Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Practice Manual of Kurukulla Now Online

Through the great blessing of 84000's new online reading room, the first-ever, complete English translation of The Practice Manual of Noble Tara Kurukulla is now freely available. As noted in the introduction, this is, "...the most comprehensive single work on the female Buddhist deity Kurukulla," and the only canonical scripture to focus on her.

What a wonderful way to begin the year!

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Losar 2012: Tibetan New Year 2139

L O S A R  2 0 1 2
Year of the Water Dragon
Tibetan New Year 2139

A very happy, safe, productive, and beneficial
New Year with best wishes of
Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Seventeenth Karmapa Dancing

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Gutor 2012

So, again...

It would seem there is much negativity of this passing year to be averted. In truth, one year is like any other, so there is nothing to be said of "worse" or "better." Unless, of course, you want to say observing one's mind is better than observing holidays... but, why quibble over such things? Time dwindles as long as we trust it to dwindle. It stops when we trust it to stop.

Here at Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar we send you very best wishes. May you be relieved of all obstacles, hindrances, and negativity arising from untrustworthy time.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ninth Ogyen Tulku's New Kurukulle CD

The Ninth Ogyen Tulku has just released a wonderful compact disc entitled Mantra of Kurukulle - The Love Goddess. This is sure to be popular, and is only available in a limited edition, so please order now.

Rinpoche has a beautiful voice, and his recordings are deeply felt. Worldwide distribution is being handled by the folks at Zambala, and you can order your copy by clicking here.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Is the Best Way?

Seems like a paroxysm of sorrow concerning events in Tibet. Wherever we turn, there is news of the self-immolations, paramilitary police crackdowns, mass arrests, and violent demonstrations. We search our hearts for answers, and strategies. We talk to each other about what next to "do."

Coupled with political sorrow, we also have emotions attached to the many great masters and inspiring practitioners who died during the past months. Some even died on the same day! We mourn what we consider to be our loss. We feel stunned to learn -- yet again -- that impermanence is actually impermanent!

Added to the above are the injustices we see around us. There are outrages associated with beloved teachers, the damaging ignorance associated with cults,  and strutting oppressors who tour the carnage they have wrought with a blind eye to suffering. We feel anger, frustration, and depression. We find ourselves overcome with confusion.

When we are young, we want to immediately take to the barricades. I can picture myself as I was, and see quite clearly the energy I would have expended on events such as those now passing before us. I can see the time I would have spent looking for causes and cures: a head to lop off the monster, so the tentacles would lose their grip. I can see the obsession with the sword, to do the lopping! 

But, as we get older -- and as practice begins to show its results -- what seemed useful in the context of malfunctioning emotions comes to be seen as unnecessary, useless, and often counterproductive. It has been ever thus. Our confusion seems to make all sorts of demands upon us, and we work ourselves to death. Yet, if we sit down and think calmly about the matter, the Dharma has already given us marvelous tools with which we can easily "fix" anything.

Look at this photograph of absurd Westerners dressed in the costume of Tibetan ordained, demonstrating against His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is so easy to become appalled by this sort of transparent agitation by Red Chinese government stooges. Yet, if you were ask any one of these hooligans, "Are you doing the right thing?" the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" 

The politically naive believe entirely in the righteousness of their actions, no matter the effect upon others. Like psychopaths, they carry on with a crystal clear conscience. We can call this the net effect of co-existing with demons, if you like.

Now contrast this powerful image of a Tibetan nun, expressing despair, self-sacrifice, and martyrdom. One such death is too many, yet hers is one of a regrettably growing number of self-immolations in Tibet. No words can express the sorrow we feel when coming upon such a sight. Were you to have asked her, "As a nun, are you doing the right thing?" she might have answered that she was not; but, she was doing the only thing left open to her, under the terrible yoke of Red Chinese oppression.

Until the illness of suffering is cured, the illness of the bodhisattva's compassion cannot be cured.

Nobody with a heart can see these things and not be moved. As our beloved teachers are seemingly dying in front of us, these images arise in bewildering array, and we are everywhere surrounded by arguments, what is right, what is wrong?

Stop right there.

