Monday, 19 February 2018

Drinking the wine of the situation

Simply allow the given situation to be what it is.  Simply avoid the urge to convert it into something else – that is to say, do not attempt to translate it in terms of an educational process.  Simply see it.  Simply perceive it.  Then simply allow it to abandon itself. 
If you experience something and then allow the experience to abandon itself, you will provide space in which felt-knowledge and phenomena merely take their own course.  Self-abandonment is the yeast in the fermentation process in which mind gives rise to wine – rather than whining. 

p76, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 12 February 2018

Appreciation, natural etiquette, and unpretentious elegance

What I try to encourage is appreciation.  True appreciation is, of course, natural elegance.  Fundamental appreciation of phenomena—in the very nature of their appearance—is all that is needed.  There are the phenomena which we apprehend, the phenomena of our being, replete with the sense fields which animate that being.  Elegance is composed of delight and fearless embracement in which we are not gluttonous, timid, or torpid.  Every deranged default impetus is overridden with the sense of splendour, the sense of exquisiteness, the sense of immaculacy. 
From the point of view of Dzogchen, the beauty of genuine decorum lies in the non-manipulativeness of its natural etiquette and unpretentious elegance.  We should all therefore aspire to appreciate what is beautiful in each other–whatever the clothing or absence thereof.

p196, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7


Monday, 5 February 2018


Space exists but we tend to miss it.  We miss space because we are always looking for it.  A vast dimension exists, but we never seem to see it.  We tend to be too concerned with the microscopes and telescopes of conventional credibility, but we never gaze at immediacy with our naked eyes.  If we simply looked we could find the specialness of reality.
All we need to do is gaze tenderly at the living bedazzlement of existence.  We could just simply gaze at whatever arises and enjoy the immense vision.  We would then realise that celebration is taking place in the vastness of inner and outer space.

p198, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Vajrayana is every art

Wisdom Eccentrics  Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche told me “Vajrayana is not ordinary and so ordinary language cannot be used.  Vajrayana is the poetry of existence beyond space and time.  Vajrayana is every art and you must be practising every art.  If you do not practise every art – how can you know the elements?  And if you do not know the elements – how can you know the essence of the elements and open your eyes to great vision?”

p3, Wisdom Eccentrics : Rumours of realisation as told by Künzang Dorje Rinpoche with additional tales of the unexpected.  
Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9653948-6-4

Monday, 22 January 2018

“Why can’t you play like a normal boy?!”

Wisdom Eccentrics   Silent sitting seemed to be the heart of it all – and so I sat every day.  The idea of sitting was intriguing because I'd sat silently since childhood – and had been harangued about it by my father “Why can’t you play like a normal boy?!”  I was always able to sit and stare – without going off into dreams.  I’d just observe the colours and sounds of my environment and allow them to drift in and out of my observation.

It was the idea of silence that eventually led me to Dzogchen as being the heart of everything.

p26, Wisdom Eccentrics : Rumours of realisation as told by Künzang Dorje Rinpoche with additional tales of the unexpected.  
Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9653948-6-4

Monday, 15 January 2018

Non-celibacy is a more demanding path

Aro EncyclopaediaOne needs to approach sexuality with respect, kindness, and openness.  One needs to understand that the alternative to celibacy in Buddhism is not merely selfish indulgence of one’s desire at the expense of others.  One can ‘dress’ sexual misconduct in the clothing of freedom and lack of moralistic inhibitions, but it remains an obstacle to practice nonetheless.
This is an important statement in view of the high regard shown to celibate practitioners in terms of their discipline.  It could be something of a shock to some to realise that non-celibacy is a more demanding path, and that its discipline is vast and subtle.  It should be accurately understood, that ordination into the gö kar chang lo’i dé (gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe) is not chosen as an ‘easier option’ than celibacy.  The monastic path is simpler and easier to follow.  It is completely structured and designed to support the individual, whereas the structure of Vajrayana embraces endless nuances of reality as the play of precision and passion.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Tralam-mé: founding relationships on Vajrayana principles by Ngak’chang Rinpoche & Khandro Déchen



