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Mahamudra
Answer
1/1/15 5:56 PM
I have been practicing Mahamudra for the past few weeks in a systematic way using Reggie Ray's "Mahamudra for the Modern World" as a practical guide. I have also been practicing a form of metta involving simply tuning into the direct sensations of the body (using breath as an anchor) and spreading the feeling of metta through the body. The latter does not involve sending myself or anyone else metta, just submerging into the pleasurable directness of the body, and repeating the word "happy" at the beginning of the out breath. At times the invocation of any word becomes too cumbersome, and it is enough to just bathe in the comfort of the body. This feeling has persisted at times throughout the day so that it seems the practice has begun to take effect on a cellular level. The feeling is at times that of having a new physical body free from tension so that the whole body for hours oozes a sense of release. If you have experienced a deeply pleasant exhale where release seems at the forefront it is as if the deep tissue of the body is doing that in an extended and potent way.
Regarding Mahamudra, Reggie Ray in "Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet" writes, "In the realization of Mahamudra, each phenomenon stands as a proclamation of the inseparability of form (mudra) and emptiness (maha). The form aspect of each phenomenom is the fact that it appears vividly; the emptiness aspect is that it is beyond concept or imagination." Though for me this became evident "in real time" consistently at third path such that no effort was needed to induce the insight, I continue to find variations in how the depth of what has been seen play out in my life and in my reactions. 
I spent the last couple of weeks using shamatha to heighten enjoyableness and clear seeing, and am now mostly in a phase where I am practicing the somatic metta (not a mahamudra teaching, though similar to vajrayana tonglen in some ways), shamatha without an object, and investigating the nature of thoughts.
In the practice of shamatha without an object one returns again and again to the undivided, ununified, knowing, natural aspect of reality. Though it is referred to as the "natural state" or "emptiness of mind" what's left in the practice is what remains when thoughts that would take one outside of the direct immediacy of reality have been let go. What remains is the immediacy of reality, totally at rest. The more I practice in this way the more evident that direct, restful, non-separate nature of reality becomes my reality, and the less pull there is from thoughts that, if grasped onto, obscure this naturalness. 
The other practice I have been useing frequently is the practice of investigating thoughts. There are a variety of instructions, but basically it begins with resting in the natural state, allowing thoughts to arise, and investigating from the innocence of the natural state. In this practice it becomes apparent that thoughts upon their arising are just blips of energy, inseparable from naturalness. Writing of Mahamudra using the analogy of a child visiting a colorful temple, Trungpa Rinpoche writes, "He sees all kinds of magnificient decorations, displays, rich colors, vividness of all kinds. But this child has no preconceptions or any concept whatsoever about to begin to analyze...The experience is all pervasive. At the same time, it is perhaps somewhat overwhelmingly pleasurable." There is the experience when practicing in this way of seeing thoughts as beautiful patterns of energy, arising and dying of their own accord. To further the analogy, if you have ever lay on the ground on a winter night when it is snowing and looked up into the sky, mostly there is the all pervasive peacefulness of the limitless dark above, and out of the dark flashes of pristine light. One may begin to conceptualize the snowflake, think about the weather, what time it is, when to be home, but the nakeness of the experience remains unblemished when seen directly. 
To clarify the analogy above, I am not suggesting a non-dual watcher gazing into the sky of emptiness. Rather, "I" am an empty thought, the same as a star erupting and dying, and in direct experience there is only the nakedness of sky and snow.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
11/25/14 1:09 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Though it is tempting to think of awakening as binary, an on/off switch that once encountered is complete, my own experience is that it is more gray scale. It is true that there are insights that once seen, can never be unseen, and that in the seeing perception changes clearly in a permanent, effortless, no need to induce anything sort of way. None the less, within that transformation there are still moments of dullness or narrowing that obscure the lucidity of luminosity and emptiness.
