perjantai 18. kesäkuuta 2021

Basic Goodness – The Root of All Religions

 

Basic Goodness –

The Root of All Religions


What is common to all major religions is the element of worship of some higher, more profound or spiritual ideal. Christians, hindus and buddhists all have their objects of prayer, worship and meditation. In this way, practitioners of religion put themselves near to their spiritual idols and gain benefits from doing that. Typically these benefits include the sense of becoming peaceful, sober-minded, patient, tolerant and loving. It is fascinating that regardless of religious orientation, contemplatives of all religions are known by these same marks. From this perspective all paths seem to lead to same or very similar transformation and maturation of the human mind and heart.


What is also fascinating is the similarity of descriptions of inner experience among advanced contemplatives of different religions. They all describe unification with their chosen ideals, and therefore, transcendence of it. Christian mystics describe being unified with God or Christ and buddhist adepts describe realising the buddha within. Hindus and taoists describe the same thing. Isn't it extremely enchanting that based on their accounts, advanced contemplatives seem to go beyond the differences in doctrine but also seem to discover a common bedrock of pure radiance and its many positive expressions, that is beyond all and any of their former spiritual idols? This is transcendence of paths, stages, religious doctrine and idols of worship. The number of contemplatives who talk in this manner is low but nevertheless exists.


I never believed that there would be only one path or one way to existential freedom, that comes through transcendence of particulars. I never believed it because it didn't make sense to me.


All beings have pure and divine nature that cannot be given or taken away but goes undiscovered. That is the very reason why we live our lives in emotional pain and existential confusion, not knowing who we really are. Below the chaos and confusion of thoughts and emotions, there is incredible peace and clarity that is common to all beings. You are basically good! Utterly good! Discover this good in yourself and become an embodiment of it.


In this way, by becoming aware of who we really are, we tap into the common bedrock of all religions that is already in us.


Kim, 18.6.2021







torstai 17. kesäkuuta 2021

Sacred In Us

Sacred In Us


Hi friends,


I'd like to take a moment to remind you that there is a perfectly awake, calm, clear and sober being in you, at this very moment. This pure and sober being comes out every now and then, and you might remember incidents of having had a really clear mind that you don't normally have. Maybe you experienced this clarity on the day when you graduated from school, had your first child, got married or sang a song at friend's birthday party, for example. This clear mind is called buddha in buddhism, christ in christianity, or bhagavan in hinduism. All beings have this pure nature and you are not an exception to this rule. Actually, we don't only "have" this nature, we are this nature.


Our basic nature is abound with kindness and goodness. At this very moment, there is this bright and sober being in us, that is perfect as it is. So, find it in you, in your being right at this moment. Discover it and see how your energy shifts. We all know how it feels to be stressed, tense, anxious, angry and depressed. All these negative emotions make us feel small and contracted. We all know this all too well. On the other hand recognising our basic nature, releases our small-minded doubts and judgements, and we feel free and unhindered. It is very empowering to discover who we truly are!


Even if we have hard times in life, we have a mind that is always clear and sober, without irritation and anger, always fresh, realistic and positive. This is the sacred in us all. In you too, right this moment.


Kim, 17.6.2021

perjantai 11. kesäkuuta 2021

Emptiness and Compassion as Means to Attain Full Enlightenment

 

Emptiness and Compassion as Means

to Attain Full Enlightenment


Singh:>I completely agree with your view, before I discovered and more importantly grasped emptiness which is profoundly easy and difficult at the same time navigation seemed like fantasy. I don't have a clue why people don't get it. The Buddhist who are trained and get it, some of the them tend to get dogmatic about it.


Kim: -Another thing that people don't get or miss is the gift of compassion and emptiness combined, as in great vehicle. Buddhists of the small vehicle talk incessantly about anatman and arhathood but few of them realise that arhathood is half way. It is not full and complete. However, I give credit to theravadans because in some styles of it, they actually do become arhats and even if it is not full enlightenment, arhathood is farther than what many mahayanis and vajrayanis attain. I find it curious and strange that this is the case.


