perjantai 31. elokuuta 2018

Sean's Awakening

Sean's Awakening

After 20 years of practicing buddhist meditation, I had an awakening experience in April 2018. This happened right after Open Heart Yoga weekend course in the middle of the night. I spent the night in the home of a sangha member where a Guru Rinpoche statue was placed in my bedroom. The same statue was at the altar at the course and apparently was given to the Irish Open Heart Sangha by Kim, who had consecrated it in Finland.

I literally awoke in the night with what felt like incredible flow of energy through my body that would have lit up a city. This energy with my directing flushed through the third eye on my brow. Over the next few days I noticed the chatter in my mind had subsided and there was another indicator, I was due in court over a property licence issue, I have been to court through my business many times over the years. This time I felt different in my mind. Normally it would be spinning with thoughts and my body would feel sick with fear but this time my mind and body was not reacting in the same old way. I felt a lot more relaxed, the thoughts and fear had subsided so much that it became noticeable. Afterwards I sent a photograph and a written account of my experience to Kim Katami who after analysing confirmed I had awoken.

I had been told that awakening could be a dramatic experience for some or so subtle that they may not even notice that they had in fact awoken. For me the key to this breakthrough was the Two-Part Formula, while the powerful charge emanating from the Guru Rinpoche statue finished the job.
I know I have a lot more work to do but this was the first blow into the delusion of self.
The mentioned statue.

perjantai 6. heinäkuuta 2018

What Does it Mean to Be a Terton?

What Does it Mean to Be a Terton?

It is widely believed, especially within the Nyingma school of Tibetan buddhism, that only few chosen ones can receive dharma teachings mystically, non-physically, and be "dharma treasure revealers", or tertons. I asked my good friend and student Karl Eikrem to write down his initial account of receiving his first nonphysical teaching, or terma as they are traditionally called. In this video he reads his account (follow the link to read it) and then guides the actual practice that he learned. At the end of the video I read a couple of related quotes and expound the matter a bit more. I hope this sheds light on this matter and makes people think a bit more open mindedly about it all.

To conclude I would like to present a quote from Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, as stated by his close student Acharya Malcolm Smith:

My late teacher, an important terton, said if you want to be a terton, the only real requirement is faith in Guru Rinpoche. If you supplicate him strongly enough with genuine compassion for sentient beings, then you might be able to reveal terma.”

tiistai 3. heinäkuuta 2018

Psychologist on Guru Yoga

Psychologist on Guru Yoga

Q: Guru yoga is actually also a practice of developing devotion especially when practiced with a Tibetan buddhist teacher, is that right?

A: Yes, well, I have to say that is where I always went a bit against the grain. My devotion flows easier towards an icon such as Padmasambhava than to a living teacher because I could also see that this was just a human being with his habits. To see him as perfect you could say that I failed in this but I think I couldn't do it and didn't want to. I think if you do guru yoga well then everything the guru does, feels and says if perfect but also everything you do, feel and say yourself is perfect. It means your ability to be critical is also buddha. Now we are talking, that's something you can work with. But if your abilities are seen as confusion and everything the guru does as perfect I think that's a distortion if you'll allow me. It's a misconception of what guru yoga is.

Answered by Hans Knibbe, psychologist and dzogchen-teacher.

sunnuntai 1. heinäkuuta 2018

Not even a scrap of Tibetan culture by Keith Dowman

Not even a scrap of Tibetan culture
by Keith Dowman

I don't think we need even a scrap of Tibetan culture, including vajrayana buddhism, in order to recognise the nature of mind. If somebody walks in of the street here who never heard of Tibet or Tibetan buddhism and has a natural antipathy to anything other than American culture, is given the essence of dzogchen, there's no reason why that person should not attain immediately the same state that we have reached, having gone through that whole circuit of oriental culture and Tibetan buddhism.” - Keith Dowman

keskiviikko 27. kesäkuuta 2018

CR Lama's Unholy Style

CR Lama's Unholy Style

James Low talks about his teacher Chimed Rigdzin Rinpoche, also known as CR Lama:

