Thre Practice in Daily Life

  • 90 10 4
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up

Thre Practice in Daily Life

Series of Teachings 211E CHOGYALNAMKHAINORBU THE PRACTICE INDAILYLIFE Oral Teachings given at Merigar, Italy, August

1,058 83 1MB

Pages 51 Page size 425 x 590 pts Year 2012

Report DMCA / Copyright


Recommend Papers

File loading please wait...
Citation preview

Series of Teachings 211E


THE PRACTICE INDAILYLIFE Oral Teachings given at Merigar, Italy, August 2003 Kunsangar, Russia, June 2001 Merigar, Italy, August 2001 Hawaii, USA, October 1999

w�·�"'���Oll�'\ Shang Shung Edizioni

This book should be treated with the greatest respect and is addressed to

those who have received the transmission of the teaching from the Master. Any mistakes are due to the transcription and the translation and do not reflect the original teachings.

Transcribed by Tim Walker, OlgaZhiryakova, Marc Franks, Catriona Mundie, Barry Patterson, Zeljka Jovanovic Edited by Andy Lukianowicz Cover by Fulvio Ferrari and Paolo Fassoli

© 2004

Shang Shung Edizioni 58031 Arcidosso GR Tel: 0564966039 E-mail: [email protected]

IPC- 34 1EN04- Approved by the International Publications Committee of the Dzogchen Community founded by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu




1.1. Guruyoga


1.2. Working with Circumstances


1.3. The Practice of Being Present


1.4. Recitation of the Vajra or Vajra Breathing


1. 5. Co-ordinating and Protecting Your Energy


1.6. Eating and Drinking


1.7. Collective Practices









Today is the last day of our retreat. Now I'll give you smne advice on how to do the practice in daily life and some trans­ tnissions of the collective practices. I hope very much, particu­ larly the people who have come here for the first titne have understood a little what doing a retreat means and what the pur­ pose of a retreat is. And also I want to remind old practitioners that the tnost important thing is not receiving teaching or learn­ ing tnany kinds of technique of practice. Retnember tny exam­ ple of going into the restaurant, our purpose js to eat and to overcome hunger, not to get a fork and knife or chopsticks. Likewise there are many different kinds of secondary practices, but sometimes people think that they are the main path and not really getting what is the main point of the teaching. The tnain point of the teaching, I have told you repeatedly, particularly in the Dzogchen teaching, is doing Guruyoga. But don't go after the name Guruyoga, because there exist so many practices called Guruyoga. Guruyoga tneans

b eing in the state of instant pres­

ence introduced to you by your teacher, that maybe you were able to discover. Guruyoga is being in that state again; if you are not able to be in that state then you try to do many different practices, for exrunple you can repeat and apply the way the state was introduced to you. Also there are many tnethods of practice involved in the Dzogchen teaching called Rushen practices and Semdzin prac1

These teachings were transmitted at Merigar, Italy, August 2003; Kun­

sangar, Russia, June 2001; Merigar, Italy, August 2001.


tices. What is the purpose of these practices? To make sure that we discover our real nature, that is how you should use thetn. It is also itnportant, when you have the time, to try to train using these tnethods. But many people think, "We didn't receive the transmission of the Rushen and of the Semdzin". But for tnany teachings and instructions on how to do practices, the main trans­ mission is related with Guruyoga. Once you receive the Gu­ ruyoga transtnission then you can apply all these methods. Of course when you are reading instructions that you don't understand you should ask sotneone who already ·knows them, or you can ask your teacher. Even when you can't see your teacher you can communicate with your teacher. If you have some doubts or some difficult points you can't understand, some short points, you can ask by cmnmunicating with tne by email that is tnuch better than writing letters. Particularly if you write a long letter and I don't have tnuch time to read it, then I wait until I have tnore time, so I reply to tnany long letters after six or seven tnonths, and maybe that won't help you very tnuch if what you are asking is sotnething related with time, because titne passes. Also some people write very long etnails, for ex­ ample four or five pages, and this kind of email too. I put aside to read when I have time, because until I read them I can't re­ ply. So why instead don't you wtite a short condensed message, then I can read it imtnediately and then reply. That is the way to communicate.

If you cmnmunicate that way you can also re­

ceive infonnation about what you are asking without any prob­ letns. Some people say, "We have no contact with our teacher", but you can always be in contact if you do Guruyoga. The only thing I ask is not to wtite long etnails, and don't write to tne about your dreams, because there is not much sense in that. If you have a good dream or a bad dreatn, a dream is always a dreatn, if we examine it, it is unreal, so like Buddha used to say, don't give it too much itnportance. If you have sotne fantastic


drea1n that always means something good, you know that, so it's not necessary that I too say that it is good. It is very hnpor­ tant that you don't go too tnuch into this field, tqen what we do becomes more alive and tnore simple. So you see you have the possibility to comtnunicate. Another possibility you have to learn and study is to ask other practitioners. For example some people think, "I don't want to ask other practitioners because they are not the teacher", but that is our ego, it doesn't mean anything. If someone knows something better than you why not ask? We should do our best for our realization. So remetnber what that means, "Do our best". That is why we are doing Guruyoga unifying all our teachers. And remember what is really the essence of Guruyoga. The short way to do Guruyoga is when we do a visualization of the white A at the centre of a

thigle that represents our primordial poten­

tiality and relax in that state, that already is Guruyoga.


And when you have more opportunity then you can do many fonnal practices, you don't need to limit yourself. In the Dzog­ chen teaching this is called working with circumstances. Re­ member these words "working with circumstances". This is very important, to tnake our knowledge of the practice concrete. In Italian there is a fatnous song; it says, "Life is beautiful as long as you have an umbrella". That is a kind of teaching really on how to work with circumstances. It means, in the circumstance that it is raining, what do you n�ed? In that moment it's useful to have an utnbrella, but you don't always need an mnbrella, because there are many titnes when the weather is nice or you are inside your house. Even if you have a very nice utnbrella,


what do you need it for if you are in �oors? So for that reason the umbrella becotnes a secondary thing, it can never be the 1nain object. It is the same in the practice, there are many things, but they are all secondary, the only 1nain thing you need is knowl­ edge of your real nature. So try to go in this direction. There are 1nany transcripts of teachings frotn retreats we have done that all explain how to get into our real nature. For exam­ ple in Dzogchen we have Setnde, Longde and Upadesha, in general we consider Dzogchen Upadesha is the most essential. Why? Because it is for people who already have knowledge of their real nature. Once you have knowledge of that nature, what do you need now? You need more teachings and methods for integrating that in your life. When you have the condition for integrating in the state that means your base is already very pre­ cise. If you have no base and you don't know what discovering our real nature means then there is no use speaking about inte­ grating. Where do you integrate, what do you integrate? When you have no base it becomes very important you follow the Dzog­ chen Semde teaching, that brings us to this knowledge; stage by stage we learn what it explains. Or sometimes we have this knowledge but we are not 100% sure; that means we have doubts. In this case the Dzogchen Longde is useful, because in Longde we are not working with only one single experience. In the Dzog­ chen Setnde we use a single experience like emptiness, then we learn how to develop. But in Dzogchen Longde we use all ex­ periences together; in that way we can have a more concrete living experience. So you can see that this means you have al­ ready the base but you are not sure for yourself 100%; of course if you remain in doubt then any kind of practice works less. For any kind of practice you must be sure 100%, then you can pro­ duce its function and you can easily have its realization. So now you know how you should work. Even though there are many kinds of teachings, in the real sense we are trying to be in our real nature. 10

