Dzogchen Longsal essential Man-ngag “Khorva Yedal” Retreat with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
New York City, USA
by Margaret Jasinski
According to this writer, New York City is brighter when Dzogchen Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is in town.
Rinpoche’s students greeted him at the airport in welcome anticipation of the retreat that began on July 4 and ended on July 6, 2014. The location was St.Vartans Armenian Church.
The following is a synopsis of Rinpoche’s teaching:
In order to learn, we must recognize why we are learning. Why are we on this path? We must observe ourselves in order to discover this. To help with this discovery, the Four Noble Truths are a very important teaching. The first Noble Truth is that suffering is universal. This means that most of the time we are in a concept of the mind and we remain there. All mental concepts are subject to change and this flux is a source of suffering. One day we are happy, and one day we are not: this is the way our minds work. How does this apply to our condition? We use our daily life as a means to find out. We must understand the essence of teachings, not just the words. Suffering is an essence, rather than struggle with it, we find the cause of suffering and use this knowledge in essence; if we were able to do this, then we don’t produce further cause. When we stop the action then we have cessation (the Third Noble Truth). In the Fourth Noble Truth we use our condition and possibly gain in capacity. In Dzogchen we have methods and teachings, but before we apply these we must know the condition of our body, speech, and mind: these are the three gates.
The mind is dependent on vital energy and the physical body, yet our real nature is emptiness – infinite primordial potentiality. When we speak of compassion, it means we recognize infinite potentiality without relating to our ordinary mind. From emptiness comes sound, and from sound comes all manifestations. For understanding this we need teaching, this means a teacher who knows this profundity, not with the ordinary mind but in essence.
As humans we live constantly with limitations. Support for this condition is the understanding that the teachings are available in many ways. We understand that the quality and quantity of wisdom is not limited by time or place. There are four examples: wisdom can happen in various dimensions such as the dimension of nagas or devas; it can happen through the Buddha’s empowerment of such things as rocks or trees; it can happen through other beings, for example, in the Prajna Paramita sutra the words between Avalokitesvara and Shariputra are not the direct words of the Buddha, but the Buddha’s teachings came through Avalokitesvara and Shariputra; and it can happen through the emanations of Buddha that occurred after the Buddha’s physical life was complete, such as through the teachings of Garab Dorje who transmitted Dzogchen teachings. Always in front of us are manifestations of enlightenment but we cannot always recognize these. We gain capacity by noticing the condition of our body, speech, and mind. We develop our capacity and use our eyes and ears to see beyond the ordinary eye or to hear beyond the ordinary ear. We connect to our condition through our senses and energy points (chakras). We gain wisdom when our inner and outer conditions respond. When we see beyond we have pure vision. We gain capacity through the correspondence of empowerments of teachers relative to manifestations of emptiness, and then we can see without limitation. In Dzogchen we go into the essence in a unified way and there is full recognition. We unify in the real state of body, speech, and mind with our teachers. We do not qualify our teachers; we directly recognize their emanations.
When we do Guru Yoga we do it precisely, knowing that the sound ‘A’ is the origin of all sound and therefore the manifestations of form and emptiness; when ‘A’ is combined with other sounds, an infinite number of words is produced, each an expression of the relationship between form and emptiness. Using Guru Yoga we gradually transform the dimension of the five senses and elements in the development stage. In the accumulation stage, we integrate our existence with mantra. In all of this practice, we use mental concepts; we notice how our mind works. Receiving teaching must go along with practice, we apply this by being is a state of Guru Yoga. When we are not in the state of Guru Yoga, we try our best to be present in our daily lives. When we are present, not distracted, we know innately what is best to do. If we are present, then we know the circumstance and we are responsible for ourselves.
There are no rules in Dzogchen. When we are present we can do Guru Yoga in any moment. If we use Guru yoga we have more possibilities because when our elements and conditions are coordinated we do not receive negative provocations. Causes and effect is in the mind, and so we notice the way we are in our mind knowing that all potentiality manifests with secondary conditions; if we are not attached to these conditions we do not repeat past actions. If there is no attachment, there is no blockage because we have clarity. We learn what is a mental concept and we go beyond that. Dzogchen teaching is the path. We recognize this and use the teaching to go beyond the limitation of the mind that always occurs in time and space. Instant presence is beyond time and space. Learning Dzogchen is not “freedom” or doing things in an ego way. In a state of Dzogchen we are not bound to the mind. We relax in this. When we are in total relaxation the limitations of the mind break themselves – this is liberation. In instant presence our real nature emptiness is in clarity with the movement of all manifestations. If we understand this, it becomes useful because we are not falling into limitations. When we observe ourselves we evolve because we take responsibility for ourselves. Evolution brings benefit for all sentient beings.
On Saturday, July 5, Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo gave a presentation on Tibetan Medicine, which emphasized the creation of standards to support Tibetan medicine as a healing modality. After Dr. Phuntsog’s talk, Dr. Jim Valby gave a talk on Ganapuja that he described as a tantric celebration of primordial enlightenment. Many hopeful people supported the NY Dzogchen Community by the purchase of lottery tickets. Rinpoche selected names of the lucky winners after the retreat, which ended on Sunday afternoon with a Mandarava practice led by Steve Landsberg in honor of the Dalai Lama’s birthday.