Second Interlude Part 1

Now, - after reading this text the first time, I asked myself rather bewildered: – What's the advertised method? - Where are Padma-Sambhava's actual instructions? – Did I miss something?

    But during the second reading I noticed that everything was there, but just not structured like a modern handbook: Click that icon, press that button, and this will happen. Padma-Sambhava uses a far subtler approach.


To Know It's There



He alerts us that something exists in a place or region or space - or whatever you call an 'item' our language doesn't have words for, – where previously we thought there would be nothing. He directs our attention towards this seeming 'Void' where we didn't perceive anything before.

    This doesn't seem like much, - yet is extremely precious. Being aware that something – previously unknown - actually exists makes it infinitely easier to really find it.

    No one, – not our parents, not our teachers, friends, priests or anyone – ever told us about this, - or even knew about it. - 'It can't be seen, it can't be isolated in a test-tube, thus it can't possibly exist,' my own mother, a medical doctor, instructed me when I was young. It took me years to get past this misleading early programming.

    Sure it can't be analyzed materially, - simply because it's not material, - as all our thoughts are non-material, - as all our feelings are non-material, as all our verve to do something, all our motivations, our love, our storehouse of knowledge within us are non-material. We can't 'see' any of this; can't isolate it in a test-tube, pin it to a wall, or buy in a supermarket, - but it certainly exists, - it provides the very drive that makes us experience life for fifty, eighty, hundred and more years.

    Remember how you felt when falling in love the very first time, - and to your utter amazement discovered a dormant, unexplored dimension of fantastic feelings within you, - a world whose existence you couldn't even have guessed at before, a new dimension that promised unfathomable ecstatic joy, triggered vast, powerful motivations and made you venture into completely unknown avenues of life.

    Now also a new dimension is waiting to be discovered, but here it helps to be aware that it exists to perceive it.

    Then, - as you begin sensing something in that 'space' you thought was 'empty', you now know not to discard this notion as you did before. You now know to direct attention there. And even if it seems to hover just outside your grasp for a while, this perception suddenly becomes clear - as I and others experienced it, – and then awareness expands fast, and what previously was only a vague notion, shifts right into the headlight of your focus, becomes a conscious part of your being.

    You certainly are able to experience this, because you carry it within you all the time.

    - But the text yields far more than mere information that the all-comprehensive awareness underlying all our perception exists.


What NOT to Do



Though there's no direct way, no particular action, no instrumental thing to do to trigger this grand experience, Padma-Sambhava identifies a number of factors and actions that block this access. So be aware that these mechanisms prevent expansion of your perception: –

  • self-inflicted asceticism and deliberately restraining any of our senses, our potential, our thoughts, our freedom, - all of which makes us focus on limitations only, never on expansion.

  • sticking to formal ceremony or other socially opportune conduct, - none of which kindles any kind of expansive perception.

  • being profoundly impressed by one's own suffering, and lamenting this to others to garner their compassion. - Such behaviour just squanders energy and time on one's deficiencies. It certainly does not steer life towards greater inner freedom and sovereignty.

  • pursuing fruitless (transitory) aims which never produce actual results. And even if the society we currently live in mandates such activities and puts pressure on us to pursue these goals, this only pleases society, but never stimulates our growth.

  • practicing anything that leads astray, - like useless spiritual techniques, meditation, exercises, cleansings, rituals etc.

        At the heart of all such practices is quantitative repetition. - Mantras, prayers, yoga postures, rituals, cleansings etc., are all to be repeated a specific number of times, for a fixed period, or at recurring intervals. Many believe the more regular they perform their technique, the faster they progress.

        Yet how could our awareness expand by mindlessly repeating mantras, mechanically performing religious rituals, by ceremoniously handling mystic symbols etc. - i.e. by activities whose mechanism we don't really understand and often do not even know what kind of outcome to expect, - or IF any effect would manifest at all, - or whether we even WANT something serious to happen in the first place.

        Sure, - some techniques may make us 'feel good', more relaxed and calmer, yet 'feeling good, relaxed and calm' should not be confused with inner growth.

        Real inner expansion is always an increase in QUALITY. It is a boost of our capacities, a sweeping breakthrough to more insight, superior understanding, more focused activities and greater command of life. Spiritual practices don't lead in this direction. They never 'produce' sufficient power to generate such burst.

  • being dazzled by 'mental concepts, constructs, belief-systems or philosophies' - whose knotty reasoning more often than not is only the attempt to mask the gross lack of real insight of their originators.

        The more complicated a concept, the less its author himself understands what he is saying or writing. Unmasking such constructs and discarding the useless intellectual arrogance that often surrounds such theories frees the mind for deeper insight.

