Help us to establish Drala Jong - a Buddhist Retreat Centre in Wales

Help us to establish Drala Jong - a Buddhist Retreat Centre in Wales
Help us to establish Drala Jong - a Buddhist Retreat Centre in Wales

Monday, 26 October 2020

Simple, blunt, uncompromising

When we commit ourselves to practice and to opening, we commit ourselves to change – and when we change, we die.  We have to die in order to change.  If we cannot die we cannot change.  This is a simple, blunt, uncompromising statement of fact. 

p87, Rays of the Sun, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, 978-1-898185-06-2

Monday, 19 October 2020

Obsession

I'd succeeded and failed simultaneously.  The failure?  That was obvious – but what of the success?  That comprised of my having had the single pointed intention to do what I had done.  I'd carried through with a plan.  I'd not given up.  That was important for a Buddhist practitioner.  The lengths to which obsession carries a person, in terms of activity, is the mark of someone who stands the chance of realising goals in Buddhism. 

p75, Goodbye Forever: miscellaneous memoirs of an English Lama, Volume One Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books Worldwide, 2020, ISBN 978-1-898185-51-2



Monday, 12 October 2020

Then the mind begins to awaken

The rider must focus on the horse.  In this way, the rider is empty in relation to the form of the horse.  Through this relationship, the horse is able to respond fully, and achieve its potential.  The meditator learns emptiness in order to clarify the relationship with form, and thereby discover the nonduality of emptiness and form.  Then the mind begins to awaken.  

p10, Battlecry of Freedom  Ngakma Nor'dzin, Aro Books Worldwide, 2019, ISBN 978-1-898185-46-8  



Monday, 5 October 2020

The flow of whatever is

Shock Amazement   Being is continually poised on the brink of effortlessness – but continually creates distractions in order to sustain the sense of divorced individuation.  These delirious, distressing, and dreary deviations from effortlessness are the mechanisms employed to maintain the illusion of duality.  Nonduality, on the other hand, is completely relaxed in the flow of whatever is.

p39-40, Shock AmazementThe four naljors and four ting-ngé’dzin from the Dzogchen series of the nature of Mind.   Khandro Déchen and Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2018, ISBN 978-1-898185-45-1 


Monday, 28 September 2020

A provocative irritant

Shock Amazement  As soon as shi-nè is practised with sufficient determination, it is discovered that ‘definitions of existence’ are a barrier to enjoying existence.  The barrier is built of feelings of insubstantiality, fear, isolation, agitation, and phlegmatic tedium.  Shi-nè is a provocative irritant to each of these feelings.  Life also irritates these feelings – but not as definitively.  The dualistic rationale continually seeks definition – so, in a sense, shi-nè causes the relaxation of that continual struggle for self-definition.

p31-32, Shock Amazement: The four naljors and four ting-ngé’dzin from the Dzogchen series of the nature of Mind.   Khandro Déchen and Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2018, ISBN 978-1-898185-45-1 

Monday, 21 September 2020

Worthwhile just as we are

We have ideas about ourselves—about how we should be or could be—and we want other people to believe those self-images.  We also want the Lama to believe these self-images.  
The problem is that as long as we want the Lama to believe our self-images we will never begin to practise.  We will never take the first step.  If we wish the Lama to accept us as being better than we are – there is no hope of anything apart from stagnation.  Once we have shed inhibition about dropping self-image however, the situation can improve radically.  We can then realise that we are fundamentally good – and that our goodness surpasses notions of worthy and unworthy.  We can be worthwhile just as we are.

p153, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 14 September 2020

Abandon inhibition

Facing yourself in terms of Vajrayana means acknowledging the worst and being prepared—immediately—to work with that as the basis of practice.  Once we decide simply to see what is there – we might see ourselves as pitiful specimens.  We might simultaneously see ourselves as fortunate.  A Vajrayana practitioner will naturally have talents as well as handicaps.  The important factor is being able to abandon inhibition.  The major inhibition is self-image. 

p153, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Earth, water, fire, air, space

    Earth is the nondual quality of solidity and intangibility.  Water is the nondual quality of permanence and impermanence.  Fire is the nondual quality of separateness and inseparability.  Air is the nondual quality of continuity and discontinuity.  Space is the nondual quality of definition and lack of definition.  As soon as we attempt to split the qualities and adhere only to the form qualities of the elements, we create samsara.  The form qualities of emptiness cannot be split from the emptiness qualities of form.

p27, Rays of the Sun, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, 978-1-898185-06-2

Monday, 31 August 2020

This is here, that is there

With the arising of the elements comes the arising of time and space.  As soon as anything arises within primal space – co-ordinates come into being: ‘this is here, that is there. I look at this, then I see that. I see this on the background of that. I experience things in sequence.’  When there is no arising from primal space, time and space cease to exist.  In that condition these terms have no meaning.  The elements create direction out of their own intrinsic nature and time comes into being as the basis of their interpenetrating diversity.  From this essential visionary perspective, time exists as the flux that links endless focal points of tangible and intangible experience.

p75, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 24 August 2020

There is nothing wrong with thought

 Shock Amazement    There is nothing wrong with thought – even though some categories of meditation instruction would have you accept that this is the case.  According to Dzogchen, thought is a natural function of Mind – and, just as the other sense faculties are natural to physical existence, so too is thought.  Moreover, thought—according to Buddhism in general—is a sense-faculty, rather than a function that is separate from the senses.

p35, Shock Amazement  : The four naljors and four ting-ngé’dzin from the Dzogchen series of the nature of Mind.
Khandro Déchen and Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2018, ISBN 978-1-898185-45-1 