In our daily life you tnust understand how is our life, what are our possibilities? Many people have many fantasies, and even though they learn many methods and techniques they don't seem sufficient. They are always thinking, "One day I'll do this practice", then they learn a second practice and think, "One day I'll do that". But that famous 'one day' never comes and what they always do is collect teachings. This is not practical, we tnust not pass our precious tiine this way. I have already told you our life is very short. For example if we read some history books, there have been so tnany teachers in different religions and also so many different civilizations. There are infinite llfe stories but no one in these stories is still alive. In the satne way today we are alive but then we too will become part of history very quickly. You see, when we started our retreat here we thought, "Now we'll do our Merigar retreat, we have seven days", but yesterday I was surprised to discover it was ahnost the last day. Still today I was talking to people saying, "Our retreat isn't finishing today, there are still smne tnore days". That is an example, everything very quickly enters into history. Titne is very precious, we tnust not lose even one day. What should we do so as not to lose tin1e? We must inte­ grate the teaching in our daytime. But integrating doesn't mean becoming like Milarepa, renouncing everything and going on


n1ountain. Maybe som� people have that possibility, but it is very rare in the modern society. Everybody has to work, every­ body has sotnething to do. In particular we are not like monks and nuns, tnonks and nuns have already renounced nonnal life, they can go where they like. But we are not like that, we have our family, our children, our children's children, so we have to help them, we have to work to make tnoney. I retnember when I was very young in Tibet, we were living in the countryside and life was not so easy but we had less prob­ letns. I retnember we never received bills to pay, any kind of


bill. We ate what we

produced, barley , grain and potatoes etc,

and we exchanged it with meat and butter etc, and we lived that way, but today no one lives that way, even in Tibet. They go to the shops, they tnake money to go shopping and they buy eve­ rything. Then maybe after one or two days they go to the shops again and buy some other things. Even though they have a little money their tnoney finishes quickly. Not only that, at the end of the tnonth we receive so tnany bills. We even have to pay for water. One time when I went to Lhasa the Chinese introduced tnineral water, the Tibetans were very surprised, they said, "Now we also have to buy water". Of course they had to buy other things, but buying water was a surprise and many people didn't buy it. But when I next went to Tibet, in the cities most people were drinking· mineral water. This is our condition. If we don't tnake tnoney we can't live, and to make money we must use our titne working. Some people say, "I have no job, I have a probletn". That's not a probletn for only one person, if that person is a parent then they also have to maintain their children, and today children cost a lot of tnoney, sending children to school costs a lot of money, this is our concrete life. So we must understand that we can't renounce all these things, but if we don't renounce then how do we practise? We must go to the essence of the teaching. There is not tnuch titne, there is not tnuch possibility, so we tnust not live in a fantasy.


For example, think about what you do frotn the early tnom­ ing until the evening, what is your possibility? When you know that, you know the way you should work. Everybody works, in


the daytime we go to our j ob in

the office

or in

a shop, and

tomorrow what do we do? We repeat what we did yesterday. The day after tomorrow what do we do? We repeat. This is called samsara, we are always repeating. Repeating because we eat repeatedly, we consume repeatedly, and we go ahead that way. Some people think, "We are waiting for the weekend, then we'll do our practice". But then often you also discover the weekend is not free, you have to go to visit your parents or maybe it's the birthday of your parents or children or friends. Or say someone is getting married, before going you also should go to a shop to buy a present. So when do you do your practice? This is our concrete life. In this case you have to deal with your practice in relation to time. How do we pass our time? There is a teaching by Buddha, Buddha said we have four mmnents in our lifetime, the moment of walking, the 1noment of sitting, the mo1nent of eating and the 1noment of sleeping. We must inte­ grate these four moments into our practice. So when you are walking what you do? When you are walking you can't do a

thun of practice, you can't sing the Song of the Vajra and do contemplation. In the sa1ne way if you are not sitting to do prac­ tice and instead you are talking to people there are many things you have to do. In this case reme1nber the main point, and the main point is being in the state of Guruyoga. But being in the state of Guruyoga means first of all not being distracted, trying to be present. That is something you can always apply, and it is also much better for your life if you are present. When we are not present we can create so many problems. For example if you have an accident on the road, why did you have this accident? Because you were distracted. So you see being present is 1nuch better also for just living our ordinary life. So1neti1nes when we have something to do we give too much importance to it. For example, on your birthday you 1night say, "Today is 1ny birthday, I want to invite n1y friends". You


ask your friends over to come at 7 o'clock. You look at your watch at 5 and when it's almost 6 you think tnaybe you should go to the shop to buy something to eat, but when you get to the shop it's closed. So you go to another shop where you get what you need and you go back home to prepare some food. But when you are cutting the tneat and the bread you are so charged up that instead of cutting the meat you cut your finger instead, and now you have more problems, you get even more charged up and really nervous, and you accumulate more and more ten­ sion. At the end when your friends arrived at the door you are very angry and that is not so nice. In this case it is better to be mindful and relax and do everything slowly, knowing that what you are doing is not so very important. If you haven't tnanaged to prepare everything maybe your friends will help you, because being a friend means collaborating, paying respect, but instead you think, "I must show my friends I have prepared everything well". If you are charging yourself up that way it is not good; it is very, very important to relax in daily life. If you are being present then it is also easy to relax, because if you are present you can discover when you are charged up, you know that is not good, so you relax. Sotne people can't relax because they are always thinking, "This is something itn­ portant". In this case you should remetnber the fatnous words of Buddha. Buddha said, "Nothing real exists, everything is un­ real, just like a dreatn". The dreams we have can be good or bad, and if we are not aware it is a dream then we get charged up thinking it's important and we have the same probletn we have with everyday reality, but then when we wake up we dis­ cover, "That was only a dreatn". llnmediately when we discover it was only dream we relax. So Buddha said, "Life is big dream", and knowing that you don't give things too tnuch importance, there is no sense in that. That is really sotnething concrete, be­ cause nothing exists really. We think, "It is important" and we


ch arge ourselves up, instead if we are relaxed then everything, even smnething that is relatively important, becomes something we can apply easily. The practice of being present is something you can do every 11101nent. Even if you are going to the office, even when you are working, try to remember your presence and relax. If you don't know what being present means, an example of being present is like when we are driving. When we are driving a car we are present, and for that reason we don't go off the road. We are present to our driving even if we are talking to someone or look­ ing around. But life is not only driving a car, there are thou­ sands of different things we do every day. Presence is something we can learn. For example, to leatn presence sotnetitnes you can take a kind of cotntnitment think­ ing, "Now.I want to practise presence, for example for half an hour or a quarter of an hour I don't want to be distracted". Then you are mindful about what you are doing, for exatnple if in that moment someone says, "Hello, how are you?" you say, "I'm fine". Then they ask you, "What are you doing today?" You think, "What do I have to do today?" and you reply, but it is not necessary to be distracted by that. You know, "I atn talking with that person, that person is asking me something and I am going to reply". Remetnber when you are driving, if sotneone asks you sotnething you know it is possible to reply without being distracted; you know there is the possibility so why not apply it in other situations? You always have the possibility to learn. Of course if you have never learned something it is not so easy at the beginning, in the beginning everything is difficult. Remetnber how difficult it was to learn to drive, but once we becmne more familiar there is no longer any difficulty. That's an example, we can learn everything. The itnportant thing is being present, and also knowing that this is important.


You shouldn't consider that practice is only chanting a tnan­ tra or sitting in a position saying, "I atn doing meditation" . One of the most important things in practice is being aware. Of course if you are in the state of instant presence that is fantastic, but even if you are not in that state try to be aware, learn that well, so you can have continuation of presence. When you become tnore fatniliar with presence in your practice then you can eas­ ily tum it into instant presence. Such practice is much more important than chanting mantras. Traditionally, Tibetans, for exatnple, believe the way to dedicate time to practice is that even when they are working they hold their tnala, and when they don't need to talk to someone they chant mantras, saying OM MANI PADME HUM: they consider that is practice. Of course it is tnuch better to chant a tnantra than to insult sotne­ one. But the function of your practice is related tnainly to your tnind, not only to your voice. Maybe with their voice they are saying OM MANI PADME HUM but in their mind they are thinking, "What am I doing in my business today?" That is go­ ing in the wrong direction, if only your voice is chanting OM MANI PADME HUM there is not much benefit. In this case it is much tnore ilnportant to try to be present, because then you are working with your mind, not only following or using your voice. It is very important for you to know that. Many people don't consider that this is practice, they always think, "I sho uld

chant some mantras or do some ritual". Instead trying to be present is going in the direction of the tnind, and going in the direction of the tnind is going in the direction of the nature of the 1nind. So you can't say, "I can't do this practice". Many people have that idea. They feel, "We are doing a re­ treat. During the retreat the practice is excellent, it's very nice, being on this hill, it's very quiet and there are not many prob­ letns". But after a few days you go back to your town or city and there nothing has changed. If you have changed your condition


