The Practice of Non-Dwelling


“Just let things happen without making any response and keep your minds from dwelling on anything whatsoever; for they who can do this thereby enter nirvana.”

~Ta-chu Huihai, Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

It is an extremely rare one indeed who, upon hearing the truth, is immediately able to drop all their accumulated stories of preference and separation, grasping and aversion, “me and mine”, and fully open their eyes to the real. This is why the old masters, the ones who themselves have awakened and are moreover fit to serve as authentic guides, typically recommend certain preliminary practices that bring one’s whole being into such an available condition that they are then prepared and ready to make the leap beyond the confines of duality and awaken to their own true identity, nature, and condition.

These recommendations include attending to the healing and balancing of the “food” body, the mental body, and the emotional body, for starters. It is also understood that, unless one has gotten straight with “the basics” first, it would be ridiculous to presume that one is capable of fully engaging a practice which requires the pristine concentrative skill and self-mastery (and not just for an hour on a cushion, but 24/7) that a teacher such as Dogen Zenji prescribes:“Do not think of good and bad. Do not care about right and wrong. Stop the driving movement of mind, will, and consciousness. Cease intellectual consideration through images, thoughts, and reflections.”

Just as an athlete might have outstanding potential, but nevertheless must rigorously practice to fulfill that potential, so too are we all born with the innate capacity to realize our prior nature as powerful immortal spiritual beings of the highest order, but few are willing to undertake the preparations necessary to fashion a diamond-pointed arrow of consolidated attention and intention, which can then be summoned to pierce through mind’s habitual overlay of delusions that obscure who and what we truly are.

Among the various time-tested recommendations in this regard, I would offer that the practice of “non-dwelling” is one of the most effective. It is one practice that can transcend any conceptual ideology, sectarian dogma, or religious bias and directly reveal our fundamental innocence. In the Madhupindika Sutta, Buddha alluded to it when he said: “If, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions and categories of complication assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, and the obsessions of ignorance.

Essentially, the practice of non-dwelling, or non-abiding, consists of a sustained refusal to grant reality to that which is not real, or to fixate attention on any of what changes, including one’s transient moods, hopes, desires, fears, memories, schemes, or regrets. In other words, it is refraining from clinging to any mental or emotional formations which would lead to the fabrication of a separate and enduring self-sense. In practice terms, it represents “non-meditation” in the sense of simply not indulging the urge to obscure effortless natural recognition (timeless awareness) with conceptual designations and fantasies of interpretation on perception.

Typically, we tend to blame external circumstances, people, and events for our sense of chronic dissatisfaction. However, a comprehensive investigation of the mechanism of our stress and suffering reveals that it is not external phenomena that are the source of our distress. Rather, it is our fixation on them that keeps us locked in a cycle of craving and aversion. Consequently, the natural remedy is to interrupt the chain of causation which leads to attachment, clinging, fixation.

The great sage Nisargadatta Maharaj pointed to it when he advised: “Refuse attention, let things come and go. Desires and thoughts are also things. Disregard them. Since immemorial time the dust of events was covering the clear mirror of your mind, so that only memories you could see. Brush off the dust before it has time to settle; this will lay bare the old layers until the true nature of your mind is discovered. It is all very simple and comparatively easy; be earnest and patient, that is all. Dispassion, detachment, freedom from desire and fear, from all self-concern, mere awareness — free from memory and expectation — this is the state of mind to which discovery can happen. After all, liberation is but the freedom to discover.”

The practice of non-dwelling cuts through the noise and reveals the potent silence of our own true nature. It is the antidote to hope and fear, grasping and avoidance. It is the essence of true compassion in action, because it frees attention from the self-obsession, rendering it available to life and relationship. It is the gift that never ceases giving. It depends on no religion or philosophy, answers to no messiah, master, or guru, and requires no initiation or special rituals or rites.

This practice, when applied with sincerity and consistency, gives the ego-mind (including the “spiritual” ego) no place to land. When starved for attention, the “me-story” begins to disintegrate, and what emerges in its place is free and clear attention, as well as our innate compassion and capacity for true recognition.

