Monday, January 20, 2020

This very lifetime.

The practice traditions of Mahamudra and Dzogchen make a radical claim that we can achieve liberation in this very life. This life, as it is right now, is the ground of your awakening.

Not the life you are waiting to live. Not the life you will have after you go back to school or get a better job. Not the life you'll have once you have your finances figured out, fix your problems, find the right partner or make that move to a new city. Not the life where you have more time, the kids are out of the house, or you can take that extended leave.

This life. The life you have right now, as it is. This is the ground of your awakening.

Can you accept that?

Whatever reason you have for putting off your liberation and freedom for another life or another time, I ask you, I beg you, to call bullshit.

What are you holding onto? What story are you telling yourself? Whatever it is, it's all made up. It seems to be true, but there is a lot more space and opportunity there than you recognize.

Recognize the fear, uncertainty, hope, longing, and storytelling for what it is - bullshit. Recognize when you fall into those cycles and treat them as a call to presence. Right here, right now.

You will never discover freedom and liberation in the future. The ground of awakening is the ever-present unfolding reality, just as it is. 


Monday, January 6, 2020

Upcoming Meditation Workshop

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Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Sunday, January 12, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PST) 

Wise Orchid Taijiquan & Qigong
2002 East Union Street
Seattle, WA 98122
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Join us for a weekend workshop on the practice of vipashyana or insight. Learn how to meditate, ask questions, engage in dialogue with other practitioners. Learn the foundational practices for exploring the inner landscape of your mind, recognizing your own true nature, and setting yourself on a journey of self-discovery and awakening.
No prior meditation experience necessary, all students welcome.
  • Be introduced to the key points of exploring the nature of mind
  • Learn how to explore the nature of mind using various techniques
  • Learn how recognize the innate qualities of the nature of mind
  • Understand how we stray in the practice and how to eliminate errors in our meditation


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See you on the cushion!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Spacious awareness.

In Dzogchen, our true nature is introduced as rigpa, or awareness. When we receive the pointing out instructions, rigpa is what is pointed out in our own experience. Awareness is not such a great translation of rigpa, because we already have a constructed meaning for awareness. That is why in Dzogchen texts you often find rigpa (Tib. rig-pa) translated as intrinsic awareness, open presence, or simply left as rigpa.

Put a cup in front of you. Notice the experience of ordinary awareness. It's something like, "I, Greg, am aware of the cup." It's very dualistic, separate, distinct. There is the subjective awareness observing a perceptually real external object. This is not what we mean by awareness or rigpa.

Rigpa is not dualistic. Take another look at the cup. This time shift your attention to the space between you and the cup, around the cup, in the cup, the three dimensional space in which the cup is suspended. Mingle your awareness with that space.

Now look up and observe the room around. Mingle your awareness with the space in the room, such that your awareness and the space are inseparable. Rest in that state. Familiarize yourself with that state of open presence.

This is closer to the experience of rigpa. Not quite rigpa because you still have reference points, borders and limits, but you're quite close. As you gain stability resting in open presence and learn how to cut through fixation and grasping, eventually ever-present unobstructed awareness (rigpa) becomes fully evident.

In Dzogchen texts, you often find rigpa referenced as ying-rig. Ying (Tib. dbyings) means basic space, objective sphere, dimension, or field of reality. Rig means rigpa or awareness. So ying-rig means the inseparability of basic space and awareness, or the union of the objective sphere and awareness.

As Longchenpa states in the ninth chapter of the Choying Dzod:

Within the single expanse, supremely spacious by nature, awakened mind equal to space is pivotal.
Focus on this key point and distill it to its vital essence;
it is the greatest of the great- wholly positive and spacious enlightened mind. 
In its very essence, it thoroughly shatters the outer confines of reality. 
Within this single vast expanse, there is no duality of realization versus its lack, 
or freedom versus its lack, but a supreme state of equalness. 

Initially, it is hard to maintain this state of unobstructed awareness because we are easily ensnared by mind. Playing a game with a red dot can be an effective call to presence throughout your day, use it to mingle basic space and awareness. Eventually, everything in the phenomenal world becomes an ornament of awareness- whatever you think, see, hear, smell, taste, feel - as basic space and awareness mingle and become inseparable in a single non-dual expanse. 

Mingle your meditation with your daily life. Familiarize yourself with authentic presence on the cushion, and then skillfully carry it out into the world. 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Call to presence.

What is reminds you to be open, available and receptive?

When you get caught up in thoughts, emotions and busyness, how do you break free from the cycle of reactivity?

Try an experiment with me.

Any time you see a red dot, recognize it as a call to presence. In Tibetan you might call this a red thigle, but for our purposes any old red spherical object will do.

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Whenever you see a red dot, take a moment to see it suspended within the expanse of your awareness. Like a red orb suspended in space, ornamenting your awareness. Rest in that open, expansive presence free of elaboration. Rest a moment and carry that openness with you as you go about your day.

You will get caught up in mind again. Don't worry. More red dots await you. Maybe buy some small red stickers and put them in places that you frequent. It will be like planting seeds of awareness in a battlefield of confusion. 

Waking up can be fun, an infinite game in which everyone wins. Go adorn your world with authentic presence.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Siddhearta's Essence of 2019.

2019 has been a bit of a bridge year for me. I completed a lot of projects that I have been working on for the past few years and find myself in a new territory, a vast unexplored world with infinite possibility. Even now as I write this I acknowledge that I don't know what comes next. It's the end of the decade, and a wonderful ten years it has been.
To think that ten years ago, I didn't think of myself as a teacher, didn't write, hadn't done any ten day or longer retreats. I had just gotten married, couldn't have imagined how much I enjoy being a father, and had never conceived leading a Buddhist non-profit. What world awaits me in the next ten years?
I appreciate your support and encouragement over this past year. Your questions, curiosity and insight continue to inspire and motivate me. Thank you for your commitment to your own practice and having the courage to carry it into your daily life in the form of generosity, kindness and compassion.
Here are some of this years highlights. I hope you'll find one or two that connect with your own practice and share them with others. 

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!
May you enjoy health and a peaceful mind!
May you focus on your practice,
generously share love and kindness,
and may you accomplish the aims of yourself and others!