Friday, March 31, 2017

Mind Itself -- An Eccentric Homage to Maitripa

Because mind itself is already free of any binding state,
beings in spirit realms may cast their compassionate regard
towards this dimension in waves of loving anticipation.

Because mind itself is already released from futile grasping
at imaginary contrivances such as “I” and “mine,” the activity
and function called "ego" may present a useful opportunity
to navigate and explore the slower vibrational frequencies
in the virtual form of a self, a person, an action figure.

Because the essence of mind itself is empty, whatever appears
is humorously transparent, although not always in a funny way --
sometimes the joke, as they say, is on you, so always refrain
from taking any of it seriously, especially yourself!

Because the nature of mind itself is luminous, wherever
we travel in the past, present, or future is already illumined
by the abundant candle power of our natural attention.

Because the character of mind itself is unceasing awareness
without object, all of the great sages and saints had nothing
to offer which could surpass the song of a bumble bee.

Because mind itself appears in numerous ways, pointing
one's finger and confidently claiming that it is this or that
merely demonstrates how little we understand simple things.

Because this luminosity of mind itself transcends phenomena
designated as seeing, seen, and seer, whatever may appear
and disappear does so in a theater attended by nobody.

Because mind itself is already liberated from the self-absorbed
fabrications known as meditation and meditator, happy dreamers
like to soar on the layered thermal currents above the fruited plain.

Because mind itself is at ease and unstructured, that very freedom
from mental engagement translates into doing nothing in particular,
or perhaps doing something if it happens to be that kind of day.

Because in mind itself there is no grasping, the wry hallucinations
this fictional world seems to offer constitute an elaborate prank
consciousness plays on itself, just to observe its own reaction.

Because mind itself is already free of the structured contamination
promoted by the ancient holy scoundrels as meditative equipoise,
one would be better off serving living beings without harboring
secret fantasies of accumulating merit at this ghost festival.

Because the nature of mind itself is spacious pristine emptiness,
various texts dedicated to illuminating exactly what that implies
have never been circulated, since they have never been written.

Because mind itself is clear light by nature, just getting up
off of one's cushion and strolling about in the cool fresh air
on a fine Spring day can be quite invigorating, especially
when unimpeded by habitual streams of conceptualization!

When the mind itself is settled in its own unstructured nature,
it is simply ordinary consciousness, vividly present, beyond
any chronic clinging to daydreams of subject and object.

Because mind itself and appearances are indivisible,
what more is there to say?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Liberated Soul

(A Free Transliteration after Marguerite Porete)

No longer addicted to the chronic compulsion which obscures effortless natural recognition (timeless awareness) with interpretive fantasies and conceptual designations, the liberated soul rejoices in an open invitation for infinite expansion and limitless creative self-expression.

Let's be clear: this liberated soul is so anchored in the perfect divinity of unconditional love that, even if it were to possess all of the wisdom of every sentient being who ever was, is, or will be, it would be as nothing, compared to that unspeakable truth at the heart which was never understood, is not now, and never shall be, by the mind which futilely attempts to figure life out with human reason and logic.

Because there is only What Is, the liberated soul only sees and recognizes What Is, and thus in What Is does it rejoice, even in the midst of pleasure and pain, heaven and hell, plus and minus -- experiencing What Is as the fundamental identity and true nature of its own being, from which it has never been divided.

Indeed, since What Is is none other than That of which one can understand nothing perfectly with the meaning-making mind, it is incomprehensible except to Itself, and thus truly incomprehensible. In that sense, it is natural and fitting that the liberated soul should wander, purposeless, in the sweet paradisiac realms of not knowing, but only being that existence, consciousness, bliss.

As long as such a luminous soul should will nothing, its shine is a transparent reflection of the miraculous display of its own perfection. Without clinging or fixating on any momentary appearance of an independent and enduring self, it remains completely unencumbered. However, if it should will something, it spontaneously deludes itself into identification with transient formations, and thus loses its apparent freedom through an error of mistaken identity.

Now, whoever would inquire of such free souls, relaxed and at rest in and as the Great Perfection, if they would want to be elsewhere, they would say no; or if they would want to be certain of supreme liberation in this life, they would say no; or if they want to be in some spiritual heaven realm of endless rapture, they would say no. Really, what willfulness would they arouse to grasp any of that conceptual fabrication? Indeed, should a miniscule fraction of any such desire arise in their child-like innocence, they would instantly separate themselves from Love, and what a truly intolerable state would result!

Such a liberated soul neither grasps nor turns away pain and sorrow, neither samsara nor nirvana, neither freedom or bondage, but rather gives to Nature all that is necessary, without anticipation or regret. No wonder that Nature itself is so responsive, transformed as it is through that unity consciousness which is the fruit and display of Love, and into which the will is merged. Likewise, the ensuing Play of Consciousness will demand nothing which is prohibited.

This simple ordinary life itself becomes the devoted servant who prepares the space for the emergent manifestation of Liberation by Willing Nothing, the unfathomable Life which lives the soul who no longer has within itself any willfulness that it be elsewhere, or anything other than What Is.