Again, Nisargadatta Maharaj put it succinctly when he suggested: “Leave your mind alone, that is all. Don’t go along with it. After all, there is no such thing as mind apart from thoughts which come and go obeying their own laws, not yours. They dominate you only because you are interested in them. It is exactly as Christ said ‘Resist not evil’. By resisting evil you merely strengthen it.”

In Zen practice, it is called “no-mind”, or non-abiding mind, which is the true spontaneous condition of one’s own mind when freed of all obscuration and distraction. In Tibetan Buddhist practice, the contemporary Dzogchen teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche depicts true meditation as “not dwelling in any way whatsoever, and yet totally present throughout everything.” In a nutshell, it is simply self-existing awareness itself.

Another great Dzogchen teacher, Dudjom Rinpoche, put it like this: “Whatever thoughts arise, let them arise. Do not follow after them and do not suppress them. If you ask “In that case, what should I do?” Whatever objective phenomena arise, whatever appears, do not grasp phenomena’s appearing aspect as you rest in a fresh state, like a small child looking inside a temple. When all phenomena are left as they are, their appearance is not modified, their color does not change, and their brilliance does not diminish. If you do not spoil phenomena with clinging and grasping thoughts, appearances and awareness will nakedly manifest as empty and luminous wisdom. Simple recognition of thoughts as they arise breaks their flow. Release thoughts within that recognition. When you remain in that state, arising thoughts will all be liberated equally within awareness.”

In the Christian mystical tradition, John of the Cross shared a similar insight when he wrote, “Beyond human knowledge and understanding, in order to come to union with the wisdom of God, the soul has to proceed rather by unknowing than by knowing. When thy mind dwells upon anything, thou art ceasing to cast thyself upon the All. This perfection consists in voiding and stripping and purifying the soul of every desire. In order to be free and void to that end, (the soul) must in no wise lay hold upon that which it receives, either spiritually or sensually, within itself.”

Essential to the practice of non-dwelling is surrender. That is, all of one’s most cherished beliefs, ideals, and self-images must be released, until there is nothing left to let go of. At that point, insight or recognition into one’s true nature may become spontaneously evident. As the contemporary Theravandin teacher Ajahn Amaro wrote, “The practice of nonabiding is the process of emptying out both the objective and the subjective domains, truly seeing that both the object and subject are intrinsically empty. If we can see that both the subjective and objective are empty, if there’s no real ‘in here’ or ‘out there’, where could the feeling of I-ness and me-ness and my-ness locate itself?”

Nevertheless, even after one experiences a first revelatory awakening to the truth of emptiness, as life-changing as it may be, there usually must follow a substantial period of integration, while all the various “bodies” are brought into full alignment with the truth realized in the initial glimpse. Remarkable mental clarity and insight alone are still not fully indicative of real liberation, as long as the chronic emotionally reactive contraction has not been dealt with sufficiently enough to awaken the heart of unconditional compassion.

If the resulting insight that arises from perseverance in non-dwelling mind is to be truly worth anything, then genuine compassion and humility will shine through in one’s life, filtering into every nook and cranny of one’s being. For that light to manifest, sincere effort is necessary, or as Suzuki Roshi noted, “You are all perfect the way you are, and you could use a little improvement.” Such effort involves consciously creating a life of impeccable integrity, in which every trace of greed, envy, hatred, pride, ignorance, and emotional/sexual contraction is seen through and transcended, and all relations harmonized.

By spending a little time each day refraining from following our thoughts around like a slave, and instead just observe them arise and dissolve without attaching to any of them, we would soon come to the direct recognition that we are not the person we had assumed ourselves to be. We are not our thoughts, and in fact we are a total mystery — undefinable and inconceivable. In reality each experience has its own experiencer. The sense of some continuous identity which we habitually cling to is actually based on bits of thoughts and memory. Upon thorough inspection, no real person can be established.

Indeed, what can be noticed, in the course of sincere inspection, is that both thought and thinker are empty. Moreover, such recognition does not require extraordinary feats of concentrative effort. As the wise adept Tulku Urgyen recommended:

“When a thought moves, simply recognise the thinker. The thinking then dissolves. No matter what the thought is about, the thinking and the thinker are empty. A thought in itself is not made of any concrete substance; it is simply an empty thought movement. By recognising the empty essence in a thought, it vanishes like a bubble in water. That is how to deal with any particular present thought at hand. Once you know how to let the present thought dissolve, any subsequent thought can be dealt with in exactly the same way, as simply another present thought. But if we get involved in the thought, thinking of what is being thought of, and continue it, then there is no end.

