Dzogchen Meditation: Mixing Mind with Space

Regent and Vidyadhara


The view and practice are joined together because the practice is based on that view. When you practice shamatha, the basic instruction is to do nothing, within the reference point of the breath. The breath is a reference point to space, because breath is like space. It occurs and moves through space and dissolves, so space is there and breath is there, and the rest doesn’t really matter. But you have to have that view before you practice. You don’t just jump into practice without a view. Your meditation instructor says that if thoughts arise, don’t regard them as anything particular, just let them go and stay with the technique. The technique is to dissolve your conceptual mind into the breath, which dissolves into space. What are you left with? You’re left with space, and you’re left with yourself nowhere. When you’re left with yourself nowhere, sometimes you panic and wonder what to do. You start to think. When you think, the view should be that anything that arises in your mind has no particular origin and is free form grasping and fixation, so you can let it go and go back to the technique.

Question: Can that work the same way in post-meditation practice?

Vajra Regent: Exactly the same, but without the technique. In that case, the view acts as the technique.

Question:   Meditation practice seems to support the view, but post-meditation practice seems at least on the surface, to be the opposite of the view.

Vajra Regent: [laughs.] Do you mean that things seem more solid in the post-meditation experience?

Question:   They seem that way.

Vajra Regent: Well, that’s even better, because when things seem more solid it makes your awareness sharper. There is a contrast to your meditation experience where things can be experienced as spacious and without graspable qualities. In the post-meditation experience you think things are solid and graspable, and that creates the contrast that sparks further awareness. You shouldn’t worry if things seem more solid in the post-meditation experience. The key is to practice a lot. When you practice a lot the alternation between meditation and post-meditation becomes like the flickering of your eyelids.

Question: It seems possible to solidify what’s happening in meditation as well as in post-meditation practice.

Vajra Regent:   Study what we’re discussing and contemplate it. Pick any one of the things that we’ve talked about tonight, which have been transmitted by this lineage, any of the qualitiers of mind, and try to understand it. Try to understand that from the very beginning mind is unobstructed, unborn and unceasing, and contemplate how that fits together with solidifying your meditation practice. It’s very difficult to solidify when you think, “I am meditating,” and in the next moment you realize that thought never had a beginning. The insight dawns: if the thought of meditating has no beginning, how does it happen that I think I am meditating right now? At that moment you glimpse the wisdom. You begin to understand that thoughts are simply the appearance of mind and that there’s no problem with that. It happens very quickly, but if you contemplate the qualities that we’re discussing tonight that have been described by the lineage teachers from their experience, then you won’t get stuck. You can continue, unceasingly.

Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin