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Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .

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Hi everyone,

As you can see it's been a long time since I posted.

My path had been running hot and cold since then. Until 6 months ago when I gave up drinking and accepted my addictions as completely incompatible with the spiritual life. A force entered my consciousness and it has been a fast and furious ride since then. 

I know I am on the path. The synchronicities and signs are amazing, miraculous, constant. I am so grateful. I have so much faith in the triple gem and frankly in myself. If I follow the 5 precepts and continue to study and practice the dharma my life will unfold as it should. Simple.

I am writing because a couple of weeks ago something happened to me. I recently began reading about Tibetan Buddhism whereas I had mostly been studying and practicing in the Theravada tradition, starting with MCTB and including my retreat last year practicing the Jhanas in silence with Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder (which was awesome).

But something guided me to "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying." There is a chapter in there on Dzogchen. There were also some tantric visualizations I tried.

And this passage, which I recite in my mind constantly now:

Profound and tranquil, free from complexity
Uncompounded, luminous clarity
Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas
This is the depth of the mind of the Victorious Ones
In this there is no thing to be removed
Nor anything that needs to be added
It is merely the Immaculate 
Looking naturally at itself.

I read this passage and memorized it and as I was reciting it in meditation my mind just grabbed it and ran. And I wound up experiencing a very profound awakening. It is an egoless unity consciousness that creates an intense experience of bliss in my body. "I" feel as though I have, at times, left my body. My ego looks very small from this perspective and I have great insight into the mechanics of its delusions. I think I have identified this experience as that of "Rigpa," basically intrinsic buddha-mind in the Dzogchen tradition. 

But what is perhaps most significant is that I haven't left this state in weeks. It comes and goes in waves and is sometimes not very dramatic, but it is always there! I can simply rest in this pure mind beyond my ego. It is truly remarkable. As I write this I am amazed at how real and immediate the experience is, how simple it is, how solidly it has entered my life and the lack of doubt surrounding its nature and essence. It is quite simply beyond the conceptual possibility of doubt. 

Back when this started taking hold I remembered a famous American Dzogchen teacher named Lama Surya Das and just had a feeling that a retreat would be available. Lo and behold there is a retreat starting next week 1 hour north of me. Retreats all over the country and this one just happens to be here . . . now. These sorts of coincidences are happening so frequently now in my life that I have become used to them. Anyway, the point is that I will be very honest and open with him. Hopefully he can give me some good guidance because I'm not in beginner territory anymore and I feel I need a teacher. 

However, in the meantime I was hoping for some guidance from the community here. Any maps, concepts, traditions are welcome. The more the merrier. 

I have had intense experiences with meditation before. I experienced some blissful states while practicing the jhanas, very strong access concentration, but never quite managed first jhana (I don't think). I've experienced bliss before and a dramatic quieting of the mind. I've experienced rapture and intense revelations of wisdom . . .

But this is something different. It feels . . . solid, mature, perhaps even permanent. I can enter this state at will, instantly (as long as I've been meditating a bit within the last couple of days) . . . the more I meditate the more powerful it becomes.

This state seems more real to me than my "normal" consciousness. When I meditate too long with it my brain feels like it's becoming pressurized. One night after a particularly intense meditation experience I wound up with a pretty bad headache . . .

Honestly, the best comparison I can give is to that of an acid trip. Same sense of disidentification, same fascinating insights into the nature of reality, same intense sense of unity, same joyous freedom. But I haven't done drugs in YEARS and have never had a flashback. This is not that. But the similarites are a bit striking.

It's stable, it's profound, it's wonderful. It's sober and mature. But what is it? Any takers?

-Adam

Thank you to everyone in this community who has selflessly guided us along this path. Thank you to Daniel for his wonderfully illuminating book. Thank you to all the enlightened masters throughout eternity who have revealed the magic of reality out of compassion for suffering beings. I can hardly believe my good fortune. May it be shared. 

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
7/10/14 4:29 AM as a reply to Adam F..
The quote above is a very good one, helpful, straightforward.

May experiences can feel very Dzogchen, very "Rigpa", very ultimate, very nice, and plenty hint at something that is like the higher levels of understanding, providing pieces of the puzzle, hints, tastes, part of the picture, etc. and those can be of value, pointing to something more.

So, if you are having great experiences of something Dzogchen-esque, great. Check them out. See what they are like. Explore them, have fun with them.

The real question comes when you try to see the same understanding and wisdom for things that are not fun, not a good time, and seem like something unwise, unblissful, disconnected, etc.

What you are looking for is the same regardless of pleasant or unpleasant or neutral, regardless of the sense of peace and wisdom or irritation and stupidity, the same regardless of emotions, mindstates, qualities, specifics of any kind. In this, everything is just where it is, doing its thing, aware of itself, naturally, effortlessly, simply, completely, causally, and also perfectly transient, perfectly synchronized with itself as it just is itself, with no separate thing doing anything, nothing to take anything away, nothing missing, no sense of a this and a that, nothing that could pick out and choose anything.

