tiistai 14. kesäkuuta 2022

Authentic Spirituality

 

Authentic Spirituality



Some might think that the present culture of practice-based spirituality is high level. Some might think that because nonduality, mindfulness and insight meditation are so widely practiced, that this would be some sort of peak of spiritual culture. It is certainly true that the present worldwide culture is better than nothing but just because there are millions of unawakened or little-awakened people doing these practices, this is actually light years away of genuine awakening-based spirituality. I would even say that when all these things are taught by popular teachers who have low level of realization, it does as much harm as it does good, at places at least. So the way I see it is that the present dharma culture is really not that great because it has huge limitations.

To establish a true culture of dharma first of all we need few requirements: 1) fully enlightened teachers (instead of partially enlightened), who teach 2) a tested and proven method (instead of practices that are partially or entirely irrelevant to awakening) that is systematical and works like any mechanical device, 3) students who have the ability to listen, follow the instructions and do the work and 4) resources to facilitate the activities.

The main problem in dharma today is that there are no proper standards when it comes to the level of awakening of teachers and practices that people are given. It’s a one big bundle of mess and yet most people don’t really seem to care. The problem is that people don't really know what the whole path from unawakened state to the fully awakened state constitutes of. They don't have a manual and practices that would take them there, step by step. You're just being told to continue whatever one or two techniques even if your practice has plateaud long ago. There are no standards and one generation after the other the blind or ones who have little vision lead the blind. And most people are completely unaware of this believing and trusting that in the end it will somehow work out. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It is truly puzzling how the highly educated Westerners who have some understanding of logic and mechanisms, don't seem to be able to think outside the box and come up with solutions and applications that would enable them to recognize the awake mind.

Like everything else, dharma - that art of awakening - can be viewed and applied logically and scientifically. And it has to be to make a true difference in the lives of individuals and societies.

In the place of the present teachers and teachings, I’d like to see thousand fully enlightened teachers - mahasiddhas - teaching people practices that work instantly. Until then all of it is just a waste of potential, opportunity and in fact, a display of self-based delusion.


Dudjom Vajra, 14.6.2022

maanantai 6. kesäkuuta 2022

Mia's Experiences with Pemako

 

Mia's Experiences with Pemako





Here is the story of how I found Pemako, slipped away and came back. I share this hoping that somebody out there can recognise something in my experience and benefit from it.



Around 2015 I started to look for a spiritual practice without any previous meditation experience. I went to a weekend seminar where different spiritual teachers presented their practices, and there Kim Rinpoche was the first teacher I took interest in. His approach to awakening was different from anything I had previously heard so I ended up contacting him.



Under his guidance it took me four days to awaken on 20 May 2016. Just before the first bhumi opened there was a painful moment followed by a wonderful moment of clarity. The clarity soon wore off but one significant change remained: I used to be very dependent on going regularly to the forest in order to deal with overwhelm but after the 1st bhumi opened, much of that dependence was gone. That felt like a small miracle.



First attempt with Pemako



Soon afterwards, in June 2016, I joined Kim Rinpoche´s retreat in Lapland. My aim was to observe with an open mind the teacher, teachings and students, and I really liked what I saw. The teachings felt solid, the sangha friendly and committed and overall, it was a setting that I felt comfortable with so I decided to give it a try. Soon afterwards I did Rainbow Body Yoga course in Tromsø, Norway.



However, to my disappointment, in my everyday life I didn´t have the concentration to make the practice work for me. I got up in the morning and sat down as instructed but got lost repeatedly. On paper I understood the instructions but couldn´t repeat them in my own body in any meaningful way so I concluded that this is too difficult for me and gave up.



Attempt with the Ishayas



Then I turned to another teaching. The group was called Ishayas, and although their approach is very different from that of Pemako both have in common the aim of mind purification. The meditation consists of repeating in your mind certain very simple techniques, and I was pleased that I managed to follow their method easily. The benefits this practice produced for me were that it increased the clarity of my mind and improved my concentration.



