· Teachings · , ,

by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

When practicing meditation, we should become accustomed to the meaning of the view. Where is this view? At the moment our deluded mind probably is not in possession of the view. The unerring ultimate view is not something far away and spectacular that we need to look for outside, like embarking in a boat across the ocean after one has already exhausted all the land on Jambudvipa. That would be the approach of the causal vehicle of characteristics. When recognized within our present state of delusion, the view is naturally in the state of primordially pure great emptiness.

For example, in the sand of the Ganges River, sand and gold are mixed. Someone who knows the value of gold will get it by removing the sand and obtaining the precious substance. But when ordinary people look at it, they will just see the sand and the gold as the same. How do we separate the gold from the sand? We should leave the mind in its natural, uncontrived flow. If we look at the nature of that uncontrived state, we find it is disturbed by many thought waves. We are carried away by these waves of confusion: we follow after previous habits, stimulate thoughts of the future, and lose present awareness. What are these waves of confusion? They are the expressive power of the view. They are not separate from the view.

How does one stop these waves of confusion? This can be compared to the adjustment of an engine by someone who knows the key points of how an engine works. If the engine needs power or if we need it to run very quickly, a skilled person who knows how to tune the engine can give it the power of a thousand people. Similarly, in regard to the waves of confusion, if we know the key point of view, there is no need to stretch the extremes of lots of intellectual studies and texts. There is no need to accumulate merit and purify obscurations in order to realize the view. It will be realized within that state.

We must recognize that these waves of confusion obscure the view. Even in the case of strong waves of confusion, such as hatred arising so strongly that we would give up our life to accomplish its goal or desire arising so strongly that we would give all our wealth without holding any back in order to acquire the sought after object, confusion can only control us because we do not investigate it. If we know how to investigate these waves of confusion, we see that they are nothing but a rainbow in the sky or a mirage on the plains. Through analytical meditation over a considerable period of time, we would come to understand that this confusion, which is nothing but a rainbow or a mirage, in the beginning has no origin, in the middle has no location, and in the end has no cessation. It is devoid of the eight extremes of concept.

On the other hand, in order to realize the view through meditation based on the experience of the key instructions, not much is needed Why is that? While engulfed in these waves of confusion, if one strongly shouts phat while focusing on the uncontrived nature of mind, those thoughts will be scattered. If a heap of sand as large as Mount Meru were to be hit by a whirlwind, it would not take long to scatter the sand. Shouting phat is like that.

What is this sound of phat? It is the self-resounding wisdom of  inseparable prajna and upaya. It is like a sharp instrument that cuts all the trees. What does it cut? The past confusion is followed by the next confusion, and the following confusion is added to the previous  one in an uninterrupted chain. It is like beads strung on a mala: if the string is cut, then all the beads will be scattered. Similarly, if one shouts phat at confused thoughts, all those confused thoughts will be cut and scattered. Then, looking at the naked state, one will recognize that though one’s mind has no shape, color, or substance whatsoever, all the six sense perceptions naturally manifest continuously from its nature. Resting in that naked state is the sense of “The view is Longchen Rabjam.”

Why should we utter this forceful, short, and sharp sound of phat to cut the waves of confusion? We are deceived by the lies of relative truth, and those lies can be cut by phat, since it is self-resounding wisdom. When we have recognized its nature, we will think, “Oh! This is what the uncontrived dharmata is like!” Phenomena arising from this nature—thoughts—are like the play of a child. The view of uncontrived dharmata is like the thinking of an old man: We think, “What is called ‘confusion’ is just this.” It is resolved. This resolution is called the view. That is the first point of the three words striking the vital point.
To introduce the natural state of the view through the experience of meditation, one should not follow after thoughts of the past nor stimulate thoughts of the future, but rest directly in the present mind without altering it. Without worrying about whether one’s thoughts are thoughts of faith, devotion, and compassion or passion, aggression, and ignorance, one should leave the mind in its natural flow.

Muddy water, if it is stirred up further, cannot become clear. If the water is left as it is, however, the dirt will settle and the water will be clear. In parallel fashion, it is said “Uncontrived mind is fully awake; contrived mind is not fully awake.” One should rest directly in the nature of mind without fabricating anything. As the Kagyupas say, “This meditator who rests simply (directly) without altering it (uncontrived).” When the mind rests directly and uncontrived, even though the essence of the natural state of mind cannot be recognized in the sense of your being able to say, “This is it!”—though it is free of such a reference point—as long as you do not get distracted as ordinary people do, you will be able to recognize the nature of the natural flow. If one rests uncontrived in that state of recognition, it will naturally become stronger, and the strength of deluded thoughts will inevitably diminish. Then, with faith and devotion to the root and lineage gurus, the natural state of mind will be realized. This is called recognizing one’s nature.

What is this recognition of one’s nature? The view that is within us has been introduced to us. It is not as though through the blessings of the guru the view has been brought into us from somewhere else. It is not that we have received something we did not have before. Recognizing this gem that exists in us is like finding a hidden treasure that belongs to us under the floor of our own home. It will make us confident that our poverty has been overcome. Resting in that state of recognizing our nature summarizes the dzogchen view. So we should rest uncontrived in that state.

Photo By Sandsy Joshin De Valle. MRO

Photo By Sandsy Joshin De Valle, MRO


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991) was an accomplished meditation master, scholar, and poet, and a principal holder of the Nyingma lineage.

From Primordial Purity: Oral Instructions on the Three Words That Strike the Vital Point. Copyright © 1999 by Shechen Tenny Dargyling, Inc.; Used by permission of Shambhala Publications, Inc.

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