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Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Dumbing Down of Our True Nature (part three)

All Buddhists pray to the inhabitants of the great realms of learning and progress such as the pure lands of the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas, in their realms, requesting release of the practitioner from the suffering human realm experience, isn't that so? These realms are visualized in Tantric practice and are described so the meditator can make connections to the Buddha and guidance beings associated with the Great Path to perfection of that higher realm.

Enlightened beings that emanate into this world to benefit those living under the acknowledged imperfect conditions here encourage people to not think this world is a final destiny of their evolution. As I have said in a previous column, science is now agreeing with Buddhism regarding the nature of physical reality. Science is now beginning the exploration of the interface between consciousness and the world. For example, the erratic behavior of an electron stabilizes due to perception and has location, otherwise it only remains as a probability. Buddhism, however, is beyond that and teaches how to explore the possibilities for preparation for transformation by the one living within an illusory realm. Because this is a perceptual realm, the way you exist and the way you think you exist are different. That misknowledge I call an aspect of the innate view.

Therefore, living in a way that you are not actually here, means that you are not the one you think you are. You are not even alive in the way you think you are. Gross physical and gross mental functions possess the adhered innate view and therefore thinking functions are not reliable indicators or truth devices. There is another kind of living being that is part of a more subtle version of the human being, alive on another level of reality, and that is the real you. You are not the real you.

This living being is not a human being. It does not speak English, or even Tibetan, French, or any known language. It is an energy-electrical being associated with the level of mind that transmigrates. It was alive before you were born, and it will be alive when you depart from this world. This living being is on an evolutionary journey to perfection. This being is associated with life process of the deepest inner mind development that you have. Because it is beyond the need to enter into denser manifestation itself, it has emanated you, a perceptual form being.

This is actually in the same methods that the Buddhas emanate that are in higher development; however, this inner mind being is not an enlightened being. It is self-referent, which means it only knows what it knows and it only has a certain amount of information. This being is on an evolutionary journey that will culminate by entering into perfection. This living being, whose present process has caused it to emanate into the human realm, has been emanating repeatedly into the human realm or other realms over a very long time. However, it has forgotten that it needs to make certain kinds of transformations in order to continue its journey and had been delayed by the confusion of this realm.

This living being is the real you or in any case, more real than you because it is more subtle, extremely long lived, more comprehensive and survives the gross death process. This extraordinary being appears to be internal to you and by that you might infer that it belongs to you but it does not belong to you. You are its emanation, continue to be connected to it your whole life and you belong to it. To be continued….

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Dumbing Down of Our True Nature (part two)

Since we need to address some of the concerns regarding the subject of the innate view most often reserved for scholars I have asked some of my students to comment. Below are some of their answers. Perhaps you agree, disagree, or have not given it much thought, which is probably where they are in their reasoning. Following that are some very short passages regarding the correct Buddhist intellectually held view that is the reason the students are complaining. After that, I will present another model for understanding the view, although I am personally quite fond of the classic view presentation.

Student: “ What I hear Rinpoche saying is that the argument is valid, but the analogy or language, the description that is used here, does not really resonate with us. I am saying that we do not think about things as wood and fire and water. We think about things as bones and blood or atoms and quarks.

Student: “We do believe that we are here as entities. We do believe it all the time. When you want to drink something, you think 'I want to drink something,' so, you believe in I, and so you take the glass and drink. If you did not believe in the existence of an I, then you would not have all those desires and all the negative emotions that come on the basis of this belief and ego, so it is present in all your actions and all your thoughts, and that is why we are in samsara.”

Student: “Somewhere back in there, they said that they make this great point that a human is not conventionally real based on, and then you named five or six things, but in the West, we do not believe that anyway. That does not address our innate view of the modern person. It addresses the innate view of Indians 2,500 years ago. I could listen to it all day, and say, so what?”

Student: “Well, it is not the existence of the I and the negation of the I that I have difficulty with. It is using an argument that is so old, it is not pertinent to us.”

Rinpoche: Okay, these are some interesting observations but let me go on with the classic Buddhist view worded so carefully and studied in this manner for scholars. "Ultimately, even names themselves do not exist, and at the conventional level, there is nothing aside from that which is posited on the strength of these strictly conventional labels. That is to say, all things exist only insofar as they are imputed through names. If one thoroughly understands this, then one should also clearly understand that all things necessarily exist in dependence on one another." This is the main thing that is going to make you look good if you can memorize and tell it to others. You try to remember this part of the argument, OK?

