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About steve

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  1. What happens to suicides?

    No one can answer this question for you. When we die, we will know, or not. We can rely on the explanations of others but what do they really know? You will come to that place completely alone and will be utterly surprised. The power of that little voice in our heads is astonishing. To be surrounded by such beauty, such infinite potential, and to only see it all as failure because of some set of twisted expectations is really something unfortunate and unique to humans, it seems. And it happens to so many of us! You are in very good company. Generally, it seems to happen mostly to those of us who are living in quite satisfactory conditions. Rather than end your life right away, what about beginning to question the judgement of the chatterbox in your head? That one is seeing a very limited and skewed view of yourself, your potential, and the world around you. That one is very confused and to follow its guidance is foolish. It is fundamental ignorance according to Buddhists. There is a place we can find and connect with that is infinitely more supportive, clear, and accessible. Good luck to you
  2. I love John O Donohue, yet see him so rarely quoted. Thank you
  3. Tantra...

    Fortunately, the base is unimputable. All discussion and conclusions reflect our own projections and limitations. All is well.
  4. Tantra...

    Understood, I don't disagree with what you said, I just wanted to point out that this isn't considered 'the Dzogchen view' It's just a description of three characteristics of the base.
  5. Tantra...

    This is not the Dzogchen view. Just an artificial division of the base for purposes of discussion. This is important because the word view has a very precise definition in Dzogchen.
  6. Favourite Buddhist Books

    I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Tantra or Dzogchen, especially Bön. It describes energetic anatomy and physiology, then some advanced Tummo practices. PS - transmission highly recommended but approved for open publication
  7. Tantra...

    There is most certainly a separation or there would be no need for any questions. There is in my life. To say otherwise for me would be to assert a concept, not to describe the experience of my day to day. Certainly the objective of my tradition is to rest in the Nature of Mind in every waking, dreaming, sleeping, and dying moment. I’ve got a long way to go to claim that as my direct experience in each and every moment. I agree with the idea. Living it fully is a different matter altogether, [edit] for me at least, if some of you are there _/\__/\__/\_, I only speak of my own limitations. It may be artificial from an ideal, conceptual perspective but is that our moment to moment experience? The relative experience is every bit as real as the absolute for me, hence the two truths. I don’t put as much emphasis on that difference from a practical point of view. The emphasis for me is more on the one who is engaging in this distinction. That is known as cutting the root. Yes, there are all sorts of karmic traces at different levels of consciousness. The practice is simply about how we deal with them when they present to our conscious awareness. And the way to deal with them is not to deal with them but to deal with the one who feels there’s something to deal with. We’ll have to simply disagree on this point. Yes, the you is everything (and at the same time nothing) and clarity is one aspect. This is a conceptual view, not the Dzogchen view. In our tradition there are three aspects defined for convenience of communication - space, awareness, and warmth. That is not the view, just a description. When there is no separation, all three aspects are clearly present and inseparable in direct experience. That is the view. My perspective differs in that you only really know there is integration when whatever arises has no power to interrupt that experience, whether sitting on the cushion or fully engaged in life. Things always have and always will “bubble up” as long as we are human and alive. That is my experience and that of everyone I’ve encountered so far on the path. Sure there are times of perfect silence but what counts is the silence within that is undisturbed by noise when it arises, whether inner or outer. Integration is not the absence of the arising of mind for me, it is the stability of openness and restfulness that cannot be disturbed by the arising of mind. In Dzogchen there is simply Being, which is empty, clear, and full of infinite possibility. Any deity is simply a representation of that. Edited to clarify that this is solely my experience, YMMV
  8. Tantra...

    I've only studied and practiced with the Bön lineages (there are 3 Bön Dzogchen lineages - A Tri, Drakpa Korsum, and Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud). The Buddhist Dzogchen lineages come through the Nyingma tradition. One important difference is that the Bön Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud is a tradition that has been passed down master to student without interruption dating back to times of antiquity. The teachings were initially passed from mind to mind, then orally, then were written down for the first time around the time of the master, Tapihritsa, around the 7th century. Tapihritsa is therefore extremely important and is the master with whom guru yoga is practiced by Bönpos, whereas the Nyingmapas practice with guru yoga with Padmasambhava. The entire Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud lineage can be studied in a wonderful book which features pith instructions from 24 consecutive masters said to have achieved the rainbow body - All other lineages have had their transmission interrupted and rediscovered as terma. The iconography and histories also differ between Bön and Buddhist traditions although they do share a few common figures. The basic practices are otherwise quite similar.
  9. Tantra...

    I know virtually nothing about Kaballah but your framework seems quite analogous to that of Bön Dzogchen, as I've been taught. The inseparable triad of space (emptiness), awareness (light), and warmth (energy) are the foundation of our conceptualization of the direct experience of the nature of mind. Furthermore they are the basis for the expression of the fruition of practice through the embodiment of the three dimensions or kayas, eg. the living expression of Buddha nature. I've always wanted to study Kabbalah. Sadly, it is not very accessible in Jewish circles which is partly what led to my exploration of other forms of spirituality.
  10. Tantra...

