Phenomenological Experience and Self Liberation
Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D. Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, A. B. P. P.
The Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and the Washington Center for Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy
Unbearable Pain and Transcendental Liberation
In pain, in deep seated relentless existential pain, to be able to go beyond phenomena of pain and to go beyond the phenomena of our mind, and enter into Transcendental Pure Being is a fantastic possibility and provides the self- liberation from unbearable agony. In situations of horror and terror there is self- liberation by entering into Transcendental Realm of Pure untouched Being. Transcendental Being is an experience of Deathless Awareness. The experience of Transcendental awareness has the power of self-liberating us from foundational annihilation anxiety, and terror of ontological death. The experience of Transcendental Being is the experience of being unborn and undying. Transcendental experience frees us from annihilation terror for ourselves and others. Transcendental experience is the experience of the Divinity of Pure Being as self- liberation, as freedom.
The Bliss of The Ordinary Life as Self Liberation: Dzogchen Self-liberation
Moreover, to be able to experience ordinary life as the ongoing continuous experience of embodied luminous Being , whatever the situation and whatever the context is the natural process of self- liberation. The path of immanence reflects our self- liberation through our experience of the ordinary life world. The bliss of Samadhi is the bliss of the world and the bliss of the world is the bliss of Samadhi. Through the phenomena of experience we experience Pure Being ‘just as we are’ and just as the phenomena is. This is the Divinity of Natural Self- Liberation.
Equality Consciousness and the Bliss of The Divinity of Being
In light of the Dzogchen revelations within the early naturalistic Tibetan Nyingma Tradition and within the ancient expression of the Bon Tradition, the complete Divinity of every person and the Divinity of the world itself becomes experientially revealed and directly knowable by the most ordinary person. The divinity of human experience and the divinity of human appearance is directly known and directly experienced by ordinary persons. The divinity of the person is the divinity of their Being. The Divinity of Being and the Divinity of beings is the essence of Dzogchen. In this context of direct knowing, direct knowing does not depend on language or conceptualization or language of signifiers. Liberation is a non- conceptual experience open to everyone. Liberation is within everyone.
The Divinity of ourselves and the Divinity of the world is personified as the natural experience of equality consciousness. Dzogchen is the Bliss of the Ordinary. Dzogchen does not fall into the endless narcissistic allure of ‘ spiritual specialness and spiritual exceptionalness’. In Dzogchen there is no above and no below. Dzogchen is equality consciousness. Dzogchen is equal vision.
The Guru is not a Person, The Guru is Your very Self!
In Dzogchen the Guru is not a person, the Guru is within every person as their very self. The Guru is primordial awareness in its capacity of self- revelation as the nature of human innermost awareness. By focusing on the innermost Guru the protection and self- illumination of the field of Being is brought forth. The Dzogchen teaching about the Guru being in everyone, and not being a singular person is very liberating. The guru is of the nature of our innermost awareness as the ground of Being, the Buddha Nature. Being is the Buddha Nature, Being is wisdom gnosis. Being is self-illumination. In the Greek philosophy, the wording of the Logos carried the implications of the guru. The guru and the archetypal guru has movement and or spanda of self- manifestation. The power of self-manifestation is our capacity to manifest this light into others, and situations.
Dzogchen knows the guru is not a person but is the natural power of self- revelation. The Guru is the nature of Being itself as the self-illumination of the nature of Being. The Guru is the process of self-revelation. Guru is Buddha Nature, The Guru is wisdom gnosis within everyone. Wisdom does manifest from within us, and from within many people and many situations. Wisdom is not the possession of a patriarchal character.
The embodiment of the guru’s presence, which is innate within us, is vast experiential support for equality consciousness. It is our attunement to equality consciousness in everyone. The Guru is not a possession of priesthood or authorities. The Guru is the field of awareness. In Dzogchen, liberation is the essential experience of equality consciousness of everyone, within everyone. Attunement to the guru within, is attunement to Being.
Buddha Nature and Dzogchen
In Dzogchen, the Divinity of Being is Buddha Nature. All beings are Buddha Nature. Buddha Nature is the nature of Pure Being. Pure Being as Buddha Nature self-manifests as infinite pure beings. The Being of these infinite numbers of beings is Buddha Nature. The divinity of Being reflects the essential Purity of Being and the essential Purity of the Being of all beings. In the 11th century the Dzogchen Master Rongzompa wrote his foundational text on the Divinity of Appearance.
Ontological Bliss is the Bliss of Being, The Awareness of Being is Bliss
The Tantras declare Bliss overcomes suffering. Bliss is an ontological quality of Being. Bliss is not simply a conjured up psychological event. To experience within the Being-ness of our own Being, we experience the Bliss of Being which is completely natural. The nature of Being is Bliss. Bliss is an essential quality of the field of Being. The Hindus call it Sat Chit Ananda. Our attunement to the bliss of Being is an attunement that embodies us and liberates us through the Bliss of Being. Bliss overcomes suffering and Bliss liberates us just as we are. Bliss is the intrinsic nature of Being. Bliss is an ontological event and not simply an emotional experience. Bliss is deeply felt and sensed as ontological quality of our experience of Being.
Purity of Being is Essential Dzogchen
This experience of the oneness and non-duality of Being can be shared and experienced by everyone. The experience of non- duality of Being within the duality of beings, and the experience of duality of beings within the non-duality of Being is self- liberation. This is a pre-reflective knowing and pre-reflective experience. This is a direct non -conceptual knowing that can be articulated experientially.
