“Master Patrul Rinpoche says that some practitioners may not understand the meaning of Vipashyana at all. They might not have faith and trust in Vipashyana. In some way, they might be uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the teaching. At the same time, their stability is Shamatha practice is not strong. Even when they are sitting in good posture, their minds are easily scattered with conceptions, and become dull, weak, and confused. In other words, meditation—whether Vipashyana or Shamatha—does not come easily. Whenever this happens to you, ignite the skillful means, or “appearance” practices, such as loving-kindness and compassion, joy and appreciation. In other words, cultivate something positive and substantial that can be held in mind. Invoke these thoughts vigorously, and then sit down on your meditation cushion. Even if you are already sitting, renew the clarity of your body, speech, and mind. You can do this by reviewing and re-applying the seven postures of the Buddha Vairochana. These are:
(1) Sit cross-legged in the “vajra posture,” or if you prefer, sit on a chair.
(2) Sit up straight, with your neck bent slightly forward, so your entire spine is aligned.
(3) Place you hands in the equanimity mudra, or place them palms down on your knees.
(4) Let the tip of your tongue gently touch the upper palate.
(5) Keep your arms relaxed, with the elbows off the ribs.
(6) Open your eyes and gaze toward the tip of your nose, or if you prefer, close your eyes.
(7) Breathe naturally.
In this posture spend a minute or two clearing your mind—try to let all of your conceptions simmer down. Then do the breath purification exercise we do every morning. This exercise cleanses the three channels from impure winds associated with attachment, anger, and ignorance. After that, relax. Abide in the nature of mind without conceptions for a minute or two. Then in the sky in front of you, or if you prefer above your head, feel the presence of your teacher in the form of Guru Padmasambhava. Guru Padmasambhava is the embodiment of all buddhas and teachers of the three times and ten directions. Feel strong devotion to him and the recite the Seven Line Prayer, as well as the prayers to the lineage masters and root teacher. Then, after praying, visualize that blessing lights come from Guru Padmasambhava, which cleanse and purify all your negativities, obscurations, and habitual patterns. Doubt, hesitation, dullness, weakness in meditation—these and all other hindrances to your realization are completely removed. Feel this very vividly. Then Guru Padmasambhava dissolves into light. This light enters your crown chakra, moves down your central channel, and enters your heart center where it merges with your awareness. At that moment let your mind look at your mind. What happens? The watcher and the watched merge, and there is no longer any subject and object. Now release your muscles and nervous system. Let everything go. Abide in the inexpressible nature of the mind, beyond categories and characteristics.
As you are relaxing in this state, suddenly thoughts will come up. As we said before, in the Dzogchen teachings thoughts are known as the display of the mind; they are the expressive energy of awareness. Do not regard thoughts as being bad. Do not prevent them, and also do not follow them. Let them come, be, and go. With regard to meditation experience, do not get excited over what might seem to be achievement, and do not despair over what might seem to be poor progress. These are just more thoughts. Instead of adding more thoughts, relax in the natural state. Do not expect good meditation; do not fear bad meditation. If dullness comes, reconnect to the energy of your awareness—re-invoke the clarity aspect of your mind. Let that power and its qualities arise anew, supported and checked by mindfulness. Employ any of these techniques as needed, with joy and devotion.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
The Nature of Mind
Photo of Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche in meditation.
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