"Because they are dependently imputed and dependently produced, none of them exists through their own intrinsic being. There is no independent entity not merely posited on the strength of some particular conventional label. The Svatantrika maintains that it is not possible for any epistemological object to be established in reality as ultimately true or in actuality, yet he does assert existence at the conventional level through its own essence, its own unique distinguishing characteristic, and by virtue of its intrinsic being." Does that make it more palatable?

"The absence in a living being of any base for qualification of this self is called the Selflessness of the Person, while the same with respect to the eye, ear, and all things is titled The Selflessness of Things. Apprehension of the existence of an intrinsic being within the person and within insentient things is spontaneously regarded as the apprehension of the two selves." All right, so at least you know what subject is being talked about. "On account of the apprehension of the psychophysical constituents as I, one goes on to imagine the existence of a self which does not in fact exist, and then he becomes strongly attached to this self as if it was ultimately real." Okay? This is the end of this quote. Now, we go back to regular language here.

So, what is the meaning of the innate view in our little bit different discussion I promised earlier? The interest in knowing the nature of reality is actually not because we are interested in reality or truth or anything related to those subjects. We want to be happy and we want to know more about us- our favorite subject. For that reason, after we feel reasonably comfortable we would like to enhance the quality of our life by knowing how and why we are alive. For those who are satisfied, the vast unknown lies beyond satisfaction. People who live in manifest suffering want liberation but the intelligent happy person wants to know what lies beyond. There are two distinct methods for understanding how you are alive in the world. Is there a self, or a state that is called selflessness … and how are you alive here?

Two methods: The outer-based view is the classic Buddhist explanation of the unreality of human existence that chases the seeker of enlightenment with the stick of fear of the world as is described in the Pali Canon and the Abhidharma psychology. It is a bad place! You should get out of it. You should transcend as quickly as you can! It is just suffering. Do not hang around here! Do not even look back! This is the outer-based view of the beginning stages of development and preparation for transformation to freedom from suffering.

The simpler method, in my opinion, is the inner-based point of view. All of vast life is happening interior to the gross manifestation of the human realm. The Tantras and scriptures describe in detail the existence of other realms or ways of being beyond the reach of ordinary beings. The Buddha described his awakening from a dream and the state of release and relief that he experienced to be free from the suffering view of the dream like state. We also have a large body of valid experiences described by other trusted sources such as those who have also awakened from the dream and oppression of the suffering view that takes the transitory stream of change to be solid and real.

Science is now maturing enough to be able to describe what inner valid experiences by authentic sources have been described for thousands of years. The way the world appears is not how it actually exists. It is highly improbable that it exists at all, other than in a state of potentiality. In Buddhism, we call this potentiality, perception and call this realm and other realms, discrete perceptual realms. What science is not yet sure enough about, is the interface between consciousness and the physical potentiality at this point. As Buddhists, we are “holding space” and good wishes for those measurements to be done to their satisfaction. To be continued…

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Dumbing Down of Our True Nature (part one)

You have an obligation to examine the various elements of the human realm innate view and how that relates to the primary message of how you believe you are alive. I will use two different methods to discover truths about how we are alive that will be described in a later column. In order to do that in a meaningful way we need to begin that discovery, by continuing to demystify the gripping anxiety that many people feel toward subjects as scholarly as the Buddhist descriptions of the innate view.

Let us begin by remembering that an innate view would be, by definition, one that is not held by force of will power. In other words, you cannot hang onto it by thinking about it because it is not held by the intellect. It is also not held by remembering an innate view either as “These are the kinds of things that I believe in, me and my fellows,” or that you remember like a memory of your innate view. None of these is called an innate view by definition. Therefore, it must be a hidden programming, adhered, or glued, to an inner mind such as the subtle subconscious mind and/or even more subtle minds that are still part of your continuum.