and now you are more present, and with that you are more relaxed, you find that little difference, but this is the only possibility, other­ wise your situation has not changed. Some people say, "I can't do the practice now, it is a very difficult situation". That is the reason why some people have the idea to escape, but you can't escape, that is not the solution. Some people say, "I'm going on a mountain, like Milarepa". But that is not so easy, because we're related with our family, our work etc. Some people say, "I don't care about these worldly things. I want to go and do a retreat for three years somewhere". So you renounce your husband or wife, your family and children, your job, your house, everything. Why do you do that? Because you think, "After doing a three year retreat I'll be enlightened and I won't need those things". But three years pass very quickly, and you haven't changed very much, you are still a human being, you still have all the human condition, you have all your limitations. But what has changed is that when you go back you no longer find your husband or wife, you no longer find your family, you no longer fmd your job, so now you have many prob­ lems. If you have no house what you do? Some people go back and do another retreat. Another three years makes six years, but six years too are not so very long, they quickly pass. So that is not the solution. The solution is knowing the real condition and trying to have a base and to integrate. So don't consider that doing practice means doing meditation, or that meditation means sitting somewhere with your eyes closed. Many people have this idea, particularly because sometimes that is what is applied in the Sutra teaching in the Mahayana sutras. But what that means is that they are trying to be in the calm state; the calm state is a way to discover the experience of emptiness. And when you are in the experience of emptiness you think, "Now I am in the state ofDharmakaya". Many teachers teach that way, but that is a wrong teaching. Only being in the experience of emptiness doesn't mean that then you are realized. You see, in theDzogchen


teaching, in a practice like Rushen first of all we separate samsara and nirvana. That seems

similar to the concept used in the Sutra

teaching, where samsara represents something more like the mate­ rial level and evetything that we have in our material condition, while nirvana is considered something like being in the state of emptiness. But in the real sense even though the same names are used that is not their meaning. In theDzogchen teaching what we separate or distinguish are the levels of the mind and of the nature of mind. The nature of mind is not only emptiness, the nature of mind also has its energy function. Emptiness is only an experience: just by being in an experience you can't have realization. You know that you have to use experience to get into instant presence, then you can have reali­ zation. For example, a mirror can have different kinds of reflections and these reflections are interdependent with the reflected object. That is always the relative condition, not the nature of the mirror. The nature of the mirror is not something we can see, even though it has infinite potentiality and can manifest all kinds of reflections. But to discover the nature of the mirror reflections are useful; through re­ flections you can discover that real nature. So you can also under­ stand that the reflection is not the real condition of the mirror. You can separate these. In the same way we can also separate the level of the mind from the level of the nature of mind. That is whatwe do first of all in theDzogchen teaching, we separate these two aspects. When we explain different kinds of experience, experience can be emptiness, clarity or sensation. All these experiences are just like reflections in the mirror, they could never become the real potential­ ity of the mirror. Their function is to enable us to get to or to dis­ cover the real nature of the mirror. For that reason in the practice we use the experiences of emptiness, of clarity etc. So only being in emptiness is notDharmakaya. Also, some teachers explain we have the experience of empti­ ness between one thought and the next thought. Particularly if you


are practising Shine and becoming more familiar with it, you can remain for a long time without thought. Then a thought arises. In general there is always an empty space between thoughts. That is the same as the experience of emptiness, that condition is empti­ ness, and many people say, " The space between thoughts repre­ sents Dharmakaya. That's why you do Shine. You make that space larger and larger; ifyou make that dimension without thoughts larger then you are in Dharmakaya and you can attain realization". That is a wrong teaching, it really means dancing on the books of the teach­ ings without having any experience of real practice. That is not instant presence. If you are not in instant presence there is no possibility of realization. If you make that kind of empti­ ness larger and larger, maybe after your death it will make the cause for obtaining the dimension of samsara called No Form, a part of the Deva realm. This is a higher state of the Devas, they live for thousands of years without having any form. That's the fruit of that kind of practice, but when it finishes they go to hell, because all their merits are consumed. So that is samsara, not realization. You must not go in the wrong direction. If you want to follow a teaching and a teacher who introduces meditation, it must be a teacher who has real knowledge. So it is very important that you distinguish between the state of experience and instant presence. Let's use getting to Kailash as an example. There are many ways to go to Kailash, for example you can go by airplane. But maybe when you arrive near Kailash you get to a nice hotel in India and you think, "Now I have arrived in Kailash". You relax there for many months, many years, but you are not in Kailash. In the same way, if you remain just in an experience then you are not in the state ofknowledge, you must distinguish this and follow in the correct away. For that reason it is very important to be present, if you apply experience in the correct way you can arrive in instant presence, then you can also integrate and increase the capacity of your practice. So you see, a practice like presence is something you


can always apply, even when you are sitting, even when you are walking, even when you are eating. Also, being present when you are eating and drinking is much better then you won't have any pain in your stomach creating many illnesses etc. Particularly if you drink too much alcohol and get drunk, this happens when you are not present. So you see presence is one of the most important practices and one you can do every moment.


Another very important practice is the Recitation of the Vajra or Vajra Breathing. Remember what you learnt in the Medium Thun: inhaling with the sound OM, holding with the sound AH, and exhal­ ing with the sound HUM. If you are doing the Recitation of the Vajra when you are doing sitting practice then you inhale slowly with 0M, hold with AH for a long time and then when you feel you need to exhale you exhale with HUM. You can use this method of practice with more normal breathing when you are walking, sitting, at any moment, only when you are walking don't hold your breath for a long time. Just hold with AH and immediately exhale. Also you don't need to do the visualization of OM AH HUM iriside, you just need presence to your breathing. In general exhaling longer and deeper is something you must learn,

because it helps very much to pacify your nervousness and confu­ sion. To succeed in integrating this with your breathing at first you need a little effort, but once you have learned it and become more familiar with it then you don't need very much effort. If you just think of doing the Recitation of the Vajra it automatically comes with your breathing. You breathe naturally, always inhaling and ex­ haling, so if succeed then you have integrated this important prac­ tice with your breathing. In this way you can purify your negative


kanna, increase your clarity and co-ordinate your energy. This is a very simple practice that is very powerful and important, try to do this in a daily life. It also helps you very much for your health. It is also related with your presence; if you are doing the practice of theRecitation of the Vajra it means you are not distracted, you are present. Also you should know that 0M AH HUM, the three Vajras, are the essence of all mantras. They represent the three Vajra states of all enlight­ ened beings. When you integrate it in your breathing it means you are integrating your vital energy or prana, so it becomes a very pow­ erful protection. Another particular function is that it helps to co­ ordinate and strengthen your energy. For example you can use this practice of OM AH HUM, the three Vajras, in many ways. You can also do Guruyoga this way. There are some easy practices of this kind that you can use in any· moment. Then sometimes, when you have a little more time and when you feel like it there are the practices ofSemdzin and ofRushen which are very, very important for increasing the capacity of your practice.


Any time you have any problems you must understand there is some disorder of your energy. In this case what you should do is practise co-ordinating your energy with the mantra OM E HO SHUDDHE SHUDDHE etc. Sometimes when you need to strengthen your energy you can do different kinds ofLong-Life Prac­ tice, they help very much for balancing and perfecting your energy. That's very important for your meditation and practice and also very important for maintaining good health. If you don't have good health then you can't do very much. For that reason we say this is



the supreme, most important protection. If you feel you have some­ thing like a negative provocation then of course the first thing you should do is co-ordinate your energy, because if the condition of your energy is perfect you can't receive any negativities. You re­ ceive negativities when you are passive and for that reason you need to strengthen your energy. If you need to, then you can do a prac­ tice like Simhamukha or Guru Tragphur. The main purpose of these· practices is related with the experience of clarity that you can con­ nect with Guruyoga, but they also have a secondary function as a very powerful protection for controlling all negativities. When you are a practitioner if you need protection the practice you should do first is to co-ordinate your energy, then second a practice of Simhamukha or Guru Tragphur. Also, if you want or need to mani­ fest more prosperity etc, in your circumstances, for example like obtaining a job or overcoming problems, then you can do a practice like Green Tara. All these are related to protection. You don't need to ask some­ one else for protection, such as putting many protection cords round your neck. When they go to India and Nepal, instead of learning how really to do protection many Westerners just receive a lot of protection cords. Lama number one, Lama number two, Lama number three, everyone just gives them a protection cord� Then when they come back to Europe their neck is full of cords. When people ask them, "What is this?" they answer, " These are for pro­ tection". Maybe sometimes they serve that function, but in general for me this kind of protection is what our dogs, cats, goats, sheep and yaks need, or what small children need because they don't know how to practise. If you are practitioner and you collect cords that is ridiculous. Really that means you have no confidence in your practice. Your practice is much better than cords, but Tibetan La­ mas don't think very much about that. They give protection cords because that is the situation and attitude of Tibetans. When many Tibetans go to see Lamas, what do they ask for? " Please give me


