Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/13/22 8:26 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Jim Smith 4/14/22 4:56 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/14/22 6:43 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/14/22 3:49 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/14/22 6:46 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Dream Walker 4/14/22 5:41 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/14/22 6:56 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Dream Walker 4/14/22 8:00 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? shargrol 4/14/22 6:25 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/14/22 7:48 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Chrollo X 4/14/22 9:54 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? shargrol 4/14/22 8:51 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Chrollo X 4/14/22 11:52 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? shargrol 4/15/22 6:36 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Chrollo X 4/15/22 9:44 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? George S 4/14/22 8:30 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/15/22 1:32 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/17/22 10:25 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/17/22 4:04 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Martin 4/15/22 10:34 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/15/22 1:56 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/18/22 2:49 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/24/22 2:24 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/24/22 1:52 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/24/22 2:40 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/26/22 2:59 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/26/22 3:58 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/29/22 12:37 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/29/22 12:57 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Papa Che Dusko 4/28/22 6:56 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/28/22 8:23 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Papa Che Dusko 4/28/22 3:02 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/28/22 3:31 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/28/22 8:39 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/29/22 1:17 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? AK D 4/29/22 4:25 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Oskar M 4/29/22 4:54 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Pepe · 4/29/22 7:39 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/25/22 11:48 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/25/22 12:13 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Papa Che Dusko 4/25/22 4:34 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/26/22 1:50 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Papa Che Dusko 4/26/22 4:37 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/25/22 1:17 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/25/22 2:27 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/25/22 2:49 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/25/22 4:19 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? Papa Che Dusko 4/28/22 6:58 AM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/29/22 1:38 PM
RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness? terry 4/29/22 1:48 PM
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/13/22 8:26 PM
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Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

Posts: 179 Join Date: 1/20/21 Recent Posts
After reading through certain threads on here over the years, and coming across advice given elsewhere on the internet or in podcasts or dharma talks, there is often emphasis on cultivating spaciousness and opening the sense doors. In fact, some people equate sitting in spacious, open awareness with actualizing enlightenment. This is not such a foreign concept to folks familiar with Shikantaza and Mahamudra/Dzogchen where the Fruit and the Path are not different.

A few examples:

I’ve heard Daniel P. Brown discuss this: after a practitioner gets a ‘taste of awakening’ (the first phase of practice in his model), the next phase of practice becomes about stabilizing this view or Lion’s Gaze, which is limitless awareness. He discusses this at 17:43 in his interview with Michael Taft: https://art19.com/shows/deconstructing-yourself/episodes/b2951487-3f99-4064-9eb5-e0e96255c6e0

Indeed, most of Michael Taft’s guided meditations on YouTube seem to incorporate spacious awareness in one way or another: https://www.youtube.com/c/MichaelTaft108/videos

I’ve seen a few exercises on here for opening the visual field (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19803940) to include the periphery as well as the center. I’ve seen similar exercises or pointers about opening the audio field, the body, and even for taking on the entire sense field, including thoughts, as ‘one sense door’ (credit to Dream Walker: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908).

In this discussion (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16718411), Daniel Ingram states “Also, if you still have any interest in Theravadan tech, consider reading about Equanimity, Formations, and the fourth vipassana jhana in MCTB2 and realizing it is basically Dzogchen/Mahamudra straight up.” The reason I mention this one is that in Dzogchen/Mahamudra, the teaching often points to spaciousness and panoramicity of awareness (and other qualities of mind) which are present in the Equanimity nana. Equanimity can be considered advanced territory for most average practitioners and so it’s interesting that the practice develops or converges on these qualities in an organic way.

There are more examples on here and elsewhere that I could list, but I think these illustrate my point.


Why I am asking:
When I see the practice discussed in this way, it seems that opening the senses and cultivating spacious awareness is a requirement for Awakening. It IS Awakening from a certain perspective. A few posters on here who I consider to be ‘advanced’ stress this line of development & cultivation.
​​​​​​​
On the flip side, I have listened to dharma talks and read books by many well known dharma teachers, but they don’t really emphasize the importance of cultivating and stabilizing this open quality of awareness at all times. I can't imagine that McMindfulness would point this sort of thing out to people.
As far as my path is concerned, I didn’t really come across these pointers in the beginning and it seems like a potentially helpful quality to cultivate or recognize early on if a practitioner has access to it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t start my journey with Tibetan practices or Zen, but it seems this quality of mind is indispensable if one has interest in ‘gaining’ insight into the nature of self and reality. It just seemed really foreign to me the first time I came across instructions for opening the visual field and I thought “But what does this exercise have to do with meditation and Awakening?”
​​​​​​​
So, in essence, why the emphasis on opening the sense gates and cultivating spacious awareness? Why is it important to the Awakening process if at all? Is it a necessity? 
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Jim Smith, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 4:56 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Spaciousness is the opposite of separation (separation of self and not-self).

