teachings of a modern spiritual adept

Bite size teachings across 30 years.

For 30 years t.k. has offered radical spiritual teachings on the divine nature of non-dual contemplation and realization. Enlightened mind here and now, born from this culture, addressing the issues of this time and place t.k. offers transmission through countless forms - words being one of them. Here are some short pieces from his teachings over the last 30 years.

On practicing Tantra

a friend asked me to say a few words about these verses ... well, they simply lay out the stages of the path in an easy to understand way ... but since I like to talk and hear my own voice, why not?  As it is late and this teaching on longdé has been long, I will keep this very short. 

Emptiness’ open space and luminosity’s clarity,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— When the self-luminous glow of intrinsic awareness mistakes its cognitive capacity for a subjective self who knows and its own luminous display as objects, then the duality of apprehender and apprehended is created. This duality is the separation of expanse and luminosity, the essence and nature of reality. When mind awakens to the fact that the quality of knowingness does in fact not imply "Beingness" or a particular "being," and that appearances are only the play of reality's potency (rolpa tsal), then the imagined separation is seen as the illusion it is.  Then a mystery beyond any identification, or even subjectivity, simply knows its own display (appearances) as utterly non-binding, ultimately playful, modifications of substanceless unborn wisdom luminosity. When this happens, the body is suffused with tender-hearted love and perception becomes pure pleasure. 

Mind’s luminosity and deity’s form,

These are two things that should not be kept apart.

 — When mind's luminosity is recognized in its intrinsic reality, then appearing is nothing other than the pure illusory body - the deity's form. Then, not only does appearance not confuse and imply duality, but actually points out non-duality. Everything is the friend of wisdom.

The appearance of beings and spontaneous compassion,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— At the level of Mahayana, one cultivates compassion as skillful means because this is the natural action of tender-heartedness which arises organically from the joy realized in understanding the basic teachings. At the level of Vajrayana, this continues in its ever more subtle form and all beings are seen in the pure vision of Tantra as manifestations of deity. At the level of Dzogchen, the natural energy of awareness simply, spontaneously, for no reason, manifests as compassion. If the vision of beings and compassion are not kept together, then there is no higher Dharma practice. 

The practice of dharma and public display,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— Spiritual life loses its potency when it is co-opted by ego in boasting, showing off, really any ostentatious public display. One’s practice should be kept hidden the way a fetus is hidden within the mother's womb or the way a married person hides a secret love affair. Wearing Dharma ornamentations - malas, affected clothing, bumper stickers ... all this simply makes Dharma a tool of confused ego. Let the only emblem of your practice be the kindness and patience which you display in all relations.

Speculative talk and one’s precious time,

These are two things that should be kept apart.

— "Water cooler Buddhism' - standing about engaged in endless discussions of Dharma simply consumes time and energy and leaves nothing for actual practice. There really is not much to talk about. Listen to the teachings, contemplate their meaning, imbibe the view, and then practice. Leave talking about Dharma to those who prefer sleep to awakening.

The mind’s intrinsic dignity and the eight worldly concerns,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— The intrinsic nobility and dignity of mind is beyond the reach of birth and death let alone the contrivances of status, power, politics, gain and loss, shame and fame ...  All of these things are utterly useless and irrelevant to a practitioner of inner tantra (or any spiritual path). Watch the mind's natural grasping to these and and redirect it toward what is sublime instead. If you do this, then quickly the falsity of these shallow booby prizes of ignorance will fade away.

The world’s appearance and the celestial palace,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— In generation phase, one comes to know all aspects of appearance as the palace and playground of the deity. Knowing the symbolic purity, the inner tantric symbolic meaning of each aspect of the visualization, and applying this moment-to-moment, appearing is the secret of generation phase's alchemy.

The sun and the moon as seat for the deity,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— In tsa lung, the sun and moon represent the red and white tigle, in generation phase they represent the sperm and ovum of the mother and father giving rise to Buddha in the form of Tantric deity. When you visualize the sun and moon seat of the deity, you catalyze the potential to not be held back by the genetic or psychological limitations of one’s birth parents ... instead one's potential is linked to the infinite pure potential of the deity - awareness as wisdom appearance.

One’s every breath and the deity’s recitation,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— By linking breath and mantra, one purifies the subtle channels on which the wind of mind rides. One’s energy becomes the energy of deity. Cruddy confused winds and channels are purified into wisdom winds and channels.

The waning days of our lives and problematic companions,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— Codependence is NOT compassion. All opportunities exist only for a limited time!!! If you do not make use of this opportunity for Dharma, why should you ever get another one? If you spend time in endless crappy interactions with people who have no real interest in transformation, then you commit slow suicide. 