Such an annihilated soul possesses so great an understanding within itself that nothing can dwell in its memory -- not joy, not adversity, not self or other, not good or evil, not right or wrong. All of these are projections of mind, but for the liberated soul, mind is empty, emptiness is clear light, clear light is union, and union is Great Bliss.

This greater part of absolute divine love, which it Is, reveals to the liberated soul its nothingness, which in turn makes it deep, large, supreme, and sure. Standing naked in its own selflessness, one rapturous overflow of the movement of divine light pours into it, revealing the perfection of What Is, and the understanding of what is not. Such revelation transmutes the will of the soul from any fixed abode, in order to dissolve all clinging, contrivance, or contraction.

Love and such souls are one thing, no longer two things. This soul is totally dissolved, melted and drawn, joined and united to Love, its own fundamental identity, that it can arouse no will of its own, except the will of that divine Love which lives it.

The liberated soul loses its name in That in which it is melted and dissolved, like a body of water which flows from the sea, and when this water or river returns into the sea, it loses its course and its name with which it flowed in many countries in accomplishing its task. Now it is in the sea where it rests, and thus has lost all labor.

This soul rests and is held in the country of complete peace, for it is always in the full sufficiency in which it swims and bobs and floats, and so is surrounded by divine peace, without any movement in its interior, and without any exterior work on its part.

These two things would remove this peace from it if they could penetrate to it, but they cannot, for it is in the sovereign state where they cannot pierce or disturb it about anything.

This is right, says Love, for its will is ours. It has crossed the Red Sea, its obscurations and afflictions have been drowned in it. For it has fallen from grace into the perfection of the work of the virtue, and from the virtues into Love, and from Love into nothingness, and from nothingness into clarification by That -- the nameless, the unspeakable. Just so, the soul is so dissolved in That that it is neither itself nor That, and thus What Is, simply Is, and nothing more can be said.

This Soul is at rest without obstructing the outpouring of divine Love. The liberated soul no longer seeks itself through strategies, schemes, or methods; not through thoughts, nor through words, nor through deeds; not through creature here below, nor through creature above; not through justice, nor through mercy, nor through glory of glory; not through divine understanding, nor through divine love, nor through divine praise.

The liberated soul has nothing to sin with, for without a will no one can sin. It is dissolved by annihilation into that prior existence where Love has received it. Such souls possess as equally dear, shame as honor, and honor as shame; poverty as wealth, and wealth as poverty; torment as comfort, and comfort as torment; loved as hatred, and hatred as love; hell realms as paradise, and paradise as hell; small as great, and great as small. It neither wills nor not-wills anything of these prosperities nor of these adversities.

Behold, the liberated soul has fallen into certainty of knowing nothing and into certainty of willing nothing. And this nothingness gives it the All, and no one can possess it in any other way.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

From the Depths of My Heart to My Mother

Mother -- the mind, the mind! 

By recognizing its true nature, we can free ourselves from every suffering.
However, as long as we do not, we will continue to be confused by its endless parade of challenging and bewildering manifestations in the form of thoughts and images, illusions and delusions. 

By haplessly and habitually identifying with whatever arises in our mind, we create the basis of our own stress, dissatisfaction, and discomfort.

Consequently, let’s open our eyes to our real condition and understand it once and for all.

In reality, there exists an unconditioned nature, the true and ultimate essence of the mind. 

It is our original innocence, before we began adding worldly knowledge and stories of “me and mine”, “self and other”, “good and bad”.

If we leave this mind in its state of immediate unfiltered presence, without seeking to modify it in any way with our ideas about how it should be, or about how we should be, or about how the world should be, then its spontaneous and primordial wisdom will manifest naturally.

Now, what constitutes the unconditioned wisdom of instantaneous pure presence?

However much we try to define or think it, it is beyond the grasp of the intellect.

It never began, it resides nowhere, it knows no interruption. 

It cannot be objectified or pinned down.

Nothing that we can see or know has any independent existence. 

In other words, everything depends on something else for its existence, just like the flower depends on light and rain, which in turn also depend on the sun and clouds, which also depend on various other elements, all the way down to sub-atomic particles, and so it is throughout the universe, with everything originating dependently.

Everything permeates everything, nothing is separate, despite how things might seem if we do not look closely. 

That is why the term “illusion” is applied to describe appearances, because everything is actually “empty” of any inherent existence, despite seeming to be solid and independent.

Just so, the essence of mind has always been the purity of that very emptiness, which pervades everything totally.

Indeed, mind’s nature is clarity, an open, spacious, and transparent awake awareness, which possesses the quality of wisdom in a state of total self-perfection.

Instantaneous presence, the union of empty essence and clarity, is the state of primordial purity -- the unfabricated, uncontrived nature of mind itself. 

It is actually the basis for the appearance of anything and everything.

Truly recognizing this state is what is called “the view of the total completeness of self-perfection.”

