, right?! Thanks for listening.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:35 am

rachmiel wrote:One simply IS awareness.


Be weary of this notion, it has dangerous implications in Buddhism's point of view. It's closer to the hindu view refuted by the Buddha. If 'you' go from being Joe Blow to being 'awareness', then that is nothing more than 'you' identifying with something else, it merely reifies the self (and worse, the self now becomes deluded into thinking it's eternal and permanent).

rachmiel wrote:...My question: Which of these types of awareness is vivid awareness?


CrawfordHollow is right you should seek guidance from a qualified teacher on questions like these. For the sake of the conversation, 'vivid awareness' in the context that book is using the term, would be the objectless, but you must be careful not to reify and objectify 'awareness' as well. Both objects and awareness are primordially empty.

rachmiel wrote:Specifically, is it the subtlest form of awareness of objects, in which one perceives sensations without naming them?


That would technically still be the ālaya, it's a subtle point of reference created and maintained by habitual tendency and karmic traces. The ālaya has to fall away so that there is no subject-object split, even subtly, and that isn't done by actually removing the subject-object, but through recognition of your nature which is revealed by the teacher. You should receive introduction from a qualified teacher if you haven't already. It's good to get some semblance of an understanding through intellectual models like you're doing, but ultimately it's important to be mindful and careful not to get caught up in the mind-models.

rachmiel wrote:Or is it pure awareness, in which there are no objects, just awareness itself?


Not even awareness, nothing is established, it's a freedom from extremes. So not the non-existence of objects and awareness, but the realization that they arose from confusion and so in the recognition of primordial wisdom, non-existence is not possible because existence isn't suggested to begin with. Objects are known to be illusory, like the reflection of the moon in water, apparent yet unreal.
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Re: Question about Khenpo Gangshar's vivid awareness

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:20 am

rachmiel wrote:
CrawfordHollow wrote:I hate to sound trite or dismissive but... you really need the guidance of a qualified teacher to truly experience this "vivid awareness" that Khenpo Gangshar is speaking of. Rigpa, mind essence, luminous clarity, vivid awareness... all of these catch phrases are things that cannot be described. I haven't spent too much time with this book, but I really don't think that he is teaching a meditation style or technique. It sounds more like Trekcho, in which case you are going to need the blessings of a teacher and Dzogchen lineage to guide you and introduce you to the true nature of your mind. Do you have a teacher or have you looked into the Dzogchen teachings?

Troy

I understand.

I am an on-again/off-again student of Anam Thubten Rinpoche, Nyingma lineage, at whose retreat a couple of years ago I took refuge. I really like Anam Thubten, but drifted away, mainly because I was frustrated with only being able to communicate directly with him once every year or two (at retreats) for a few minutes. That's not my idea of a solid teacher/student relationship. Also, I'm not crazy about our local sangha, because their weekly services feel so much like a Catholic mass to me (a religion I gave up 40+ years ago!) that I just can't relax into them. So I'm more or less going it alone, with help from knowledgeable friends and reliable writings.

More than you needed to know, right?! Thanks for listening.


You should just tune into Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's webcasts.
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