Tulku Urgyen: “Free In The Moment Of Seeing”
A month ago, Marcel kindly put a transcription of Tulku Urgyen’s teaching on this blog. I have to admit that I find the transcription a little difficult to read, and the audio isn’t very clear either (not Marcel’s fault! 😀 ). It’s hard for translators to make spontaneous speech understandable, and this can cause confusion so I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting it, to my understanding. I’ve put the original translation and video at the bottom. I know it may be a lot to get through, but it’s worthwhile, as Tulku Urgyen’s teaching reveals how simple it all is … thank goodness!
“Free in the moment of seeing”: our own nature is in the very moment of seeing, which is consciousness. There is no thought present: thoughts come the moment after.
There isn’t anything more profound than to be totally free of thought – to be consciously aware. Nothing will stop thoughts, except conscious awareness.
The very moment we turn our attention towards our own mind, it is evident that there is simply an empty awareness being aware of whatever is taking place. There is no thing whatsoever but empty awareness. It is empty, but also aware. This is the primordial, original unity of emptiness and awareness.
When thoughts occur, however, we don’t believe that this empty awareness is really reality, because it seems too easy. There is nothing more simple than this, but maybe it’s not easy to accept, and so we go on looking for something more, something else – when reality is empty awareness!
Sometimes, we find we are not thinking of anything; we’re not vacant, but just there. There is no thinker – just pure awareness. At the moment of having totally abandoned thinker and that which is thought of, we are only seeing that there is no thinker. The comments come later.
It’s not as if a ‘consciousness’ enters into the mind: consciousness is always present but goes unnoticed. Suddenly, seeing is “one moment makes a difference; in one moment complete enlightenment”. That moment, when everything just drops away, is the unmistaken, Buddha mind.
Don’t project, don’t concentrate, don’t keep a state in-between. Give up any mental effort totally. There is no need to block our five senses at all. This is what is called ‘utterly sheer emptiness’.
Remaining like this, everything is experienced very clearly, but when we start to investigate and label, we are involved in thought again.
This is what Padmasambhava says in the sevenfold supplication; “No matter what appears to the realm, in the field of your vision, before your eyes – the world, the beings, and so forth – even though experienced, just let it be without any fixation; in other words, disown everything. The dissolving of subject and object is the pure form of the deity”.
Whatever moves or occurs in the realm of our ears – any sound, whether pleasant or unpleasant – just let be in the continuity of sound being emptiness because, no matter what the sound, hearing is indivisible from emptiness. The empty resounding beyond arising and ceasing is the voice of the victorious ones, the enlightened beings.
Do not get involved in contests, either leading or following. By leaving your thinking to itself, it dissolves naturally into emptiness. ‘Thinking’ is our thought process about this and that, and if we just let it be, it naturally dissolves.
Don’t do anything to true wakefulness. Neither accept nor reject, hope or fear. Doing nothing is sufficient. Meditation is not an act of ‘meditating’. It is resting in emptiness, without being distracted for even a second. Being distracted is the same as forgetting, and it is said that, “on the path of distraction, the demons lie in ambush” (demons being our likes and dislikes, and our indifference).
The moment we look towards and acknowledge empty awareness is called “having recognised”. There is then the continuity of empty awareness, which we do not need to fabricate in any way, but just remember.
Once we forget and start to think, then the continuity is lost. The moment we look, the empty awareness is seen and recognised. We then allow the continuity of this seeing to be sustained – automatically.
When a thought occurs and we become involved, we remember, “Oh, I forgot”. Acknowledge forgetting and simply recognise, and again arrive back in the state of recognising our natural face – pure awareness.
That doesn’t mean sitting and straining, trying not to be distracted. It’s like ringing the bell once, and the sound continues, rather than ringing the bell continuously. Once the continuity fades, we start to forget, and we become involved in thought. Again, we notice, “Oh, I forgot, I got carried away”. We look towards our own mind, and again we are back, recognising. And again there is a natural stability in a continuous state of empty awareness. It is empty awareness that sees everything that goes on, after all.
We need to train in this, short moments, many times. We have learned to live through training in all the activities of this life; for example, while eating, we taste the food, we start to think about the food, and then we notice, “Oh, I got carried away”. Again, recognise while eating, and in that moment we arrive back, vividly, in the state of empty awareness.
While walking about, we can still recognise Buddha nature, empty awareness. When we lie down to sleep, if we are diligent, we can also recognise Buddha nature.
Actually, there is no time when we are not allowed to recognise the nature of mind, even when we sit on the loo. It is said like this: “In the naked state of empty awareness, which is unimaginable, relax in the impeccable state of awareness”.
Thoughts can come either from ego (a set of clinging ideas), or from an expression of our own essence of empty awareness. Thoughts are then expressed for the benefit of others. It is only when forgetting essence that expression takes the form of ego-clinging.
