gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11676
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

I've gotten a few different pronouncements on why one should have eyes open during contemplation, rather than closed. I notice though that some teachers and students, and well, sometimes even ChNN Rinpoche had his eyes closed at times.

I am wondering if there is any true rule, or if it just a "best practice", whether people have specific citations etc. Note, I do understand the importance of the gaze related to the channels etc...I just notice plenty of people, including important ones, don't always do it.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
Sherab Rigdrol
Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Sherab Rigdrol »

I go with open as it develops clarity a lot quicker.

I too noticed ChNN with his eyes closed a lot during SoV etc.a lot. However I'm sure he was in a state that nor you and I could ever imagine. There is no way to judge just exactly what was arising for him.
passel
Posts: 585
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by passel »

Anyen once told me, "No one ever attained mahamudra, ever attained dzogchen, practicing with eyes closed."
Mingyur says eyes closed is fine for shamatha.
Tsoknyi teaches eyes open for the most part but says you can test your rigpa by closing your eyes.
Personally I think, how can you limit it to one or the other, or something in between? Tho saying anything goes is no good either.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious
passel
Posts: 585
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by passel »

Sherab Rigdrol wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:16 am I go with open as it develops clarity a lot quicker.

I too noticed ChNN with his eyes closed a lot during SoV etc.a lot. However I'm sure he was in a state that nor you and I could ever imagine. There is no way to judge just exactly what was arising for him.
The one thing you can say for sure is that his eyes were closed.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious
Sherab Rigdrol
Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Sherab Rigdrol »

Anyen Rinpoche demonstrates open eyed meditation/gazing amazingly. He most certainly was the first teacher I ever saw who did that and helped me create that habit ;)
Sherab Rigdrol
Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Sherab Rigdrol »

passel wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:23 am
Sherab Rigdrol wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:16 am I go with open as it develops clarity a lot quicker.

I too noticed ChNN with his eyes closed a lot during SoV etc.a lot. However I'm sure he was in a state that nor you and I could ever imagine. There is no way to judge just exactly what was arising for him.
The one thing you can say for sure is that his eyes were closed.
It was a combination of closed with his eyes rolling in back of his head. He was always in profound bliss, at least it seemed so from my own "perception".
passel
Posts: 585
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by passel »

Love that first sentence, second is just pissin' in the wind.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11676
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

passel wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:23 am Anyen once told me, "No one ever attained mahamudra, ever attained dzogchen, practicing with eyes closed."
Mingyur says eyes closed is fine for shamatha.
Tsoknyi teaches eyes open for the most part but says you can test your rigpa by closing your eyes.
Personally I think, how can you limit it to one or the other, or something in between? Tho saying anything goes is no good either.
Thanks all.

That's interesting. I think someone has even told me that you cannot recognize the Natural State with eyes closed.

Nonetheless, I see teachers etc. who do it, and it makes me wonder if there really is a hard rule...or just a hard upaya.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
Sherab Rigdrol
Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Sherab Rigdrol »

passel wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:28 am Love that first sentence, second is just pissin' in the wind.
Nah, he seemed like he was in an incredible bliss. It was palpable.
passel
Posts: 585
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by passel »

Seemed palpable.
Just goin' off the dictionary.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious
amanitamusc
Posts: 1795
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:32 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by amanitamusc »

The answer to this is in most all ChNNr's retreats.If one is wise they will listen to these teaching many times to catch the bits we miss.
Sennin
Posts: 913
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Sennin »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:06 am I've gotten a few different pronouncements on why one should have eyes open during contemplation, rather than closed. I notice though that some teachers and students, and well, sometimes even ChNN Rinpoche had his eyes closed at times.

I am wondering if there is any true rule, or if it just a "best practice", whether people have specific citations etc. Note, I do understand the importance of the gaze related to the channels etc...I just notice plenty of people, including important ones, don't always do it.
It's a true instruction coming from the tantras, auxiliary scriptures and oral instructions etc.
Observe the difference between the Lord of All Victors, Padmasambhava, and the mahasiddhas of India and Tibet.
Lukeinaz
Posts: 428
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:34 pm

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Lukeinaz »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:06 am I've gotten a few different pronouncements on why one should have eyes open during contemplation, rather than closed. I notice though that some teachers and students, and well, sometimes even ChNN Rinpoche had his eyes closed at times.

I am wondering if there is any true rule, or if it just a "best practice", whether people have specific citations etc. Note, I do understand the importance of the gaze related to the channels etc...I just notice plenty of people, including important ones, don't always do it.
true rule? best practice? try one open and one closed.
zenman
Posts: 436
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:24 pm

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by zenman »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:33 am
That's interesting. I think someone has even told me that you cannot recognize the Natural State with eyes closed.

Nonetheless, I see teachers etc. who do it, and it makes me wonder if there really is a hard rule...or just a hard upaya.
Can't recognize eyes closed. Oh come on... Eyes open, eyes closed, having eyes, not having eyes, having body, not having body... Whatever.
User avatar
Dorje Shedrub
Posts: 258
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:23 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Dorje Shedrub »

There is a practice where eyes are slightly open, but may appear closed to others.

DS
Homage to the Precious Dzogchen Master
🙏🌺🙏 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
🙏🌺🙏
climb-up
Posts: 655
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:32 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by climb-up »

I believe that Lama Surya Das has said to try both. He definitely, in podcasts, has recommended that people who ask should try both, especially when they say that they are more used to eyes closed.

My (extremely limited) understanding is that there are benefits to eyes open that should definitely be worked with, it allows us to use concrete experiences of our vision as the path, but that either is ultimately fine.

If it wasn’t then we wouldn’t be able to practice while we sleep (or in my case, attempt to practice while falling asleep!), or to leave our vision “as it is” if we’re lying down or have our eyes closed and we wouldn’t be able to integrate practice into tantric and sutric practices that involve eyes closed. Since we are supposed to do (try to do) those things, it seems like it must be okay to also practice with eyes closed.
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 2008
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:06 am I've gotten a few different pronouncements on why one should have eyes open during contemplation, rather than closed. I notice though that some teachers and students, and well, sometimes even ChNN Rinpoche had his eyes closed at times.

I am wondering if there is any true rule, or if it just a "best practice", whether people have specific citations etc. Note, I do understand the importance of the gaze related to the channels etc...I just notice plenty of people, including important ones, don't always do it.
ime concentration is better with open eyes,
contemplation is better with space gazing,
instrospection is better with closed eyes.

space gazing details can be found in dzogchen sems de 4 contemplations, namkha arted, longde, etc.

ChNN said one must have open eyes -meaning open senses- during practice.
LolCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by LolCat »

Does this even apply to doing practices where you visualize the deity in front of you? Like during refuge for example?
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11676
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

No. Thats why the post is in the Dzogchen section, and my first post is asking about contemplation, not a bunch of different practices.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
LolCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: gaze/open eyes/closed eyes

Post by LolCat »

I see, thank you. My confusion arose from something I read Malcolm say a long time back, about how you are supposed to be in the state of contemplation throughout the practice, but I suppose that is when you have enough stability to be capable of such a thing.
I was thinking of Rinpoche's Green Tara practice, just to be clear.
Post Reply

Return to “Dzogchen”