        Genuine truth is always simple and easily understood by everyone. Yet voicing plain truth often takes considerably more courage than articulating incomprehensible, but suave intellectual nonsense.

        The deeper the truth, the simpler and the more powerful it is.

  • listening to those who never directly experienced the Great Awareness – because their views lack all substance.

        And even if such people try to 'explain away' what is our direct, personal experience, this does not in the least diminish our ability to perceive it.

        Those only arguing or discussing about it, are unable to see it.

  • regarding the world as separate from us – as duality, – instead of realizing that the way our surroundings appear to us always reflects how we currently feel.

    Any of these factors limit our scope of life. None of them advances expansion. Giving up such pointless activities and concepts frees time and energy for real inner growth.


How to Stimulate Expansion



But Padma-Sambhava also shows how to advance perception of the Great Awareness:

  • Being aware that there's infinitely more to discover than what we experience now.

  • Finding the purpose in your life, – becoming aware of what you really want to be excited by, to venture into, to learn, to feel, to gain from this life.

  • Choosing expansion, - and going for this discovery, for change, for adventure, - and creating the actual conditions to make this happen.

  • Steering life consciously; - purposely decide what you really want to feel, think and do, - and intentionally go for expansion.

  • Searching the noble you sense within, finding truth at your core, becoming aware of the depth of your awareness, - nowhere else will you find the all-permeating awareness underlying everything.

  • Treasuring the Great Awareness, honouring your own perception.

  • Realize that all doctrines are empty, - be guided by your direct, vivid experience.

  • Realize that NOW - your present – is the only time that offers you the power and the opportunity to initiate change in your life.

    All this supports opening your being, - for what you were born with, - for what has been yours all along, - for what no-one can ever take from you, -

    - for the all-encompassing awareness within you never really lost.


The 'Fourfold Great Path'



And then there is the 'Fourfold Great Path' Padma-Sambhava advertises, - and dismantles two sections later: 'There being no thing on which to meditate, no meditation is there whatsoever.', - and re-instates two paragraphs further down, - and dismantles and modifies numerous times.

    This perplexing oscillation aims to shake us from the deep-rooted belief that any particular action may actually 'produce' perception of the Great Awareness.

    On the other hand desiring this experience and directing our focus towards it is essential for perceiving it.

    Thus Padma-Sambhava emphasises not to forego meditation and other such activities – even if they cannot directly produce this widening of our awareness.

    And he provides the key to all this seeming paradox:

    'Without meditating, without going astray, focus attention on that brilliant True State within, - on recognizing and treasuring your own Great Self, - on perceiving the all-embracing, complete knowledge you possess, - on enlightenment born of its own power; - focus on Truth radiant in brilliant light inside of you. That resplendent brightness, that sovereignty and power you there see IS that enlightened, perfect being you really ARE.'

    Taking concrete steps towards this goal connects this arcane longing to our current material environment and anchors it there, - thereby preparing our being for the grand perception.

    - And as I was exploring the text, venturing ever deeper into its many avenues, discovering its multi-layered insights, becoming energized by its intensity and subtlety of power, I suddenly realized: -





The text itself does something to the awareness. In a mysterious way it somehow enlivens what is dormant and hidden deep within.

    So, - read the text. – And read again. - There's more depth to this scripture than is revealed at first glance.

    Allow it to rouse, to awaken you to a fantastic, exhilarating perception that was yours all along, yet which no-one ever told you about.

    Skip the words in italics and enclosed in brackets to get a feeling for the rhythm, for the original intensity. I included these comments only to assist comprehension during first reading.

    Get a feeling for the original impact of the text, get stirred by its pace, become entranced by its grand theme.

    And talk to others who also show the signs. Connect with those who you sense also long to experience more than TV and money and shallow fun. Expressing this to others shifts this hidden dimension to the foreground of your mind, opening access to deeper parts of the message.

    Inspire others, - as others inspire you.


Two Curious Distortions



While transferring The Tibetan Book Of The Great Liberation into contemporary language, I noticed two bizarre distortions of the original text in the translation by Evans-Wenz and the two lamas. The mangled parts deal with 'The Consequences of Self-inflicted Asceticism' and with 'Freedom From Eternally Transitory Aims'.

    In the first instance the lamas probably could not bear Padma-Sambhava declaring renunciation and asceticism as ineffective for inner growth. The strict beliefs and convictions connected to the monks' particular life-style prohibited them to accept what the text really said and made them bend the original words almost beyond recognition.

    Yet Padma-Sambhava plainly states that renouncing elements of life not only bars the widening of our perception, but also distorts the way we see reality.

