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, 18 February 2019

The effort required to make the bed beautifully

Being a warrior means that we can accept the reality of what we are – including our fear and apprehension.  We see our fear and we step beyond it.  
We can discard the yearning for security and move into a greater sense of spaciousness in which heroism applies to the effort required to make the bed beautifully.  To do anything well requires confidence in the potential beauty of each moment.    

p143, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 11 February 2019

Cheerfully and without resenting yourself

Silent sitting is essential.  All you need to do is accept what you are feeling and stop fighting.  You can relax with the situation – and take whatever happens as it comes.  Decisions made on the basis of accepting yourself—albeit temporarily—‘as you are’, can be made more cheerfully and without resenting yourself.  You need to be at ease with how you are at the same time as moving on – and that requires space, the space of silent sitting.    

p137, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 4 February 2019

The fabulous friction which illuminates our Buddha nature

Our entire assortment of wearying neuroses are related with all other beings.  All our wearying experiences are founded on our association with all sentient beings.  Without the sense of our practice being involved with the entire sentient situation, there is no compassion – and therefore no enlightenment.  Every detail of this ‘wearying world’—these seeming obstacles—are essential to realisation.  Without this ‘wearying world’ we cannot find enlightenment.  Without the responses we receive from our world, we would be bereft of the fabulous friction which illuminates our Buddha nature.  

p43, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 28 January 2019

Dizzying heights of boredom

With respect to shi-nè – until you get seriously bored, you will not give up the illusion that there is something to be gained apart from what you are. 
Boredom plays an extremely important role as the altimeter of emptiness.  The spacious view of Dzogchen is only available once the dizzying heights of boredom have been recognised as freedom.   Boredom then transmogrifies into an ethereal translucent boredom.  It will still necessarily have an aspect of unease with it – but that is the key to an open dimension. 

p77, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 21 January 2019

Desire and neurosis

  It is not so important to see desire as neurotic or not neurotic – it is only important to observe your behaviour and the reaction to that behaviour.
If you seem to be upsetting people and causing problems then the desire is likely to be neurotic.  If your behaviour evokes delight and merriment then your desire is likely to lack neurosis.
     p185, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7


Monday, 14 January 2019

The primary function of the Lama

It is the Lama who gives us access to countless powerful methods of realisation.   
Lamas are teachers in a larger sense.  Lamas are not conditioned in any way by the style they adopt.  They may utilise many different styles according to the personality, capacity, and circumstances of those whom they teach.  Whatever method is implemented by the Lama, it transcends the function of the method as it is usually employed.  The Lama is in a completely different category.  So if we are to approach such a person; we need, at least, to be open to the unexpected.  We need to be prepared to question our range of perceptions and responses.  We need to be open to having our rationale actively challenged.
The Lama’s function is to mirror our intrinsic enlightenment.  The Lama shows us the nature of what we actually are.     

p145, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 7 January 2019

Fresh, and somewhat fabulous

Infinite variety isn’t particularly predictable or unpredictable according to non-dual perception.  When perception and field of perception are undivided, there’s no need to relate to phenomena as either predictable or unpredictable.  All phenomena are unified in the compassionate quality of their arising, so there’s no sense in which anything has to be approached with suspicion.  There is no plan that needs to be made.  There is nothing that has to be taken into account.  The arising of phenomena is simply delightful.  Infinite variety has the quality of continual surprise in the sense of wonderment.  But this wonderment has nothing to do with anything being either expected or unexpected. Phenomena are simply fresh, and somewhat fabulous. 

p136, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 31 December 2018

A certain sense of the magical about your existence

Kyil-khor is the living sense of being related with your environment – of being aware of the subtleties and nuances of your situation.  There is a certain sense of the magical about your existence when the principle of kyil-khor starts to apply at the level of your senses.  You begin to feel as if you’re actually alive!  The tree we’re sitting under is performing photosynthesis at this moment!  It has some sense of the earth.  We’re here at this moment, being attentive to all this – existing in the presence of everything that’s happening.  It has to do with climbing out of the cocoon of self-orientation.     
With kyil-khor there is both the sense in which everything can be seen as the radiance of our own awareness; and, the sense in which we simply participate in the radiance of everything else.

