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Dzogchen Practice of Contemplation


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The following is from the book AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRACTICE
OF CONTEMPLATION by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

Among the many topics taught by the Master
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu during a retreat at Monte
Faito in spring 1980, that the present writer had the
good fortune to attend, he gave the transmission of a
complete and progressive method for those wishing to
practise contemplation according to the Dzogchen
tradition.

This is a progressive method, replete with counsels
and exercises to enable a beginner to master the
practice, and with precious advice on how to avoid
deviating from the right path. Among other things it
also gives definitive clarification regarding the crucial
moment when students may start to consider
themselves Dzogchen practitioners.

This method is complete because, starting from the
beginner's position it reaches the advanced level,
illustrating on the way the increasingly imperceptible
and delicate variances that distinguish true
contemplation from the deviations that, throughout
the path, present a risk to the practitioner. Finally, it
directly penetrates the purest realms of Total Perfection
so as to provide all the instruments that enable one to
achieve perfect and complete Realization.

This book is intended as a manual of contemplation
that can be utilized by all practitioners of the Dzogchen
Community.

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FIXATION

In the Dzogchen teaching, to approach the practice
of contemplation according to the instructions found
in the Semde, the Series of the Nature of Mind, the
first exercise with which to begin is called fixation.

THE PLACE

The ability to practise fixation must first be
developed through constant application: for a beginner
it is not easy to learn this practice while remaining
immersed in the commitments of daily life, in one's
family or surrounded by people busy with their affairs.

The first aspect concerns the body posture. When
you first learn to practise fixation the body should be
controlled; that is, you should seek to remain still in a
steady posture. Those who are able to do so should
assume the 'seven-point Vairochana posture'1; this is
the perfect posture. Many people, however, find this
body posture difficult to maintain, in which case you
should remember that the only indispensable feature is
to keep the back straight and the body under control.
The tongue should touch the palate; this disposition
is symbolically called 'union of the water element and
the fire element', that is of the two principles of cold
and heat.

The second aspect is the breathing. Before
practising you should p erform a series of nine
purification breaths2 as is done in Yantra Yoga.

NB: There follows a description of the nine breaths as performed
by male practitioners; female practitioners should perform them
inverting right and left.

Inhale (through both nostrils), raising your right elbow.
Block your right nostril (with the tips of the middle and
ring fingers of your right hand) and exhale from your left
nostril.

Then, after having inhaled again (through both nostrils)
raising your left elbow, block your left nostril and exhale
through your right nostril.

Repeat alternating in this way until you have done the
movement (combined with the respective breathing) thrice
from the left and thrice from the right.

Then the last three times inhale through both nostrils
thoroughly expanding your chest, and exhale completely
from both nostrils, bending your trunk down and forward,
as if to touch the ground with your forehead.

This preliminary purification exercise is always
performed at the start of any practice session- for every
type of practice - and is most useful; before a Shine
session, among other things it serves to make the flow
of thoughts more regular, to find greater mental
equilibrium, and to develop more self-control.

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The third aspect, after those of the methods of
posture and of breathing, is the gaze.
When practising Shine in Dzogchen the eyes are
not closed.

It is customary to keep the eyes closed in other
meditation practices, such as in the inner Tantras, when
visualising a deity or mandala in order to 'transform's
impure vision into pure vision. With the eyes open this
would be far more difficult. Why? Because all around
you would still see impure vision. When you have to
work with your imagination it is easier to do it, and it
comes more spontaneously, with your eyes closed.
In our case, however, to engage in contemplation
there is no need to train in the 'transformation' of our
vision by means of the creative imagination, nor, on
the other hand, is it necessary to 'think' of anything;
you engage in the practice remaining present to your
perception of everything appearing to your six senses6
in the present moment.

Thus in the Dzogchen Semde, apart from in its
initial stages Shine is not a meditation exercise (in the
sense of there being 'something on which' to meditate
discursively) but is instead a practice that from the very
beginning aims at the state of p ure contemplation.
(Shine nevertheless is only a preliminary to true
contemplation that must eventually be surpassed).

The eyes must re main open, and the gaze must be fixed.
It should now be clear that as you do not close your
eyes, in order to start to practice fixation you need a
point on which to fix your gaze. This point can be the
Tibetan letter A, as depicted in the bookmark; in any
case, it is not so important for it to be the letter A from
the Tibetan alphabet, it could also be a western A or
any A.

Fix your gaze on the A.

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The fourth aspect is the mind, and the ways to
direct it.

There are two ways to practise fixation: 'with an
object' and 'without an object' (or, 'with a concept' and
'without a concept') 

You can say 'with an object' or 'with a concept' at
choice because, when a practitioner is gazing at the
letter A or any other object her intention is to fix on
the object, and this is connected with the concept of
having 'something to do'.

As regards the second manner of fixation, 'without
an object' or 'without a concept', there are two kinds,
that will be described below.

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FIXATION WITH AN OBJECT NEPA -THE CALM STATE

The aim of fixation with an object is to discover the
state of mental calm ( nepa)7 and to become accustomed
to it.

The best way is to train in fixation with the letter A.

In the various contemplative traditions, in this practice various
objects are used to fix one's gaze, such as a candle flame, a sacred
image, or a blue flower.

In any case, as regards the specific way in which Shine is
practised according to the Dzogchen teaching, the letter A is most
used. There are many reasons for this. The A is also used in the
night practice, it is used for going to sleep and waking up, it is
used in Phowa and in many other practices, as the principal
symbol of the primordial state of consciousness.
It is used also because A is a neutral sound that 'rules' or
'generates' all other sounds.
When you practise pronouncing A with your voice, your
mind, breath and gaze converge on the A.
First of all, then, fix your gaze on the letter A as
indicated:

Controlling your body posture
Relaxing breath and mind, but
Concentrating somewhat sharply on the point
where you are fixing your gaze.

It is important that throughout the time that you practice
fixation all the sense functions should always be present. Even
when a practitioner is fixing very sharply and not actively
'attending' to all that is happening around him, everything
should be clearly present to his sense perception.
Otherwise it means he has strayed from fixation, sliding
into a state of torpor.

There are two different ways to ftx on an object.

1) 'Staring' at an object as if you wanted to pierce it. You
concentrate all your attention to focus on that object.

This is also called 'triangular fixation': two 'angles' are at the
practitioner's end while the third points at the object. Our side has
two 'angles', that is a larger space (the 'base of the triangle') ,
because it represents the multitude of our thoughts; all our
thoughts, all our confusion, are like the space contained between
the two 'angles' that we now concentrate as much as we can,
forcing them all to converge on a single point, the third 'angle',
that is on the object on which we are fixing our gaze.
Concentrating all our attention on the object in this way our
thoughts block themselves; but take care - do not think that they
no longer exist, that they have been destroyed: they do not arise
simply because in this way they are blocked.

2) Fixing the gaze in a more relaxed manner.

In general, as soon as your attention is relaxed thoughts arise
again; if you fix more sharply, they disappear.

This is why it is useful to train in fixation on an object. If you
notice that thoughts no longer disturb you very much, you should
gradually relax your concentration. If you find that you are still
frequently disturbed by thoughts, you should relax more
gradually, whereas if they no longer disturb you then you can relax
more swiftly.

If, after having relaxed, there are not too many thoughts
present, or if the thoughts that arise do not disturb you, that is, if
presence is found by means of fixing on the object (naturally when
you practice fixation you should not follow the train of your
thoughts), then you can pass immediately to fixation without the
object.

Practicing fixation using this method it becomes
possible to start to find within yourself the state of
calm called nepa in Tibetan.

Nepa means 'still, quiet'.

