Monday, January 12, 2015

Four Separations — freedom

Here, again, is my translation, followed by the more classical translation.

If you are concerned with improving your life, you are a materialist.
If you are concerned with how you are feeling, you don't want to be free.
If you are concerned with your own welfare, you are asleep.
If you are concerned with holding a position, you don't see.


If clinging to this life, you are not a Dharma person; 
If clinging to the three realms, you do not have renunciation;
If clinging to self-purpose, you do not have bodhicitta; 
If grasping arises, you do not have the view.

How, you may ask, do I arrive at "how you are feeling" from the technical term "the three realms"? And how do I arrive at "you don't want to be free" from the word "renunciation"?

When I was first in Darjeeling in 1970, Kalu Rinpoche taught the three realms over and over again, ad nauseam. Whenever anybody new showed up, this was the talk. The small group of us who stayed there called it Dharma 101: the desire realm, the form realm and the formless realm. The desire realm is comprised of the six worlds projected the desire for things to be different, i.e., by the emotional reactions based in anger, greed, instinct, wanting, jealousy and pride, in other words, the six kinds of beings (see The form and formless realms are the projected worlds of the bliss experiences associated with different degrees of the resting mind, i.e., the four dhyanas (or janas) and subtler states. All these worlds are projections based on how you are feeling, whether you experience the world in terms of opposition (anger), need (greed) or a rapturous bliss that takes you above all such considerations (form and formless realms). 

To be free from any of worlds, you have to experience the corresponding fundamental reactive emotion, as well as the fears associated with it, without being absorbed or entranced by them. This is usually not a lot of fun (see Section 10, Chapter 5 of Wake Up to Your Life for a description of what's involved). The Tibetan word here is ngé jung (Tib. nges 'byung) and means the determination to be free. It is frequently translated as "renunciation" because you have to give up what is familiar and habitual, but it really means that you have decided definitely that you want to be free and are willing to meet whatever you encounter in that pursuit. If you are concerned with how you are feeling, i.e., you don't want to feel bad or experience such difficult feelings, you will never go there, and you will never be free.

Practice tip 2:
When you encounter a difficult feeling, in your life or in your meditation, ask, "Can I experience this?" If the answer is "yes", then rest, right there, in the physical, emotional and mental turbulence of the feeling. Don't try to change any of it. Just know it, without getting lost in it. Here is a dzogchen approach to this practice.

If the answer is "no", then respect that, and work instead at developing the willingness, know-how and capacity that will enable you to do so. You may find the five-step practice Seeing from the Inside helpful. Click here for a fuller version with more guidance .

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