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SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Generation Stage of Tantra (unauthorised editing by Gerald

Blomeyer) I am going talk about how to start skyed rim, the deep, one-pointed concentration, together with the fundamental meditation for the self-generation as a deity. There are two kinds of one-pointed concentration for the self-generation as a deity: One is on the appearance, the other on the divine pride. You start by doing analytical meditation on the details, one by one, from the head down to the feet. Then generate yourself as a deity, as it is written in the sadhana of either Tara, Yamantaka, Heruka or whichever sadhana you have chosen. Next you invoke the transcendental wisdom, and the empowering deities initiate you. Finally the residual water transforms into a Dhyani Buddha on the crown. After that come two points: Firstly the one-pointed meditation on the selfgeneration deity, and secondly, at the same time as the deity appears, having the definite understanding that it is empty of existing from its own side. We then meditate one-pointedly on the self-generated deity, which unifies emptiness and appearance. After this we start the analytical meditation on the deity and run through the details. You may not have fully understood what the lama taught, and the deity may be difficult to visualise when you concentrate on it one-pointedly. Your mind may neither comprehend or vividly see every single detail nor everything together. However, by concentrating one-pointedly on the general aspect of the deity, you can understand something of what the lama explained. After going through all the details of the deity, e.g. Yamantaka, Heruka and other deities that have many arms and many other elements, you should start skyed rim, the one-pointed concentration, and not think of anything else. This trains the mind to differentiate between the gross and subtle categories. Don't try to focus on the whole deity, when you are training the mind in skyed rim. Normally, when you do a sadhana, you concentrate on the whole deity. But when you are trying to accomplish the categories of skyed rim realisations you do it in parts. Firstly you visualise the root deity with one face and two arms, just that, without the wisdom mother, even if it has one, such as the 13 deities Yamantaka or Heruka. With Vajrayogini or Tara this is simple, as there is no elaborate visualisation to expand afterwards. Then start from the head, the upper part and the lower part and visualise whatever comes to mind. Even if the whole general appearance is not clear, you should be satisfied, and concentrate on that one-pointedly. 1

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 In the beginning trying visualise the object of concentration really clearly doesn't work. In fact if you add more details, the more obscure it becomes, even if one is trying to get everything clear. This leads to a stream of thoughts like Oh, I am missing the lotus or this part is not clear. So at the beginning a strong wish to make things clear, can be more of an obstacle than a benefit. The mind gets more and more relaxed as you continue. Of course this also depends on your meditation skills, and the way you practice remembrance and awareness as they are explained in shamatha or the commentaries of tantra. By knowing the techniques, the way to meditate becomes clearer. After some time, it becomes so unbelievably clear to your mind that you can even physically see, and maybe even touch it. Lamas talking from experience say that this is how concentration is developed. Then you expand the clear visualisation to include the rest of the limbs and the hands, ornaments, the wisdom mother, the mandala and finally the other deities, if there are any. Only after you are the deity clearly do the rest of other mandala deities become clear. In the beginning you have to be satisfied with the general appearance of the visualisation or whatever comes after you have gone through the details. Accept whatever you could see or think. It could be that only half of what is described in the text and another part is dark or lost. It is all right if only half appears of the four arms and legs, or even less. You have to understand that, the main aim of what we are trying to do, is to make our concentration last longer. This is the most important thing. This is the same in samatha meditation. If the mind gets distracted by something else, bring it back and focus it on the original object, 'byor sgom, again. At the beginning, meditate on the general aspect of the deity skilfully and not too tightly. If you try to make it clear forcefully and concentrate tightly, then that can cause you to become quickly distracted. However, if on the other hand your concentration is too loose and you are too relaxed, then sinking thoughts can arise. So if it is too tight, attachment and scattering thoughts, rgod pa, can arise. If your concentration or the energy of holding the object of concentration, the selfgeneration deity, is too loose, then there is too little energy to hold the mind on the object of concentration, and sinking thoughts can arise, which can develop into a foggy mind, rmug-pa, which can be followed by a very comfortable sleep. His Holiness Zong Rinpoche said: Sleeping like this is much better, and more pleasant than if it is done in actual time. The best way to meditate is to place the mind on the object of concentration onepointedly, and to hold it there neither too tightly, nor too loosely, but in a medium way. If the image of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or any other deity arises while you are try to generate the realisation of the different levels of skyed rim, generation stage of Tara, it gets very crowded. Even if that object is virtuous, stop and try to actualise the realisation of Tara. All other objects that appear, whether they are virtuous or not, become obstacles. When concentrating one-pointedly on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and an image of Tara comes to mind, she becomes an obstacle. 2