Keep playing around and see if you can see how the hints apply the same way to everything at all times all the way through,

Daniel

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
7/17/14 11:38 AM as a reply to Adam F..
Really cool man!  

Dzogchen is something I aspire to, and something I've seen glimpses of.  

There are no maps.  Not only is Dzogchen beyond maps, but it leads to a place beyond conceptuality entirely, like your recitation alluded to.  To try and map it is to miss the point entirely.  

You might check out:

Buddhahood without Meditation (you can find PDFs online)
Heart Drops of the Dharmakaya

With metta,

dBF

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
7/17/14 1:17 PM as a reply to dat Buddha-field.
Humbly, yes, there is a map.  It won't be found in the mind.  It is a very analytical construct and led toward the creation of a mind, of persistency of the dream.  I am using this construct to resolve/vanish the mind, and it powers my creative visualization, my metta meditations, my questioning of the past.

"Observe another's turmoil and contemplate their return"   (by "The Old Boy")

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
8/1/14 11:26 AM as a reply to Adam F..
You said it. Like an acid trip. Lol the tigles resemble what you would probably see on acid I feel like I've been on one long trip for 12 years. I've been practicing dzogchen ever since I separated my subtle body from my physical body and the tingle light came to be a content thing this is when the first vision began. There are four visions the first is when to come to realize emptyness the second is when experience of the visions comes to an increase and this can be a living hell literally. My second vision. Was all about battling hell and hellious creatures even a talking toilet that tripped me out one morning. The third vision is when the visions come to a completeness and you with ness the dyhani Buddhas who bring the 42 peaceful Buddhas and 60 wrathful herukas. The fourth vision is that of dessilution of phenomena and enlightenment is reached. Without the lights the tingles dzogchen is incomplete. It is a end phase practice stated at the moment the path of seeing is reached and you become an arya bodhisattva. This is what makes empowerment so important and a teacher valuable. A good book to read is heart drops of the dharmakaya. There are others also. Just look it up on google and spend the day studying and do this often it is important to have correct understanding but without empowerment or without seeing tingles you can't really practice dzogchen.

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
9/4/14 12:27 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hello All,

Just thought I'd follow up since you guys had the courtesy to share with me.

The retreat with Lama Surya Das was profoundly beneficial.

He confirmed for me my experience of Rigpa.

I meditated in the natural state for hours on end and had incredible experiences. 

The term "non-conceptual wakefulness" describes the experience well. A profound sense of "this is it" beyond doubt. 

Lack of self. Dreamlike emptiness of phenomena. A free heart.

Walking around knowing that the perptual maintenance of the state would be a perfect way of being. Yes, enlightenment.

Alas, I have fallen back.

But the baseline is something new. I am someone new. There is no question about this.

Mindfulness is automatic. I associate with the empty space pervading my heart center instead of the stories in my mind. In the morning I awaken into this new reality and at night fall asleep from it.

There are waves of access and transcendance. It has become more difficult to reveal Rigpa in meditation. Off the cushion I can sometimes forget mindfulness when distracted by overstimulation: sex, entertainment, large groups of loud people. Ironically talking or thinking about dharma can sometimes be the worst distraction of all!

But overall from day to day my lows are multiples of magnitude higher and my highs are profound and wonderful. And enlightened, frankly. 

I am most grateful for the new relationships in my life. Those who know me best see the change. I am well-received in every moment! Strangers are quick to offer me things. Blessings pour in from unexpected places.

Amazing!

Anyway, I'm curious about the maps but don't understand their importance that well. In all honesty they go over my head. I've never been much of an intellectual. I think what I really need is a good, close relationship with a great teacher.

I like the simplicity of Dzogchen: Experience the natural state and then work to maintain it indefinitely. Continuity is the secret to success.

Again, thank you all for your kind responses. I will follow up on your suggestions.

Daniel, thank you for all you have done for us pilgrims. Your work has been a great blessing in my life. THANK YOU! Truly.

-Adam

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/28/20 5:57 AM as a reply to Adam F..
Hi Adam, are you still around ? How are you going now? Very interested !

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/28/20 7:35 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
The quote above is a very good one, helpful, straightforward.

May experiences can feel very Dzogchen, very "Rigpa", very ultimate, very nice, and plenty hint at something that is like the higher levels of understanding, providing pieces of the puzzle, hints, tastes, part of the picture, etc. and those can be of value, pointing to something more.

So, if you are having great experiences of something Dzogchen-esque, great. Check them out. See what they are like. Explore them, have fun with them.

The real question comes when you try to see the same understanding and wisdom for things that are not fun, not a good time, and seem like something unwise, unblissful, disconnected, etc.

What you are looking for is the same regardless of pleasant or unpleasant or neutral, regardless of the sense of peace and wisdom or irritation and stupidity, the same regardless of emotions, mindstates, qualities, specifics of any kind. In this, everything is just where it is, doing its thing, aware of itself, naturally, effortlessly, simply, completely, causally, and also perfectly transient, perfectly synchronized with itself as it just is itself, with no separate thing doing anything, nothing to take anything away, nothing missing, no sense of a this and a that, nothing that could pick out and choose anything.

