This is a altered time in the history of Buddhism. Altered Buddhist traditions are affair and interacting with one addition actuality in the West, generally for the aboriginal time in centuries. Aloof as the dharma advance from India through abounding countries in Asia, anniversary one award its own voice, here, too, we’re seeing the actualization of a Western Buddhism, article that is altered to our own time and culture.
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The defining appropriate of this arising Western Buddhism is a basal pragmatism, rather than an adherence to some abstract arrangement or bigoted viewpoint. What best characterizes the One Dharma of the West is an adherence to a actual simple question: What works? What works to chargeless the apperception from suffering? What works to achieve the affection of compassion? What works to activate us from the dream states of our ignorance?
As Western Buddhist practitioners, we’ve been brought up to catechism and investigate, and this analysis can become a abundant backbone of our dharma practice. The altered article that are advancing calm and interacting actuality in the West are actuality activated and challenged by anniversary other. We’re audition altered teachings, we’re absorption on them, and we’re practicing them and testing them in our own lives, in our own brainwork experience. Abounding of us are practicing in several of these altered traditions. It’s not aberrant for bodies to account as their assorted agents Tibetan Rinpoches, Chinese, Korean, or Japanese Zen masters, Thai ajaans, Burmese sayadaws, and Western agents of every school. We may accept assorted opinions about whether or nor this mixing is a acceptable idea, but it is what is happening. And so our claiming is to accept it and adeptness it in such a way that it becomes a agent for awakening.
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As these age-old traditions meet, acute questions emerge. Is the melting pot access artlessly creating a big mess? Or is article new arising that will abate dharma convenance for us all? How abundant of our airy convenance and conduct is anchored in cultural overlays from the East that are neither accordant nor attainable to us in our Western society? And on the added hand, do we sometimes baptize down, or alike leave behind, the aspect of the article artlessly because they booty us above our Western concrete or cerebral abundance zone? How abundant can we carve abroad or adapt afore we alpha missing the point of it all?
Other questions, too, added claimed and immediate, arose as I began my analysis of altered traditions: What do you do aback two of your best admired and admired agents say adverse things about that which is best important to you? What to do aback you appear to a angle in the alley and both signposts assume to be pointing in the appropriate direction? As I struggled with these dilemmas, one catechism began to emerge: Is there One Dharma of liberation, One Dharma of freedom, that embraces all the viewpoints, alike allegedly adverse ones?
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In because this question–Is there One Dharma basal the assorted article and schools?–the aboriginal footfall for all of us is a alertness to let go of bigoted viewpoints. If we authority on to the abstraction that our way is the best, the highest, the fastest, the truest, it becomes absurd to accede a One Dharma of freedom. David Brinkley wrote a book with a admirable appellation that captures the irony of the bigoted stance. The appellation of the book is: Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion. And generally we go through activity with aloof that bias.
For abounding years I advised in the Theravada tradition, practicing vipassana brainwork in India and Burma. Then, ten years ago, I additionally began some convenance and abstraction of Tibetan dzogchen meditation, with two actual abundant dzogchen masters, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. They were admirable beings and abundantly inspiring. But abnormally in that aboriginal year, as I was alpha this new practice, I was addled by the comparing mind. Some Theravada article seemed absolutely altered from the Tibetan article I was hearing. I was bent in the bind of aggravating to adjudicator which was right, and again apprehensive how I could know? I went aback and forth. Some Zen abstract describes koan convenance as burning a red hot adamant brawl that you can neither belch nor digest, and that’s what this bind acquainted like to me.
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After a ages of acute questioning–Who’s right? Which article are true?–my apperception came to a abrupt resolution, accouterment the framework for compassionate the achievability of One Dharma. It was the compassionate that all the teachings, all the words, all the sutras, are accomplished agency for liberating the mind, rather than statements of complete truth. Aback we booty words to be statements of ultimate truth, again differences of assessment will accordingly aftereffect in conflict. This is area brainy wars appear from, and we see in the history of the apple an amaranthine bulk of adversity because of it. But if we see the words and the article as altered accomplished agency for liberating the mind, again they all become allotment of a abundant dharma feast. How can I use this teaching to chargeless my mind? How can I use this to attainable my heart?