​​​​​​​When you have no boundaries (make no distinction between self and not-self), you feel like infinite space (spaciousness).


According to some definitions of awakening, there are two illusions you have to see through to awaken. One is the illusion of a solid self, the other is the illusion of a separate self. The illusion of a solid self is caused by getting lost in thought and carried away by emotions (lack of clarity of perception). Noting is one way to break through this illusion. When you observe the activity of the mind you see that everything, including the sense of self, arises from unconscious processes: thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensations, the sense of self, are not you are not yours you don't control them. The illusion of a separate self come from pushing away (rejecting, resisting, denying, fighting against) things you don't like. One way to break through this illusion is by surrendering, - acknowledging the unpleasant truths of reality, often truths about yourself, that you don't like.



AKD
...
When I see the practice discussed in this way, it seems that opening the senses and cultivating spacious awareness is a requirement for Awakening. It IS Awakening from a certain perspective. A few posters on here who I consider to be ‘advanced’ stress this line of development & cultivation.
​​​​​​​
On the flip side, I have listened to dharma talks and read books by many well known dharma teachers, but they don’t really emphasize the importance of cultivating and stabilizing this open quality of awareness at all times. 


That is true for a lot of things. Maybe there are different things people are calling awakening. Maybe some teachers think the best way to learn is to emphasize different aspects. Maybe both.

Personally, I would not emphasize cultivating spaciousness. I think it is best to study the activity of the mind (after quieting the mind with meditation, repeatedly observe how thoughts emotions impulses, sensations and the sense of self, arise from unconscious processes they are not you or yours you don't control them, and repeatedly observe how dukkha is exactly the same how rejecting dukkha causes more problems than it solves and that surrender is actually so much nicer)  and then spaciousness will be an effect rather than a cause.

I find that a lot of what I read about makes sense when I reach a certain stage/level/understanding but the information is not really helpful in getting there. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 3:49 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Good question! I would say that it is necessary for awakening and integrated into the experience of awakening (as far as I know; I'm not done), but there are different ways to get there. Some people can drop into a more open experience early in their practice and thereby benefit from approaches that emphasize that. Others need other kinds of pointers for a long time. There is no "one size fits all". 
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 5:41 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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AKD After reading through certain threads on here over the years, and coming across advice given elsewhere on the internet or in podcasts or dharma talks, there is often emphasis on cultivating spaciousness and opening the sense doors. In fact, some people equate sitting in spacious, open awareness with actualizing enlightenment.
You will notice that in my framework post that open space stuff is 3rd path work. You may also notice that Daniel mentions that spaciousness is NOT the end all be all to awakening but rather a false focus of third pathers. I tend to think that it is a necessary phase that most go thru along the way.
According to Dan Brown there are three speeds of mind.
1)Speed of thought
2)Speed of the attentional system
3)Speed of awareness
Third path is about hacking the attentional system so that the filtering that is in place is deleted and each sense door is wide open and you are drinking from the fire hose. The brain is never "at rest" it is taking in all data then you filter out the majority of it. Deleting these filters gives you all the fun attainments of third path.

​​​​​​​ So, in essence, why the emphasis on opening the sense gates and cultivating spacious awareness? Why is it important to the Awakening process if at all? Is it a necessity? 

It is necessary at third path to continue towards 4th. (depending on how you wish to define these things)
Some of the filters in place also separate ME from OTHER. So as you delete them you get more and more "non-dual" Less Me-ness and more everythingness. Everythingness is wide open vastness and the knowingness of that vastness as they merge into just suchness happening. Stuff happening all at once in a fun dance of sensations without me-making.
Good Luck,
~D
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 6:25 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Great replies above.

Yeah, spaceousness isn't typically a focus of on-cushion practice in the beginning because beginners are typically somewhat disassociated from their body and feelings (they mostly dwell in thought). So a lot of practices really emphasize connecting to the felt experience of sensations and emotions --- sometimes even labelling them to help build the ability to detect and distinquish nuances in felt experience. In the beginning it's less about dwelling in spaceousness mind and more about noticing resistances and aversions which fill the "space" of mind.

