Knowing Your Onions!

‘Knowing your onions’ is to be knowledgeable about a subject,
being intelligent and well informed – knowing a subject inside out.

A. Some Buddhist traditions talk about the need for building a firm foundation first, to support the golden roof.

B. Some Buddhist traditions talk about the need to be introduced to the golden roof first, and then support it by firm foundations.

What is the golden roof?
It is unelaborated, pure consciousness. It has many names.

In system A, we do lengthy, elaborate practices to finally realise pure consciousness.
In system B, we are introduced to pure consciousness, and then maintain it through simple conduct.

As you can see, system A takes many years. In system B, we start at the top, and only refer to elaborate practices when we forget.

Some traditions work from the relative leading to the ultimate, whereas others start at the ultimate to truly understand the relative.

Our true nature – our essential nature – is unelaborated pure consciousness. Elaborations are only applied when we forget. Once pure consciousness is realised all, elaborations are dropped. If we hold on to the elaborations, we end up with a pile of onions that we don’t know what to do with!

Religion is organised elaboration. Pure consciousness is without elaboration, so there is no need for religion, unless we forget. Once we know our onions, then the golden roof needs no support.

To practise, without knowing what we are building, is futile diligence. I personally spent decades in idiot meditation, so my Dzogchen teacher told me. “How do you feel about that?” he asked. “Angry, but I accept what you say,” I replied.

Be very careful about what or whom you follow.

To repeat: words have meaning.
Once the meaning is realised, drop the words, or the words will go on and on …
and heaven will be an everlasting bowl of onion soup 😀

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. marcel says:

    Onions .. 🙂

    I was thinking about onions and buddhism just the other day! The path of buddhism feels very much so like peeling off layers of onions. In the beginning the onions are covered with sand and are a bit dirty, and so you clean them a little bit. Then you take of the brownish skins and after that the the yellowish, and the onions are getting cleaner, and cleaner. Then, you start peeling off the thick white layers and that is when the hard part kicks in. You start crying, and sometimes you stop for a while.., but you continue peeling off the other layers, one after the other. And the onions are becoming lighter and lighter, and so you continue. And the layers are becoming thinner and thinner, transparant even, and so you continue, upto the point that you have peeled off all the layers, and nothing is left.. And then you at it .., Sheer emptiness .. But then you see, that out of nothing basically, the onion start reconstructing itself, rebuilding its layers one after the other, and so we the new onion and start peeling again.

    Onions, great teachers of emptiness.. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.