torstai 28. huhtikuuta 2016

Four Gears of Open Awareness

Four Gears of Open Awareness

Four Gears of Open Awareness-guided practice
  1. Open awareness, related to the primary sensory organ*

  • Disengaging one's attention from internal objects such as thought and emotion, as well as from external objects perceived through the senses (eyes) and
  • Resting as non-three-dimensional open space
  • Awareness being aware of itself, without a self-entity

Leads to:
  • Recognition of oneself as conscious awareness, both through sudden awakening (cessation, nirodha) and mind purification (vipashyana, also known as gradual enlightenment) =>
  • Cuts down all sense of localisation as a self located in space and time, deconstruction of the self =>
  • Calming of the mind (shamatha) =>
  • Experiential understanding of both mindfulness (intention) and open awareness (attention)

This can be called the first gear, the first and foremost step, of awareness training.

*Eyes are the primary sensory organ of man. This practice is known as ati yoga, Ati-meditation, Space Gazing or open awareness meditation in Open Heart-teachings and by same or similar names in other advanced teachings.

  1. Open awareness centered at the heart

Open awareness recognised through the primary sense organ (eyes) is connected with the heart/chest area of man. This connection is revealed through training in open awareness meditation. This is subtle connection of the energy body (skt. amrita nadi, tib. kati, engl. chrystal channel), not related to common human emotions, although open awareness centered at the heart gives self-cognisant awareness a flavour of warm heartfulness. In the heart open awareness becomes embodied as love and compassion.

This can be called the second gear of awareness training.

  1. Open awareness embodied by the whole bodymind

When the recognition of the natural state takes place properly and one trains in it, open awareness not only comes to encompass the abstract mind and it's various aspects, but also penetrates the flesh of the body. The self-created mind of man becomes replaced with the ”spirit of God” which is free and open but also free of freedom, openness and divinity.

This can be called the third gear of awareness training.

  1. Open awareness in action

Here, open awareness is fully embodied and presented through action, speech and thought, and also through non-action, non-speech and non-thought. Here further training of awareness looses it's meaning. Compassionate action, both in it's peaceful and wrathful forms, is naturally delivered. This is the stage of the mahasiddhas* or buddhas. When open awareness is embodied in full bloom like this, all beings in all forms reap subtle nondual benefits from it as the presence of a mahasiddha reverberates through all realms** simultaneously. The wow to become a buddha, a fully enlightened being for the sake of all beings has been fulfilled and hence is forgotten.

This can be called the fourth gear and final stage of awareness training.

**All realms refer to 21 main realms related to the subtle body of man, that is, chakras. See a diagram of these centers here.


The above mapping is one way to explain the aspects and stages of the path of awareness training. This training can be pursued by anyone. It is recommended to be conducted in the guidance of a master (here referring to a mahasiddha) or at least with a person who has attained the level of a bodhisattva.

All should remember that open awareness is the enlightened mind of all beings. Potentially this can be attained by all men who receive valid instruction and who have correct compassionate motivation.

This instruction should not be kept from sincere, honest and open hearted seekers who wish to blow out the flame of their dualistic ignorance and embody their natural, truthful, original mind among men and other beings. This is their right.

It should be kept in mind that this knowledge is not the property of any person, any sect or a group. In case a known dishonest or a morally corrupt person seeks to receive instruction from a teacher, the teacher should make sure that the relationship is based on honesty and mutual trust. If this requirement is not met the teacher is allowed to refrain from giving guidance to such person.
May all beings realise their freedom.
Thank you for reading.

- Baba Kim Katami, 4/2016

Open Heart,

maanantai 11. huhtikuuta 2016

Amma, The Hugging Saint Explained

Amma, The Hugging Saint

"The power of Love is infinite. In true Love, one goes beyond the body, mind and all fears. Love is the breath of the soul. It is our life force. Pure, innocent Love makes everything possible. When your heart is filled with the pure energy of Love, even the most impossible task becomes as easy as picking up a flower. The more Love you give, the more divinity is expressed within you. Just as water from a perennial spring never dries up no matter how much water we draw from it, the more Love we give, the more it increases. Life and Love are not two. Pure Love can accomplish anything. Love is the ambrosia of life. If there is True Love, nothing else is needed." - Amma, the Hugging Saint

About this text 

This text is my personal explanation about Amma, the Hugging Saint, based on my experiences with her. The text contains both appreciation and criticism towards her. I have tried to express my criticism in a constructive way for the common benefit of all readers.  

Despite of my criticism, I have a lot of respect and appreciation to Amma. I wish to thank and bow to her in deep respect.

Note: The term "awakening" in this text has been used to describe a specific event on the spiritual path. Here awakening refers to the first irreversible spiritual insight. After this attainment, there are several other stages. See links below this text for sources on this.


I met Amma for the first time in 2003. Since then I have met her many times in darshan (about several dozen times), have joined her programs in Finland and Germany, and have spent 2½ months altogether in her ashram in Kerala India, on two separate occasions in 2009 and 2015. I've spent roughly 100-200 hours in her physical presence during this time, have heard her giving speeches, giving darshans (hugs), blessing food and seen her meditating. I've also received a mantra from her back in 2006 and have learned IAM-meditation taught by her organisation. I have also ordered a couple of pujas (fire rituals) from her organisation's services to help me solve some specific problems a few years ago.

To me Ammachi has sort of been like a spiritual aunt who has been there to guide and support me, along with my own parents (masters) that I've worked with during the last decade and many lives before this one. I've received many blessings from her and seen visions of her and other masters together in meditation. I have also asked her questions in person during darshan. I have at times wondered if I should follow her as my guru and even though I sometimes really wanted to, it never happened. I felt that she always welcomed me to meet her but encouraged me to follow my own path and karmic links with other masters and their teachings instead. My association with her has lasted for over 12 years, pretty much the same time I have pursued the spiritual path.

