The Heart Jewel of the Fortunate

Personal Advice on Dzogchen

by Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche Jig’drèl Yeshé Dorje

There is nothing in samsara and nirvana that is not embraced by non-dual awareness. From beginninglessness, non-dual awareness is ever-present. It is inborn within us, yet utterly beyond the range of referentiality, effort, and imagination.

Appreciative Acclamation of my Lama.

Concerning Dzogchen, Padmasambhava said:
Do not investigate phenomena – investigate the nature of Mind. Once the nature of Mind is discovered, one will know the one thing, whereby everything is self liberated. If one fails to find the nature of Mind, one may discern everything but one will know nothing.

When beginning to meditate on the nature of Mind, sit with body upright, inhaling and exhaling naturally. Gaze into space with eyelids neither drowsily hanging nor stretched unnecessarily wide. Watch the face of Küntuzangpo with awareness and in the knowledge of all beings having been one’s mother. Strongly invoking the presence of one’s Tsawa’i Lama—as inseparable from Padmasambhava—one mingles one’s mind and settles in meditative equipoise.

Once settled, one may not remain long in awareness. Conceptual mind may begin to move and one may become agitated. Conceptual mind may fidget; scampering like a monkey – here, there, and everywhere. What is experienced at this point is not the nature of the Mind but merely that which arises in the nature of Mind. If one follows that which arises in the nature of Mind, one will merely find oneself recalling past events, speculating about various needs, and scheduling various activities. It is precisely this conceptual activity which hurled us into the lugubrious ocean of samsara in the past. There is no doubt that referentiality will produce the same result in the future. Would it not be preferable if one could sever the proliferation of referentiality?

If one breaks the chain of referentiality, however – how does non-dual awareness appear? Is it not limpidly stunning, light, free, and joyous? Is it not unbounded? Is it not undemarcated by self-attributes? There is nothing in samsara and nirvana that is not embraced by non-dual awareness. From beginninglessness, non-dual awareness is ever-present. It is inborn within us, yet utterly beyond the range of referentiality, effort, and imagination.

But what—you may ask—is it like to recognise the face of non-dual awareness? Although one experiences it, one cannot describe it. It would be like a mute person trying to describe dreams. It is impossible to distinguish between oneself resting in non-dual awareness and the non-dual awareness one is experiencing. When one rests naturally—nakedly—in the boundless state of non-dual awareness, the urgency of injudicious hyperactive conceptuality, memories, and troublesome plans – evaporates and disappears in the spacious sky of awareness. Referentiality collapses and vanishes into non-dual awareness.

One has this awareness within oneself. It is the clear, naked wisdom of chöku. But who can introduce it? On what should one establish a foundation? Of what should one be certain? It is one’s Lama who displays the state of awareness – and when one recognises, it is then that the nature of Mind is self-introduced. The appearances of samsara and nirvana are merely the display of your own non-dual awareness – so establish a foundation on this awareness alone. Just as waves rise and sink within the sea, thoughts emerge and dissolve within non-dual awareness. Being certain of this arising and dissolution, one will find oneself devoid of a meditator and that which is meditated upon. One will find oneself beyond the meditating mind.

On hearing this one might feel that there is no need for meditation – but I assure you there is a need. Mere recognition of non-dual awareness will not bring one to complete liberation. Throughout lives from beginninglessness one has been a pathetic slave to referentiality enveloped in counterfeit premises and deluded habit. And when death arrives one’s destination is uncertain. One follows one’s perceptions and responds accordingly. This is the reason for meditation and continuously finding the presence of awareness to which one has been introduced. Kunkhyen Longchenpa said:
One may recognise the nature of Mind, but if one does not meditate and thus become accustomed to that nature, one will be like a baby left on a battlefield. One will be carried off by the foe – the ruthless mercenaries of your own referentiality.

Dzogchen means being spontaneously natural and constantly present. Through this one becomes accustomed to resting in the primordial uncontrived nature. Dzogchen means one becomes familiar with leaving the state of non-dual awareness as it is.

How do we become accustomed to remaining in the nature of the Mind? When thoughts arise, let them arise. There is no need to regard thoughts as enemies. When thoughts arise, relax in their arising. If thought do not arise, do not create them by nervously speculating as to when they will arise. Simply rest in their absence. If concretely clearly defined thoughts suddenly appear during meditation, it is easy to distinguish them – but when inconsequential subtle movements occur, it is not easy to recognise these movements immediately. They are ‘ög-gyu’i namtog (’og gyu’i rNam rTog), the undercurrent of ideational wandering – the thief of meditation. It is thus important to remain present. If one is constantly present in meditation and post-meditation – then whether eating, sleeping, walking, or sitting, that is it – that is the natural state.

Padmasambhava said:
A hundred points may be explained – or even a thousand may be elucidated – but there is only one thing to know, and everything is freed: Remain within non-dual awareness of the nature of Mind.

If one does not meditate, one will not gain certainty – but if you meditate, you will. But what is this certainty? If one endeavours in meditation with strength and joy, then signs will appear which will show that one has become familiar with remaining in the nature of Mind.

The tight clinging of dualistically experienced phenomena will gradually loosen. Obsession with happiness and suffering, hopes and fears – will dwindle. Devotion to the Lama will burgeon. Sincere trust in the Lama’s instructions will mature. Tense dualistic attitudes will evaporate. Gold and gravel, victuals and vileness, deities and demons, righteousness and culpability, will be the same. One would be at a loss as to whether one would opt for the heavens or the hells. Until this point is reached, however, one takes dualism seriously – and therefore righteousness and culpability, the heavens and hells, pleasure and pain, actions and results – will still seem real.

Padmasambhava said:
My view is as vast as the sky, but my actions are finer than flour.

So one should not lurch and stagger through life claiming to be a Dzogchenpa or a Dzogchenma when all the while one may be little more than a flatulent oaf, rank with greed, and stinking of stale beer.

It is essential to have a stable foundation of devotion and maintained vows, and to endeavour to proceed with a well balanced strength of joy that is neither too rigid nor flaccid. If one meditates—if one turns aside from mundane societal concerns—it is certain that one will attain the profound path of Dzogchen. Why wait for future lives when one could encapsulate the primordial bastion in this moment?

This advice is my heart blood – so hold it closely and never separate from it.