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
   

Monday, 1 October 2018

Sartorial vivacity

Thumbnail   You don’t have to be famous to wear the laurels of fame Meryl proclaimed. “You don’t have to be a Paris fashion designer to design clothes – or to wear what you want to wear.
Claudette—who’d just walked in—opined “The  essence of haute couture is the enthusiasm of choice.
Quite right” I agreed. Claudette could always turn a nice phrase. “Anyone can be an artist of the streets.  You just have to see your apparel as your canvas. Clothing can be the wardrobe of your personal theatre.
Rebecca nodded decisively “Jean Cocteau said ‘Art produces ugly things which become more beautiful with time. Fashion produces beautiful things which become ugly with time.
Penelope—sitting in the window framed by strong Winter sun—volunteered “We should all live the Art that we are – otherwise we’re nothing at all.
Absolutely” I exclaimed. “We all live in the existential wardrobe department of sartorial vivacity.”

p123, An Odd Boy Volume 4, Doc Togden,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2017, ISBN 978-1-898185-42-0

Monday, 24 September 2018

Not quite the species of Buddhist you might imagine

Thumbnail  “You’re quite the bon vivant for a Buddhist” Rebecca observed.
Somehow I often understood these French usages by guess work and so I was able to reply without seeming too gauche “I'm maybe not quite the species of Buddhist you might imagine. I don’t belong to a monastic tradition you see...
“Ah...that’s...a very welcome idea.
Yes...I thought so...” I grinned “...my teachers are all family people...”
Really...?” Meryl queried. “So...it’s not about austerity and abjuring pleasure?
No...especially not pleasure – it’s more geared to maximising pleasure through appreciation of the widest possible spectrum of  phenomena – and, encouraging that in everyone and everything everywhere...”

p110, An Odd Boy Volume 4, Doc Togden,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2017, ISBN 978-1-898185-42-0


Monday, 17 September 2018

Cutting through the mountain of our mental distortions and neurotic mind-states.

 
Relaxing into Meditation Practising meditation on your own with only yourself as a guide could be compared to wearing away a rock with water from a gentle stream – the water will erode the rock, but it will take a long time to have any great effect and the effect may lack focus.  Becoming part of a spiritual tradition and working with a teacher is like turning our gentle stream of spiritual practice into a powerful, focused, torrent that will quickly cut through the mountain of our mental distortions and neurotic mind-states.

p151,  Relaxing into Meditation   Ngakma Nor'dzin,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2010, ISBN 978-1-898185-17-8
 

Monday, 10 September 2018

The King of the Universe

Wisdom Eccentrics

Pema Dorje was all smiles when he came to take me to my prospective Tsawa’i Lama. 
The mistress of the house ushered us into Rinpoche’s room – and, there he sat like the King of the Universe.  Rinpoche was not the King of the Universe because he was grandly dressed.  He was simply dressed and his Lama’s appurtenances were simple.  He wore a black chuba with an emerald green shirt beneath it.  Both were noticeably faded – but otherwise spotless.  He was the King of the Universe because … it was an indisputable fact of his existence.  Other people have noticed it too and said the same thing.
Be that as it may, I stood there—feeling as if I were suspended in mid-air—and not knowing what to do.
Then all hell broke loose.

p56-57, 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, 3 September 2018

Devotion

Wisdom Eccentrics


As far as I'm concerned devotion isn't measured in terms of empowerments or anything that can be added to your spiritual credit rating.  Devotion is direct understanding – and that never has any need of being displayed.  In spiritual terms this could sound too subtle, too abstruse to understand – but the same phenomenon exists in the world of the Arts.  Almost anyone can enjoy world-class music – but only a proficient musician can know the worth of a world-class musician.  The greater your musical ability the more astonishing a master-musician becomes. 
JS Bach is a composer of marvellously intricate sonic adventures – until you learn something about contrapuntal composition.  Then you gasp.  Jack Bruce said “Bach was my greatest bass teacher”.  So . . . Bach isn’t some dim and distant figure.  Bach is alive and well – and his compositions are as fresh as the present moment.  I'd describe that statement as ‘devotion’ – the gasp born of the inseparable nature of developed musical knowledge and critically inspired appreciation. 

