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, 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
   

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
   

Monday, 28 May 2018

Our senses are the communicative quality of the elements.

Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon Our senses are the communicative quality of the elements in which the dance of existence and non-existence allows ‘self’ and ‘other’ to be both separate and non-separate.  Spaciousness gives birth to ideation; wind carries sound, vibration, and the possibility of hearing; fire ignites vision; fluidity encourages fragrance and tasting; and substance phenomena allow touch.  Our intellectual faculty is comprised of elemental patterns – as are our emotions.  The sub-atomic structure of being is the play of the
thig-lés – the five essential elemental expressions of emptiness from which everything comes into being.

p197, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon  Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen,  Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-3-3

Monday, 21 May 2018

This rare disease—kindness

Wisdom Eccentrics  Whenever I remember this story (told by Künzang Dorje Rinpoche), I look at my life for symptoms of this rare disease—kindness—and whatever signs of health I exhibit cause me to stimulate new areas of infection.  The most saddening aspect of life for me, is to witness immunity to the disease of kindness either in myself or others.  Although I initially preferred the first story, the second has caused me to reflect a great deal on the nature of kindness – and how it can be encouraged in the world.  The idea of kindness as an illness—with all its attendant concepts of infection and contagion—is highly creative.  This manner of expression is a brilliant example of how Tantra turns language on it head.

p138, 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, 14 May 2018

The real nature of experience

We artificially separate experience into two fields: ‘perception’ and ‘field of perception’.  The term ‘perception’ applies to the way in which we register the presence of the world through our sense faculties.  The term ‘field of perception’ applies to the world that we perceive.  With divisive logic we distance ourselves analytically from direct experience.  We lose our ‘knowing’ and end up 'knowing about’'. 
Our perception and field of perception are mutually self-creating.  What we see incites a reaction which influences how we see it.  How we view things changes how they are.  Enlightened Mind is divisionless.  Our perception and field of perception are completely and utterly interconnected, and this fundamental indivisibility is the real nature of experience.

p31, Spectrum of Ecstasy, Ngakpa Chögyam with Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 1997, ISBN 0-9653948-0-8

Monday, 7 May 2018

We do not employ the term mindfulness

The word ‘mindfulness’ is not a bad translation of dranpa (dran pa—smriti in Sanskrit) but it is more accurately translated as ‘resting in recollection’.  Recollection does not mean thinking about a past event—but ‘being present with what has been received as teaching’.  The word ‘awareness’ is not an equivalent for ‘dranpa’ – because ‘awareness’ relates to rigpa or non-dual awareness.

p63-64, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 30 April 2018

Tantra is simply, the one taste of all sensation

Wearing the Body of Visions   In Tantra, sensation is the path. That means every sensation: hot and cold; pleasure and pain; sharp and blunt; agony and ecstasy; hope and fear; falling in love and having a panic attack.   Neither aspect of these polarities are ends in themselves. Tantra is simply, the one taste of all sensation.  To practise Tantra is to ride the energy of duality.
No-one can be called a yogi, yogini, or tantrika, if they cannot experience pleasure and pain – and experience the one taste of the energy that is the ground of both experiences.

p10-11, Wearing the Body of Visions, Ngakpa Chögyam, Aro Books, 1995, ISBN 1-898185-03-4

Monday, 23 April 2018

Force results either in hilarity or frustration

Aro Encyclopaedia The practice of shi-nè involves the renunciation of attachment to form as a reference point.  Through shi-nè we learn that we cannot force thought.  We need to be completely purposelessly welcoming. Whatever thought arises simply moves in its own way.  Any approach involving force results either in hilarity or frustration.  One needs a sense of humour about one’s condition.  One catches oneself trying to force meditation – repeatedly.  All we can do, however, is watch ourselves in the process of trying, until trying wears itself out with trying in the open space of awareness.  This is patience in terms of shi-nè – as we speak of it from the point of view of the Four Naljors of Dzogchen sem-dé.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: The Ten Paramitas, Khandro Déchen  

Monday, 16 April 2018

Karma: the personal police state

Aro Encyclopaedia Our karma is entirely how we perceive the world – moment by moment. So the ‘law of karma’ is not just law, it is the entire legal system. It ranges from the inception of the legislature to the nature of law enforcement and punishment. Our perception is the legislation and our responses enforce it. We are our own judge, jury, and prosecution. We sentence ourselves, gaol ourselves, and execute ourselves. This is the only entirely accurate legal system – but its accuracy only exists within its own frame of reference.
Meditation is our only weapon against this repressive regime and constitutes civil disobedience in the form of ‘passive resistance’. By allowing the development of experiential space through shi-nè – through letting go and letting be – we discover our own intrinsic awareness. The Four Naljors of Dzogchen Sem-dé is one of the ultimate crimes against the ‘law of karma’ and is punishable by enlightenment – the final revolution and overthrow of the legal system.


