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    A Dzogchen Teaching ...


    Many Buddhist folks often compare the Tibetan Teachings of "Dzogchen" as resonating with "Shikantaza" and Chinese "Silent Illumination".

    Over the years, I have looked at many Dzogchen Teachings, and found that it depends somewhat on who the Teacher is and how they are flavoring the Teaching (likewise in the case of "Silent Illumination" meditation). To make a long story short, some Teachers of Dzogchen or Silent Illumination (such as Master Sheng Yen in some of his writings, although he he somewhat changed his emphasis over the years) seem to phrase each as a Practice emphasizing attaining deep or rarefied states of concentration, Samadhi, Jhana, deep Bliss states, other unusual states. That is fine, but rather a different flavor from Shikantaza.

    But many Dzogchen (and Silent Illumination) Teachers do seem to express their art in a way very much 'Shikantaza-y' (Shikantaza is Dogen's expression of the "Silent Illumination" Zazen he found in China after all).

    I came across one example catching up on a back issue of Buddhadharma magazine. Dzogchen Master Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is discussing the Teachings of an older Dzogchen Master, Khenpo Gangshar, who lived during the early 20th Century. See if the way this is expressed sounds familiar ...

    In this teaching on the mind instructions of the Dzogchen master Khenpo Gangshar, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche explains how the veil of thoughts and emotions is lifted when we rest in the nature of mind as it is, without trying to alter it in any way.

    [In] the resting meditation of a kusulu, we do not go through a lot of effort to do the meditation. It is not examining anything thoroughly, it is not studying; we just rest simply in equipoise just as it is. This is extremely important.

    The reason is that the realization of the nature of the mind is not something we can find by searching for it from afar. It is present within the essence of the mind itself. If we do not alter or change that in any way, that is enough. It is not as if we were lacking something before so we need to make something new through our meditation. It is not as if we are bad and have to go through all sorts of efforts to make ourselves good. Goodness is something we all have. It has always been present within us, but we have just not looked for it or seen it yet, so we have become confused. Therefore all we need to do is to just rest within it without changing it. We see where it stays and rest there, so we are like a kusulu. This means that we rest free and easy with nothing to do, very simply. We do not need to think that we are making something good or that we need to meditate properly. It is enough just to know what we already have.

    Well then, what do we need to do? We just need to recognize the way our mind is as it is and then rest in equipoise within that, as it is.


    we do not analyze or examine too much, nor do we alter things at all. We simply rest in the nature of the mind as it is. That is what we call resting meditation. Resting here means we leave it alone. We don’t need to do a lot to it or alter it in any way. Just rest in equipoise within its essence, whatever that is like.

    let your mind and body become comfortable, soft, and relaxed. Do not think of anything, and rest naturally. The important point here is that we do not think of anything. Do not think about the past and do not think about the future. Do not think of anything at all. You should not do this by tightening or gripping, but instead by being loose, relaxed, and comfortable. Just let yourself rest naturally within this, without thinking. In the analytic meditation of the pandita, there is an examination of where the mind is, what it is like, what color it is, and so forth. But here there is no such examination: let your mind rest loosely and naturally. Just look at whatever feelings arise.


    Don’t pursue the past and don’t invite the future. Simply rest naturally in the naked ordinary mind of the immediate present without trying to correct it or “re-place” it. ... In order to know that, Khenpo Gangshar says, “Don’t pursue the past.” Often we remember things that happened in the past and think about them. We think, “Last year I went to that place. I had such and such a conversation. When I did this, it turned out really well. When I did that, it was bad.” These and many other thoughts come up, but we should not pursue them when we are meditating. We should just be loose and relaxed and not follow the past.

    Khenpo Gangshar also says, “Don’t invite the future.” Often we think to ourselves, “Next year I ought to do this. What should I do next month? I have to do that tomorrow. What should I do this evening?” These are all thoughts of the future. Normally we need to think about them, but not when we are meditating, so we should not welcome the future. We should put all thoughts of past or future aside.


    When we say “ordinary mind,” that means resting in the immediate present without trying to alter the mind in any way. Ordinary mind is not something bad that we need to make into something good. Nor is it something that is not empty that we need to make empty. That is not how it is. We do not need to take something that is not clear and make it clear. We should not try to change anything in any way. If you alter it, it is not ordinary. If you follow lots of thoughts, that is not what we mean by ordinary mind. Just rest in the nature of the mind as it is, without any thoughts that are virtuous, unvirtuous, or neutral. The way it is now is ordinary mind.


    We just rest directly in it as it is without trying to correct it or “re-place” it. We do not think, “Is this right? I need to make it right.” We do not worry, “My meditation is bad; I’ve got to make it good.” Without any hopes or worries, we do not try to correct it or make it right in any way. When Khenpo Gangshar says “re-place,” that means that we do not try one way to settle the mind and then another. We just let it be as it naturally is, resting easily in this naked, ordinary mind.

    Well, there are little tiny differences in manner of expression, some things I might emphasize a drop otherwise or that are a little different (that is what different chefs do in kibitzing how to cook the same tomato soup) ... but pretty darn close! Certainly both Walking the same Non-track!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-11-2014 at 04:38 AM.

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