Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Trevor Beach, modified 4 Months ago.

Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/21 Recent Posts
Hello, I am a student of Pemako Buddhism and I'd like to start a thread for pragmatic dharma practices in the vajrayana tradition.  My goal is to share what practices and insights my sangha and I have found useful for deepening and stabilizing the experience of selfless awareness.  All of us are lay people focused on attaining full and permanent liberation from self-based confusion in this life while living in modern Western society. The practice itself is tantra yoga with a focus on guru yoga and various types dynamic concentration. 

For more information on the Pemako view of tantra:
https://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/2020/10/open-secrets-of-tantric-yoga.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR3Xo4cZO3Fss3_0A_-oUeoKDk86NIrUkKDE6TJjzHSvEP-1QZj-gomQhYg

For more information on Dynamic Concentration:
https://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/search?q=dynamic+concentration

An example of Dynamic Concentration practice: 
https://youtu.be/-gTZdelf72w

Here are a couple examples of how we practice Guru Yoga: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vylRKE2UKLk

https://youtu.be/Xs-D39gi6BA
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Comments and questions for the purpose of constructive discussion are more than welcome, as is sharing of your own experience and practices!
Trevor Beach, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/21 Recent Posts
Here's another few guided meditations on recognizing our own selfless buddha nature.

By Kim Rinpoche, pointers to the nature of mind: https://youtu.be/0c8S_UaGWDs

By Lama Karl, a presentation on Avalokiteshvara: https://youtu.be/-aEw3bZVLvo

By myself, recognizing bodhicitta in daily life: https://youtu.be/4mW3juQkpkA
Sam Gentile, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 1344 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Thank you Trevor! Is your topic restricted then to Pemako Buddhism?
Oskar Aas, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

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Sam
 think this is meant as a thread about pragmatic Varjayana buddhism. Meaning, openness and transparacy about practice, and its fruit from a varjayana point of view. About pragmatism in Dharma check out this article: http://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-core-features-of-pragmatic-dharma.html.

Traditionally there is more secrecy in Varjayana, thats why this emphasis on pragmatism, to open up a bit. So anything you feel is hitting the mark on this, please do share for everyones benefit. The only teacher  I know of though that seem to have a similar openness about his varjayana practice is Daniel Brown, so Pemako is in my view biggest on the scene in that regard. But I would personally be happy to hear of others as well and I think this is what Trevor meant emoticon 

- Oskar 
Oskar Aas, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

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Lovely account of how insight into emptiness develop, by Garcehn Rinpoche and comment by Kim Thubten Lingpa:

https://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/2021/06/garchen-rinpoche-about-bhumis.html?fbclid=IwAR3lAdsj1LjcZVDhLfUiktEUy75Y7y-Iwc7b4NrWiLpVcZjwknA11LQPc4E
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Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

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Nice stuff.  Thanks Trevor and Oskar.  I have read some of Kim's work before and always enjoy it, and I appreciate the extra resources and links from a variety of teachers.  I would be interested to know the typical practice routine expected of western students in the tradition.  For example - a weekly class for an hour, and then 15 minutes a day at home, or what exactly?  And from this, what kind of progress is expected?  

Also, are there supplementary exercises to regulate the body and cultivate zest and happiness (first six stages of Anapanasati), or is this part of the transition from external tantra to internal tantra and bodhicitta?  And if it's not too many questions ...  do you think bodhicitta connects to formless realms ( compassion connecting to the base of boundless space, and rejoicing connecting to the base of boundless consciousness)?

Feel free to answer just one question.  Or to ignore them all.  emoticon
Oskar Aas, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 6 Join Date: 3/22/21 Recent Posts
Hi!

 - I would be interested to know the typical practice routine expected of western students in the tradition.  For example - a weekly class for an hour, and then 15 minutes a day at home, or what exactly?  And from this, what kind of progress is expected?  

 You mean in Pemako especially? I think it varies, how you living situation, family and other responsibilites etc.. I can only speak for myself and then maybe other pitch in and tell about their practice which would be great emoticon Also feel free to check out this book, there are accounts on how progress happen in this tradition https://www.pemakobuddhism.com/35532, hopefully this will be updated as it is a bit old, and alot has happened since then. 

For me its usually always a morning and a evening sit. Usually Rainbow body yoga in the morning (a set of tantric exercices which requires empowerment) and some Guru yoga, boddhicitta, vipashyna, dynamic consentraion or deiti practice in the evening. Usually I fit in more sessions that that a day too, and there is of course in-between session work, like breaks, on the subway etc.. which for me is usually mantras or vizualisations, or contemplating boddhicitta, and not forget: spinning my prayer wheel when watching TV!

About progress, there is better accounts in the book than what I can give you. But basically you work first on purifying the whole central channel which has 13 knots, aka bhumi openings. Then purifying the surrounding layers of those knots or chacras, which is bhumi perfections. 
Everyknot opening/shift is irreversible, your mind litterarily changes permanently. There is less selfing, like the notion of self, me-ness and otherness get thinner and sometimes drops of completely. Also there is purifications of emotions. For me these two are inseperable, if the "I" knot pops, so does the emotional baggage connected to the knot, you wont have one and not the other I think, not to mention boddhicitta. 
So put easily, more and more clear mind, less and less heavy emotions. 
When 10 knot are opened and purified, you reach exhaustion of all phenomena, buddhahood. After that starts the practice of purifying 11-13th, which I think is strictly ati yoga/ Dzogchen. 

There is a lot to say about each shift too, but it also varies between people I think. I could write more about it but not today emoticon 

- Also, are there supplementary exercises to regulate the body and cultivate zest and happiness (first six stages of Anapanasati), or is this part of the transition from external tantra to internal tantra and bodhicitta?  

zest and Anapanasati are not something I am familiar with sorry, not sure if I understood this question etiher? 
About external tantra to internal tantra and boddhicitta you could check out this article on how we view external and internal: https://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/2020/10/open-secrets-of-tantric-yoga.html?fbclid=IwAR0RVo_UDJgu3Q6mUxi_fegXWmES1KEDbEydNvJ72iMPaEk32k3Za5J6jus
We have some categorizations of levels of tantra in terms of generation and completion stage, but its not that explicit and I am not sure if there are sources of it outside the sangha. My experience is that the transittion from outer "building the deity" to becomming the deity, happens by itself naturally as you progress and purify the mind. But I have not read much about how this is done traditionally, so cant say too much about it for now..

Boddhicitta how I understand it can be practices relatively and absolutely. This is not separate from deity practice, but I guess clarifcations are necessary to help the student, essentially though they are the same. Also "absolute" boddhicitta has for me been pointed out, it requires some stable recognition and since I dont have that I rarely practice it/it rarely happnes, so mostly relative aspect. 

- And if it's not too many questions ...  do you think bodhicitta connects to formless realms ( compassion connecting to the base of boundless space, and rejoicing connecting to the base of boundless consciousness)?

Yes absolutely, heartmind that includes every sentient being means also other realms. My logic tells me that if emptiness is true, its true of any realm, needless to say if you realize emptiness of one realm, you realize emptiness of any realm, make sense? 

Hope this was helpfull, you have good questions so nothing here to ignore, cheers emoticon  

Oskar










 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 602 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
I had 25 years(ish) in Nyingma/Dzogchen (Dudjom Lineage) with some side-trips into Kagyu. A number of empowerments, Lojong, Ngondro, Trekchod, Visualization/Guru Yoga, etc., but ALWAYS Dzogchen 1st as training and emphasis. Training in the recognition of, and resting IN Rigpa as much as possible is paramount.

Typical practice was just a weekly dharma talk with sit, and 20-40 minutes a day. For a 100,000 repetitions (couple years) about 30 minutes of Ngondro. 

IMHO for the "pragmatic" practictioner, the most important practice is simply Dzogchen with the aid of a realized teacher to check in with. Good to try the other major teachings, but the depth depends on your obscurations. Those with complex (m)inds will find complex trainings and be given complex instruction.

There ARE no hidden instructions that matter. Most of what is hidden is in plain sight, but goes unnoticed. It's in even the most "basic" dharma books. It's everywhere! emoticon
Trevor Beach, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/21 Recent Posts
Hi Sam, 

"...I would be interested to know the typical practice routine expected of western students in the tradition.  For example - a weekly class for an hour, and then 15 minutes a day at home, or what exactly?  And from this, what kind of progress is expected?"

The daily practice is generally Rainbow Body Yoga (RBY), which is a series of tantric exercises that usually takes me around 45 min - 1 hour.  There are sangha meetings available every week, which includes practice and discussion. There are also several weekend (and longer) retreats that take place throughout the year, as well as guided sessions here and there.  Current progress of the sangha indicates that the dedicated student can go from "awakened" (1st kensho / stream entry / 1st bhumi) to fully liberated (10 open and perfected bhumis / exhaustion of reactive karma) in under 10 years. Progress is discussed openly, soberly and analytically among sangha members.

"Also, are there supplementary exercises to regulate the body and cultivate zest and happiness (first six stages of Anapanasati), or is this part of the transition from external tantra to internal tantra and bodhicitta?"

The different exercises of RBY directly address the tensions held by the subconsious mind.  When those tensions are released, the body is allowed to regulate itself properly (without you in the way).  The result of correct practice in Pemako is natural joyfulness and vitality, but the sensations of joy or bliss are not used as a support for concentration as with anapanasati.  Instead, Pemako Buddhism teaches one to recognize that one's own wakeful awareness is already joyful and full of potential.  Emphasis is placed on cultivating relative and absolute bodhicitta during all stages of practice.

"And if it's not too many questions ...  do you think bodhicitta connects to formless realms ( compassion connecting to the base of boundless space, and rejoicing connecting to the base of boundless consciousness)?"

Bodhicitta supports our connection to all realms, as no realms are separate from it :-)  Progress in insight and purification of the subconcious mind results in the development of a naturally clear and quiet mind.  The formless realms are also on the wheel of samsara, and so we practice to purify those aspects of our minds as well.
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Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

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Thank you for the helpful replies.  I can see Rainbow Body Yoga is an important exercise for this practice.  Is there more information available on that, or do you have to learn it with instruction/empowerment from Kim (noting his statement that no one will be turned away for lack of funds).

Please note, I am not asking this is any judgemental way.  Just interested from a comparative dharma point of view.  

Metta

Malcolm 
Trevor Beach, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/21 Recent Posts
Malcolm,

I see I replied to the wrong person earlier. Sorry about that! 

Because it utilizes diety mantras, RBY must be learned with empowerment.  You can find more info about it here: https://www.pemakobuddhism.com/26656

The exercises themselves range from visualization, breath manipulation and dynamic mantra chanting to ati yoga.

Many of the exercises learned *can* be performed without empowerment or without deity mantras, but of course they are much more effective if learned and performed properly.
Trevor Beach, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Pragmatic Vajrayana and Non-Dual Practice

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/21 Recent Posts
Stirling, 

"I had 25 years(ish) in Nyingma/Dzogchen (Dudjom Lineage) with some side-trips into Kagyu. A number of empowerments, Lojong, Ngondro, Trekchod, Visualization/Guru Yoga, etc., but ALWAYS Dzogchen 1st as training and emphasis. Training in the recognition of, and resting IN Rigpa as much as possible is paramount."

That's awesome.  Training in recognizing rigpa is #1 priority in our practice as well.  The whole purpose of RBY is to consistently establish recognition of our basic nature and then to stabilize that recognition.

"IMHO for the "pragmatic" practictioner, the most important practice is simply Dzogchen with the aid of a realized teacher to check in with. Good to try the other major teachings, but the depth depends on your obscurations. Those with complex (m)inds will find complex trainings and be given complex instruction."

Agreed.  Fortunately, we have a very effective practice on dealing with those obscurations once recognition is established as well as several senior students and teachers to offer guidance and support.

"There ARE no hidden instructions that matter. Most of what is hidden is in plain sight, but goes unnoticed. It's in even the most "basic" dharma books. It's everywhere! emoticon"

For sure!

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