    Perception expands because this attract us more than our current experience. That our previous, lesser developed state becomes obsolete in this process and falls away, is a consequence, not the cause.

    When switching from a radio station with 'boring' music to a more interesting program, we'd never see this as 'renouncing the boring music', but rather as a nice change for the better.

    The monks mistook the disappearance of irrelevant ('boring') factors of life – which actually is only a side-effect - for the main cause of spiritual development. They then tried to produce this side-effect by renunciation, denial and asceticism, all the while believing that this would further inner expansion, - a strategy that never works. A classic case of confusing cause and effect.

    In the second instance the lamas mangled the entire segment on transitory aims. Padma-Sambhava's wholesale declaration of futility of the 'Middle path as taught by the Buddha', would have destroyed the very foundation of their training and belief. To find a way around it, they mistranslated the whole chapter.

    Both distortions illustrate how clinging to rigid mental constructs rejects a vivid first-hand account of someone who actually experienced what he is writing about, - and thereby prevents opening a whole new, fascinating dimension of life

    Fortunately the text before and after both these passages was clear enough to reconstruct the original content.


A Hidden Cache of Knowledge



Interesting is further that the mysterious way the Tibetan scripture popped out of its hiding place just as I was ready to comprehend it, finds a bizarre counterpart in Padma-Sambhava's own life.

    Foreseeing that his books would be burned by an insensitive king, Padma-Sambhava buried his manuscripts in concealed caches, hiding them amongst other precious items to prevent them from being destroyed.

    Long after his death – and also after the death of the destructive king - people with special powers made it their task to intuitively locate these caches. Thus a significant number of Padma-Sambhava's works were found, amongst them 'The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation'.

    To those discovering his books, he left a last message: -

'This text is destined for those future generations who will be born during the Age of Darkness.
May this book be found and read by those blessed seekers of the future.'

    WE  are the ones this message is intended for.


The INSIDE of a Circular Room



During my research, as I was tracing similar descriptions of this grand, riveting experience in numerous religions and philosophies, in ancient as in recent cultures, one thought slowly, but persistently began to form in my mind:

Could it be that religions were portals,
were entrances to one and the same circular room,
- and that they provide
the same grand experience to all who enter?



Picture 1: - Circular Room with open portals

The word 'religion' originates in the Latin verb 're-ligare', which means to 're-connect', - 'to again become aware of something we were conscious of before, but somehow forgot or stopped thinking about for a while'.

    The same idea is at the heart of the term 'Yoga', - which also connects two things – that part of us experiencing the material world and the Grand Awareness we truly are beneath our currently manifested (small) self.

    Actually almost all ancient Indian religions and philosophies describe paths and methods and approaches how to become aware of this essential, vital connection.

    Nearly all religions have at their heart one man or one woman perceiving the extraordinary, the fantastic, the incredible, the huge potential and the immense possibilities open to mankind.

    The paths these individuals described can be compared to portals to one and the same grand experience.

    The point is to simply use these portals, to walk through these entrances, to experience the fantastic, the inspiring, the unifying that's beyond all doors.



  Picture 2: - Circular Room - to enter from any angle
and to experience  the Inside

    It's not the point to cling to the doors to argue which or whose entrance might be better, - and thus never to enter, never to discover the Grand, the Radiant the 'inside' reveals.

    Unfortunately religions seem to attract a rigid kind of people keen on thwarting the joy of others, forbidding them to have fun and restricting natural freedoms and abilities. Common to them all is their strong zeal to exercise power over others, to forbid thoughts, to regulate what doesn't need regulating, to keep everything under surveillance, and - last not least - their total lack of real insight, which often makes them relentlessly kill the very intentions of their founder.

    Perception certainly works well without an administration regulating it. Trying to squeeze unlimited perception into the stiff limits of any kind of organisation always produced such catastrophic results that it prevented innumerable generations from knowing and accessing their inborn expansive abilities, – as history plainly proves.

    The Grand Awareness needs no administration.

  • Those perceiving it do recognize each other instantly.
  • Those longing for it or sensing the Great Awareness will access it of their own power, or by intuitively recognizing those who already experience it and who will help them to perceive this too.
  • Those not longing for it chose to complete their own individual themes of life before progressing further. Respecting their choice is as natural as we want our choices respected.

    But all - men, women and children - carry the Grand Awareness within.



Next: - Second Interlunde Part 2

Author:  Hermann Kuhn
Book-Title:  'Where NOTHING Seems To Be'

ISBN:  978-3-9811466-1-5
Copyright 2009 Crosswind Publishing, Wunstorf, Germany

Available in pdf-format at DOWNLOADS