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Pointing-out insight criteria
Answer
9/19/19 7:23 AM
I struggle with "pointing-out" instructions.

I've heard them in many forms from Sam Harris (who really goes on and on about them) and Kelly's "Shift into Freedom", and I'm trying to reconcile the following two observations:

- I can imagine what somewhat would mean by those instructions and
- I don't get what is so profound about them.

That obviously leads me to pose the following question:

If a person would have had this insight in early childhood and forgot about it, how could he then as an adult tell that apart from actually missing something?

I'd also always like to hear more about those instructions and how long they should be trained and how they may related to vipassana meditation.

Finally I also wonder which of those excercises I should train in for how long I should try before I try a different one. Didn't find anything about that in Kelly's book yet.

Thanks for all tips,

Jens

RE: Pointing-out insight criteria
Answer
9/19/19 10:37 AM as a reply to Jens Theisen.
Jens Theisen:
I struggle with "pointing-out" instructions.

I've heard them in many forms from Sam Harris (who really goes on and on about them) and Kelly's "Shift into Freedom", and I'm trying to reconcile the following two observations:

- I can imagine what somewhat would mean by those instructions and
- I don't get what is so profound about them.

That obviously leads me to pose the following question:

If a person would have had this insight in early childhood and forgot about it, how could he then as an adult tell that apart from actually missing something?

I'd also always like to hear more about those instructions and how long they should be trained and how they may related to vipassana meditation.

Finally I also wonder which of those excercises I should train in for how long I should try before I try a different one. Didn't find anything about that in Kelly's book yet.

Thanks for all tips,

Jens

Hi Jens.

I do not mean to be rude but no, you cannot imagine what pointing out is like or what your buddhanature in its full bloom is like. Even long time practitioners fail to get it. Being unorthodox myself, I am going to sound really orthodox and say that you should find someone who can show it to you, give the transmission because forum discussion always, without exception, fails to explain this.

Pointing out the nature of mind is a transmission given by a competent guide. It is not a technique, it is your own buddhanature. Having said that, teachers who point out always give practices that one can practice to return to the recogition of one's basic state.

There are all kinds of modern mahamudra, "restricted dzogchen teachings" and whatever effortless mindfulness books and online courses but I recommend saving your money. Teachers who don't have first hand exp, sound ridiculous trying to wing it.

Leigh Brasington told me, "On a retreat at Spirit Rock, Tsoknyi Rinpoche took the many Spirit Rock teachers who were attending aside and told them explicitly not to try and teach Dzogchen. But they didn't listen; several times I sat in the back of the room while one of them attempted to teach Dzogchen - and watched waves of confusion envelope the room."

But even most authorised teachers/lamas don't know it.

RE: Pointing-out insight criteria
Answer
9/19/19 12:04 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
No offense taken, thank's for the feedback.

RE: Pointing-out insight criteria
Answer
9/29/19 12:01 PM as a reply to Jens Theisen.
Jens - Sorry to hear you struggle but fully understand that frustration.   I think the key to pointing out instruction is that its relationship based, takes some time to build the connection and trust, and requires both a qualified teacher and student.   But these will all come together if that is the direction of your path. 

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche has an excellent discussion of Pointing Out Ordinary Mind in the context of Mahamudra-
Link to DPR Lions Roar Article

As you mention there are a wide number of western teachers offering essence tradition introductions to non-dual awareness with  few having the required skill to provide such instruction.   So I suppose it can be frustrating to find a teacher and one can be left wondering did I get IT or not.  I think you can trust when you are introduced its radical enough that its not likely to leave much doubt, but then if there is any lingering doubts there are processes and practices to remove those as well.

Two skillful western teachers that I am familar with are Dan Brown and Peter Barth.   Dan Brown, at the suggestion of HHDL, has developed a  guided tour of pointing out instructions for western students that has a very high efficacy - practitioners having a significant meditation experience that leads to awaken awareness.  His Pointing Out the Great Way text is being discussed elsewhere on the forum.    HIs teaching focuses first on developinig sufficient concentration to be then guided through the insight practices.  His delivery of Pointing Out Insturctions is rather exceptional.  In the catagorization as described in the above article, Dan Brown's instructions are more on the order of Essence Mahamudra. (If you were to attend a Level One Retreat with Dan he might suggest you not read his book in advance as it is very scholarly and detailed and one might develop conceptual attachments that would frustate the guided practice of going beyond our condition view.)  You can find more information about Dan and Pointing Out Instruction at the Pointing Out Way Meditation Website or Pointing out the Great Way Foundation where you will also find information regarding very precious advanced Bon Dzochen Texts including the Kusum Rangshar.

Peter Barth, at the request of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche has prepared a Sutra Mahamudra Meditation Manual that one can utilize in gradual practice to develop the awarenss of and associated with the ordinary mind.     I understand it is a very widely used Meditation Manual that has benefited very many students of Mahamudra. 

In any event, whether introduction throught Sutra,Trantra or Essence Mahamudra Instruction it is very important to develop the understanding of the shifts in awareness and pliancy in moving from between the various stages

"I think that it is of far greater importance than the experience of dramatic instantaneous pointing out that
people be taught mahamudra as a full system of instruction that they can implement on their own gradually
through diligent application using any one of the three texts by the Ninth Gyalwang Karmapa -
An Ocean of the Ultimate Meaning, Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance, or Pointing Out the Dharmakaya -
or one of the two texts by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal - Moonbeams of Mahamudra or Clarifyng the Natural State."

- Khyabje Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche