On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:49 pm

Damn past karma, gets you every time! :tongue:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby muni » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:46 pm

I read here the interesting posts.

Maybe a bit off topic but the recognition from within our cosy protected place should also be difficult or not be so easy.
At least I heard about. A warm hand placed on a cold of a passed away beloved one; is a teaching which gets no any applaus and a possible little understanding of the naturally state beyond birth and death, which needs no applaus by the illusion of this world.

I heard a teaching which was like: some hardship is profound tool, can be better than a thousand of books.
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby muni » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:08 pm

Shut down all bodily movement, rest at ease in naturalness
Without the talkativeness of speech, sound is empty like an echo
Not thinking so much as a thought in your mind behold the Dharma like no other Dharma
The physical body is void of substantial pith like a bamboo, a bamboo reed


Mind transcends the domain of thought like the center of open space
Not trying to force or avoid anything just rest relaxed within it.

Tilopa.
http://www.ktgrinpoche.org/songs/mahamu ... impermance
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Andrew108 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:57 pm

And from the same source:

''Don’t think it nor try to approach it by way of ambition
It is there, and then gone by itself, like patterns on water
If it does not stay and is not an object of focus
And is nothing other than just reality
It is damtsig and nothing else, the lamp in the darkness
Eluding ambition, not staying in limits assigned
To see it is seeing all teachings in all the pitakas
Immerse yourself in it—samsara’s toil is done
Absorb yourself in it—wrong-doing and veils will all burn
What this is about could be called the lamp of the teaching''.

Pretty good eh?
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby muni » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:13 pm

Yes pretty good.

There is the story of Asanga who did years retreat but it was without result, he did some other years and again senseless. Till one day he showed a seed of genuine compassion for a wounded dog. Maitreya, who he was seeking and who he could not see, appeared.
Compassion, in which nonjudgemental awareness arises, the open "door" for our nature.

:namaste:
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Astus » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:12 pm

"Those who do not meditate with wisdom by analyzing the entity of things specifically, but merely meditate on the elimination of mental activity, cannot avert conceptual thoughts and also cannot realize identitylessness, because they lack the light of wisdom. If the fire of consciousness knowing phenomena as they are is produced from individual analysis of suchness, then like the fire produced by rubbing wood it will burn the wood of conceptual thought. The Buddha has spoken in this way."
(Kamalashila: The Middle Stages of Meditation)

Since vipashyana is the key method to attain certainty in the true nature of mind and phenomena, if you have trouble applying instructions found in Mahamudra, you can also try Madhyamaka.
"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: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby monktastic » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:29 pm

Astus wrote:Since vipashyana is the key method to attain certainty in the true nature of mind and phenomena, if you have trouble applying instructions found in Mahamudra, you can also try Madhyamaka.


Now this sounds like fantastic advice. Dzogchen and Mahamudra masters insist that the realization gained through Madhyamaka is equivalent to their own, but as far as I know (which is almost nothing), Madhyamaka does not require Direct Introduction. Come to think of it: doesn't that contradict the requirement of DI?

I haven't exactly found trouble applying the instructions of Mahamudra. I've even found that they produce results. In fact, Tilopa's Six Words forms the foundation for most of my practice. But I'm always a little uneasy, because (1) I'm not sure whether one's first glimpse of thamal gyi shepa is supposed to demarcate a discrete shift in perspective, and (2) whether one's practice differs significantly before and after, if so.

Obviously a teacher would be the best place to look for the answers to those questions, but in lieu of that, I'm asking here.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby monktastic » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:37 pm

Thanks, Andrew and Muni!

(That stuff is great. Whenever I immerse myself in it, I remember to just relax, and then all these questions disappear. And then comes that voice... "but the books say you must recognize this specific thing first! The very same books that told you to just relax...")
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Andrew108 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:42 pm

The voice is o.k. Take delight in it. Then Just let it go.
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby monktastic » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:13 pm

From a new book, "The Great Secret of Mind":

Yogins and yoginis who have [the view of Dzogchen] pay no attention to their own level of accomplishment regarding either attachment to the objective, material aspect of nominal experience or to the degree of any emotional attachment. Such yogins and yoginis make no distinction between high and low views, nor do they pay heed to the speed of accomplishment on the path.


