June 22, 2012

A DogZen Simpleton's Instructions: The Actual Practice of Dzogchen

(This article, from January 2005, has been the single most read page on the Dog Zen Koans. We republish it today for your reading pleasure.)

If you want to learn the meaning of Dzogchen and get its benefits
You will have to overcome your twisting of the Dharma, spirituality and everything else.
You should understand:
It’s going to take an organized and ongoing effort,
Until the dam of artificiality breaks free.

Here goes:
When you hear about looking into your mind, no matter where it comes from,
Just go ahead and do it.

At first glance, whatever mind is, for sure you see thoughts and feelings.
You don’t know what you are doing; it's okay.
There are thoughts and feelings.

Just for now, forget about the word “mind” and just look at those thoughts and feelings that you see   When you tried to find the mind.
Focus on “what thoughts are”
Look in your mind for the answer, don’t look at me or your memory.
You must focus, look directly and observe the thinking.

This looking at thoughts and wondering what they are must continue
Until you are fully confident that thinking
Is utterly and completely unlimited in its potential seeming situations and formulations.

This process of getting used to knowing this takes a length of time to incorporate.
My suggestion is to forget about goofy meditating and just do this!

If you do what I said and keep going, at some point
An unquestionable confidence in how thoughts and emotions exist will arise,
Each thought, limited and impermanent,
And its rising knowledge will change you in a big way.
You will know that you could be thinking anything, anywhere, anytime! Wowie!
There are ultimately no governors that control what you can think or feel.

Now, looking again, do something different:
Whether you see angels or demons, family or enemy,
Recognize that you cling to a thought-emotion experience only.
That's all.
Consistently, there’s a thought of a "you" and at that "you" seems to be relating to "other." Baugh! What a laugh.

Consider our Tower of Babel of modern “higher learning,"
Of school and university,
Whose sophistry is worshiped but I think is dubious...
Of all the extensive activity of these thinking organizations...
Of their belief system as it spreads over and influences the mediathink and our children...
Of the sums of even the trillions of waves of thoughts...
Including humanity's great libraries of theories and of scientism, (it's not science).....
Of even every system and technology, of every wise man or woman that ever lived,
And all their mental activity, all their knowledge, all thoughts, all thinking, ideas, utterly presented for all to see....
All hopes and fears.......
In this all I looked and looked
Yet, this ocean of complexity,
Made me wonder and struck me...
Oh my God,
What is wrong with us??
Then I saw:
Never has there been even one thought that touches the way that things actually are.
Not a one!!

Doesn't anybody see this?
The root of this blindness, in every case,
Is the inability to recoil and admit that
There seems to be a ‘me’ within my theories, but I'm dreaming it!
Hey! Every new idea grows along with a made-up me-ness versus a not-me-ness!
Unfathomable creativity seems real or unreal as my folly tends!
Wow...
Simply amazing!”

Furthermore, on this awakening to not knowing...
If you don’t get this correction and apply it in your life
It is also fine to focus your life on helping others and your family,
But please try to get the real correction if you can
And get help from the professional dogs:
You can have it if you want if bad enough to not want any longer.

Now go back, looking into your mind;
Since now thoughts are only your creative imagination,
Things are different, they look not so stiff, quasi-real, and hopefully a lot more fun.

Try it again:
Look deeply to where thought, which seems to be "things happening" comes from
A proud Buddhist looked into his mind.
Not able to find anything but thoughts, will he give up?
Don't stop here..this is the good stuff!
From habits you will be seeing what seems to be endless thoughts:
“I’ll find the mind, dammit.”
“This is the mind.”
“It’s in a meditation state.”
“Maybe I’m enlightened.”
If you don’t know these are just thoughts, you truly are an idiot.
So, keep going, dedicate your life to traverse where few dare,
Don't give up!
This is the practice of Dzogchen, and you'll need to knuckle down and do it.

“Oops, just more and more thoughts and feelings!
What is the mind anyway?....Jeepers, there’s no way to define things!”
That's a little better.

Please get comfortable that actual real Mind-God-Dharamakaya, a simple clarity,
And the very nature of things
Can't be known by discursive thought nor intellectual reach.
By following this Dog Zen (rDozgchen) way
You can be absolutely certain that you can‘t find anything but that which is made up
There's no thought in primordialness; take it verbatim when you see it.

A salute goes to you, the few and the sincere,
You will climb the greatest mountain, but right in your own home,
You will see the cause of suffering and its release.

Go, modern yogi, go!
Join in the beneficent franchise of direct awareness!
Watch and receive through the five mystery-breakers
That melt the ice of this old, old mistake.

Why not do it again?  Look.

Thoughts are the creativity of the mind, whatever that is.
Now that question – what mind is – becomes so new, so different!
Thinking doesn't think, so mind primordially can't be thinking at all.
If it’s not thinking, then what is it??

C'mon, get real.
This is not a puzzle, sober up, try much harder and longer, and let me know what you get!

What is this thing we have all along assumed to be the "mind?"
If I try to explain it, it won't be yours!
Whatever you accomplish from here depends on your assurance from experience
That the nature of mind is not your thoughts, ideas or feelings
And that misunderstanding and taking them as a serious reality
Bogged you down in foolishness
Since who knows when.

All this time, your view is thought-centered! Wow! WOW!!
You can go a long way if you get this, you won’t if you don’t.
Not just Buddha, but Christ and the Tao masters knew this perfectly.
No one can change the way things are.

Revel and prepare the torma-expression (celebratory enactment) in the light of the not-knowing.
Unknowability is the fortress of spirituality's newest thread.
Doesn’t that make perfect sense since Kali-moderns are addicted to think-knowing?

While the weak can’t depend on the Full Perfection’s not-knowing.
A dog bounces happily on a trampoline and becomes a rainbow man.
The dog zen simpleton engages the full feast of mind's beingness
And henceforward partakes the indescribable blisses.

Sages throughout time have spoken of satisfaction, happiness and its appearance.
Instantly not-knowing, you can dig out what you have been storing for countless seasons.

Dear men and ladies:
The glory of this can't be explained
By me for certain:
I don't want to speak in useless tongues,
But I know your soul is sweet
So I hold my crazy wish
That you get it's full force today.