Buddhism and other early inner scientists discovered that we possess more than one subconscious or subtle conscious mind identified as inner, subtle minds. These inner minds have various kinds of veils or barriers that separate them from each other as well as from the outer conscious mind. Unlike walking into a lobby of a hotel that has forty doors, there are not multiple doors opening from one main area for the purpose of our discussion of inner mind development toward the enlightened state. There are specific pathways toward higher development. The structure of these barriers and veils and how they work to hold space for higher development is a more secret topic. The important point here is that they do exist.

However, please note here that the increasingly subtle minds are only seen as subtle from a human realm perspective, and not from higher reality. The veils, barriers and separations act to contain space for various levels of potential development and the appearance to enlightened awareness is according to the development of the individual. It is like layers of plywood. To a less developed person without inner vision looking at the inner minds of an undeveloped person, it does not have separations but has an appearance like a steel plate preventing access to the interior. In addition, if there is no development, these levels are pressed together. As the mind opens and subtle levels of mind begin to energize for awakening, then the possibility for growth occurs within these subtle minds. Until then, that subtle mind has no self-awareness. In any case, since these subtle minds generally do not hold human valuations such as methods of holding memories, and so they exist invisibly, even within more developed persons.

Although it may seem that what is subtle is not very important as it is hardly here or discernible, however, the more subtle the inner mind, the stronger it is, because it is closer to reality than the human tool of the functioning mind. From higher and more subtle reality, the increasingly dense and complicated ways of existing are identified as belonging to categories of living beings up to and including the human realm. These are subjects of great concern to higher developed beings such as bodhisattvas and Buddhas. Their compassionate concern and how that becomes actions felt even in the denser realms such as the human realm is the focus of many discussions we have had and will continue to have and to discuss in the future in order to be receptive to that care.

The teachings of Buddhism such as scriptural advice, logical guidance such as Chandrakirtis “Twenty Emptinesses,” formal commentary as well as informal commentary are all results of this compassionate concern in action.

The traditional Buddhist statements regarding the basic condensed version of the innate view describe it as the confused or wrong view that a self exists when it does not. That is not complicated. This overarching arisal or organizational principle called self is the object to be negated, as it seems to hold a function of binding elements without a function of its own. This conclusion reached by Buddhist thinkers, scholars, and observers regarding the need to destroy the foundations of this organizational principle by destroying our confidence in the self is repeated throughout Buddhist philosophy and psychological training in the Buddhist path.

However, the presentation regarding the innate view is held to be almost impossible to understand correctly. In fact, there is quite a lot of anxiety even among logicians and scholars to gain a correct intellectual view and understanding of the issues surrounding the innate view.

So, in order to prove my point I will quote here a bit of commentary taken from classic Buddhist philosophy. "According to this system, if one understands the mechanism through which all things are merely posited on the strength of conceptual thought, then one will easily recognize that any apprehension of an intrinsically existent reality is made in contradiction with this mechanism." This is actually very correct. If you memorize and repeat it, others will think you are very intelligent! They will say, "I am not going to argue with that person because I have no idea what they are saying."

To continue the commentary, "The person is nothing more than an imputation made in dependence on a composite of parts. Therefore, there is no other entity to act as the base. Every conventionally real thing posited by conceptual thought must fulfill its own function. This is a most profound subtlety of the Madhyamika view." If you wish, you can say form follows function, which appears to be a very modern concept, but actually, it is ancient Madhyamika. To be continued…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Power of Hope- E is Enthusiasm

Part 5 of a series. This technique uses the mnemonic HOPE to help us remember a valuable technique. The last part of this is E for enthusiasm. A cultivated enthusiasm within the practice here allows you and trains or compels you to push away the negative by applying a positive protective shield. The enthusiasm in this process of dynamic, proactive hope will cause you to push away any negativity still surrounding the situation.

Like a protection, the surrounding situation of minor negativity is now being pushed away. You are not only making a clear space that is free of this obstacle but also clearing away everything associated with the obstacle that may be holding it to the situation. In addition, you are pushing away any negative thinking on your part, such as, “Oh, it probably did not do any good, but anyway, I tried.” Push it away. Push it away with the power of enthusiasm for the best outcome of success. Any negative thinking, such as, “Oh, maybe tomorrow it will be different. It will be back just as bad or worse than it was today.” Push it away!