Amma's status and her actions

Ammachi is the only spiritual master, or a mahasiddha, that I have physically met. And I have met quite a few teachers and masters from many traditions. To me she is a living buddha who has no arising of feeling and no cessation of perception. I have spent quite a bit of time with other mahasiddhas in non-physical form, practicing tantric guru yoga with them, so I feel I have a pretty clear idea what makes or what doesn't make one a living buddha. 

Amma's actions speak for themselves. Last November in 2015 she sat down giving hugs continuously for 26 hours. This was reported at the Facebook group of her ashram. An ordinary person or even a very experienced yogi would not be able to do this because the energetic charge would be too great to handle. Meeting, hugging and conversing with perhaps a few thousand people one-by-one during one day is extra-ordinary. This is something that she does on regular basis all over the world. To me this is a clear sign of her being a master. This is completely different than speaking to large crowds which is what many popular gurus do. Also charity work, even of great scale, would not solely indicate the mastership of a teacher. But charity work on vast scale is something that Amma has initiated in addition to her meeting over 35 million people one by one. This is something that hasn't been achieved by ordinary people or by charlatans. 

There are many miraculous stories of Amma but since I have personally never seen her do any supernatural miracles I do not wish to narrate these here. On the other hand, I have never seen anyone leave her arms looking as fearful or confused as they came, so again to me this, transforming the minds of people in just a few short seconds, is a greater miracle than demonstrating siddhis, special powers.


One of the things I have critisized about hindu gurus and their teachings in general, is that usually their verbal teachings are vague and non-specific. Hindu gurus speak about "enlightenment", "awakening", "samadhi" and many such things but do not clarify these things in a way that would be understandable for their followers and the world society. This is also the case with Amma's verbal teachings.

"Dharma" or nondual spirituality has many definitions but if we are talking about what "spirituality" actually is, there is no other way to define it than as experience-based nondualism. Nondualism means seeing through the dualistic delusion of one's sense of self. This takes place in the mind.

It has been said that Amma's mission is in reinstating moral values, in addition to being an example of selflessness and love herself. I do not know if Amma would agree to this definition of her mission but in case she would, it should be questioned whether her mission of reinstating moral values is actually the sort of nondualistic spirituality and enlightenment that she often talks about. Being honest, sincere, kind and loving is of course better than being deceitful and hateful. Also doing good actions and charity is much better than doing bad things or just thinking of oneself over others. However, one can do good actions and be sort of loving while being deluded by one's sense of self. These things get easily mixed up.

It is the sense of self in the mind of man which creates dualistic positioning between "me and them" or between "me and my guru". As  teachings of Amma do not clarify this point and do not clearly point to the self-delusion imprinted in the mind of her many followers, which would help this illusion to vaporize, her followers stay bound by this dualistic chain. Considering how devoted many are to her, this is very unfortunate, I feel. Because of this simple flaw, people can never really understand her. As people stay fixed in the idea that they exist as separate entities, they can never really "get" Amma, who is without a self. 

I once asked Ammachi in person, that in case me and my family moved to her ashram, could I as my volunteer work, guide people to awaken from their self-delusion through self-inquiry (skt. atma vichara). "We don't do such practices here" was her reply. I didn't know what to expect but still after time this seems strange to me. 

It has been said by her that her devotees are "rusty steel" meaning perhaps something along the lines that they are not ready or fit to see through their self-delusion and should stick with the very basics. It has also been said by buddhist lamas that all people are not ready for emptiness teachings which in other words means seeing through the illusion of self. I agree with this to the extent that I don't think everyone is fit to awaken. But many are. So mostly I disagree on this point.

Seeing through the illusion of self and becoming awakened are the very basics of nondual spirituality. How could awakening possibly be something wrong, dangerous or undesired because the selfless nature is our true nature?

Based on my experience as a direct pointing teacher, I'd say that there are many people out there who are ready and fit for aiming directly at the central spoke of self-delusion. It makes no sense to decline this instruction from people, whether they are Amma's followers or others. The same problem is found in vajrayana buddhism. I have heard Amma speak of the "mistaken identity" and "awakening" but regarding this point, her direct pointing instructions are so scattered among long talks of Indian folklore, hindu classics and jokes that it is close to impossible for people to apply them in practice and actually get awakened.

Amma teaches tantric practices, like mantras, breathing practices and visualisation. These practices aim specifically for purification of mind. This is often called "gradual enlightenment". These practices are not meant to generate awakening  and only rarely and by chance they generate "sudden awakening". The great majority of people who do mind purification practices, don't get awakened because the practices are not designed to do that. The problem with this is that it is not possible to finish purification of the mind (gradual enlightenment) without sudden awakening. This is because the mind and it's mechanisms are the same with all men. This is a flaw in Amma's teachings, as well as most other hindu gurus. This problem is found in most hindu teachings and to an extent also in tantric buddhism which is very unfortunate.

So, with Amma, it is a strange mixture. The greatest master I've ever (physically) met surrounded by a huge mass of followers who constantly cultivate the selfless state of awareness through devotional practice but do not have the simplest instructions in consciously recognising their natural state. For this reason people keep seeking. It is the self or "me" who seeks so the situation is problematic.

I admit my inability to understand this. I can only assume that she knows what she is doing but at the same time I cannot help seeing these fundamental flaws in her teaching, as anyone with some understaning of jnana yoga or buddhist vipashyana meditation would. Fortunately, it has also been told by many people that Amma has somehow guided them to more fitting teachers and teachings.

Years with Amma

In Amma's presence, it is common for people to say things like, "Her energy is huge!", "I am embraced by her love!", "She is my Mother!" or something like that. People are very impressed by her. And I was too because I've kept going back to see her. I've heard buddhist practitioners tell about the same wow-factor of their own lamas.