Monday, 8 January 2018

Tralam-mé is the manner in which people accidentally rhyme with each other

Aro Encyclopaedia

Tralam-mé in ordinary terms pertains to anything that happens in the sky – weather conditions, precipitation, rainbows, the Aurora Borealis, asteroids, meteor showers, seeing the stars in the sky, the moon in the sky, visions in the sky, whatever happens in the sky.
In terms of Dzogchen long-dé tralam-mé is used in the context of vajra romance – and thus we translate the term as poetic turbulence. Poetic turbulence is the romantic energetic which is sparked by the capacity for realisation in two individuals.
Tralam-mé does not exist simply as an interface between male-female romantic couples; it exists between everyone and everything everywhere.
Tralam-mé affects how people relate with each other.  We call it poetic turbulence as an emptiness and form coinage.  Tralam-mé is the manner in which people accidentally rhyme with each other – the manner in which they fall in love.
Tralam-mé allows you to experience the non-dual sparkling through in respect of your partner.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Tralam-mé   Questions & answers with Ngak’chang Rinpoche

Monday, 1 January 2018

Every aspect of human existence

 Aro Encyclopaedia
The wonderful quality of Vajrayana is the way in which it approaches every aspect of human existence as being fundamentally workable.  Whatever the situation happens to be, it can be transformed through the practice of Vajrayana.  We do not have to be afraid of what is manifesting and neither do we have to confuse ourselves with the idea that Buddhism needs to be adapted for the West.  Ideas of this nature do not relate with Vajrayana and the methodology of transformation.  If one really understands Vajrayana – one understands that every culture is actually ideal for Vajrayana.
Aro Encyclopaedia Index:  Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike  Ngak'chang Rinpoche interview 1997

Monday, 25 December 2017

What is Buddhism?

Aro Encyclopaedia Buddhism is a statement of our intrinsic goodness; and the possibility of discovering that intrinsic goodness.  This is the simple answer, but complex questions can arise from that.  Giving a simple answer is not always that simple.  When I use the word goodness, I am not using it in the sense of nicey-nicey goodness, or piety, or sanctity, or holiness – ‘goodness’ here relates to complete value. This goodness is the goodness of freshly baked bread; the goodness of seeing a field of sunflowers; the goodness of birth and death; the goodness of being present. There is a basic goodness, a basic sanity with which we can connect. We have that – we simply need to allow ourselves the non-referential space to find it.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Ah, but I was so much older then – I'm younger than that now. Ngak'chang Rinpoche interview 1993 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Living the View is Refuge

Aro EncyclopaediaThe theme that runs through the levels of Buddhist Refuge is the refuge of no refuge.  Through practice we come to understand that there is no state or object that can give us safety from the neuroses of our own minds; that the only way we can be liberated from conditioned perception and response, and the confusion that arises from our attempts to separate emptiness and form, is to aspire to the enlightened state.  This confidence and Refuge can only remain alive and of use to us through practice  Living the View is Refuge: recognising the frustration and irritation we experience as opportunities for realisation, as much as the joy and love. 

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Refuge by Ngakma Nor’dzin Pamo

Monday, 11 December 2017

The sparkling-through of enlightenment

Enlightenment is our natural state, and so it is not surprising that it manifests from time to time. Unenlightenment is the constant activity with which we engage. We have to work at it all the time. So when life circumstances intervene, in terms of short-circuiting this continual effort, we experience glimpses of realisation. These glimpses can radically change people’s lives, but it is a hit-or-miss affair to hope that life is going to ‘do it for you’ when the time is ripe. You have to cooperate with the sparkling-through of enlightenment by disengaging from referentiality and continuing with presence of awareness.

p122, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 4 December 2017

Taking responsibility for being ‘the one who makes the first move’

Aro Buddhism  As an awakened-mind warrior, one takes responsibility for being ‘the one who has to forgive’. As an awakened-mind warrior, one takes responsibility for being ‘the one who makes the first move towards better relationships.’ As an awakened-mind warrior, one takes responsibility for being ‘the one who does not become angry in the face of those who are locked in neurotic patterns’.

A mother forgives the child who drops his dinner on the floor. She acknowledges her child’s incapacities. Her generosity provides instantaneous forgiveness. Her generosity provides opportunities for her child to acquire greater motor skills.
In this way the awakened-mind warrior develops infinite generous capacity to act for the benefit of everyone and everything, everywhere.

Aro Buddhism: Generosity - a teaching by Khandro Déchen

Monday, 27 November 2017

Tantric Ordination

Aro EncyclopaediaThe ngakphang tradition is colorful, individualistic, and highly heterodox. The ngakpas and ngakmas, are the ordained, robe wearing members of this tradition. They are neither ‘lay’, nor ‘monastic’, nor ‘in between’ and defy all attempts to pigeon-hole them into the neat and tidy categories of authoritarian institutions. They are a parallel stream of practice to that of the better known monastic sangha, and represent an opportunity for western people to establish the highest possible commitment to the Buddhist path without having to become celibate.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: The Ngakphang Tradition, Ngak'chang Rinpoche 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Life will seem more infused with energy

Aro EncyclopaediaIt is not always easy to be kind, but it is also not that difficult because kindness flows naturally from our beginningless non-dual nature.  So if we remind ourselves constantly to be kind, we constantly put ourselves in closer contact with our primordial non-dual state. There is also something in the activity of kindness that has an effect on us. 

