Monday, 23 April 2018

Force results either in hilarity or frustration

Aro Encyclopaedia The practice of shi-nè involves the renunciation of attachment to form as a reference point.  Through shi-nè we learn that we cannot force thought.  We need to be completely purposelessly welcoming. Whatever thought arises simply moves in its own way.  Any approach involving force results either in hilarity or frustration.  One needs a sense of humour about one’s condition.  One catches oneself trying to force meditation – repeatedly.  All we can do, however, is watch ourselves in the process of trying, until trying wears itself out with trying in the open space of awareness.  This is patience in terms of shi-nè – as we speak of it from the point of view of the Four Naljors of Dzogchen sem-dé.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: The Ten Paramitas, Khandro Déchen  

Monday, 16 April 2018

Karma: the personal police state

Aro Encyclopaedia Our karma is entirely how we perceive the world – moment by moment. So the ‘law of karma’ is not just law, it is the entire legal system. It ranges from the inception of the legislature to the nature of law enforcement and punishment. Our perception is the legislation and our responses enforce it. We are our own judge, jury, and prosecution. We sentence ourselves, gaol ourselves, and execute ourselves. This is the only entirely accurate legal system – but its accuracy only exists within its own frame of reference.
Meditation is our only weapon against this repressive regime and constitutes civil disobedience in the form of ‘passive resistance’. By allowing the development of experiential space through shi-nè – through letting go and letting be – we discover our own intrinsic awareness. The Four Naljors of Dzogchen Sem-dé is one of the ultimate crimes against the ‘law of karma’ and is punishable by enlightenment – the final revolution and overthrow of the legal system.


Aro Encyclopaedia Index:  Karma: the personal police state Ngak'chang Rinpoche

Monday, 9 April 2018

Power

Wisdom Eccentrics   I have thought about this question of power many times, since my discussions with Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche. I have realised that power has got very little to do with power to – but rather, power not to.  It is not a question of supernormal abilities.  It’s a question of being prepared to die in the next moment – to be totally insignificant. The power to be unafraid of looking like an idiot.  The power not to care about what people think or say.  It is not a question of being physically, intellectually, or emotionally strong – but of being open to annihilation. Everything has to matter—and not matter—at the same time.

p242, 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, 2 April 2018

Boredom is actually the threshold of discovery

It is said that meditation isn’t, because it’s not an end in itself.  It is said that getting used to is, because the enlightened state is already there and we simply have to become accustomed to that.  So, meditation is getting used to the enlightened state, cooperating with the enlightened state.
What’s important is simply being.  We simply get used to the condition in which thoughts are not present or in which they arise and dissolve.  Boredom is actually the threshold of discovery.  This is just the point at which something interesting could happen—if we simply continue to sit. 
p24, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7


Monday, 26 March 2018

Bringing practice into everyday life

To integrate practice into everyday life, you can let go of the sharp divisions between the times when you’re sitting and the times when you’re not sitting.  You should allow the spaciousness you discover in your sitting to overflow into your ordinary life experience.  You can start by allowing the postpractice period to be a time when you remain completely with whatever you’re doing.
If you sit for an hour, make sure that you have at least fifteen to thirty minutes for the postmeditation period.  When you get up from your sitting session, stand up slowly and with awareness.  Continue to find the presence of your awareness in whatever sensation arises—but avoid conceptualizing about the process.
You could get up and make a cup of coffee.  You could do the washing up.  But whatever you do, simply be with what you’re doing.

p153-154, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 19 March 2018

Creative potential and vibrant emptiness

Imagination relies on empty perception.  Painting relies on empty planes.  Sculpture relies on empty space.  Music relies on empty time.  Literature relies on empty concepts.  If we are to realise the art of freedom, if we are to discover our creative potential, we need to rely on the experience of our instrinsic vibrant emptiness—the beginningless ground of what we are.
The gateway to the art of freedom is the practice of shi-nè—our method of approaching the white canvas of Mind.



p49, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 12 March 2018

Motivation without a drag factor

Attuned intent is motivation without a ‘drag factor’.  It’s streamlined—aerodynamic.  It gives you access to incredible power and capacity for accomplishment of whatever needs to be accomplished.  In order to accelerate into the unimaginable, we have to let go of the ballast—jettison the habits of view that create drag factors. 
The drag factor is the thing that slows you down.  Mixed and conflicting motivations produce a drag factor and inhibit our development and growth as human beings.  As long as there’s a drag factor, we experience frustration and the unsatisfactory outcome of our wishes or intentions, whatever they might be.  Attuned intent is unmixed motivation, motivation without conflict—single-pointed motivation.
 p145-146, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 5 March 2018

The vajrayana view of wealth

Aro EncyclopaediaThe awakened mind warriors delight in unbounded wealth because their appreciation is unlimited.  Appreciation generates generosity which knows no limits.  
The Vajrayana view of wealth is grounded in the understanding that one owns everything that enters one’s sense fields. We own whatever we appreciate, to the extent that we appreciate it and for the duration that we appreciate it. We do not require personal ownership in order to own. Our ownership does not restrict the ownership of others, because our ownership is simply that of appreciative faculties.
This non-possessive, non-controlling absence of tenure is called ‘vajra greed’ or ‘non-dual greed’ – greed on behalf of others. Greed on behalf of all beings is both the maximum possible avarice, and the ultimate expansion of generosity.       

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: The Ten Paramitas, Khandro Déchen  
 
 


Monday, 26 February 2018

We have to begin with that which presents itself

One begins with the accidental nature of what is occurring—and accepts that as the nature of one's current reality. 
We do not have to begin with clarity, because clarity is inherent in every situation.  We simply have to begin with that which presents itself.  This will include our mistakes and the mistakes of others.  It will include errors, omissions, miscalculations, appropriations, misappropriations, faux pas, indiscretions, and oversights . . . 
Clarity is a groundless experience, but one that we can only realise when ground and groundlessness are realised a non-dual.  When we accept confusion as the rich ground from which clarity can be discovered, we can cease being our own enemies. 

p3, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

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

Bedazzlement

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