This wow-factor happens both because of the powerful spiritual energy of the teacher but mainly because of the messy-ness of the mind (which translates to the energy body) of the person himself. It is because of the karmic grooves installed in the mind of a person why the presence of a particular teacher or a guru is felt to be powerful. The guru's energy of utmost spiritual clarity keeps meeting with the karmic knots while creating powerful sensations. Guru Yoga was like that for me for several years. But this changes when karmic patterns become purified. When one works with a guru for years the experience of his or her presence changes and neutralises because your own mind changes, becomes clearer.

For some time now, Amma's darshans have not had that powerful/energy/love/wow!-effect to me anymore. Instead what happens is that if one is in connection with a master like Amma or some other, the change happens in the clarity of the conscious experience and not in the energies of the bodymind. This is the change between the higher bhumis or grounds which are momentarily experienced because of the uplifting effect of the master's presence.

All in all

All in all, despite of the problems that I see in Amma's teaching, I have great respect for her.  In this time there is no other physical guru whose work is as vast, as Amma's. She has offered her arms to a huge number of people and has helped them, encouraging those who are sick, abused, abandoned and so on. She surely embodies love and clarity that we all can draw inspiration from.

Thank you for reading,

- Kim Katami, 4/2016.

Open Heart

Links and sources 

tiistai 5. huhtikuuta 2016

Meditation and Nonmeditation by Mingyur Rinpoche

Meditation and Nonmeditation

by Mingyur Rinpoche

See also these texts in this blog:

Tonight we will talk about calm abiding meditation, or shamatha [Skt].The title of the lecture series is "Meditation and Nonmeditation," and it seems that these two are contradictory to each other. But if we really understand what meditation is we will see that they are the same.

When we meditate on calm abiding, or shamatha, we make our mind more pliable, and thereby gain control of it.

This is why we practice shamatha, calm abiding: to bring forth the potency and strength that is in the mind in the first place. Further, when we practice this meditation we awaken what is called "inner peace," an inner peace that does not depend upon outer causes and conditions.

These are some general ideas about why it is important to practice meditation, shamatha.
In terms of the practice of shamatha, there are two essential points: the key points of body and the key points of mind.

In the early stages of the path of meditation, when we haven't achieved a high level of
realization, our body and mind relate to each other in the manner of support and supported. Our body functions as the support for our mind, which in turn is supported by our body.

In Buddhism we talk about three different qualities that make up the more subtle aspects of the physical body, which relate to our meditation. They are called channels, winds and essences.

When we meditate there are seven key points to our body posture that are very important. The first point is to cross the legs...

...we should pay heed to what our body is telling us; if it hurts us a lot to sit in that posture and if we try to force ourselves into it, even though we don't want to sit that way, then that really can hurt us a lot. So we should not do it. Even if we are sitting in a regular cross-
legged fashion, if our legs get sore it is no problem to extend them. Also we can sit in a chair.

The second key point of posture is to put our hands in the posture of equipoise, with our left hand underneath and our right resting on top of it, or with our right hand underneath and our left hand resting on top of it. The most important point is to rest them in a relaxed way. We can also rest our hands on top of our two knees.

The fourth key point is the most important point of all: sitting with a straight back.

The fifth key point is to bring the jaw inwards slightly taking the general weight of our head
onto our jaw, letting our jaw absorb the weight of the head.

The sixth key point of posture is that our mouth should be relaxed in a way that our upper and lower teeth are not touching each other, and our upper and lower lips are not touching each other, there is a slight space in between.

The seventh key point is to rest our eyes in the way that they naturally are. We can have our gaze going slightly downward, it can be going directly outward or it could be slightly upwards. It is actually better to shift our gaze from time to time. If we try to keep our gaze in the same place for a long time, it tires us out, so if we shift our gaze occasionally, that keeps things fresh. It is okay to blink when we meditate.


This completes the body posture. From among all these key points it is important to keep in mind that relaxation in our body is very important. We should sit with the muscles in our body relaxed. Let's try this together, just practicing the body posture. We don't need to meditate.

Sit up straight, with your body relaxed in general, and relax your mind as well. You do not need to think of anything in particular - we're just sitting with our body relaxed and our mind relaxed. We're not talking about meditation yet. We are just going to sit with our body and mind relaxed...

This relaxation is meditation. But I did not instruct you to meditate. But it is said, non-
meditation is the supreme meditation. Therefore we don't need to meditate. We relax our body and we relax our mind.

We experience these states of relaxation in our body and mind frequently in our everyday life. Why doesn't that benefit us when that happens? Because we do not recognize that it is happening. Just now we relaxed while knowing we were relaxing. This is what is known as mindfulness. Therefore, if we relax, mindfulness comes right along with it. Usually, we tire ourselves out and then relax after that, but we do not realize that we are relaxing -
our attention is always facing outward, looking at other things.

Here we are relaxing in our body and mind while being aware that that is what we are doing. By being aware that we are relaxing when we are relaxing, we come to gain
control over our mind. So that's easy, right? It is very easy. You do not need to do anything. You do not need to meditate.

When we relax in this way what is our mind like? Our mind is relaxed and comfortable but still we cannot identify it; we can't point at our mind and say "this is my relaxed mind" or "this is my comfortable mind." This meditation technique that has just been described is called shamatha or calm abiding meditation without object.

Beginners probably would not experience that type of meditation for more than two, thre
e or five seconds, but that's fine. We should practice in short segments many times.
We shouldn't think thoughts like "I need to sit for a long time," "I need to stop my thoughts," because thoughts will happen and we cannot stop them. We can't shoot our thoughts, we can't burn our thoughts, and even if we set off a bomb, that will not stop our thoughts. That is the nature of mind. We do not need to stop our thoughts. What do we need? We need mindfulness. The main point about shamatha meditation is mindfulness, or, in other words, awareness.

...when there is no mindfulness there is no meditation. We are not saying that when there
are thoughts there is no meditation, and when there are no thoughts that is meditation; it's not about that at all. The point is whether there is mindfulness or not.

