ative karma. As Padmasambhava says, and this is the attitude

we all should have:

Though my View is as spacious as the sky,

My actions and respect for cause and effect are as fine as grains of


Masters of the Dzogchen tradition have stressed again and

again that without being thoroughly and deeply acquainted

with the "essence and method of self-liberation" through long

practice, meditation "only furthers the path of delusion." This

may seem harsh, but it is the case, because only constant selfliberation

of thoughts can really end the reign of delusion and

really protect you from being plunged again into suffering and

neurosis. Without the method of self-liberation, you will not

be able to withstand misfortunes and evil circumstances when

they arise, and even if you meditate you will find that still

emotions like anger and desire run as rampant as ever. The

danger of other kinds of meditation that do not have this

method is that they become like "the meditation of the gods,"

straying all too easily into sumptuous self-absorption or passive

trance or vacancy of one kind or another, none of which

attack and dissolve delusion at its root.

The great Dzogchen master Vimalamitra spoke in the most

precise way of the degrees of increasing naturalness in this liberation:

When you first master this practice, liberation happens

simultaneously with the rising, like recognizing an old friend

in a crowd. Perfecting and deepening the practice, liberation

happens simultaneously with the arising of thought and emotion,

like a snake uncoiling and unwinding its own knots. And

in the final state of mastery, liberation is like a thief entering

an empty house; whatever arises neither harms nor benefits a

true Dzogchen yogin.

Even in the greatest yogin, sorrow and joy still arise just as

before. The difference between an ordinary person and the

yogin is how they view their emotions and react to them. An

ordinary person will instinctively accept or reject them, and so

arouse the attachment or aversion that will result in the accumulation

of negative karma. A yogin, however, perceives

everything that rises in its natural, pristine state, without

allowing grasping to enter his or her perception.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche describes a yogin wandering

through a garden. He is completely awake to the splendor and

beauty of the flowers, and relishes their colors, shapes, and

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