p80, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 24 December 2018

Trust

The trust I'm speaking of here is not trust in someone or something.  I am simply talking about trust; your own sense of knowing what you’re doing at a very fundamental level.  This is trusting your own intrinsic goodness.  This is the trust from which you can act on the basis of not knowing.  You have some kind of hunch, some kind of intuition which isn’t simply based on wishful thinking.  The trust is based on the experience of practice, and arises out of the very sane ability to be insane when the chips are down.
 p207-208, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4


Monday, 17 December 2018

The electricity of ambivalence

Wisdom and compassion are emptiness and form; they're not separate.  That is the goal of tantra – the unification of emptiness and form.  If the practice of tantra is to unify these, then ambivalence will naturally be a powerful aspect of the path.  As long as there is the appearance of duality, there is the energy of ambivalence: she loves me, she loves me not; she loves me she loves me not …  
Will practice bring me realisation or merely painful knees and ankles?  If the dance of emptiness and form has been mere stagnation – there is no electricity of ambivalence!
Wisdom and compassion are live electric terminals for tantrikas.  You grab them and experience the surge of existence/non-existence as it lights you up like the sun!  Then … maybe you radiate compassion from the empty wisdom space of your being.

p40-41, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 10 December 2018

Florid, fecund and fiery dance!

Tantra is every nuance of existence and non-existence in ecstatic union – in florid, fecund and fiery dance! 
This is our situation.  This very moment is Tantra, and contains limitless energy.  It’s ruthlessly and seductively uncompromising.  The sheer potency of what we are is overwhelmingly and provocatively inconvenient; but, it is there!
When we recoil from it, through any variety of dread, that is also Tantra.  It’s impossible to hide from our own hiding.  The energy of Tantra is both fight and flight. This is a terrifyingly obvious fact, but we have become ‘expert’ at pretending that we are unaware of it.  We have to remain unaware of it in order to remain unenlightened.  But, wherever we look, the mirror of reality reflects it for us.  

p29-30, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 3 December 2018

Dissolving paranoia

Trust in the spaciousness of what we are is imperative in the process of allowing paranoia to dissolve into the emptiness from which self accomplishing activity can arise.  As soon as paranoia dissolves into intrinsic space, energy is released, and is able to flow freely.  Being able to act directly without inhibition is a quality that arises out of our recognition of intrinsic space.  This enables movement that is completely committed – and it can travel in any direction.

p172, Spectrum of Ecstasy, Ngakpa Chögyam with Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 1997, ISBN 0-9653948-0-8

Monday, 26 November 2018

Emotional heights and depths

Emotional heights and depths exist as ornaments, in the sense that ornaments don’t alter the basic nature of the person who wears them.  You can wear joy, and you can wear sorrow.  When you have the experience of joy or sorrow, you can have the sense that you are not actually totally defined by either. That is to say: who is it who wears this sorrow or this joy?

p50, Spectrum of Ecstasy, Ngakpa Chögyam with Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 1997, ISBN 0-9653948-0-8

Monday, 19 November 2018

Spiritual gorilla

Once a leap of daring has been made – it is possible for arrogance to arise.  One might feel a little carried away by one’s achievement and become a spiritual gorilla.  One might start to beat one’s chest – and that is entirely alien to the spirit of the pawo or pamo.  Arrogance is not a functional parameter of heroism.  Authentic heroes and heroines are gentlemen and gentlewomen – they are unassuming, pliant, and spacious.  The pawo or pamo is tender hearted.  He or she has no interest in donning the rhinoceros hide trench coat of belligerent braggadocio and bestial bellicosity.  The pawo or pamo who has renounced the reference point of personal victory becomes utterly fearless without becoming a King Kong of co-emergent confusion and callousness. 

p138, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 12 November 2018

A Vicar of Vajrayana


Drala Jong  There is no area of life that is ever separate from practice; whether we’re in a business meeting with the board, eating paella and drinking Prosecco with friends, roaring with laughter at a bad joke, hang gliding across the Grand Canyon, walking in the wind with the hounds on the hill, singing the blues, stringing beans, or attending a dying friend. Whether we’re on the bus, on the stage, or on the run, on a roll, on the mend, or on the make, on the toilet, on the edge, or on our last legs and last breath . . . there is nothing but practice. The essential practice of recognizing the one taste of emptiness and form, of wisdom and compassion, of manifesting the non-dual play of our awareness and kindness at all times.
 