Truly words to live by :smile:
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby kirtu » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:25 pm

monktastic wrote:Now this sounds like fantastic advice. Dzogchen and Mahamudra masters insist that the realization gained through Madhyamaka is equivalent to their own, but as far as I know (which is almost nothing), Madhyamaka does not require Direct Introduction.


The usual Madhyamaka approach is analytical meditation. Gelug and Sakya goes into this extensively but doesn't Karma Kagyu as well? The point being that you almost certainly have resources using exactly this approach available to you.

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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Jinzang » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:59 pm

Study is fine up to a point, as it is part of the traditional triad of the three wisdoms, "Study, contemplation, and meditation." But as you can see, it is only the starting point. Lama Phurbu Tashi taught a class on mahamudra last year base on Traleg Rinpche's book, "Mind at Ease." He is fond of all of Traleg Rinpoche's works and I don't think you can go wrong by studying mahamudra base on this book. Here is an excerpt from the notes I took during the class. Please note these are my notes and not Lama Phurbu Tashi's words verbatim.

Sometimes people think Buddhists only teach mindfulness, which they understand as knowing what you are doing. And they think mindfulness is the path to enlightenment. Or they consider mindfulness to be a therapy. So that becomes their meditation. But this is not even close to the Buddha's teaching. Everyone pays attention while they are driving. And fishermen are attentive to fishing, and musicians to playing their music. If these were meditation and led to enlightenment, everyone would already be enlightened. Of course, this kind of mindfulness is a good thing, it keeps you from having accidents. But this kind of mindfulness is not dharma practice. What mindfulness really is will be explained later in the text. Buddha said mindfulness is important in meditation, but in higher level meditation you need to go beyond it, because mindfulness is dualistic. In higher meditation you go beyond subject and object. Being aware of mind itself is mindfulness.

If you are meditating for your own happiness, practice when you feel like it. If you are practicing to remove anxiety and develop peace you need to practice more. It is like preparing yourself to defeat the enemy. If you are meditating to seek unconditional peace and happiness, then meditation should take precedence over everything else. If we don't make use of this present opportunity, then it will be very rare to have this chance again. That is why many masters meditated for years alone in the mountains.

Meditation is not for the sake of gain, but for loss. We have fixation and grasping and from those our emotional reactions arise. When we meditate our fixations and grasping should decrease, so there is no basis for our negative emotions and they fall apart. The more you lose, the closer you come to your essence. When you lose everything and there is nothing to grasp to, then you have crossed the border of samsara and you are enlightened. Then buddha nature is revealed of itself. Finally you reach a state where there is nothing to lose. Then is no ego, no goal, you could also say no happiness. It's like it says in the Heart Sutra.

Many people are confused, expecting to gain things from meditation. But that is mixed up. Chasing after pleasant emotions, thinking one day's meditation is better than the next, chasing mental abstractions. Next you might start smoking nirvana.

But meditating without a goal will not lead you into a wrong view. So our meditation is not meditating, It is being aware of our moment of being. So don't meditate, just maintain your awareness. So there is nothing to gain. When you remain in natural way, the you become natural. And when you maintain that in daily life, you come closer to reality your grasping becomes less and you gain real wisdom and compassion.

If your mind is happy, meditate on happiness. If it is sad. meditate on sadness. If it is agitated, meditate on agitation. Just be aware and stay on whatever happens. That is how you should meditate. That is is the accumulation of wisdom. Even remaining in that wisdom for one second clears away the accumulated ignorance of many kalpas. Then in you daily life you accumulate merit. Through these two accumulations, you will attain enlightenment

Many philosophical systems arose in the first thousand years of Buddhism. The essence of them all is these three instructions on Mahamudra. The most profound meditation is the ordinary mind. When we anticipate what meditation is like, that doesn't bring wisdom. But because this instruction is too simple and also too profound, this instruction doesn't satisfy. Natural mind is something we have with us all the time. We think the truth is far away but it is within us all the time. So we need a more elaborate instruction from a book. It is like churning butter from milk, or extracting diamonds from the earth.