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 If the concentration becomes unclear while visualising the holy body of the deity, it is best to start the analytical meditation from the head down to the feet again. Just concentrate on the general aspect, whatever comes to mind. If you continue like this, the visualisation of the deity will become clear. Whatever details you meditate on analytically will appear. Visualise only the one faced, two armed deity that you have gone through and don't try to visualise things that you have not meditated on such as the other limbs, arms or the mandala. Only the one that you clarified yourself with in the holy body of the deity will appear. So visualise it extremely clearly, so that you can experience the holy body; this is more than what you physically see. Focus on the clarity and try to stabilise your concentration without letting the two obstacles, the sinking thought and the scattering thought of attachment, arise. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that 24 hours can be divided into 6 sessions of each 4 hours of one-pointed concentration. In the 4 hour session concentrate as much as possible until the holy body of the deity, that you have visualised, becomes clear with the one face, two arms. Then try to stabilise your concentration on the clarity for 4 hours, and try to complete the session without the obstacles of the sinking or scattering thought arising. Once the mind is well-trained in the gross part of the holy body, you can expand your concentration and include the other faces, arms and ornaments. Practise visualising the complete deity, seeing even the small parts and all the details. After that you can visualise the wisdom mother, if the deity that you are trying to actualise, has one. For the realisation of the generation stage the embrace of the wisdom mother is visualised. After that come the other surrounding deities, the whole mandala, the gross parts, the general and also the subtle aspects. Then you have realised yourself as a deity completely with all the gross and subtle parts including the mandala being vividly clear. Kachen Panchen Yeshe Gyaltsen not only wrote many collections on lam-rim but also the greatest thought training text, advising how to meditate on shamatha. Concentrating one-pointedly on the whole mandala is similar to doing one-pointed shamatha meditation on the deity or concentrating one-pointedly on the nature of emptiness, the mind, the conventional and the all-obscuring truth. Due to their different presentations, other sects regard this type of one-pointed meditation as meditating on shunyata. Kachen Panchen Lama founded Samdeling monastery for Gelugpa monks in Boudanath, and the Kyirong monastery in Tibet near Nepal. In his monasteries, the monks strictly follow the Vinaya teachings on all levels from the way a house is built down to the exact way of leading their lives. He laid it out so neatly, that even today, so many years later, the old monks, who did not study much, have a good understanding of the Vinaya practices. They have preserved a lineage by having seen the traditional practice of the Vinaya with their own eyes. 3

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen said: It is a great mistake if you wish to see the object of concentration extremely clearly at the beginning but neither put effort into the visualisation nor know how to concentrate one-pointedly. Concentrating on the nature of the mind during that time does not help. In fact it causes distraction, which is a great obstacle when trying to concentrate one-pointedly. Little clarity comes when you meditate on the nature of mind, or deity with a lot of pressure or effort. It might seem beneficial but actually it does not help because it does not last. Even if clarity comes for two or three seconds (snaps fingers), it then becomes a cause of being distracted. If the deity becomes clear while you are visualizing it, and you hold it very intensively, then, all of a sudden, it can disappear. After some time you'll discover that you have been thinking of something else. Using force to see the deity clearly has no lasting effect but instead distracts you, so too much effort becomes a great obstacle for the development of one-pointed concentration. Furthermore there is a danger that by meditating in this way, the person will sooner or later lose interest and become bored with concentrating. When he sees his meditation bed, he'll feel aversion, and like vomiting. Panchen Yeshe Gyaltsen says, It is like seeing Kopan food on the table, you react similarly to the meditation cushion: when you see it, you do not want to meditate. So, even when you meditate one-pointedly on the nature of the mind, that is not the way to meditate. The only way is to neither hold it unconsciously, nor sleeping. Stop thinking of anything, which means, stop your thoughts completely. When others explain meditating on the nature of the mind, do they say that there is no thought at all? Do you remember? Piere: Yes, they say Rinpoche: There is no thought at all, or there is the thought of virtue mind. Piere: No, no, no. That Rinpoche: No, no, no, no. And you? Piere: The nature of the mind is there naturally. You just have it. It is not something that you have to identify with, or something that you have to make up. Rinpoche: Hm, hm. Right. Piere: You should not try to make it clear. Rinpoche: It is clear, yes. Piere: gsal ba ma dag pa stong pa. Rinpche: Yes, right. So, but what, gsal ba, by what? Piere: Gsal ba. No, they would say also by mind, they say it is no form. Rinpoche: In the Jewel Ornament they say it has no form. Piere: No form, no shape, no colour. Rinpoche: Stong pa means no form then? Piere: No obstruction. Rinpoche: No form. Piere: No form, no obstruction. It is just in the nature of clarity. Rinpoche: Clarity by what? Clarity of what? Piere: Its nature is clarity. 4

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Pemo: Means what? Rinpoche: Of what? Piere: Clarity of what? Rinpoche: Water? Piere: Clarity of what? Pemo: Of what? Rinpoche laughs. Piere: What does it mean clarity of what? Rinpoche: It says clarity of something. It is clear of something. It is clear. Piere: It is void of something but not clear. Rinpoche: (laughs) Clear, because it is not stained by anything. Piere: Oh yes, it is pure. Rinpoche: Pure, not stained by the two obscurations. However, I think it is very interesting: The other sects describe the preliminaries to realise the emptiness of mind. In Sakyapa, the view is called gsal stong 'dzin med, stong pa is form, formless, empty of form. Gsal gsal, the nature of mind is completely clear. I think there is a definition neither obscured by sinking nor scattering thought. It is clear because it is not obscured by them. So the emptiness of form and clarity are not separate but are unified. gsal stong 'dzin med, there is nothing to hold, nothing to separate them, just clarity and emptiness: that is shunyata. His Holiness explains it like that. So, the essential way of accomplishing one-pointed concentration is to visualise the object of concentration, and then think, that the object of concentration is oneself clarified as a deity. Do not forget the object of concentration and to check whether the mind gets distracted or not. With these two, awareness and remembrance, one can accomplish one-pointed concentration on the object. The most important thing, the very root, is to focus one-pointedly on the object of concentration, and at the same time to have a strong memory of the deity that one is concentrating on. Without remembering that I am concentrating on the deity continually, even if you start to focus your mind on the object, your mind gets distracted without being aware of it. Then, after one hour, you realise what have I been doing? You dont notice, when your mind gets distracted. When you start meditating on a deity, the main mistake is to not remember constantly I am meditating on the deity. While the mind is focused on the deity, we should remember clearly that I am meditating on the deity. Remembering this continually helps to keep the awareness. If you strongly remember, I am meditating on the deity, then, when the mind starts getting distracted, there is an awareness (claps) that it is about to be distracted. Something comes into your mind, such as a beautiful cake or friend. Focus on that completely. If it is about to come, or it is already there, you are able to realise this immediately. As a result, you become aware, and recognise that the mind has been distracted from the meditation object. Then you bring it back to it, and you are able to stop the scattering thought.

