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.

all the temples and sacred pools

Traktung Rinpoche: quoting -

“I have been to all the temples and sacred pools and caves and never have I found a place as mysterious and blissful as this body.”  Saraha

“This very place the lotus paradise.” Hakuin

This whole world spins and shines like a jewel of infinite facets. This world, this appearance is a mystery and a delight. For the one immersed in freedom there is only the singing of secret mantra, the play of Buddhas, the delight of wisdom. How can I speak to you of it? How can lips make sounds that could encompass the joy and wonder of it?! And yet, and yet …… there is no way to not! There is no way to keep silent about this for the very substanceless substance of this frolic demands it.

If you live within the cage of identity then you will be endlessly frustrated but if you break free from that cage then you fly and soar and swim and dive into a sky and an ocean of wonderment. Here there are sparkling lights taking the shape of ceaseless beauty. The manifestation of luminosity and forms which springs from the source of awareness – the nothingness – is unimpeded and limitless.

How is one to bear this drunken joy? The body no longer a discrete form but a collection of Buddhas in the most exquisite embrace! The mystery of what was once appearance of the sense now become the frisky play of Bodhisattvas in union! This so called body a land of pilgrimage. When Buddha taught the first turning for those who are immature he described the world as a burning suffering to be extinguished via practice in nirvana. But this was so that those lost in attachments could begin to find some freedom. Sometimes one tells lies to small children based on what they can understand. But to the adult of Dharma there is no world, no body, no tangible anything to burn. There is no fire and no suffering and then what ….. then what is this appearance? It is the dancing of sparks as they fly from the great bonfire of luminosity. It is the whirling of birds in the open sky. It is the sparkle of bioluminescent algae in the dark of the midnight ocean.

Oh friend why do you cling to corpses? Why do you tarry on the shores of suffering? There is nothing there which is not already lost. Playing with dream castles in a nightmare movie … come, come join the dust motes which play in the sunbeams. Here there is no status, no hierarchy, no fretful grasping and loud proclamations. Here there is no fear of the loss of face because there is no face which can be saved in the wonder and majesty of the divine! Here we are all beggars and kings, mountains and valleys.

Q. How can I put your words into action? How is it that I can transform what I am into what you talk about?

Traktung Rinpoche: laughing with joy …… You do not need to! You have already done the miraculous transformation of what I am talking about into “you”.  The moment you transformed the non-dual luminosity into the concept Being and appearance of the body mind into “me”. That is the amazing alchemy of transforming gold into lead but luckily it is just a scam. The gold is just lead coated and has not in its essence been changed into anything at all – a trick with smoke and mirrors only.

It is really only a question of remembering. The path is not real it is a series of tricks to guide you bit by bit beyond yourself, beyond the path beyond the so called guru, beyond everything every thing. Longchenpa says it best “You can come fast or slow as you please.”

Q. Can I understand your words?

Traktung Rinpoche: Words are only sounds. When the intellect tries to mold these sounds into concepts then there cannot be final understanding. When all sound is recognized as empty sound then all sound is Buddha’s speech and all sound is mantra the humming of the deities. Before that some sounds shaped as concepts of a so called higher sort are meant to push you beyond concept.

I am not wanting to offer you some new set of words. I do not have a “philosophy” to lay upon you. I am wanting to incite the longing in your Heart which flows, albeit distorted, through your mind, senses, body, world … I want to provoke, incite, cajole, seduce it into this great journey which is the culmination of the meaning of what it is to be a human being.

I am not offering you more knowledge, though certainly the play of knowledge is part of the beauty of the world, I am offering you utter ignorance. All knowledge is ignorance only and the ignorance I am offering you is pure knowledge, beyond knowledge it is Kowingness itself but it is not burdened down with intellects fantasies.

Q. Is there no use for intellect then?

Traktung Rinpoche: Don’t be silly of course there is. The brains functioning is crucial for getting to the grocery store and remembering your house number. Functional memory and functioning of body do not in any way disappear – well maybe for moments within the path they do – but they return if needed. And, unmediated by the uselessness of psychological memory, “self” and fantasy they function much better.

Somewhere, I believe it was Lao Tzu says, “Everyone else is becoming more and more knowledgeable and only I seem to know less and less.” This is so beautiful. The mind rested in the immediacy of luminous openness need not contrive concepts about everything or attach to the passing fancy of concepts. The spontaneous immediacy of mind’s functioning is in and of itself the proof of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind.

So these words are not meant to add baggage to the mind’s baggage but to purify the brain and mind of the useless and make it sharp, clean, subtle, pure and stable so it can directly know and recognize it’s own nature. Then appearance is delight!

Questioner 2. So appearance is bliss? Is there simply a great ocean of bliss as we read about in some sutras? Is the body something whereby we live and feel this bliss?

Traktung Rinpoche: Two things to be understood. 1. What I call bliss is inseparable from great peace. It is bliss and emptiness unified. People wish there to be some continuous ecstasy of the body, they try for this in drugs, sex and spirituality but this misses the point entirely and also burns out the body. The bliss, or great exaltation, of the fully enlightened state is not a rage of the body. The moments of pleasure and pain for the body, and dullness, will come and go. They are part and parcel of the body’s nature – like the sun and moon chasing each other about the sly there is alternation of pleasures and pain. The bliss of the one immersed in freedom is the bliss of the nature of awareness in which, from which, through which and as which appearances pleasurable or painful are perceived.

All appearances share the same intrinsic essence. They are empty and the ground of emptiness is the equality nature of luminosity. This luminosity is pervasive across and through all experience but is neither ground nor support for experience or anything else. It is pervasive the way wetness is pervasive of water. This ground is the peace of perfect freedom and it is by nature perfect equanimity and bliss. This pervasiveness grants its flavor to all experience – so called pleasure and so called pain. This is the meaning of the single taste. Chocolate and vanilla still are chocolate and vanilla but the luminous ground of awareness is the same in both tastes – it is the taste the taster and the tasting.

2. Yes, the body exists to participate in this play this wonderment. When the body and mind are set right then like old Chaung Tzu said “When the belt fits the stomach is forgotten.” Mind and body forgotten they are swooned in the play of appearance and bliss. But there is no “self” to grab hold of or own or manipulate this process. It is single and whole appearance awareness emptiness luminosity.

Q2. How can I come to know what you speak of?

Traktung Rinpoche: Well, these talks are not an explanation of the techniques of the path. I am not one of those vapid non dualists who tell you there is no path. They basically castrate with their misconceived good intentions. There is a path. So long as there is a “you” there is a pat and way to understand. Yes, the path is an illusion, as is the you, as is the one saying all this  - Buddha said “I am a dream like Buddha, come to a dream like land, to teach a dream like dharma, to liberate dream like beings from a dream like samsara into a dream like nirvana.” When the consciousness is liberated into awareness and the awareness self recognizes its round in the nothingness then utter, perfect responsiveness flows forth as the radiant aspect of mind. This responsiveness is compassion and it is the intentionless activity of the Buddha’s.

Ponder the word of one immersed in freedom. Because they are already free, full, happy they do not want anything from you. They do not need your agreement, compliment, devotion, money anything they are utterly trust worthy and yet totally dangerous because they do not need to flatter or deceive you for gain and they have nothing to gain or lose even of the whole universe were to disappear. Ponder them again and again. They are not just words they are siddhi, spiritual power. Chew on them and let them disturb the habits of your mind. When you mature enough your body mind will wish to enter the work of the way. When you mature even further your work will burn through delusion like a hot knife through butter. Earnestness and sincerity will lead you to your goal.

Priya Tsomo