Even though I don't have the realization of Bokar Rinpoche, I still have his blessings. You can study philosophy for 100 years and not be finished. Since life is short, to attain enlightenment and be free of samsara, mahamudra is a short and easy way to enlightenment. If you have an unshakable devotion to the guru, you will get the result of mahamudra.

The main practice of mahamudra is resting the mind naturally. It is importance to keep the mind free of contrivance. The main technique is unforced awareness, resting the mind in a relaxed fashion in its natural state. There are so many practices, but I would like to tell you one secret. When I was studying this I came across the term "ma.bcos.pa" many times. It is usually translated as unfabricated. It means letting the mind to be in a natural way. In this system bad thoughts are not something to avoid and good thoughts something to cultivate. All thoughts are like waves, which are the same as the ocean. In the same way thoughts are the same as mind itself. Simply remain natural, but with awareness. Having expectations or rejecting mental states never works. Let the mind be itself in a spontaneous way with awareness. So simply sit and leave the mind in a natural way. There are many levels of mind, shallow and deep. They are all present, but we are normally focused on the sensory levels and don't notice the deeper levels. Let the mind be aware of all the levels of mind.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby oldbob » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:40 am

:namaste:

:good: :twothumbsup:

Many interesting posts and experiences.

Try:

http://www.amazon.com/Ascertaining-Cert ... 1877294004

to completely exhaust all philosophical words about Mahamudra.

Perhaps what remains is Mahamudra.

ob
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby oldbob » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:54 am

muni wrote:I read here the interesting posts.

Maybe a bit off topic but the recognition from within our cosy protected place should also be difficult or not be so easy.
At least I heard about. A warm hand placed on a cold of a passed away beloved one; is a teaching which gets no any applaus and a possible little understanding of the naturally state beyond birth and death, which needs no applaus by the illusion of this world.

I heard a teaching which was like: some hardship is profound tool, can be better than a thousand of books.


Hi muni all and All,

When my mother was dying I kissed her on the forehead and she was warm. A few minutes later I kissed her on the forehead and she was cold.

A truly difficult teaching to come by or accept.
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby oldbob » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:02 am

and so -

When my 8 worldly friends appear, to distract me, my job is to observe them and let them go.

Nothing more, nothing less.
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby monktastic » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:23 am

I think all my confusion has stemmed from one thing. The Mahamudra instructions basically say:
- Rest in naturalness, abandoning hope and fear. This is called the natural state.
- When you are in the natural state, your experience will be like [...timeless, duality-free, ...]

Well, "my" natural state is not yet experienced as "the" natural state. And that's okay! It will take time! Just keep relaxing. I just wish they called them different things :smile:.

But no matter. The instructions are crystal clear. (And thanks Jinzang. I've read Mind at Ease several times. I really loved Traleg Rinpoche's work. RIP :()
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby jeeprs » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:25 am

strikes me that the main difficulty of 'recognizing the natural state' would be wanting it to be something other than what it already actually is. And the hardest thing to accept would then be that we already are that which we think we are seeking. 'Is that all?' we say. 'It must be something else'. :smile:
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Astus » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:39 am

monktastic wrote:- When you are in the natural state, your experience will be like [...timeless, duality-free, ...]


That is to refute wrong ideas about the nature of mind, but the same terms are used for emptiness. In fact, there is nothing more than the unity of emptiness and appearances (non-abiding awareness). So the problem seems to be your looking for something special.
"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: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Anders » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:10 am

monktastic wrote:Now this sounds like fantastic advice. Dzogchen and Mahamudra masters insist that the realization gained through Madhyamaka is equivalent to their own, but as far as I know (which is almost nothing), Madhyamaka does not require Direct Introduction. Come to think of it: doesn't that contradict the requirement of DI


Not entirely. Without being certain, what I understand from the claims is that the view of Madhyamika and the prajnaparamita sutras is equivalent to Mahamudra - however, the methods for entering such realisation are not.