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Lecture 2, 18.06.84 Yesterday I mentioned, Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsens advice on training the mind in onepointed concentration, meditating on shamatha, or tranquil abiding. Remembrance and awareness, those two are the very root of one-pointed concentration. To accomplish one-pointed concentration, you should focus the mind on the object of concentration and have an alert remembrance, which means being aware that I am meditating on this object. That is either on the nature of mind or the selfgeneration deity. So whenever your mind is about to be distracted, you are able to recognise that another object is about to appear. In the place of the meditation deity you see a pizza or something else. Pemo: Pizza? Rinpoche: Yes, pizza. This way you immediately know that is not what you are supposed to be meditating on. Even though the mind is completely distracted, and the object of the concentration is something different, you are able to recognise that the mind is distracted. So you can once again focus you mind, without the danger of spending several hours of thinking about something else. By thinking I am meditating you alert the remembrance that I am meditating on this object without any delay. This way you dont waste your time, and you get that done that you wanted to in that session. You are able to place the mind on the meditation object more and longer. Automatically awareness comes as a result of remembering that I am meditating on this object. Without that, without the root, the alert remembrance, it is difficult to notice, whether the mind is in danger of being distracted or not. Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen says, Without knowing the importance of how to keep the memory on the object of meditation, there is no method at all to raise awareness. To develop pure one-pointed concentration you need to develop the memory, and the practice of keeping the mind on the object of meditation. Developing onepointed concentration means continually remembering the object of meditation. This is also good to understand the meaning of awareness. While holding the object of meditation one-pointedly, one continually remembers the object of meditation, the self-generation deity, while a part of the mind examines whether ones mind is abiding on the object of meditation or not. This is done to identify whether interferences such as sinking or scattering thoughts are arising or not. If you stop practising awareness, you'll lose the memory of the object of meditation, and another completely new thought will arise. To examine and check the new thought, when it arises, is not the correct practice of awareness. This way you completely loose the connection to and the memory of the self-generation deity. Then, after some time, there is a break, and another analysing thought arises. The practice of awareness should be continually related to remembering the meditation object. If another new thought arises, then it is difficult for you to stop the memory, and after that the awareness follows yet another new thought.

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 For example, if, while meditating on the self-generation generation deity, a thought of a friend or some other thought arises, examining what the mind is meditating on, can lead to following that thought. If you practice awareness like that, then your mind can't help but to continue following the memory. It lacks the understanding of how to practice awareness related to the memory. If your awareness follows a new thought, it does not benefit the one-pointed concentration, but causes great harm. The skill is to hold the object of concentration, while a small part of the mind examines whether the mind is still abiding on the object of concentration or not, whether sinking or scattering thoughts are arising or not. To accomplish one-pointed concentration, especially at the beginning, the mind should hold the object while a small part of it examines it. Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen gives an example: "Two people are walking down the road. They are both watching each other out of the corner of their eyes to find out how the other one is behaving or acting." If one person is afraid of the other, then it might not be good to look straight at them with both eyes. While you are walking, you usually keep your eyes on the road. At the same time it easy to watch the other person out of the corner of your eye. While one has not stopped holding the memory of concentration one-pointedly, another part of the mind is watching it. This is called awareness. Remembrance and awareness are therefore different actions of thought. Again and again, a small part of the mind checks whether your memory is onepointedly abiding on the object or not. By practising awareness in this way, the memory and energy holding the object is developed. It is similar to the tummo meditations or even an outside fire. When it starts it is red, and then it starts turning black. As you blow into the fire continuously, the energy of the hotness and burning is developed. Then it can do fire work, such as cooking food or whatever it is supposed to do. If you stop blowing, the energy of the fire won't develop, and you can't accomplish what you wanted to do, such as cooking food. In a similar way, when practising awareness by examining the mind again and again, the energy of the memory and the way it holds the object of concentration gets more developed. Instead of fading away, it gets stronger. This way the mind is unable to be distracted from the object of concentration. When the mind is examining, even when it is about to be distracted from the object of meditation, you are able to recognise it immediately. The awareness increases with less and less effort, whether the object of meditation is the self-generation deity, the clear light nature of the mind, or whatever, you tether your mind to. From the beginning you should start the one-pointed concentration with very strong determination. "I will hold this object one-pointedly without distraction, and will not move my mind away from the object". Start like this. 7

