Friday, October 30, 2015


Tibetan: bardo
English: intermediate state, in-between, gap

The bardo is a commonly used term to refer to the gap between lives, that in-between state where one life has ended and the other has yet to begin. 

The bardo is often a terrifying state. 

We don't feel comfortable there.  We are propelled by all of our past actions and intentions, but we have lost our previous form.  We have yet to take a new form, so we feel as though we have lost our ground. 

Our mind grasps after illusory appearances, hoping to find something that sticks, something that we can become.  We yearn for form. 

We yearn for what is next.

Fundamentally, this is the mind grasping at experience.  Fixating on identity, we suffer in the bardo. 

This experience is similar to one's practice in meditation.  In meditation we experience all of our past thoughts, actions and feelings.  We experience fixation on our body, its sensations and pain.  The practice is to learn to let go.  To let them be as they are. 

As thoughts and emotions arise, we recognize them as the play of the mind and learn to relax.  As appearances entice us, we learn to let them fall away.  As hope and doubt stir, we rest in ease and contentment. 

This helps us maintain freedom in the bardo.  We can abide there, timelessly, content and at peace. 

And at some point we will see a form unfold in which we can make an impact, be generous, benefit others and fulfill our intention. 

At that moment we enter the bardo of becoming and we take on a new life. 

At that moment we arise from our meditation. 

Friday, October 23, 2015


Do you ever find yourself getting caught up in collecting information for the sake of collecting more? 

We have this tendency in our practice- our practice of being generous, making an impact, being open and available to others around us- we have this tendency to externalize the practice. 

We get wrapped up in ideas and concepts.  We make our practice this big project with all of these complicated pieces.  We gather and collect, piece together and reanalyze.  Maybe even start back at square one. 

We need to evaluate what is relevant to our practice.  The process of doing that needs to occur on the basis of what is going on inside of us, not outside of us. 

Where are we getting stuck?  What are we grasping at?  Where is our hope and fear? 

Obstacles that we encounter in our mind are the ground for hope and fear.  The cycle of hope and fear spring from the resistance that is occurring in our own minds. 

Information gathering becomes a hiding place.  It becomes busy work that keeps us occupied and safe.

When that happens, it is not relevant to our practice.

Identify resistance.
Internalize your practice.
Notice when and why you try to get away. 

When you break through the resistance, it is like a dam giving way, all the qualities that were blockaded naturally pour out. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

I must have missed it.

Have you ever been too busy to catch a detail?

To agitated to see the connection?

To caught up in the routine to notice something that has always been there?

Have you ever been stuck on something and then realized the answer was in plain sight?

To understand and realize our buddhanature and the nature of our own mind we don't need something new.  Our buddhanature is fully evident. 

We just don't see it.

We get caught up in thoughts, emotions and habits.  We get stuck on identity, appearances and our situation.  It is not that we are far away from the result we are seeking.  It is more that we cannot recognize that which is right before us.

It is kind of like not being able to see you own eyelashes.  They are right there.

We have a tendency to complicate the path.  Really it is quite simple-

Tame your mind. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

That doesn't look good on you.

Fashion plays an important role in any culture.  People care how they look. 

They care about the impression they leave on people.  They care about how fashion allows them to move through their day.  They care about embodying what they want to see in the world.  They care about the message they are sending, the culture they are shaping, and the standard to be admired. 

We all know the usual players of fashion- footwear, accessories, hair and makeup.  Those have been the stalwarts that have defined fashion for the ages.  But fashion also has trends, trends we use to explore our culture and our world.

How do you look wearing anger?
What statement are you making when you use divisive and hurtful speech?
What impression do others have when you are impatient and rude?

I am willing to bet it doesn't look good on you.  And yet, others might follow your lead.

Of course the art of fashion is to create the image you want to see shape the world.

Kindness. Generosity. Compassion. Honesty. Respect. Humor. Confidence. Patience. 

What do those look like?

What are you wearing?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What are you?

You have a physical appearance, but you are not your appearance.
You have feelings, but you are not your feelings.
You have thoughts and ideas, but you are not your thoughts and ideas.
You have perceptions, but you are not your perceptions.
You have experiences, but you are not your experiences.
You have habits, but you are not your habits.
You have preferences, but you are not your preferences. 
You have consciousness, but you are not your consciousness.
You have an 'I', but you are not your 'I'.

So what are you?

We bind ourselves when we get caught up in appearances.  But we are not those appearances.

We are naturally liberated.  Natural Buddhas.  

Monday, October 12, 2015


Tibetan: so-jong
English: so- to heal, refresh, restore, nourish; jong- to purify, cleanse

Sojong is a practice of purification and restoration.  It forms an important part of every practitioner's practice.  Traditionally sojong is performed either as part of one's daily practice or on the 15th and 30th days of the lunar month.

What is purified?

Our broken vows.  A lapse in our commitments.  Missteps we have taken on the path.  Laziness.  Our negative thoughts, actions and habits.  Our intention.