Generally speaking though, I tend to take Vajrayana analysis of sutra methods with a grain of salt - If you look at east-asian Madhyamika for example (you should be able to find some of the writings of Sengzhao online, if nothing else than via google books excerpts), you can see clearly that while there is an initial method of analysis, this goes no further than to satisfy the intellect that the intellect is indeed a fundamentally flawed instrument for awakening. The actual method for there on is to let go of all views and rest in non-abiding. If you look at some of the Indian Madhyamika works that never made it to Tibet (such as Nagarjuna's commentary on the Prajnaparamita sutra - in many ways a magnum opus of Madhyamika) it is made clear that ultimately prajnaparamita is gained through the method of no-method - and is in fact both non-conceptual and uncontrived.

A lot of this was in fact a major inspiration for many of the later Chan masters. And reflects a fairly different approach to Madhyamika than found in Vajrayana where it is mostly utilised and seen as an analytical tool and method.

Even so, though I am myself quite the ekayanin and I do believe that while the highest view expressed by the different schools of Zen, Madhyamika, Mahamudra etc. are all spoken from within the same heart-realm of the Buddhas, I don't think it necessarily follows that all these paths are necessarily the same, even if they often sound very similar. This is seen by how often Dzogchenpas, mahamudra teachers and so forth disagree even about their own special means for Buddhahood in one lifetime being equally useful.

Actually, I think there is a fundamental flaw in comparing schools vs. each other. Really, if any comparisons are to be made, it should be comparing gurus. What kind of means can they provide tailored to their students? how sharp is their discernment of the students situation? can they recognise special turning moments and act accrdingly? do they know how to inspire? Can their very presence deepen the practise of the student? Do they know not only how to open a student to the gateless gate, but also how to mature and deepen him to the very depths?

I'd take a guru proficient in all these but trained in a 'lower' vehicle any day of the week than a middling guru from a 'higher' yana. Here is the standard from someone like Foyan Qingyuan:

    "I see through everyone. If I've seen people, I know whether or not they have any enlightenment or understanding, just as an expert physician recognises ailments at a glance, discerning the nature of the illness and whether or not it can be remedied. One who knows this only after detailed inquiry into symptoms is a mediocre physician."
We find similar boasts from Linji:

    When followers of Zen come to see me, I have already understood them completely. How can I do this? Simply because my perception is independent - externally I do not grasp the ordinary or the holy, internally I do not dwell on the fundamental. I see all the way through and do not doubt or err anymore.

Quite the claims! And what a supreme blessing for the student to find such a teacher.

I don't really care for whether or not Chan only goes to irreversibility or whether one method teaches a special buddhahood the other buddhahood-in-one-lifetime teaches. If you've made it that far, you have a direct hotline to any one of the Buddhas of the ten directions anyway. If everything is not clarified in this lifetime, it surely will be in the next and either way you won't be found wanting in this one. Far more important to find what is appropriate for us than to hang ourselves on following the most 'supreme' path or get stuck on how fast a path is, etc. True Bodhicitta has little regard for time - it simply seeks to accomplish vows wholeheartedly.

But to find a truly qualified teacher who can tailor skilful means especially to your situation - that is to me the supreme teaching higher than any yana set forth in shastras and upadeshas. Sure we can compare the teachings of one dead guru to another and fit them into the formulas of higher and lower. But really, these withered leaves left behind represent only a very small part of any given teacher's legacy.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: On the difficulty of recognizing the natural state

Postby Astus » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:54 am

Anders wrote:Not entirely. Without being certain, what I understand from the claims is that the view of Madhyamika and the prajnaparamita sutras is equivalent to Mahamudra - however, the methods for entering such realisation are not.


I think that where vipashyana is used in Mahamudra, in the tradition of Gampopa, the methods used are not different from what they teach in Madhyamaka. It's put together as analytical and resting meditation, the same way it was written in Kamalashila's and Atisha's meditation works. A difference here is that while in Madhyamaka first the appearances are analysed and then the mind, in Mahamudra the mind comes first and appearances later. This has some consequences of course and that's why Mahamudra is not exactly Madhyamaka.
"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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