So meditation in this way is extremely easy, but there is one difficulty: it is so easy that it is
hard. It's hard because we don't trust it. We are always thinking that meditation must be
referring to something very special.

Our expectations about meditation bind our minds. This way of meditating is so close to us that we do not see it.


Now I will give you a difficult method of meditation [laughter]. This one relates to the collection of consciousnesses that we have. Buddhism teaches about six different consciousness: the eye consciousness that sees form, the ear consciousness that hears sounds, the nose consciousness that smells, the tongue that perceives tastes, our body consciousness that perceives tactilenobjects, and our mental consciousness that perceives thoughts. The reason why all of our disturbing states of mind, our suffering and monkey-like behavior, happen is because of this very collection of consciousnesses that has six different parts.

When some people who are immersed in meditation consider the thoughts that arise from
seeing forms, hearing sounds, smelling smells, and so forth, they think that these thoughts
harm their meditation, are enemies to their meditation. But for those who really understand
the essential point of meditation, all of those thoughts can become supports and aids to our meditation. Let's look at the way in which we can make these thoughts supports for our

Meditation with Form

First, with regard to form, our eyes see two kinds of things: shapes and colors. So it would be best for us to start off with a small object. We can look at a very small object and at the same time that our eyes are looking at that object, our mind should also look. If our mind can look at that object, this is what is called shamatha with object. We do not need anything but for our eyes to be looking at the object one-hundred-percent. It is not necessary to try for two-hundred-percent. [Rinpoche holds up his hand.] You see my hand. Even if we were to look at it for one whole hour, would our mind be looking at the hand for the whole hour? If our mind can see the hand, then this seeing is shamatha. That's easy, right? We do not need to meditate on our hand. We don't need to visualize our hand in our mind, or worry what a hand is like. We need merely to see it.

Meditation for beginners is just like a frog-it jumps to one state then goes to the side again,
then back and off to the other side, then back and off in another direction. We focus our mind on a particular object and it actually focuses on that object but then scatters off to something else, comes back to the focus, scatters off to something else. We do not need to hold our mind tightly or put a whole lot of energy into our mind to try and bring it into focus. We merely need to see.

If we practice in this way, our mindfulness will become stronger and stronger. Seeing the form, our mind will extend for longer periods of time. We can practice this type of meditation now, together. You can choose any object to look at.

First, relax your mind. [Pause] Now look at a form. [Pause] Now, without particularly looking at a form, continue sitting with your mind relaxed. [All practice.]

Meditation with Sound

Now we can work with the technique related to sound. Do you hear any sound? What sounds? Is there a sound coming from the roof? We'll meditate together and pay attention to what we hear - it could be any sound, doesn't matter what. We do not need to focus on one sound. We simply look with the thought "what is my ear hearing?" We open up our
ears. If we do not hear anything in particular, then that will become shamatha without object, and then when we place our attention with mindfulness on what we do hear, that is shamatha with object. When practicing this type of meditation with sound we can
have both happening, in alternation with each other - shamatha with object and shamatha without object.

First sit with your mind relaxed. [Pause]
Now listen to sound. [Pause]
Now relax your mind. [Pause]

When we do these practices looking at forms and our mind looks at them too, listening to
sounds and our mind listens to them too - when our mind is also looking at the form or listening to the sound - we are practicing mindfulness and developing our mindfulness. The more our mind is able to stay with thoseperceptual objects, the stronger and more developed our mindfulness is becoming. Through continuing to practice in this way, our mind becomes more tamed, more peaceful, and more happy and joyous. We come to gain control over our mind and we gain pliancy in our minds - our minds become more supple.

Q: Do you offer meditation on the sense of taste?

R: Yes. Tomorrow I will teach tasting, touching with thought.

Beginners need to be relaxed. But when you become more familiar, you can do things fast and still have the presence of mindfulness. You can have mindfulness in doing things like that. When we apply meditation to our ordinary life we do not have to be robots.

Shamatha without Object

In terms of resting the mind naturally, I spoke last night about "shamatha without object" or
"shamatha without attributes." During this type of shamatha, we relax our body and we relax our mind in its natural state

Shamatha without object is so easy that we don't trust it, and so for beginners we need
something that is a little bit difficult- the practice of shamatha with object. Whether we're
practicing shamatha with object or shamatha without object, we should simply have the
attitude that we are going to try our best. We don't have to hold our mind tightly thinking, "It
is absolutely not okay if I do not have a good meditation session."


We should think: "If my meditation is good, let it be good. If my meditation is bad, let it be bad. If it is mistaken, let it be mistaken. If it is correct, let it be correct. If I am to be reborn in hell, let me go to hell. If I'm to be reborn in a Pure Land, let me be go to a Pure Land." The time of meditation is precisely this state of being free from cares. We shouldn't be
that carefree in our post-meditation stage, but when we meditate, we should definitely be as carefree as that.

Meditation is pretty much just sitting. It is just resting with your mind in whatever its nature is.

Meditation with Taste and Smell

In terms of shamatha with object, we discussed last night about meditating using forms and sounds as objects of meditation. We will continue with that explanation, start
ing off with smells, using whatever smells that are occurring as a support for our meditation – pleasant smells and unpleasant smells. Perfume, incense - whatever it is. It is the same as forms and sounds. We can look at whatever forms are in front of us,
and when we are using sounds, we listen to whatever sound is resounding at the time.

Smells are something that are perceived by our nose, and when we do shamatha with smells, we simply guide our mind to perceive the smells as well - we look at the smells w
ith our mind, but that is all.

It is the same with taste. We can take any taste as our object of our meditation - sweet, sour, bitter, spicy -whatever it is. When we eat food, our tongue faculty perceives the taste. In order to practice meditation, we merely bring our attention to it and have our mind merely notice the taste. That is all.

Meditation with Sensations

The fifth meditation is tangible objects or tactile sensations. From among all the five senses, the tactile sensations are the best to use with meditation.