protection, please give me a blessing". Then if theLama puts a book on those persons' heads and chants some mantras they are very satisfied, and if he also gives them a protection cord they are very happy. For that reason they always prepare the cords and empower them with mantras and give them to people. But you must under­ stand what the main point is and not_go after this. Try to learn how to protect yourself, that is the real sense of being a practitioner. For example, when you are washing your face and hands etc, remember the element purification mantra OM E HO SHUDDE SHUDDE etc, because it is a very important mantra for co­ ordinating and purifying your energy. If you can do the visualisation of the mantra that is fantastic, but if you can't do that and you only recite the mantra anyway that makes the mantra work. So if when you are washing you chant this mantra that means you are also pro­ tecting your energy. It becomes a very important protection in your life, because if your energy is perfect and there is no disorder or disharmony then you can't receive any negativity. So this is a very simple practice, but in this case too you must maintain awareness. For example, if you are washing your hands in a restaurant or some public place where there are other people and you chant the mantra the other people will feel that is strange. You must keep all mantras secret because in that way you can obtain their function. Another thing in daily life, sometimes when you go out it might be raining: that means you have contact with the water element, so then too you can do purification with the mantra, it is not necessary to do any particularly preparation of the water or to clean yourself. You know the circumstances and use what you have. Or sometimes you go out and it is a windy day; that means there is the air element, so then too you can use the mantra. There is a specific way of using the mantra when you don't use the complete mantra. For example, when you have contact with the water element you say OM BAM HO SHUDDHE SHODHA­ NAYE SVAHA; when you have contact with the air element you


say OM YAM HO SHUDDHE SHODHANAYE SVAHA; when you have contact with the fire element or heat you say OM RAM HO SHUDDHE SHODHANA YE SV AHA. That is a short way to do the purification, working with circumstances. And when you arrive at some nice place, say a waterfall or a beach by the ocean, in this case too you can do a purification with the water element. One very important practice in the Dzogchen teaching is called drajong. Drajong means training with sounds, because all the elements have sounds. Say you are sitting in front of a waterfall. You can hear the sound of water, you can feel its cool nature and you can also see the movement of the water: these are aspects of the manifestation of energy. You feel the coolness, you hear the sound and you see the movement and you integrate every­ thing in your instant presence. You can remain there only a few minutes in that way. First you enjoy this, because it is a fantastic, nice view. Second you are also integrating, and this helps you progress in the capacity of your contemplation. There are also other active elements, such as fire. If the forest is burning you can see the fire and at the same time you can hear the sound, and if you are not very far you can also feel the heat. So you integrate everything and remain that way. You can do the same with the wind. On windy days if you are sitting somewhere you can look around and see that everything is moving; that is a manifestation of energy. You can also hear the sound of the wind and feel the nature of the wind with your body, so you can integrate everything and be in that instant presence. This is how to work with circumstances. This doesn't mean that to do this practice you have to search for a waterfall or beach somewhere: then it becomes complicated be­ cause then it takes you a long time. So it is not like that, but when there are the circumstances you remember these methods and do the practice.


1. 6. EATING AND DRINKING Then in our lifetime one important moment is when we eat. We can also eat and drink with awareness. Awareness here means know­ ing that we eat and drink mainly to maintain our physical body; we also eat and drink for enjoyment, but enjoyment is not the number one thing, the first thing is maintaining our physical body. And you already know through your experience which kinds of food are good or not good for you, so with awareness you eat and drink what is good for you in the correct way, and sometimes you can take ad­ vice from doctors and experts. In any case you try to apply aware­ ness to the quality and quantity of what you eat and drink. For example, many people have a problem with eating meat. When they become practitioners they say, "I am vegetarian, be­ cause eating meat is harmful for beings." That is true, eating meat means killing animals and they suffer. For this reason some people decide not to eat meat, as a kind of compassion so as not to disturb beings. But there is also the possibility to eat meat in the correct way. Some people follow the Dharma and for many years are veg­ etarians, then when they seeVajrayana practitioners doing Ganapuja with meat and alcohol they get upset. They get upset because they have only ordinary knowledge, and they don't know in what way V ajrayana practitioners use meat and alcohol. In the Vajrayana, in a tantra of Hevajra it says, " Those who eat meat are those who have compassion, and those who drink alcohol are those who keep the samaya". This is the principle inVajrayana. So how do you eat meat with compassion? We know the situation of samsara: in samsara there are infinite sentient beings that transmigrate infinitely, which means they suffer infmitely, without end. To end samsara you must enter the path that can lead to having realisation. But most sentient beings in samsara are not on the path and they have no possibility to enter a path. But as practitioners ofVajrayana we feel we are on the path, and that


means we have the guarantee of full realisation, but we don't know when. Some beings can get realisation in this life, some in the bardo state, others after many lives. In any case all practitioners have the guarantee that sooner or later they will get realised, but other beings don't have this guarantee. Let's take the example of a cow. Someone killed the cow to sell it in a shop and you go in that shop to buy meat. Say you buy a small piece of meat and you use that meat in a Ganapuja, or you eat that meat applying the principle of the Ganapuja. So that meat is eaten by a practitioner who is on the path, who empowers it with mantra and visualisation, etc, and who eats it in a Ganapuja. In that way you create a relationship with that cow. You do the practice very precisely, it is not only your idea but you integrate that meat in your body, empowering it with mantra and visualisation, etc. Then, in the future when one day you manifest realisation you manifest all the qualities and quantities of wisdom. Who will receive your wisdom? Only the beings who have had contact with you. Those who had a good relation with you will be the first to receive it, and those who had bad relations with you will also receive it; but no beings can receive your wisdom if they have had no relationship with you. So when this cow receives your wisdom that means that cow now has the possibility to enter the path. 1bis doesn't mean the cow immedi­ ately gets realised, but there is the guarantee that one day that cow will end samsara and have realisation, and this is the consequence of eating meat and using it in a Ganapuja. If you didn't eat meat and renounce that, it means you are re­ nouncing helping that being have the possibility ofending samsara. That doesn't mean you are actually renouncing in that way but auto­ matically that is what happens, so your small compassion becomes unimportant. Also, when you go to buy some meat it is not you that kills the cow, and if you don't buy the meat in any case someone else will buy it, so it is much better if you buy it and use it for your Ganapuja. And when the cow is killed and suffers, it d�esn't mean


that cow only suffers that one time, that cow has infinite samsara so it is killed infinite times. At least this time when it was killed it has

become something meaningful. That's why when we do Ganapuja I ask our people to try to get many different kinds of meat. Some­ times with tins of meat made in a factory they don't only use the meat of one cow but of many cows, so that is very good to use in a Ganapuja for example. Remember that as a practitioner whenever you eat and drink it should always be done as a Ganapuja, not only when you do the formal Ganapuja: when you are eating and drinking you should al­ ways do it with awareness. But this doesn't mean that every time you are eating and drinking you do a Ganapuja rite. Particularly if when you sit at a table in a restaurant you say RAM YAM KAM etc, that it is not nice for others. If you are in Tibet in some monas­ tery and you want to do a Ganapuja when you are eating that is fme, there is no problem, because the monks and nuns are always doing pujas, for them doing pujas is normal. But if we say some strange words in a restaurant that is not normal, and that means our aware­ ness is not working, we don't know how to work with circum­ stances. Also, when people like to show they are doing practice that is very negative. You must never show anything, if you are a really good practitioner you behave like a normal person. In the Dzogchen teaching we say we integrate the situation as it is, that is all. This is how to practise in daily life, how to eat food and also how to drink alcohol. I already said that in the Hevajra

Tantra it says

that a practitioner who maintains their samaya can drink alcohol. Samaya means keeping one's commitment, means having the pos­ sibility to control oneself. If you know your capacity, then if you drink one or two glasses of wine there is no problem. But if you drink two or three bottles and get drunk, then you create problems and even though you are a practitioner you have no more clarity. But if you drink only one glass maybe it helps your clarity and your feeling, you feel more happy, so that is not negative.