A beginner's experience typically is: "the more spaceous I'm trying to be, the more stuff keeps coming up, what am I doing wrong?" The answer is they aren't doing anything wrong, this is what needs to happen. Old undigested memories and new awareness of the body/mind is being developed. Perfect!

When most of the raw psychological material is cleaned-up, then a meditator might begin to notice space in the mind. Then the practice becomes more about "how can I dwell in ease and simplicity and spaciousness? what distracts, destroys, or corrupts this ease and simplicity and spaceousness?"

Eventually, practice becomes "even though I prefer ease and similicity and spaciousness, how can I accept the coming and going of it? how can I avoid greed for good mindstates, aversion for bad mindstates, and indifference to boring mindstates".

And eventually, practice becomes "why do I have preferences? why do I think I control the past, present, or future? am I making a "spiritual problem" about normal existance? what is this urge/instinct behind my preferences? to what extent are my problems really problems? 

As practice continues spaceousness become less literal (space) and more subtle (emptiness). Real-time emptiness of all experiences are seen, and eventually the emptiness of spiritual ambition is also seen. As the saying goes, at some point we quit being spiritual ambitious... but don't quit too soon! emoticon
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 6:43 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Hello Jim, thank you for the detailed reply. I started out with noting meditation, but it took a few years before learning how to shift into spaciousness. Recognizing this quality of mind almost felt like discovering a room in a mansion that I had been walking right past on a daily basis.

I would say that this sort of open awareness isn't just a byproduct of good practice, but it's also a helpful tool. It has helped me to better turn the light back onto the sense of self which I had sorta been ignoring via regular mindfulness practice. I wasn't aware that I had been ignoring this observer/meditator until the shift into a larger perspective started to become more normal in sitting practice.

I'd also say that it's been important factor to more subtle understandings about an experiential doer, observer, controller, center to experience, attention, emptiness, etc. 

I agree with you about reading and re-reading certain pointers or passages as understanding develops - I suppose that's why I posed the question. 
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 6:46 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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I agree with you and that's why the relationship with the Lama is stressed so heavily in the Tibetan schools of Buddhism - each student has their own needs and proclivities, as you say, so it's up to the Lama to read the room and provide pointers as appropriate. 
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 6:56 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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I did notice that these sorts of pointers in your framework came later - would you say that people can get some mileage from playing around with some of these techniques earlier on if it feels intuitive? How would you recommend people sniff out these filters? In my experience, some of these filters are assumptions about reality that we take for granted - we believe them to be inherent to reality so it can be difficult to detect them or realize that they can be 'deleted'. 

I understand what you mean about reifying space being a trap - it just seems like a really helpful tool or stage along the way before it is transcended.

I appreciate you chiming in given that your framework was mentioned in the original post. Thank you. 
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 7:48 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Thank you for the outline of practice above - it goes hand in hand with the advice you often give about investigating ill-will or the 3 poisons. Comparing that openess, ease, simiplicity with a more contracted state has become a large part of practice these days as I 'work through' certain psychological material/knots.

Those questions that you pose towards the bottom are great lines of inquiry assuming that a person is looking directly at their experience in the moment. Thank you for those! 
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:00 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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AKD
I did notice that these sorts of pointers in your framework came later - would you say that people can get some mileage from playing around with some of these techniques earlier on if it feels intuitive?
You can get sub path attainments without 1st or second nailed. There is a dude that teaches eye strengthening exersizes to get rid of the need for glasses. Reading the pamphlet in his office window described the results of deleting filters of the eye consciousness. Increased acuity, etc. I would say this is rare but if you put the work in its possible. It's a lot easier after second path though.
How would you recommend people sniff out these filters? In my experience, some of these filters are assumptions about reality that we take for granted - we believe them to be inherent to reality so it can be difficult to detect them or realize that they can be 'deleted'. 
Pay attention to the honeymoon period post path. You have 2 weeks of "extra juice" to notice mild previews of the next path stuff before those super powers fade. Talk to people who are ahead of you. Read books like 'The seeing that frees'.
Finding the next thing and figuring out how to pop the damn thing has always been the hard part for me. Actually doing it is just grinding.

I understand what you mean about reifying space being a trap - it just seems like a really helpful tool or stage along the way before it is transcended.
Yes, don't worry about the scaffolding that gets deleted as you move up. Stuff is useful until it ain't. Dont hold onto old stuff when you no longer need it.

