Faults in Meditation
If you experience dullness and drowsiness, arouse awareness. If you experience excitement and agitation, relax your mind. Always, the mediator’s vivid mindful awareness should not impose a disciplined mindfulness. Mindfulness is simple recollection of the recognition of your own nature.
Continuously sustain vivid mindful awareness at all times as you go about your daily activities, whether eating, sleeping, moving or sitting, whether during meditation or post-meditation. Never harbor hope or fear toward whatever thoughts arise, such as those of happiness or suffering, or of the passions; do not accept or reject them; and do not destroy them using antidotes, and so forth. Instead, whatever feelings of happiness and suffering are there, settle in their naked, vivid, lucidly present essence. This single vital point, and none other, applies to everything. Do not confuse yourself with a lot of thinking.
A separate meditation upon emptiness as an antidote to what must be relinquished—thoughts and passions—is unnecessary. Awareness of what must be relinquished liberates it naturally with that recognition, like a snake’s knot uncoiling.
Most people know how to say the words “the ultimate concealed meaning of the Clear Light Vajra Essence,” like a parrot’s chatter, but don’t know how to practice it. We are all so incredibly fortunate! Carefully consider this once again—there’s something to be understood. During our beginningless series of lives until now, our mortal enemy, dualistic clinging, binds us to the wheel of life. Now, thanks to our spiritual master’s kindness, his introduction to naturally abiding dharmakaya releases both poles of grasping, like a feather consumed in fire, with nothing following and without a trace. Isn’t that really satisfying?
If you do not practice once you’ve obtained the swift path’s profound instructions such as these, it is as if a wish-fulfilling jewel were placed in a corpse’s mouth. What a waste! Practice without being discouraged!
Furthermore, beginners will lose their mindfulness in distraction due to unwholesome thoughts that get out of control; these thoughts coalesce in the form of underlying mental activity. At some point, a piercing mindfulness returns, and the thought of regret arises, “Oh, I’m distracted!” Nevertheless, do not do anything whatsoever at that moment, such as stopping the flow of previous thoughts or regretting having been distracted. When this vivid mindfulness returns, it is sufficient just to sustain naturally resting in precisely that mindfulness.
A famous saying advises, “Do not reject thoughts; see them as dharmakaya.” However, until you perfect higher insight’s subtle power, you might dwell upon the thought, “This is probably dharmakaya!” and remain in a blank state of peaceful abiding. You thus risk getting trapped in a spaced-out, indifferent, unreflective state. Therefore, in the beginning look directly at whatever thoughts arise; do not examine, analyze or reflect upon them at all. Rest upon the recognizer of thoughts, without making it a big deal, disinterested in what arises, like an old man watching children at play.
Once you’ve placed your mind as I described, the deepening of the experience of stillness in a non-conceptual natural state will be suddenly, abruptly destroyed. At that instant, primordial wisdom beyond mind will nakedly and clearly manifest.
While you tread the path, this experience of primordial wisdom will not come untainted with one or another of three meditative experiences—bliss, clarity or conceptionlessness. Nevertheless, placing your mind without the slightest bit of hope, fear, attachment or conceit, due to holding such experiences as supreme, prevents errors. It is very important to constantly give up distraction and to meditate with one-pointed vigilant mindfulness. When you lapse into sporadic practice and mere intellectual understanding, arrogance will arise out of just a little peaceful abiding. If you do not carefully observe your spiritual experiences, you will merely be skilled in pretense and knowledgeable of the right words, which is not beneficial.
As the Great Perfection tantras state:
Intellectual understanding is like a patch, tt will fall off.
Spiritual experiences are like mist, they will evaporate.
As this says, even some slight positive and negative objective event has deceived great meditators, and many lose their bearings in the midst of circumstances. Even when meditation is planted within your stream of being, the profound instructions will be left on your book’s pages if you do not meditate consistently—your mind will become insensitive: you will become insensitive to the teachings, you will become insensitive to practice, and genuine meditation will never arise. Even old great meditators are in danger of dying completely lost, in the state of a newcomer to practice. Therefore, be very careful.
When you continually familiarize yourself with this over a long period of time, devotion or some other suitable catalyst will at some point cause these spiritual experiences to overflow into realization, and you will vividly see naked awareness, as if a veil were instantly lifted from your head. You will become utterly free and spacious. This is called “the supreme seeing that does not see anything.” Thereafter, thoughts arise as meditation; mental stillness and movement are simultaneously liberated. Moreover, at first, recognition of thoughts liberates them, like meeting someone familiar. In the middle period, thoughts are liberated by themselves, like a snake’s knot uncoiling. Finally, thoughts are liberated without benefit or harm, like a thief entering an empty house. These three ways of liberation will occur gradually. A deep, decisive trust manifests within you that all phenomena are the magical display of your awareness alone—waves of realization of emptiness and compassion will surge. Choosing between either cyclic existence or enlightenment ends. You realize that buddhas are not “good” and sentient beings are not “bad.” Whatever you have done, you will be carefree beyond words without knowing how to move from the sole nature of phenomena, and therefore you will uninterruptedly abide in this infinite space, day and night.
As it is said in the Great Perfection tantras:
Like the sky, realization is changeless.
This kind of Great Perfection practitioner appears to have an ordinary human form, but his or her mind is dharmakaya. He or she abides in wisdom mind free from effort and activity and, without doing anything, traverses all paths and stages. Finally, ordinary mind and phenomena exhausted, like the space of a broken vase, the body vanishes into atoms, and the mind vanishes into the nature of phenomena. This is called attaining the youthful vase body, which is the inner clarity of the original ground, stainless space. This will come about. Since this is the ultimate consummation of view, meditation and conduct, it is called “the fully manifest unattainable result.” The stages of spiritual experiences and realization arise either in a progressive order, without a progressive order, or all at once. This occurs according to the particular faculties of people, but there is no difference when the result is achieved.
Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche’s Heart Advice
translated by Ron Garry
© Tsadra Foundation, 2005
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