Recognizing Awareness

 “The Instruction on Stillness, Occurrence, and Awareness in Mahamudra”

~Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912):

Stillness state of no thought.

Occurrence “when various kinds of thoughts arise”.

Awareness is being conscious of either of these states.

Being mindful of these two states, “you will come to understand the following vital point: Various feelings such as joy and sadness arise from your own mind and dissolve back into your own mind…”

And, “by looking directly into the essence of your mind, whether it is still or thinking, you will understand that it is empty and, even though it perceives many things, it does not possess any entity whatsoever. This so-called emptiness is not a blank void like space….

[It] is an emptiness endowed with all supreme aspects….[It] has an unceasing clarity that is fully conscious and cognizant.

“When realizing this secret point, although there is no separate watcher or something watched, to experience the naturally luminous and innate mind-essence is known as recognizing awareness.

This is what is pointed out in both mahamudra and dzogchen.”

“There is nothing easier than this, but it is essential to practice.”


The Inner Living Dimension


The nature of Personal Reality, pp. xix, xx, 4, 10

“You are a creator translating your expectations into physical form. The world is meant to serve as a reference point. The exterior appearance is a replica of inner desire. You can change your personal world. You do change it without knowing it.

“You have only to use your ability consciously, to examine the nature of your thoughts and feelings and project those with which you basically agree. They coalesce into the events with which you are so intimately familiar.

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Consciousness along with quietness in the mind

ramana_maharshi_monkey_devoteeThis short dialog between Ramana Maharshi and a questioner gives some insight into the state that according to Ramana is most suitable to allow realization of the Self, that underlying quality of Consciousness that is like the screen in the movie theater. We are usually focused on the shapes moving on the screen. When that focus shifts to the screen itself we realize the Self which is undying and unborn. As this realization of the Self deepens and begins to be effortless we realize that which connects us to every other being in existence. Then understanding and compassion take the place of struggle and fear.

Questioner: There are times when persons and things take a vague, almost a transparent form, as in a dream. One ceases to observe them as outside, but is passively conscious of their existence, while not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood. There is a deep quietness in the mind. Is it at such times that one is ready to dive into the Self? Or is this condition unhealthy, the result of self-hypnotism? Should it be encouraged as yielding temporary peace?

Ramana: There is Consciousness along with quietness in the mind; this is exactly the state to be aimed at. The fact that the question has been framed on this point, without realizing that it is the Self, shows that the state is not steady but casual.

The word ‘diving’ is appropriate when there are outgoing tendencies, and when, therefore, the mind has to be directed and turned within, there is a dip below the surface of externalities. But when quietness prevails without obstructing the Consciousness, where is the need to dive? If that state has not been realised as the Self, the effort to do so may be called ‘diving’. In this sense the state may be said to be suitable for realization or diving. Thus, the last two questions you have put do not arise.

Surrender to What Is – the Only Choice There Will Ever Be

English: Image of the book cover of "A ne...

This is the crux of the matter. We have become so enamored with our thoughts. Humanity believes that thought can take us anywhere – new technology, genetic engineering etc. etc. This has gone far past the point of using thought as the very useful tool that it is. We have taken an attitude of arrogance in our relationship with nature. Once we are able to see clearly that thought is limited then something new starts.

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

Thought itself is now beginning to experience its limits and when that happens it refrains from going beyond its limits because it is actually concerned with safety. Now it is starting to recognize that safety means not abusing its capabilities. Then that which is far, far greater than thought is recognized by thought as the ultimate authority and thought’s actions become tempered by this greater force.

We stop choosing between illusory alternatives when we are able to really accept “what is” – moment by moment. There are no real choices beyond “choosing” to acknowledge “what is”. When we do that, the present moment shows us clearly what is to be done in order to be in alignment with the Totality, or God or whatever word you use for that Great One. Another way I have heard it said is, “Or is this the place of surrender – “consciously” turning over our will to God, and letting the Divine take over?”

You choose.

Zen: The Mind Ground

The Mind Ground pin

This short paragraph that is attributed to zen master Lin Chi intrigued me on the first reading about five days ago. I put some of his teachings that I downloaded from some websites onto my reader and have been enjoying them with my morning coffee or tea sitting in the driftwood here.  Let me mention here that the yogi from Chennai (then Madras) who introduced me into Yoga (Sri S. Rajagopalan) and with whom I studied for over 20 years, had one main thrust of his combined teaching (asanas/pranayama/philosophy) and that was to give us an experience over and over again of Silence. Everything else was orchestrated, I might say, to achieving this purpose, although each element had its own benefits as well.