Insired by reading Droll's recent postings, and former practice logs from a few years ago I have again begun incorporating the process of grounding. Formally influenced by Kenneth Folk's method of grounding emotions in the body, I spent a serious chunk of practice time keeping  an almost constant thread of awareness on the body, watching for pockets of reactivity and then feeling into them. This resulted in a shift in a way that emotions presented. It did not stop them, nor was that the intent. Rather, it was that the energy of the emotions became more clear, lucid, richer and in some subtle way pleasurable, while the story lines themselves that would normally occur as a result of dissasociating from that initial spark of energy, became signifigantly less pronounced and elaborate. This process has continued to deepen in subtle ways in the intervening years. As a side note, I don't like the word grounding, and its implications, and my own experience is that it is intimacy with the arising of energy in the body. In being with the body in direct experience the boundaries of skin are not obvious, and it is impossible to tell where the body begins and ends. Similarly emotions when seen in direct experience as arising energy, when neither grasped onto nor consolidated into story, are without border or definite shape. Dzogchen master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche spoke about the experience of empty, knowing as "space suffused with sunlight", and it is a good description of the immediacy of the practice.
        In Reggie Ray's Toucing Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body, he writes "When we remain within the body and are thereby able to remain open enough to allow the process of emotions to unfold, we make the starling discovery that the the so-called "neurotic emotions" are not inherently neurotic at all. The neurotic emotionality -the self-absorption or twisted reaction that happens with us- is not a result of the emotions at all, but rather of our attempts to get control of them, to short circuit their own natural, in-born process, and to prematuraly come to closure about them. This discovery, which we make over and over in working with subtle as well as highly charged emotional states, can be experienced as astonishing, moving and deeply inspiring". What this has looked like for me recently is that when the subtle changes of energy that would normally lead to dissasociating from the immediacy of the energy -by conceptualizing the energy into a story or simply a narrowing but nonverbal change in attention- are remained with in an intimate way the story line does not begin and there is just the energy, fluid, transparent, immediate and lucid. So my practice has been continued somatic metta, shamatha without an object, and the practice of feeling into the body and remaining with the immediacy of the changing energy. It has been rewarding, and I am trying to remain without ideas about where it will go.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/16/14 10:25 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Not much to add here, but for the sake of consistency why not:
What became interesting to me recently was the subtle sense of presence, that can be felt attentionally or somatically as a narrowing. Mostly for me I expeirence it in the gut. I have been playing around with the feeling of how it is that this sense of presence comes to be, locating the narrowing in the immediate directness of experience.
At other times it is just sitting in effortlessness. This is non-meditation. No focus. Just sights, thoughts, sensations. No intention. No intention to have no intention.
At other times it is just returning again and again to the immediacy of experience.
I also am continuing with the metta practice as before. Some times it is "may this body be happy", but more recenlt it has become "may love (on the inbreath), love this body (on the out-breath)"
There are more sustained periods where the attentional focus seems not to shift at all. It is interesting to practice metta from this place. It's nice in a way, but also doesn't seem to do much.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/18/14 5:56 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Without agency, there is no one to meditate. Meditation then becomes simply the effortless experience of aliveness, experience, thoughts, sights and sounds. The experience of life released of the pressure of navigation justifies itself in its nakenedess.
Having seen this before, I know that intention can and does arise again, and in the intention, just the intention, though clarity waxes and wanes.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/19/14 10:57 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Been playing with the following Pure Land practice today. Instructions provided by David Chapman:


