Practices › Meditation
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Painted by Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche
Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thought
Like the relentless fury of pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of saṃsāra.
A selection of texts related to various forms of meditation (sgom pa; bhāvana) or contemplation, including the cultivation of calm abiding or tranquillity (zhi gnas; śamatha) and insight (lhag mthong; vipaśyanā):
Crucial advice on how to eliminate three types of obstacle that may imperil beginning-level practitioners of meditation.
Belonging to the set of instructions known as the Seven Excellent Interdependent Connections (rten 'brel rab bdun ma), this text by the great Kagyü teacher Pema Karpo (1527–1592) explains meditative equipoise, which is "the dependent arising that gives rise to excellent qualities", and post-meditation, which is the "dependent arising for perfecting the capacity".
Mipham Rinpoche elaborates on the practice that he introduced in The Wheel of Analytical Meditation (dpyad sgom 'khor lo ma) by offering further instruction on contemplating how the five aggregates are multiple, impermanent, painful and devoid of self.
Composed in a single day in 1891, this celebrated verse text offers a practical guide to meditating analytically on the multiplicity, impermanence, suffering nature and selflessness of the aggregates, as an antidote to the mental afflictions (kleśa; nyon mongs).
- The Garland of Jewel Ornaments: The Stages of Meditating on the Bodhicaryāvatāra by Rongtön Sheja Künrig
This succinct guide to putting Śāntideva's classic text into practice through meditation, with an emphasis on the cultivation of wisdom (prajñā), was written by Rongtön Sheja Kunrig in 1447.
Answers to a series of questions on the distinction between ordinary mind (sem) and pure awareness (rigpa), the dissolution of dualistic perception, mindfulness in Dzogchen, the phases of dissolution at death, and how to practise Dzogchen meditation.
- From 'Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation': A Guide to Locations for Cultivating Samādhi by Longchen Rabjam
The first chapter of Longchenpa's Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation (samten ngalso), describing ideal environments and dwelling places for cultivating meditative concentration and insight throughout the year.
The second chapter of Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation (samten ngalso), describing the qualities and character of an ideal practitioner of meditation in the Great Perfection, or Dzogpachenpo.
- A Lamp to Dispel Darkness: An Instruction that Points Directly to the Very Essence of Mind in the Tradition of ‘the Old Realized Ones’ by Mipham Rinpoche
Also known as the "instruction that points directly to the very essence of mind in the tradition of ‘the old realized ones’ (rtogs ldan rgan po)", this is a pithy guide to Dzogchen meditation written for 'village yogis' and other practitioners without a background in study. It includes three separate instructions, for: 1) cracking open the egg-shell of ignorance, 2) cutting the web of saṃsāric existence, and 3) remaining in space-like equalness.
This short work in verse offers advice on the natural self-liberation (rang grol) of thoughts and emotions, which Patrul Rinpoche repeatedly identifies as the key to the view, meditation and conduct of the Great Perfection.
- Self-Liberating Meditation: A Profound Method for Attaining Enlightenment according to the Ultimate Great Perfection by Patrul Rinpoche
Sometimes known by its first four syllables as Eko Eko (translated as "Have you heard? Have you heard?") and sometimes as Self-Liberated Wisdom-Mind, this is a comprehensive and popular instruction on Dzogchen meditation. Although the emphasis is on remaining natural and unaltered (machöpa), the text also offers advice on how to integrate and adapt to the various experiences and circumstances a practitioner might face. The style is direct, eloquent and moving.
Pith instructions on liberating thoughts, translated from a rare manuscript in the library of Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje.
In this brief instruction, the celebrated Dzogchen master Tulku Tsullo explains how the nature of mind is the nature of everything and reveals the method for settling into an experience of that nature.
In this brief, practical instruction written for a disciple, the great Khenpo Tashi Özer explains the root of meditation, which he describes as "mind looking into itself".
In this short text of practical advice, Mipham Rinpoche defines mental stillness, movement and awareness and explains how understanding the 'secret of the mind' leads to deeper levels of realization.
A detailed explanation of how to practice śamatha or 'calm abiding' meditation so as to arrive at perfect stillness and concentration of mind.
A short text in verse that outlines various stages in the cultivation of śamatha, or calm abiding.
Written in 1906, this short text contains the most profound instruction on the practice of śamatha, or calm abiding, in which mind is turned upon itself.
A short text in verse, composed in 1893, which highlights the shortcomings of wild discursive thought and the consequent need for mindfulness (smṛti; dran pa) and vigilance (saṃprajanya; shes bzhin).
Śamatha & Vipaśyanā
- The Sage who Dispels Mind’s Anguish: Advice from the Guru, the Gentle Protector Mañjuśrī on the Means of Accomplishing the Yogas of Śamatha and Vipaśyanā by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche adapted this teaching on śamatha and vipaśyanā from The White Lotus, Mipham Rinpoche's supportive teaching (rgyab chos) for the Treasury of Blessings sādhana of Buddha Śākyamuni. The text explains how to accomplish both śamatha and vipaśyanā in the context of that practice and clarifies the relationship between Buddha Śākyamuni, the yidam deity and the guru.
- The Light of Primordial Wisdom: An Instruction Manual for the Primordially Pure Perfection Stage of the Powerful & Wrathful Dorje Drolö, Conqueror of Demons by Dudjom Rinpoche
This direct instruction on the perfection stage (rdzogs rim) practice for the Dorje Drolö form of Guru Padmasambhava includes the preparatory state of śamatha, and the main part, which is to generate the wisdom of vipaśyanā through view, meditation and action.
- Clarifying the Essence: A Summary of the Instructions on the View of the Middle Way by Rongtön Sheja Künrig
A précis of Rongtön's larger text of instructions on the Middle Way entitled The Moon Rays of Crucial Points, which includes advice on the view, meditation and action that facilitate an understanding of Madhyamaka.
- The Excellent Path of the Great Vehicle: How to Meditate on the Three Gateways to Liberation According to the Mahāyāna by Rongtön Sheja Künrig
A brief explanation of the "three gateways to liberation" (rnam thar sgo gsum) according to the Mahāyāna, i.e., emptiness (śūnyatā; stong pa nyid), absence of characteristics (mtshan ma med pa), and wishlessness (smon pa med pa).