For example, at times it may occur that immediately
after the extinction of a thought others do not
automatically follow it, as usually happens9, but we are
able instead to recognize a 'space', a gap where there are
no thoughts. This is the effect that ensues from fixing
the gaze on an object sharply enough.

Practising fixation by applying this method, do not
follow thoughts or try to stop them. In fact, there is
ac tually nothing you have to do with thoughts. All you
have to do is to fix your gaze quite intensely on the
letter A.

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Before moving on to Shine without Object I wanted to give this last instruction for Shine with Object.

At this point there is something very important that you
should know. While you are fixing in the first way
('triangular' fixation) , you may notice some changes in
your perceptions, for example changes in the appearance of
the letter A where you are fixing your gaze. Maybe as you
stare at it the white A may appear yellow or black, or it
may turn into a face or a mask, or become gigantic, or
disappear, or turn into moving flames. It can also turn into
many other things.

When the object on which you are fixing your gaze seems to
transform before your eyes, this means you are fixing too
sharply.

It does not mean that you have already accomplished
realisation, or that you are beholding some miracle, it simply means that your fixation is too intense and that you
should relax it a bit. In any case when you fix on an object
you cannot relax your attention completely, otherwise you
will not achieve the goal of your practice. The aim of
fixation on an object (that is, in our case, on the letter A) is
to attain a state of mind in which thoughts are not present.
This state cannot arise unless you have trained for a certain
amount of time fixing your gaze intensely; however, if you
have fixed your gaze too sharply and your perception
undergoes deformations you should try gradually to relax
the intensity of your gaze in order not to block progress. It
is useful to remember that Shine is not achieved by
fixation alone; this is just a preparation.

Furthermore it may happen that when you are practising
Shine even though everything seems to be going well you
experience a sense of sleepiness. This is a symptom of lack
of attention, in which case it is necessary to engage in
fixation with more vigilant attention. Sleepiness happens
fairly frequently, and if you cannot shake it off engaging a
sharper and more wakeful attention, then it is useful to do
some breathing exercises or movements.

One movement in particular is very helpful. 'Push' (but
witho ut straining) your chin upwards, tilting your head
backwards, two or three times. This exercise is very
effective. In fact if you do it too much it can also cause
insomnia; if this happens, you should do the opposite
movement, that is tilting your head forward.

In this way you can actually understand what is
meant by the 'calm state of nepa'.

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So to summarize up to this point...

One does Shine with Object to experience the state of Nepa which is a state of no thought.

One can stare at a rock, a candle or as described in the book the Tibetan letter A. 

After one has become stable with ones meditation of Shine with Object they are then able to move to Shine without Object.

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FIXATION WITHOUT AN OBJECT

GYUWA - MOVEMENT

The aim of fixation without an object is to become
familiar with another important natural function of
the mind, the movement of thoughts, but without
being distracted by it. The movement of thoughts is called gyuwa: in Tibetan the word gyuwa means a leap, a movement.

Fix your gaze on any point in the space in front of you.

When you start to practice fixation without an
object you should direct your attention in the same
way as when you started fixing on the object.

Even though there is no object on which to fix your
gaze you must act as if there were in order to prevent a
sudden and spontaneous proliferation of thoughts.
Subsequently you will be able to start gradually to relax
your attention too. As the mental tension is gradually
relaxed, control of the body and the breath also relax;
that is, all your tensions relax, and then thoughts start
to arise again.

If you do this, and relax your attention more and
more, you will clearly notice that the 'calm state' that
we encountered doing fixation with an object, and
'movement' , that is the arising of thoughts, co-exist
simultaneously.

If, while we are practicing with an object 'the bee
leaves' (that is, if we let thoughts wander freely as they
are accustomed to do) then this will damage the calm
state; that is, we lose the experience of nepa.

In the same way, at the start of the practice without
an object thoughts arise more abundantly: why?
Because concentrating the fixation acutely on the
object causes thoughts to stop by themselves,
automatically. Whereas now, in the absence of this
support the fixation 'relaxes' and naturally the
occurrence of thoughts intensifies.

