How to Meditate with Confidence Part 4

By the request of the Vajrayana Foundation Ngondro Program, Thadral Tulku Rinpoche began a new monthly Ngondro Teaching Series on “How to Meditate with Confidence” which coincidently began in January 2023. Because the Annual Ngondro Retreat occurred in April, here is a brief review of the March 8th teaching to prepare us for the upcoming Monthly Ngondro Teaching on May 10th at 5 pm. If you are a Ngondro Program Participant, please watch your registered email for the YouTube link to join by livestream. You will find a list of the YouTube Teaching links from January to current at the end.

Omniscient Wisdom arises from the root of compassion.
It arises from the object of Bodhicitta.
And through skillful means it is perfected.

~ Shakyamuni Buddha

“Whether we are doing Ngondro Practice or whether we are doing some other Main Practice, all the practices we do have to encompass the view or be sealed with the view. First, we establish our understanding of the view through study and reflection and study that meaning. From this, I will begin the teaching on the stages of meditating on the view.

Whether we are trying to have the authentic view of our mind stream or whatever kind mediation, we must first begin with laying the foundation for Shamata or Vipassana Meditation. The ultimate goal is accomplishing perfect omniscience or state of complete and perfect Buddhahood, the way to accomplish what Buddha Shakyamuni taught in the sutras.

Whatever practice we are engaged in, before we begin, it is important for us to cultivate compassion, to cultivate the mind of Bodhicitta, set our motivation in that way.

Setting our motivation is indispensable and extremely important to do before whatever practice we do. With all the Mahayana practices that we, whether the practice is dharma or not, depends on bodhicitta.

We need to understand that all the worldly and transcendent virtues of the Buddhas are all the result of Shamata and Vipassana.

What things do we need to understand Shamata and Vipassana?
To be able to practice Shamata we need to distance from physical busyness and metal concepts. In order to have Vipassana arise in our mind stream, we must rely on sublime beings and study and reflect on the teachings.

What foundation do we need to study and reflect on the teachings? “
Thadrul Tulku Rinpoche takes us step by step in explaining:

  • The Five Faults and How to identify the Five Faults
  • The Eight Antidotes to Understand to Abandon the Five Faults
  • Familiarization of the Nine Methods to Still the Mind
  • The Six Powers to Meditate
  • Four Ways to Accomplish Meditative Concentration

If we practice in this way, the five samadhis will surely arise in our mind stream.

Our minds are like untamed wild horses. we must tie them up with the rope of mindfulness, put them in the pen of equanimity, and place the bit of diligence in their mouth.”

“It is rare to find people who practice according to these instructions, but it is so good to understand these instructions, it helps with learning about the dharma, to have some knowledge and understanding about the dharma and that is why I wanted to share this with you. Later when we get into the actual main part of the meditation practice, it will be easier to understand.”

Rinpoche notes:
This teaching has been based on Patural Rinpoche’s teaching.

Familiarize or refresh yourself by listening to this March 8th teaching:
How to Meditate with Confidence, Part 3

Here are the links from the beginning of the
How to Meditate with Confidence Series

How to Meditate with Confidence, Part 1, January 25, 2023

How to Meditate with Confidence, Part 2, February 8, 2023

How to Meditate with Confidence, Part 4, May 10th at 5pm

Dudjom Tersar Ngondro Program of the Vajrayana Foundation
partial transcript by Sonam 04-24-23

Three Excellences of Guidance

How amazing! Listen, woman diligent in virtue!

In any virtue you accomplish, large and small,
the key is to have the three excellences’ guide you.

In generating compassion and the mind of awakening (bodhicitta) in your mind,
stable mindfulness is important.

Within samsara and enlightenment’s space-like nature, recognition of awareness’s essential nature as the unfabricated, dharmakaya is the view.

To settle naturally in unfabricated present awareness is meditation.

Take as the key of conduct that all your activity should accord with the sacred Dharma and practice diligently as I’ve described.

I, Jnana, spontaneously wrote this as a woman named Jnana requested.

Dudjom Rinpoche, Wisdom Nectar

Essential Advice for Solitary Meditation Practice Part 2

Second, The Main Practice

The main practice is to cut through misconceptions regarding the view, meditation and conduct, and how to put our practice to the test.

The View

To begin, the view is recognition of ultimate reality as it is.