-But the thing with cultivating compassion and including all beings in one's motivation, it is revolutional in terms of spiritual practice. You practice for everyone, not just that "I want out and each to their own". Compassion is the katalysator and engine of enlightenment, regardless of religion or doctrine. I've seen some christian contemplatives who have absolutely incredible "bodhicitta". Compassion is the fabric of mature psychology and mature spirituality. That's why it's emphasized in systems that aim for full enlightenment, call it buddhahood or becoming like christ. If one doesn't have such maturity, many selfish habits go unnoticed. This means that for theravada arhats there is a whole world system that is unseen for them but like I said, in buddhist teaching there are also basic problems how compassion is taught and cultivated. The reason why I say all this is because without compassion, emptiness meditation cannot be finished. Without compassion, one will not attain full liberation.


Singh:>I try to transcend dogma, there is no doubt the crystal clear teaching on emptiness are in vajrayana especially dzogchen and mahamudra. 


Kim: -Mahamudra teachings are excellent, especially Gampopa. However, be careful because there are many dzogchen teachers out there who do not understand emptiness, though they can tap into the clarity of basic awareness. Full enlightenment, also known as great perfection includes everything that appears in the mind.


Kim, 11.6.2021




Yogas With or Without Knowledge

 

Yogas With or Without Knowledge



I don't think that emptiness teaching is or was meant to start a new religion that we now know as buddhism. I think it was meant to fix the central problem in hinduism but then things went otherwise and a new religion was developed. It is a whole another discussion how is it possibe that there is so many basic misconceptions and misunderstandings in hinduism, considering that jnana yoga is one of the most basic forms of hindu yogas. There cannot be any other knowledge or jnana than knowledge of one's true nature. All other jnanas come far second and yet, it is these secondary knowledges that most hindu practitioners spend their lives with, left ignorant of one's true nature. That is a tragedy.


The way I see it is that both self-delusion and its removal through the teaching of shunyata are both universal. We have to reset the karmic counter back to zero (shunya) to be able to have the primary knowledge of our existence. However, considering that this teaching isn't available to that many people and it comes together with the religious packaging of buddhism, so people associate the teaching of emptiness with buddhism, Asia and so on, are signs that many things went wrong along the way for various reasons. If we look at great founders like Jesus and Buddha, I think what they meant to do was to offer and bring medicine for the humanity, not start their own groups for the sake of having a group. Although I feel that I'm a buddhist, often when looking at what goes on in buddhism, I feel like a complete stranger to it. It is just what Babaji told me years ago, that there is no this or that yoga, you could say no this or that religion. There is only that which works and that which doesn't in terms of existential confusion. People get so confused when faith and belief come into the picture and loose sight of what is truly important. To me there cannot be other type of dharma than dharma that releases dualistic (plus or minus) confusion into zero. And this was always the real meaning of yoga.


Kim, 11.6.2021

torstai 10. kesäkuuta 2021

Claims of Attainment by Jesus, Yuthok and Naropa

 

Claims of Attainment by

Jesus, Yuthok and Naropa


Jesus: "No one comes to the kingdom of heaven except through me".


Yuthok: "There’s greater merit in praying to me for one year than in praying to other gurus for a whole lifetime; there’s more merit in praying to me for a month than in praying to others for a whole year. Rather than praying to others for a whole month, by praying to me for just a day, one minute, or a mere instant, blessings will come quickly. If this isn’t true, for having deceived sentient beings, may all the Buddhas and their spiritual offspring of the ten directions smash my skull into pieces like shattered plaster.”*


Naropa: I am the Source of every Mahasiddha, I am their names and their poems, I am their Songs of Realization, And the Realization itself, I Am the ‘All Creating King’ And ‘Mother of All Buddhas’… That Pristine Purity From which all things Immaculately Come, And yet ultimately remains Completely Indescribable.”**


**Clark, Kiley. Stones to Shatter the Stainless Mirror:: The Fearless Teachings of Tilopa to Naropa (p. 140). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

*Chenagtsang, Nida. Mirror of Light: A Commentary on Yuthok's Ati Yoga (p. 27). 978-1-950153-01-5. Kindle Edition.

Perfect Expression of Pragmatic Dharma by Guru Rinpoche

 

Perfect Expression of

Pragmatic Dharma

by Guru Rinpoche


"Whoever meditates on me meditates on all the buddhas. 

Whoever sees me sees all the buddhas. 

I am the union of all sugatas, the 'ones gone to bliss'."