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1. It may then happen that, noticing the greater
flow of moving thoughts a practitioner accustomed to
the calm state of nepa may feel disturbed and may
think his meditation is getting worse.

This is because usually we are very conditioned to
think that 'meditation' means being in a state of calm,
of quietude that excludes all movement. Instead what is
happening now is that our comfortable state of calm
starts again to be disturbed by a swarm of thoughts that
spring forth without cease!

When this happens, do not worry, you should

be in the state of movement itself.

That is, when thoughts arise do not attempt to
block them, but try instead to be present in the very
thought that arises. This is the way to continue
developing your practice. When thoughts come do not
get discouraged and do not fear that you are regressing.
Observe the thoughts without judging or following
them, try instead to be present in the thoughts. This is
a method for discovering what the actual condition of
movement is.

The calm, deep, ocean of the state of nepa now has
its wave, its movement, but fundamentally quiet and
movement are the same.

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2. We aren't accustomed to abiding naturally in a
state of presence, and usually we live in a condition in
which the states of mind are all mixed together, all
confused. When you start to practice, as soon as you
relax a bit you find the calm state and immediately
think: "So, this is meditation" .

When we only do fixation with an object, thoughts
are hidden because our fixation blocks them.

But then when there is no longer this support and
the movement increases it seems we are disturbed
again, that we have relapsed into confusion.

In fact we have not at all regressed, and there is no
need to worry, instead we must be able to observe the
movement itself. Why do more thoughts arise at this
time? Because our body and breath are more relaxed,
and when everything is more relaxed thoughts are more
exposed. So now we are just recognizing the presence of
thoughts, that previously we were unable to notice.

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SIMULTANEITY

Learning in this way to remain in relaxed presence,
at a certain moment you find yourself in a state in
which even though more or less thoughts continue to
arise they do not disturb your presence and they vanish
by themselves. That is, they self- liberate, because this
state is not conditioned by the habitual continuity of
judgement.

Particularly evident in this state is pure presence,
called rigpa, non-dual awareness.

Discernible within it, are three distinct fundamental
elements ( ne-gyu- rig):

1) nepa, the calm state, like a still sheet of water;
2) gyuwa, the movement of thoughts, like a wave;
3) rigpa, the recognition of the presence of this wave.

These three elements, however, are all present
simultaneously in the same condition. Only by being
in the state of Shine can you ascertain this concretely.

In this state there is nothing to seek and nothing to
relinquish.

Typically, beginners think that the calm state of
Shine is something to pursue, and that, conversely, the
arising of thoughts is an obstacle that can disturb the
calm state, which must thus be avoided. However, once
you finally find yourself in the state of union of ne-gyurig
and continue in this presence then you understand
that this is the authentic state of Shine.

In this way you discover that quietude, nepa, and
the arising of thoughts, gyuwa, are both present.

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A practitioner should not stray into judgement but
instead, remaining in the state of presence see arising
thoughts as fish leaping from the surface of the sea, or
perceives this state as an ocean in which both
characteristics are evident. The depths are still, yet the
surface ripples as waves form.

In this case, too, you should not make a distinction
between the two aspects, or deem one a good state and
the other a state of disturbance.

Rather you should seek to be present. if there is calm
remain present in the state of calm; if 'the fish leaps' seek to
be present in that very movement, in the 'leap' of the fish.

Acting in this way you should gradually relax the
attention more and more; if you don't relax, this
perception (of simultaneity) will not occur any more.

In this phase of progress in meditation,

the practitioner must seek to be ' in' the leap itself, in the
movement.

This means that now you no longer need to
concentrate your attention as much as possible (as
done at the beginning with the letter A) . Instead,
conversely, relaxing more and more you come to
discover that the state of the 'leap of the fish' and the
state of calm are present at the same time.

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Then it seems that there are two states.
1. One state, in which the slightest amount of intention is
still present.