Imputations of right and wrong, good and bad are the basis of the delusion that guarantees us endless suffering. They -- and the confusion they spawn -- are reflective of the destructive, habitual division between one's self and others. The Dharma tells us that as long as we are taking "sides," we are digging ourselves deeper and deeper into sorrow. From this sorrow -- the very sorrows we see around us at this instant -- there is no respite, lest we once and for all decide to recognize our own state, generate bodhicitta, and apply ourselves as we have been taught to do.

We begin every practice with three times refuge and three times bodhicitta. During the centuries of our shared belief, it has become so for a reason.

The reason is simple.

It is the best way.

If you apply yourself to enlightenment on behalf of beings, there is nothing left to question, nothing left to confuse, and nothing more to argue. The grip that tumult holds on you drops away. How many ways need I say this?

The time for practice is now.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Karmapa to Court: Charged With Criminal Conspiracy

The Indian Express is running with the following, as of 3:23 IST February 16, 2012:

"Tibetan religious head and the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, has been summoned by an Una court in connection with the case pertaining to the seizure of foreign currencies worth around Rs 7 crore from his monastery last year. The case will come up for hearing early next month, sources in the police said. The Una police said Karmapa was among the 10 people whose names figured in the chargesheet filed in December 2011. The Karmapa’s office has been denying his role in the case."

The Times of India followed at 5:57 IST, as their lead:

SHIMLA: The Tibetan spiritual leader, 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyene Trinley Dorje, will have to appear in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Una on March 6 in the case related to unaccounted currency haul from his monastery last year. Karmapa is one of the 10 named in the chargesheet filed by police in the court on December 7 last year and has been charged under section 120B (criminal conspiracy).

Confirming the development, additional director general (law and order) S R Mardi said that the case would be heard in the court on March 6. "The chief judicial magistrate, Una, has sent summons to Karmapa through chief judicial magistrate, Dharamshala. The latter would serve the summons to Karmapa through local police," said Mardi.

"We have full confidence in the due process of judicial system and the Himachal Pradesh state government. As His Holiness, the Karmapa, has said in the past, India is a free and democratic country, based on the rule of law. His Holiness has repeatedly expressed his trust in the Indian legal system. We share his trust, and have no doubt that his innocence will be affirmed in the end," said Karma Chungyalpa, spokesperson for Karmapa.

The chargesheet also included the name of the Karmapa's close aide, Rabgay Choesang aka Shakti Lama. The chargesheet accused Karmapa and others of forming an illegal trust, unauthorized money transaction, unauthorized land deal and making of illegal documents.

This is for the first time that a Tibetan spiritual leader of such stature would have to appear in the court. Karmapa was named in the chargesheet for being the chairperson of trust involved in illegal land transaction, cops said. The accused were also found guilty of violating section 23 of Foreign Exchange Regulatory Act (FERA).

On January 26 last year, police had seized Rs 1 crore cash allegedly brought to Dharamsala to pay for a property deal struck by the Gyuto Trust, which had connections with the Karmapa. Later raids conducted at Gyuto monastery had led to recovery of foreign currency belonging to 26 countries (worth Rs 6.5 crore) which was meant for a land transaction, in complete violation of section 118 of Land and Tenancy Act as no prior permission from the state government was taken to buy the land at Sidhbari.

Karmapa is the spiritual head of Karma Kagyu school, one of the four sects of Buddhism. He is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India in January 2000. Ever since, he has mostly lived in the monastery in Siddhbari near Dharamshala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Razing Arizona

When you see what the Hopi tribe of Native Americans called Ongtupqua (since 1871, the "Grand Canyon") you see that which is rightly reckoned holy. Here is an inexpressible temple of the earth needing no artifice to sustain. Photographs do it no justice, and painters can only try; so, what chance is afforded mere words? The palettes there are not only of color, but of possibility. The songs are silence. 

The best way to leave possibility is to leave it alone. The silence is absence, the way mantra is absent from mantra: a full, rich resonance without beginning, middle, or end. This is what a river does if you leave it alone. Never the same river twice.

