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Eyes Open In Meditation

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Alan Wallace recommends meditation on awareness of awareness (Padmasambhva) with eyes partially open, ...


Now here's an opportunity to lift this from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying :)


The Tibetan name of the Buddha of Compassion is

Chenrézig. Chen is the eye, ré is the corner of the eye, and zig

means "see." This signifies that with his compassionate eyes

Chénrezig sees the needs of all beings. So direct the compassion

that radiates from your meditation, softly and gently,

through your eyes, so that your gaze becomes the very gaze

of compassion itself, all-pervasive and oceanlike.


There are several reasons for keeping the eyes open. With

the eyes open, you are less likely to fall asleep. Then, meditation

is not a means of running away from the world, or of

escaping from it into a trancelike experience of an altered state

of consciousness. On the contrary, it is a direct way to help us

truly understand ourselves and relate to life and the world.

Therefore, in meditation, you keep your eyes open, not

closed. Instead of shutting out life, you remain open and at

peace with everything. You leave all your senses—hearing,

seeing, feeling—just open, naturally, as they are, without

grasping after their perceptions. As Dudjom Rinpoche said:

'Though different forms are perceived, they are in essence

empty; yet in the emptiness one perceives forms. Though different

sounds are heard, they are empty; yet in the emptiness

one perceives sounds. Also different thoughts arise; they are

empty, yet in the emptiness one perceives thoughts." Whatever

you see, whatever you hear, leave it as it is, without

grasping. Leave the hearing in the hearing, leave the seeing in

the seeing, without letting your attachment enter into the perception.


According to the special luminosity practice of Dzogchen,

all the light of our wisdom-energy resides in the heart center,

which is connected through "wisdom channels" to the eyes.

The eyes are the "doors" of the luminosity, so you keep them

open, in order not to block these wisdom channels.


When you meditate keep your mouth slightly open, as if

about to say a deep, relaxing "Aaaah." By keeping the mouth

slightly open and breathing mainly through the mouth, it is

said that the "karmic winds" that create discursive thoughts

are normally less likely to arise and create obstacles in your

mind and meditation.


Rest your hands comfortably covering your knees. This is

called the "mind in comfort and ease" posture.

Edited by rex

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I used to meditate with my eyes open by focusing on a single object, a speck on the wall, a flower, a picture, etc. I think the experience is certainly different and I'm particularly open to the suggestion that it helps one understand their place within the "real" world better. Nice post, thanks for adding it.



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In ki aikido we'd meditate in seiza(on knees) w/ eyes in half closed, focused down a few feet ahead of us. It kept the back straight and a sharper level of attention to meditation. Also pain, though in younger days you could sit through it til the legs went to sleep.

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Hi Rex :)

Thank you so much for posting that.

It is kind of funny. I'd been reading the "Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar" book and the final method for meditation in the book says to keep the eyes open, turn the gaze upwards and partially open your mouth. But it never said anything about breathing through the mouth!


I can see now from your quote that one should breathe through the mouth and nose. I had spent a few days considering the effects of mouth breathing and I do recall reading a book that solely mouth breathing opens up the space element. So this makes perfect sense to me now. It is also interesting that perhaps breathing through the nose, which is actually using ida and pingala, the two nostril channels, is causing stored karma and extra thoughts to come up. You've saved me some research.. :)


Now I wonder about dissolving the ida and pingala into the central channel through the third eye. I wonder it is easier with mouth breathing or nose breathing.. Hmm.. Something to try..


I also appreciate learning about the connection from the heart to the eyes from this source. The heart is a magical centre, one which allows remote viewing through the eye centre. It must be through that channel, the same one described by some Hindu yogis. It is also so interesting that Dzogchen's luminosity is said to come from the heart.


Thanks again for the quote and the mention of the book.

I appreciate it.




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Now the attack site status has gone it's safe to reply!



You're welcome :)



Very similar to one method we were taught - looking down at a 45 degree angle - with a eyes softly focused, for introspection and quieting the mind.



Funny we were taught that as an option too. Eyes closed to set the mental atmosphere and motivation and open for the main practice.



You're welcome :)

I find breathing through the mouth difficult and trying nose at the same time even more so. Sometimes breathing gets virtually imperceptable, very fine and shallow. Dzogchen has it's own version of subtle or light channels that are different to those presented in the vajrayana models though I've received no teachings on these there is a connection, so I believe, between the heart centre and the six lamps.

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I will try to breath with my mouth once while meditating to see how it works.


Funny, my third eye has opened up a lot lately, so even when meditating with my eyes closed I can still see my room and my legs. That will take some time to get used to :D

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sometimes in the darkness it is brighter with the eyes closed than with them open :lol:


mouth breathing can get coarse, but coarse is a function of diaphragm-psoas-perineum smoothness. nose breathing is able to be less coarse because of the air pressure buffering mechanism provided by the sinuses. to truly get beneath the threshold of those turbulences requires the soft integrated harmoniousness of the diaphragm breathing so that it the only breath motivating structures used are all below the lungs (read diaphragm-psoas as a train moving slowly back and forth with the transitions in between the two smoothed out to the point of imperceptability.) so only then with sustained long breaths, low energetic consumption, sustained still awareness until just the rolling motion and awareness remains, only then are you "truly meditating" as some have described the difference between just sitting and "really meditating."


a good remedy to the eye situation is learning to effectively fix the spirit at the seat of awareness, and realizing nonduality as the awareness encompasses both the soft rolling motion of the gut as well as the spirit fixed at the seat, are they two, no, one, not one thing, many things. but that doesnt matter, the focus of awareness is truly what makes it what it is, but it doesnt get there without first conditioning the physical mechanisms.


the look down the nose is an important bit, partially because you are able to more effectively effect the flux potential at the lower with it just barely in the bottom of your peripheral vision, and the slight eyecross affects the ocular signal, can look reverse inside and down almost like there's a mirror pressed to the divot in your nose and another at the ni wan angled to reflect the ldt ;)

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