This is the state in which even though thoughts arise there
is always awareness (trenshe14); the latter is not a thought
but simply presence of mind. (At times it is possible to
confuse presence of mind and thoughts- to us awareness
may seem a thought- and at times instead to mistake a
thought that has arisen for awareness.) In this case the
only important thing is to see whether or not there is
judgment, whether or nor one is pursuing the thought. If
thoughts are 'pursued' and created, even only in a light
manner, this means there is judgment.

If, instead, while observing my state I notice thoughts,
such as for example: "Here, now I am in the calm state" or
"Here, now a thoughts is arising", there is a way in which I
can be present 'in' the thought itself without engaging the
mechanisms of judgment. If I had to say or explain what
is happening in that moment, on the one hand it is utterly
impossible for me to find the words, but on the other hand
I retain a precise memory of it.

This presence of awareness is very important, it must not
be lacking, otherwise the practice of Shine ends up sinking
into a sleepy state.

2. A natural state of total spontaneity.

This is what is called rigpa, the recognition of pure
presence. Presence can be recognized above all in the
condition where there are thoughts, that is, in the
condition of 'movement'.

When during practice there are more thoughts (that is,
'more fish are leaping') there is also the opportunity to
recognize presence as the manifestation of wisdom, and, at
the same time, together with the movement of thoughts one
can also recognize the presence of the state of calm, nepa.
You must understand that fundamentally all three states
are at the same level: the state of calm, nepa, is movement,
the state of movement itself, gyuwa, is calm, and rigpa is
pure recognition of your own state, that is present in both.

Then it seems that there are two states.
1. One state, in which the slightest amount of intention is
still present.

This is the state in which even though thoughts arise there
is always awareness (trenshe14); the latter is not a thought
but simply presence of mind. (At times it is possible to
confuse presence of mind and thoughts- to us awareness
may seem a thought- and at times instead to mistake a
thought that has arisen for awareness.) In this case the
only important thing is to see whether or not there is
judgment, whether or nor one is pursuing the thought. If
thoughts are 'pursued' and created, even only in a light
manner, this means there is judgment.

If, instead, while observing my state I notice thoughts,
such as for example: "Here, now I am in the calm state" or
"Here, now a thoughts is arising", there is a way in which I
can be present 'in' the thought itself without engaging the
mechanisms of judgment. If I had to say or explain what
is happening in that moment, on the one hand it is utterly
impossible for me to find the words, but on the other hand
I retain a precise memory of it.

This presence of awareness is very important, it must not
be lacking, otherwise the practice of Shine ends up sinking
into a sleepy state.

2. A natural state of total spontaneity.

This is what is called rigpa, the recognition of pure
presence. Presence can be recognized above all in the
condition where there are thoughts, that is, in the
condition of 'movement'.

When during practice there are more thoughts (that is,
'more fish are leaping') there is also the opportunity to
recognize presence as the manifestation of wisdom, and, at
the same time, together with the movement of thoughts one
can also recognize the presence of the state of calm, nepa.
You must understand that fundamentally all three states
are at the same level: the state of calm, nepa, is movement,
the state of movement itself, gyuwa, is calm, and rigpa is
pure recognition of your own state, that is present in both.

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EXPERENCES (NYAMS)

The practice of Shine entails certain characteristic experiences called nyams; through a nyam one can discern how one's practice is progressing.

The first nyam is the nyam of movement.
This happens when you do fixation with an object, then continue without an object and start to relax; that is when all thoughts arise.

This nyam is compared to a tumultuously rushing stream: its course is ceaseless, swift, unstoppable; in the same way many thoughts arise in the practitioner's mind and it is very difficult to find a state of nepa.
On overcoming the state where as soon as you relize thoughts arise, you can experience a nyam of attainment, in which the state of the mind manifests like a river, peaceful and dignifed, smoothly flowing down to the sea. The flowing river may rest in some calm bend, because the river is not like the stream. What is the cause of this difference? It is due to the fact that now the practitioner has learnt better to control thoughts, that is she is able to be present in the thoughts the very instant that they arise.