"Enjoyment:
Tantra aims for enjoyment of all circumstances. This is an obviously desirable way of being. Besides that, enjoying everything helps you accomplish other tantric goals. (More about that later.)In a pure land—a paradise—obviously everything is enjoyable. If you experience whatever situation you find yourself in as a pure land, then you will enjoy it.

Obligatory sexual metaphor(This is tantra, after all!)
The six senses are six beautiful naked deities (of your sexual preference) offering you bowls of nectar, plates of ambrosia, and, um, other delights.
Tantric psychology, like all Buddhist psychology, emphasizes the role of the senses in connecting the world with your emotions. Mainstream Buddhism explains this as mainly negative: sensory awareness provokes hatred, lust, and ignorance; and sensory connections are “fetters” that chain you to samsara.Tantra reverses that.
The physical world is nirvana. You should want to be connected to it, as much as possible, because it is thoroughly enjoyable, and because the real world is the place you can be most useful.
Your emotions (stripped of fixed meanings) provide the energy that drives usefulness.You should, therefore, honor the senses as sacred. You should also get to know them better by paying more attention to what they do and how.
Personifying them as sexy deities is a tantric trick to help with that.Of course, these deities are devoted to serving you. They bring you all the world’s wonderful experiences, offering them as gifts.

Dissolving fixed meanings
Ordinarily, we automatically interpret people and situations as intrinsically good, bad, or uninteresting; as supports or threats. Perceiving something as “intrinsically bad” means that its badness is fixed—an objective, enduring meaning. Then we have emotional reactions to those valuations, and act based on the emotions. This is one way of understanding the Buddhist concept of “kleshas.”The kleshas are supposed to be the cause of dukkha (unsatisfactoriness); but we can turn that around.
Unsatisfactoriness is the cause of the kleshas. Habitually seeing life as a nasty problem is what makes you interpret people and things as good, bad, or uninteresting.
In pure vision’s paradise, nothing is unsatisfactory or threatening. So, you can relax. There’s no need to categorize people and situations as good, bad, or uninteresting.This is a method for developing spaciousness, which is a key to tantra. Alternatively, you can understand this as the transformation of the tantric five kleshas into the corresponding five wisdoms. The wisdoms are the energies of the kleshas, minus fixation.

Exploding subjective and objective
It might seem that pure vision fixates everything as “good.” But that fixation is the klesha of neediness—“Gotta have it!” You take a subjective valuation (“I like it”) and project it as an objective quality (“it’s good”).Pure vision makes everything interesting—not “good.” Interest is what makes everything enjoyable. Interest is a dynamic interaction: neither subjective nor objective, but a process that involves both self and other. Enjoyment is also interactive, whereas neurotic desire is subjective."

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/19/14 12:19 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Thanks for sharing this material, Bill, I'm finding these posts really interesting! That's a great David Chapman excerpt. I find the pure land practice a really excellent way to integrate 'emptiness' into everyday life (emptiness in the sense that, things are not how we think/evaluate/perceive them to be-- they are more open ended than that, and there is a purity to that openness). It helps me connect off-the-cushion to that sense of openness and non-definability of things and selves.

Anyhow, thanks!

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/19/14 3:59 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Jake: I'm glad you are getting something from it. Thank you for reading.Be well.-Bill

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/29/14 5:11 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Really quite interesting. I hope you continue to post updates.

Very naturally, I've become more and more interested in an open awareness style practice. I am currently reading Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's book, Joyful Wisdom, and while it's a bit light, he does have a pretty good introductory chapter on this type of practice (as I understand how it relates to what you've written).

My other introduction to this type of meditation was through "Big sky" or "Big mind" guided talks I found through DharmaSeed.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/29/14 7:08 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
Thank you, small steps. I am not aware of that author. I will check it out.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/30/14 2:43 PM as a reply to Bill F..

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/30/14 7:15 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
Writing of Mahamudra using the analogy of a child visiting a colorful temple, Trungpa Rinpoche writes, "He sees all kinds of magnificient decorations, displays, rich colors, vividness of all kinds. But this child has no preconceptions or any concept whatsoever about to begin to analyze...The experience is all pervasive. At the same time, it is perhaps somewhat overwhelmingly pleasurable." 


Adding to all the thanks for your posts here. This was a good time for me to read this thread. Years ago I used to do primarily dzogchen and Reggie Ray-style practices, including attending a couple of his classes and dathuns. I had a handful of "overwhelmingly pleasurable" experiences like the one described in your Trungpa quote above in response to pretty ordinary sensory experiences, and for a long time, it felt like my baseline state was gently inclining in that direction too. I've kind of forgotten what that felt like with all the noting I've been doing lately, and I suddenly miss it. Going to check out Reggie's Mahamudra for the Modern World. (But, $120??)

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
12/30/14 8:16 PM as a reply to sloane.
Sloane: Thank you. I think noting is very useful. It changed my experience immensely in a way that my anapanasati practice was not for the first three or so years of practice. It is also very possible to incorporate noting and body based practies, but I would not throw out the noting until it really begins to feel too crude all of the time. You could always alternate too. I am sending you a link on the pm portion of this site with some Mahamudra practices from Reggie.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
1/1/15 8:48 AM as a reply to sloane.
Going to check out Reggie's Mahamudra for the Modern World. (But, $120??)
If you get a new trial membership to audible.com, it's $15. At least it was a couple years ago. (Also, Reggie Ray has a great podcast with dathun lectures and excerpts from MMW - search "Dharma Ocean.")

