What is Nonduality
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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3908, Sunday, May 30, 2010, Editor: Mark
How can that be-empty space that is full of everything that matters? The mind cannot grasp it fully, as presence exists beyond concepts and even beyond its own forms; and yet, that is what you are. You can experience it with more subtle senses than the physical senses and the mind. Ultimately, you "sense" it by being it. You just are this full empty presence.
It is this second movement of realization of essence, presence, and fullness of Being that counteracts the belief that since I (as ego) do not exist, therefore nothing exists and all is illusion. It gives a heartfelt sense of meaning and purpose back to this relative life of the body and mind, not as a means of gratification to your idea of yourself, but as a pure expression of the wonder and beauty of this deeper reality. Instead of living a life in service to the ego's wants and needs, you can find yourself fulfilling the deepest purposes of a human life: to serve and express freedom, joy, beauty, peace and love. By itself the realization of no-self can end up dry and lifeless, but when the heart opens wide to the bigger truth of the true Self, life is anything but dry and lifeless.
- Nirmala, from Beyond No Self
within the silent Void of Unknowing
the vastness of Reality is...
The overflowing Fullness and
Infinite splendor of
THIS! - Metta Zetty
The world appears to you so overwhelmingly real because you think of it all the time; cease thinking of it and it will dissolve into thin mist.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj from I Am That, posted to DailyDharma
In its true sense spirituality is not a plaything or a pastime. It has nothing to do with enhancing you or your status in the dream state. Nor is it about gurus in long flowing robes, secret oral teachings, ancient traditions, or holy books that people claim were written by God. It's about here and now and you, and whether you are asleep within the dream state or awake within the awakened state.
It is the nature of all dreams that the characters therein are so busy being - well, dream characters - that the bigger reality of what lies outside the dream state eludes them. But then again, dream characters don't wake up from the dreams they are a part of; the dreamer does. If spirituality is to be meaningful it must address what lies beyond the dream state that most of us create in our minds and humanity lives in day-to-day, for unless we awaken from our personal and collective dreams we will continue to live in a state of unconsciousness on the surface of a life of infinite potential.
Only that which is real and true has the power to liberate us from the mechanical and magnetic draw of the dream state. For ultimately it is ignorance (the belief in things that are untrue) that imprisons us within a trance state, which is induced by taking the conditioned stream of thinking within one's mind to be true. If we are to awaken from the mind's hypnotic embrace, we must question all of our beliefs and assumptions down to the very source of our being until that which is true, real, and everlasting reveals itself.
Truth is that which lies beyond the grasp of the dreaming mind. It is not something that can be captured and stated like a fact can. Truth is a timeless reality and therefore sacred in the true sense of the word. Please do not think of truth in mystical terms or even in spiritual terms. Truth refers to the whole of existence and beyond. Truth exists as much in your teacup as it does in your temples and churches. Truth is as present in shopping for your groceries as it is in chanting to God. To think of truth only in spiritual or religious terms is to miss the whole of it, for in doing so you create the boundaries and divisions that are the very antithesis of truth.
Truth is an immeasurable reality not at all separate from your own being. For in the revelation of truth, all beings rest within your being. Put more simply, if you cannot find it now underfoot, I'm afraid that you have missed it entirely.
No poem with jeweled words
visits me now. Only the hills,
silent and black on an afternoon
of clouds in an almost-spring,
when children's laughter is swallowed
somewhere in schools, and you are away,
and the landlord's black hound
lies sleeping in the awakening grass.
There are letters scattered
as if on the floor - orders to pay
fines, or report to the Registry,
to meet the dark gavel of deadlines,
and there are prohibitions, posted
from someone without a face, without
a signature or name. Yet, if I wait
the spring leaves will write themselves,
the scripts of trees filling the hills.
And the granite and quartz will grow
ever so slowly, rising between cedar
and pine. This is the orchestra
of legato, while the daffodils play a quick
stacatto, and mosquitoes sleep at the window.
Perhaps soon the black hound will wake, bark,
run, like my heart, when you come home.
- Elaine Maria Upton
The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit. We should realise openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.
We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.
Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.
When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.
We shouldn't make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception. We shouldn't become like a cat watching a mouse. We should realise that the purpose of meditation is not to go "deeply into ourselves" or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.
Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity.
All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed - everything is mutually interpenetrating.
Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realise. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.
This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.
The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some "amazing goal" or "advanced state."
To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.
When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialised or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realise that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.
Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think "I am meditating." Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become "peaceful."
If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation. If we have "interesting experiences" either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.
All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future. They are experienced in timelessness.
The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity. We should learn to see everyday life as mandala - the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.
In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future - our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?
We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.
Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.
- HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life
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