There follows another experience, called the nyam of stability: the mind finds itself in a calm state, tranquil and deep as the sea. This does not mean thoughts have disappeared; a sea may have waves, or fish that are leaping, there can be movements of all kinds, but its state of deep calm cannot be disturbed.

Here, this is the realization called stable Shine. It is very important to achieve this state of stable Shine, and you have to practice in order to attain it.

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Abiding in Shine means being in a condition like the calm sea, that is, a condition that is not disturbed whether thoughts are present or not.

In any case, what is experienced in this first phase is a Shine that is almost fabricated. In fact as long as I 'stay' this way it seems I can go on forever, but as soon as I 'let go' and stand up or simply look around the state of Shine disappears.

As our practice develops more and more often this state arises by itself, spontaneously. It is no longer necessary to strive to maintain the posture and the fixation, or continuously to seek this state. When I have the presence of awareness then whatever posture I am in I am in the state of Shine.

When this comes about this is called 'natural Shine'.

The way to develop your practice still further from this intermediate level consists in the gradual integration of movements, of certain actions of the body (moving the eyes, then the limbs, walking slowly, doing prostrations, practicing Yantra Yoga, etc. on to common actions); of the voice (reciting invocations, mantras and the Song of the Vajra on to being able to converse with others) ; and finally of the mind (at first doing visualization, then reflecting, that is trying to reason about something without losing the presence of Shine, up to managing, for example, to read a newspaper), 'expanding' the boundaries of the formal session to include daily life.

You have to continue in this way until, while walking or doing anything, with the presence of awareness effortlessly you are in the state of Shine without needing to strive to seek it or anyway to produce it.

If at that moment you are not disturbed by thoughts or by movements or by any external circumstance, however chaotic it may be, then you can say that your Shine is stable

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RELEASED SHINE

As is evident from what has been said so far, the first
thing that you must achieve is stable Shine.
Once you have attained stable Shine, you have to
release it.

'To release' means to liberate; but what is there to
release? What must we be liberated from?

Let us suppose that now we have ripened our ability
to maintain a firm Shine, even for twenty-four hours.
Nevertheless when we are not abiding in this presence
we can slip into distraction, and there are always
moments and circumstances when we are 'out' of
Shine. (Moreover, this clearly entails that intentional
commitment to presence is still necessary, as if there
were a state 'in which' to enter and to abide) .

This is the specific feature of 'stable Shine' and it is
precisely this that must be released.

It is as if there were a boundary that has to be
eliminated, but how?

Stable Shine always has a starting point For
example, 'I' think: "Now I am present, I am in Shine,;
or, even without producing a thought 'I' always have
this presence, and with that I remain in a calm state
like the sea. Everything that happens in the sea is
present, and 'I' am aware of it even though I do not
pursue it; I do not judge it but remain as if observing it.
This is the state of stable Shine.

The method for releasing this situation of subtle
dualism is this: I have to be in the movement itself.
When a thought arises, like a fish leaping on the
surface of the sea, 'I' am no longer an observer of what
is leaping but instead I am the leaper.

This does not mean I have to do something, rather

with the very presence I am in, I liberate myself

This is released Shine.

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One might ask: If in this Shine you do not recognise the
forming of thoughts (that is, movement), if you are able to
discern only the calm state, then what should you do? As I
have j ust said, in order to release Shine you need to know
how to be in the state of thoughts; in stable Shine there
must always be the presence of thoughts arising. Otherwise
it would mean that we are distracted, and that we are not
in Shine.

When there is this presence it is as if 'the one' who is
in the state of Shine turns to observe 'the one' who is
observing, and this presence has its own precise kind of
clarity.

That Is, you expenence a different mode of
presence.

This, however, is merely a description; the state we
are speaking of must in any case be directly experienced.

