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Buddhadharma : Summer 2016
summer 2 0 1 6 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 31 Texts speak of making evident a state in which the usual underlying consciousness has lost its intensity and conceptual apprehension cannot get started, and thus during this interval naked inner- most awareness can manifest for a period. The great Tibetan scholar Mangto Lhundrub Gyatsho cites many scriptural sources, such as: Between earlier and later conceptions, the con- tinuum of the clear light of innermost awareness remains unbroken. In the space between two thoughts, there is an easy opportunity for identifying this moment of inner- most awareness. Therefore, this state of shock is not just aston- ishment, but also has, as Patrul Rinpoche says, “Astounding, unimpeded penetration.” The nature of this is to be known, just as it actually is, in the context of experience, and is otherwise indescrib- able in words, so he says, “Unimpeded penetration, inexpressible.” Though called innermost awareness of the truth body, it is inexpressible as any of the poles of being existent, nonexistent, and so forth. This innermost awareness of the truth body must be identified in experience. Unless you can identify it, there is no way to sustain the view of the Great Completeness in medi- tation. This type of meditation, in which you are sustaining the experience of innermost awareness, is a case of remaining within the experience of what you are meditating on, rather than meditating on an object. Beyond this, as is clear in Dodrubchen’s writ- ings, if you are able to recognize all phenomena as the sport, vibration, or effervescence of this natu- rally arisen innermost awareness, this allows you to easily see that phenomena do not exist in and of themselves, independently, and are only set up by conceptuality. When you identify innermost aware- ness, also called ultimate truth, and ascertain that all the phenomena of cyclic existence and nirvana are its effulgence, then along the way you under- stand that all pure and impure phenomena are, as the philosophical texts say, only nominally existent. You understand that all appearing and occurring objects of knowledge are adventitious and essence- less, that although such phenomena have, from the start, not been established under their own power, they nonetheless appear to you to have their own autonomous nature, whereupon you adhere to this sense of seeming existence from their own side. You further understand that this misapprehension leads to engagement in various good and bad actions and the accumulation of those predispositions, leading to still more entanglement in cyclic existence. To identify innermost awareness and properly sustain it in meditation, it is important to have previously reflected on from where the mind arises, where it abides, and that into which it ceases, as well as other analytical techniques. For these prac- tices, the reasonings as they are laid out in the great texts are helpful. If you can cause all these phenomena to appear as the vibration of innermost awareness, not deviat- ing from the sphere of that mind, you will not come under the influence of conventional conceptions. When you identify your own basic entity yourself and directly ascertain its meaning continuously and forever in meditative equipoise, then even though acting in the world, you are enlightened. this article is adapted from the Dalai Lama’s new book, The Heart of Meditation, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins from oral teach- ings, published by Shambhala, 2016. When you cannot make conceptual distinctions, there is astonishment, clarity, vividness, mere knowing.