Meditation with Thoughts

If you understand this meditation – without- object technique, you will attain Buddhahood very quickly... It is a very profound meditation but there is nothing special about it.

Our biggest obstacle in meditation is the movement of thoughts - thoughts of desire,
aggression, ignorance, jealousy and so on. There are all kinds of movement in our minds
- we usually think of these thoughts as getting in the way of our meditation and harming or
destroying our meditation.

But if we understand the key points of meditation, then those very thoughts actually will be
support for our meditation and will not harm our meditation at all. It is the same as how forms become support for our meditation.Thoughts are any type of thought: negative thoughts of mental afflictions... positive thoughts...

Any of these thoughts can become a support for our meditation simply by looking at our
thoughts. It is just like looking at forms and listening to sounds.When we meditated on tactile sensations and brought sound into our meditation, they became supports for o
ur nondistraction. They helped us to maintain undistracted mindfulness. In the very same way when we look at our thoughts, they help us to be undistracted in our meditation.

There are two different basic states that our minds could be in: stillness and movement. There is no third category for beginners on the path of meditation; there is no state of mind they could experience that is not stillness or movement. The technique of using thoughts as the support for our meditation relates with the state of mind when it is moving. So it is important to know that we do not have to look at one thought alone, we simply look at
whatever thoughts are arising. For example, thoughts are like this rosary or mala - one thought comes after the other after the other after the other after the other. Our mind usually operates like that, but when we do not look at thoughts, we are not aware of the process. We should look at them now.

...we look with our mindfulness at all of our thoughts.

As we look at our thoughts in this way, even a hundred thousand thoughts, that means you
have a hundred thousand supports for meditation. That is very good. The thoughts themselves become a support for holding our mind.

(Added link: Listen to a Guided Object Vipashyana Meditation with Awareness here in Finnish.)

Question: Rinpoche, is it necessary to label your thoughts, or is awareness simply
looking at a movement or hearing a sound?

Rinpoche: The most important point about it is recognizing that we are having a thought. But it is fine to use a label as a technique for doing that, because our mind does not work without labels. The entire work of this mind, the sixth consciousness, the mental consciousness that we are working with, is to join words and meanings, join words and the things to which they refer and cling to them as being the same thing. So to use the label would be fine, because that is how this mind operates.

When we work with shamatha with object, there is a subject and an object, a viewer and
viewed, a sense of duality, so the labeling process is fine. The looker/viewer is mindfulness, and the object being looked at is our thoughts. There is a quote from a Buddhist text that says, "Through relying on focus, the state of nonfocus excellently arises," and that is what is being pointed to here.

Meditation without Thoughts

When you are looking at thoughts, like this, and in particular for beginners, there are two types of things that can happen. Most people try to look at thoughts and don't see anything happening. There is a gap that happens, but it only lasts for about three or four seconds. Then another thought arises and we look at it. As soon as we start looking at it, we don't see it anymore. It goes back and forth in this way. A thought arises, we look at it, and we don't see it anymore; a thought arises, we look at it, and then we can't identify it. This is very good. It is just like sitting here. If you are someone who has already received pointing
-out instructions on the essence of mind, this type of practice is particularly beneficial.

(Added link: See here for information about thoughtless awareness or gzhi rigpa as presented by dzogchen master Vimalamitra: Basics of Natural Awareness (Dzogchen) Part 1:

The meditation during which we cannot see any thoughts becomes shamatha without object. The meditation during which we can look at thoughts becomes shamatha with object. Both of these are very good.

In meditation, one main point is to simply pay attention with mindfulness. We do not need to identify what we are paying attention to. It is the paying attention itself that is most important. When we continue practicing in this way, we begin with a sense of duality, with a viewer and viewed, or a looker and object looked at. As we become more and more familiar with the practice, the viewer and the viewed will become the same thing. When that happens, we are very close to seeing the essence of our mind. During the shamatha audience this morning, one student asked if it were possible for shamatha to turn into vipashyana, or insight, without applying any particular effort. In most cases, the answer is no. You would have to apply some other view, such as the view of emptiness. But there is one situation where shamatha could change into vipashana without bringing in any other technique. This is that very instance.

Meditation with Negative Thoughts

As we said earlier, there are three main types of thoughts we could have: negative, positive or neutral. For beginners on the path there is a special method for working with negative thoughts. When we have negative emotions, such as strong anger or aggression in our mind, the first thing is to recognize that "anger has arisen in my mind." At this stage we don't try to stop the anger, we simply recognize it. So don't hit the other person right away. Look at the anger not at your enemy.

For beginners, we chiefly look at the perceiving subject, instead of the perceived object. That is the key point, that is the key difference.

We can apply this technique for other negative mental states too, such as depression, fear or any other type of suffering.

Meditation with Neutral and Positive Thoughts

If we are working with neutral thoughts or positive thoughts, we can look at both subject and object.

If you looked at all those images as they are arising in your mind, it is the same thing as
visualizing a deity in the creation stage. It is the same thing as visualizing yourself as a deity inside a palace and another deity in the sky in front of you. It is also the same thing as taking refuge, and visualizing all the objects of refuge in the sky in front... from the
perspective of nondistraction and practicing mindfulness, accomplishing shamatha or calm abiding, there is no difference between the two.

If we keep meditating in that way, finally we will arrive at a state where the object we are
looking at and the looker become one, and all of our mental afflictions-desire, aggression,
jealousy, and so on -will be self liberated. The power of our disturbing emotions or mental
afflictions (kleshas) will be gradually diminished.

This has been an explanation of the sixth method of shamatha. The main point of shamatha is to gain freedom over our mind, to tap into the natural energy of our mind and tame the mind's wild monkey. When we do that, we will become like a well-tamed elephant. They don't go about following their every whim or harming people randomly. They walk with a purpose.What do we do with this shamatha mind that is like a well-tamed elephant? We put it to work on the path of liberation. In order to join fully with the path of liberation, we need to join with the practice of vipashyana or special-seeing, insight.