If you have no capacity to control by yourself, then you must not drink and you must follow a Vinaya-style rule, you must take a vow. For example ifwhen you drink you get drunk and create many problems then you take a vow from a teacher or someone and say, "I won't drink any more'�. Then you can control this, because it depends on your capacity. This is called samaya, knowing your situation. And in the tantric teachings it says, "AVajrayana practi­ tioner who gets drunk goes directly to hell". So you can see that you can use alcohol if you can keep your samaya, but if you get drunk you go directly to hell. It is very clear what this means. So this is another very important practice.


Also often you have the possibility to do the collective practices together with other practitioners. Sometimes people say, "I don't like to do the collective practice with other people, I do the practice by myself'. If you are living alone somewhere of course then you should do that. But maybe in your circumstances there are some other practitioners who are doing the collective practices two or four times a month and you know that is important. Collective prac­ tice has its value; if you are not a good practitioner or you don't have sufficient capacity to do the practice, first of all you can learn or develop that by participating in collective practices, and second you can also receive the influence of the practice. You see, by trans­ mitting and doing the practice together with the students the teacher develops the students' capacity. But it is not necessary for the teacher always to be there, practitioners too have different capacities, some higher, some lower. Being in the same state doing the same mantra with the same melody iJ:?. the same moment can help you develop your capacity, so that is much better than doing the practice alone.


Of course this doesn't mean you always need to do the collective practices, it depends on your circumstances, remember you should

always work with your circumstances. You already know, first we have the Short Thun, then the Me­ dium Thun and the Long Thun, the Ganapuja and many collective practices. Many of these practices contain mantras. To practise a mantra you need to receive the transmission of the mantra. Trans­ mission of a mantra means that the person who has the transmission in the correct way can give you the transmission. For example, I read the mantra and you listen, then you receive that transmission. Because the transmission is not an explanation, the transmission is in the sound of the mantra, so by listening you receive that transmis­ sion. But many people think, "Now I have received the transmis­ sion, tomorrow I will give this transmission to my friend". But you must understand that it doesn't work that way. To give the trans­ mission of a lung you must do the practice of the three roots Guru, Deva and Dakini in the perfect way with the correct quantity of recitations and precise way of chanting the mantra and so on, and you must have received the transmission of the lung from a qualified teacher. And when you give transmission of the mantra it makes a connection with the three roots that you practised. If you give the transmission of the lung in that way then it can work for the people who receive it, and the important thing is that it should work. For this reason you must understand that giving the transmission of a

lung is something you should do in the correct way.


Now we are going to learn a little how to do the night practice, which is also related to Guruyoga. You already know that Guruyoga is the main practice in the Dzogchen teaching. In general when we think about how we practise and what practice we do, we have two main points of practice, for the day and for the night. For the day we start with Guruyoga and try to be aware in our daily life, and do our best in any kind of practice, which is related with our circumstances. In the night time, the practice of the night is important because the

night is more or less half of our life. In fact 'practice' doesn't mean doing a practice for two hours or

three hours per day and being satisfied with that. That is good, it's much better than nothing, but every day we have 24 hours in our life. So if we dedicate one hour or two hours to our practice that means we still have 22 hours left, and if we are distracted during all this time, through distraction we accumulate negative karma. We can't compare two hours of practice with 22 hours of distraction: in this way we can't have realization. For realization we must practise 24 hours per day, if possible. Even if we are distracted for a few

hours, that's not so bad, but we know we should integrate all our time in our practice. So, how can we do this? It doesn't mean we become a yogin like Milaiepa and stop doing anything. Particularly in our modem society we know time is money, so we have no time to do complicated practices. But there are many kinds of practices, practice is not only chanting and sitting and doing what we consider to be meditation. Practice is also just relaxing. If you observe your­ self a little, that too is an important practice, because in that way you can understand your condition. These teachings were transmitted during the Hawaii Retreat, October 1999.



If you want to be a good practitioner of the Mahayana, in the Sutra it says it is not always necessary to go to the temple to pray and make offerings, which we consider to be the way to accumulate merits; the most important principle in the Mahayana is observing our thought, our intention, because we are always living with our thoughts and we can always have good or bad intentions. And in the night time what do we do? We do the night practice. In Tantrism there are many teachings explaining specific dream prac­

tices, but in theDzogchen teaching, if you are doing a specific night practice then the night practice is Guruyoga. For a simple Guruyoga you visualize a white A in a five-c�loured thigle at the centre of

your body and relax. If you have the experience of being in instant presence you do that, otherwise at least relax in that clarity and fall asleep. This practice is called natural light in theDzogchen teaching. What does natural light mean? First we have to know that sleep­ ing and dying are very similar: dying is bigger, sleeping is smaller. As Buddha said, "Life is a big dream." So the big dream is our life and the small dream is the dreams we have during the night. We say dying and sleeping are the same thing because when we fall sleep all our senses dissolve inside, so we can't see or hear, our sense or­ gans no longer function. When they dissolve inside that means we have falle)l asleep. Likewise when we die all our senses dissolve inside, too. Not only our senses but also all the functions of the elements. That is really dying. Whereas when we are sleeping the elements do not dissolve, so we are still alive on our bed. But there is no function of our mind when we fall asleep. So for ordinary people, after falling asleep it is like total darkness without any func­ tion of the mind. That is called "falling asleep". When we speak about dying, there is an explanation of the dif­ ferent bardos or intermediate states. When we give a more detailed explanation of the

bardo, there are four or five different bardos.

But in general what we mean by bardo is what is called the bardo of existence. We consider that our actual life, what Buddha called a


big dremn, is a bardo.

It is called kyechi bardo; what it means is

that the period frmn our birth until we die is called the bardo ofbirth and death. What we do in this bardo? We have experiences, we follow teachings, we learn tnany things. In particularly we prepare for going to the other bardos, because this life is a good occasion, we have many possibilities. For that reason we follow teachings, follow a teacher and re­ ceive Tantric initiations, particularly the Shitro, the wrathful and peaceful tnanifestations related with our nature of

kadag and lhundrub. Kadag tneans pure since the beginning, that is, etnpti­ ness, and through that we have the peaceful tnandala; lhundrub

means our qualification, our energy level, and through that we have all the manifestations of the wrathful mandala. When we receive this initiation it tneans we receive the possibility to tnanifest theJ.n. When we are in the state of the bardo, through our pritnordial potentiality and through the secondary cause of having received the transmis­ sion of these methods we can tnanifest these mandalas. That is why we learn and experience these during our lifetitne, because one day we will arri ve at the moment of the second bardo, called the chikai

barda , the bardo of the tnotnent of dying. What happens in the moment when we die? It is not exactly like sleeping; particularly when we feel very tired in the evening we fall asleep immediately, without much problem, but dying is a little diffi­ cult, a little heavy. When we die, first of all our senses are dissolving inside. For example, if you want to say something you can't speak; but you can still have many experiences because not only are the functions of your senses dissolving, your elements too are dissolv­ ing, and when the elements dissolve you can have many experi­ ences. For example in that 1noment you feel afraid. There are 1nany explanations about what happens when we die and of all the experiences we can have in that mmnent, that is called the state of the bardo of dying. For example if the person dying is a practitioner, then even if they can't practise in that 1noment if there


are smne practitioner friends they can do the introduction and help in that moment, to enable her or him understand that they shouldn't lose their presence. Because ifyou lose your presence in that mo­ tnent then you feel afraid and it becmnes something real, then you are really upset and you can have tnany problems. But if you are a practitioner your friends can retnind you, "You are dying, now your senses are dissolving inside, even though you have that kind of sen­ sation don' t feel upset, instead try to be in instant presence". If you are in instant presence you are no more conditioned by your expe­ rience ofyour senses and elements dissolving. Ifwe give that dying person the introduction we can help that person, who can try to be in instant presence because in their lifetime they received that trans­ tnission. Or sometin1es if the dying person did a practice like Phowa, other practitioners can also help them with that, to do the visualiza­ tion and transfer their consciousness. If that person really trained well then they can do, but if they didn't train well it' s not so easy. Because when you are learning Phowa in your room it' s quiet, there is nobody to disturb you, so you can do the visualizations of your channels and chakras, you can do the visualization ofGuru Amitabha, you can do the transference con1fortably without much difficulty. But when you are dying, in the state ofthe bardo ofdying, there are tnany feelings so you can easily lose your presence. In that case if smneone has no real experience of instant presence, doing Phowa in that moment is very difficult. To return to the night practice, when we are lying down in our bed, slowly we can ' t hear, we can't see, and we fal l asleep. After falling asleep until we dream smnething there is no function of the mind, it is something like darkness. There is no tneasure oftin1e, no way we can say whether this period is long or short. Why? Because sotnetimes the function ofthe mind arises soon, sometimes later.