- Padmasambhava


Always when seeing this quote and other similar ones from Guru Rinpoche, I can't help thinking how bold it is. I don't mean bold in egoistic way but to say, "I am the union of all sugatas", it's just something that ordinary beings don't say because they never even come think of such a thing! Only true masters, charlatans or crazy people say things like that. How can you tell which is which? By the signs.


It is such a strong and bold, and yet truthful statement. He is a mahasiddha and whoever is a mahasiddha, is a living embodiment of all buddhas (sugatas). All deities come to life through and in the realisation of a fully enlightened siddha.


Guru Padmasambhava is unique among siddhas for the fact that you can't find others who says it so directly. He doesn't water it down, he doesn't dance or play around it, and he hasn't got the slightest problem saying it exactly how it is.


To me, this is perfect expression of (pragmatic) dharma.


-Kim, 10.6.2021


keskiviikko 9. kesäkuuta 2021

Emptiness and Buddhahood

 

Emptiness and Buddhahood


Without emptiness practice, one cannot practice dzogchen. There is no such thing as dzogchen without the foundational realisation or insight of empty nature of mind. For this reason, we need to understand that we actually cannot practice atiyoga without complete purification. Without emptiness, dzogchen becomes entirely dualistic because the "natural state" is seen to be separate from thoughts and emotions. However, if you read any past master they make it clear that thoughts and emotions are not apart of the natural state. So what you need to practice is vipashyana, emptiness meditation, to release the sense of me-ness from all and any mind objects. In Pemako, we do this both by sutric and tantric means, sutric and tantric vipashyana. Sutric means to study, investigate and liberate selfing from the mind objects directly. Tantric vipashyana means to practice deities through their mantras and visualisations. Both result in directly seeing that whatever mind objects appear in the mind: any thought, any emotion, any dream, any desire, any fantasy or any subtle formless energy, is without this entity that samsaric beings refer to as "me" or "I". This solves the problem and this is the meaning of liberation in buddhadharma. From there, from emptiness of all phenomena, from exhaustion of all phenomena, great perfection or buddhahood is seen and attained. This means purifying the bhumis 1-10 and becoming a mahasiddha, or a buddha, whose mind has been exhausted of self-delusion. There are no distractions or bumps in the mind of a buddha, and no sudden surprises, no hidden blind spots... Completely clear and pure, radiating soft blessings...


Kim, 9.6.2021

tiistai 8. kesäkuuta 2021

Aiming for Cultural Change in Dharma

 

Aiming for Cultural Change in Dharma



Kim: I didn't come here just to teach a handful of students, even though they made it to the end of their practice. I've always had the feeling that I've come to create a big enough cultural change in dharma that keeps growing for centuries ahead. If I can reach enough people to leave behind 100 teaching mahasiddhas, there is a realistic opportunity. It takes not only a large number of enlightened teachers to make a small cultural change, but also a group of professionals running an organization, and money to run the activities. Just yesterday I was thinking about how amazing it would be to offer our center's residential training, with monthly retreats, for free. It would bring student material (as well as other things) to us. It would be easy to teach.


Ben: What are your thoughts on the historical buddha and how all of buddhism sprung from a single individual? Is it about leaving behind an army of enlightened teachers or does there also need to be a readiness among the culture? If so, do you think today’s culture is ready?


Kim: Hi Ben. Oh, enough people have been ready for ages... but the teachings haven't been there... and now when they finally are, they are ineffective, wrong or unfitting. Readiness is there for sure. Look at how eagerly so many people around the world practice... There are many many people who put all their spare time into practice. If they did practices that they understood and were suitable for this time and culture, they'd advance through the bhumis and become buddhas.


When I speak of leaving a mark to the world's dharma culture, I mean just that. Not changing it all but leaving a mark that stays and grows over time. Hakuin from Japan is a pretty good example of this when he revitalized rinzai zen few hundred years ago. He left, if I recall correctly 90+ dharma heirs. I can think of few good zen roshis from his lineage that are alive today, my late hitsuzendo master as well as monastery roshi being examples, and many other excellent ones from previous generations. Culturally speaking, they had the real thing going on for couple of hundred years, until it withered because of Hakuin. Historically speaking tb in Tibet was as strong if not stronger, until it crumbled down within the last 70 years. They had a culture that supports practitioners, and they had money and people. Now, like Japanese buddhism, Tibetan buddhism is mostly without the pulse of realisation, though there are few bright sparkles here and there.