Monday, 17 August 2020

Dzogchen becomes feasible

Shock Amazement     Recognition of the nondual state is the basis for approaching Dzogchen – but, in order to enter the path of self-liberation, perceptual phenomena must come to be perceived from the experiential standpoint which is empty of references.  It is only when the undivided nature of ‘that which arises’ and ‘that from which phenomena arise’ is first glimpsed that Dzogchen becomes feasible.

p17, Shock Amazement  : The four naljors and four ting-ngé’dzin from the Dzogchen series of the nature of Mind.
Khandro Déchen and Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2018, ISBN 978-1-898185-45-1

Monday, 10 August 2020

The nature of attraction

 Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon    We attract each other through evidence of our liberated potential – and this is visible to varying degrees, according to the spectrum of appreciation which our lives portray:
The more naturally we express what we are – the more relaxed we are with our capacities and capabilities.  The more unaffectedly we articulate what we are – the less we engage in artifice.  The more unpretentiously we convey what we are – the less we concern ourselves with the projection of a calculated persona.  The more we abandon the need to make demands of arising situations – the more open we are to the mysterious arising of khandro-pawo mirroring.

p150, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 3 August 2020

Life teaches us moment by moment

    Everyday we are presented with opportunities to expand our hearts and disinhibit our innate kindness.  Everyday life is also the perfect place to observe how we are, because life teaches us moment by moment – whatever we feel in response to anything shows us the pattern of our perception.  In this way, if we are open enough and are honest with ourselves, we can learn a great deal about the way our energies are constricted.

p67, Rays of the Sun, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, 978-1-898185-06-2

Monday, 27 July 2020

The only perfect morality

   The only perfect morality is awareness.  The only perfect morality or ethical position is awareness, because all actions which spring from awareness are choiceless pure appropriateness.
Kindness is as close as we can ever come to a moral approximation of awareness.  Having a good heart goes further than anything in terms of empathising with the nondual state.  

p49, Rays of the Sun, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, 978-1-898185-06-2

Monday, 20 July 2020

Whatever the consequences

   To hold to your word whatever the consequences would be about the strongest basis for the practice of Tantra.  I would also say that making a practice of keeping your word in this way would change your life significantly – the fabric of your existence would become Tantra; you would actually start to live that!  

p193, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 13 July 2020

There‘s no guarantee at all

   The purpose of the teaching is not to improve outer conditions.  Although, I would say that living according to the Tantric view would actually enable you to get much more out of life than you would have done otherwise.  I would say that your life would be improved in many ways.  This may sound contradictory, but I think that there’s a significant point here: you cannot judge the teachings according to the criterion of whether your life has ‘improved’.  You can only judge the teachings against your own evolution of awareness and kindness.  If your outer circumstances improve then that’s wonderful, but it’s not a sign of your practice. The concept that spiritual practice, or success in spiritual practice, leads to a life in which things increasingly work out to your advantage, is highly spurious.

p200, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 6 July 2020

The Tantric joke

   We feel ourselves to be solid, yet we are nervous about our existence.  We feel our world to be coherent at one moment; and at another, the whole fabric of our life-event can seem a trifle questionable.  If we never experience our intrinsic spaciousness – we can only ever experience this alternation as: pain, discomfort, alienation; boredom, panic or dissatisfaction.  But as soon as we begin to practise silent sitting meditation; to stare into the nature of what we are; we become a little suspicious of our life-event. We become intrigued by the transparent ambivalences of our situation. It could be quite possible that things are both not what they seem; and, simultaneously, exactly what they seem. This could be called the Tantric joke, the vajra sense of humour that continually prompts us to ask the questions: What is going on? Why is this solidity so solid and also so insubstantial? Why am I consumed by so much certainty and uncertainty?

p47, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 29 June 2020

Warriors and cherry blossom

 In a battle, warriors have to act in reaction to everything that presents itself.  Warriors do not run away in fear. They do what must be done—without hesitation—because that is the nature of the life they have chosen.  The Samurai of Japan compared the nature of their lives to cherry blossom.  A pretty image isn’t it?  Actually it’s quite blunt.  Cherry blossom falls at the slightest gust of wind.  It drops from the twig at the slightest touch – so the life of the samurai is as precarious as cherry blossom.  It takes a heroic sense of humour—a fearless whimsicality—to feel yourself balancing on that existential razor’s edge. It is however, the most solid unshakeable foundation for nondual action.

p79-80, Rays of the Sun, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, ISBN 978-1-898185-06-2

Monday, 22 June 2020

There is no life-dissatisfaction appeals tribunal

   When we start to find some event in life painful or when we have experienced a series of calamities, it is helpful to avoid involvement in the ‘unfairness game’.  If you say: “This is unfair!  I don’t deserve this!” you only succeed in increasing your pain. It would be better to side-step this frustration and confusion, simply by saying: “This is what is happening”. There is no consumer-protection society in the sky to whom you can appeal. There is no life-dissatisfaction appeals tribunal where you can demand: “Life isn’t what I expected, I want my money back!” This is it. This is what we have. Fair or unfair, our situation is what it is, right here and now: in any context you can imagine…  It is the texture of your experience, and you cannot disown it. You can only ‘try’ to disown it, by creating a more complex level of confusion around it.

p92-93, Spectrum of Ecstasy, Ngakpa Chögyam with Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 1997, ISBN 0-9653948-0-8

Monday, 15 June 2020

A natural movement toward non-duality

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon   The word nyam means meditational experience or meditational manifestation.  When we practice meditative methods of any kind, experiences occur due to the fact that we are not engaged with duality as intensely.  These experiences are valid in as much as they reflect the fact of our engagement in practise.  Nyams are not realisation per se, but they partake of a natural movement toward nonduality.
Nyams—being unstable—have no enduring characteristics.  They are therefore unreliable as indicators of anything beyond the fact that the pattern of dualism has been disrupted. 

p215, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3