The first human habitation of this region is reliably dated to 1200 BCE. In this holy place that has been inhabited by peoples of varying persuasion for over 3,200 years, it is likely we can agree on almost anything, and call it "history." Much evidence points to the Anasazi as the first inhabitants; "Anasazi," being the Navajo word for "Ancient Ones." Thus does the canyon become home to the Native American Nyingmapa, if you like to romanticize things that way.

So, then --

Amongst the comings and goings, there comes in 1885 a remarkable book entitled An Inglorious Columbus; or, Evidence That Hwui Shan and A Party of Buddhist Monks from Afghanistan Discovered America in the Fifth Century, A.D. The book's author is one Edward Payson Vining: a freight manager for the Union Pacific Railroad, noted as being of such avarice that contemporaries refused to have anything to do with him.

Vining seems to have been inspired by the 1875 publication, in London, of a work by Charles Godfrey Leland entitled, Fusang; or, The Discovery of America by Buddhist Priests in the Fifth Century.

This work was preceded by the mid-eighteenth century investigations of the French sinologist Joseph de Guignes ("Le Fou-Sang des Chinois est-il l'Amerique?" Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Vol. XXVIII, 1761).

The de Guigne investigations led to those of the mid-nineteenth century conducted by Prof. Carl Friedrich Neumann, at the University of Munich.

Leland's book seems, in fact, a translation of Neuman's 1841 translation of de Guignes's translation of an interpolation of Hui Shan's reputed 746 character report to his Emperor! The hermeneutic niceties of all this are eloquently studied in a Village Voice article (of all places) by Ed Park, which I now commend to your eager attention.

For the consequent, late date literature survey of it all -- a link that purports to no longer be missing, and the work that drags in Arizona -- try a 1953 work by Henriette Mertz, Gods from the Far East: How the Chinese Discovered America.

Photograph from Grandview Point taken 2009

To boil it all down to a single postulate, sometime around 485 or so, Hui Shan (慧深) introduced Buddhism to the native peoples in and around the Grand Canyon, known to the Celestials as a place called Fusang ( 扶桑).
"In former times, the people of Fusang knew nothing of the Buddhist religion, but in the second year of Da Ming of the Song dynasty (485 CE), five monks from Kipin (Kabul region of Gandhara) travelled by ship to that country. They propagated Buddhist doctrine, circulated scriptures and drawings, and advised the people to relinquish worldly attachments. As a result, the customs of Fusang changed."
           --Liang Shu, as quoted by Lily Chow, Chasing Their Dreams (2001)
So, then --

I will be the first one to tell you, scholarship leading to the postulate above stands better scrutiny by the dons at St. Syllogism's School of Wishful History than by those of Oxford or even those to let at SOAS. Ms. Mertz was an attorney and World War II codebreaker who liked to wring similarity and sense out of words whether by force or a penny in a fountain.

There we might leave it, save for an alleged 5 April 1909 front page article in the Arizona Gazette: "Explorations in the Grand Canyon," reporting on a 1908 discovery by G.E. Kincaid of Lewiston, Idaho:
"The recent finds include articles which have never been known as native to this country, and doubtless they had their origin in the orient. War weapons, copper instruments, sharp-edged and hard as steel, indicate the high state of civilization reached by these strange people"
And also, of rather more interest, the following purported statement:
"Over a hundred feet from the entrance is the cross-hall, several hundred feet long, in which are found the idol, or image, or the peoples' god, sitting cross-legged, with a lotus flower or lily in each hand. The cast of the face is oriental, and the carving this cavern. The idol almost resembles Buddha, though the scientists are not certain as to what religious worship it represents. Taking into consideration everything found thus far, it is possible that this worship most resembles the ancient people of Tibet. Surrounding this idol are smaller images, some very beautiful in form -- others crooked-necked and distorted shapes, symbolical, probably, of good and evil. There are two large cactus with protruding arms, one on each side of the dais on which the god squats. All this is carved out of hard rock resembling marble."
Oh, here we have the makings of a marvelous adventure. That Buddhist archaeology may take its turn in the United States is a wonderful dream!

Of course, the above may -- more probably than not -- turn out to be crap, but what pleases me in the above accounts are the references to Afghanistan, and copper.

Like most of you, I do have a friend from a Copper-Colored Mountain who had no trouble traveling from place to place, and liked to leave behind things for others to discover.