Our every breath and negative gossips,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— If you listen to conversation in public places, you will mostly hear negative gossip and irritation ... personal, political, etc. … This use of the subtle power of language’s magic is the same as drinking poison. Don't let idiocy consume your life force. At best, there is barely barely enough energy to attain enlightenment .... waste this and there will be no possibility for realization of your precious human birth.

Our mind’s freedom and kowtowing to others,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— Kiss ass-ness is not the meaning of being a disciple. Pure and simple. Kissing ass to curry favor is the saddest thing for the noble human being to do. Make use of your body and mind and realize the freedom — the extreme freedom of Jesus when standing before his judge and executioner allowed him to say "you have no power over me."

One’s every moment and the inner warmth,

these are two things that should be kept together.

— It is chandali or tummo, the inner warmth and bliss practices of the 6 yogas, that give fruition to Mahamudra. When you progress beyond generation to completion phase practices, you must progressively extend formal session into every moment until the single taste of all appearing is realized as seamless and uninterrupted. Do not let meditation become and now and then affair. 

The precious bindu and our own body

these are two things that should be kept together.

— At the level of outer practice, compassion is feeling generated for all beings. At the inner level, compassion is the quality of the bindu - sexual fluid essence drops within the body. When one practices the inner yogas, one practices sexual yogas which preserve and enhance these drops in the body until they regain their natural unlimited brilliance bliss. 

The mind’s great bliss and the expanse of space,

these are two things that should be kept together.

— At the secret level of Dzogchen, which begins with the 4th joy of tummo (inner heat and bliss) and Karmaudra (sexual yoga) practices, then the nature of awareness is known as great bliss inseparable from expanse. This is the secret form of compassion - 1st it is a feeling for all beings, 2nd it is the sexual essence bindu, 3rd it is the self-glow of awareness (each greater set containing the previous subset).

A leaky faucet and an expensive mansion,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— A leaky faucet here means not being able to contain the 'milk of a lion' (sexual essence drops - lost during orgasm) in the 'alchemical pot of the body.' This verse is about the 3rd empowerment practices of special bliss and sexual meditation.

Jungle tigers and sheep in a pen,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— All beings have their own particular habits. As my Guru wrote - spiders enjoy solitary habit and ants enjoy group habit. Tantra is not for pashus. A pashu is an animal that enjoys herd living and mentality. For instance sheep enjoy this and in some religions practitioners are characterized as sheep and Jesus is a shepherd. Monks enjoy group habit and Tantricas, like spiders or tigers, enjoy solitary habit.

Ordinary desiring and the great third conduct,

these are two things that should be kept apart.

— The unique actions of Tantra such as jordrel (union and liberation - the work of desire and aggression transformed) are very, very, VERY subtle and difficult. It is much harder to keep Tantra's inner and secret vows than the outer vows of the monastic path. One must not be caught up in ordinary desiring and grasping, the 8 worldly concerns, if one is to practice Tantra. 

Primordial purity and easeful spontaneity,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— Kadag and Lhundrup, primordial purity and spontaneity, original innocence and bright virtue, expanse and luminosity ... in Dzogchen, these are realized as single and the practice is to not stray from this realization. Within this state, the 10 virtues are the spontaneous behavior of body and mind.

All appearance and empty awareness,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— AwarenessAppearance is a single word. That is Dzogchen’s great understanding ... and the test of this understanding is that one’s life is only tender-hearted compassion, heartbreaking and ceaselessly mingled with the pure pleasure of the empty act of perceiving. 

All phenomena and complete exhaustion,

these are two things that should not be kept apart.

— The final of the 4, the vision of Tögal is the complete exhaustion of all phenomena ... this is the perfect and unchanging realization of the secret meaning of Prajnaparamita. Beyond is and is not, beyond Buddhas and beings, phenomena have never existed, perception, beings, buddhas, illusion, bondage have never ever existed ... freedom has never been attained, nothing, everything, anything, appearing , emptiness ... all designations mean nothing .... only mystery remains (and this is saying way too much.)

A high view but low actions,

this brings shame upon a yogi.

— The view is meant to be realized in practice. A view not realized only ends in jaded cynicism. The shame of this is the most terrible sorrow. 

Fancy words but no realization,

this signals the old age of a lineage.

 — It is easy to say nice words such as all this ... but to realize their meaning is the point. Without that realization what point could there possibly be? Don't bother with parroting ... strive single-pointedly to realize. 

Buddha’s dharma and politics,

This means the nail has been driven into the coffin.

— One thing for sure is that politics and dharma do not mix. If you wish to be a king, then be one. If you wish to be a pure monk or yogi, then be one. Realize the import and meaning (or lack there of) of the choices you make. Dressing up worldly concerns as Dharma is worse than just being worldly ... it severs the life vein of Dharma's force in the world, making it yet another system for sleep walking. I hope none of you ever do this.

Practice with sincerity and earnestness. These verses go over the stages of our path. The program works if you work it.  - t.k. traktung yeshe dorje



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