To give an exatnpl e, I re1nember very well tny own personal experience when I was living in Rome and teaching at the university


in Naples, in South Italy. I was returning home from Naples by train and feeling very tired because all day I had been working and teaching my students. Then I fell asleep. Sleeping and dreaming on a train journey means sleeping a very short titne, and also dreaming a short titne because I was sitting on my seat and finally I woke up when tny head fell forward. So it tneans that in a short titne I fell asleep, was dreaming and woke up. Sotnetitnes when we are sleeping comfort­ ably on a bed we don't dream immediately, we can also sleep longer and then dream later. That is why we can't say there is a limited time between falling asleep and starting to dreatn.

It is the satne thing when we are dying. When we are dying, the period between the bardo of the motnent of death until the bardo of existence, when the tnind wakes up, for an ordinary person is like darkness, there is no presence, because the mind is not working. But we can't say whether that period is a long time or a short titne, it depends on the person and the circumstances. In the Dzogchen teaching the tnoment when we are in that state Uke darkness is called the natural light. Why is it called natural light? If you are a good practitioner and you are successful in your daily life practice it tneans when you go to sleep you are present in Guruyoga, in the white A in the thigle, and then you relax and fall asleep. Not just once but almost every night you go to sleep this way so you become very familiar with it, and

slowly you notice there is a continuation of instant presence. If you are not distracted and are in that presence, when you fall asleep there is a continuation of presence. It's very difficult to notice it itrunediately, but you can notice i� through certain kind of dreams, when you arrive in the dream state. For example, if there is the continuation of presence you can have more dreatns of clarity, and you can easily be aware in your dreatn. That means when you are dreaming you notice, "This is dream", and you can continue that dream. That is called a dreatn with awareness. Sometimes even if you didn't do any practice that


happens because that quality is part of our potentiality. But ifyou do this practice it doesn't only happen s01netitnes, you become more fatniliar with it and then you can have always that experience. This then is called natural light, when there is the continuation of pres­

ence, particularly before the mind wakes up, before we start dream­ ing. In the Tantric teachings, when we do specific dreatn practices there are explanations of the development of four or five kinds of lights; but here lights doesn't mean something like luminosity, it is 1nore like the light very early in the tnoming, when it's no longer dark. You can have this experience when you have an operation; you go to sleep and have the operation and afterwards you wake up very, very slowly. Then you can notice how you really wake up, this really corresponds to our real condition. For example, first of all you notice only sounds (you see, our pritnordial potentiality is sound, light and rays). So you can slowly perceive sounds but not as some­ thing very noticeable. Then you can have a kind oflight; that means everything is indistinct, a little gray. Then slowly, slowly it becmnes clear. And then the sounds too becotne clear, you hear the people around you talking, then you begin to notice that there are people. And also then you feel your pain! This is the way these lights called

nangwa chepa develop . But in general when we are sleeping at night, the moment before our mind wakes up and we start to dreatn we have these aspects. So in this tnoment, ifyou are a good practitioner you can also expe­ rience the wrathful and peaceful manifestations. It is the same when we are dying. When we are dying these lights are tnore distinct, tnore concrete. Ifin our lifetitne we received the transmission ofthe Shitro and we had experiences of the practice then we can have experiences ofthe wrathful and peaceful manifestations as explained in

The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Sotneone who never received

such teachings or such a transmission in their lifetime couldn't have


this kind of experience, but all sentient beings, in the moment before the tnind wakes up, can experience the sound, light and rays. Un­ less someone tells us, "This is sound, this is light, these are rays, and the sound, light and rays are our potentiality," when we notice them, just as when we notice smnething and immediately through our at­ taclnnent and our attitude we fall into dualistic vision, here ilrunedi­ ately we feel afraid and again lose our presence. The sound, light and rays tnanifest in that moment when our tnind wakes up because our condition then is very naked, it is no longer dependent on the physical body. We can cmnpare the experience of the sound, light and rays to a train passing through atunnel under a stnall hill; it passes very quickly then it's over. If you are a good practitioner and you had this kind of experience during your lifetilne, not only when you are sleeping but for exatnple doing a particular dark retreat practice for the bardo which serves specifically for having this kind of experience, then in your experience the sound, light and rays tnanifest like the Shitro. You don't have to wait to be dead, you can have this experience in your lifetitne, by doing the practice. If we succeed in this kind of practice and we already have that experience in our lifetitne then when we are in the state of the bardo we can experience the natural light as it's called in Dzogchen; in Tantristn in general that natural light state is called

chonyi bardo, the bardo of the nature of exist­

ence. In this state, we recognize that the sound, light and rays are not an object, like something we see, they are our potentiality. When we recognize that it is our potentiality tnanifesting like the object of our vision, then we can realize the Srunbhogakaya in that mmnent. But if we fall into duruistic vision then of course we can't have reali­ zation. We pass like a train and we arrive in the state of the


of existence. In terms of when we are sleeping, that stage corresponds to the state of dreatn. When we sleep we always dream. If we ask sotne-


one, "What kind of dream did you have yesterday night?" n1any people say, "I didn't have any dreruns". That's not true, everybody has dreruns, only we don't re1ne1nber, that is the problem. We don't notice and we don't remember. Why do we have dreams? Because we have our tnind, and our tnind never stops. For fully realized beings there are no illusory visions so they also don't have ordinary dreatns. But we are not like that, we are in srunsara, ordinary life, so we can always dream. Maybe we don't ren1ember our dreams when we sleep very deeply. What should we do to have 1nore clarity in our dreams in gen­ eral, so we can remember them? This is something important. Ifwe do the dreatn practice we tnust retnember our dreatns. First we tnust change our diet a little. For exatnple, ifbefore sleeping we eat very heavy things and drink a lot of alcohol then it won't be easy to remember our dremns. Also sometimes we don't remember our dreruns because our energy level is not hannonized. There are also some people who can't sleep at night. This is a real probletn because if you can't sleep, how can you do the night practice? Ifafter doing the visualization ofthe white A in the thigle at your centre you can't sleep it is very important to discover why you can't sleep. There are not tnany reasons. The main reason is that your energy condition is disordered or damaged or s01ne func­ tion is missing. It is s01nething related with your energy level. So you tnust co-ordinate your energy, through diet, movetnent or attitude, for exatnple doing s01nething like the Yantra Yoga movements or the breathing practices, because breathing is the main tnethod to co-ordinate our prana energy. Ifyou don't succeed then you should also do sotne tnovetnents and positions b ecause they help to co­ ordinate your energy level. Once you succeed you can also sleep in the nonnal way. Also, if you need sotne tnedicine don' t take any medicine for sleeping but instead take medicine for co-ordinating your energy, a tnore natural medicine like Tibetan or Ayurvedic medicine, then


if you don' t sleep a t night because you work o r travel this increases your lung

change your attitude and your diet too . For example,

hmnour of the air eletnent. That is one ofthe worst ways to disorder your energy, because the energy ofthe air eletnent is movetnent and tnovement can also disorder many other eletnents. So it' s very im­ potiant to co-ordinate your energy. Also when you change your attitude and diet then if you use medicine it works b etter. And you can also do a practice like the tnantra of purification of the five elements t.o co-ordinate and strengthen your energy. S01netilnes your energy is not really disor­ dered but very weak and you can have probletns, so you need to strengthen your energy. We also have many Long-Life Practices that we do to have a longer life. But a longer life shouldn't be miserable, we need a longer life with prospetity. So when we co-ordinate or strengthen our en­ ergy it' s very important to cmnbine it with a Long-Life Practice. That also helps you remetnber your dreams. When you are doing the practice, first of all you notice when you are dreaming. We have two kinds of dreatns: one is called kannic drerun, the other is called dream of clarity. l(annic dreatns are smnething re­ lated with your kanna, and mainly with your tensions. If you have sotne very strong, deep tension in your life you retnember that in your dreatns and you always dreatn that, it always repeats, because

you are charged deeply. This kind is called kannic dremn. Solne­ times we can have also karmic dreruns of past lives. For exrunple, we can dreatn a place, situation and people that we have never experienced in this life, and then some bad things happen. If you often have this kind of dream about s01nething you have not experi­ enced in your life that indicates it is something from a past life, fr01n the very deep past. In general, if you often have many karmic dreams then ifyou want to train your dreaming, to change your dreams for exatnple, it's more difficult.