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Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Saint Valentine's Day in webbed culture, so you have folks all over Twitter, Facebook, and other social media wishing each other imitation hearts and flowers... thinking about love.

Love and its sickness is a theme we like to explore here at Tenpa's World-Famous Original Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar and Virtual Karaoke Bar (noting, as an aside, that "karaoke" is the portmanteau of Japanese kara, "empty," and okesutora, "orchestra")... and, as the empty orchestra plays on,  here, and here, and here, and here, and here... from which generous portion you might get the notion we are somehow stuck to the subject.

If it is lovesickness you fear, this most chocolate of all days, then here is the cure -- courtesy of Keith Dowman's treasured translation of Shakbar Lama Jatang Tsogdrug Randrol's The Flight of the Garuda:
"EHMAHO! Now listen once again to this vagrant singing! At one time or another all of you have been injured by others. Conscientiously recollect in detail how others have wrongfully accused you and victimized you, humiliating you and grinding you into the ground, and how you were shamed and deeply mortified. Brood on these things, letting hatred arise, and as it arises look directly at its essence, at hatred itself. Then discover first where the hatred comes from, second, where it is now, and finally where it goes. Look carefully for its color and shape, and any other characteristics. 
Surely the vision of your anger is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not reject anger! It is mirror-like awareness itself. 
Then, all you lovers, think of the beautiful man or woman in your heart. You gluttons, consider the food you crave -- meat, cake, or fruit. You strutting peacocks, recall and dwell on the clothes you like to wear. You avaricious traders, think about the form of wealth you desire -- horses, jewelry, or cash. Carefully considering these matters, allow desire to arise, and when it arises, look directly at its essence, at the greedy and lustful self. Then discover first where it comes from, second where it is now, and finally where it goes. Look carefully for its color and shape and any other characteristics. 
This vision of your desire is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not reject it! It is discriminating awareness."
This is the unsurpassable king of all remedies, for the sickness this day commemorates, and whether it is better in the symptom or the cure, I leave entirely to your own dear intentions.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Longchenpa's Anniversary

Today, 10 February 2012, marks the 648th anniversary of Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam (1308-1364). In a substantial, tangible sense, Longchenpa is in many ways the spiritual father of those in the West who took up his precious teachings as expressed in the words and deeds of the first generation of Tibetan spiritual masters to reach our lands. Yet, in another way, it would be a grave misunderstanding to suppose that this is the only way his precious teachings reach us -- or to believe that they will ever stop. These are the teachings that teach themselves, and I do not see that they have beginning, middle, or end.
Equal to the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supreme Ones’ of our Age
In the depth of your compassion, learning and realisation,
Longchenpa, through hidden practice as a yogin, in forest hermitages,
You perfected Samsara and Nirvana into Dharmakaya reality,
Trimé Özer (‘Stainless Light’), at your feet I pray!
འཛམ་གླིང་མཛེས་པའི་རྒྱན་དྲུག་མཆོག་གཉིས་དང༌། ཐུགས་རྗེ་ལུང་རྟོགས་མཉམ་པའི་མཐུ་མངའ་ཡང༌། ནགས་ཁྲོད་དམ་པར་སྦས་པའི་བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་ཀྱིས། འཁོར་འདས་ཆོས་སྐུར་རྫོགས་པའི་ཀློང་ཆེན་པ། དྲི་མེད་འོད་ཟེར་ཞབས་ལ་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས།

"At the council of well-written teachings, the sagely teacher, 
In a bowing throng of attendant-ministers unbiased in learning, 
On his elephant vehicle, which is the great perfection, 
Surveying all like Indra, with a thousand different eyes,
Confidently manifesting the hundred pointed vajra
Whose prongs are the points of teaching, debate, and composition, 
Wearing a crown that is set with gems of many traditions, 
The incomparable lord of learning who is known as Longchenpa, 
Is renowned as a king of the gods of a kind not seen before 
His fame surpasses even that of the lord of the world."