Drala-Jong.org: A Vicar of Vajrayana Ngakma Mé-tsal Wangmo
Excerpt from an article published in the magazine Buddhist Door Global 2018.


Monday, 5 November 2018

Discover the pleasure of existence

 Drala Jong  The name ‘Drala Jong’ means ‘Sparkling Meadow of Primal Iridescence’.  Of this name,  Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen write:

Drala Jong innately exists in human beings.  ‘Drala’ is the appreciative faculty which exponentially enlivens people the more they engage with the world.  Appreciation is the key to enjoyment and to delighting in the enjoyment of others.  When we learn to appreciate phenomena our sense fields ‘Jong’, begin to sparkle, and a sense of generosity is born which connects us with others.  Although Vajrayana Buddhism is by no means unknown in the West – the sense in which enjoyment and compassion are mutually interdependent remains unexpressed.  We would like Drala Jong to be a place where human beings could discover the pleasure of existence – the pleasure that animates the sense fields and revitalises the Arts – and the art of living.

Drala-Jong.org: Sparkling Meadow of Primal Iridescence Ngak'chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen

Monday, 29 October 2018

Viruses in the fabric of perception

Wisdom Eccentrics

Today—when I teach—if someone doesn’t understand me, I try a few alternative ways of explaining.  If these fail I know that the person must have some philosophical construct— that is acting almost like a computer virus—that I have to unearth.  Most people are not even aware that these viruses exist in the fabric of their perception – so they do not know what they do not understand.  It’s then up to the teacher to identify it.  That is not always as difficult as it may sound – because it’s usually connected with one of the four philosophical extremes: monism, dualism, nihilism, or eternalism.
If a person wants to hang on to any one of the four philosophical extremes as being valid – then Buddhism will either never make sense, or become distorted.
This is what I learned from Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche – and a great deal more.  Each story that follows elucidates some aspect of Buddhism.  Rinpoche’s method was to teach me how to find my own answers – and find them to be Buddhism.

p76-77, Wisdom Eccentrics : Rumours of realisation as told by Künzang Dorje Rinpoche with additional tales of the unexpected.  
Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9653948-6-4

Monday, 22 October 2018

The ground of experience and perception

Thumbnail “Basically I see Vajrayana as the essential nature of being an artist. Vajrayana explores the sense-fields as the ground of experience and perception.
That sounds almost more like science than religion” commented Penelope – with evident interest.
Yes...in some ways. Maybe...like science and psychology – expressed through poetry and understood though all the Arts.”

p111, An Odd Boy Volume 4, Doc Togden,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2017, ISBN 978-1-898185-42-0

Monday, 15 October 2018

The real deal

Wisdom Eccentrics  Dudjom Rinpoche advised me to seek Künzang Dorje Rinpoche out as my main teacher, and so it was that he became my Tsawa’i Lama.  It was from him that I received almost everything I understand of Dzogchen men-ngag-dé - the series of implicit instruction.  
Rinpoche was my vajra master and that meant I was committed to seeing everything exactly as he saw it.  If we differed in view – I was wrong.  I was at his command – for whatever it might be.  I’d put myself—and my sanity—in his hands.  Some people think this is an Eastern mode of tutelage that has no place in the West or with Western people – but in that they are misguided.  The vajra master exists in Christianity and Judæism – and probably in most other religious traditions.
Anyhow, I knew that Rinpoche was the real deal.  I knew it with every goddamn fibre of my being.
 
p20-21, Wisdom Eccentrics : Rumours of realisation as told by Künzang Dorje Rinpoche with additional tales of the unexpected.  
Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9653948-6-4

Monday, 8 October 2018

Transmission of Dzogchen

Wisdom Eccentrics


I don’t think Rinpoche had any fixed plan when he started relating these wisdom-lays – apart from inciting in me an experiential grasp of ‘principle and function’.  He was to give me transmission of Dzogchen – and for that to be possible, I had to have a mind sufficiently clear of useless philosophical baggage.  Rinpoche obviously enjoyed unfurling these wisdom-lays – but he never recounted them just for the sake of telling a story.  As our time together proceeded, I became increasingly attuned to seeing the motivation of the inhabitants of each account – and, as my perception cleared, so they became increasingly vital and inspiring.

p12, Wisdom Eccentrics : Rumours of realisation as told by Künzang Dorje Rinpoche with additional tales of the unexpected.  
Ngakpa Chögyam,  Aro Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9653948-6-4