Vipashyana is of two types: the vipashyana of emptiness and the vipashyana of the essence of mind (link to a guided practice in Finnish). If emptiness and the essence of mind are joined with shamatha we attain the state of Buddhahood. That's all.

Q: If Buddhahood can never arise, how does one become enlightened, or how does one
transcend from the relative?

Rinpoche: We go back to the distinction between the way things appear and the way things are. Buddhahood, or the state of enlightenment, is actually the way things are, the way we are ultimately. But from the perspective of the way things appear, we appear as confused sentient beings. The way we appear is not really the way we are. So when we attain Buddhahood, when we recognize the way we really are, the way things appear and the way things are become the same thing.


This text is a condensed version from this original text given by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche in 2004.

Links embedded in the text

Nonmeditation Workshop Part 1 (Dzogchen/Mahamudra) 3/2016:
Here is how to become awakened:

lauantai 2. huhtikuuta 2016

Great Perfection (Dzogchen) by Mingyur Rinpoche

Great Perfection (Dzogchen)

by Mingyur Rinpoche

with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and 
Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

What does this word mean,” I asked, pointing to the tibetan word kadak.
Oh, that’s a very important term,” he replied, pleased to see my interest. “Do you remember what I told the students last night about the mind’s true nature?” the truth was that I didn’t understand much of what he said when he taught, so I looked down and shook my head in embarrassment. Seeing my reaction, he patted me gently on the shoulder and said, “there’s no need to feel embarrassed. When I was young i had to learn the meaning of all these words just like you.” he then paused for a moment and looked at me with such affection that all my fear and embarrassment dissolved. “What i taught the students last night is that our true nature is completely pure and good. the word you asked about, kadak, means ‘pure from the very beginning.’ it might not always seem like this is the case, but there isn’t the slightest bit of difference between your true nature and the Buddha’s. In fact, even an old dog has this original purity.”

What does purity mean?” I asked. “Purity means that our true nature is already perfect and complete,” he continued. “None of our confusion and fear can change this inner purity. It doesn’t get worse when we suffer or improve when we become enlightened like the Buddha. We don’t need to add anything to it or take anything away, nor do we have to do something to get it. it’s here with us each and every moment, like a diamond in the palm of one’s hand.” “If our true nature is so wonderful,” I asked, “Then why do we suffer?” “That’s a good question,” he answered. “The problem isn’t that we need to get something that we don’t already have, or that we have to get rid of all the things we don’t like. The Buddha can’t magically appear and take away all our suffering and confusion. The problem is that we don’t recognize what we’ve had all along. We get so caught up in the drama of our lives that we don’t see the radiant purity of our own minds. This nature is with us even when we feel scared, lonely, and angry.”

I looked up at my father’s kind face as he spoke these words and a feeling of tremendous love and respect welled up from deep within me. I still didn’t fully grasp what he was trying to teach, but i started to open to the possibility that there was more to life than all the thoughts and feelings that crowded my young mind. What he had just introduced me to was the ground of the Great Perfection, the inner reality that we discover on the spiritual path.

With this newfound confidence, I continued to meditate on my own. Though I still didn’t have a direct experience of what my father was trying to teach me, I soon found that by focusing my mind on something, I could experience a glimpse of tranquility. Despite this development, I still thought of meditation as something that would help me get rid of the parts of myself that I didn’t like. I sincerely hoped that meditation would lead me to
happy, peaceful states of mind where panic and fear could not touch me. As I would soon find out, however, what my father was leading me to was much more radical than that.

For the next few months I continued to visit my father every day, and he taught me more about the Great Perfection. Oftentimes we wouldn’t talk at all as we sat together. My father would simply sit in front of the large window and gaze off into the sky as I sat quietly by his side and tried to meditate. I desperately wanted his approval, so I always did my best imitation of what i thought a good meditator should do. I sat bolt upright and tried to make it look like I was absorbed in some deep experience, while in actuality I was just repeating a mantra in my mind and trying not to get lost in thought. Occasionally, I would open my eyes and peek up at my father, hoping that he had noticed my good meditation posture and ability to sit still for so long.

One day, as we sat together in silence, I glanced up at him in the middle of my meditation and was surprised to find him gazing down at me. “Are you meditating, son?” he asked. “Yes, sir,” I said proudly, filled with joy that he had finally noticed. My answer seemed to amuse him greatly. he paused for a few moments and then said gently, “Don’t meditate.”

My pride vanished. For months, I’d been doing my best to copy all the other meditators who came to be with my father. I learned some short prayers, sat in the right posture, and tried hard to still my turbulent mind. “I thought I was supposed to meditate,” I said with a shaky voice.

Meditation is a lie,” he said. “When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don’t see the innate perfection of the present moment.” Pointing out through the window, he continued, “Look out into the blue sky. Pure awareness is like space,
boundless and open. It’s always here. You don’t have to make it up. All you have to do is rest in that.”

For a moment, all of my hopes and expectations about meditation dropped away and I experienced a glimpse of timeless awareness. A few minutes later he continued, “Once you’ve recognized awareness, there’s nothing to do. You don’t have to meditate or
try to change your mind in any way.”

If there’s nothing to do,” I asked, “Does that mean that we don’t have to practice?”
Although there’s nothing to do, you do need to familiarize yourself with this recognition.
you also need to cultivate bodhichitta and devotion, and always seal your practice by dedicating the merit so that all beings may recognize their own true nature too.
The reason we still need to practice is that at first we only have an understanding of the mind’s true nature. By familiarizing ourselves with this understanding again and again, however, it eventually transforms into direct experience. Yet even then we still need to practice. Experience is unstable, so if we don’t continue to familiarize ourselves with pure awareness we can lose sight of it and get caught up in our thoughts and emotions again.
On the other hand, if we are diligent in practice, this experience will transform into a realization that can never be lost. This is the path of the Great Perfection (dzogchen).”