p19, 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, 27 August 2018

Naked nature of perception

 Shock Amazement  In terms of acclimatising to the undefined dimension of existence – it should be understood that: imagination relies on empty perception; paintings rely on empty planes; sculptures rely on empty space; music relies on silent time; and, literature relies on empty conceptuality.  If the art of freedom is to be realised—if creative potential is to be discovered—reliance on the experience of intrinsic emptiness is the only precursor.
The practice of shi-nè therefore, is the gateway to the art of freedom.
Dzogchen sem-dé moves beyond emptiness and that which arises from emptiness into the sphere in which there is simply naked nature of perception – rigpa. 

p28, 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, 20 August 2018

A vibrant, creative state of awareness

Relaxing into Meditation
Day dreaming is not conducive to discovering mind without thought, and the nature of this empty state may be misunderstood through believing that day dreaming is meditation.  In Letting Go we are not aiming for a dampened down, thought suppressed state.  Mind without thought is a vibrant, creative state of awareness.  It is vivid with an electric sense of being awake in the present moment.  Even momentary glimpses of this vibrant state will begin to open our experience of ourselves.

p139,  Relaxing into Meditation   Ngakma Nor'dzin,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2010, ISBN 978-1-898185-17-8 

Monday, 13 August 2018

Access to the teachings of wisdom eccentrics

Wisdom Eccentrics

For anyone who wants access to the teachings of wisdom eccentrics – it’s found within the world we know.  Trying to find it in a Land of Snows you may never see is impractical.  Even to look to India for wisdom eccentrics is no longer as possible as it was in the 1970s.  Those days are more or less gone.  The non-dual inspiration however, remains – often in unexpected places.
The wisdom eccentrics of these lays discovered the nature of Mind as human beings. 
Rinpoche instructed me to “Tell these stories to your students.  Make a book – but tell the stories in the language of the West – so that people will enjoy them and understand them.  These are not just stories from the past – they are stories for practitioners everywhere in all times”.

p8, 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, 6 August 2018

Direct experience of who we are

Relaxing into Meditation   
By letting go of thought we can discover the space of mind without thought.  Through Letting Go the arising and dissolving of conceptual mind can be revealed as a wave that surges and breaks on the surface of the deep, still ocean of fundamental mind.  Through discovering the quietness of fundamental mind we can gain direct experience of who we are, what we are and where we are, rather than trying to discover this through the ebb and flow of concept.

p134,  Relaxing into Meditation   Ngakma Nor'dzin,  Aro Books Worldwide, 2010, ISBN 978-1-898185-17-8 













Monday, 30 July 2018

Emptiness is the oven where the bread of vision bakes itself

Wearing the Body of Visions  After you've received empowerment into the practice of a particular awareness-being, or yidam, the form of this awareness-being will spontaneously arise out of the state of emptiness when you engage in practice.  The form of the awareness-being will also arise in your dreams – maybe even in the steam that arises from your cup of coffee.  It depends on the intensity of your devotion.  There is no process – it simply happens because you have the key; and the key is the Tantric text or the awareness-spell which is sung to instigate this arising.  Your experience of emptiness is the oven where the bread of your vision bakes itself.  The empty state is the perfect environment for endless vision to arise.
p116, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 23 July 2018

Not having an opinion

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon It is often considered weak-minded not to have an opinion – but, from the perspective of practising emptiness, it might be considered weak-minded to be unable to resist forming an opinion. If the urge to establish an opinion can be resisted, the emptiness of simply not knowing can be formlessly investigated. There are many occasions in life where it might be valuable to recognise that there is insufficient information upon which an opinion could be based. This could be termed ‘the emptiness of open-mindedness’ or ‘the emptiness of having a certain level of information – but being able to resist compulsively establishing concrete conclusions’.