When we make the effort to be kind, we may find that it becomes increasingly effortless. It may begin to flow naturally, and make us glad that we can experience such warmth and openness. A truly kind act is an act of pure appropriateness and therefore whenever we are kind , there will be an element of appropriateness. Life will seem more infused with energy, and there will seem fewer obstructions. Kindness simplifies situations.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Kindness: The power of the awakened mind warrior, Ngak'chang Rinpoche 

Monday, 13 November 2017

The open-mindedness and kindness of lovers

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon The lover's open-mindedness equates with wisdom inasmuch as lovers cannot remain lovers if they become closed-minded with each other.
The lover's kindness equates with compassion inasmuch as lovers cannot remain lovers if they entertain the possibility of causing each other pain or distress.
Kindness is elicited by the kindness of one's lover, and one's own kindness achieves reciprocal responsiveness: kindness escalates and becomes addictive.  Through the self-orientation of our grasping, self-orientation loosens of itself, and dissolves within the fluidity of the needs perceived in one's lover.

p147, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 6 November 2017

Romance lures us into spiritual practice

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Desire habitually promotes self-seeking.  The desire which drives romantic pursuit is no exception to this – apart that is, from the fact that something else occurs.  When we are drawn to the person we desire for ourselves – we communicate our desire to the one we desire.  In so doing – we are unsuspectingly drawn into spiritual practice.  The practice, into which we are enticed, is that of wisdom and compassion.  We begin to display unusual open-mindedness and uncharacteristic kindness – but what is more extraordinary, is that we feel inexplicably unthreatened in so doing.

p146, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 30 October 2017

Desire promotes the spiritual qualities of wisdom and compassion

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Samsara presents opportunities for realisation – simply by virtue of samsara's failure to function.  Samsara is a self-defeating self-frustrated cycle, which is unsuccessful even within its own terms.  Because duality cannot function successfully within its own parameters – it cannot help but provide opportunities for realising nonduality. 
As soon as we seriously examine samsara – we begin to find it somewhat implausible; and that, is an intriguing discovery.  The Nyi-da Mélong (a Dzogchen tantra from the Aro gTér) takes this intriguing discovery as one of an array of interwoven themes.  The Nyi-da Mélong explores the texture of romance from the perspective of the manner in which desire itself promotes the spiritual qualities of wisdom and compassion.

p146, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 23 October 2017

Tantra illuminates the nature of romance

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Vajrayana enables us to appreciate romantic relationship as containing immense potential for sensating with precision and passion – for living with pristine panache.
The potential inherent within the experience of loving and being loved expresses itself as the subtle oscillation of: pleasure and pain; hope and fear; gain and loss; meeting and parting; and, acceptance and rejection.  The energy of adoring and being adored is a communication which teeters on the brink of realisation – balanced between nondual consummation and consuming delusion.
Tantra illuminates the nature of romance in terms of how it functions as both spiritual potential, and potential neurosis.
p145, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 16 October 2017

The twilight language of Tantra

Wearing the Body of Visions  Language is simply a vehicle, and with Tantra in particular we speak of twilight language – language that bridges the known and unknown.  When we speak of Tantra, somewhere along the line, the intellect has to get left behind.  When words are used in this way, there's no choice but to feel the meaning.  There is magnificent spacious passion in Tantra, that gives birth to poetry of the most powerful kind – the poetry without poet.  Actually that's too constricting a statement.  What we're really talking about is the poetry beyond poet and no-poet – the instantaneous explosive nature of meaning.

p26, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 9 October 2017

Confidence allows divergence of view without hostility

Wearing the Body of Visions  Tolerance doesn't involve smoothing over all the differences, it means seeing the differences, and allowing them to be there without making any damming judgements.  Tolerance actually means having real confidence.
Divergence of view is possible without there having to be hostility.  If you have confidence in your own path, you don't have to denigrate other paths.  You don't have to shore yourself up by dismissing other systems – that is simply not necessary.
So let us by all means disagree with certain views.  But let that not make us angry or violent!  Let us also have the good grace to acknowledge the benefit there may be in systems that employ different concepts.  We could in fact approach this thing with great gentleness and humour!

p24-25, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4