In contrast to what happened with Pemako, in this case the lack of complexity became a problem. My questions about energies were always waved off by referring me to the present moment and asking if there is a problem to be felt right now. I get the point but I also think that by completely overlooking the thinking brain we reduce ourselves instead of elevating ourselves, however good the intention, and over time that created some frustration for me.



Back to Pemako



In 2020, I noticed early on that the world was going badly. As the situation escalated, I fell into a deep crisis. It became clear that spiritually I wasn´t up to the situation and that with my complacency I was part of the problem. So from trusting that spiritually I´m fine and I have all the time in the world I moved rapidly to feeling the exact opposite; I was far from where I should be and had no time to lose. In my distress, I somehow remembered Pemako again. The fact that Pemako had a clear path forward and a proper theoretical framework suddenly felt very appealing.



In May 2020 I joined Pemako´s online retreat and encouraged by the good experience decided to give it a second chance. This time round I had no problem following the instructions by myself. Rainbowbody yoga felt much more accessible. Also my desperation certainly helped, as did the fact that now I was technologically much better off than in 2016. Back then I didn´t have internet at home, neither did I have a smartphone, so I depended heavily on written instructions – sounds like ancient history but this is how it was.



In a short period of time, Rainbowbody Yoga has proved to be hugely transformative. I noticed it as soon as I started with the exercises addressing imprints stored in the limbs. In the year or so that followed, I went through some rough times, so called dark nights. In my case these moments took literally place in the night: I was neither asleep nor awake and all night long distressing thoughts ran through my mind and made my body shake. It was like having a high fever without physically having temperature. Still I took some weird pleasure in these difficult nights because from the experience of other sangha members I knew this meant things were moving forward.

I´m writing this in May 2022, and this is what I have gained since I started practicing the Pemako method in July 2020:



Free flow of emotions. Instead of looking for pleasant emotions and running away from painful emotions, I now welcome all emotions more freely. This is a huge change that I can´t emphasize enough. I still have automatic patterns that need to be cleared (such as anticipating other people´s feelings and trying to raise their mood already before they lash out at me) but at least I´m aware of them. I´m not nearly as constricted as I used to be.



More love. Love and understanding comes much more naturally than two years ago. Also this is a big change and liberating in itself. Many behaviours that used to trigger me don´t trigger me anymore. I react to them with neutrality or even mild love, which even I myself am surprised at.



More courage and integrity. One of the aims I stated to myself when rejoining Pemako was to gain more courage and integrity in order to change my life, and little by little I have managed to do this. It´s an ongoing process but now I am a different person than I was two years ago and also my circumstances are different.



I´m deeply grateful to Kim Rinpoche for making all of this possible for us. How many teachings would produce similar results in a similar timeframe?! I hope the Pemako teachings will spread far and wide so that as many people as possible can enjoy them, for the benefit of all beings.



Written by Mia from Brussels, Belgium



Jarmo's Experiences with Pemako

 

Jarmo's Experiences with Pemako



Trying to figure out what to do with my life in my early twenties, I came into an existential crisis. So I started reading various spiritual books from many different traditions and teachers. I also started practicing meditation/yoga. While I felt that I made progress, eventually I came to the conclusion that I need help from someone with more experience.



In my search, I came across Kim’s blog. After having read a lot of spiritual texts and watched videos on youtube, of which many seemed to be just parroting information, I felt that what I was reading here was written by someone with authentic/living experience. There was also the 2-part formula, which I started applying right away. I emailed Kim and he guided me through the process.



I was happy having reached certainty about the path, but eventually felt that I could do more. I took part in an empowerment to the yoga, and the effects of it could be felt very clearly right away. This gave me conviction in the method. I was happy to have effective tools in clearing the subconscious mind.



After this, my main problem has been with motivation. My life situations have changed a lot in the past few years, which has brought up a lot of stuff to deal with; fear, sadness and anger, accompanied by tiredness. Fortunately the sangha, meetings and retreats (whether live or online) have been helpful in all this. There has been a lot of talk and advice on how to deal with dark nights and how to incorporate the practice into your daily life in a way that is enjoyable.



