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Essays listed in chronological order starting with most recent. For archives, please see previous volumes below.
  • Writer's pictureRudy Bauer

Awareness and Movement in Dzogchen

Author is Rudolph Bauer,Ph.D Edited by Skip Ellis,MSW

Phenomenology of Awareness and Movement in Dzogchen

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  When you read a story as a tantric text, it contains layers of meaning. For me the story of the Immaculate Conception is a metaphor of Gnostic traditions focused on the luminous light, the natural light being born or carried within all human beings.  A metaphor for the divinity within that is brought forth into the world, the manifestation of divinity as flesh, as nirmanakaya, and as sambhogakaya. In the story, Mary and the angel illuminate and reveal the knowledge of flesh as enlightened form.

And so the same Magnificat that Mary exclaims when she understands that luminous light, the body of light in her can be brought forth, can be brought into being in this world, is the exultations of all human beings who glimpse their true inner nature, their concealed nature as light, as divinity  manifesting itself. The Magnificat is a vajra song, a vajra celebration, a vajra pride.

Namkhai Norbu  is a great dzogchen master and a terma master who has brought forth dzogchen in a contemporary manner and in a contemporary time. I must have studied with him over 7 years. He is very  wise and also creates  lot of fun. One of his terma texts is Guru Dakini which I will bring here and read. It is a sambhogakaya /nirmanakaya transmission.

His book, Song of the Vajra, is so complete. As you know, dzogchen, as in anything, is all opinions. A central understanding of Namkhai Norbu’s is that in dzogchen when we learn about our nature or our real condition, we do not consider that our nature is only emptiness, but that movement too is present. The great master Garbe Dorje explains this there is no difference in being in movement and being in a state of calm or a state of stillness.

Why did he say this?  Those who follow the sutra path and teachings and apply  sutra understanding consider that contemplation and meditation  is only getting into a state of emptiness or stillness and then remaining one pointed in  that state. When thoughts arise they do not like it (this is bad) and when no thoughts arise they think now my meditation is developing (this is good).

In dzogchen, the calm state of emptiness is not contemplation. Contemplation is the state where there is presence. You are being in that pure presence----that is called meditation or contemplation and emptiness is only an experience within contemplation.

If you have spent many years only in emptiness, this realization will be very difficult. You will want to know experience in the context of instant, pure presence. Pure presence is the fundamental dimension of one’s embodiment. And the basic path is to experience one’s life and actions within and through this presence, which is awareness; luminous awareness manifesting through our experience both within and without. Life is experienced within and originating from this field of immanence.

To be in awareness of our own awareness brings forth various meditative experiences. The first arising meditative experience is of suchness or reality as it is, which is spaciousness, or openness, or the great expanse. Within this expanse there is no grasping, no narrow focusing on a point or anything what so ever; rather it is open unbound focus, round focus, expansive focus. The experience is a non- conceptual direct perception of the great expanse. There is reflection and pre-reflective state or non- reflective knowing. This non- conceptual knowingness is the heart of dzogchen. This does not mean you cannot think or feel but you think from within the non- conceptual state, the experience of gnosis or direct knowingness.

Sometimes as we experience this great expanse there is a sense of a drop of liquid luminescence naturally manifesting.  As spaciousness opens within the body and beyond the body, the basic space of phenomena is experienced in its inexpressible and unformulated nature. Within this spaciousness, a drop of vital essence arises or a tigle is experienced.  Sometimes it arises out of the base of the heart, the heart essence and sometimes the entire experience is round, a round vast drop which is the oneness of the basic space of reality. These drops are nectarian and are bodichitta liquid -like light that can be transferred and transmitted from person to person. These drops contain the essence of awareness, the heart essence, heart drops of dharmakaya. They are bliss or maha suka. Sometime the drop is blue like the blue pearl, sometimes luminous whiteness, sometimes darkness.

The second meditative state is all encompassing illumination or the body of light.  In essence awareness is luminous spaciousness, it is in essence compassion and the heart of compassion is emptiness or presence.

The vajra is awareness. The youthful vajra vase body is unborn undying primordial presence which is compassion itself and is within the body as the body and as the heart. Compassion which is radiance and radiance is compassion. There is this natural glow, this radiance extending and spreading and invoking and bringing light in one’s self and others’ emanations. This compassion, this heart essence radiance fills our worldly realm and accomplishes the realization and manifestation of  our nature both for self and for others. Benefit is not simply a solitary moment but the field and drop bring forth the same in oneself and others, in nature itself. Compassions natural glow invokes echo like sound that awakens you and others. It spreads an all encompassing illumination.

In truth what arises within, that gift in you is actually not simply for you, but for everything and everyone around you. You are a vehicle, a opening. It happens rather naturally if you do not work too hard at it. If you work too hard at it then you fall into an obsessive compulsive hell which Freud knew is the course of most religion. The heart drop shines immeasurable light and the drop manifest in you as a tigle, a drop of liquid light that you should pass on to someone else or someplace else.

This experience of the body of light encompassing illumination can metabolize old patterns, preverbal patterns, and pre-conceptual states. This light is the source of realization. It brings oneness within you and easily allows oneness with another and even oneness in place and even in a time. The brief time of the manifestation of your life, the vajra youth body, is the radiance of primordial awareness coming through you. The degree to which you and I sustain the body of light determines the degree our bodies become the light, becomes the wisdom deity, and much dualistic clinging, desperate impossible clinging, grasping and  grasping dissolves. Fear, our unbound fear dissolves, and then you experience your body as the body of light. Youthful, indestructible ongoing continuity of being, actually the deathless state is yours. You can be nuts and you can be a ass, a luminous nut and a luminous ass.

We place ourselves in wisdom gnosis, non-conceptual awareness, and think and feel in this vajra vase body, the youth body of light. I fill my awareness with the fearless vajra vase body. I fill my body with light, filling with luminosity, resonant to light in the room, in the human bodies, to sound, to appearances, to smells, even the affects reveal themselves as light. The pure lands are actually here and now; nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, and dharmakaya are here and now. This timeless presence is completely ordinary.

We think god is elsewhere, Buddha is elsewhere, Shiva elsewhere. They are here and now.

The state of awareness as sacred syllables arises, it is arises as cause. The dharmakaya manifests itself as light and energy which is soundless syllables. We can think of divinity as sound, luminous sound.  We understand the human voice as luminous sound and this sound opens appearance such that nature reveals itself. Sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya are miraculous forms of enlightenment.

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