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dön Season

For the welfare of his students and all sentient beings, the late Trungpa Rinpoche introduced the period from the twentieth lunar day of the twelfth lunar month through the twenty-ninth lunar day (Tibetan reckoning) as "Dön [Tib. gdon] season." In the specific context of Shambhala teachings:
Döns refer to sudden attacks of depression, resentment, anger, or other negative emotions — like an unpredictable flu that takes us over. In the last ten days before the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, it is said that one can be more susceptible to döns, so it is a particularly good time to hear teachings about working with obstacles.
Trungpa Rinpoche taught his students to observe this season by reciting Pacifying the Turmoil of the Mamos one thousand times each day, for a total of ten thousand repetitions. The necessity for this is explained, in part, as follows:
Turmoil of the mamos, being connected with the feminine force, is more especially connected with breakdown of people's connectedness, their social fabric, dysfunctional families, betrayal of loyalties -- "perversion of passion" in that sense. It also refers to illness and disease, the body-mind energies being distorted and out of balance. A protector's practice is traditionally done at the close of the year to help clear away accumulated negativites. That is why we do the practice to Pacify the Turmoil of the Mamos at this time.
So, then, this coming Sunday, February 12, 2012, marks the beginning of the "spiritual flu season." One might at the very least take genteel precaution, such as sneezing into one's shoulder whenever one senses a discourse coming on.

Ah... ah... ah... choo!

On a neurotic level, you can chant with mindlessly feverish intent, avoid needless travel, and hide under the bed. On a rather more fearless level, you can chant with confidence, simply being open and generous about the intrinsic "solution" to any given "problem" that comes wandering through the graveyard, be it feminine, masculine, or any permutation thereof. From a pure state, there is nothing more required. You simply let things resolve naturally.

How can this be?

In the useful little commentary we have linked, one finds the notion that any seemingly unpleasant or sticky circumstances are both the cause and result of stirring up the mamos [Tib. ma mo]. The mamos, in turn, are defined this way:
"Mamos" refers to a wrathful "feminine" force, which is sometimes protective, but frequently destructive. The dharmapalas, especially the feminine wisdom dharmapalas, like Vetali and Ekajati, have hosts of mamos in their retinue.
A very dear friend of mine once asked me how to translate "mamo." I told him there was no convenient translation. You often see mamo translated as "witch," but this won't do. You can see "wrathful feminine deities," but this is not on mark: mamos can be worldly, other-worldly, and unique. The helpful Rigpa Wiki tells us: 
The mamos are considered to be among the main natural forces which may respond to human misconduct and environmental misuse by creating obstacles and disease.
Using the operative phrase "main natural forces" as a point of departure, and noting the cause and result aspect, maybe we can say that mamos represent the creative potency of immanent spontaneity. This can be true spontaneity, or it can be appropriated, twisted, filtered, edited, and bowdlerized to fit our egocentric notions of what is "this" and what is "that:" our faulty "logic" based on memorized rules acquired in the dark of dualism. In the case of true spontaneity -- in the case of leaving it all alone; of no more tinkering -- no harm, no foul. 

In the case of the latter?

A lot of trouble, really.

If you can quell the riot in yourself, there will be no need for Rangers. There will be nothing to see. Otherwise, as the above mentioned commentary suggests:
[A]t our level, "passion", or the feminine principle, functions as a force of creating harmony, friendship, and connectedness, in relationships and family, in community, between self and nature, and between mind and body. When the basic energy gets twisted further through the ego's centralization, it can become hunger, paranoid and jealous desire, manipulative, exploitative, or hypnotic energy, predatory seduction and betrayal, and so on.
In essence, we are talking about falling prey to our own weakness; our own sneakiness, or what might be colorfully known as "wiles:" our useless art of messing with perfection, of trying to enforce our will where (and when) we have absolutely no business enforcing anything. If we have a running tab of the weak and sneaky, it adds itself up as winter passes into spring, and the new year dawns. 

If we've made a career of weak and sneaky, then this is the season when we might well find ourselves taken abed with a virus that is its own cause and effect.

A virus the cure of which calls for nothing save its own cessation.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Mind's Ultimate Nature

Mind's ultimate nature, emptiness endowed with vividness,
I was told is the real Buddha.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of hierarchy.

Mind's ultimate nature, its emptiness aspect,
I was told is the real Dharma.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of political correctness.

