Momentary Buddhahood [New Sale Edition]
Mindfulness and the Vajrayana Path
By the same author
Brand new. The main theme of this book is the union of Vajrayana and Dzogchen combined with mindfulness meditation. One of the prevalent misconceptions among Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism is that the tradition of mindfulness is somehow only a Theravada or Zen teaching, and is not essential for tantric, Dzogchen, or Mahamudra practice. The Nyingma master Anyen Rinpoche is adament that all Vajrayana practitioners should fully understand the crucial support that mindfulness brings to the practice of tantric meditation and especially to meditation that is free of all concepts. Without the foundation mindfulness provides, it is impossible to attain the results of these beneficial and profound forms of practice.
Another misconception is the usual Western understanding of the term "mindfulness" itself. Anyen Rinpoche felt that the practice of mindfulness has been understood too narrowly, and that many students had missed the true depth and meaning of this type of mind training. Without making the connection between mindfulness and Vajrayana, a rare opportunity to gain experience in the profound tantric tradition is lost. With this is mind, Rinpoche has clarified the confusion on this subject through the teachings in Momentary Buddhahood.
"Anyen Rinpoche offers a profound view of Dzogchen - and he shows how the experience of the mind's true nature is accessible to us at any time, yet nevertheless must still be cultivated through a lifetime of practice." Sam Van Schaik, author of Approaching the Great Perfection.
"Momentary Buddhahood clearly illuminates how mindfulness is a bridge between our everyday mind and realization, showing that the experience of enlightenment is possible in each moment." John Weber, Naropa University.
"A extraordinary book." Deborah Schoeberlein, author of Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness.
Read an extract of this title
First it focuses the mind. Then it eases the mind.
Finally it is the luminous nature, beyond thoughts.
In Buddhist trainings, first you start by learning the teachings, then you enjoy the meditative experiences by practicing, and finally you reach the goal by realizing the truth:enlightenment. For success in such a journey, you must apply two indispensable factors, like the two feet required for walking. The first is the mindfulness (Tib., dran pa; Skt., smr) that keeps you on the path of training and drives you to the fruition. The second is the wisdom (Tib., shes rab; Skt., prajna) of knowing and realizing the stages of training and the goal, enlightenment.
Defining mindfulness, Asanga, the founder of the Yogachara school of Mahayana Buddhism, writes, “It is (a mental factor of) not forgetting (something) that is familiar to you and it is the action of not wavering (from it).” In this sentence, according to the celebrated scholar the Third Dodrupchen, Asanga clarifies three aspects of mindfulness: the never-forgetting aspect is the nature of mindfulness; the familiar aspect is the focus of mindfulness; not wavering from that focus aspect is the action of mindfulness.
Some of those who are new to Buddhism might think that meditation on mindfulness belongs solely to the tradition of breathing meditations. And mindfulness of breathing is indeed an important training of “calm abiding” (Tib., zhi gnas; Skt., shamatha) and also of “insight” (Tib., ihag mthong; Skt., vipashyana) meditation traditions. In calm abiding, you focus your mind one pointedly on your breathing or on a mental object. In insight, you see the nature of the breathing or the object, as it is. However, the meditations of mindfulness and wisdom, or calm abiding and insight, are not limited to the breathing meditations. In fact, they can be found in almost every kind and level of Buddhist training.
First, they train you to fully focus your mind toward the right direction.Whether you are a Buddhist or a non-believer, a meditator or a worldly person—all these methods can make your life healthier and meaningful by cultivating and cherishing some degree of mindfulness, the most precious quality of your own mind.You cultivate mindfulness by calmly focusing your mind, one pointedly, on Buddhist or positive secular images, sounds, feelings, thoughts, or actions and by staying away from indulging in any unhealthy chains of wild goose—chasing thoughts or actions.
If you are focusing your mind on any healthy and beneficial object and action with total mindfulness and enjoying it fully, then every step of your action will take you along the right path of securing happiness, peace, and wisdom—without any sidetracks.
If you lack mindfulness, then even in your daily chores, you frequently forget to finish half the things on your to do list.You often say or do things without thinking beforehand and regret them later, when your life and relationships are falling apart as the result. It is such a pain!You may know lots of Dharma teachings, but are unable to apply any to enhance your life. It is such a waste.You do enjoy some good experiences while meditating, but as soon as you get out of the room, they all go out the window So hopeless! You sit for hours in a meditation posture, but your wild mind restlessly wanders all over the world. Such ajoke! You have spent years doing some meditation, but there is little gain as your mind never engaged in it fully. It is such a failure!You have so many gifts and such capacity, but very little has even been realized and utilized. Such a pity~ You are facing all these disappointments and much more, through the fault of a single culprit: lack of mindfulness.
If you could build the habit of mindfulness in your mental stream by training in focusing your mind fully and earnestly on whatever you are feeling or doing, then even if you are just saying a simple prayer or feeling loving-kindness for a few minutes, since you are doing it wholeheartedly and enjoying it with a fully opened mind, its effects will be vivid, powerful, and long lasting.
In order to improve your daily life and especially your meditation, it is essential for you to train and tame the wild elephant-like mind by tying it with the rope of mindfulness.With an alert mind and healthy intention, you must engage with whatever you are thinking or doing with undivided attention. If your mind is distracted, just keep bringing it back on track, again and again. The great bodhisattva Shantideva writes,
If the elephant-like mind is tied to (positive thoughts)
With the rope of mindfulness,
All the dangers will disappear and
All the virtues will come into your hands.
What’s more, mindfulness eases the grip of grasping of the mind, opens it to all the infinite fields of wisdom, and secures it as the vast treasure of memory.
Whatever Buddhist meditation you pursue, it will always possess two indispensable components: mindfulness and wisdom. For example, when you are meditating on loving-kindness, you might be able to remain in the thought or feeling of loving-kindness without distraction. If so, that is mindfulness and your ability to maintain it is because of mindfulness. In the same way, if you are meditating on a visualized image—the aspect of focusing and stabilizing your mind with the details of the visualized image precisely and calmly—that is mindfulness and your ability to maintain it is because of mindfulness. The aspect of realizing, experiencing, or being aware of peacefulness, boundlessness, emptiness, or openness—the true qualities or true nature of the visualized image or loving-kindness, as it is—is wisdom.
Anyen Rinpoche and translated by Allison Grabowski
Anyen Rinpoche and translated by Allison Grabowski
Anyen Rinpoche and Allison Choying Zangmo