I appreciate you chiming in given that your framework was mentioned in the original post. Thank you. 
Just pay it forward. Thats how we change the world.
~D
George S, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:30 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Very roughly, states of spaciousness are light versions of fifth jhana. When the mind tires of fabricating the experience of spaciousness, it will naturally let go and drop into (light versions of) sixth jhana - "open awareness" or "impersonal field of consciousness" or something like that. Eventually the fabricated experience of awareness itself is seen as unsatisfactory and the mind drops into (light versions of) seventh jhana - "nothingness" or "emptiness" (disinclination to fabricate any objects whatsoever). At a certain point the mind might notice that it has created an object out of nothingness/emptiness and let go of that ... dropping into (light versions of) eight jhana - simply a state about which you can't say anything at all, except that it is a state (there is a memory of having been in the state). At this point the mind might let go of attaching to states altogether, which is intimately bound up with the sense of time passing (memory and expectation). This can result in a very interesting realization ...
Chrollo X, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 9:54 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Is this a map towards 1st path? I feel like I have good awareness of body and emotions but I still dwell in / identify with thought. Any tips? 
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:51 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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have you tried noting your thoughts?
Chrollo X, modified 7 Months ago at 4/14/22 11:52 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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shargrol
have you tried noting your thoughts?

I did a sit, noted some thoughts, and two questions came to mind after comtemplating what happened in the sit:
Why does identifcation even happen at all?
What is doing the identifying?
​​​​​​​Why do "I" want to be "me" so bad?(this sounds like gibberish, but idk how else to say it lol)
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago at 4/15/22 6:36 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Sounds good. The trick is to use that questioning as motivation. There are "answers" to those questions but they are not verbal, intellectual answers. By really studying the way your own mind works, you will see "the how and the why" of the the mind. That's what we are all trying to figure out.

And the "why" happens on different levels. In general, there is the psychological level, which is more focused on ideas and beliefs of being an "I". And there is a meditation level, which is more focues on the raw nature of experience (at the level of individual experiences of sensation, emotions, and thoughts).  In truth both of these go together when we meditate, but some sits are more psychological and others are more meditative... and working on the psychological aspect usually happens before working on the psychological.

One idea that was really helpful to me for thinking about "the how and the why of thinking and the I" was the basic framework of psychological defense mechanisms. With this framework, you can kind of see the different reasons our "I" does things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanism

During meditation, you can also sense very very subtle defense mechanisms - basically greed, aversion, and indifference in buddhist terms. This this is the basic way the "I" becomes greedy when pleasurable things are happening, develops avoidance/aversion if things are difficult, and tunes out with indifference if things are boring and aren't "important to the I".

It's a big subject. Use those questions to really look into your own experience. No person talking to you on the internet will give you any benefit, it's only by learning how it works >in your own mind!< that has any value.
Chrollo X, modified 7 Months ago at 4/15/22 9:44 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Thanks for the help! I tend to get into talking about practice thinking that knowing more is gonna free me. This is a good reminder that I need to take more ownership over this process. 
Martin, modified 7 Months ago at 4/15/22 10:34 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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This is a great question. I appreciated the answers to it, and your thoughts on the answers, AKD. I will add that spacious awareness can be a kind of refuge. When we are aware of the space all around (I might also phrase that, "when we are aware in the space all around") we cannot be simultaneously having an argument in our head with that guy from work. It's a "wholesome" state, basically free of the gross afflictions. The more time we spend there, the more habituated the mind is to begin without afflictions, and the easier it is to spot the beginning of "unwholesome" mindstates as they arise.

For me, personally, cultivating spaciousness has led to another, more subtle and stable way of experiencing the world, which has other benefits. I don't know enough about what is going on in my own experience to explain it but there is a clear link with spaciousness.

That started with hearing Daniel, in an interview, mention Shift Into Freedom by Loch Kelly as a good book on the Mahamudra side of things. At the same time, he pointed out that the approach works well for some people and not for others. Some people get it right away and others just kind of space out. I can confirm that I found what the book described to be intuitive and natural, while a friend of mine liked the book but got zero practical benefits from it. One of the reasons might have been that I had experienced the state spontaneously many times, as an off-cushion fruit of practice, and it is much easier to cultivate what you have already experienced. (As an aside, the book is really just a primer.)

The fact that spacious awareness is not universally accessible to even fairly experienced practitioners might be one reason that it is not taught much in dharma books for the general public or in talks given by Insight Meditation Society teachers (with the notable exception of Howard Chon and his Big Mind meditation).  
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/15/22 1:32 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Thank you for your thoughts George - I am aware of the formless jhanas and have considered whether there is a correlary between shamatha without an object - as I practice it - and the 5th/6th jhanas of boundless space and then boundless consciousness.