It is our thinking that propels us or forces us into further samsaric existence. As long as we get caught up in our own thinking, samsara doesn’t stop. On the other hand, any thought is an empty thought, in that it has no concrete substance to it whatsoever. It is very easy to no¬tice this, because the moment you recognise mind essence, the thought dissolves right there. The thought vanishes into your empty essence, into your basic nature which is emptiness. There is no remnant whatso¬ever. That is the only way to solve the problem. When recognising your essence, the thought is executed on the spot; it is totally obliterated.”

When we refrain from buying into the illusion of the personal package (due to the practices like non-dwelling), a more vivid and transparent reality spontaneously moves to the forefront, and if we allow it in, our relationships with each other and life itself will be dramatically changed. Our craziness will typically not yield much at first, but as it is consistently undermined by resort to direct recognition, it will gradually become obsolete, because we will have ceased to indulge it.

The good news is that this is all possible, people can and do awaken at the heart, and they do find liberation from the afflictive states of emotional contraction (in so far as such awakening is possible on a relatively low-level war planet such as this realm we are currently touring).

Does this constitute true “Enlightenment”? No, but it does represent a substantial deepening and clarification of vision, as well as an increasingly skillful embodiment of the conscious principle, thus enabling effective adaptation to successively more profound vibrational frequencies of Light.

“You don’t have to do anything with your mind, just let it naturally rest in it’s essential nature. Your own mind, unagitated, is reality. Meditate on this without distraction.

Know the Truth beyond all opposites. Thoughts are like bubbles that form and dissolve in clear water. Thoughts are not distinct from the absolute Reality, so relax, there is no need to be critical.

Whatever arises, whatever occurs, simply don’t cling to it, but immediately let it go. What you see, hear, and touch are your own mind. There is nothing but mind.

Mind transcends birth and death. The essence of mind is pure Consciousness that never leaves reality, even though it experiences the things of the senses. In the equanimity of the Absolute, there is nothing to renounce or attain.”



Further reading:


About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
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43 Responses to The Practice of Non-Dwelling

  1. marcel says:

    Dank je wel, Broeder!

  2. “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
    ~ Yogi Berra

  3. A.Decker says:

    Ahhh, Ha! Then you had to go and quote my favorite Yogi! 😉

    I got here through the link you sent in response to my question about “refraining from identification,” and even though your words sometimes befuddle my mind –sort of like the ‘neo-advaitins’ do– nevertheless you employ a lot more rational thought than most of them, easier to follow by a long shot, so I’d like to ask one more thing in an attempt to check my understanding of what you’ve said.

    Through much meditation I seem to have developed the ability to –when I sincerely apply “Who am I?”– actually see/feel/sense a gaping nothing, for want of a better word. The more intently I gaze into this nothing, the more I feel imploded, like I’m being drawn backwards down a well with everything caving inward in my wake. This is difficult to maintain so I usually try to just let go at some point, and then it’s hard to remember what happens, but my memory is of depth and spaciousness.
    In order for this to happen I do have to utterly give up participating in conscious thoughts, which don’t seem to be involved in this “direction.”
    Is this pretty much what you’re getting at, and I just haven’t done it enough to see where it’s leading? Perhaps I should’ve said, is this anything like what you’re getting at…?

    Oh, by the way, thanks.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      I could offer you a detailed response, based on my own experience, but I have learned over the years that it would be better in such cases as you describe to refer you to a qualified teacher with whom to discuss this matter at greater length, face to face.

      If you are unable to find such a qualified guide, there are a few good meditation masters who do exchange correspondence on the internet with sincere practitioners, although most tend to be associated with various schools, such as Zen Buddhism.

      It sounds to me that you are approaching a particular juncture in your practice that requires careful “hands-on” guidance from someone who has not only traversed this way, but is also competent in navigational guidance, and hence I recommend a face to face teacher/student relationship if at all possible.