All I can do is to speak, explain my plans for the benefit of the world society and continue teaching those who want to be taught. I cannot say if Pemako will meet my plans and expectations but I hope that our sangha takes this as seriously as death, and helps me to accomplish everything that can be accomplished. To quote Khandro Namsel Dronma:


"To tell you honestly, in my mind I have a very strong belief that the essence of life is only to have the realization of bodhichitta and emptiness... If I cannot help people to generate these things, our meeting is just a waste of time."


Until this year comes to its end, I'll have reported a number of people in our sangha who have reached the end of their emptiness practice, i.e. attained buddhahood or the 11th bhumi. Both before and especially after all mind phenomena has been liberated to dharmakaya, conduct becomes one's practice. Conduct means actualising bodhicitta. Actualising bodhicitta means helping others over to the other shore (parasamgate). That means meeting, working, talking and meditating with people. To do that we need dedicated people and resources which we don't at the moment have. Method that is no longer a hypothesis we now have.


8.6.2021


lauantai 5. kesäkuuta 2021

Garchen Rinpoche About Bhumis + Kim's comment

Garchen Rinpoche About Bhumis 

+ Kim's comment


”As Milarepa has said: the empty clear mind just becomes increasingly clear as you keep meditating. That's what we call the Bhumis and the paths, the different stages. Even though they're given different names, it's just an increasing becoming clear of your natural state ...

So this is how the four yogas really are a gradual development of the realization of the mind. So even though we count and list different Bhumis and different paths and there's different teachings on that, this is really how we should see it.

This is also a very important teaching, the most important teaching by Milarepa where he said that the so-called Bhumis and the paths are the progressive realization or recognition of the clear and empty nature of the mind. The Bhumis and the paths are nothing but signs or road signs so you know where to go. You know where you're at. So practitioners need some kind of signs so they know they're on the right track.”


- From Garchen Rinpoche's introduction to the Four Yogas of Mahamudra (May 13th 2021), translated by Ina Bieler 

 

Kim: It is said here precisely how it is. All the grandiose and impossible-to-attain descriptions from commentaries and other texts are sheer nonsense that should be thrown away because the only thing they actually do is lead people astray. Old texts and traditions gather so much extra baggage and weird views that in the end it doesn't make any sense and has no relevance with the actual practice. Ignorant people should never not touch and alter the teachings of the masters.


The most important teaching of buddhism is gradual increase of clarity of mind, through emptiness of phenomena, that happens in stages just like is presented in Pemako teachings. Everything else comes far behind and pales next to this main point.


It is best to forget everything else and focus on realising empty mind that is loaded with compassion. If you do that wholeheartedly even for a year, your life will be different forever. If you take it all the way to completion, you'll change the lives of those you meet.

-Kim, 5.6.2021

 


 

keskiviikko 2. kesäkuuta 2021

We are Pure, Sober and Holy

We are Pure, Sober and Holy

 

Each one of us has tremendous spiritual potential. Essentially and basically, we are pure, sober and holy. After purification, we can perceive ourselves as bright balls of light that radiates joy and blessings all around us, at all times. This ball of light, our subtle body, is pure and clean, without the slightest dirt of selfishness in it. The same goes for our physical body. It is basically holy, pure and divine, every cell and muscle of it. We can glimpse that this is a fact and we can actualise this basic nature of ours through proper practice. All we need to do is remove the dirt that hides it.


-Kim, 2.6.2021

tiistai 1. kesäkuuta 2021

Cold Showers, Why I Stopped Them and Learning the Hard Way

 

Cold Showers, Why I Stopped Them and Learning the Hard Way


I started taking cold showers the first thing in the morning about 5-6 years ago. I was suffering of a burn out and bad insomnia so I had to find a way to wake up in the morning. Cold showers of about 20 seconds helped me to get my eyes open so that I could start the day and do my work. I kept doing this for about 5½ years until few weeks ago.


I thought that my burn out and insomnia of 6 years was the reason why I was getting colds and headaches easily from the slightest draft or slight wind when outside. I also experienced lots how my body would get overheated due to exercise or intensive meditation experiences which would in turn make me prone to colds and headaches. I had to constantly monitor temperature, draft/wind and my clothing, also during the night because I would very easily get colds during the night too.