Your enthusiasm, which is still based upon the arisal of your inner being, is produced by your mind and motivation here so that there is no decline or decay any of the positive process that has just happened. This seals the hope and seals your hope session practice. You have sealed it so that it neither will revert, nor become infected. Your controlled enthusiasm for this virtuous process will destroy any negative thinking on your part, any negativities surrounding the situation, as well as never allowing the positive benefits to disappear.

In addition, I add in order to be really clear not to misuse this skillful technique to do any harm, may any negative motivation that arises be instantly destroyed. Further, may the wishes of anyone who would misuse this precious teaching, may it never come to fruition and anyone who would use this for negativity, may they never get the desired result!

The last point is this should never be a long-term dynamic. This is meant to be done over a very short period of time. Do not continue to work this dynamic toward the same obstacle, the same issue again, and again, and again, over a long time. It harms you. It will harm you.

This also does not mean that you are guaranteed the results of success. Doing this ritual will not guarantee success, only the part that you are responsible for, and that will be cleaned. That is the success you can deal with; what you are able to purify. This I share with you freely, a technique which have been in my tradition for a very, very long time, held in a process of secrecy. Here I am telling you how to do it. I share it with you. I hold this knowledge now in you, and please use it carefully for benefit. The end.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Power of Hope- P is for Perseverance

Part 4 of a series. The third part of HOPE is P for perseverance. Any pleasure that we might receive by the anticipation of success in ordinary hope is modified by fear. There is a heaviness of vacillation with a finer energetic oscillation, between hope and fear, which creates a different state of mind called worry. It is an absolute method used to harm your ability to get the desired outcome. The negative energy of worry gives the additional ammunition brought into hope creating even further doubts that the outcome will be successful. This is where we need to get out our own big six-shooter.

Worry weakens positive outcome. In its best form, hope is pretty sure that you are going to get the desired outcome with only a small amount of doubt. However, fear is a big doubt so we need to reduce and eventually eliminate doubt. Now, here is where we affirm and strengthen the mind of auspiciousness. The mind of auspiciousness holds space for the best outcome to arise without wavering and we cannot permit doubt to enter into this space. This is where we find out what kind of yogis and yoginis you really are!

You may not indulge in doubt because it will damage your mind of auspiciousness while you are very tender and learning how to do it. So, I would suggest, if you are going to practice this, do not do it with any kind of scary objective for your hope practice. Maybe we should take an object that we are pretty sure of, like will the sun come up tomorrow morning. You can practice destroying the obstacles toward that. You know, I think the Mayans did this, or the Aztecs. When they had the end of a cycle and they had a big doubt that their sun would come up the next morning at the end of their calendar, they would do a tremendous amount of ritual. They might even do sacrifices so the sun would come up the next morning but that is certainly not very kind or a Buddhist method.

Therefore, it is not going to be so hard to practice the mind of auspiciousness when you are fairly certain of the outcome. In that way, your doubt that the sun will come up in the morning will be very small to begin with. Use a practice model for which you are capable of eliminating the doubt definitively. A doubt comes up, “How could it possibly? It is always darkest before the dawn.” I do not know what kinds of doubts might arise for you regarding the sun coming up tomorrow morning, but you can dispel them without too much difficulty.

In that way, you practice. You might even invent something, “What if an asteroid came and hit the whole world tonight? Could it mean that the sun would not come up tomorrow morning?” It is not likely. It has not happened in a million billion years. Whatever you tell yourself, you practice dispelling doubts before they arrive in the center of your space which holds the mind of auspiciousness. This is how yogis become strong. They begin with examples that are certain that they can win to give a sense of success.

Like this, the mind of auspiciousness is holding a place in your mind, which becomes filled with the atmosphere of success. It is actually a very internal place, not an outer mental function, but literally within an inner mind. Now, should you be able to place your mind in the clear unobstructed state of reality, that would be the place. These are part of the skillful practices that the bodhisattvas train in and do for the benefit of living beings.

For your purpose, though, I have created another kind of visualization. Close your eyes, and look at the obstacle in its clarified form, which is now like a crystal ball. This is what it now looks like after it has been suffused and the obstacles destroyed. What used to be a stone, now has become like a crystal. Lift that up to eye level in your right hand, and look carefully at this crystal ball turning it as you view it, peering into it carefully. This is your mind of auspiciousness. Turn that crystal ball, and look at it until some inner sign tells you to put it down, which means at that point, it is okay, and you have done everything that you could. If you do not get an inner signal, do not do for more than a minute. If you are starting to feel slightly uncomfortable, it meant that you went past the time that the sign told you to put it down.

