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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
48 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 3 yourself. Combined, that threefold situation provides what is known as the vajra world. Sacred outlook is not only about thinking that everything is good; it is the absence of impris onment. You begin to experience freedom that is intrinsi cally good, almost unconditionally free. So the vajra world that you are entering is basically good, unconditionally free, fundamentally glorious and splendid.” When we enter the vajra world in this way, explains Trungpa, “there is bondage between your vajra master, your deity, and yourself; you are joined together. That provides a profound basis for Vajrayana practice altogether.” The method of deity yoga, or yidam meditation, is a key element of Vajrayana practice. The yidam deities are “personi fications of your particular nature” and are connected with the notion of the five buddha families—each symbolizing par ticular neuroses and skillfully connecting to their transmuted nature of enlightened wisdoms. The yidam that you identify with is based on your own experience because, Trungpa says, “it is an imagination of your mind.” The only way to take part in the skillful practices of yidam meditation is through receiving abhisheka and oral instructions. In order to embark on the Vajrayana path fully, we must understand and engage in the practices known as the four aspects of tantra or those of the nineyana journey. Hereafter, Trungpa Rinpoche precisely and in detail presents the four tantras and the Mahamudra teachings on the nature of mind in the context of the nine yanas of the Dzogchen system. Dzogchen In the Vajrayana, we say all rivers eventually flow into the ocean, and in the same way, all the practices of the three yanas lead to the ninth yana, atiyoga or maha ati. This yana is also renowned as the ultimate vehicle, or “the yana of complete transcendence,” belonging to what’s known as Mahasandhi, or Dzogchen, the great completion. The connotation of ati, explains Trungpa, is that “ ‘a ’ expresses ‘awake’ or the first breath you take, and ‘ti’ indicates ‘ultimate’ or the ‘final thing.’ ” The flavor of experience at the maha ati level is a sense of being “awake continuously” or “utterly awake, ultimately awake all the time.” Thus Trungpa says, “Maha ati is the highest level of cool boredom, which is very exciting.” So “the maha ati approach to enlightenment,” says Trungpa, “is that wisdom has never begun, and therefore, there is no end.” According to Rinpoche’s simple and clear instructions on the ati practice: You should keep things natural and basic. You do not have to jazz things up or make them into anything more than necessary, or turn them into anything spiritual. Things are on their own, very simply. Maha ati is ultimate or final. It is very basic. Along with such pithy instructions, Trungpa also raises some concerns about presenting the ultimate yana: “What makes me nervous about teaching maha ati is that it sounds too simple.” Furthermore, he cautions that ati can be misun derstood as something that “sounds very simpleminded,” and “the problem might be that there is no respect. You might feel that maha ati is just something that happens organically, and you do not have to put any effort into it. There could be the problem of being somewhat bored with maha ati or disap pointed with it.” At the same time, says Trungpa, it’s important to know that “the practitioner of maha ati has already accomplished a great deal by going through the earlier yanas.” For this reason, the whole nineyana journey becomes indispensable for those who seek true freedom and genuine awakening. In short, says Trungpa, one could say that “In maha ati you have everything, and at the same time you have nothing. The only technique maha ati provides is the leap, but that is absurd, because maha ati does not provide any place to leap from. That is the big joke.” Nevertheless, Trungpa points out, “In the maha ati realm, there is a natural tendency to see that the journey no longer needs to be made. Instead, the journey itself is the goal.” The journey of awakening here is our primeval intelligence, or vidya, leaping into the open space at the beginning. When we become the space and awareness, or the primeval intel ligence, then awakening is right there with you. grEat EastErn sun Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s activity and contributions can be summed up into two distinct categories: 1) transplant ing the spiritual wisdom of buddhadharma into the modern In the Vajrayana, we say all rivers eventually flow into the ocean, and in the same way, all the practices of the three yanas lead to the ninth yana, maha ati. This yana is the ultimate vehicle, “the yana of complete transcendence.”