Calm and clear. Darnków, 2011

James Low

Talk given during the time of the 100,000 Butterlamp Offering, 14th July 2011 at Darnków in Poland, where the Buddhist Khordong Association has land and a temple.

Transcribed by Magdalena Kaniewska and revised by James Low.


C. R. Lama often said that he liked simple people. The highest compliment he paid anyone was to say that they were very natural. We get so carried away by our capacity to elaborate, to develop storylines redolent with affect and dramatic tension. We love the intoxication that this over-investment creates – yet there is no end to thinking and feeling. In Buddhism such mental activity is likened to a disease.

‘Calm abiding’ and ‘seeing clearly’ are terms which refer not just to the dualistic meditation practices of focusing on the breath and on body scanning. In the dzogchen tradition calm abiding is to rest in the unchanging nature of our mind, and seeing clearly is the luminosity of the mind revealing all possible experiences. We enter calm abiding by relaxing, by releasing our anxious and worthy preoccupations. As we allow appearance to come and go there is the ease of seeing that we are not responsible, not in charge. The unborn openness of our mind is revealed as its obscuring veils of identification are allowed to fall away by themselves. This calm spaciousness is naturally inseparable from seeing clearly. Whatever arises is appearance devoid of substance, the radiance of the mind offering a ceaseless display of the illusory interplay of subject and object.


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