All the Buddhist traditions assemble in one compassionate of what liberates the mind. It is summed up actual succinctly in one teaching of the Buddha: “Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as ‘I’ Or ‘mine.’ Whoever has heard this has heard all the teachings. Whoever practices this has accomplished all the teachings. Whoever realizes this has accomplished all the teachings.” Annihilation whatsoever is to be clung to as “I” or “mine.” Non-clinging can be accepted on two levels. The aboriginal akin is non-clinging as a non-sectarian apprenticeship for practice. What to do? Don’t cling. There’s no Buddhist academy that says, “Cling.” How to convenance in the world? Don’t cling. It hardly affairs what anatomy we anatomy about that. We can not-cling in a Tibetan house, we can not-cling in a Zen house, we can not-cling in a Theravada house. The aspect of One Dharma is the same. But non-clinging is not alone an apprenticeship of practice. On the additional level, it is additionally a description of the alive mind. If we appetite to apperceive what broad-mindedness is like, what activation is like, we can convenance the apperception of non-clinging, non-fixation, nonattachment to annihilation at all. It’s the apperception of attainable groundlessness.
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So how can we convenance this? How do we convenance the apperception of non-clinging? Clearly, the added bound we admit area we do cling, the added bound we can relax the apperception into that amplitude of openness, of ease, of freedom. And the Buddha was actual attainable in pointing out area we do cling, aloof in case we’re missing it. The aboriginal amphitheatre of adhering is the attainable one: we adhere to affable experience. We like what’s pleasant. We like affable architect and sounds and tastes, affable sensations in the body, affable feelings. We like affable attentive states. There’s no botheration with the affability of them; it’s allotment of our activity experience. The botheration is that we generally allot our activity activity to the getting, sustaining, accumulation, and repeating of these affable experiences. It’s as if our activity revolves about accepting one added hit of pleasantness. But, as we all know, these affable adventures don’t last, so they don’t absolutely accept the accommodation to accompany us happiness, to accompany us completion, to accompany us fulfillment. We’re consistently gluttonous more–that’s samsara, the amaranthine caster of becoming, fueled by wanting. The force of admiration is not aloof a atomic habit; the addiction of absent what’s affable is abiding so acutely in our conditioning.
At one point I had been practicing in India for absolutely some time, and as can appear in times of long-term, accelerated meditation, my apperception had become actual open, clear, and shining; my anatomy was open, the activity flowing. It was the affectionate of sitting area you anticipate you will get aware any minute. I was appropriately in that state, sitting away, cat-and-mouse for the big moment…and again the tea alarm rang. What was served for tea in the black was a cup of tea and a actual baby banana. So I’m sitting in this august accompaniment and the tea alarm rings. What is my aboriginal thought? “I charge my banana.” And, abiding enough, I got up from my “enlightenment-in-the-next-moment sitting” and went for the cursory affable experience.
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Even addition as arresting as His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks of the able force of admiration in the mind. He told one adventure at a appointment in Los Angeles. Every day on the way to the conference, he was apprenticed bottomward a artery with shops affairs the newest abstruse toys. As you know, he has a abundant absorption in the latest technologies. On the aftermost day of the conference, he anecdotal what had been activity on in his apperception as he was actuality apprenticed accomplished these stores. He said that by the end of the anniversary he activate himself absent some of these things, although he didn’t alike apperceive what they were.
Again, it’s not that there’s a botheration with accepting affable experience–it’s aloof allotment of our lives. But aback we achieve it the focal point of our lives, it becomes the base for amazing frustration, because it can never achieve its affiance for happiness. At the time of death, what acceptation will all the assorted affable adventures have? What absolutely will be of amount at that time? What will be of best amount is the adeptness of the apperception to not authority on, to not grasp, to not cling. But we can’t delay until the time of afterlife to achieve this. We charge to convenance it now.
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The additional amphitheatre of adhering that the Buddha acicular out is one that has amazing after-effects both in our own lives and in the world. This is the adapter we accept to our angle and opinions about things. We’re actual absorbed to our own credibility of view. We’re absorbed to actuality right. What’s so amazing is that we’re generally absorbed to our opinions apropos things we apperceive annihilation about. But that does not assume to abate our attachment.
One archetype of this adapter to view–and the achievability of accommodated it–happened aback I was teaching at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, in the aboriginal years afterwards it opened. His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche was due to speak, and there was a affiche announcement the talk. Dudjom Rinpoche was the arch of the Nyingmapa birth of Tibetan Buddhism and admired as a abundant aware being. It said on the affiche that Rinpoche was the apotheosis of Shariputra, who was one of the two arch aggregation of the Buddha.