Even now, I’m experiencing a fog of negative emotions, but I don’t feel as much handicapped by them as before. The reasons for this are that, 1; The emotions that have surfaced, get subtler and less gripping over time, and 2; I know from previous cycles of dark nights, that this too will pass eventually. It’s just a matter of applying the practice.



About Kim as a teacher: If you’re used to teachers who are always soft in their words, you’ll find that Kim can sometimes come off as bit harsh. Without understanding the concept of wratful compassion, this might lead one to question his realization. As I work in a school, I know very well that sometimes being harsh and direct is the best way to help a student (even though he/she probably won’t see it that way at the time). I would also describe Kim as very sincere, caring and hard working person. Rest of the teaching staff are also very experienced and helpful.



All in all, I’d challenge anyone to find a better working path to go through the whole spiritual journey. With Pemako, you get excellent instructions and tools from start to finish, coupled with a clear path-map and support from the teachers and sangha along the way.




Written by Jarmo from Helsinki, Finland


torstai 2. kesäkuuta 2022

Working for dharma, parenthood, money and retreats

 

Working for dharma, parenthood, money and retreats


For many years I have encouraged our acharyas and lamas to grow the sangha but very little has been done. This is why I was raging for few weeks on the staff earlier this Spring. It seems to have worked a bit since people of the staff have started taking actual measures to grow the sangha. Why grow the sangha?


For many reasons, everything from bodhicitta to establishing Pemako in this world, to reach people who have the necessary karmic connections and so on, but also to find people who are fit and ready to do this with us who are already here, but lonely and unsupported. Even I am lonely wondering what the hell am I doing here! After 15 years! I have really done everything to make people active and I couldn't have done a thing more.


Our activities are dependent on many people, not just me. Do not expect to be served and do not expect to walk to a set table. It is too early for you to hang out and wait to be served. Without activity, you'll remain alone forever. If you want to make this work as a community, you have to create a local groups wherever you are and make it strong. Sangha members in other countries can't hug you when you need it.


If you have local groups, then immediately there is demand for local retreats, and this in turn makes the cash register chink. Someone has to start and hussle, and make it work. If you work sincerely for the dharma, it will support you and you don't have to go a day without food or other basic necessities. Despite of many hard years of endless work hours, I have even paid my old debts fro my music days because someone was so grateful for my teachings that he made a big donation. That was in 2010. My point is that I know what I'm talking about, the dharma never fails you. If there's a will, there's a way. I always dreamed of having native English and living in America. Had I started teaching in the States, the sangha would be hundreds of people by now, with plenty of resources, own center and so on.


I know from my own experience how demanding it is to have small children but also having to work to pay the bills. I know all about it. For those of you who want to work in dharma, whether dharma lite like mindfulness or healing or heavy-weight dharma like tantra, my advice for you is to not wait for later. Take the first step and start today. It is a jump into the unknown but the gurus and the dharma will hold you. If you hear the call, don't waste your time in worldly jobs. If you work hard you can, not only support yourself and your family but gather immense merit in spreading the dharma, helping people awaken and grow, and learn about the dharma yourself. Few are called to this work but those who are should definitely embrace it.


Long story short, it is not that children are not allowed on retreats but we just don't have the people to handle everything. We don't have enough people! Our community is tiny and the resources are scant. Fuck me, if it was up to me and I had plenty of money, I'd be raising activities like hell! Such is my love and dedication towards my gurus and their teachings.


But these things are not up to me anymore. They are up to my students.


DVR, 2.6.2022


tiistai 31. toukokuuta 2022

Celebration - The Highest Dharma

 

Celebration - The Highest Dharma


Bliss is the highest of all teachings. Ananda, bliss. The spirit of this dharma is that of celebration. What do you do when you celebrate? You sing and dance to your heart's content! You celebrate, you are happy and you live it and show it. You smile, you are truly happy and content, without doubt, without ego. This is the spirit of the deathless body of light, rainbow body.


We can all understand how important it is to be happy and to celebrate. We enjoy dancing, parties, weddings, birthdays when we just let go and celebrate fully. Great, good, but there is much more to this nature of celebration. Ananda is indeed deep and profound...