Ifyou don't have many karmic dreruns, but mostly your present

life situation tnanifests in your dreams, for example at night you dream what you did during the day, that is not a karmic drean1. That is more a drerun ofyour present situation. I fin general you have more present dreatns then it is easy to change thetn later when you are training in your dreruns. Also, kannic dreruns happen very much ifyou sleep very deeply. For exatnple, ifin the daythne you did many things and you feel tired when you go to bed in the evening, when after a while you fall asleep you sleep very heavily. In that mmnent it is a little difficult to have dreatns of the present. Most dreruns are karmic dreams in that tnoment, because you fall into a very heavy sleep, and the only thing that can manifest is something that is charged deeply inside you. That' s the reason. Then, when you sleep a little 1nore, for example at four or five o ' clock, you can have 1nore present drean1s, and you can also have dreruns ofclarity. This is very much related with dreruns of the present. Dreams of clarity increase very much through doing the practice. What do dreruns of clarity meru1? Dreams of clarity are interest­ ing dreruns, dreams related with practice or with something we are going to do; for exrunple we might have some proj ect going on and then, if we have this kind of dream of clarity, we can also get sotne infonnation about the future developtnent of our project. This kind of dreatn is called a dream of clarity. Why do we have this kind of dream in this moment? For example, even if our proj ect is some­ thing we are applying next year and not this year, we have already prepared smnething, there are some secondary causes present, and this situation can easily 1nanifest that kind of dream. If you have these kinds of dreams - dreams of presence and dreams of clarity ­ if you practise training in your dreams, like changing your dremns, this becmnes very easy. Also, training in the dream has different aspects. First of all you need to have awareness in your dremns. If you are a good practi-


tioner, and when you do Guruyoga you are able to continue in that state then maybe you can become aware in your drerun. But if you are not really sure that you are able to 1naintain continuation ofpres­ ence then it is a little difficult for you to become aware in the drerun. In this case, what should you do? One very important thing is, in your daily life, in the daytime, you need to have the intention, "To­ night I want to have awareness ofmy dreams." Re1nainingstrongly with this intention helps, because our dreams are very much related to what happens to us in the daytime. And if you are training to 1nake it easier to change your dreruns then you should also practise thinking in the daytime, "Everything happening in my circumstances is a dre�n". That is another way, thinking everything is a drecun. In the morning after you wake up when you are eating breakfast you think, "This is drerun that now I am eating". Then later, "Now I mn dremning that I am going to the office; now 1'1n dremning that 1 '1n working and having contact with people, etc". Try to reme1nber this. If you do this kind of practice for two or three days you will notice for yourselfthat it really helps very 1nuch firstly for your drecun practice, and secondly it helps very 1nuch to dilninish your tensions and attacmnents. You see, Buddha explained, "Life is a dremn, a big dremn; eve­ rything is unreal like a dream", so we also need to do this kind of practice. And in the daytime you can train your mind in many ways. For example, when you see the ocean, think, ''This is not the ocean, this is the sky", even though you know that the ocean is not the sky. Or when you see a tree, you t4ffik, "This is not a tree, this is a rock". You think in a contrary way. This doesn't mean that a tree becmnes a rock or the ocean becomes the sky, that is impossible, but in this way you can train your 1nind by this kind ofdisordering. Then in the dream it becomes very easy to change things, so that is a mind training. However if you really have sufficient awareness of your dremns then changing is not so difficult, it too becmnes very easy. Having


awareness of the dreatn is very, very itnportant for practitioners,

not only having dreams of clarity etc. That is a secondary thing, the tnost important thing for practitioners is awareness ofthe drerun. In general we don't have so much time to do practice in our daily life. Maybe we know many methods, we have learnt many meth­ ods, and we always think, "One day I 'll do this practice", but that famous day never arrives. We always do this. So if you are aware in your dreams then you can easily use your dreams. And this can have tnore effect than doing practice in the daytime, because in the daytilne we are dependent on our physical body, on our senses and sense organs. For example, if we close our eyes we can't see any­ thing, but what we are closing is not our sight consciousness, we are closing our s i ght s en s e organ s , our eyes. S o the sense consciousnesses are dependent on the sense organs. But in the dream we are no longer dependent on our sense organs. In the drerun all our sense consciousnesses are associated or cotnbined with the tnind: this is called the mental body. Until we wake up it is the tnental body that dreruns, it is the work ofthe mental body that is called the dreatn. So it is important to know that when we become aware in our drean1s then we can apply practice methods and have their experi­ ence. Ifwe have a really fantastic experience in our dream that will influence us when we wake up and we can develop our practice. So this is very, very important for practitioners. I will give you an example of one of my dreatns. Once after working hard at the University I felt very tired when I returned ho1ne, and before eating I lay down on my bed, not really sleeping but just laying down. And I had a fantastic dream. In tny dream I was read­ ing a book, and I noticed this book was the Hevajra Tantra called

Tagpa Nyipa or in short Tagnyi. The Hevajra Tantra was a book I had studied twice so I knew it very well, and I knew that only the main tantra exists. Now,

tagpa nyipa means two sections, and in

fact in the Hevajra Tantra there is no third or fourth section, but in


my dream I was reading the third section of this tantra.

So I was

thinking, "This is strange, I never knew this", but I was curious so I went on reading, and the 1nethods explained were not similar to those in the two sections tantra. This book explained methods like Anuyoga, the non-gradual way oftransformation. There were many explanations of this kind. I was very surprised, and I was still read­ ing, just a little, when my daughter and son came and said, "Daddy, lunch is ready". Then I woke up, and thought, "That interrupted 1ny nice dream". But the next day I had this drerun again, and again I was reading the satne book. In this case I also became aware ofmy dream and I remembered, "Yesterday I dreamed this, I read this. This is ilnportant so this time I want to finish reading it all". And I read for a long time, then I woke up . And after that day, 1naybe for one week, almost every evening I was having this drea1n and read­ ing this book. Then after about a week I was having another drean1, and in my dream awareness I knew I was dreaming. So then I re­ membered, "Last week I was reading this book ofHevajra, now I run not dreatning of it but I would like to read that book". I was thinking that in my dream, and innnediately I was reading that book again. This is called milam gyurwa, gyurwa 1neans transform and milam means dream. It is not necessary to actually transform any­ thing, only to transfonn in your 1nind; this is related with the 1nind. I thought, "I would like to read this", and hnmediately I was reading it. But that titne what I run reading was the fourth section! Fantastic! I thought, "This is really interesting! The fourth sec� on! How is this possible?" Then I went on reading, and this time all the explanations were not according to Anuyoga but Dzogchen. There was an ex­ planation of the state of lhundrub, the self-perfected state. And when I woke up I also remembered some verses. After smne weeks I tried to get this dream again when I was aware of dreruning, and sometilnes I was able to read this book again a little. This is an example, it is really, really very important to become aware in your dream. And it's not impossible, it is possible for everybody, but it is