This is the way to release Shine.

Having reached this point, the practice session
comprises:

First remaining in stable Shine;
Then releasing it;
Then continuing.

In general these last two stages are shorter, while at
the beginning one should remain a little longer in
stable Shine.

Subsequently, with a little training it is no longer
necessary to remain in stable Shine for a long time; as
soon as you enter the state of Shine, whether or not
thoughts arise you observe 'who' is in this state,
immediately release it and then continue.

That is, you should seek gradually to increase the
duration of the continuation, of the 'after having
released'.

When you have achieved released Shine and remain in
the continuation of this state, you have finally become a
Dzogchen practitioner,

and this means that now there is the possibility to
'enter into action'.

One might ask: If in this Shine you do not recognise the
forming of thoughts (that is, movement), if you are able to
discern only the calm state, then what should you do? As I
have j ust said, in order to release Shine you need to know
how to be in the state of thoughts; in stable Shine there
must always be the presence of thoughts arising. Otherwise
it would mean that we are distracted, and that we are not
in Shine.

When there is this presence it is as if 'the one' who is
in the state of Shine turns to observe 'the one' who is
observing, and this presence has its own precise kind of
clarity.

That Is, you expenence a different mode of
presence.

This, however, is merely a description; the state we
are speaking of must in any case be directly experienced.

This is the way to release Shine.

Having reached this point, the practice session
comprises:

First remaining in stable Shine;
Then releasing it;
Then continuing.

In general these last two stages are shorter, while at
the beginning one should remain a little longer in
stable Shine.

Subsequently, with a little training it is no longer
necessary to remain in stable Shine for a long time; as
soon as you enter the state of Shine, whether or not
thoughts arise you observe 'who' is in this state,
immediately release it and then continue.

That is, you should seek gradually to increase the
duration of the continuation, of the 'after having
released'.

When you have achieved released Shine and remain in
the continuation of this state, you have finally become a
Dzogchen practitioner,

and this means that now there is the possibility to
'enter into action'.

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Released Shine is different from stable Shine.

Stable shine is a very delicate state: you can alter it
by just changing your posture. Conversely, a
practitioner who has ripened released Shine can slowly
stand up, and gradually moving a little at a time more
and more, can learn not to lose presence. It is necessary
to train in this progressively, like someone in hospital
patiently learning to walk again. We can learn every
day, every moment, even while we are working.

Neither a particular place or posture are necessary,
you can train at any time. When you have really
achieved the level of released Shine then training in it
will not impair your work. Someone might think: "I
work in a factory, I have to package one piece a minute,
if I get distracted I might cut my finger! " However in
released Shine you do not get distracted, not even at
work that requires the greatest attention.

In this state we are really able to control ourselves,
integrating all circumstances with our clarity; this is
the fundamental means for the development of clarity.

'Clarity' refers not only to the distinct vision free of the
obstacles produced by the dualistic mind but also to
intelligence: intelligence is part of clarity. When the results
of their practice ripened, one of these being the
development of clarity, many teachers of the Dzogchen
lineage spontaneously manifested vast knowledge and
profound learning even without having studied.

There are many teachers of this type; one of the most
recent, for example, is the famous master Jigmed Lingpa.
Of great renown and deemed by everyone a great scholar,
he wrote several books that range over the most diverse
subjects. How can one explain that a person such as
Jigmed Lingpa, who never studied in depth, could have
been able to write works and treatises concerning all the
fields of knowledge?

However, the development of clarity does not only
bring about the enhancement of ordinary knowledge.
What most counts, is that the great development of
clarity engendered by this method of contemplation is
the fundamental vehicle for realization.

It is in order to develop clarity that this tradition
insists so much on the diverse purification practices.

Realization is accomplished on the basis of the
accumulation of wisdom, and accumulating wisdom
means entering the practice of contemplation; there is
no other way to accumulate wisdom.

Entering the state of released Shine is true
contemplation.

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