In this series of vlogs I will be exploring the lojong slogans. Through the marvelous teachings of Chogyam Trungpa I’ll sit down every week for a contemplation. May whatever arises be of benefit.
Please don’t take my word for it. Explore, contemplate, be curious, look into your own experience! Check out the information below to see commentaries by other teachers on the this particular slogan.
Contemplation: Throughout your day, whenever a thought or a feeling arises ask yourself: where did it come from? Who is perceiving it?
Read the commentary by:
What is awareness and how does it arise? What does it mean to perceive a world? The question of consciousness is one that has puzzled scientists and philosophers as well as meditators and mystics. It seems to be intimately connected with the physical brain, yet not identical to it—and when you are aware of something, it doesn’t seem to be the brain that is perceiving, but you! But who or what is that you?
Consciousness can be considered philosophically or studied scientifically, but in this slogan the idea is to examine it personally and directly. It is to look at your own experience. When you look, what do you see? And where does that seeing come from? What is its nature? Where does it abide? Where does it go?
Over and over look at your own mind, and then look again. Don’t think too much but keep it simple, nothing but dispassionate, inquisitive observation. Is it inside you? Outside you? Both?
If the unnerving experience of dharmas being dreamlike is not unsettling enough, when you try to examine the nature of unborn awareness, it is beyond unsettling. These two slogans undermine our attempts to establish inner and outer solidity, and liberate the energy we invest in that pursuit. So whether we are applying slogan practice to meditation and in our daily lives, it comes from a fresher place.
Look at your basic mind, just simple awareness which is not divided into sections, the thinking process that exists within you. Just look at that, see that. Examining does not mean analyzing. It is just viewing things as they are, in the ordinary sense.
The reason our mind is known as unborn awareness is that we have no idea of its history. We have no idea where this mind, our crazy mind, began in the beginning. It has no shape, no color, no particular portrait or characteristics. It usually flickers on and off, off and on, all the time. Sometimes it is hibernating, sometimes it is all over the place. Look at your mind. That is a part of ultimate bodhichitta training or discipline. Our mind fluctuates constantly, back and forth, forth and back. Look at that, just look at that!
You could get caught up in the fascination of regarding all dharmas as dreams and perpetuate unnecessary visions and fantasies of all kinds. Therefore it is very important to get to this next slogan, “Examine the nature of unborn awareness.” When you look beyond the perceptual level alone, when you look at your own mind (which you cannot actually do, but you pretend to do), you find that there is nothing there. You begin to realize that there is nothing to hold on to. Mind is unborn. But at the same time, it is awareness, because you still perceive things. There is awareness and clarity. Therefore, you should contemplate that by seeing who is actually perceiving dharmas as dreams.
If you look further and further, at your mind’s root, its base, you will find that it has no color and no shape. Your mind is, basically speaking, somewhat blank. There is nothing to it. We are beginning to cultivate a kind of shunyata possibility; although in this case that possibility is quite primitive, in the sense of simplicity and workability. When we look at the root, when we try to find out why we see things, why we hear sounds, why we feel, and why we smell – if we look beyond that – we find a kind of blankness.
That blankness is connected with mindfulness. To begin with, you are mindful of some THING: you are mindful of yourself, you are mindful of your atmosphere, and you are mindful of your breath. But if you look at WHY you are mindful, beyond WHAT you are mindful of, you begin to find that there is no root. Everything begins to dissolve. That is the idea of examining the nature of unborn awareness.