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Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
36 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 2 rather than getting caught up in it, you will sim- ply be able to remain still, until the force of the thought occurrence weakens, as awareness grows and strengthens. The dividing line between still- ness and occurrence will fade away. This is the point when you can notice the actual identity of mind’s nature. In other words, vipassana, or heightened meditative vision, begins. The great yogi Milarepa said, “In the gap between the past thought and the next thought, thought-free wakefulness continuously dawns.” This is the way it is, whether you recognize it or not. The difference is being able to recognize it; the opportunity to do so is there all the time. This is the training. In the beginning, as a thought vanishes, that is called stillness. As a new thought arises, that is called occurrence. Bringing attention to what is happening is called noticing. These three—still- ness, occurrence, and noticing—have to do with becoming increasingly aware of the gap between thoughts. This aware quality grows stronger and stronger only with training. You cannot artifi- cially increase this. Here, the difference between shamatha and vipassana is the difference between recognizing that which is noticing and the actual awake quality. According to Dzogchen, when your shamatha practice is simply remaining in a neutral, indiffer- ent state without any thought activity whatsoever, this is known as the all-ground. It is simply a way of being free of thought involvement. Moreover, when attention becomes active within the expanse of the all-ground, that activity is known as dual- istic mind. When the dividing line between still- ness and thought occurrence fades away, and the strength of attention is intensified, rigpa, or pure awareness, is revealed. Depending on whether one is using the Mahamudra or Dzogchen approach, there are different terminologies, but the actual training is essentially the same. According to Dzogchen instructions, there are three points to remember. First, track down the dualistic mind or normal attention. Second, discover the mind’s secret identity, what dualistic mind has hidden away. Third, reveal its vanish- ing point. To track down means to investigate how the attentive quality of dualistic mind behaves, where it comes from, where it is right now, and where it goes. The second point, discovering mind’s secret identity, is actually finding out what mind is, namely, a seeming presence—there is no thing there. It is just some behavior that is mis- taken for being a real thing while actually there is no thing there whatsoever. It is only when we investigate that we discover that this attentive quality is not a thing, that it has fooled us. It is called a nonexistent or seeming presence. The last point—revealing the vanishing point of dual- istic mind—refers to the fact that the moment you look for this attentive quality and what it is made of, you discover that there is no actual thing. It simply vanishes every time you look. This is the Dzogchen approach: finding out what dualistic mind really is. This is how to discover and enter rigpa. To begin, we need to be clear about what dualistic mind is. Find out the identity of this wakeful quality that clings to reality by inquiring into the arrival, remaining, and disappearance of dualis- tic mind. Where did mind come from? Where is it right now? When it is no more, where did it go? This is the point when rigpa can be introduced or pointed out. In Mahamudra, the procedure begins with shamatha that is accompanied by certain expe- riences or meditative moods called bliss, clarity, and nonthought. Once one proceeds into vipas- sana in an uninterrupted way, so that the mind is no longer distractedly flitting here and there, but has some ability to sustain that meditative state, this is called one-pointedness, the first stage of Mahamudra. Continuing, you reach a level of progress known as simplicity, which leads into another state known as one taste, and finally you achieve a state known as nonmeditation, or liter- ally, noncultivation. This means that there is no longer anything that needs to be brought forth or cultivated by an agent cultivating it. In other words, the primordial state of enlightenment is discovered. Mind’s essence is already enlight- ened. Though in the Dzogchen approach, this discovery is called being re-enlightened because (Opposite) Tilopa Tibet, 1600 –1699 Private Collection www.himalayanart.org (HAR #61215) The mahasiddha Tilopa is regarded as the founder of the Kagyu lineage