160 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING famous evening, Patrul Rinpoche gave him the introduction. It happened when they were staying together in one of the hermitages high up in the mountains above Dzogchen Monastery. 3 It was a very beautiful night. The dark blue sky was clear and the stars shone brilliantly. The sound of their solitude was heightened by the distant barking of a dog from the monastery below. Patrul Rinpoche was lying stretched out on the ground, doing a special Dzogchen practice. He called Nyoshul Lungtok over to him, saying: "Did you say you do not know the essence of the mind?" Nyoshul Lungtok guessed from his tone that this was a special moment and nodded expectantly. "There's nothing to it really," Patrul Rinpoche said casually, and added, "My son, come and lie down over here: be like your old father." Nyoshul Lungtok stretched out by his side. Then Patrul Rinpoche asked him, "Do you see the stars up there in the sky?" "Yes." "Do you hear the dogs barking in Dzogchen Monastery?" "Yes." "Do you hear what I'm saying to you?" "Yes." "Well, the nature of Dzogchen is this: simply this." Nyoshul Lungtok tells us what happened then: "At that instant, I arrived at a certainty of realization from within. I had been liberated from the fetters of 'it is' and 'it is not.' I had realized the primordial wisdom, the naked union of emptiness and intrinsic awareness. I was introduced to this realization by his blessing, as the great Indian master Saraha said: He in whose heart the words of the master have entered, Sees the truth like a treasure in his own palm. 4 At that moment everything fell into place; the fruit of all Nyoshul Lungtok's years of learning, purification, and practice was born. He attained the realization of the nature of mind. There was nothing extraordinary or esoteric or mystical about the words Patrul Rinpoche used; in fact, they were extremely ordinary. But beyond the words something else was being communicated. What he was revealing was the inherent nature of everything, which is the true meaning of Dzogchen. At that moment he had already brought Nyoshul Lungtok directly into that state through the power and blessing of his realization.
THE INNERMOST ESSENCE 161 But masters are very different, and they can use all kinds of skillful means to provoke that shift of consciousness. Patrul Rinpoche himself was introduced to the nature of mind in a very different way, by a highly eccentric master called Do Khyentse. This is the oral tradition I heard of this story. Patrul Rinpoche had been doing an advanced practice of yoga and visualization, and had become stuck; none of the mandalas of the deities would appear clearly in his mind. 5 One day he came upon Do Khyentse, who had made a fire out in the open and was sitting in front of it drinking tea. In Tibet when you see a master for whom you have deep devotion, traditionally you begin to prostrate your body on the ground as a mark of your respect. As Patrul Rinpoche started prostrating from a distance, Do Khyentse spotted him and growled menacingly, "Hey, you old dog! If you are brave, then come over here!" Do Khyentse was a very impressive master. He was like a samurai, with his long hair, his rakish clothes, and his passion for riding beautiful horses. As Patrul Rinpoche continued doing prostrations and began to approach closer, Do Khyentse, cursing him all the time, started to hurl pebbles at him, and gradually larger rocks and stones. When he finally came within reach, Do Khyentse started punching him and knocked him out altogether. When Patrul Rinpoche came to, he was in an entirely different state of consciousness. The mandalas he had been trying so hard to visualize spontaneously manifested in front of him. Each of Do Khyentse's curses and insults had destroyed the last remnants of Patrul Rinpoche's conceptual mind, and each stone that hit him opened up the energy centers and subtle channels in his body. For two marvelous weeks the visions of the mandalas did not leave him. I am going to attempt now to give some sense of what the View is like and how it feels when the Rigpa is directly revealed, even though all words and conceptual terms fail, really, to describe it. Dudjom Rinpoche says: "That moment is like taking a hood off your head. What boundless spaciousness and relief! This is the supreme seeing: seeing what was not seen before." When you "see what was not seen before," everything opens, expands, and becomes crisp, clear, brimming with life, vivid with wonder and freshness. It is as if the roofof your mind were flying off, or a flock of birds suddenly took off from a