In this very moment, what does that actually mean?

If we look at an object to our right, and then shift our attention to an object on the left, in the moment in which our first thought vanishes and before the second one arises, don’t you sense a fresh awareness of the instant, untarnished by the mind, clear, limpid, naked, free? 

Stay a while in contemplation, Mother, and observe!

By paying attention in this way, we can notice a gap, or space between thoughts, and it is there where we can rest attention.

Right there! 

This is an example of the authentic condition of instantaneous presence, and also of what is called “the absolute equality of the fourth time,” which transcends the three times of past, present, and future. 

At the moment in which you no longer rest in this state, doesn’t a thought arise, swiftly and spontaneously? 

Pay attention, Mother, and notice how it happens!

Right there! 

This is what is called “the uninterrupted energy of emptiness”, which is the essence of instantaneous presence. 

If you do not recognize a thought as soon as it arises, then thoughts will multiply in the ordinary way, and thus you will be drawn back into the passing parade, rather than simply resting and observing the mind stream without identifying or fixating on any part of it.

This is what is meant by “the chain of illusions”. This simple activity of identification is the basis for our endless wandering about in a disturbing dreamland. We believe we are the thoughts, when in reality we are merely their witness. 

Mother, when a thought is suddenly born in you, whether good or bad, recognize it immediately! 

Stay with pure presence, relaxed in its state, without entering into action.

That is, neither accept or reject it, neither suppress nor indulge it, neither try to block it or entertain it. 

In this way, by not creating some attachment based on accepting or rejecting, good or evil, pleasurable or painful, all such conflicting thoughts dissolve on their own, or in other words, are self-liberated.

They freely melt back into the space where presence and emptiness are indivisible. This is called “the fundamental union of view and meditation” -- that dissolving of tension and stress in the total completeness of self-perfection.

When all doubts and uncertainties regarding the view of the nature of total completeness are dissolved from within, then continuing in that state is called “meditation.”

To support this view of the natural state, one needs to relax the consciousness of the five senses, starting with sight and hearing, without blocking those functions, while staying serene and detached.

If the various consciousnesses of the five senses become blocked, this means that one has fallen into dullness and lack of clarity. 

In that case, one must make one’s condition more lucid and transparent.

If one meditates with some personal goal or aim in mind, there is great risk that the meditation will become analytic or conceptual, and this creates a new set of impediments. 

Rather, it is enough just to leave consciousness in its original state and at the same time not let oneself become distracted. Since distraction is equivalent to falling into illusion, it is important to focus attention on not letting illusions multiply.

Remember, whatever thought arises, whether it be good or bad, neither reject or approve it, but let it liberate itself in the same way it arose.

Whatever thought arises, good or bad, let it manifest, but do not become involved by making judgments about it.

Just as waves, after churning on the surface of the sea, eventually turn calm and serene, so too is thought, when left as it is, also liberated into its own prior state.

Some so-called meditation experts claim that meditation consists in stopping thought and achieving a state free of thought, but this is the opposite direction from the path of dissolving of tensions in total completeness.

To stop thought is an action. Undertaking an action while meditating can become a further source of confusion, perpetuating the sense of stress and dilemma.

It is definitely not the way to liberate oneself from suffering born of mistaken identification.

Therefore, when a thought arises, regardless of whether it is perceived as good or bad, the key is to continue in a state of pure presence and clarity, without involving oneself in any actions based on either blocking or multiplying thought. 

When one continues in this state, whatever mental object presents itself does not become a target for our attachment. Our perception of it remains in its fresh, original condition.

Thus all phenomena which appear as objects manifest without their specific character being changed or sullied by thoughts deriving from attachment. 

We refrain from adding any of our own fantasies of interpretation to perception.

In this way, everything that appears and is recognized becomes that wisdom which is the union of emptiness and clarity.

This recognition of one’s own state, which is a condition of pure clarity and presence, can eventually become continual, whatever our daily activity might be.

When walking, when eating, when seated, when lying down and so forth, if a thought arises which is linked to an emotion or passion (for example to a pleasure or a pain, or to something good or evil), do not yield to the impulse of trying to manipulate it. 

Any sensation of pleasure or pain, if observed and left in its purity and innocence, will dissolve in the same way it emerged, without our interference.

The principal cause of our suffering is due to our unconscious inclination toward grasping and avoiding, so use every occasion to return to that deep natural state in which all concepts of acceptance and rejection purify themselves in their own condition.

May the ultimate meaning of the Awakened State arise perfectly in you, Mother!
May all beings who have contact with you liberate themselves in the primordial space of Supreme Enlightenment!

This was written by the dzogchenpa Namkhai Norbu in Lhasa on the twenty-fifth day of the first month of the male earth dog year, 2502 years after the parinirvana of the Buddha (that is, March 1958) at the moment of separation with his mother, and then freely transliterated by Bob O’Hearn, as a gift from his Friend Fukasetsu Marcel Vuijst to his mother, on her birthday, September 13, 2014.