    I did not reach that conclusion from your words at all. I agree that is the subject and objective of the teaching. My point is that the very nature of scripture and our requisite approach to its form is a mental understanding. While the teaching may point to such a realization, beyond concept, the vehicle itself is inevitably bound up in concept. Words alone are unlikely to liberate a practitioner, they are simply touchstones or guideposts left by those who've gone before to help us gauge the progress of our experiential practice. And they do play an important role and have value. That is the point of the Beacon of Certainty. My point is that the conceptual mind is so pervasive and fundamental to our life experience that we as practitioners need to be extraordinarily vigilant and precise; yet effortlessly and playfully so in order to approach the non-conceptual in a meaningful way. I agree, the realization of emptiness is experiential and while that realization may be supported or even stimulated for some by scripture, I think it is more closely linked to a combination of conceptual formulation, experiential practice, karma, and blessings. I see it a bit differently. I feel that there are those who develop a very solid mental, I prefer the word conceptual, understanding of emptiness through the study of scripture. This mental understanding is legitimate in its own right but not equivalent to an experiential, non-conceptual realization of emptiness. For me that difference is not insidious, it's quite obvious. On the other hand, I would agree that there are many who don't see the difference. And pointing out such differences to them is generally unhelpful and frustrating to both parties. One must have a frame of reference to 'get it.' The question is not the problem, it's more like the questioner is the problem. Spontaneous release is different than "does not even arise" in my experience. Spontaneous release is when the mental activity arises, is seen for what it is, not interfered with, and incapable of disturbing the effortless restfulness of abiding in the nature of mind. Being unable to disturb, it simply arises, abides in awareness for as long as it needs, and then continues on its merry way to effortless dissolution. It's like a bubble rising from the sea floor to the surface and releasing into the sky. The oft used analogy among the Tibetans is that of snowflakes falling onto the surface of a lake or ocean. The snowflakes are unequivocally there but effortlessly dissolve without ever disturbing the surface of the water. The water takes no action to dissolve them. When resting in that level of meditation, you are correct, the question of release does not even arise. The question arises when the meditation is not at that level of stability and openness, which is more often the case for me in my practice. The analogy used for this level of practice is the sun melting frost. The frost is a bit more solid than flakes of snow, the sun (awareness) takes a modicum of time and energy (attention) to melt it, and yet the degree of energy expended is still relatively minor. There's a third analogy for a more coarse level of meditation but I can't recall it at the moment. The point is that it's not so much whether the liberation is perfectly effortless or somewhat more effortful but that the one questioning is there at all, that is the insidious part for me. For sure there is a level at which such questioning is positive and valuable. Then there comes a time when even such questioning must be released and is, in and of itself, the very obstacle. This is a more subtle level of resting. The one who realizes 'there are still subconscious aspects hanging around' is the more insidious and problematic obstacle than the "underlying issues" he is identifying. Once that one (the practitioner-identity) is able to fully rest, the issues themselves are of no real consequence and will self-liberate in good time and without interference. At least that's the approach we take in my tradition.
  11. Tantra...

    In my view, anything put down in words requires a mental understanding. While it may point to non-conceptual "understanding" it cannot escape the conceptual vehicle. We must read and then interpret the words, linking them to a conceptual image of whatever the words are pointing to. The very idea that a scripture has nothing to do with mental understanding is a clue to just how insidious and pervasive the conceptual mind is in our life and practice. I recently had a discussion with a very advanced practitioner and teacher in which I brought up something that I'm finding in my practice. In my meditation practice it is sometimes difficult to discern whether I have allowed a thought or impression to spontaneously liberate or whether I (the meditator) have interrupted or suppressed, which is not the proper technique. When I raised the question she quickly pointed to that very concern as the problem. The one questioning is, in and of itself, the most insidious and challenging one. Far worse than the "problem" he was pointing out.
  12. The Harsh Reality of Awakening

    Awakening is a progressive thing, it doesn't stop with the realizations expressed by the OP and other posts on this thread. There can be experiences or perspectives of awakening that bring us to a place of frustration, intolerance, aversion towards a 'lesser' level of being that we perceive we've risen above. This can be a painful place to be but it is also an opportunity to come to terms with that very aversion. Know that it is just a perspective. There can be experience and perspective that is quite the opposite. A direct experience of the connection of all life, all sentience, so powerful that one is overwhelmed by unconditional love and compassion for that which once elicited aversion. The danger here is one of attachment to that perspective, reification of that experience. It's every bit as much an obstacle as the ignorance. Can we take each of these perspectives as our path, integrating and reconciling the seemingly paradoxical truth of each on its own merits? And can we find inner peace in the face of these and all other circumstances that challenge us in both positive and negative ways? That's at least how I attempt to navigate the path.
  13. Why do YOU think the world is so messed up?

    I think the answers to all of the excellent questions raised can be found by looking inward. Seeing our own reactivity, confusion, frustration that arise when we feel challenged. It expresses in infinite ways. It can be cut at the root. The secret to fixing it - we can only change ourselves, we can’t change others. But if we truly transform ourselves, the world around us benefits.