Aro Encyclopaedia Index:  Karma: the personal police state Ngak'chang Rinpoche

Monday, 9 April 2018

Power

Wisdom Eccentrics   I have thought about this question of power many times, since my discussions with Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche. I have realised that power has got very little to do with power to – but rather, power not to.  It is not a question of supernormal abilities.  It’s a question of being prepared to die in the next moment – to be totally insignificant. The power to be unafraid of looking like an idiot.  The power not to care about what people think or say.  It is not a question of being physically, intellectually, or emotionally strong – but of being open to annihilation. Everything has to matter—and not matter—at the same time.

p242, 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, 2 April 2018

Boredom is actually the threshold of discovery

It is said that meditation isn’t, because it’s not an end in itself.  It is said that getting used to is, because the enlightened state is already there and we simply have to become accustomed to that.  So, meditation is getting used to the enlightened state, cooperating with the enlightened state.
What’s important is simply being.  We simply get used to the condition in which thoughts are not present or in which they arise and dissolve.  Boredom is actually the threshold of discovery.  This is just the point at which something interesting could happen—if we simply continue to sit. 
p24, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7


Monday, 26 March 2018

Bringing practice into everyday life

To integrate practice into everyday life, you can let go of the sharp divisions between the times when you’re sitting and the times when you’re not sitting.  You should allow the spaciousness you discover in your sitting to overflow into your ordinary life experience.  You can start by allowing the postpractice period to be a time when you remain completely with whatever you’re doing.
If you sit for an hour, make sure that you have at least fifteen to thirty minutes for the postmeditation period.  When you get up from your sitting session, stand up slowly and with awareness.  Continue to find the presence of your awareness in whatever sensation arises—but avoid conceptualizing about the process.
You could get up and make a cup of coffee.  You could do the washing up.  But whatever you do, simply be with what you’re doing.

p153-154, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 19 March 2018

Creative potential and vibrant emptiness

Imagination relies on empty perception.  Painting relies on empty planes.  Sculpture relies on empty space.  Music relies on empty time.  Literature relies on empty concepts.  If we are to realise the art of freedom, if we are to discover our creative potential, we need to rely on the experience of our instrinsic vibrant emptiness—the beginningless ground of what we are.
The gateway to the art of freedom is the practice of shi-nè—our method of approaching the white canvas of Mind.



p49, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 12 March 2018

Motivation without a drag factor

Attuned intent is motivation without a ‘drag factor’.  It’s streamlined—aerodynamic.  It gives you access to incredible power and capacity for accomplishment of whatever needs to be accomplished.  In order to accelerate into the unimaginable, we have to let go of the ballast—jettison the habits of view that create drag factors. 
The drag factor is the thing that slows you down.  Mixed and conflicting motivations produce a drag factor and inhibit our development and growth as human beings.  As long as there’s a drag factor, we experience frustration and the unsatisfactory outcome of our wishes or intentions, whatever they might be.  Attuned intent is unmixed motivation, motivation without conflict—single-pointed motivation.
 p145-146, Roaring Silence: Discovering the Mind of Dzogchen, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Shambhala, 2002, ISBN 1-57062-944-7

Monday, 5 March 2018

The vajrayana view of wealth

Aro EncyclopaediaThe awakened mind warriors delight in unbounded wealth because their appreciation is unlimited.  Appreciation generates generosity which knows no limits.  
The Vajrayana view of wealth is grounded in the understanding that one owns everything that enters one’s sense fields. We own whatever we appreciate, to the extent that we appreciate it and for the duration that we appreciate it. We do not require personal ownership in order to own. Our ownership does not restrict the ownership of others, because our ownership is simply that of appreciative faculties.
This non-possessive, non-controlling absence of tenure is called ‘vajra greed’ or ‘non-dual greed’ – greed on behalf of others. Greed on behalf of all beings is both the maximum possible avarice, and the ultimate expansion of generosity.       

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: The Ten Paramitas, Khandro Déchen  
 
 


Monday, 26 February 2018

We have to begin with that which presents itself

One begins with the accidental nature of what is occurring—and accepts that as the nature of one's current reality. 
We do not have to begin with clarity, because clarity is inherent in every situation.  We simply have to begin with that which presents itself.  This will include our mistakes and the mistakes of others.  It will include errors, omissions, miscalculations, appropriations, misappropriations, faux pas, indiscretions, and oversights . . . 
Clarity is a groundless experience, but one that we can only realise when ground and groundlessness are realised a non-dual.  When we accept confusion as the rich ground from which clarity can be discovered, we can cease being our own enemies. 

p3, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 19 February 2018

Drinking the wine of the situation

Simply allow the given situation to be what it is.  Simply avoid the urge to convert it into something else – that is to say, do not attempt to translate it in terms of an educational process.  Simply see it.  Simply perceive it.  Then simply allow it to abandon itself. 
If you experience something and then allow the experience to abandon itself, you will provide space in which felt-knowledge and phenomena merely take their own course.  Self-abandonment is the yeast in the fermentation process in which mind gives rise to wine – rather than whining. 

