December 15, 2018

In the End, it's Dzogchen

It may seem like you have to do something, but you don't have to do anything except awaken. That is what Peter Ouspensky said. Something was bothering him on and on, and he figured the problem was an existential one. He said he realized the problem was that he wasn't "self-remembering."

Perhaps it seems that the problem is you don't have enough money, you should switch jobs, you need a vacation, or you ought to move to another place. But none of those are actually the problem. The only problem really is not awakening. If you are not awakening, that's a problem. If you are awakening, then all other problems become minuscule. All other things will be handled and added unto. If you are not awakening, you will forever be in the smorgasbord of problems, the buffet of concerns, the media of issues. You will ever be stuck and miserable, and you will never dig your way out. It's the old joke, "You can't get there from here."

So you don't have to get rid of your problems. Through insight, you can see that your problems are illusory, and in Dzogchen that illusoriness is not merely a nothing or a blankness: it is actually light, clarity and bliss if recognized.

If you think you don't have to do anything, that's conceptual, too, clinging to the idea that you have to do nothing or that you have to do something. Of course you have to do something; you're a human being in a bardo. You can't just sit there in the dirt. On the other hand, sitting there in the dirt might be just as good as anything else.

Suppose you feel contempt toward somebody and think, "What an ass," or "I'm better than he is," or "Ha, what a loser." In the pre-tantric levels you feel bad about that. You say, "I really shouldn't be that way. I should be a buddha, and I should be pure. I shouldn't be thinking, 'What a loser he is. He's nothing compared to me.' Instead I should be thinking, 'That person has pure potential, and he's wonderful. I'm sure he has a lot of good qualities, and I have my faults, too. Who am I to judge?'" That is all correct in pre-tantric practice.

Now let's look at Dzogchen. The problem with the aforementioned approach, and the reason why Dzogchen exists, is that on some level that type of thinking is denial because you are trying to convince yourself of various replacements. The truth of the matter is you despise the person. In Dzogchen practice you don't have to block anything at all. You can feel contempt, arrogance and all those negative emotions because you are connecting them with pristine consciousness. And they don't worsen. They don't deepen. You're not exorcising them, instead they are spontaneously dissipating.

The state of pristine consciousness itself is compassion. Your hatred, spite and anger toward this person, they implode, they explode. They don't really implode; they don't really explode. They don't really dissolve, but it's like a dissolving. The reason why they dissolve is because you don't try to dissolve them. The reason they implode is because you don't try to implode them. The reason why they explode is because you don't try to blow them up. Nor are you trying to be neutral; rather, you're being completely honest. "I hate this guy's guts. What a moron!" Then the nakedness of what that is appears. There is nothing there but luminosity. The person is an appearance of your own mind's creativity. As such, he is dharmata. As such, the anger is pure. All of these phenomena are intrinsically pure.

If you try to correct them in the tiniest bit, that means you don't really have faith in the purity of your negativity. If you have faith in the purity of your negativity, you will lose your wrathful activity because it will fall apart.

That is why Dzogchen is only taught to advanced people because only certain types of people are willing to let their negative emotions fall apart. Most people cherish their negative emotions. But in the end, which is Dzogchen, by the way, even that is okay. You can cherish your negative emotion, and it will still fall apart, and the cherishing can fall apart, too. The cherishing of negative emotions arises as pristine consciousness, as does hatred, greed, angst, blame—all the hundreds of complicated permutations of basic ignorance, passion, anger, pride, jealousy. It's like taking an assortment of colors and mixing two of them together. Then you can take another color and combine it with the two colors you initially mixed and keep making different combinations.

If you did a practice that involved feeling remorse about some way that you are and wanting to amend that, in Dzogchen you're only allowed to do that as a ceremonial, empty activity. But it shouldn't be thought of as the ultimate method, ati yoga. It is a lower, preparatory yoga. It shouldn't be thought to be a cause of enlightenment because it doesn't enlighten you. Conversely, if you let things arise without blocking them and see them as they are, it will be a cause for enlightenment. Amazingly, admonishing yourself, "I'm a bad person. I'm really arrogant, and I have a lot of disgust and loathing toward this person, and I shouldn't do that," doesn't make you a buddha.

In Christian parlance, that means you're not saved and you don't get to go to the kingdom of heaven just because you think you're good. The prodigal son came back and his brother objected, "I've been the perfect son, doing everything impeccably here. Yet you're throwing a party for the other son who's been irresponsible and blew all his money? You should ignore him, exalt me, and make him secondary. Maybe appreciate that he's coming home, but why make a fuss about him when he's a disaster?" Perhaps the name of that story should be "The Prodigal Son's Brother," instead of "The Prodigal Son," because the prodigal son's brother might be even more important.

The prodigal son was lost; now he is found. He was gone, but now he is home. If you come home, it doesn't really matter whatever you did before. It's all gone; it's all pure; it's all complete. Your sins are forgiven. Dzogchen, the grace of Jesus Christ, is the complete forgiveness of sins. It's realizing your nature in God. If you become at one with God, you no longer can have sin. The reasons that you would harm beings are gone. But in order to purify all those desires to harm beings, you might at some point be given the teaching to harm beings in order to see the emptiness of that physically.

It's like trying to learn how to swim simply by reading books or watching videos. At some point you have to jump in the water and swim. The only way you can really be a swimmer is to learn in the water, in the physical experience.

In the same way, at the end of the spiritual journey you have to be a sinner. Dzogchen is for sinners, for bad people. When I say it's "for bad people," you could say all people are bad, but Dzogchen practitioners are people who know they are bad. So I sometimes call us Dzogchen folk "bad people." People who haven't attained this profound level of understanding may think, "I'm righteous: I won't vote for Republicans, I'm for social justice, I'm for women's rights!" This thinking has little to do with the Great Vehicle of transcendent meaning. But pseudo-virtuous religious-displacement thinking can, in Dzogchen, be utterly purified in the honesty of seeing it as a cover for pride, lust for control, attempt to power. Amazingly, the pride and control, being revealed as illusory, give way to more primal truths, their enlightened essence.

Consider, for example, the seven ray opposites. If you meditate upon the seven ray opposites, noticing things arise as those opposites, you may recognize them all as pristine consciousness. Meditate on the six realms of samsara; see if they are indeed pristine consciousness. Meditate on the different sublevels of the fifth subplane of the mental plane and the fourth subplane of the mental plane; keep moving up through the sublevels.

We have too many quirks manifesting the thousands of different subtle negative emotional combinations for us to be able to clear them with a one by one technology: this would take so very many lifetimes. These faults, however, can be automatically and completely removed in merely one lifetime or less, as an effect of Dzogchen practice. Dzogchen can only be taught to a few people, to fearless bodhisattvas who can let go on an unprecedented level, allowing radical natural honesty to rise. This might be likened to the opening, through time and space, of a trapdoor through which one's countless beliefs are spontaneously ripped away.

No comments:

Post a Comment