​​​​​​​If I am quite honest with myself, I don't really think I've experienced the jhanas at all so I have strayed away from looking at the cultivation of spacious awarenss through the lense of the jhanas. 
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/15/22 1:56 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Hello Martin - I understand what you mean by basking in the spaciousness as a type of refuge. It can be really lovely. It also feels a bit like plugging in to reality itself so that it isn't so filtered through narratives and/or other structures that create a sense of duality.

That said, I have also noticed that we can tip in and out of the spacious mode and a more narrative/self-based mode - a sort of mix of the two - in order to better investigate the sense of self and how it arises or is constructed.

If I recall correctly, I believe that in striking a balance between spacious awareness and personal narrative, a person is practicing 'Ocean and Waves' practice as Daniel P. Brown taught it - the 'Ocean' being the awareness and the 'Waves' being phenomena related to the sense of self or personal narratives. In that way, self can be recognized as a wave that is not separate from a larger ocean. I believe it was touched on in one of the pithy, dharma talks or guided meditations on his website: https://pointingoutthegreatway.com/meditations

Thank you for pointing out an IMS teacher that teaches this - I will have to check out Howard Chon some time. 

I look forward to hearing about how this has influenced the way you see your world/reality, if you ever figure out how to explain it!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago at 4/17/22 10:25 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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I have pondered that relationship a lot, and I found that although there are similarities, there are also important differences between shamatha without an object and the first two formless realms. The latter are still focusing on objects, albeit very subtle and abstract ones. This also means that even though the experience is boundlessness, the focus is at the same time very narrow. This becomes especially clear in the hard versions, where boundless space is the only thing apparent in the first one and boundless consciousness the only thing apparent in the second one. Everything else is filtered out. Even in the third formless realm there is focus on an object, the notion of nothingness (which is not at all the same thing as nothingness). That leads to the weird paradox of vividly experiencing "nothing" without acknowledging the experiencing itself. I hypothize that the hard version of the fourth formless realm is the same thing as an extremely tightly held shamatha without an object, as all objects are dropped as far as is possible while still remaning conscious and alert, but I can't tell yet. I have been in that realm but I got there through shamatha with an object and haven't gotten that far starting out with shamatha without an object. 
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/17/22 4:04 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Thank you Linda! I think I can intuit the distinction that you are making even if I haven't experienced the territory myself.

I haven't experienced boundless space or conciousness separate from other sensations/experience. Sensations and experiences clue me in to the degree of spaciousness in the moment. For example, if awareness takes in a sound 'field' instead of focussing on a single sound (attention/contraction), then there is a sense of spaciousness with regards to sound - but that sense of spaciousness is dependent on auditory experiences and the quality of attention related to them. And yet, there is an energetic/visceral/palpable quality to being 'open'. 

I am not sure if I am making myself clear, and maybe I also misunderstood some of your post based on my limited experience, but I really appreciate the thoughtful answer!
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/18/22 2:49 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 4/18/22 2:49 PM

RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Hi, good question. I can't say anything reg jhanas and spacousness, but I assume this has to do with consentration and states of mind which then later is used for insight practice (vipassana), and others answeres here in this log is best in that regard. This is not what Daniel Brown is talking about though as he is pointing to awarness itself/dzogchen practice. 

Reg spaceousness in mahamudra and dzogchen, one uses space as an analogy for nature of mind. Nature of mind is like space, it is not space as such. I can't remember if Daniel Brown mention it in this interview or others, but he does talk at some point about the stage of seeing through subtle constructs of time and space, meaning space is mind construct, awarness or rigpa is not mind construct. So limitless awarness, doesn't mean space in the sense of solid space being very very big and everywhere, this is mind construct and gets you in trouble.
Limitless awarness, means all phenomena are empty and indistinguishable from awarness which is what Brown points to, and it is like space.

When one talks of relaxing the sense doors different schools might seem like they are talking about the same thing, but one need to remember that this is pointing out instruction, meaning transmission, which is something different from other schools. If one read and practice say Naropa or Tilopa (cant remember which one) six nails without having the transmission, you are simply doing shamata practice, the transmission is necessary for these kinds of exercises. 
So when Ingram says this:  “Also, if you still have any interest in Theravadan tech, consider reading about Equanimity, Formations, and the fourth vipassana jhana in MCTB2 and realizing it is basically Dzogchen/Mahamudra straight up.”
If I understand Ingram correctly he is saying that MCTB insight is the same as Dzogchen and Mahamudra? This is wrong, both in practice and in view there are clear differences in the schools, you will find this in Mahayana and Great Perfection texts and Ingram should know it I dont understand why he says so, but its not the same. 
So to wrap it up, spacousness in Dzoghcen/mahamudra vs consentration based practices, shamata with or without suppoert, are to be separated emoticon hope it helped. 