Mind's ultimate nature, its vivid aspect,
I was told is the real Sangha
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of equal rights.

One cannot disassociate emptiness from vividness.
This inseparability I was told is the Guru.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with depending on chauvinist lamas.

This nature of mind has never been stained by duality,
This stainlessness I was told is the deity.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with the categories of "gender" or "culture."

This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

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Monday, February 06, 2012

A Dzogchen Confession

"A Confession" from 
Emptying the Depths of Hell

HUNG! How futile to project notions of being and nonbeing
Upon an unformed and inconceivable reality-continuum!
What misery to cling to delusions of a substantial reality!
Atone in the spaciousness of formless, concept-free pleasure.

How pointless to project notions of purity and impurity
Upon Kuntu Zangpo, who transcends all moral qualities!
How guilt-ridden are those who cling to moral dualities!
Atone in the spaciousness of Kunzang's pure pleasure.

How exhausting to cling to notions of self and others
In the sameness where superiority and inferiority cannot be!
What anxiety to cling to the duality of success and failure!
Atone in the spaciousness of the pure pleasure of sameness.

How futile to cling to concepts of this life and the next
When the Bodhisattva's mind is free of birth and dying!
What anxiety lies in obsession with birth and death!
Atone in the spaciousness of the deathless swastika.

How foolish to project concepts of concrete form and substance
Upon the cosmic seed that has no corners or edges!
What boredom lies in the limitations of squares and rectangles!
Atone in the spaciousness of the all-embracing spherical nucleus.

How stupid it is to project notions of beginning and end
In the timeless, unchangeable dimension of past, present and future!
What misery lies in the duality of transformation and gradual change!
Atone in the spaciousness of unchanging past, present and future.

How pointless to project causal relationships
Upon Awareness, naturally arising without strain or accomplishment!
What grief lies in distinguishing effort from attainment!
Atone in the spaciousness of effortless spontaneity.

How exhausting to cling to concepts of subject and object
In Knowledge-Awareness neither eternal nor temporal!
What misery to separate time from eternity!
Atone in the spaciousness of Knowledge-Awareness.

---revealed by Guru Chowang,
and translated by Keith Dowman

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Herd It From the Rabbit

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Karmapa's "Earthquake Flag"

Here is a special design from the Seventeenth Karmapa, meant to be printed out and placed over doors and windows, or simply matted or framed to hang upon the wall. Alternatively, it can be produced as a flag. It is meant to be of particular benefit in earthquakes, landslides, floods, volcanic eruptions, and other natural calamities. Download the above image, and then view at actual size.

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Of Events in Bhutan That Touch Us All

Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche (1931-2011)

Arrival of the Khudung at Paro, from New Delhi

Dungse Garab Rinpoche directs

Khudung preparing to leave airport

Procession accompanying Khudung

Thousands lined the road

The site

Arrival at site

Removing the Khudung

HRH the King of Bhutan pays respect

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life

The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a completely carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit.

We should realise openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole.  

This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points.  Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.

Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear.  But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.

When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.

We shouldn't make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception.  We shouldn't become like a cat watching a mouse. We should realise that the purpose of meditation is not to go "deeply into ourselves" or withdraw from the world.  Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.

Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion.  The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment.  This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise.  It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity.

All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid.  The whole universe is open and unobstructed - everything is mutually interpenetrating.

Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realise.  The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness.  Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.

This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness.  We are a symbol of our own enlightenment.  With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.

The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself.  Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are.  There should be no feeling of striving to reach some "amazing goal" or "advanced state."

To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.

When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialised or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realise that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation.   

Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything.  Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.

Therefore we should simply sit.  Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is.  Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think "I am meditating."  Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become "peaceful."

If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while.  Then we resume our meditation.  If we have "interesting experiences" either during or after meditation,  we should avoid making anything special of them.  To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural.  These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events.  We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.

All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future.  They are experienced in timelessness.

The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity.  We should learn to see everyday life as mandala - the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being.  

The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe.  By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being.  Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything.  This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.

In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future - our experience becomes the continuity of nowness.  The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present.  The future is only a projection of our present conceptions.  The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it.  So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?

We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation.   

Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality.  In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.

--attributed to Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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