If we take a moment in our practice to acknowledge our faults, to shine light on our own delusions, we can restore our intention.  We can nourish our commitment, refresh our connections, heal ourselves of guilt and self-hatred.

The practice of sojong allows us to take another step.  And another.  And another.

We keep going.  Not because we have to, but because we can.

There are many methods to engage in sojong.  Common ones include:

Taking the one-day lay upasaka vow.
Reciting the hundred syllable Vajrasattva mantra.
Offering mandalas.
Fire puja.
Reciting sutras.
Saving lives of animals and helping the ill.
Resting in rigpa.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Upcoming Dzogchen Seminar

Join us for a weekend of Dzogchen teachings.

Younge Khachab Rinpoche will be teaching on Longchen Rabjam's famed Choying Dzod, the Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena.  This text is one of Longchenpa's Seven Treasures and perhaps his greatest work.  In it he lays out the practice of trekchod, or cutting through, in a direct way that culminates in a state of timeless freedom.  Rinpoche will provide chapter by chapter commentary and give practical meditation instruction based on these profound teachings.  A rare opportunity to explore Longchenpa's presentation of Dzogchen at the foot of a modern day Dzogchen master.  

Translator: Tenzin Bhuchung

October 24-25, 2015 
10am-12pm and 2-5pm
Private Residence

515 N. 64th St

Seattle, WA
Please contact for work study options.

For questions please contact Greg at

Younge Khachab Rinpoche

Rinpoche is a renowned Rime scholar and Dzogchen master.  He is the Younge family lineage holder and holds the titles of both Geshe and Khenpo.  His teaching style is direct, warm and engaging, extensive yet practical; he condenses teachings into their essence and takes a personal interest in each of his student's practice.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The goal.

The goal of life is to be happy. 

What is difficult is making choices that support happiness.

It is hard to act on circumstances that are conducive to happiness.

It is challenging to deal with our thoughts and emotions in a way that leads to happiness.

It is really rare to surround yourself with people that promote your happiness.

It is even more rare to come across teachers who teach you methods that produce happiness.

So much of what we do for the sake of happiness leads us down the rabbit hole of suffering and dissatisfaction. 

The goal of life is to be happy, but the purpose of life is to act on the causes of happiness. 

The actor caught acting in the act.

Worse than not recognizing the play of the mind is the fact that we get caught up in it. 

We become ensnared in what is happening. It determines our choices and actions.  We get caught up in the story-line, wrapped up in our identity which isn't even real.

We are blind to it, continually perpetuating the charade that plays itself out again and again in endless loops. 

We long for freedom, for it to stop.  But how?

What happens if the actor drops everything?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Tibetan: nyingpo
English: potential, seed, womb, essence

Never having existed as anything whatsoever, 
it arises as anything at all. 
~Longchen Rabjam

There are two ways to think about potential.  One of them is that it is latent, the other that it is naturally present.  The latent approach likens potential to a seed that can gradually ripen into a fully formed fruit.  It requires effort and energy.  Drip by drip. 

The naturally present approach is a sudden encounter, a direct experience with our potential.  This can be compared to a mountain climber being introduced to a mountain, and then climbing it.

What is potential?  How can we relate to it?

It is not something tangible.  Not some thing.  It is completely pure and undefiled, beyond all expression or imagination.

Yet it is palpable, vibrant, luminous.  It is naturally and spontaneously present.

And it is responsive and dynamic.

We can learn to recognize our own potential.  We can learn to rest in that potential even amidst suffering, painful feelings and negative thoughts.  We can find rest, for that potential is the nature of our own mind and the nature of our entire world.

Everything is pure potential.  

Our practice is the tool by which we encounter our potential.  Our practice can use the latent approach, drip by drip.  Our practice can also use the naturally present approach, a direct encounter with the fullness of our potential.

Which approach do you use?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Questioning ourselves.

We often question ourselves, our worth and our value.

Are we good enough?  Are we worth it?  Can we really do this? 

Questioning our value is pretty common.   Why don't we ever question our fear and uncertainty?

Is it worth it to be angry?  Is it worth it to be jealous of others achievements? 

What do we get out of this worry and anxiousness?

What do we get out of feeling bad for ourselves?

We over invest in our thoughts and feelings, which are like clouds drifting through the sky.
We under invest in our potential, which is like the spacious sky.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fix your house.

So many people are overwhelmed with where to start.  They want to make a difference, make an impact, live a purposeful life, have a job with meaning, but don't know what step to take next. 

Fix your own house.

Fix a leaky faucet.
Fix a crack in the foundation.
Fix your roof.
Fix here.  Tweak there. 

Once you become more confident with fixing your own house, it won't seem so daunting to extend yourself to others.  You'll know where certain mistakes tend to come up, you'll have some experience dealing with problems and have a better idea where to go when you are stuck. 

Fix your own house and you will learn how to help others fix theirs. 

The same goes with training your own mind.