With these words, he stopped talking and we both continued to rest in pure awareness, gazing off into the deep blue sky above the Kathmandu Valley.

One of the main questions I had at the time concerned the results of the Great Perfection, so one day I approached Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche to ask for clarification. “To attain buddhahood,” I began, “the sutras say that we have to purify obscurations, perfect the ac-
cumulations of merit and wisdom, and slowly refine our practice of generosity, discipline, and the rest of the six perfections for an incredibly long period of time, but my father and
Saljey Rinpoche taught me that buddhahood is actually right here in the present
moment. They said that if we strain and strive for some enlightenment in the future, we actually move farther away from this pure awareness. Don’t these two presentations contradict each other?”

Not at all,” rinpoche replied. “ In fact, all those things that we uncover slowly on the sutra path are actually inherent qualities of pure awareness. The Great Perfection is an effortless path in which you accomplish everything without doing anything. Recognizing the empty essence of awareness perfects the accumulation of wisdom, while recognizing its spontaneously present clarity perfects the accumulation of merit. The union of this emptiness and clarity is the union of the two accumulations. Moreover, this approach is
also the union of the development and completion stages that we practice in deity yoga, and of skillful means and knowledge. Once you realize the nature of mind, compassion spontaneously manifests. Seeing the potential that all beings possess, you will naturally
feel respect for them and want to help them to realize this true nature for themselves.
You will also experience genuine devotion for the teachers who introduced you to pure awareness and fully appreciate their accomplishment. So you see, all the qualities of
enlightenment are right here with us. We don’t need to look anywhere outside of the present moment.

Actualizing these innate qualities,” he continued, “Is the best result we could hope for. Flying in the sky, reading minds, and other magical powers are no big deal. These days, we can do most of these things anyway through modern technology. I’ve flown all around the world with hundreds of people in a giant metal tube, so what’s the big deal if you can levitate a few feet? The precious fruition of the Great Perfection manifests when we’ve familiarized ourselves with pure awareness to such a degree that we never waver from that state. There’s nothing more to hope for than that.”

Khen Rinpoche’s words trailed off as he finished his explanation, and he stopped talking.
together, we sat in silence, resting effortlessly in the beauty and simplicity of the present moment. The words of these great masters stay with me to this day. When people ask me about the Great Perfection, I have nothing more to say than to repeat these simple teachings, which were entrusted to me like a great treasure by my kind teachers.

perjantai 1. huhtikuuta 2016

All initiations and deity empowerments

All initiations and deity empowerments

This is a complete name list of teachings that Mata and myself have received from various  masters during 2013-2014.

See also "Full list of my teachers and masters".

- Kim Katami, 24.11.2014

  1. Thirumular
  2. Babaji
  3. Bogar Natha (a.k.a. Lao Tsu, 29)
  4. Agastya (a.k.a. Padmashambhava, 11)
  5. Rama
  6. Krishna
  7. Lahiri (a.k.a. Vimalamitra, 24)
  8. Sriyukteswar (a.k.a. Garab Dorje, 25)
  9. Mataji
  10. Ramalinga (a.k.a. Isha Natha/Jesus Christ, 26)
  11. Padmashambhava (a.k.a. Agastya, 4)
  12. Tilopa
  13. Luipa
  14. Milarepa
  15. Asanga
  16. Nagarjuna
  17. Saraha
  18. Virupa
  19. Kilapa
  20. Shantipa
  21. Jomo Memo
  22. Machig Lapdron
  23. Niguma
  24. Vimalamitra (a.k.a. Lahiri Mahasaya, 7)
  25. Garab Dorje (a.k.a. Sri Yukteswar, 8)
  26. Isha Natha/Jesus Christ (a.k.a. Ramalinga, 10)
  27. Dharmakirti
  28. Lao Tsu, (a.k.a. Bogar Natha, 3)
  29. Kukai
Other masters and teachers

  1. Baba
  2. Mata
  3. Ananda Mayi Ma
  4. Arjuna
  5. Gorakhnatha
  6. Patanjali
  7. Matsyendranatha
  8. Punnakeesar
  9. Narada
  10. Sharapa
  11. Kanapa
  12. Karuvoorar
  13. Sivavakkiyar
  14. Ramadevar
  15. Yamaoka Tesshu
  16. Ueshiba Morihei
  17. Miyamoto Musashi
  18. Kukai, Kobo Daishi
  19. 16th Karmapa
  20. 17th Karmapa
  21. Mingyur Rinpoche
  22. Drenchen Rema
  23. Ayu Khandro
  24. Do Khyentse
  25. Gogen Yamaguchi

Various deities,
known in buddhism, hinduism and shinto

Here listed not in any special order though most in the list constitute smaller systems for specific spiritual fruit.