Keep playing around and see if you can see how the hints apply the same way to everything at all times all the way through,

Daniel

IF

BY RUDYARD KIPLING
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)


If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/28/20 9:27 AM as a reply to Jeremy.
Jeremy:
Hi Adam, are you still around ? How are you going now? Very interested !


Let me just say this for now. The most amazing discovery I have made on this journey is not the capacity of my own mind to experience subtle aspects of Reality that edifty and illuminate in their profundity.

Instead, it is the clear and obvious revelation that the "external world," that aspect of the Universe that I take to be seperate from myself, is in actuality an extension of my own consciousness and responsive to the shifting dynamics of my inner life.

Since my initial experience shared here I have lived so much of life that meditation and spirituality in general were demoted to secondary importance at best: the death of my father, a marriage, and the birth of my son. Samsara got the best of me.

And yet, amazingly, only yesterday I pulled my meditation cushion out and set it in the middle of the living room floor and made a vow to return to daily practice as a matter of necessity, as the mounting pressures of daily life have begun to wear on my health. Meditation, Buddhism and then finally Dzogchen have been miraculous sources of strength for me in the past, and have I finally made the commitment to again develop the disciplines that have served me so well before.

To receive a message on this long dormant thread at essentially the exact moment that I made this vow is only one of dozens and dozens of synchronicities in my life around and regarding my own spiritual development. Each occurence is no less profound than the last and the sense of the miraculous only deepens each time.

I would be happy to discuss my experience in more detail if it would helpful to the forum but I wanted to share this first. The journey of my seeking is clearly not of concern to myself alone. There is some greater intelligence or organizing principle with seeming infinite power and knowledge that has taken an interest in my development. I am sure I that I am not alone in this, that each of us is destined for communion with an ultimate Mind that shares our own best interest in some divine way.

I hope this is helpful or encouraging to you!

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/28/20 11:14 AM as a reply to Adam F..
Adam F.:
Jeremy:
Hi Adam, are you still around ? How are you going now? Very interested !


Let me just say this for now. The most amazing discovery I have made on this journey is not the capacity of my own mind to experience subtle aspects of Reality that edifty and illuminate in their profundity.

Instead, it is the clear and obvious revelation that the "external world," that aspect of the Universe that I take to be seperate from myself, is in actuality an extension of my own consciousness and responsive to the shifting dynamics of my inner life.



aloha adam,

   Your consciousness is an extension of the universe, rather than the universe an extension of consciousness, if I may say so. Consciousness as such is more equivalent to ego than it is to the universe.

   Consciousness may be altered or extended. The universe is One Pearl.

   Your (outer) consciousness of the universe is "responsive to the shifting dynamics" of your "inner life." Your inner life and your outer life are one consciousness.

   Your consciousness is single drop in a limitless ocean.

   As daniel seems to imply, when the insights and inner beauties are seen as a part of samsara along with the attachments, it is what underlies both that needs to be kept clear.

   Your sunny attitude is a blessing, and indeed helpful and encouraging.


terry

ps as a silversmith, I recently completed a custom order for a sterling silver cuff bracelet. It featured a pierced silver bearclaw set on a large low dome wire, with the following words stamped into the broad wire, originally spoken by chief seattle: "The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth."




from wikipedia:

Dzogchen (Wylie: rdzogs chen) or "Great Perfection", Sanskrit: अतियोग atiyoga, is a tradition of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism aimed at discovering and continuing in the natural primordial state of being.

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/28/20 5:04 PM as a reply to terry.
I like that terry, it resonates very much with a difference made by the great french phenomenologist Michel Henry, between objective and non-objective knowledge. Everything that has to do with some externality, ie all of the sciences, any objective knowledge (knowledge of an object), and so, in fact, the world of consciousness, is always held within something much vaster, invisible in principle, which is in no way external, is not "about" anything, is not "intentional" in the sense of being relational, and which he simply calls life, absolute life.

The reason I mention it, is that I'm very happy to be starting to find authors who have understood and written about this in our own cultural area, in terms that seem less foreign to me than Dzogchen and rigpa and dharmakaya and such... I look forward to being able to just say, instead : culture, truth, life, the absolute, etc.

Adam I thought your post was very interesting and you descriptions remind me of something which happened to me on a dzogchen retreat last summer. So I'd love te hear about further developments if any. I also enjoyed you sunny and open attitude, like terry says.... 

The spiritual man, shouldn't he be dressed in sunshine ?

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/28/20 5:00 PM as a reply to terry.
And very nice poem !

RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/29/20 12:47 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:

The spiritual man, shouldn't he be dressed in sunshine ?


blue cliff record, case #3:




Great Master Ma was unwell. The temple superintendent asked him, “Teacher, how has your venerable health been in recent days? The great master said, “Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha.”


RE: Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .
Answer
1/29/20 6:10 AM as a reply to terry.
 Your sunny attitude is a blessing, and indeed helpful and encouraging.

Amen, brother.