      In any case, your intuition seems good, and so rather than artificially forcing your experience to go this way or that, trying to create or maintain any particular state or fixed position derived from conceptual interpretations, it would seem appropriate that you simply persevere in the natural process of allowing whatever arises to present itself, while simultaneously refraining from clinging to any of it, and thereby continue to return attention to its root, at the source of thoughts. Abiding there in a relaxed alertness, and with faith, is a good and prudent posture, and hopefully you will soon find a Benefactor who can delve into the subtleties of this with you.


  4. Bob OHearn says:

    “The practice of nonabiding is a process of emptying out the objective and subjective domains, truly seeing that both the object and subject are intrinsically empty. If we can see that both the subjective and objective are empty, if there’s no real “in here” or “out there,” where could the feeling of I-ness and meness and my-ness locate itself?

    This is the point that these teachings on nonabiding are trying to draw us to. The whole concept and construct of where-ness, the act of conceiving ourselves as this individual entity living in this spot in space and time, is a presumption.

    This view of things pulls the plug, takes the props away, and, above all, shakes up our standard frames of reference. This is exactly what Ajahn Chah did with people when he asked, “If you can’t go forward and you can’t go back and you can’t stand still, where can you go?” He was pointing to the place of nonabiding: the timeless, selfless quality that is independent of location.

    Interestingly enough, some current scientific research has also reached a comparable conclusion about the fundamental nature of matter. In the world of Quantum Physics, scientists now use such terms as “the well of being” or “the sea of potential” to refer to the primordial level of physical reality from which all particles and energies crystalize and into which they subsequently dissolve. The principle of non-locality in this realm means that the “place where something happens” cannot truly be defined, and that a single event can have exactly simultaneous effects in (apparent) widely separated places. Particles can accurately be described as being smeared out over the entirety of time and space.

    Terms like “singe place” and “separate places” are seen to apply only as convenient fictions at certain levels of scale; at the level of the ultimate field, the sea of quantum foam, “place” has no real meaning. When you get down into the fine, sub-atomic realm, where-ness simply does not apply. There is no there there. Whether this principle is called nonabiding or non-locality, it’s both interesting and noteworthy that the same principle applies in both the physical and mental realms.”

    ~Ajahn Amaro, “Small Boat, Great Mountain”

  5. rahkyt says:

    So much knowledge. I share your stuff with my FB family, hope some come to check out your work. Thank you for the gift and blessing of presence and your commitment and dedication to the awakening of all sentient beings, Bodhisattva Bob. Bless!

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Great to hear from you, Brother!
      I’ve been following your essays over at Sacred Space, and continue to marvel at your depth of investigative probing into the nature of consciousness and our inter-relationships on both the micro as well as the macro level, especially in terms of genuine Awakening! Yours is a rare gift, and dearly appreciated Thank you for your good efforts!


  6. Thanks for this, Bob. 🙂

  7. Bob OHearn says:

    “Accomplish the sign of truth, which is to be always without recollection. What does this mean? The nature of thought is primordially a non-resting essence. It is not to be obtained, nor can it be fixated by mental clarification or meditative absorption.

    It cannot be fixed as “it is thought” or “it is not thought” or good or bad, or thought as colour and shape. Nor can it be fixed as having limits or not having limits, as having size or not having size, as having a place or not having a place. Do not fixate on any of the characteristics of mental activity. If by doing this you do not rest upon thought, then that primordial non-abiding in the essence of thought’s sameness is reflexive awareness.

    Awareness means coming to rest in non-resting. For example, a bird flying through the open sky goes without resting. If it did rest in the open sky, it would fall. In the same way, it is not possible for there to be no awareness. Without awareness you would fall into the extreme of emptiness.

    Therefore non-resting is the primordially peaceful essence. Through the wisdom of the patriarchs you are able to be aware of the essence of this rare peace. If you apprehend this directly, there is no mental activity in that apprehension. If you see it directly, there is no mental activity in that seeing. This is the total perfect dharmakāya, equivalent to the dharmadhātu, the same as the sky. Since it is by nature non-abiding, its qualities are limitless and spontaneously perfected.”

    ~ Chan Book of Master Shinho

    • This passage is more illuminating now than when I first read it here a year ago. Thanks again, Bob. Oh by the way, do you know where I can get my hands on a copy of Master Shinho’s book?