I recognize in Lin Chi’s words above that he is pointing us to that same Silence.

Taking the first part: “The mind ground can go into the ordinary, into the holy, into the pure, into the defiled, into the real, into the conventional;…” and substituting Silence, it becomes something like this: “The ground of the ordinary is Silence, the ground of the holy is Silence, the ground of the pure is Silence, the ground of the defiled is Silence, the ground of the real is Silence, the ground of the conventional is Silence;…”.

From this point of view one could say that all these various levels of our existence, of our experience, are actually contours of Silence and Silence can be seen as the stuff of which all manifestation and all form is made. It is of course obvious from the above that the word Silence is not used in the sense of “no sound”. Rather sounds, noises, movements of objects all happen within this quality of Silence (that is why I use a capital “S” to signify this changed meaning).

In the second part: “…but it is not your ‘real’ or ‘conventional’, ‘ordinary’ or ‘holy.’”, I see the meaning that this basic immutable stuff of which all manifestation is made is, of course, not limited to any of these individual qualities that he lists.

The third part: “It can put labels on all the real and conventional, the ordinary and the holy,…” tells me that this mind ground is active and engaged in the world of form, interacting on all levels mentioned. Then he brings in this: “…but the real and conventional, the ordinary and the holy, cannot put labels on someone in the mind ground.” – in order to clarify once again that while engaging in the world the one whose actions are of the quality of the mind ground (free of ego etc.) actually IS Intelligent Infinity in its ever spontaneous expression. Therefore to put labels on that expression is a thing of the measuring thought, and it is per definition limited as it lives by creating limitations. Intelligent Infinity, or the finite-infinite, as my friend YB Roth calls it, cannot be contained in any concept.

The final part: “If you can get it, use it, without putting any more labels on it.” – for me means if I have been able to access this quality of the all-pervading and immutable Silence/mind ground by divesting myself of all concepts and limiting views and am in that state of being merged with TATHAGATA (That which is beyond all transitory phenomena), then for God’s sake DON”T THINK ABOUT IT, DON”T LABEL IT, just live it and go on my way free of the need to know or reflect on anything.

Ramana puts it this way: “Since the Self shines with nothing else to know or to make known, It alone is Knowledge.”

This paragraph of Lin Chi is still very active in me and what is most active are simply the two words “mind ground” – which are like a code of some sort that brings about a great sense of freedom from all chaff and dust and a falling away of all that suggests itself as being important and calling for my attention. So I am free to put my attention on my happiness, my life force, my sense of being.

– end –

ZEN: Purpose

Every so often I find myself taking a personal retreat in order to, as I call it, calibrate myself back to zero,  which is for me the quintessence of Zen. Just recently I have realized that this “zero” refers to “zero purpose”. When I go to the Arizona Beach Lodge not far from where I live, I leave behind all the things and people in my home environment that call me to do “this” and “that”. I am always rather amazed at how soon I am able to enter into a space in which I have let go of all purpose and am able to just ‘be’.

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Koan I“A koan shows us that the mind is empty, that its content is attached to nothing beyond itself.” James Carse, Breakfast at the Victory

“Appearances, sounds, and objects are one’s own mind; There’s nothing except mind.” Niguma, Mahamudra

“The pure mind sees things as they are – bubbles in consciousness. These bubbles are appearing, disappearing and reappearing – without having real being. Each bubble is a body and all these bodies are mine.” Nisargadatta, Consciousness and the Absolute

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Spiritual Realization – The Inward Journey

innerjourney-logo4Spiritual realization is the aim that exists in each one of us to seek our divine core. That core, though never absent from anyone, remains latent within us. It is not an outward quest for a Holy Grail that lies beyond, but an Inward Journey to allow the inner core to reveal itself.

In order to find out how to reveal our innermost Being, the sages explored the various sheaths of existence, starting from body and progressing through mind and intelligence, and ultimately to soul. The yogic journey guides us from our periphery, the body, to the center of our being, the soul. The aim is to integrate the various layers so that the inner divinity shines out as through clear glass. (from “The Inward Journey” by  B. K. S. Iyengar)
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The Mystical is Most Practical – Nisargadatta

Questioner: If you are nothing in particular, then you must be the universal.

Nisargadatta: What is to be universal — not as a concept, but as a way of life? Not to separate, not to oppose, but to understand and love whatever contacts you, is living universally. To be able to say truly: I am the world, the world is me, I am at home in the world, the world is my own. Continue reading