p76, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7

Monday, 12 February 2018

Appreciation, natural etiquette, and unpretentious elegance

What I try to encourage is appreciation.  True appreciation is, of course, natural elegance.  Fundamental appreciation of phenomena—in the very nature of their appearance—is all that is needed.  There are the phenomena which we apprehend, the phenomena of our being, replete with the sense fields which animate that being.  Elegance is composed of delight and fearless embracement in which we are not gluttonous, timid, or torpid.  Every deranged default impetus is overridden with the sense of splendour, the sense of exquisiteness, the sense of immaculacy. 
From the point of view of Dzogchen, the beauty of genuine decorum lies in the non-manipulativeness of its natural etiquette and unpretentious elegance.  We should all therefore aspire to appreciate what is beautiful in each other–whatever the clothing or absence thereof.

p196, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7


 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Bedazzlement

Space exists but we tend to miss it.  We miss space because we are always looking for it.  A vast dimension exists, but we never seem to see it.  We tend to be too concerned with the microscopes and telescopes of conventional credibility, but we never gaze at immediacy with our naked eyes.  If we simply looked we could find the specialness of reality.
All we need to do is gaze tenderly at the living bedazzlement of existence.  We could just simply gaze at whatever arises and enjoy the immense vision.  We would then realise that celebration is taking place in the vastness of inner and outer space.

p198, Emailing the Lamas from Afar, Ngakpa Chögyam and Khandro Déchen, Aro Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9653948-5-7 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Vajrayana is every art

Wisdom Eccentrics  Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche told me “Vajrayana is not ordinary and so ordinary language cannot be used.  Vajrayana is the poetry of existence beyond space and time.  Vajrayana is every art and you must be practising every art.  If you do not practise every art – how can you know the elements?  And if you do not know the elements – how can you know the essence of the elements and open your eyes to great vision?”

p3, 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 January 2018

“Why can’t you play like a normal boy?!”

Wisdom Eccentrics   Silent sitting seemed to be the heart of it all – and so I sat every day.  The idea of sitting was intriguing because I'd sat silently since childhood – and had been harangued about it by my father “Why can’t you play like a normal boy?!”  I was always able to sit and stare – without going off into dreams.  I’d just observe the colours and sounds of my environment and allow them to drift in and out of my observation.

It was the idea of silence that eventually led me to Dzogchen as being the heart of everything.

p26, 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, 15 January 2018

Non-celibacy is a more demanding path



Aro EncyclopaediaOne needs to approach sexuality with respect, kindness, and openness.  One needs to understand that the alternative to celibacy in Buddhism is not merely selfish indulgence of one’s desire at the expense of others.  One can ‘dress’ sexual misconduct in the clothing of freedom and lack of moralistic inhibitions, but it remains an obstacle to practice nonetheless.
This is an important statement in view of the high regard shown to celibate practitioners in terms of their discipline.  It could be something of a shock to some to realise that non-celibacy is a more demanding path, and that its discipline is vast and subtle.  It should be accurately understood, that ordination into the gö kar chang lo’i dé (gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe) is not chosen as an ‘easier option’ than celibacy.  The monastic path is simpler and easier to follow.  It is completely structured and designed to support the individual, whereas the structure of Vajrayana embraces endless nuances of reality as the play of precision and passion.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Tralam-mé: founding relationships on Vajrayana principles by Ngak’chang Rinpoche & Khandro Déchen


 

 
 




Monday, 8 January 2018

Tralam-mé is the manner in which people accidentally rhyme with each other

Aro Encyclopaedia

Tralam-mé in ordinary terms pertains to anything that happens in the sky – weather conditions, precipitation, rainbows, the Aurora Borealis, asteroids, meteor showers, seeing the stars in the sky, the moon in the sky, visions in the sky, whatever happens in the sky.
In terms of Dzogchen long-dé tralam-mé is used in the context of vajra romance – and thus we translate the term as poetic turbulence. Poetic turbulence is the romantic energetic which is sparked by the capacity for realisation in two individuals.
Tralam-mé does not exist simply as an interface between male-female romantic couples; it exists between everyone and everything everywhere.
Tralam-mé affects how people relate with each other.  We call it poetic turbulence as an emptiness and form coinage.  Tralam-mé is the manner in which people accidentally rhyme with each other – the manner in which they fall in love.
Tralam-mé allows you to experience the non-dual sparkling through in respect of your partner.

Aro Encyclopaedia Index: Tralam-mé   Questions & answers with Ngak’chang Rinpoche
 

Monday, 1 January 2018

Every aspect of human existence

 Aro Encyclopaedia
The wonderful quality of Vajrayana is the way in which it approaches every aspect of human existence as being fundamentally workable.  Whatever the situation happens to be, it can be transformed through the practice of Vajrayana.  We do not have to be afraid of what is manifesting and neither do we have to confuse ourselves with the idea that Buddhism needs to be adapted for the West.  Ideas of this nature do not relate with Vajrayana and the methodology of transformation.  If one really understands Vajrayana – one understands that every culture is actually ideal for Vajrayana.
Aro Encyclopaedia Index:  Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike  Ngak'chang Rinpoche interview 1997