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen also says, do not think about anything else than the object of meditation. Continue with the mind abiding on it and examine it frequently. This is the essential method for the beginners to accomplish one-pointed concentration. In short, the skill is to protect one-point concentration from the two main obstacles, sinking thought and attachment or scattering thought. When one places the mind one-pointedly on the object of meditation, one should examine it. If I hold the object of meditation too tightly, the mind is easily distracted, and attachment or scattering thoughts arise. If I hold the object of concentration too loosely, not intensely enough, then sinking thoughts arise. You should be able to recognise these patterns from your own experiences. First concentrate very intensively, and see how scattering thoughts arise. Then relax and loosen the intensive concentration on the object. Try keep the point where you think, according to your experience, that this looseness gives rise to sinking thoughts and fogginess. Using that experience, tighten your concentration a little, and go the middle way, thus balancing them. By keeping your concentration a little tighter than too loosely, and a little looser than too tightly, you can try to make the concentration last. By keeping the mind away both from the scattering thoughts, the attachment, and from sinking thoughts you can continue to concentrate one-pointedly. For example, if you drive your car too fast you are in danger of being stopped by the police. If you drive it too slowly, then you don't get to work on time, and you are in danger of losing your job. So you drive your car avoiding both extremes. Whenever you can concentrate longer on the object, such as for two, three or four seconds, the awareness has to watch out for the mistakes of sinking thoughts, as they are the danger of interference. The awareness has to notice whether sinking thoughts arise or not. Now for the opposite of the sinking thought: Make the object of concentration clear and make the mind hold it intensively. 'Clear' does not mean that the object is clear, and clarity alone is not sufficient to avoid the mistake of gross sinking and the subtle sinking thoughts. When you meditate on the self-generation deity, the 'gross sinking' thought makes the object foggy. It is not clear. After some time, when the concentration is more developed, you are able to experience the 'subtle sinking' thought. At first the object of meditation, the selfgeneration deity is very clear. However, it lacks energy, as the mind doesn't have energy to hold it intensively. Even though it is clear, the mind holds the object in a weak manner. That is called 'sinking thought'. One-pointed concentration is both clear, and it holds the clear object intensively. This way we can avoid both the gross and subtle sinking thoughts. 8

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Lecture 3, June 20th, 1984 Attachment and scattering thoughts can also be divided into gross and subtle. The gross one refers to completely forgetting and loosing the object of concentration. You can't see the meditation object, and without it being held with continuous remembrance the object of concentration is lost. There are six types of scattering thoughts on virtuous objects, and there are also scattering thoughts on that which is non-virtuous. There are also thoughts of Buddhas, mandalas, Three Jewels teachings, and thoughts of bodhicitta. While one is concentrating on the self-generation deity, then, like a nice cake, any of these virtuous or scattering thoughts can arise. Or they can arise on non-virtuous objects, for example, the mind can be distracted by an object of anger or an object of ignorance. These scattering thoughts are not g.pa, they are not scattering thoughts with attachment. Most of these interferences are scattering thoughts on the object of anger, and ignorance. But they are not the main ones. The main scattering thoughts which arises most of the time, and doesn't allow one-pointed concentration, is attachment, or scattering thought. So you can see, it depends on how strong your renunciation, and how relaxed your mind is. The whole thing depends on how strong the renunciation is of seeking happiness in this life. The less one clings to worldly concerns and this life, the less interference, and scattering thought there is. That person is able to achieve onepointed concentration, calm abiding, and shamatha more easily. I think the same applies to the Hindus who accomplish shamatha, and tranquil abiding meditation. When they see the shortcomings of the sense pleasures, and worldly desires, they develop aversion. When they even get bored with the higher realms, the world of form, that, they develop aversion. Then they even get bored with the inner pleasures of the Formless Realm, the "Infinite Sky", "Infinite Consciousness", "Nothingness", "the very point of samsara", the four levels of concentration, and finally the inner pleasure that is derived from the meditation: they even develop aversion to these. Then the desire for equanimity causes them to be born in the world of formless. Hindus basically do the same, and can achieve the shamatha. They are able to see the shortcomings of this life's sense pleasures and turn them into aversion, which stops scattering thoughts and attachment from arising. To avoid the mistake of sinking thoughts, which interferes with accomplishing the stainless, pure one-pointed concentration, one should see the object clearly and hold it intensively. By finding the clarity of the object, and knowing that attachment and 9

