162 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING dark nest. All limitations dissolve and fall away, as if, the Tibetans say, a seal were broken open. Imagine you were living in a house on the top of a mountain, which was itself at the top of the whole world. Suddenly the entire structure of the house, which limited your view, just falls away and you can see all around you, both outside and inside. But there is not any "thing" to see; what happens has no ordinary reference whatsoever; it is total, complete, unprecedented, perfect seeing. Dudjom Rinpoche says: 'Your deadliest enemies, the ones who have kept you tied to samsara through countless lives from beginningless time up until the present, are the grasping and the grasped." When the master introduces and you recognize, "These two are burned away completely like feathers in a flame, leaving no trace." Both grasping and grasped, what is grasped and the grasper, are freed completely from their very basis. The roots of ignorance and suffering are severed utterly. And all things appear like a reflection in a mirror, transparent, shimmering, illusory, and dream-like. When you naturally arrive at this state of meditation, inspired by the View, you can remain there for a long time without any distraction or special effort. Then there is nothing called "meditation" to protect or sustain, for you are in the natural flow of the wisdom of Rigpa. And you realize, when you are in it, that is how it has always been, and is. When the wisdom of Rigpa shines, not one shadow of doubt can remain, and a deep, complete understanding arises, effortlessly and directly. All the images I have given and the metaphors I have tried to use you will discover to be fused in one all-comprehensive experience of truth. Devotion is in this state, and compassion is in this state, and all the wisdoms, and bliss, clarity, and absence of thoughts, but not separate from one another, all integrated and linked inextricably with each other in one taste. This moment is the moment of awakening. A profound sense of humor wells up from within, and you smile in amusement at how inadequate all your former concepts and ideas about the nature of mind were. What springs from this is a growing sense of tremendous and unshakable certainty and conviction that "this is it": There is nothing further to seek, nothing more that could possibly be hoped for. This certainty of the View is what has to be deepened through glimpse after glimpse of the nature of mind, and stabilized through the continuous discipline of meditation.
MEDITATION THE INNERMOST ESSENCE 163 What, then, is meditation in Dzogchen? It is simply resting, undistracted, in the View, once it has been introduced. Dudjom Rinpoche describes it: "Meditation consists of being attentive to such a state of Rigpa, free from all mental constructions, whilst remaining fully relaxed, without any distraction or grasping. For it is said that 'Meditation is not striving, but naturally becoming assimilated into it.'" The whole point of Dzogchen meditation practice is to strengthen and stabilize Rigpa, and allow it to grow to full maturity. The ordinary, habitual mind with its projections is extremely powerful. It keeps returning, and takes hold of us easily when we are inattentive or distracted. As Dudjom Rinpoche used to say, "At present our Rigpa is like a little baby, stranded on the battlefield of strong arising thoughts." I like to say we have to begin by babysitting our Rigpa, in the secure environment of meditation. If meditation is simply to continue the flow of Rigpa after the introduction, how do we know when it is Rigpa and when it is not? I asked Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche this question, and he replied with his characteristic simplicity: "If you are in an unaltered state, it is Rigpa." If we are not contriving or manipulating the mind in any way, but simply resting in an unaltered state of pure and pristine awareness, then that is Rigpa. If there is any contriving on our part or any kind of manipulating or grasping, it is not. Rigpa is a state in which there is no longer any doubt; there is not really a mind to doubt: You see directly. If you are in this state, a complete, natural certainty and confidence surge up with the Rigpa itself, and that is how you know. 6 The tradition of Dzogchen is one of extreme precision, since the deeper you go, the subtler the deceptions that can arise, and what is at stake is the knowledge of absolute reality. Even after the introduction, the masters clarify in detail the states that are not Dzogchen meditation and must not be confused with it. In one of these states you drift into a no-man's landof the mind, where there are no thoughts or memories; it is a dark, dull, indifferent state, where you are plunged into the ground of the ordinary mind. In a second state, there is some stillness and slight clarity, but the state of stillness is a stagnant one, still buried in the ordinary mind. In a third you experience an absence of thoughts, but are "spaced out" in a vacant state of wonder. In a fourth your mind wanders away,