Keeping your eyes closed tell yourself, “I did well. Now I am going to put this ball down.” Putting it down, it disappears. This is not psychic enhancement or play and I do not approve of the misuse of this knowledge. This technique is to be used carefully. Do not play with this crystal ball. If you felt compelled to continue looking, be careful. You may have an obstacle in you that wants to play with psychic, and that will harm you.

How beautiful and careful our techniques in Tibet were, allowing people to have skillful activities performed for them, for their benefit. It would be very wrong to learn these techniques so that one could harm others. We never used it that way. It is deluded to want “magic” to become powerful and controlling. This is a peaceful yoga, not to be used for personal unwholesome gain. To be continued…

Monday, April 20, 2009

Power of Hope O- Overcoming Obstacles Cleansing

Part 3 of a series. No matter how dense the stone, we will be capable of suffusing it, going through to the far edges of that object and filling it, even if it is a stone. After suffusion with white light, the second step is to marinade the obstacle in white liquid light. In space before us, we saturate this object that is the obstacle in energetic form. This is done by marinating it, which allows the mind of the yogi to arise in a different energetic quality. Marinating with intense white light, so thick it is nectar, fills from the bottom up, whereas suffusing has a penetrating by light quality.

Remembering that this is the obstacle to the success, we strongly light marinade it allowing it to penetrate by remaining for some time. While you are marinating this obstacle, you are also holding the mind of auspiciousness so that the qualities of that meditation are reaching deep into the obstacle and holding it there for some time. I hope many will be able to destroy every obstacle through this powerful meditation!

This activity changes your perception of the situation. As you are doing it, the obstacle is changing also. The obstacle, by being suffused with transformative light is becoming altered. It does not change a half hour after you finish this, but it is changing as you are suffusing and marinating it with light and nectar. The entire energetic relationship has changed. Something is also happening to your perceptions in relationship to the object and the situation.

There is a third part of this visualization of overcoming obstacles. After it has been suffused by white light and marinated in nectar light, the yogi takes up a visualized sword. Penetrating with a sword of light to its core; to its absolute core the obstacle is destroyed! Destroyed completely and without remainder! We have no compassion for obstacles if our motivation is correct. To its core means that whatever the original causes and conditions that brought the obstacle into being have been destroyed also and cannot be regenerated.

You are destroying the harmful situation by working with only the obstacle. I think it is better to use a visualized stone or to use another kind of visualized object. The seed is what you are going after. The seed is the nub of the issue. Let us continue to remember, we are not talking about overcoming obstacles as the general instruction here. We are still describing technique and remedy to achieve the power of hope. There are other methods for overcoming stubbornness and obstacles in general that are not the purpose here.

We are continuing the power of hope it is O in hope, meaning overcoming obstacles. Since we have hoped in a very hopeless manner for a very long time, let us continue to look at hope in a dynamic, proactive manner to get the desired outcome. We maintain high motivation for the benefit of all living beings in whatever techniques are practiced, so we never, ever hope in the negative or wishing harm to come to others. We must always hope in the positive sense that the outcome will be free from obstacles and then the natural clarity of benefit will come.

To summarize so far, closing your eyes, we rise up to the best of our ability, from the navel in the inner energy body. Next, we visualize, gathering the mind of auspiciousness while holding and being the energetic container for the highest outcome. Now, see with the inner eye an actual object for the visualization of the unknown obstacle, in the form of a stone, a pudding, or a gray cloud. First, suffuse it with white light, then marinate it with nectar light, and hold this for a short time. Now, with a sudden movement, penetrate it with a sword of light to the center destroying the seed of the obstacle. Now, open your eyes and rest. To be continued…

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Power of Hope- O – Overcoming Obstacles Purification

Part 2 of a series. Using the mnemonic of HOPE to remember the technique for proactive wishing we now look at overcoming the obstacles. As described in part one, we are now holding a dynamic energetic that can support the wish/hope. Now we apply to this high energetic, several different valuations and very little else, meaning we should do it in a concentrated manner. It is also important to maintain a focused mind of open abundance, what I have always called a mind of auspiciousness. This is a certain energetic holding, that allows space for the highest outcome to arise without allowing the mind to pick up difficulties and “enliven” or infect further the problem. At this point, we are literally acting as the energetic support, through various bodies such as inner and outer energetic bodies, mental functions cooperating toward highest outcome, as well as motivationally holding success. This explanation will be expanded a bit later.