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 scattering thought is a mistake, one should try to keep the mind on the object of concentration. This stops the rising of the attachment / scattering thought which interferes with your accomplishing the stainless one-pointed concentration. However, when your mind is able to abide on the object of concentration, try to make it clear by holding it intensively. Then, when you find clarity, try to continue to let the mind abide on the object of concentration, and be careful not to let sinking thoughts interfere. When there is clarity, then by using remembrance and awareness, be careful not to allow the attachment / scattering thought interfere. By practising these two, the continuously abiding on the meditation object, and the intensively holding the object of meditation clearly, one is able to accomplish stainless one-pointed concentration. I ought to mention a few more details on the generation stage of of the path, that Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo explained. One can skilfully practise shamatha, and tranquil abiding on the Maha-anuttara tantra path. Every sadhana starts by taking refuge and generating bodhicitta. Then most sadhanas continue to absorb the refuge object into oneself, doing very short meditation on all the three kayas, generating oneself into the deity, and blessing the inner offering. Vajrasattva is then visualised to purify the interferences. This is followed by the merit field, then making offerings, the immeasurable practice to accumulate merit, and the seven limb practice. Some sadhanas do not follow what is in "Jor Ch", the Maha-anuttara tantra, exactly. After that, one meditates on the dharmakaya, which is like the evolution of the first emptiness. First of all this earth is empty, then it gradually starts by generating the place, and then the beings. The dharmakaya is related to the outer evolution of the world, which is then followed by the mandala, and the deity. The Cittamani Tara has no outside mandala but only the inner body mandala. This is followed by the invocation of the transcendental wisdom, making offerings and doing the recitation. The long sadhanas describe the process of generating oneself as the deity They go though each part of the holy body, the meaning of the implements and colours, and emphasise practising the yoga of the profound, non-dual clarity. The profundity is to remember the nature of dependent arising, that the holy body being visualised doesn't exist from its own side and that the existing form of the deity is empty. While one's mind is focusing on the clear appearance of the deity, we are aware at the same time, that it doesn't exist from its own side. While practising clear appearance and divine pride, there are not only the pure aggregates of the deity that one has visualised, but on that there is an 'I' existing from its own side. On this pure base, the deity's holy body, there is a truly existent and independent 'I'. Believing that is true, we could make the mistake to say: "This is a truly existent me". But it is not like that. 10

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Whatever our past life was, if we were a horse, the 'I' formed when the consciousness took it's place in the fertilized egg. The 'I' of the living being, which is called 'horse', is a label applied to the association of the consciousness and the fertilized egg of the horse. So now, where did the consciousness 'me' from? That horse's past life body was left, and the stream of that consciousness is now associated with this human fertilized egg, and human body, associated with this. The continuation of that previous 'I', which was a horse, is merely labelled. It exists by labelling the continuation of this consciousness associated with the fertilized egg of the human body. So the 'I' merely labels this group of elements. Before, the 'I' was labelled on the group of the consciousness and the horse's body. After we have left this physical body, then our consciousness migrates and takes on another body. Then that 'I', the person or living being exists by being labelled on that group of aggregates. This is the way the 'I' exists in reality. It is nothing more than a label on a group of aggregates. This is dependent arising. Similarly to this, you purify these impure aggregates in shunyata. Then, by meditating in the dharmakaya, you create your pure mind base, that then takes on the form of the sambhogakaya aspect, and finally the nirmanakaya aspect. When we talk about different lives, that 'I' changes each time. The consciousness is continuous and settles in the different bodies. So the 'I', the being, exists merely by being labelled on that. Dependent arising is similar to this. When we reincarnate in the six realms, the 'I' arises dependently, and exists merely by being labelled. The same applies to your your mind: First you actualise the pure base by meditating on dharmakaya, and then it manifests in the sambhogakaya aspect, then on that, the label 'I' arises: "I am Tara". "I am Heruka". This is dependent arising. Training the mind on the Maha-anuttara tantra path, the graduated paths of generation and of accomplishment, will completely stop the subtle dual view. The impure view of the five aggregates completely ceases and transforms them into the Five Dhyani Buddhas. By practising Maha-anuttarayoga tantra you develop the subtle mind and winds. The qualities or powers of the subtle body and mind completely cut off the subtle dual view. Then this subtle, completely pure wind, which is the vehicle of the subtle mind, becomes Guru Vajradhara's holy body. Similarly the completely pure subtle mind becomes Guru Vajradhara's holy mind, which appears as a pure form in the sambhogakaya aspect. When those two are inseparably unified, one has achieved Guru Vajradhara. With this inseparable union of the pure holy body, and subtle wind, the holy mind of Guru Vajradhara, one is able to guide others, in whichever aspect or method that subdues. By accomplishing the power of the subtle mind and body we eliminate the impure conception of true existence. The other sects also say that this is Buddha,and the subtle mind is the clear light, dharmakaya. However, you can't recognise the dharmakaya until the defilements have ceased. 11