It was constant pain in the ass for years but it didn't cross my mind until few weeks ago that the cold showers might not be helping but making it worse. So one day, 3-4 weeks ago, I stopped taking them, and already after 1-2 days I felt my body coming back to normal.


I don't know why my body reacted to cold water (as cold as you can get from the tab) by getting completely confused about its thermal maintenance but it did. Maybe this is because of the damage done by the long burn out and insomnia.


However, I don't need to keep an eye of the weather and temperatures any more than others do, and it is such a relief. I don't get colds anymore and so I don't need to take painkillers. It's such a dramatic change for the better.


I can take walks and exercise like normal people, and I don't need to keep my skin and head covered all the time. I feel like an ass for having done so much harm to myself by taking the cold showers, although they were helpful for some time too. But that's the story of my life: make mistakes, suffer from them and learn through the hard way.


The reason why I publish this bit from my personal life is because I think many have heard me talk about the benefits of cold water. There are lots of material from folks like Wim Hof that testify about the benefits of cold showers but if you have same problems like me, I just want you to know that this practice is not suitable for everyone, just like there is no one diet that fits all bodies.


At the same time I am greatful that I don't need to work around the clock anymore, get sufficient sleep and wake up fresh in the morning.


Balance in lifestyle is so important but at the same time it often is the case in the world today with work, studies and other types of commitments that we don't have a choice, and so we end up burning the candle at both ends. Looking back at the times of my hardship it feels both tragic and comical that I burned myself up by starting a new school of buddhism. That's pretty contradictory because aren't buddhists and yogis just supposed to have this radiant, settled and balanced chi at all times... but that's what happened. I can honestly say that I will never do it again in circumstances like these. So in case someone is planning to start a new buddhist school, take reincarnation in a buddhist country first, not in the West! Like I said, the only way I seem to learn is the hard way.


I wish you much love and clarity of mind,


Kim, 1.6.2021


Pemako Morning Coffee - Tips about Dynamic Concentration

 

Pemako Morning Coffee

- Tips about Dynamic Concentration



Ben: Got another question, this time regarding DC shouting. Trying to figure out the most effective way to practice shouting GR mantras.

I don't remember where but I saw Kim say recently to shout a couple hundred repetitions of a guru mantra every day (I think that's what he said??). I have been trying this but my question is, is it better to shout them for like 15 minutes or more straight and then rest in ati to feel the blessings, or is it best to do shorter periods and then spend some time in ati before shouting again to recharge. I hope I am phrasing this question ok.

I think the answer might be to try them out and see what works best, but would like to confirm if anyone has hints on this. It seems that for me, when I shout for a long time straight, like say 20 minutes, the blessings still do not last all that long. So I think doing it the way we do Pemako coffee, with 50 hung phets followed by ati, then another 50, then another 50, seems like it might be the best way. Is it ok or preferable to do GR shouting this way, doing 50-100 reps then rest, then another set to recharge the blessings, and so on? For me it feels like I really need to yank on it to get the blessings at an intensity where I can feel them properly.
I also remember Kim talking about the shinto, I think, initiation where they had to shout all day long. What do you all think about longer shouting sessions, like say doing an hour+ of GR mantra?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.


Kim: Pemako coffee style is nice and compact. 50 reps at once makes a nice hole when you put some punch into it. It's a good formula. What I meant with few hundred reps is that you can increase the 50 to hundred at once. Doing more than what one is used to is good because doing DC for longer lets you forget that you're doing it while you're doing it and it teaches you how the body, when you let it, produces sharp loud sound in a beautiful almost effortless manner.


At Ichikukai Dojo we would shout for 3 days straight, with short breaks and 6 hours of sleep. Loved the shouting, absolutely hated the rest of it because you actually got punched by the seniors while you were shouting. Not kidding.


But longer shouting sessions, similar to longer chanting sessions, there is something really powerful about them. We've had 12 hour chantings of NGR and GR hoped few years ago that we would have 24's but we haven't had good opportunity for that yet. Actually I think we should just start doing it  


What you can do at home is to use the coffee formula for 1 hour, or 2, or 6, with short breaks for toilet and meals, and see how it works. Even when you put some punch into each syllable, you can manage it without getting (that) sore throat :)


Pemako Morning Coffee, guided practice: https://youtu.be/s-B0JMYOgvM