p52, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 16 July 2018

Having a good sob and then turning to face the raw texture of it all again

Wearing the Body of Visions  I’m talking about the courage it requires to be alive, and to relate to the world in a real and caring way.  To be alive, and to take responsibility for what you feel.  By courage, I mean that you have to have a certain level of love, dynamism, and integrity.  Really; just to be able to cut out the kvetching, whinging and whining – the ‘poor me’ mode.  I’m not talking about feeling sorrow or having to cry; life can be tragic at times – for all of us.  I'm talking about acting as if it were unfair and wallowing in that; rather than having a good sob and then turning to face the raw texture of it all again, saying “Right!  Let’s have some more!”  It’s important not to hide from life.  It’s important not to play it safe too much.  This could be the last hour of your life.  It could be the last day, week, month or year. . .

p239, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 9 July 2018

If I knew that this was the last year of my life

Wearing the Body of Visions  You could,  occasionally, simply ask yourself: “What decision would I make if I knew that this was the last year of my life?”  This could be a practice of looking at your life; especially in terms of major decisions.  For certain other decisions you could reduce the time scale to one month.  Having the support of your Lama and vajra family, can be really crucial in this.  Your vajra brothers and sisters are very important in terms of actualising your own courage when life gets a little too ferocious.

p240, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 2 July 2018

Irrational

Wearing the Body of Visions  There’s no reason why the word ‘irrational’ couldn’t have a positive meaning.  It obviously can have a positive meaning if you put it into a suitable context; but on it’s own it tends to sound like something you wouldn’t want to be.  I think that allowing the irrational into your life is a very exciting idea!  People are quite often obsessed with sense-making, even though the sense they make often makes no sense at all from the perspective of realisation.  Let’s be irrational now!  Let’s practise together!

p244, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 25 June 2018

Courage

Wearing the Body of Visions   ‘Courage’ is a form-related word, or an active-compassion related word.  Courage certainly means the ability to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’; but it also has the sense of really owning your capacity to love and care for others.  We often stifle the great capacity for love that we have, through our fear of losing all sense of boundaries – as if we needed boundaries!  Courage is very much linked with compassion.  Compassion, at the level of our intrinsic nature, is linked with all our activities – especially our activities of personal interaction.   


p243, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 18 June 2018

Vajra-romance

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon The elements are the symphonic texture of vajra-romance.  They are also the cacophony of neurotic attachment.  The cacophony however, only exists in terms of duality, because from the point of view of the infinite purity of the phenomenal world – symphony and cacophony are undivided, and it is this fact which makes vajra-romance an immense opportunity.  Even within our confusion we partake of the realised state.  
Nondual reality sparkles through every aspect of our being and the Khandro Pawo Nyi-da Mélong Gyüd is a key to direct knowledge of this state.  For the khandro and pawo each point in time is a pivotal point – a point at which the elements can be allowed to become ballet, or a point at which form-attachment cripples any nuance of movement.

p230, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 11 June 2018

Romance is orchestrated by the elements

Entering the Heart of the Sun and MoonThe five elements are ubiquitously at play.  They play within the display of phenomena.  They play within the entire reach and range of the sentient spectrum. They play through our physicality; through our intellectual faculties; through our emotions and imagination; through visionary dimensions – down to the subatomic structure of being.  They play within the spheres of essence, nature, and energy – within ‘duality and nonduality and the infinite purity of the phenomenal world.’  By virtue of this, it should come as no surprise that every relationship is comprised of the performance of the elements – and, that romance is orchestrated by the elements. 

p229-230, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 4 June 2018

Love

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon We can only share the experience of love if we relinquish our definitions of who we are and what we propose to become.
Love is there when the artificial divisions between us dissolve into the iridescent spectrum of our beginningless nature.  The love which radiates from our primordial state cannot help but sparkle through: no matter how insecure, frightened, isolated, anxious, or bewildered we become.
To fall in love, and to realise one’s beginningless nondual nature, have tantalising similarities.  They reflect each other.  The Khandro Pawo Nyi-da Mélong Gyüd is a teaching that elucidates the nature of this reflection in a manner which has the capacity to change the world.

p4-5, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3