Oskar
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/24/22 2:24 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Adding a comment I found by Saraha on Dzogchen view in reg to space metaphor. So you dont "cultivate" it, and its beyond the four extremes. Which makes it opposite from consentration practice as well as Therevada vehicle insight which only moves (as far as I know) beyond the first two extremes.  

"Everything without exception
shares the nature of open space,
and never moves from it at any time.
Space is called 'open space',
but in its essence, nothing at all exists.
It is neither existent nor nonexistent,
nor not existent and not nonexistent - 
it transcends any other domain of illustration. 
Thus, mind, open space, and the nature of reality
are not separated the slightest". 

- Saraha
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago at 4/24/22 1:52 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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The way I have been taught Dzogchen, every other practice can de done within Dzogchen as long as one applies the view. I have also been taught that any practice done well enough becomes Dzogchen eventually, and I have no doubt that Daniel has done his practice well enough for it to become Dzogchen. When he talks about reality, it sounds like Dzogchen to me. I'm sure he started out very differently, though. 
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/24/22 2:40 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Yes, if you can recognize rigpa you should train in having it with you in all other practices, its very complementary. Hold the view, and then generate boddhicitta or pray to the guru you will make very interesting discoveries of why they are so emphasised in Dzogchen, and how one helps the other, like they are not really separated. Eventually one gets to the View, meaning the full view of sameness of samsara and nirvana beyond the four extremes. This is buddhahood, game over emoticon 
So in one sense all practices are within Dzogchen/this view, they are and was never separated from this fact, but that does not mean all practise makes the person have this realization. 
How I read it is that mahayana has this view as its goal, Nagarjuna middle way, tantra, mahamudra etc.. aim for this though in different ways, making the maps slightly different from each other. Usually you read that therevada doesnt include all this, though gets you a long way of course.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 11:48 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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when one is awake, the senses are open and awareness is spacious...

note this and forget it

rinse and repeat...
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 12:13 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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chrollo asks:

Why does identifcation even happen at all?
What is doing the identifying?
​​​​​​​Why do "I" want to be "me" so bad?(this sounds like gibberish, but idk how else to say it lol)


   When we are botn, our parents give us a name, and we're generally stuck with it. Thus the conditioning begins.

   We are expectd to be a consistent and reliable person, and to this end we are trained and "educated." We are sent to factory/prison-like institutions to be schooled in proper behavior and work habits.

   What sex am I?  You're a girl. Ok, what do I like? You like dolls. Ok. How do I act? Just so. Ok. 

   You are bullied cajoled punished and whatever it takes to make you conform. Puppies that cannot be housebroken (that is, exploited) are sent to prisons, asylums, or turned out on the street. The ones most adept at smiling while they slay are promoted.

   This is the real story.. The truth is that there is only one self, one consiousness, that of sentience itself in all life forms. You are individualizedi in  order to make you a slave.Through fear of punishment you have internalized this and have come to believe that this is who you really are, this named person required to conform.

   I was watching this east asian zen guy on youtube, full on zen gear with the robes, and he was talking abut enlightenment; he was laughing and saying, "I no longer care whether I am a good buddhist or not." That's waking up.

terry




WORKING CLASS HERO
(john lennon)


As soon as you're born, they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all

[Refrain]
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

[Verse 2]
They hurt you at home, and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy, you can't follow their rules

[Refrain]
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

[Verse 3]
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function, you're so full of fear

[Refrain]
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

[Verse 4]
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see

[Refrain]
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

[Verse 5]
There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

[Refrain]
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
[Outro]
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 1:17 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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zen bootie-ism
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 2:27 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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from the zen teaching of bodhidharma, trans red pine



People who see that their mind is the buddha don’t need to shave their head. Laymen are buddhas too. Unless they see their nature, people who shave their head are simply fanatics.

But since married laymen don’t give up sex, how can they become buddhas?


I only talk about seeing your nature. I don’t talk about sex simply because you don’t see your nature. Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial. It ends along with your delight in it. Even if some habits remain, they can’t harm you, because your nature is essentially pure. Despite dwelling in a material body of four elements, your nature is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted. Your real body is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted. Your real body has no sensation, no hunger or thirst, no warmth or cold, no sickness, no love or attachment, no pleasure or pain, no good or bad, no shortness or length, no weakness or strength. Actually, there’s nothing here. It’s only because you cling to this material body that things like hunger and thirst, warmth and cold, and sickness appear.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 2:49 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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it's not hidden

you fool yourself

watch this (and they watch this)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q78QXpSL2M
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 4:19 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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actually cultivating openness/spaciousness is redundant, like trying to place another head on top of your head, or mistaking the beard for the head...

it's really easy/really hard to do nothing...
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 4/25/22 4:34 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/26/22 1:50 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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that's him...