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 After finishing the description of the deity with all the implements and significations, then, as it is said in the long versions of the sadhanas, one is supposed concentrate one-pointedly on the gradual path of generation and try to accomplish the gross or the subtle generation stage. When one gets bored of meditating singlepointedly on the self-generation deity, one does the recitation. Firstly, one meditates on the gross and gradual generation, and when that is completed, one practices the subtle graduated generation. By meditating on the gross generation, one tries to accomplish the clear appearance by analysing and by doing this one-pointedly on the object to accomplish the abiding. Then one practises divine pride. This meditation should be both clear and non-dual, remembering that the deity does not exist from its own side. If one has accomplished shine, tranquil abiding, without kye.rim, the graduated path of generation or tantra, one can accomplish it very easily. If one hasn't accomplished this tranquil-abiding before, one is actually trying to generate the path of the secret mantra. During the graduated path of generation, one was training the mind and should accomplish shine, tranquil abiding. So first you should accomplish tranquil abiding, and after this, by depending on the subtle graduated generation, one should accomplish the actual, perfect tranquil abiding. The ways to accomplish either by the similar one or the actual perfect one, only differ in the object of concentration, not in the method. The method is the same, as explained by Asanga, avoiding the five shortcomings and practising the remedy, the eight compounding methods. One achieves shamatha from this practice. The way of achieving shamatha should be taken from the lam rim commentaries, and then you should do the meditation with the graduated stages of generation. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo says: "When meditating on the yoga of the deity, most people just rely on recitation. Most of them just take refuge and only recite, without experimenting with the divine pride and the clear appearance, which is, however, the main thing to practise. Some people trying to complete the experience of the graduated path of generation, are satisfied with just following whatever is explained in the sadhana and are satisfied with that. But not knowing shamatha, not knowing the profound, the important points of the commentary of the lam rim teachings that need to be brought here, they miss the important points. Shunyata, lam rim or shamatha need to be applied here in the dag.kye, the practice of self-generation. Therefore people, who are able to accomplish the experience of the gross generation stage, are like stars in the daytime: very rare." Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo also says: "The way to meditate on tranquil abiding is explained in the commentaries of lam rim. Lama Tsongkhapa set up all the important points to accomplish concentration. That is explained in the teachings, written by the pandits, the 'uta', 'nyensa' and 'kuntu'. The "sgom rim" or gradual meditation has been translated into English. I think Geshe Sopa Rinpoche's student, who served him, 12

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 translated it. This sgom rim was written by Kamalashila, who defeated Hashan, the Chinese Han who came to Tibet to spread wrong views: 'du-lta nyen-sa kun-du'. The other two are probably by Asanga. The sgom rim is by Kamalashila is an incredible effective and clear teaching on shamatha and shunyata. Lama Tsongkhapa defined all the important points on how to accomplish one-pointed concentration in these basic scriptures. It shows how the lam rim can be practised. Lama Tsongkhapa explained the way of meditating on tranquil abiding in his commentary on the lam rim. That is very profound advice. If one practises shamatha according to Lama Tsongkhapa's lam rim teachings, then one is able to generate the concentration of shamatha as it is explained in the great scriptures of the Buddh, and taught by the pandits. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo says: "If one practises shamatha according Lama Tsongkhapa's lam rim, then the perfect realisation, the complete generation of shamatha comes very easily. It has many particular profound points, much higher than other teachings on shamatha. Therefore, if one wishes to accomplish pure onepointed concentration in sutra or tantra, then one should rely on Lama Tsongkhapa's lam rim teachings. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo also says: "If one feels pride or is satisfied with some small teachings or advice and feels they are profound, then, even if one tries to practise generating stainless concentration without a mistake for one's whole life, it is almost impossible. One's concentration will go the wrong way, as one has not understood Lama Tsongkhapa's explanation of shamatha meditation in lam rim. Even if someone tries to do shamatha for a whole lifetime who doesn't know this, it goes in the wrong direction. The concentration doesn't come and the person cannot accomplish perfect concentration without mistake. He can only accomplish mistaken concentration. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo gives a brief description of how to achieve shamatha relating to the graduated generation. Laziness is a shortcoming, that does not allow you to accomplish one-pointed concentration. As a remedy for that, one practises the eight compounded methods. This is integrates the hindrances by thinking about the qualities and benefits of one-pointed concentration. First you should generate devotion, and from that arises the wish to accomplish it. From perseverance the extremely refined bliss arises. This completely changes and stops the laziness. The very first time the beginners do not experience the extremely refined bliss, but even so, by faith, wishing and inspiration they can and should stop the laziness. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo said that it is extremely important to generate happiness by thinking about the qualities and the advantages of one-pointed concentration in many different ways as explained both in the great and the middle lam rim, as well as Lama Tsongkhapa's great commentary on lam rim. Lama Tsongkhapa explained that without accomplishing shamatha and lhag stong, the higher seeing, the penetrating insight, the Mahayana, and all the realisations of all the yanas, the Hinayana, Mahayana, the Prajnaparamitayana, Vajrayana, are stopped. There is no 13

