May 5, 2019

Dzogchen: A Return to Naturalness

The original teaching of The Lotus is Dzogchen, accomplishing the natural mind. No matter what we teach as frameworks of preparatory practices, they are all to lead to this essential practice. In the end, one is perfect like Christ, with the holy spirit awake again in oneself as it once was in the primordial beginning, not necessarily in this life, but originally, as we could say Adam and Eve were one with God, which is also the holy spirit.

Dzogchen, Great Perfection, is intellectually, morally, philosophically, scientifically the preeminent teaching of the world. There are hundreds of thousands of Dzogchen teachings, but perhaps we could get just a taste of them right now.

Your natural mind is not a mind that you know about, but rather something that you don't know about— something that you can't know about because mind essence always remains unknowable. There can't be knowledge about it in any conventional sense because the way that mind is cannot be pigeonholed. Even most highly educated people think sloppily about what they conceive of as the mind. They could, however, with direct awareness of natural mind, recognize something very amazing.

Regarding this natural mind, it isn't really in your head or even in your body. It's not really in the solar system or in the universe for that matter either. It's not anything that is explainable as a phenomenon. According to scientistic thought, for something to be valid it must be explainable as a phenomenon. However, this natural mind of religious meaning cannot be explained as a set of characteristics—it itself is actually the source of phenomena. In fact, and even though this sounds incredibly powerful, being the source of phenomena, this natural mind is something that resides as your own true nature, what you really are. Besides that, there are nothing but temporary dream self-other experiences. Ordinary people create a conceptual self, an illusory reality that we think of on an individual, family or social level, perhaps on an even larger level.

When introduced to this natural mind, as Lao Tzu would say, most people laugh at it and say, "That's ridiculous. I know who I am. I'm me, and don't mess with me." It goes over their heads. A few people (on the narrow way Christ mentioned) have a positive reaction to it, at least in passing, but almost no one would actually understand it and practice it to the point of realizing it fully. The goal here is to encourage the practice which has been lost and can now lead us to actual emancipation. This emancipation has been called the ‘kingdom of heaven’ or ‘awakening to enlightenment’ and is inseparable from simply knowing God, knowing one's own nature: the natural mind.

In order to return to this natural mind, you have to learn to settle into it. In other words, it's not a doing of something. This is going to be extremely difficult for both instructor and student because everything you've ever learned is manipulation and doing-oriented. This is an unwinding process and a return to true naturalism, beyond the faux naturalism promoted today. When people worry about the earth, what they are really doing is having a megalomaniacal projection about their spiritual failings. We should really try to find out how to return to the innate natural mind, God, the source of everything, which is the most valuable thing in the world, and yet the least respected, most missed thing in the world. What an incredible dichotomy, but amazingly, to get started all you have to do is begin to respect it again. Once you are introduced to it by someone who teaches Dzogchen, you settle into it like a hen on an egg. This is the teaching that puts all teachings into perspective.

How is it that we can recognize this mind? By the lack of phenomenal characteristics, specific or amorphous, physical, emotional or mental. You might object, "Wait, there is nothing that has no phenomenal characteristics!" Don't worry, there is no such thing as nothing. This is the ultra-logic. It requires an astute awareness to be able to understand this. Don't be nihilistic anymore, and instead be willing to settle into non-manipulation. It takes exceptional courage to do it; one in a thousand will do it. It's exceedingly simple—many will misconstrue it as simplistic.

This ultimate truth of Dzogchen is the truth that will set you free. It’s up to you to settle in and realize this truth. We all have the potential to realize it, but very few use this innate potential. This potential is in the natural mind itself; this potential is to recognize enlightenment, buddhahood, Christhood. It is the complete return to Tao, the realization of God. It's all there: all you have to do is purify the obscurations by ending the manipulation. You're not manipulating, you say? Perhaps a pleasant thought, but unfortunately this is not the case. Until enlightenment we are lost in the self-manipulated state of samsara.

We could say there are two levels of creation that arise out of this natural mind. One is subtle, another is dense. Even this isn't quite accurate, but as a skillful teaching, we can discuss it this way. ‘Subtle’ means mental phenomena, such as thoughts, feelings, dreams, daydreams, wishes, hopes and fears. Those are subtle because if I have them, you can't see mine, and when you have them, I can't necessarily see yours. Some people don't even believe in those, but one with any degree of awareness can tell that the phenomena of dreaming and imagination are occurring continually. ‘Dense’ phenomena are all the physical objects, buildings, trees, rocks, planets, etc.

All things, subtle and dense, the entire universe and every single phenomena, arise out of your natural mind. That is where you are connected to God. Knowing that intellectually won't do you much good. Religions fell apart because people knew them only intellectually and didn't know the actual practice of them. They couldn't go to the center of the teaching, and they missed the essential point. When we study a scripture, for example, it’s best if we honestly want to understand it. If we don't get it, we simply admit, "I don't get it." That is a correct approach until we can really penetrate the meaning. Otherwise, we may tend to create some sort of artificial religion to displace our lack of knowing because we think our unfoldment has to proceed in a certain manner.

This is the real non-secret of how to do this. It's not a secret because I told you. Your own nature is inseparable from wisdom deity. Chances are you don't know that nature. Perhaps you were never introduced correctly, or if you were, you might not have listened. You may have gotten caught up in the false teachings of ornamentation religion. Unless you become like a small child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.