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
1/7/15 1:45 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Had an experience two weeks ago where the practices I had been doing intensively for the previous two months seemed to culminate. It was not the experience of anything new, rather the immediacy of thinking became apparent in a way it had not before such that thoughts seemed to be unraveling in direct, immediateness with the same clarity as the perception of the external world. Due to the immediacy of it all thoughts were thoughts, but were experienced more like physical energy, and were brief, and somehow pleasant in their duration.
I have lately been working with familiar methods to some extent, but putting more focus on locating the "where" of transient phenomena (thoughts/feelings). There can at times be the vague sense of location related to thinking. Often this is the sense that a thought or feeling is located in the area of the body where the sensations occuring along with the thought or sensation are. In looking directly into the experience the mental impressions reveal themselves to be empty, without a fixed position, neither divided or inside but separate from the seamless landscape of experience, but existing as a seamless movement of the field of experience.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
1/9/15 9:04 AM as a reply to Bill F..
I have been doing more ten points practice than I was previously. This practice involves attending to the different parts of the body, feeling into the tension, and releasing it downwards. Letting go of tension at times feels like a small death, as the tension is the accumulated wall of resistance to direct experience accumulated over time.
The instructions that are given in the practice are to release the tension downwards into the earth. In "Touching Enlightenment", Reggie Ray writes "The Earth is space, but it is a certain kind of space: It is empty but, at the same time, inviting, warm, and with the feeling of peace and equanimity". In the ten points practice, and in my daily life off the cushion, I have been noticing the way that thoughts give rise to a feeling of physical location. In the ten points practice, while releasing tensions downwards, it becomes clear that the empty, warm, space of the earth is no different than the direct experience of the body, and that the idea of a ceiling or shield of skin is at most a mental impression. The sensations that give rise in the body, if dissasociated from or simply not attended to out of habit, give rise to a thought and sensation that obscure their nature. Thought before thought, or judgment, in its nakedness, is only space, movement. 

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
1/26/15 9:03 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Life is funny.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
2/8/15 9:45 AM as a reply to Bill F..
I have been toying with the idea of devoting the next year to primarily the brahma viharas, and thinking of different ways to incoporate the practices, which I lost some interest in as practices along the way. I am interested again in moving the focus primarily to practices based on samadhi, and so have been practicing a lot of shamatha style metta the last couple months. Will see what comes up.

The current way I conceptualize practicee, particularly samadhi and metta practice, is that it is working with the potential of practice to nourish and facilitate enjoyment.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/16/15 9:54 PM as a reply to Bill F..
When I first arrive at the hospital, he is angry, swears at everyone, even his roommate Cliff who sweetly invites him to events and combs his hair while he yells and cusses him away in protest. But he is dying now. He is nearly gone. His life has been lived however imperfectly and hurriedly and now only these afternoons of a last spring, these changing patterns of light upon the tile and wall to mark the passing hours, the voices of nurses in the hallway speaking of the casual so alien to him now and always to me, the shade of the old oak with its weary branches to watch through half closed eyes and the play of the branches upon the ceiling in the last room of his life. I come by the room to gather Cliff daily for a game of cards or a church service. Generally Cliff tells me no because he is tired, then reaches to his nightstand and offers me a Werther’s Original from one of the bags he receives monthly from a grandchild and her husband in Florida, then lays back down and falls asleep to the sound of Law and Order. Cliff is a good man. Upright, honest, faithful and decent in ways I want to be. You can sense he was always this way, and that it was a struggle. I stay for a while after Cliff lays back down, and spend several minutes staring at his roommate. Now that he is so close to his death the anger has left his face. He looks lucid, though he is no longer speaking. A peace of some depth has taken over his face in these final days. It is as though he has already died and found out it was okay and always had been and now he’s just hanging out here for a few more days in joyful deferment. I am transfixed by this calm and return frequently to watch him, praying silently for a death so quiet.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/17/15 2:03 PM as a reply to Bill F..
They say that when you die, before consciousness ceases the brain continues to manufacture material for several minutes in an extended dream so that you could at the end live a whole new life in a dream, and maybe that’s where we are now, and who would know. They say that death is like taking an eraser to the fine print of your life so that the details of Mondays and jealousies and resentment become utterly meaningless. They say that it’s all just black, like a deep dream, but who to see the blackness. I mean, in absentia who would know? They say that when you die your life flashes before you and you see the meaning of all things, in a state of perfect love the patterns hidden in life are revealed to you in their abundance. They say that this is hell, that we are just perfecting things to get to real life. They say one day you drop into a well in a dream. You drop into a well and know there was never time nor eternity nor death and in the seeing the only thing to die is your pain, which will be seen as the key through which you entered the door into perfection. And all sorrows vanish. Like a whisper retracing its steps or the last wave to recede to the sea.
At 28 returning from a two and half month solitary retreat in the mountains outside of San Diego -where I sat thirteen thours a day watching emotions and my body until watching was no longer something entertained, the dog beside me, my room a concrete hut overlooking the valley below- I would stand by the lake feeling as though I had already died. Whatever personality remained felt at the time to be a death rattle, a response to the transparent and still arena I seemed to be living in, a hollowness to everything formed.

