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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
summer 2005| 24 |buddhadharma In old Tibet, practitioners went to charnel grounds, springs, haunted houses, haunted trees, and so on, in order to reveal how deeply their practice had cut to the core of their fears and attachments. The practice of cutting through our deepest attachments and fears to their core is called nyensa chödpa. Nyensa chödpa means “cut- ting through the haunted dominion of mind.” It is not that I am encouraging you to go to these haunted places to test yourself, but it’s important for all practitioners to understand the view behind nyensa chödpa, because until we are challenged we don’t know how deep our practice can go. We may be established practitioners; we may be comfortable with our practice and working with our minds; everything could be going smoothly. As my teacher Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche used to say, “Practice is easy when the sun is on your back and your belly is full.” But when difficult circumstances arise and we are completely shaken from within, when we hit rock bottom, or when something is haunting us and we feel completely vulnerable and exposed to all our neuroses, then it’s a different story. Challenging circumstances expose to us how much we have learned from the buddhadharma, how much we have learned from the tantra, and how much we have learned from our meditation practice and the experience of our mind. But we Dzigar Kongtrül rinpoche was born in northern inDia anD now lives in southern coloraDo. he is the founDer of Mangala shri bhuti, an organization DeDicateD to the stuDy anD practice of the teachings of the longchen nyingthiK lineage of tibetan buDDhisM. his booK, it’s up to you: the practice of self-reflection on the buDDhist path, will be publisheD in June by shaMbhala publications. The Haunted Dominion of the Mind The haunted dominion of the mind, says Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche, is none other than the dominion of self-clinging. If our goal is to free ourselves from the fear and endless insecurities that haunt us, we must cut through self-clinging by cultivating the view of emptiness. illustrations by steven Heynen