"My main teacher is the late Chimed Rigdzin Lama, also known as CR Lama. He was a married lama who lived with his family and, when I knew him well in India, he taught in a university. He was a great scholar, a very powerful person, and he was not at all holy. He was very ordinary in his way of life. His qualities showed themselves without his making special claims about himself. In the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism there are many different styles of practice. Some lineages display themselves as being very pure and holy; that is to say, they set themselves in the domain of the sacred and create a mood which is separate from ordinary life. When you encounter that kind of setting you have the opportunity to experience something which is not like ordinary existence. Such settings tend to be ritualised and choreographed so that everyone knows their place and what they are, and are not, allowed to do. My teacher was, however, very much in ordinary life. He was very fond of university politics, supporting his friends and attacking his enemies. This is not holy activity. But oh, so very pleasurable! For many years I was his secretary, and I had to write, on the basis of his special English, very insulting letters. In order to enter his world I had to let go many of the assumptions I held about how to live in a proper way. In the end, in order to practise, we each have to find a style which is in harmony with the energy of our potential as it responds to each unique setting in which we find ourselves. Being in the mandala, or environment, that Rinpoche created was very disturbing, and yet it was also liberating. It opened the space to see that our world is indeed a construct of our beliefs and assumptions. Freeing ourselves from relative truth, from truth based on comparing and contrasting, involves a leap of faith. Encouragement to make this leap was Rinpoche’s wondrous gift."

lauantai 9. kesäkuuta 2018

What is Emptiness?

What is Emptiness? How to Make Sense of Emptiness?

Emptiness in sanskrit is shunyata. Emptiness is also called selflessness, I-lessness or me-lessness (anatman, anatta). Emptiness and selflessness refer to the self-empty nature of mind. This is the basis of buddhist thought and practice. One who has seen his mind to be completely without a self, has mastered the teaching of emptiness, is fully awake, that is, a living buddha.

The main reason why we suffer is the sense of self (skt. atman). We have thoughts, emotions and reactions within our mind and because of the accumulation of the self-thought, I or me, these mind elements make us convinced that we exist independently as separate entities. This is the basis of delusion and suffering (dukkha).

The buddhist path is concerned with interruption and putting an end to cyclic existence (samsara) through proper understanding of the nature of suffering and through proper yogic effort. Particularly insight meditation (vipashyana), also called by different names such as lhaktong or prajna, is what is unique to buddhist meditation. According to the teachings of buddhist masters vipashyana, lit. clear seeing, is the key to removing existential confusion (dukkha).

Buddhist teachings on emptiness such as the Heart Sutra famously states that, ”Form is emptiness, emptiness is form”. What is the meaning of this? Form refers to any sort of relative phenomena, physical or nonphysical. Relative phenomena occurs in one or two ways: 1. external phenomena reflected on the mind and 2. internal mind phenomena. If all phenomena are experienced empty, there is no cause for confusion to arise. If any phenomena appearing in the mind is not experienced as empty, and hence causes selfing, self-based reaction, this impulse can and should be used as fuel for vipashyana practice.


Emptiness cannot be properly understood by contemplating the existence of external things, such as a chair or a desk. The only way to have a liberating insight is to see that selfing happens in the mind, not somewhere outside.

Emptiness needs to be understood through emptiness. Even though impermanence (anicca) and suffering (dukkha) are the other two pillars of buddha dharma it is the insight into the empty nature of mind that liberates, not the other two.

Understanding emptiness through insight is crucial for all buddhist meditators, and in fact to all who suffer of existential confusion.

Meditation on emptiness is not difficult or lofty, but simple, grounded and easy-to-understand when taught and applied correctly. If the instructions are vague and lack clarity, there will be no result or it will take unnecessarily long time. Without emptiness insight it is impossible to make sense of any buddhist teachings. This is so because all buddha dharma is built on realisation of emptiness (insight, awakening, kensho, semngo tropa). If the foundation of emptiness is not solid, there is nothing to build a stable house on.

In the long run, not having a proper insight leads to twisted dharma that is harmful and misleading. The imporatnce of direct insight has been stressed by numerous buddhist masters throughout the existence of buddhism. Without insight, the noncausal paths such as of zen, dzogchen and mahamudra are impossible to understand.

On societal and cultural levels the lack of experiential understanding of emptiness leads to great numbers of lost practitioners who are unable to have real faith about the buddhist path. For this reason the mahasangha of all beings doesn't reap true benefits through interconnectedness. All practitioners should first and foremost make sure that they understand emptiness through direct experience.

How do I know if my understanding of emptiness is right?

Insight, awakening or kensho means that part of one's deluded self-based mind becomes permanently deconstructed of the sense of self, me or I. Figuratively speaking, an insight makes a lasting hole in the wall through which the sight on the other side of the wall becomes easier to see. Without the hole one is shut behind the wall of self-delusion. An insight has a liberating effect. It makes a notable difference to have even a small hole in the wall, instead of having none, because looking through the hole instead of looking at the wall are two very different experiences.