  1. Ganesha
  2. Parvati
  3. Muruga
  4. Shiva
  5. Hari
  6. Harihara
  7. Palahari
  8. Harinarayana
  9. Balanarayana
  10. Brahmanarayana
  11. Suryanarayana
  12. Satyanarayana
  13. Vishnu
  14. Dakshinamurti
  15. Shivamurti
  16. Brahmamurti
  17. Dattatreya
  18. Nandi
  19. Avalokiteshvara
  20. Vajrasattva
  21. Vajradhara
  22. Aksobhya
  23. Amitabha
  24. Amoghasiddhi
  25. Ratnashambhava
  26. Vairochana
  27. Samantabhadra
  28. Kali
  29. Mahakala
  30. Vajrayogini
  31. Chinnamasta
  32. Savitri
  33. Sundari
  34. Kamalatmika
  35. Saraswati
  36. Bhuvaneshwari
  37. Sadashiva
  38. Maheshvara
  39. Rudra
  40. Parameshvara
  41. Shiva (the same as number 4)
  42. Tripura Sundari
  43. Sivakama Sundari
  44. Raja Sundari
  45. Rani Sundari
  46. Bala Sundari
  47. Manjushri
  48. Vajrakilaya
  49. Vajrapani
  50. Vajrabhairava
  51. Kalachakra
  52. Cundi (an aspect of Avalokiteshvara)
  53. Sahasra Avalokiteshvara
  54. Cintamani Avalokiteshvara
  55. Ekadasamukha Avalokiteshvara
  56. Hari Prem
  57. Hari Moni
  58. Kashi Moni
  59. Praja Moni
  60. Rashi Moni
  61. Hara Moni
  62. Adi Buddha
  63. Ganeshwari
  64. Naradeshwari
  65. Gaurangi
  66. Nakuleshwari
  67. Vidyeshwari
  68. Sunyeshwari
  69. Sarweshwari
  70. Saradeshwari
  71. Nareshwari
  72. Savitreshwari
  73. Parameshwari
  74. Satyeshwari
  75. Garudeshwari
  76. Shambeshwari
  77. Maitreshwari
  78. Maneshwari
  79. Vijneshwari
  80. Agneshwari
  81. Paladeshwari
  82. Kareshwari
  83. Kameshwari
  84. Mareshwari
  85. Muleshwari
  86. Kalinkini
  87. Muruga (the same as number 3)
  88. Subramuniya
  89. Skandakumara
  90. Brahmakumara
  91. Vishnukumara
  92. Shivakumara
  93. Harikumara
  94. Kalakumara
  95. Devikumara
  96. Vaishnavi
  97. Yamantaka
  98. Avalokiteshwari
  99. Black Madonna
  100. Vaishravana (tib. Kubera)
  101. Hayagriva
  102. Hevajra
  103. Mahavairocana Vajradhatu
  104. Mahavairocana Garbhadhatu
  105. Acala Vidyaraja
  106. Akashagarbha
  107. Ksitigarbha
  108. Akashagarbha
  109. Sthamaprapta
  110. Samantabhadra
  111. Bhaisajyaguru
  112. Maitreya
  113. Vajravarahi
  114. Narodakini
  115. Krishna Yogini (tib. Tröma Nagmo)
  116. Shri Devi (tib. Palden Lhamo)
  117. Ekajati
  118. Rahula
  119. Vajrasadhu
  120. Nidra Yogini
  121. Nidrani
  122. Nidrama
  123. Simhamukha
  124. Amaterasu
  125. Amenominakanushi no kami
  126. Futsunushi/Katori O-Kami
  127. Kashima O-Kami

21 dimensions

21 dimensions each with their own mudra. 21 dimensions refer to three different 7 chakra-systems in the 1. torso and head (mantra: Om, bright light), 2. limbs (Hum, black light) and 3. above the head (A, transparent).
First system of seven chakras (bright light) and their corresponding dimensions:

  1. +1, First dimension, root center
  2. +2, Second dimension, sex center
  3. +3, Third dimension, navel center
  4. +4, Fourth dimension, heart center
  5. +5, Fifth dimension, throat center
  6. +6, Sixth dimension, forehead/center of the head
  7. +7, Seventh dimension, crown center

Second system of seven chakras (black light) and their dimensions:

  1. -1, Eigth dimension, shoulder/hip
  2. -2, Ninth dimension, upper arm/thigh
  3. -3, Tenth dimension, elbow/knee
  4. -4, Eleventh dimension, forearm/shin
  5. -5, Twelth dimension, wrist/ankle
  6. -6, Thirteenth dimension, palm/foot
  7. -7, Fourteenth dimension, fingers/toes

Third system of seven chakras (transparent) and their dimensions:

  1. +-1, Fifteenth dimension, above the head
  2. +-2, Sixteenth dimension, above the head
  3. +-3, Seventeenth dimension, above the head
  4. +-4, Eighteenth dimension, above the head
  5. +-5, Nineteenth dimension, above the head
  6. +-6, Twentieth dimension, above the head
  7. +-7, Twentyfirst dimension, above the head


  1. Dzogchen (referring to this field of spiritual teachings in general)  
  2. Tibetan Heart Yoga, 4 levels
  3. Thögal of Vimalamitra with two different mudras/parts of practice (referring to practices that lead to full buddhahood and rainbow body)
  4. Thögal of Padmashambhava, referring to practices that lead to full buddhahood and Diamond Light body
  5. Sem Dzin, Vimalamitra's Wisdom Meditation (referring to a 12-part set of meditation practices)
  6. Dzogchen Ngöndro, Vimalamitra Yoga (referring to a 19-part set of physical-energetic-spiritual yoga practices)
  7. Tibetan Hatha Yoga, Yoga teachings given by Machig Lapdron
  8. Phowa, Yoga of Death and Dying
  9. Chöd of Machig Lapdron, a complete form of Chöd-practice
  10. Chinkon Kishin, esoteric spiritual practice given by aikido O-sensei Morihei Ueshiba for midn purification and meditation

Four aspects of rigpa as transmitted by Vimalamitra and Garab Dorje

  1. Lhundrup Bubki Rigpa: Rigpa of all-encompassing spontaneous presence
  2. Tselgyi Rigpa: Effulgent Rigpa
  3. Ngowoi Rigpa: Essence Rigpa
  4. Ghzi/Zhi Rigpa: Basis Rigpa

  1. Jivanmukta/Arhat/Purity of mind
  2. Paramukta/Full Buddhahood/Mahasiddha

Vidyadhara Bhumis with corresponding mudras

  1. Matured Vidyadhara, 1. bhumi
  2. Vidyadhara with power over life, 2.-4. bhumis
  3. Mahamudra Vidyadhara, 5.-10. bhumis
  4. Spontaneously accomplished Vidyadhara, 11.-13. bhumis

Meditations and samadhis

  1. Shamatha with support/Concentration
  2. Shamatha without support/Savikalpa Samadhi
  3. Nirodha/Nirvana/Nirvikalpa Samadhi/Cessation