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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 51 |fall 2006 through faith and devotion in my teacher, I feel I am protected from getting caught up in false states of spiritual experiences, like mistaking dull mind for rigpa. maRcia schmiDT: The teacher can help us even when we get tripped up by the terminology, or by the translations used in the instructions. Shamatha and vipashyana, terms used in the lower vehicles, are the same terms used in the higher vehicles. My teacher, Tulku Urygen Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche’s father, taught that even though the words are the same, the meaning becomes more exalted as you go through the different stages. The vipashyana, or clear seeing, practice of the lower vehicles is actually a form of shamatha, stillness The Blue Pancake Chögyam trungpa Rinpoche describes how radically the perspective of Dzogchen, which he refers to as maha ati, differs from our conventional mindset. A ccording to atiyoga, going through the yanas is similar to that process of collect- ing more and more toys. the more sophisti- cated and fascinated we become, the more we are actually reducing ourselves to a child- like level. Somehow we are not yet at the level of the maha ati if we are still fascinated by our toys, our occupations, no matter how extensive or expansive they may be. at the maha ati level, those little tricks that we play to improve ourselves or to entertain ourselves are no longer regarded as anything – but at the same time they are everything, much vaster than we could have imagined. it is as though we were building a city or zoo, and suddenly the whole sky turned into a gigantic pancake and dropped on us. there is a new dimension of surprise that we never thought of, we never expected. we never expected the sky to drop on our head. there is a children’s story about the sky falling, but we do not actually believe such a thing could happen. the sky turns into a blue pancake and drops on our head – nobody believes that. but in maha ati experience, it actually does happen. there is a new dimen- sion of shock, a new dimension of logic. it is as though we were furiously calculating a mathematical problem in our notebook, and suddenly a new approach altogether dawned on us, stopping us in our tracks. our per- spective becomes completely different. our ordinary approach to reality and truth is so poverty-stricken that we don’t realize that the truth is not one truth, but all truth. it could be everywhere, like raindrops, as opposed to water coming out of a faucet that only one person can drink from at a time. our limited approach is a problem. it may be our cultural training to believe that only one per- son can get the truth: “you can receive this, but nobody else can.” there are all sorts of philosophical, psychological, religious, and emotional tactics that we use to motivate ourselves, which say that we can do some- thing but nobody else can. Since we think we are the only one that can do something, we crank up our machine and we do it. and if it turns out that somebody else has done it already, we begin to feel jealous and resent- ful. in fact, the dharma has been marketed or auctioned in that way. but from the point of view of ati, there is “all” dharma rather than “the” dharma. the notion of “one and only” does not apply anymore. if the gigantic pancake falls on our head, it falls on every- body’s head. ... in some sense it is both a big joke and a big message. you cannot even run to your next-door neighbor, saying, “i had a little pancake fall on my head. what can i do? i want to wash my hair.” you have nowhere to go. it is a cosmic pancake that falls every- where on the face of the earth. you cannot escape – that is the basic point. from that point of view, both the problem and the prom- ise are cosmic. if you are trying to catch what i am say- ing, quite possibly you cannot capture the idea. in fact, it is quite possible that you do not understand a word of it. you cannot imagine it in even the slightest, faintest way. but it is possible that there are situations that exist beyond your logic, beyond your sys- tem of thinking. that is not an impossibility. in fact it is highly possible. the earlier yanas talk about the rug being pulled out from under our feet, which is quite understandable. if our landlord kicks us out of our apartment, the rug is pulled out from under our feet, obviously. that is quite work- able, and we find that we can still relate with our world. but in ati we are talking about the sky collapsing onto us. nobody thinks of that possibility. it is an entirely different approach. no one can imagine a landlady or a landlord who could pull that trick on us. in maha ati we are not talking about gain- ing ground or losing ground, or about how we settle down and find our way around. instead we are talking about how we can develop headroom. headroom, or the space above us, is the important thing. we are interested in how space could provide us with a relation- ship to reality, to the world. excerpted from Journey without Goal, reprinted in The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume 4 (Shambhala Publications). or calm abiding, from the perspective of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. It is not the same, but people often think it is the same. One of the very famous phrases in this tradi- tion comes from Milarepa: “In the gap between two thoughts, there’s the possibility to recognize rigpa.” Many people just focus on a gap and think, “That’s rigpa,” but they forget that there’s something else. There’s awakeness, awareness, and that’s what contrasts with the dullness, which is a kind of nonconceptual state we’re all in pretty much continuously, when we’re not mixed up with being angry or being attached. buDDhaDhaRma: What is the difference between objectless shamatha and rigpa? (itemno.297)ColleCtionofShelley&DonalDRubin,www.himalayanaRt.oRg