​​​​​​​I'm sure he's a perfectly good buddhist anyway....
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 4/26/22 4:37 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Only if you say so emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago at 4/26/22 2:59 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

Posts: 6859 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
You know, having Dzogchen pointing out instructions doesn't always take someone there either. That's why there is a great variety of practices. People are different. Depending on from where we are coming, the pointing needs to be done from different angles. 
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/26/22 3:58 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Yes, agree. I think in the Gampopa days, one usually would give teaching from top do bottom, starting with mahamudra, if the student didnt get it one would then move to guru yoga and then prelimiaries, so backwards in a sense from how its done now. 
Point is to be comfortable with the teacher, and then understand clearly the practice so you can do it and have results. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 6:56 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Some people simply need a hit with Kyosaku. Buddhahdude, Game Over! emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 6:58 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 6:58 AM

RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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I like you bra! But then again I dont know myself that well! emoticon 
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 8:23 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Papa Che Dusko, have you got a hit before, how was it?
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 3:02 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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How was it? emoticon Ever tried spanking? emoticon 

Just kidding! Yes tried it a few times at my, back then, local Zen Center in Sweden (city of Lund). I was not a regular but would go there for motivation and just being with people doing this same stuff we do. Feels good to be hit a few times on both shoulders (the soft part between the shoulder bone and the neck) as the circulation gets improved so one is likely to be that much more alert during the sit! The teacher doesn't just slap you out of nowhere emoticon Even if a teacher thinks you need a Kyosaku, he/she will touch you on the shoulder they are to start with and you lean the opposite way so to give them space to do so without hitting your head. Then the teacher hits you fast two times "SNAP SNAP!!!" then you lean to the other side and they do the same with the other shoulder.

In Japan maybe they do this differently.  Samurai style emoticon 

But dunno about "spaciousness" though. Last time I checked its an impermanent thing, an experience. Its a sense of spaciousness. The issue starts when we blab about this and some read and think "oh I need to get to this spacious awareness, this presence and when that happens I will be enlightened, Buddhahood, game over, nothing bad will ever happen to me again" emoticon emoticon  and then a few months pass and oh crap, Im my old self again with all the itching, and hemorrhoids aching, and kids not listening and my wife telling me to get off my lazy Buddhahood ars and empty that fucking shed with all the recycling material! And I go, "If only they knew that I've experienced "spaciousness" and have "attained" stuff and "accumulated" so much merit and good karma points!"  emoticon emoticon 

Please do not take my words seriously! I might not even know Im here! emoticon (I know, smilies are my weak point)

It ain't easy/hard.
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 3:31 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Ok, cool. I am Norwegian emoticon 

I have heard similar description, and also which teacher "hitting" makes a big difference, so advanced teachers would hit the perfect accupuncture point, at the right time etc.. 

I might be a bit too agressive on the buddha-promoting, will ease it down. 

Hope you're doing well. 
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/28/22 8:39 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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But dunno about "spaciousness" though. Last time I checked its an impermanent thing, an experience. Its a sense of spaciousness. The issue starts when we blab about this and some read and think "oh I need to get to this spacious awareness, this presence and when that happens I will be enlightened, Buddhahood, game over, nothing bad will ever happen to me again

I'll try to explain what prompted the question and I am going to lean on the English Wikipedia articles for both Dzogchen and Rigpa. I know Wikipedia isn't the best source for info, but the quotes I am using are basically aligned with what I have read or heard in other places.

So to start, from the article on Rigpa:
"Dzogchen practices aim to attain rigpa and integrate this into everyday life:
The practical training of the Dzogchen path is traditionally, and most simply, described in terms of View, Meditation and Action. To see directly the Absolute state, the Ground of our being is the View; the way of stabilising that view, and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating the View into our entire reality, and life, is what is meant by Action."

So in this case the Nature of Mind (Rigpa) is pointed out by a skillful Lama to the practitioner. The practitioner then learns to 'access' this state or mode (View). Then they learn to call it up and stabilize it during formal practice (Meditation). Eventually, they learn to stabilize it during all of their life (Action).

