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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
fall 2006| 50 |buddhadharma thing is interdependent, you also need many other causes and conditions. We must rely on this power of interdependence, not simply our own power. However, when you practice Dzogchen, you do not get the rigpa from someone else, or from some- where else. It exists within all sentient beings; it’s already present within us. We are buddha, but we are obscured by bad karma, by the negative causes and conditions that give us the illusion of subject and object, that cause us to experience impure body, speech, mind, and an impure world. The power of interdependence is what makes it possible to remove the illusion. If we want to plant a flower in our garden, we need soil, water, air, sun, and seed. If we’re missing one of them, the flower will not grow. The seed alone cannot grow the flower. The sun alone cannot grow the flower. The power of interdependence is the gen- eral rule of phenomena. It is also the general rule of Dzogchen. The teacher and the lineage are the soil and the water. When that lineage blessing com- bines with a very strong effort from ourselves, we can become enlightened. We can recognize natural mind. buDDhaDhaRma: How does the teacher help us to experience the nature of mind? minGyuR RinPoche: The teacher’s role is to point out. There are many stages of development and many experiences that can be quite similar to or confused with rigpa. For example, the practice of formless or objectless shamatha – resting the mind without an object of meditation – can be similar to Dzogchen practice, to rigpa, but it is not the same. Similarly, one may experience a kind of dull- ness of mind that has very little conceptualization, which we call alaya, the base consciousness. Many people think that alaya is the essence of the mind, but that’s not really Dzogchen. So the teacher keeps pointing out the natural mind, so you can see very clearly the difference between conceptual mind and natural mind, between alaya and rigpa, between objectless shamatha and rigpa. Ron GaRRy: In my experience, traveling the path always involves working with my various states of mind, and that’s why it’s so obviously critical to have a wisdom teacher. Quite often I might feel that I’m having an experience of awareness, but more likely my experience is connected with con- sciousness. It’s only through the blessings and the connection with my teacher that I’ll be able one day to slowly come to an experience of awareness, my true nature, beyond consciousness. Based on this, my focus is more on preliminary practices and the ngondro practices of refuge, prostrations, Vajrasattva mantra recitation, mandala offering, and guru yoga. Through those practices, and Ron GaRRy: From my perspective as a student, Dzogchen seems very much like everything else that most of us do in the world. It follows the same kind of process we would follow to become successful in the arts, our work life, sports, music, or what have you. If you’re going to become a musician, you first learn scales and you practice intensively. Eventually, after many years of going through a process, it becomes effortless. I think we’ve all had that experience in whatever we’ve become good at. My experience with dharma is very much the same. minGyuR RinPoche: It is important to emphasize the role of the teacher. Do-it-yourself Dzogchen is impossible. You need the lineage, and since every- Senge Dradog (Guru Lion’s Roar) Tibet, 1800−1899 (itemno.297)ColleCtionofShelley&DonalDRubin,www.himalayanaRt.oRg