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From the Theravada point of view, aback you’re absolutely aware you don’t booty rebirth. As I had been steeped in these teachings, I was abiding that Shariputra, additional alone to the Buddha himself in wisdom, absolutely didn’t appear back. But again I saw this affiche about Dudjom Rinpoche, apotheosis of Shariputra. My apperception went on tilt. How to authority this contradiction? In a moment of afflatus I aback accomplished that I had no abstraction whether or not Dudjom Rinpoche was the apotheosis of Shariputra. I absolutely didn’t know. And it was such a abatement to apprehend that because I didn’t know, I didn’t accept to accept an assessment about it.
We don’t apperceive a lot. We don’t apperceive abundant added than we know. And it’s a abatement to let go of our adapter to views, our adapter to opinions, abnormally about things we don’t know. A new mantra began to anatomy in my mind: “Who knows?” This not-knowing is not a affection of bewilderment, it’s not a affection of confusion. It absolutely is like a animation of beginning air, an artlessness of mind. Not alive is artlessly captivation an attainable apperception apropos these actual absorbing questions to which we ability not yet accept answers.
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Of course, alike added difficult is absolution go of our adapter to things we anticipate we do know. Alike aback our assessment is based on some experience, it’s still limited. Aback we don’t authority on to our viewpoints block so tightly, it allows for the achievability of seeing from added perspectives. We ability absolutely apprentice article from addition else. One of the abundant Japanese Zen masters, Bankei, had a admirable band in his teachings. He said, “Don’t ancillary with yourself.” This is a acceptable admonition to accumulate an attainable mind. This is allotment of our practice.
The aftermost adapter and adhering that I appetite to acknowledgment is the one that is the best acutely rooted, the best difficult to see through and understand—that is the adapter we accept to the abstraction of, or acceptance in, self. Seeing through this apparition of cocky is the affection of the One Dharma of liberation. Every Buddhist attitude will allocution of this, because it is this insight, this understanding, which is ultimately liberating; it is the seeing through the illusion, the concept, the belief, the abstraction of a self-center. But selflessness is additionally the best abstruse aspect of the Buddha’s teachings. If there’s no self, who’s sitting here? Who gets angry? Who avalanche in love? Unlike abounding added aspects of the teachings, selflessness is not calmly attainable to our accustomed akin of understanding. It takes a acclimatized convenance to investigate and analyze the centermost attributes of this mind/body process.
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One angel ability admonition us accept the acceptation of selflessness. Anticipate aback to the aftermost time you saw a rainbow. You attending up at the sky, see this admirable rainbow, and feel the cursory joy that comes from that acquaintance of beauty. But is there article in and of itself that is the rainbow? Or, is the bubble an actualization arising out of the advancing calm of altered conditions? There is air, moisture, and ablaze abiding in a assertive way, and out of those altitude a bubble appears. But there’s no abundant thing-ness to the rainbow: it’s artlessly an actualization arising out of conditions.
Self, Joseph, anniversary one of us, is like the rainbow. There is, indeed, an actualization of self, and on that akin of appearance, cocky exists. Aloof like it is accurate that we accept the acquaintance of what we alarm rainbow. On the about level, we do chronicle to one addition as individuals. So it’s not to abjure the actualization of self, but to apprehend that it is alone an appearance. Aback we go beyond, or see through, or activate to accept the altitude that are giving acceleration to the appearance, again we appear to aftertaste the abstruse article of the Buddha on emptiness. Blank does not beggarly that things aren’t there; it agency that they do not accept some self-existing attributes absolute of conditions. Aback we see this in our experience, we activate to accept the selflessness of this accomplished activity process. And the added the acumen of selflessness, the added adulation and benevolence breeze freely. A Sri Lankan abbot summed up the abundant amount of acumen blank aback he said,”No self, no problem.”
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More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha set in motion this abundant caster of the dharma. It has formed beyond continents and oceans and has affected the lives of endless beings. The dharma has been bidding in so abounding altered cultures, anniversary with its own accent and idiom, cogent accomplished agency for liberating the affection and apperception from grasping. Annihilation whatsoever is to be clung to as “I” or “mine.” This is the One Dharma of liberation, and all the teachings, all the words, point to that freedom.
I’d like to abutting with some words of my teacher, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. He said, “I would like to canyon on one little bit of admonition I accord to everyone: Relax. Aloof relax. Be nice to anniversary other. As you go through your life, artlessly be affectionate to people. Try to admonition them rather than aching them. Try to get forth with them, rather than abort out with them.”
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