The Three Facets of Natural Repose
This section has two parts, instructions in the meditations of
2. Insight Meditation
Second is instruction in insight meditation, searching for the mind. According to my spiritual master’s extensive oral transmission, the preliminary to every stage [of insight meditation] consists of applying the three facets of natural repose as described above, and then, within a relaxed and open state, to search for the mind.
The main practice of insight has seven parts:
2.1. Searching for mind’s essence
2.2. Searching for mind’s beginning or end
2.3. Searching in objective appearances
2.4. Searching in thoughts
2.5. Searching for the difference between the presence or absence of objective appearances
2.6. Searching for the difference between the presence or absence of thoughts
2.7. Certainty in the natural sphere
2.1. First Meditation: Searching for Mind’s Essence
Gaze directly and with a wide perspective at the mind’s essence. Examine it thoroughly. When your effort naturally ends, the experience arises that it is impossible to say, “It is this.” Settle within natural repose.
2.2. Second Meditation: Searching for Mind’s Beginning or End
Gaze at the mind only when no thoughts occur. Examine it: Does the mind remain stably and permanently without beginning or end? Is there nothing whatsoever that creates or ends the mind? If you think the mind begins or ends, how does it arise? Once arisen, what distinguishes its presence? What color, form, etc., does it have? What exterior or interior does it have? When it ends, how does it end? In this and other ways, examine closely the mind, then settle in tranquility without identifying anything.
2.3. Third Meditation: Searching in Objective Appearances
When the eyes see form, gaze at the essence of this vivid sight. Examine closely the difference between this, and knowing and bringing something to mind: are they the same or different? In the same way, examine sounds you hear, etc.
2.4. Fourth Meditation: Searching in Thoughts
When a thought suddenly arises, what difference is there between this and the mind’s nature? Examine if they are the same or not. When thoughts arise, how do they arise? From the time they have arisen until their end, what characterizes their presence? Once ended, what characterizes their absence? Examine this closely.
2.5. Fifth Meditation: Searching for the Difference between the Presence or Absence of Objective Appearances
What difference is there between the mind when forms are seen and when forms are not seen? If there is a difference, examine what it is; if there is no difference, examine that.
2.6. Sixth Meditation: Searching for the Difference between the Presence or Absence of Thoughts
Examine well the difference between the mind when thoughts are present and when thoughts are absent. Is there any difference between these two in the mind’s positive or negative quality? In its clarity or lack of clarity? In its emptiness or lack of emptiness? These last four methods of searching end with the dissipation of the focus: that is the only state to sustain.
2.7. Seventh Meditation: Certainty in the Natural Sphere
You become certain that all appearances are your own mind, and when examining the mind, that there is nothing at all to identify. Settle directly in that state. You have now searched a lot. Although you have not found anything to identify, it is not that there is nothing whatsoever. Rather, while empty, various things arise to empty awareness, which is naked, vivid and sudden, precise and clear, and inexpressible. Settle wide-open within that.
These are the seven meditations of insight; there are thus a total of eighteen meditations in the preliminary of The Three Aspects of Natural Repose.
Lama Kyungpo Naljor said that the preliminary is primarily Niguma’s teaching; the main practice, primarily Maitripa’s; and the conclusion, primarily Sukasiddhi’s.
Therefore, develop some understanding of this preliminary practice.
To be continued …