More later. Have to go meet my parents and walk by the ocean.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/19/15 12:21 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Dark Retreat:

Practicing in the darkness with the light blotted out the first encounter is fear, an irrational physical apprehension inspired by the possibilities that hide in the darkness. Beyond any ideas about darkness, sitting in absolute darkness, without thought, there is neither darkness or light, only the seamless presence of borderless space, and the fruitful and nourishing warmth and space of the dark. And you realize it is always this way.



sunlight breaks the back of this new freedom
and the world doesn’t like what is brightest in us.


this world is a subtle dream
and yours and mine to move from,

the world is not rock is not mountain
is not dream.
The world is not becoming
for still is this this this
until the stars fall from the mind of the sky.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/19/15 10:05 PM as a reply to Bill F..
This is how it felt in the beginning
when the sun hit the wet rocks in the river.
This is the lifting up,
before we knew forgiveness,
this all before the heavy change,
before I learned what it was to talk to their ghosts
in one room apartments, in the hours before morning, in July,
before I knew what it was to turn to tell you something in the car,
some remark about the radio song or some instance from the day,
before realizing I’m alone,
knowing that it’s all about the telling, that only the telling matters
before Wisconsin, before Chicago, before Pennsylvania,
before detox beds and God hunger,
before the car crash after the last fight,
before you rope me until I can no longer see where I used to breathe,
before subways headed for somewhere, anywhere, please,
before that friend who was a brother of mine died,
before I let go before you let go
all of this first, of course, must come.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/20/15 6:35 PM as a reply to Bill F..
If the veil parts once, and you know life is radically okay, then yoe are -to use traditional Christian language- a child of God. You are in union. There is nothing to prove. Nothing to attain. Everything is already there. It is simply a matter of recognizing and honoring and trusting.- Richard Rohr

Give thanks with gratitude and celebrate what is impermanent:

These two are more interesting to me now than any discussion about self, or not self. And I continue to practice intensely each day, but I find myself uninterested in dicussing the intricacies of Buddhism, or the mechanics of my meditation. I've done that. What else do I say? I am interested in how deeply this can be taken. How much can I become life?
Christianity speaks of a renewal of spirit. I do not know what it is to feel one has spirit, held separately by God, but I relate to the ideas of panentheism and Matthew Fox's phrase "Original Blessing" keeps playing itself out in my mind suggesting perhaps that there is a corner there to turn over, a route to explore. Original Blessing, from my meager understanding and perhaps misrepresentation is the idea that existence is inherently, boundlessly and abundantly good, if only we are willing to see with what zen calls "Beginner's Mind". Mahamudra speaks of the idea of Sacred World, that the Pure Land is here already we are only too caught up in our ideas about life and not the experience of life. And yet it is not stable, the people I love, my job, the seasons, my pets, and because of this these things are all the more precious, precious meaning deeply vulnerable to change. And in this recognition there is a deep appreciation for the immediate but changing appearances.
Panenetheism is the idea that God is in all things but also greather than all things. I do not believe in any sort of being and yet I sense some sacred energy in everything manifest. This energy is not different from what Buddhism refers to as "empty" and "luminous". It is the "suchness" of life before it is spoken for, labelled, reduced to a personal possession. It is bright, totally immediate, and overwhelmingly spacious.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/20/15 9:36 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Dear Bill,

I cannot reach you privately through the buggy DhO messaging system.

Could you please email me at MCTB2_Editing@outlook.com? From there I'll give you my personal email address.

I have a Mahamudra item to relay, and possibly something else to ask you (but nothing to do with the DhO itself, its moderation, etc.)

Hope to hear from you.

Best,
Jenny

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
4/20/15 10:01 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Hi Jenny,

     Haha. No problem. I'll email you now.

Bill

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
5/11/15 4:07 PM as a reply to Bill F..
New practice log here . It's supposedly about "metta" but if this thread is any indicator, it will become its own beast. Be well.

