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Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
SPRING 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 35 Two Great Paths Dzogchen and Mahamudra, the Great Perfection and the Great Seal, are powerful meditative systems for revealing the nature of mind, explains Adeu Rinpoche. While their methods may differ, their essence is the same. THE MEDITATION APPROACH of Mahamu- dra as found in the Tibetan Kagyu tradition and the Dzogchen approach from the Nyingma tradi- tion are identical in essence—you may follow one or the other—however, each has its own unique instructions. In each system, Mahamudra and Dzogchen, various methods are used to reveal the nature of bare awareness itself. When embarking on meditation practice in the Mahamudra tradition, a meditator is taught three aspects: stillness, occurrence, and noticing. Cultivating stillness means training in cutting off involvement in memories of the past or entertain- ing thoughts about what might happen in the the future; you refrain from constructing plans about the next moment. In the present, you sim- ply and completely let go. You drop everything and settle into now. In the Mahamudra tradition, stillness refers to not churning out new thoughts or following thoughts about the past, present, or future. At first, you will notice that totally settling, without any involvement in thought, does not last that long. Due to the karmic force of one’s internal energy currents, new thoughts are con- tinually being formed—thoughts grasping at subject and object, at pleasant and unpleasant. The activation of such patterns is known as occurrence. When one’s attention is quiet and still, there is a knowing of what there is. When one is involved in thinking about this and that, there is a know- ing of what there is. In the context of stillness and occurrence of thought, this knowing is called noticing. These are the three aspects: stillness, occurrence, and noticing. The training in Mahamudra is this: each time you notice that you are thinking of something, disengage from it—suspend your attention. Pull back into being quiet and still, and simply remain that way. When you notice that you are thinking about something, again simply return to stillness. That is the training. By repeating this over and over, you will become more familiar and more experienced. This is how to progress. As you grow more capable, there will come a point when the occurrence of thought will no longer have such a strong hold on your attention. It will become easier to settle back in quietness. Eventually, every time a thought begins to stir, ADEU RINPOCHE (1931–2007) was a master of the Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism who discovered hidden texts (termas ) and wrote extensive teachings and instructions. He lived at Tsechu Monastery in Nanchen, Eastern Tibet, but spent twenty-three years in prison after the Chinese invasion in the 1950s. This article is from a new book of his teachings, Freedom in Bondage. (Opposite) Samantabhadra Buddha (detail), Tibet Collection of Rubin Museum of Art (acc. #2003.25.3) Samantabhadra is the primordial buddha of the Nyingma tradition JAMESGRITZ