Recognising our own expression that arises out of empty awareness and dissolves back into empty awareness, we need to acknowledge and experience this inner inspiration, and therefore train in this aspect of our enlightened being. There is nothing more than that, but we forget, becoming distracted and involved in thoughts.
So please train in this. This is the practice. This is what the Buddha taught in the past, and today he has nothing to say besides this.
Transcript FROM VIDEO: “Free in the moment of seeing”, means the very moment of seeing your own nature, (in this first and second instance…) there is no thought. Thought has vanished.
There isn’t anything more fantastic than being totally free of thought. Because there is nothing else in this world that can totally bring a halt to thinking…you can blow up nuclear bombs and use forms and techniques and so forth but nothing will stop thoughts. But the very moment that you turn your attention towards your own mind, it is evident that it is simply an empty cognizance with no thing whatsoever. It is empty. But yet there is the seeing of that because mind is also cognizant. These are the primordial original unity that is empty and cognizant. But the thought happens we don’t believe that this is really it because it’s too easy. There is nothing more easy than this. Just like that. OK.
Don’t think of anything. Having totally abandoned thinker and what is thought of, at that moment you’re only seeing that there’s no thinker. It’s not something you gradually approach, like a spirit entering you. This is what is meant by the phrase, “one moment makes a difference, in one moment complete enlightenment”. That moment, like this (drops hand into lap), is the unmistaken Buddha mind. Don’t project outwardly, don’t concentrate inwardly, don’t keep a state in-between. Totally give up any mental effort. (pause) This is what (Buddhist teacher?) called utterly, sheer emptiness. You don’t need to block your five senses, not at all. Like this, but just remaining like this, everything is very clearly experienced. But when you start to investigate a label, you’re involved in thought. This is what Padmasambhava says in the sevenfold supplication, “No matter what appears to the realm, in the field of your vision, before your eyes, the world, the beings, and so forth, even though experienced, just let it be without any fixation, in other words, disown everything. The dissolving of subject and object is the pure form of the Deity”.
Whatever moves or occurs in the realm of your ears, any sound, or the sounding, whether pleasant or unpleasant, just let be in the continuity of sound being emptiness, because no matter what the sounds, in your hearing, is indivisible from emptiness — the empty resounding beyond arising and ceasing is the voice of the victorious ones. Do not get involved in contests, leading or following. By leaving your thinking to itself, it dissolves naturally into Dharmakaya. Thinking means our thoughts of this (5:19 : ?) if you just let it be, it naturally dissolves. (Claps)
So true wakefulness, don’t do anything to it, accept or reject, hope or fear, then it’s enough. That is sufficient. So what you naturally need to train in, is to not image something by an act of meditating but also not to be distracted for even a second. Being distracted is the same as forgetting, and it is said “on the path of distraction, the demons lie in ambush”.
The moment you look towards and acknowledge empty cognizance, that is called “having recognized”. Then there is the continuity of empty cognizance which you don’t need to fabricate in any way, just don’t forget it. Once you forget and start to think, then the continuity is lost. The moment you look, the empty cognizance is seen, recognized. And then allow the continuity of this seeing to continue, be sustained, but automatically. Then for the ordinary person, again a though occurs. Then you remember, “Oh, I forgot”. Then again acknowledge there or notice, “Who forgot?” and simply recognize again and again you arrive back in this state of recognizing your natural face. That doesn’t mean sitting and straining, trying not to be distracted. It’s like ringing the bell once, and the sound continues, it doesn’t mean ringing the bell continuously. Once the continuities fades, that means we start forgetting, and we get involved in thought. Then again, we notice, “Oh, I forgot, I got carried away”. Then, alright, then look towards (your own mind), and again you are back recognizing. And again there is a natural stability in a continuous state of empty cognizance.
We need to train in that, short moments, many times. We have learned to live in this life through training. We have learned how to behave, how to move about, learned how to eat, (Translator states, Oh, sorry, I got this wrong), We have to train in all the activities of this life, for example, while eating, you taste the food, and you start to think about the food, then notice, “Oh, I got carried away”. Again, recognize, while eating, that moment, you arrive back, vividly, in the state of the essence. Then you forget again, you get lost, while walking about, moving in your room; you can still recognize the Buddha nature when you lie down to sleep but if you’re diligent, also recognize again. Actually, there is no time when you are not allowed to recognize nature of mind, even when you sit on the loo. It is said like this, “in the naked state of dharmadhatu, which is unimaginable, relax in the impeccable state of awareness”. If thought occurs, it arises from yourself, it dissolves back into yourself. Any thought that occurs is your own expression; comes out of your own essence. It is only when forgetting the essence that the expression takes a form of a thought. But the moment you recognize your own expression, it arises out of yourself and dissolves back into yourself, meaning into the expanse of the essence, this is what you need to train in, to become used to. There is no other meditation or object apart from that. (Not as much as a dot, even?). But if you forget, get distracted, you are involved in thoughts. So please train in this. That is the practice. This is what the Buddha taught in the past and today he has nothing to say besides this.”