RE: Mahamudra
Answer
10/21/15 5:08 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
I have been practicing Mahamudra for the past few weeks in a systematic way using Reggie Ray's "Mahamudra for the Modern World" as a practical guide. I have also been practicing a form of metta involving simply tuning into the direct sensations of the body (using breath as an anchor) and spreading the feeling of metta through the body. The latter does not involve sending myself or anyone else metta, just submerging into the pleasurable directness of the body, and repeating the word "happy" at the beginning of the out breath. At times the invocation of any word becomes too cumbersome, and it is enough to just bathe in the comfort of the body. This feeling has persisted at times throughout the day so that it seems the practice has begun to take effect on a cellular level. The feeling is at times that of having a new physical body free from tension so that the whole body for hours oozes a sense of release. If you have experienced a deeply pleasant exhale where release seems at the forefront it is as if the deep tissue of the body is doing that in an extended and potent way.
Regarding Mahamudra, Reggie Ray in "Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet" writes, "In the realization of Mahamudra, each phenomenon stands as a proclamation of the inseparability of form (mudra) and emptiness (maha). The form aspect of each phenomenom is the fact that it appears vividly; the emptiness aspect is that it is beyond concept or imagination." Though for me this became evident "in real time" consistently at third path such that no effort was needed to induce the insight, I continue to find variations in how the depth of what has been seen play out in my life and in my reactions. 
I spent the last couple of weeks using shamatha to heighten enjoyableness and clear seeing, and am now mostly in a phase where I am practicing the somatic metta (not a mahamudra teaching, though similar to vajrayana tonglen in some ways), shamatha without an object, and investigating the nature of thoughts.
In the practice of shamatha without an object one returns again and again to the undivided, ununified, knowing, natural aspect of reality. Though it is referred to as the "natural state" or "emptiness of mind" what's left in the practice is what remains when thoughts that would take one outside of the direct immediacy of reality have been let go. What remains is the immediacy of reality, totally at rest. The more I practice in this way the more evident that direct, restful, non-separate nature of reality becomes my reality, and the less pull there is from thoughts that, if grasped onto, obscure this naturalness. 
The other practice I have been useing frequently is the practice of investigating thoughts. There are a variety of instructions, but basically it begins with resting in the natural state, allowing thoughts to arise, and investigating from the innocence of the natural state. In this practice it becomes apparent that thoughts upon their arising are just blips of energy, inseparable from naturalness. Writing of Mahamudra using the analogy of a child visiting a colorful temple, Trungpa Rinpoche writes, "He sees all kinds of magnificient decorations, displays, rich colors, vividness of all kinds. But this child has no preconceptions or any concept whatsoever about to begin to analyze...The experience is all pervasive. At the same time, it is perhaps somewhat overwhelmingly pleasurable." There is the experience when practicing in this way of seeing thoughts as beautiful patterns of energy, arising and dying of their own accord. To further the analogy, if you have ever lay on the ground on a winter night when it is snowing and looked up into the sky, mostly there is the all pervasive peacefulness of the limitless dark above, and out of the dark flashes of pristine light. One may begin to conceptualize the snowflake, think about the weather, what time it is, when to be home, but the nakeness of the experience remains unblemished when seen directly. 
To clarify the analogy above, I am not suggesting a non-dual watcher gazing into the sky of emptiness. Rather, "I" am an empty thought, the same as a star erupting and dying, and in direct experience there is only the nakedness of sky and snow.

Hey Bill, thanks for these posts, really interesting stuff. I was wondering how your practice has gone recently and how your coneception of the view has changed since your posts. I've been posting a little about Trungpa's sitting technique and how it takes the Mahamudra view, if in disguise initially. I've also been working with Reggie's teachings recently, integrating Reggie's 'somatic' approach to essence mahamurda and Trungpa's vast body of work, studying a little of his teacher's instructions such as Khenpo Gangshar's pith instructions.

Would love to hear your views. I'm trying not to study & conceptualise too meditation stuff too much becasue I'm naturally inclined that way and it can be a bit of a time hole whilst I'm concentrating on my degree. That said, I would love to form a clearer view of Trungpa's meditation techniques, try to bring a little more pragmatism to it, particularly how it progresses from shamatha>vipashyana>'mahavipashyana>mahamudra. Hokai Sobol's discussion at hurricane ranch seems like a good example of an esoteric practioner who has a clear/pragmatic view of how the technique leads to serious change.

Thanks again Bill.