As for this view, your mind’s nature is the ultimate nature of reality. Once you have concluded this with certainty in awareness free from all characteristics of intellectual mind’s fabrications and contrivance, awareness nakedly manifests as self-originating primordial wisdom. Words cannot express it. Metaphors cannot illustrate it. It does not get worse in samsara, nor better in enlightenment. It has not been born, nor will it come to an end. It has not been liberated, nor deluded. It does not exist, nor not exist. Awareness is unlimited and impartial.

In short, from the very beginning, awareness has never been established as being material and having characteristics that can be conceptualized, because its essence is primordially pure, sublime, all-pervasive emptiness. The ocean of realms of phenomena of existence and enlightenment naturally manifest as the display of unobstructed emptiness, like the sun and its rays. Therefore awareness is neither partial nor a completely empty void, because its nature is the supreme spontaneous presence of primordial wisdom and noble qualities.

Thus, awareness, the indivisibility of appearance and emptiness, epitome of the three kayas, is the primordial nature of reality. Precise recognition of awareness, ultimate reality as it is, is what is called the Great Perfection’s view beyond the intellect.

Our sublime master Guru Rinpoche said:

The dharmakaya, beyond the intellect, is ultimate reality.

We actually hold in our hands the wisdom mind of Buddha Always Noble (Kuntu Zangpo). How wonderful! This is the very essence of the six million, four hundred thousand Great Perfection tantras, themselves the consummation of all eighty-four thousand divisions of the Victorious One’s collection of teachings. There is nothing beyond this. You should resolve all phenomena in this awareness. Definitively conclude that all phenomena are contained with this awareness.


Now, once you have resolved all your inner doubts and misconceptions regarding this view, to sustain its continuity is called meditation.

All other meditations with reference points are conceptual meditations fabricated by the mind. This is not how we meditate. Do not lose hold of this view previously described, and in that state release all consciousnesses of the five senses within the natural state, and rest at ease.

Do not meditate to arrive at a conclusion, “That’s it!” If you meditate in that way, it becomes intellectual activity. Here, there is no object of meditation whatsoever, nor even an instant of distraction. Distraction from resting in awareness is true delusion. Don’t be distracted!

Whatever thoughts arise, let them arise. Do not follow after them and do not suppress them. If you ask “In that case, what should I do?,” whatever objective phenomena arise, whatever appears, do not grasp phenomena’s appearing aspect as you rest in a fresh state, like a small child looking inside a temple. When all phenomena are left as they are, their appearance is not modified, their color does not change, and their brilliance does not diminish. If you do not spoil phenomena with clinging and grasping thoughts, appearances and awareness will nakedly manifest as empty and luminous primordial wisdom.

However, many teachings considered very deep or extremely vast have left individuals of lesser intelligence mystified. If I put my finger on the concise essential meaning, it is this: in the gap between the last thought’s cessation and the next’s arising, isn’t there a fresh, present knowing, that has not been modified even in the slightest — luminous, naked awareness? That itself is awareness’ abiding state!

But one does not permanently abide within the nature of reality. Doesn’t a thought suddenly arise? That is the natural display of awareness. However, if you do not recognize thoughts as soon as they arise, they will naturally spread. This is called “the chain of delusion,” the root of samsara. Mere recognition of thoughts as they arise breaks their flow. Release thoughts within that recognition. When you remain in that state, arising thoughts will all be liberated equally within awareness, the expanse of dharmakaya. This is the main practice in which the view and meditation of Cutting Through Solidity, Trekchö, are cultivated as one.

Garab Dorje has said:

From within the nature of originally pure stainless space,

Awareness suddenly manifests. That moment of mindfulness

Is like finding a jewel at the bottom of the ocean.

This is dharmakaya, not fabricated nor created by anyone.

Persevere in this way. You must meditate without distraction day and night — do not leave emptiness in the domain of mere understanding. Bring everything back to awareness itself.


Now I will describe how conduct can enhance meditation and how to put our practice to the test.

The main point, as I previously explained, is to never part for an instant from the perception of your spiritual master as a true buddha; make heartfelt, intensely focused prayers to your spiritual master. This is known as “devotion that is the sole sufficient cure,” superior to any other method to remove obstacles and enhance your practice. You will forcefully and decisively travel all paths to enlightenment.

Faults in Meditation

If you experience dullness and drowiness, arouse awareness. If you experience excitement and agitation, relax your mind. Always, the meditator’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 sporatic 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,

It 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
by Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje
translated by Ron Garry


* 3. Post-meditation Scheduled for June 11th