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Sorry, Albert, but I do not know where you could get a copy of that book. Amazon is the source I would try first.

        Glad to hear it makes more sense now. Things often work that way in these matters.


  8. Bob OHearn says:

    “Don’t bring anything to mind, be it real or imagined. Rest uncontrived in the innate state. Your own mind, uncontrived, is the body of ultimate enlightenment. To remain undistracted within this, is meditation’s essential point. Realize the great, boundless, expansive state.”

  9. Although its only been a month I’m sharing again on T&Z. This essay is so helpful and clear. Thanks for all your efforts, brother.

  10. Bob OHearn says:

    “Maintain that state of simplicity. If you encounter happiness, success, prosperity, or other favorable conditions, consider them as dreams or illusions, and do not get attached to any of them. If you are stricken by illness, calumny, deprivation, or other physical and mental trials, do not let yourself get discouraged, but rekindle your compassion and generate the wish that through your suffering all beings suffering may be exhausted. Whatever circumstances arise, do not plunge into either elation or misery, but stay free and comfortable, in unshaken serenity.”

    ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

  11. Bob OHearn says:

    Q: Are you not making realisation the result of practice? Practice operates within the limitations of physical existence. How can it give birth to the unlimited?

    M: Of course, there can be no causal connection between practice and wisdom. But the obstacles to wisdom are deeply affected by practice.

    Q: What are the obstacles?

    M: Wrong ideas and desires leading to wrong actions, causing dissipation and weakness of mind and body. The discovery and abandonment of the false remove what prevents the real entering the mind.

    ~from “I Am That”, Nisargadatta Maharaj

  12. Bob OHearn says:

    Although the direct recognition of two-fold emptiness is not the result of effort, without that recognition, there will be nothing other than effort. How to resolve this apparent catch 22? Longchenpa made a good suggestion:

    “In short, all conscious sensory perception,
    And all that is unconscious or transcendent,
    Everything is already released in the spaciousness of the now,
    So any attempt to liberate anything anew is superfluous.
    It is pointless to try to make effort towards release!

    So don’t try! Don’t try! Don’t struggle and strive in practice!
    Don’t seek! Don’t seek! Don’t seek intellectual truth!
    Don’t meditate! Don’t meditate! Don’t contrive meditation!
    Don’t analyze! Don’t analyze! Don’t analyze in or after an event!
    Don’t practice! Don’t practice! Don’t practice the upshot of hope and fear!
    Don’t reject! Don’t reject! Don’t reject emotional karma!
    Don’t believe! Don’t believe! Don’t believe in righteous religion!
    Don’t trap yourself! Don’t trap yourself! Don’t cage your mind!”

  13. Bob OHearn says:

    “For now just do not be confused and disturbed by any existent or non-existent objects; and do not stop and abide in disillusion, and yet have no understanding of nonabiding.”

    ~ Pai-chang (Baizhang)

  14. Bob OHearn says:

    Resting in the Natural State
    Teachings from the Third Dzogchen Rinpoche

    “The conceptual mind is not directed towards the six objects that serve as focal points or the unconditioned phenomena associated with them. Rather, one just settles in the natural state, without forming any concepts concerning appearance and emptiness, certain things that need to be eliminated, the remedies that eliminate them, or anything else.

    “Natural state,” here, means uncontrived, while “resting” denotes simply letting be in this state, hence the term “resting in the natural state.”

    Explaining the actual practice of resting in the natural state, the Tantra of Penetrating Sound explains:

    At this time, the key point of body, speech, and mind is for the practitioner to settle in the natural state.

    To explain, begin by seating yourself on a comfortable cushion in either the cross-legged posture of the bodhisattvas or in a squatting position, whichever you prefer. Just let your body be; remain motionless, relaxed, and at ease. Let your breath flow naturally in a relaxed manner and do not talk or say anything, neither good or bad. Without busying yourself with recitations, chanting, and other verbal activities, keep silent and don’t alter your breathing. Do not identify with any non virtuous or neutral thoughts. of the past, present, or future. You can even let go of thoughts that are normally considered virtuous. Just let be. This will bring about a state of basic lucidity in the three gates, just like water left untouched clearing up all on its own. This is a wonderful way to bring about meditative concentration and tranquility.

