using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2014
SUMMER 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 35 As a student of dream yoga, I’ve experienced a number of these false awakenings. It can be shocking when the alarm clock rings and I’m jarred into waking consciousness when I thought I was already awake! It’s equally jolting when someone asleep in a nyam is finally roused from their false awakening. Most prefer to sleep. False awakening is a term that describes what hap- pens when people mistake their nyam for genuine tokpa. Those stuck in a nyam rarely submit to the discomfort of being jerked away from their heav- enly trap. One way to detect if you’re stuck in a nyam, therefore, is to see how you react when your special experience is interrupted or chal- lenged. If you get irritated, defensive, or angry, you’re probably infected with a nyam. If you want to look for progress on your path, don’t look for spiritual experiences. Look at your ordinary life. Sogyal Rinpoche says: The wonder of [enlightenment] is that it is something not exotic, not fantastic, not for an elite, but for all of humanity; and when we realize it, the masters tell us, it is unexpectedly ordinary. Spiritual truth is not something elaborate and esoteric, it is in fact profound common sense.... being a buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being. —from Glimpse After Glimpse: Daily Reflections on Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche Are you becoming more kind, patient, and gener- ous? Is your heart opening? Are you more under- standing and compassionate? Are you learning how to love? That’s where you’ll find the signs of realization. There is a place for spiritual highs, but it’s the same place reserved for spiritual lows. Relate to both with equanimity and you will be liberated from them. Left alone, spiritual experiences are wonderful events. They can inspire you to prac- tice more and really lift you up. But if you don’t relate to them properly, they can drag you down. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Enlight- enment is ego’s ultimate disappointment.” From ego’s perspective, enlightenment is a downer. It will let you down—from the heights of inflated spiritual experience to the plateau of ordinary life, which is where true realization awaits. superglued to that experience. These “masters” tend to pop up in the West, where spirituality is ruled by convenience and instant gratification, and where the need for disciplined practice is too often supplanted by the desire for rapid results. Because nyams are desirable, they are market- able and they sell. Who wouldn’t pay for an expe- rience of bliss, clarity, or nonthought, the three most famous nyams? Teachers stuck in a nyam also sell, because they often exude an aura of the nyam itself. They usually extol the extraordinary and ecstatic aspects of meditation and easily snag others just as they’ve been snagged. Their expe- riences sound so delectable, so “spiritual,” that it’s tempting to follow their bliss. I saw one such “master” who glided toward her throne, draped in white silk and surrounded by her flock of ador- ing students. She spoke in a seductive voice about the euphoric nature of her awakening. To me, she was clearly stuck in the nyam of bliss. Teachers stuck in a nyam tend to work alone, and while they may have studied with authen- tic masters, they either pay lip service to their lineage or jettison it altogether. I know West- ern “masters” who rejected their own teachers because they didn’t confirm their nyam or oth- erwise endorse their awakening. The one per- son who could have put them back on track by destroying their attachment to the experience is dismissed as not understanding their experience. Once such a “master” gains traction and establishes a following, it’s almost impossible to extract them from their nyam. The enabling is too deep and the success too addictive. It would take tremendous honesty and courage to turn to their adoring students and admit that they’ve all—teacher and students—been seduced into a nyam. It’s much easier to remain stuck in spiri- tual codependence. Waking Up from Nyam In the world of dreams, there’s an event called false awakening. This is when someone wakes up from a dream and discovers later that they were still asleep. In other words, they wake up from one level of dreaming into what they think is waking reality, only to then realize that what they’ve woken up to is yet another dream. It’s like in the movie Inception, where there are dreams within dreams, deceptions within deceptions.