important to do the night practice, the Guruyoga, that is very impor­ tant, otherwise there is no way you can have that. For smne people it' s not so difficult to have continuation ofpres­ ence with the white A in the thigle, but those people who find this difficult should do a dark retreat. If you do a dark retreat maybe you can succeed in this practi c e. How do you do this? In general there are many instructions about the dark retreat, but if you are doing it only in relation to your dreams then maybe the first titne you should do a dark retreat for 24 hours. The duration depends on whether you are fatniliar with being in the dark. Some people de­ cide at the beginning, "I want to do a dark retreat for three days, one week etc.", but smnetilnes when you are in the dark for only 24 hours you can have difficulties with your physical body, so you tnust not force this at all. The best way is, first do 24 hours, you can do 24 hours in any way, in your house it' s not so difficult to stay in the toilet, and if nobody comes and interrupts your retreat then that' s fine. Ifyou want to do a longer retreat then it's better if you do it in a dark retreat cabin. When you're doing a dark retreat, when you feel tired, you feel you want to sleep, then immediately you go to sleep. Take offyour tneditation belt and lay down cmnfortably. Ififdoesn't give you any problen1 then you can lay in the Buddha paranirvana position. The side you lay down on is related to whether you are male or fetnale, because our solar and lunar energies are on different sides for tnale and fetnale. So if you are tnale because your lunar energy is on the right side and your solar energy is on the left side you lay down on your right side so your I eft side is free, because through your energy you can have tnanifestations. So you lay down and if you have no problems, with your finger you close your right nostril. If you are female you lay down on the other side and you close your left nos­ tril, breathing with your right nostril. Then you do the visualization of the white A in the thigle and relax in that state. And then maybe you fall asleep. But it is very, very important after doing this visualization


that you relax. If you don't relax and are still thinking about the white A in the thigle you won't be able to sleep. Even ifbefore you had no probletn with going to sleep now it becmnes a problen1. If you have problems with breathing through your nostrils when you sleep don't close your nostril and just lay down, on your right or left side as just explained. If you lay down like this, for exrunple on your right side with your left side free, this also changes the force in your breathing. In general if you check you can discover that smnetitnes for hours the breath is more forceful in your right nostril, sometitnes in your left nostril. You can change this force to the side that is better for doing practice. For example for males, when the force is on the left side this is good for doing practice, particularly this kind of practice. For fen1ales, the tight side is better. That is why we need this position. Now, when you do this practice, it doesn't mean that the first time when you are sleeping you will have a continuation ofpresence or that you will succeed to sleep with this presence. But if you re­ peat this practice, maybe after a little while you wake up and do the Guruyoga again, then when you feel tired you go back to sleep. The second time when you are sleeping you will sl�ep lighter. Because the first time you sleep you don't know how long you slept because in the dark retreat you don ' t use a watch. In particular, smnetitnes the best way is to lose any idea of day and night. If we do a dark retreat for three days that's easy, and that is much better. Then we don 't know how long we sleep, we sleep in the daytitne and the nighttime, in any case after a while our sleep becomes lighter. Then when we sleep the third titne our sleep is very light and it' s easy to do the visualization and have that presence, that clarity. So you should do this practice ofthe dark retreat, then you will succeed in the night practice. Ifyou don't have any probletns then it' s not necessary to do the dark retreat, but you can do always the night practice. It' s very useful to put some pictures in your bedroom where you can see


them when you go to sleep to remind you of your night practice.

Then when you wake up the pictures will also remind you of your practice ofGuruyoga in your daily life. Ifyou don't have very much clarity in your dreams, tnaybe you don't remember your dremns or your dremns are not very clear, then the practice you should do is to visualize a five-coloured thigle with a red A at the center of your throat chakra. The red A repre­ sents the state oftransmission, your primordial state, but here doing this visualization is related particularly with our energy level . Re­ n1ember, when we do the three Vajras, OM is at forehead, AH is at throat and HUM is at our heart centre. So here this is related tnore with our energy level. This practice helps. If you have the problem of sleeping too heavily (this is called

nyid thug), for example as soon as you put your head down on your cushion immediately you fall asleep, sleeping very deeply like this it is very difficult to have dreruns of clarity. If you have this kind ofprobletn the practice you should do is visualization of a thigle with a white luminous A at your forehead chakra. When you are in that state you relax and fall asleep. This helps people with this prob­ letn very tnuch. I fit interferes with your sleep, because if you are doing visualization it is not so easy to sleep even if you are relaxed, in this case visualize a red A; this also helps for having clarity in dreatns. Doing the night practice is very ilnportant because halfofour life is the night. Knowing that, we shouldn't be indifferent towards sleep. If you don't succeed in doing this practice or some nights you for­ get, don't worry. We can always forget sometilnes. But don't be indifferent. Some people don't succeed and they say, "This prac­ tice is difficult, I can't do it, so I won't try to do it anymore", and they forget about it completely. That is very b ad. S omehow you should do this practice, because this practice also serves for be­ cmning aware in the bardo, it is also a preparation for dying. Ifyou say, "I want to do a practice for dying", what should you do? Do


Guruyoga, do the night practice. Ifyou succeed in having the pres­ ence ofthe white A in the thigle and relaxing in that state, knowing that is the prhnordial state and you succeed in falling asleep that way then you can also die that way. It' s very silnple. Because when we learn this we apply it our whole life, we don't do this visualization only when we do a retreat, we do this visualiza­ tion at any moment, because ifwe are pretending to be practitioners ofDzogchen then really at least we should do that. I always ask my students, remember to do the Guruyoga. If in one day you re111ember to do Guruyoga 1 00 tilnes that's good, it can never be too 1nuch. Ifyour life beco1nes the state ofGuruyoga, that is fantastic. Even if it doesn't becmne something like that at least try to reme1nber Guruyoga very often. In the 1noming titne for exrunple, when you wake up, try ilrune­ diately to remember the Guruyoga. Because ifwhen you go to sleep you do the visualization of the white A and when you wake up you do this visualization then the two are connected. So if you do this very precisely and you become fruniliar with it, it helps very 1nuch for having that presence. Smnetimes you experience this for your­ self. If on going to sleep you do the practice of the presence of the white A in the

thigle and relax, then if sometimes you wake up

during the night i1runediately you can have awareness ofthe white A in the thigle. Smneti1nes you can notice that. So then it is not neces­ sary always to do the visualization thinking, ''There is a white A in a

thigle", because that is the 1nind, that is attention. Now we no longer need mind and attention. At first we need the mind and attention and we do the visualization, then we relax. When.we relax we are in that clarity, so when we are relaxed in this experience we no longer need that concept. This is very itnportant. Also when we do the introduction of the state of rigpa, we say

rigpa hrigewa. Hrigewa 1neans presence, but not smnething like an obj ect, or this or that, rather through experience there is instant presence. This 1neans that being in the state of presence is not just


of clarity or of etnptiness or of sensation, but is related with this experience and

being in the experience, the specific experiences

feeling when we are in the relaxed state. So when we say, "Con­ tinue relaxed in the state", this is the way that should be. This is also the way we should do the visualization ofthe white A in the tl1igle. Then everything will be perfect in our night practice. This is a short explanation ofhow to do the night practice. There are also books on the night practice and on the practice of day and night. 3 Night practice also includes the drerun practice. In the books there are tnore explanations on the day and night practices and on how particular wisdoms can tnanifest related with clarity in the dreatn. So you can learn and can study this and go deeper into that knowl­ edge. Transtnission of the night and dream practices are related with Guruyoga in Dzogchen. In Dzogchen if you know how to do Guruyoga then you can do any kind of practice related with it and you can go deeper into that knowledge.


Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, Dream Yoga and the Practice ofNatural Light,

ed. M. Katz, Snow Lion 2002; Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, The Cycle of Day and Night, Shang Shung Edizioni 200 3 ; Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, An Oral Commentary to The Cycle of Day and Night, Shang Shung Edizioni 2000.




bar do 26, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 47

Chikai bardo

' chi kha' i bar do 3 3

Chonyi bardo

chos nyid bar d o 3 8


sgra sbyong 24


rdzogs chen 7, 9, 1 0, 1 8 , 24, 28, 3 1 , 32,

Guru Tragphur

guru drag phur 22


ka dag 33

3 5 , 3 8 , 44, 48, 49

Kyechi bardo

skyes ' chi bar do 33


bla rna 22, 23


lha sa 1 2


lhun grub 33 , 34

Long de

klong sde 1 0


lung 30


rlung 3 9


me r i sgar 1 1

Milam gyurwa

mi lam bsgyur ba 44


mi Ia ras pa 1 1 , 1 7, 3 I

Nangwa chepa

snang ba mched pa 3 7

Nyid thug

gnyid 'thug 47


'pho ba 34, 3 5

Rigpa hrigewa

rig p a hrig g e b a 48


ru shan 7, 8 , 1 8 , 2 1


sems sde 1 0


sems 'dzin 7 , 8 , 2 1


zhi gnas 1 9


zhi khro 3 3 , 37

Tagpa Nyipa

brtag pa gnyis pa 43


thig le 9, 32, 36, 39, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49


thun 1 3 , 20, 29