    The signs of progress in this practice are as follows:

    When you are physically resting in the natural state, you will have no desire to move; when you are verbally resting in the natural state, you will not want to speak; and by letting your mind rest in the natural state, all forms of discursive thinking will be purified on their own and vanish. Until these signs actually occur, persevere in this practice.”

  15. “When you are physically resting in the natural state, you will have no desire to move; when you are verbally resting in the natural state, you will not want to speak; and by letting your mind rest in the natural state, all forms of discursive thinking will be purified on their own and vanish. Until these signs actually occur, persevere in this practice.”

    (( 🙂 )))

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  17. Bob OHearn says:

    The problems we face with appearances and all of the suffering we experience as a result of appearances is not because of the appearances themselves but because of our fixation on them. It is our fixation upon appearances which turns appearances into enemies. Because these appearances are just appearances, they are just what appears to us; so if we have no fixation on them, they will not bring any suffering.

    – Thrangu Rinpoche

    • Jackson says:

      This is useful regarding “twofold emptiness”:

      Contented Mind: The Life of Gen Lamrimpa

      The Venerable Jampal Tenzin, Gen Lamrimpa, teaches that a contented mind is within our grasp, no matter how difficult the conditions of our lives. Genla, as he is affectionately called by his students, is one of the small number of Tibetan monks who spend most of their time in solitary meditation. He makes his home in a forest hut in Sikkim, where he lives simply and engages in spiritual practices.

      Quotes from Gen Lamrimpa:

      “The entire universe and everything in it is conceptually designated.”

      “We say that phenomena are established by the power of conceptual designation.”

      “Since phenomena do not exist inherently, they must exist conventionally. And since phenomena are established by the power of convention, they exist in a dependent fashion. Phenomena are dependent upon something else; in particular, they are dependent upon conceptual designation.”

      “There are a number of Buddhist scriptures that make this point. For example, there are sutras that say phenomena are established by conception. Also, Nagarjuna’s writings say that phenomena are established by thought, and Aryadeva makes the same point. All these Buddhist writings say that phenomena are established by convention, and what they mean here is that they are conceptually designated.”

      “This is an assertion unique to the Prasangika Madhyamaka view. All four Buddhist philosophical systems affirm that phenomena are dependent upon the collection of their preceding causes and conditions. But apart from the Prasangika system, the other Buddhist philosophical systems do not assert that phenomena are established by conception. Advocates of those other systems are not able to comprehend this point.”

      “Nagarjuna comments that total emptiness, or universal emptiness, remains upon the complete cessation of all appearances of conventional reality. In the absence of all conventional appearances, that emptiness can be called “the clear light of the fourth occasion.” The Buddhist scholar Sangye Yeshe states that this mind of clear light pervades all of space. This indicates the essential nature, or the mode of being, of the awareness (rigpa).”

      “We can ask this question in relation to the “I.” How does the “I” exist? First of all, the “I” does not exist except as a conceptual or verbal designation. Apart from that, the “I” has no other mode of existence.”

      (Translated from Tibetan by B. Allan Wallace)

    • Bob OHearn says:

      As indicated, non-dwelling is “expedient means”, as are complementary disciplines such as “true meditation” and “Inquiry”. In the course of earnest application, what is revealed might certainly include the emptiness of the self-image previously assumed to be one’s identity.

  18. Bob OHearn says:

    “In many ways, the events of samsara are like a big movie. There are so many things happening without any kind of order—like a movie on the big screen spontaneously arising all the time, and we are part of that movie. Everything is constantly changing. It is very important to look at this closely and come to really understand this.

    If we don’t grasp or cling to it, it is simply a display.”

    ~Khenpo Rinpoche, Supreme Wisdom: Commentary on Yeshe Lama

  19. Bob OHearn says:

    Ani Zamba: Once you become familiar with releasing whatever is arising, without any preferences, you get so familiar with letting go that there’s no tendency to want to hold on to anything.

    FM: So in the beginning maybe it becomes another habit. We create a different kind of habit.