In this ontological context there is neither above or below and neither better or best. There is neither truth or falsity and there is neither good nor evil. Equality consciousness is the experience of the pervasive Purity of Being as experienced in all beings and all forms of Being. The experience of the Purity of Being of all beings is of the liberating essence within Dzogchen. Dudjom Lingpa describes Dzogchen as a training to experience the Purity of all phenomena and all Beings.
Living in The Field of Being
Dzogchen is the skillful experience of living within in the field of Being as luminous personal being and being open to primordial awareness as Being. By integrating our mind within the vast, open field of awareness, and by integrating our personal forms within the formless experience of Being, we experience self- liberation. We experience the ongoing continuity of Being as our own Being. The knowingness of Being is awareness, and awareness is the knowingness of Being. Primordial Awareness is an intrinsic quality of Being. Our personal awareness is the manifestation in time of primordial awareness which and who is primordial Being.
Metabolization of Awareness as the Power of Self Liberation
Through the power of awareness we can metabolize our mind’s relentless judgmental-ness. We can metabolized mental judgement of reified right and reified wrong. We metabolize our splitting of reified good and reified evil. We metabolize our reified judgment of truth and reified judgement of falsity. We metabolize our judgmental preoccupation with better or best. We can metabolize affective states and states of mood and primitive instinctive states of drive-ness. The metabolization of experience brings forth light and luminous energy.
The power of awareness is the power of metabolization. We can integrate our judgmental mind within the luminous infusion of the field of awareness and live within our direct perception, or the direct knowing of the field of Being. This direct knowing manifests in various contexts, and various situations within the field of Being. The field of Being liberates us.
We are not knowing by mind alone. Knowing by my mind alone is concrete and disconnected from the vast and pervasive pure luminous field of Being. We are the one knower within the union of our two ways of knowing. This is the union of mind and awareness and form and formlessness. This experience is not earned or merited, this is naturally given to everyone and anyone. This is the essence of Mystic Humanism.
Naturalistic Knowing as Direct Perception
Dzogchen does not consider itself as a kind of special knowing or a knowing of exceptional person. The Dakinis ( feminine archetype) laugh at specialness, and laugh at aspirations of the grandiosity of the ‘exceptional person’. Dzogchen is not limited to the exceptional person or culture. This thought of specialness and exceptionalness is simply the bliss of grandiosity. Dzogchen is the Bliss of the Ordinary.
Gnosis and Jnana are the very nature of human awareness. The direct knowing of Being is the nature of human awareness. The direct knowing of Being within form and form within Being is the essence of being human, and is humanism. Even babies have direct knowingness and direct union with the field of Being through the embodied Being of their mother, their embodied union with their mother. The drama of human development is the drama of dualistic being within non- dualistic Being. The drama of human development is the drama of Oneness and Separateness. Our first Guru is our mother. The Guru is the light of our own innermost awareness. To become aware of awareness opens the door to self- liberation. To become the fullness of Being is self-liberation.
Dzogchen as Relational Path to Self-liberation
Dzogchen is a relational and existential path of self- liberation. Heidegger in his phenomenology names the human being’s open knowingness of Being as “Da Sein”. This open knowingness of Being is called “semde” in Dzogchen and is foundational in Dzogchen phenomenology. Mind in Dzogchen is called “sems.” This distinction is important for practice and most important for understanding. The middle way is the experience of non- duality within duality and duality within non-duality. The middle way is the experience of oneness of Being within difference of beings and the difference of beings within the oneness of Being. As the Dakini said to Dudjom Lingpa, “you and I are indivisible.”
The Drama of Becoming Aware of Awareness
The drama of Dzogchen is becoming aware of our own awareness. As we become aware of our own awareness, the qualities of awareness begin to manifest. There is no one way of becoming aware of awareness. Here is one way. First, we can suspend our own mind. The phenomenologists call the suspension the ‘epoche.’ When we suspend our mind we pause our mind, and then we shift from being in our mind to being in awareness. In this step we become aware of our mind, we are no located in the mind, but we are aware of mind and functions of mind. This is a form of mindfulness. Then we make on more turn. We turn from being aware of our mind to becoming aware of awareness itself. We turn our awareness inward to its own self. The phenomenologist call this a reduction. Now we become aware of awareness itself. As we begin to become aware of awareness, a number of phenomena appear. We may begin to experience qualities of the field such as spaciousness, energy and light. We begin to open into the openness itself. We begin to rest in this openness. Gradually we become the openness. We are experientially one with the field of Being.
We begin to experience our awareness as direct knowing, a direct non- conceptual knowing and seeing. We are knowing through our awareness and not our mind. We begin to feel the experience that our awareness is the field of Being. As we are aware of the field, we are become the field aware of the field of Being which is vast and multidimensional.
Integrating Mind into Awareness
We now become aware of the qualities of awareness and the knowing of awareness. Having established our self in the field of awareness, in the experiential field of Being we integrate our mind into this field of awareness. Our mind knows form and our awareness knows Being. Our mind knows phenomena and our awareness knows the Being of Phenomena. As the one knower who integrates their mind within their field of awareness, we can experience the Being of Phenomena and the Phenomena of Being simultaneously. We can experience the presence of phenomena and the presence of Being simultaneously. We can experience Being through phenomena and the Being of Phenomena simultaneously. We can experience oneness and difference simultaneously. We can experience duality within non-duality and non-duality within duality simultaneously.
Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and the Washington Center for Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy Studies