Discovering the natural state [2]:Using shiné [shamatha] practice to discover the natural state. Bremen, June 1995

I want to stay with this practice of shiné and link it, through tantra, into the basic examination of the nature of mind. In shiné practice the focus is on separation, so essentially in this practice we are separating out an observing, focusing, aware position of the self from an involved enmeshed position of the self.

James Low

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Karma Thegchen Chö Ling, Bremen, Germany
17-18 June 1995
Transcribed by Liz Fox
Unedited

Excerpts

“…Even if our shiné practice, our calming practice, becomes very good, so that—to take the traditional metaphor—I am now no longer caught up in the river, I am sitting on the bank, watching the water flowing, we never know when the river will flood. The water will rise and we could be back in the river! The river and the bank of the river are in a dualistic position. First of all they are different, they are opposites, and are potentially in conflict. The river seeks to undermine the bank. The bank seeks to hold the river in place.…”
“…So the first stage of doing the Shiné is about cooling the system down, and opening up some space where one can observe what is going on without being caught up in the impulses. Then once one is able to observe, one can then analyse the nature of subject and object, and through that one comes to a realisation of liberation and being able to respond in the world.…”
“…It is often considered to be just an introductory idea, but the idea of impermanence is absolutely at the essence of dzogchen and mahamudra…”
“…All the preliminary practices in the Buddha dharma are designed to help us shift the ordinary everyday thoughts that we have so that we become more gradually aligned with a view of the world which will permit us to enter into the experience of emptiness…”

Contents

First stage: separating our karmic tendencies from our focussed attention
Is meditation a method for happiness?
What is the object and what is the subject?
Getting to emptiness
Second stage: analysis. Who is the thinker of the thought?
Reorientating your thoughts and reflecting on emptiness