So, what chakras, which system and what color is this energetic body? Many of you have received teachings, guidance and have read books about the chakras. These energy centers are described as being a lotus, and further described as what color this lotus is and whether it is upside down or right side up. Even the tantric tradition is filled with descriptions of different colors of lotuses and who is sitting on the lotus, and who is not sitting on the lotus, and how they get into the lotus…. Really, I am making a small joke, but the colors of the chakras, and the various kinds of bodies that are connected with this chakra and that chakra, and how this body is colored; most of these descriptions are parts of teaching systems and do not have anything to do with how the energy plexes actually appear or exist.

In our tantric system, the central channel is described as 2-1/2 turns of the right and left channels around the central channel or sushumna. This is a teaching description and does not have anything to do with the way the central channel and the right and left channels actually exist within you. When I described in the previous chapter how to stand up in an energy body, there is no indication of a particular color given. In fact, if anything, it is transparent.

We looked at H as highest outcome. O is overcoming obstacles. The reason you are hoping for a result is because you are unsure of the outcome. On the other hand, you do not have any problem with waiting for a positive result if that would be a certainty. All you would have to do is sit back and wait for the perfect result to arrive. The reason why you are hoping at all is because there is a good chance that there is an obstacle or a problem which is staring at you through the issue that you are working on, isn't that so? When you choose the word hope, it means that you do not want to think that there are any obstacles, and in this way, your hoping is not proactive, but an unskillful fantasy. You might even say to others, "I am not going to think about any problems whatsoever. I am just going to hope for the highest outcome."

However, we know there are always obstacles. Where there is hope, there is a battle between success and failure. Now, this is not about an optimistic view of the situation or a cultivated mind of auspiciousness. So, I reiterate, we are discussing hope, and the deliberate mind of auspiciousness is an element of that state of mind done in this yogic method.

The yogi here realistically acknowledges a progression in achieving the best results of hope by holding this energetic pattern for the mind of auspiciousness to remain without disappointing that state of yogic confidence. Next, we move our attention to another issue; there is something that has to be done with the obstacle. This obstacle does not need to be understood, named, or solidified in order to overcome it. In fact, we want it to stay right where it is for the present time. A danger here is to try to “understand” the problem in the middle of a process because intellectual curiosity will move it to the outside. At this point, it is better to affirm that there is some unknown obstacle but inside you there is something that knows, and that is what will identify and direct the intention of destruction of the obstacle.

There are three steps that you will be capable of accomplishing while you are honestly wishing to overcome the obstacle that is preventing success from arising. It is as though there was a stone blocking water from flowing in a fountain. This process will also prevent the mind from indulging in harmful worry because worry and hope are so close energetically. You want to make sure that hope is the one that you visit and that you do not keep going back and forth from worry to hope.

Yogis know that they would not work on this dynamic of hope unless it is something that is important and so they are going to do it unless needed. Once that is affirmed, we can say that whatever the obstacles are, whether you know the obstacles or not, or whether you know what it is that prevents you from having success, you want to have a method by which you can deal with it in a proactive manner.

Visualize the obstacle in space in front of you. Regarding the form of the obstacle, it is better to take an object such as a stone or pudding that help to describe to the conscious mind the energetic nature, rather than so-and-so person. It could be pudding consistency or it could be even a gray cloud.

You begin by suffusing that object with white light. Suffuse it completely with white light even if it has a solidity of a stone. This intense light can permeate anything. Suffuse means it is untouched by any obstacle itself and able to remain as light without contamination. This is done with a mind of auspiciousness and is supported by the standing up energy of highest outcome. Now hold this for some time without thinking about it while the light absorbs the level of confusion that it is there to heal. This can happen in a surprisingly strong manner. To be continued…