...and it necessarily needs to rest on the insight into the empty nature of mind. Our mind needs to be purified or released of all self-based habits and functions before we can properly get a hang of the highest nectar. We need to reach the first stage of full enlightenment, emptiness of all phenomena, before we are fully ready to sing, dance, love and celebrate.


Dear spiritual practitioners and seekers, trust the past masters and their advice. Follow their advice and do your practice. Sit and look into your mind until you release all self-centered habits and patterns, until your mind doesn't give negative surprises anymore, be it day or not. Ask great masters to be without and help you in this first task. After that, after all the sitting and introspection, you can easily understand that the next thing to do is to just celebrate, dance, sing and enjoy the original love of all life and beings.


Dudjom Vajra Baba, 31.5.2022

lauantai 28. toukokuuta 2022

Only Vajra-Love is True and Everlasting

 

Only Vajra-Love

is True and Everlasting


Spiritual teachings, view and doctrines are a jungle where countless get lost. Can't tell you how much appreciation I have towards my gurus. When I think of them and what they have given me, it feels like my whole being starts oozing or pouring out this liquid-like pure energy or substance. If you're not a mahasiddha, you're a samsaric being. If you're not a mahasiddha, you're fucked... and stuck with whatever level of awakening you might or might not have for endless lifetimes. Endless lifetimes, man. This is the sole reason why to me personally the most important thing always was and is my gurus for they are the only ones who have the power and tools to help you out of it for once and all. Everything else is a flux of things, relationships and circumstances. Only vajra-love is real, true and everlasting.

 

-Dudjom Vajra Rinpoche, 28.5.2022


maanantai 23. toukokuuta 2022

What external marks can accomplish?

 

What external marks can accomplish?


I trained with Shodo Harada Roshi in his temple, Sogenji, in Japan. Harada Roshi has been the abbott of that temple for over 40 years and during this time has trained countless people from many countries of the world for longer or shorter periods. Harada Roshi is also the head of One Drop Zen-organization that has monasteries in US, India and Germany and many local groups in other countries. In short, Harada Roshi's teachings – dharma – is and has been touching countless people throughout his teaching career.


Harada Roshi is the dharma heir of Yamada Mumon Roshi, who was a renown Japanese zen master. I'd like to tell the story of the young Harada seeing Mumon Roshi the first time. I think this story is told in one of Harada's books, if you wish to read it in his own words.


Harada was a teenager, one day taking a bus after school, when the bus was boarded by a monk, glad in robes, who had a stunning energy to his presence. Harada noticed that this monk had special energy and presence to him, and secretly followed him to see where he went, perhaps to find out in which temple he lived.


These are the very first events that would develop into teacher-student relationship and Harada's monastic training that lasted 20 years under Mumon Roshi, which lead to Harada becoming a zen master himself, having impact on countless people, myself included.


I have often thought about this story, Harada Roshi seeing Mumon the first time and I come up with this burning question: Would the young Harada had even noticed Mumon, if Mumon had not been wearing monk's robes? Would the young Harada had noticed the pure energy radiating from Mumon had he not been wearing an attire that was different to what everyone else around was wearing? I am sure that the young Harada would have not noticed anything special in Mumon without his robes. It was the robes that initially caught Harada's attention which then lead to him noticing that this monk had special feel to him.


For years I have planned and contemplated ordination in our Pemako sangha. I have tested different attires that would be practical in the Western lifestyle, and yet be traditional, creative and not too stiff. Why?

It might very well be that myself or my ordained students are seen by someone like the young Harada in a shopping mall, in a bus or somewhere else that will then spark something inside that person, which will lead to her or him taking up spiritual practice and so on. I feel deeply that Westerners would benefit seeing practitioners and it is unfortunate that most Western practitioners and teachers keep their practice hidden from the public by not wearing the marks of a practitioner.


The dharma needs to reach Western people to take hold in the West, and one way to make that happen is to show people that you're a practitioner why looking like one because like the story exemplifies, being on display has the power to change the lives of thousands.


-Dudjom Vajra Rinpoche, 23.5.2022