Consecutive insights (bhumi openings), after the first one, keep making the hole bigger and bigger and in consequence it becomes easier and easier to see what is behind the wall. When insights are combined with regular daily practice, the outcome is that the separating wall becomes entirely deconstructed.

Also ”glimpses” into the self-empty nature of mind are needed. The difference between a glimpse and insight is that glimpse is not permanent.

When the hole is there our everyday life becomes a significantly different. A part of our narrow minded selfing has been permanently removed so this cannot not have an effect on our lives. Social relationships, work, creative work and other things in life are met from a more open minded and less opinionated place. Because selfing no longer happens the same way it used to, how the mind used to think, feel and react according to the self-based habits, life becomes more direct, more fresh and more intimate. This is the most profound change we can have.

There is nothing that can replace selfless insight because nothing else will deconstruct the sense of self. A simple indication that one matures in insight meditation is that one feels clear minded, open hearted, fresh and less reactive in everyday life.

Practical advice

In Open Heart vipashyana is practiced in both sutra and tantra forms. Sutra vipashyana refers to the Two-Part Formula for the first awakening and object-vipashyana instructions after that. Tantra vipashyana refers to Tibetan Heart Yoga which because of the unique aspects in the practice has the power to generate a whole series of awakenings, bhumi openings, within a relatively short period of time. These awakenings (bhumi openings) are matured (bhumi perfection) by regular practice over a longer period of time.

A practice hint: When selfing happens, pay attention to tensions in the head space. The area inside the head, pre- or post-awakening, is the place where the impulse can be effectively seen through.

Dudjom Lingpa's autobiography, p. 75:

Just as many springs and rivers in all directions merge as one taste in the vast ocean, likewise, all teachings without exception can be grouped as relative or ultimate truth. The two truths inseparable are fused within Great Perfection. If you understand the meaning of Great Perfection, you see the truth of the nature of reality. Connection to its vital instructions will carry you to the level of awareness holder.”

perjantai 8. kesäkuuta 2018

Taoist Master Attains Rainbow Body

Taoist Master Attains Rainbow Body

From book ”Qi Gong” by Baolin Wu

Du Xinlin, known as the Master of the Purple Luminescence, was an extraordinary modern seer. From his earliest childhood to his mystical passing from this plane, he lived his life as something more than a mere man. Tales of his feats of divination, martial artistry, and healing are recorded within the annals of both the Purple Cloud and White Cloud Monasteries.

At the age of 116, Master Du left the earthly plane. He lived his life as a towering mystic and master of the Taoist arts and had decided to dedicate his passing to a demonstration of the truth of his lifelong beliefs. What he accomplished was a manifestation of the power of Oi Gong few have ever attempted and no one had ever truly succeeded at in the modern era. His accomplishment is a significant event in Chinese cultural history. To present the inner teachings of 9 Palaces Microcosmic Orbit Oi Gong is a testament to his attainment and the fulfillment of his last living wish.

A few years before, when Dr. Wu was still living with him, Master Du told him that he believed that Lao Zi, Wang Chongyang, and all his other teachers were waiting for him in the Nine Central Heavens. As Lao Zi's disciple, he was ready to join him there. He told the young boy about the Rainbow Body that a worthy believer could cultivate inside his mortal body and that if his righteousness  merited it, it could leave the body with consciousness and spirit intact, instead of physical death, to fly up to Heaven in a rainbow of light.

Transubstantiation and eternal life that bypasses corporeal death has a long tradition in the East. It is known as hong hua, literally a form of the word "rainbow" that can be used as a noun or verb: The Rainbow Body is cultivated within a righteous person's physical body at the moment in passing. Taoist and Tibetan Buddhist tradition is peppered with stories of famous monks, hermits, and high lamas who attempted this feat by devoting their lives to meditation, training, and saintly acts. The ones who attained the RainbowBody were revered forever as saints and Immortals. Those who tried to pass over by "rainbow-ing" but did not succeed in leaving the world without a trace of their physical remains left behind were still venerated , the remnants of their bodies kept enshrined as holy relics. One such relic had been housed in the White Cloud Monastery when Dr. Wu was a boy there. It looked like a tiny, shriveled little man about a foot and a half high, covered in leathery, age-darkened skin. It was explained to him that if there were any portions of the Rainbow Body practitioner's body that had not been properly purified beforehis or her attempt, it would be left behind in a shrunken, desiccated form.