    AZ: It becomes a habit until it becomes natural. Now we have the habit of holding on. We feel totally insecure because of changing conditions, which motivates us to try to hold on to something so we have some ground. But if we get more and more familiar with the movement as being something totally natural, there’s nothing to hold on to and we can relax and let go. Everything then becomes transparent—everything just opens out into its own spacious nature. It liberates itself of any solidity.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Actually, nothing is happening for anyone, but somehow, mysteriously, people are helping and hurting each other. There is no birth or death, and yet people are born and die. There is no bondage or liberation, and yet people experience suffering and relief. What a strange dream, eh . . . 😉

  20. Bob OHearn says:

    When you meditate, do not try to have good thoughts, do not try to keep away bad thoughts, do not try to stop thoughts, and do not try to go after them. Rather, rest in a state of being aware of the thoughts as they arise.

    ~ Kalu Rinpoche

  21. Bob OHearn says:

    The location of the truth of the Great Perfection is the unfabricated mind of the present moment, this naked radiant awareness itself, not a hair of which has been forced into relaxation. Maintaining this at all times, just through not forgetting it even in the states of eating, sleeping, walking, and sitting, is called meditation. However, until you are free from the obscurations of cognition, it is impossible for this not to be mixed with the experiences of bliss, clarity, and non-conceptualisation. Nevertheless, just by not forgetting the nature of one’s own awareness — the kind that is not a tangled mindfulness that gets more tangled in order to be mindful — at some point the unelaborated ultimate truth, transcending terms and examples, will appear.

    ~ Jigme Lingpa

  22. Bob OHearn says:

    Zen is very simple. Dishwashing time, just wash dishes; sitting time, just sit; driving time, just drive; talking time, just talk. That’s all. Not special. But that is very difficult. That is absolutes thinking. When you’re doing something, just do it. No opposites.

    It’s easy to talk about “When you’re doing something, just do it,” but action is very difficult. But don’t hold. Thinking is OK. Checking is OK. Only holding is a problem. Don’t hold. Feeling coming, going, OK. Don’t hold. If your mind is not holding anything, it is clear like space. Clear like space means that sometimes clouds come, sometimes rain or lightning or airplane comes, or even a missile blows up, BOOM! World explodes, but the air is never broken. This space is never broken.

    ~Zen Master Seung Sahn

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  24. Bob OHearn says:

    “Your five senses are wide open, wide awake and yet thought-free. Remain in that state, utterly open. This openness is like a windowpane of clear glass. It doesn’t obstruct the view of anything from outside; it is totally transparent.”

    ~Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Could it also be the same one recently providing detailed instructions on Recognizing the Ever Present Clear Light? Who was being addressed, for example, when you wrote: “Find a comfortable seat and relax. Close your eyes. Notice the various thoughts that are arising in your space of awareness within. Observe that the thoughts and images come and go. Consider these appearances to be the mind’s “content”.” So, perhaps reifying imaginary practitioners is a pretty common trait of the non-existent teachers? 😉

  25. Bob OHearn says:

    “The obstructing vasanas [mental habits and tendencies] may look like a large mountain which obstructs your progress. Don’t be intimidated by the size. It is not a mountain of rock; it is a mountain of camphor. If you light one corner of it with the flame of discriminative attention, it will all burn to nothing. Stand back from the mountain of problems, refuse to acknowledge that they are yours, and they will dissolve and disappear before your eyes.

    Don’t be deluded by your thoughts and vasanas. They are always trying to trick you into believing that you are a real person, that the world is real, and that all your problems are real. Don’t fight them; just ignore them. Don’t accept delivery of all the wrong ideas that keep coming to you.

    Establish yourself in the conviction that you are the Self and that nothing can stick to you or affect you. Once you have that conviction you will find that you automatically ignore the habits of the mind. When the rejection of mental activities becomes continuous and automatic, you will begin to have the experience of the Self.

    If you see two strangers quarrelling in the distance you do not give much attention to them because you know that the dispute is none of your business. Treat the contents of your mind in the same way. Instead of filling your mind with thoughts and then organizing fights between them, pay no attention to the mind at all.

    Rest quietly in the feeling of ‘I am’ which is consciousness, and cultivate the attitude that all thoughts, all perceptions are ‘not me’. When you have learned to regard your mind as a distant stranger, you will not pay any attention to all the obstacles it keeps inventing for you.

    Mental problems feed on the attention that you give them. The more you worry about them, the stronger they become. If you ignore them, they lose their power and finally vanish.”


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