The Tibetan word for meditation 'gom' can be translated as "to become familiar" or "to habituate" which makes a lot of sense when we consider that in the framework of View, Meditation, Action, the practitioner is called upon to use Meditation to familiarize themselves with the View until it is wired in during all hours and actions (Action).

So that leads me to asking the question: what is the View? What is Rigpa? What is Nature of Mind?

From the article on Dzogchen:
"The metaphors of sky and spaciousness are often used to describe the nature of mind in Dzogchen." & "A widespread simile for ignorance is the obscuration of the sun by clouds."

There's even the Tibetan meditation instruction: "Body like a mountain, breath like the wind, Mind like the sky" which lays it out pretty explicitly.

So that's what sort of prompted the question: there is this way of practicing where the meditator rests in the View and based on some of my readings, it seems spaciousness or Sky-Like Mind, is an aspect of this View that might be worth tapping into. I was curious as to whether "spacious, open awareness" is something worth cultivating and wiring in as some people associate it with the Nature of Mind and eventually, Awakening. Maybe Sky Like is not the whole "View" or maybe this is where I am just plain incorrect for assuming things should be spacious. I wanted to hear if some people here stumbled on something similar in their own practice.

For beginner meditators, resting in the View, or spacious, nonconceptual awareness, will be impermanent of course - but that's the point of familiarizing oneself with it through daily practice and then carrying it into daily life.

One could say the same thing about the 3 Characteristics: most people don't recognize impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self in their immediate experience until it is pointed out to them (View). Then they sit in meditation to familiarize themselves with the 3C's (vipassana). Eventually, they go on retreat or muster the energy to notice the 3C's in daily life (Action) until it becomes wired in. For a beginner, recognizing the 3C's will be impermanent and in that way, it's just an experience, a taste on the cushion. emoticon
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 1:17 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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So that leads me to asking the question: what is the View? What is Rigpa? What is Nature of Mind?

- Recently read this. There are many texts that mention this, so if you find a book you like on dzogchen it probably goes into those three. 
https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/nyala-pema-dundul/advice-view-meditation-action-fruition

I was curious as to whether "spacious, open awareness" is something worth cultivating and wiring in as some people associate it with the Nature of Mind and eventually, Awakening. 

- You get the pointer from a lama and this is what you are to cultivate. One doesn't really separate dzogchen practice from the teacher giving the instructions, meaning you don't cultivate it on ones own because the trasmission is central for you to get it just right. Meaning simply cultivate a spacious mind on ones own isnt the same as awaken mind/rigpa, and most likely will lead you astray.  
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AK D, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 4:25 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Thank you Oskar - I am aware that in Dzogchen the relationship between student and the Lama is a form of quality control since people have a tendancy to fool themselves. 

I appreciate your input and clarifications further up thread as well! 
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 4:54 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Yes, it is that the student fool himself, so the lama busts you. And there is the thing that giving instructions on nature of mind, you need someone qualified and that is why there is a lineage. It sounds orthodoxy and it used to give me huge aversion, but there simply is no other way to do this kind of practice. 

Thank you, its a good question. What kind of practice are you drawn to?
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Pepe ·, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 7:39 AM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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It's worth having a look at Daniel Ingram's take on several buzzwords (A Glossary for Middle & Higher Paths):

140. Open Awareness   
141. Direct Awareness 
142. Awareness of awareness 
143. Natural State, Non-Dualistic State 
144. PCE (Pure Consciousness Experience) 
145. Bhavanga 
146. Rigpa 
147. Luminosity 
148. Non-conceptuality 
149. Cittas 
150. Javanas 
151. Jhanas 
152. Formless realms/jhanas 
153. (⚡) Pure Land Jhanas (TM) 
154. Custom/fusion jhanas 
155. Vipassana Jhanas  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 12:37 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Oskar M
Yes, agree. I think in the Gampopa days, one usually would give teaching from top do bottom, starting with mahamudra, if the student didnt get it one would then move to guru yoga and then prelimiaries, so backwards in a sense from how its done now. 
Point is to be comfortable with the teacher, and then understand clearly the practice so you can do it and have results. 


That’s how Lama Lena teaches it (although she starts with Dzogchen), and how she was taught. She comes from a lineage of cave yogis. Pre-monastic. I really like that idea.
Oskar M, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 12:57 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Yes, me too. 
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 1:38 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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I don't know my self at all

but

​​​​​​​we are like kind
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 4/29/22 1:48 PM
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RE: Why the emphasis on cultivating openness/spaciousness?

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Master Lao Tzu says


Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to this common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don't realize this source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.

When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant, disinterested,
​​​​​​​amused, kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes,
you are ready.

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