Master Du told young Wu the day and the hour he was going to Rainbow and made him swear to be there to watch his attempt, no matter what. Soon he became so focused on his future that he would spend the whole day quietly whispering, "I'm going, I'm going" to himself. In the beginning, the boy thought, "My teacher must be too old ... what is he talking about, all day long just saying, 'I'm going, I'm going!' Toward the end, when he had to return to Beijing for his studies, he remembers pleading with his master to stop worrying and continuously talking about it with him, assuring him that he would skip school and do whatever else he had to do to be there and watch him when he was ready to leave. Even with his childhood of Taoist training, the teenage Dr. Wu was still skeptical of his master's unconventional ways and crazy ideas. But when that particular day finally came to pass, Master Du attained his Rainbow Body. Ever since, Dr. Wu deeply believes.
The day before he was set to make his attempt, Master Du called his young student to his side. He told him, "Tomorrow I will be rainbowed. I am goingto my place in the Ninth Level of Heaven to do my practice there. I am going to continue my studies with my master Lao Zi and sit at his feet, learning what he teaches, but from now on you are going to have to study by yourself. You're going to have to work hard. Of all my students, you have learned much, but I am worried for you. You don't study hard, you are skeptical in your practice, and yet you absorb my teachings so well. All that I know, I must pass to you because none of my other students have the wisdom and insight that you barely realize that you possess. Because of the troubles in China, there is no time or place to find someone better than you to pass these traditions to."

As he sat in a tub of hot water strewn with fragrant flower petals, being washed by his student, he talked to him at length about the key points of 9 Palaces and 5 Centers Qi Gong. He told him of the real meaning of martial arts, When you learn martial arts, you are not going after specific movements, or their proper visual form, or if your hand moves correctly or not. You have to have the feel of a natural force living within you. If you feel it rising inside you, then you can bring it out with power and dynamism. Why does it take more than one person to catch, control, and subdue an insane person? They have left behind all the things that have separated them from their original abilities. Within your own original abilities lies your power. Why was Wang Xiangzhai (the founder of yiquan) so successful in his martial arts? Because he was able to bring out his own personal essence, his own unique force. There are special trainings to accomplish this. If you just focus on supple movements it might be good exercise, but if you really want to learn true striking power, true healing power, true energetic power, the basic foundation is Qi Gong.

They talked together like that all night, the student bathing the master, the
master transmitting his last words of wisdom, from eight o'clock in the evening to five the next morning. When Master Du had said all that he could,he faced his apprentice seriously. "I know you question what I have taught you, but tomorrow I will show you the reality of this knowledge. Of all mystudents, you are the one with the most doubts. You have difficulty trusting in me or believing in the teachings. But I believe, because I believe my owneyes. I believe in myself. I know you are a good student. You're a very smartperson. You have good comprehension and understanding, you can see things through, clearly and quickly. You have your own measure of wisdom. If tomorrow I fail to attain the Rainbow Body, all I ask is that you bury my remains in the place I have directed you. You can go on with your life and never think about Taoism again. I have high hopes that if tomorrow you seewith your own two eyes that I have indeed succeeded, you will vow to teach the 9 Palaces nine hundred and ninety nine times in honor of the truth you have been witness to."

That day, the temple was decorated with flowers and auspicious banners. Monks with musical instruments played continuously. Over one hundred people were assembled, including silent monitors from the Communist Party. Master Du sat in complete stillness and silence on a silken meditation cushion embroidered with dragons. At high noon, the moment for the transition had arrived. At first he remained immobile. At his side, Dr. Wu momentarily grasped his shoulder with a small shake. Suddenly his teacher flared with a burst of energy. Still enclosed in profound contemplation, his body began to levitate, spinning straight up from its cushion, rising by itself and revolving faster and faster. Turning so fast his body was a blur, he hovered for a fleeting moment just above the heads of the stunned onlookers. The solidity of his form shifted, became indistinct. His outline evaporated into red smoke; a piercing ray of red light shot straight through the center of the sun, transfixing him; and at once, the Master was gone. He had departed. No trace was left, except a pleasing fragrance that filled the courtyard for hours after.

How can this be understood? How can it be explained? For the rest of the afternoon, Dr. Wu and his companions were lost in wonder and shocked
speechless. They had been witness to proof of the heights a lifetime's study
in Qi Gong could achieve.