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 way to achieve all the rest of the realisations without this. So when one enters in the concentration, forgetting the advice to stop the laziness, is a shortcoming. The remedy for that is to practise remembering the advice how not to forget the object or four general objects of concentration. The particular emphasis, which is more advantageous, in regard to the object of concentration, is focusing the mind on Buddha's holy body. By remembering the Buddha, as it is explained in mahamudra, the mind focuses on clear perception, the nature of the mind. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo says, "During the gradual path on generation, one should use the holy body of the deity. The self-generation should be the object of meditation. Starting from the top, one sees as oneself clarified as Tara. From the top of her crown down to the lotus and moon-disc, one should meditate analytically here is this, there is that. One should visualise each different aspect, from the tip of the hair and the crown to the lotus and moon disc, and back again from the lotus and moon disc to the crown. For beginners, it is very difficult to have a clear appearance of the whole aspect. However, by doing this back and forth several times, maybe half of the head, or the hand, feet, arms, and the general holy body will appear in the mind. At that time, one has found the object of concentration. One should not expect it to be any clearer, and be satisfied with that. Then one should hold the object of meditation very tightly with remembrance, focussing the mind and abiding on the object onepointedly, without coming under the control of the scattering thoughts / attachment, or sinking thoughts. Similarly, if it becomes more and more unclear, then try to make it clearer with the analytical meditation. Whatever appears after the analysing meditation, hold that one-pointedly. This is extremely important. When there is clear appearance after the analytical meditation, one tries to accomplish abiding. The sinking and the scattering thoughts arise while one is trying to accomplish clarity and abiding alternately. During the abiding sinking thoughts arise, when there is clarity, then there is the danger of attachment and scattering thoughts arising. These two are shortcomings, that must be renounced. Sinking thoughts and the attachment / scattering thoughts, can be cut off immediately by practising awareness, that is whenever the sinking thoughts and attachment / scattering thoughts arise. When one focuses the mind on the object there is both clarity and abiding. Without having the intensive energy of clearness, the mind will hold the object of concentration too loosely. When that happens, it is difficult for us to recognise this. Even if we have clarity for two seconds while abiding on the object of meditation, we can recognise the gross sinking thought. It is, however, quite difficult to recognise the subtle sinking thought at the beginning, as it comes from the development of the concentration, and particularly from the clarity. 14

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Sometimes you can visualise the Buddha very clearly, but your mind doesn't have the energy to hold it intensely. The subtle sinking thought arises when the object of concentration is held too loosely. To stop the subtle sinking thought, one doesn't need to stop the session or re-focus on the object. While focusing on the object of meditation, the mind just needs to hold the object of meditation a little tighter. If holding it a little tighter doesn't stop it, then it is a gross sinking thought. Instead of feeling discouraged and thinking, "I am hopeless, I can't do it", one should stop the concentration, generate happiness and think, "this time I have achieved a body qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. This is really meaningful. I can accomplish the three great purposes at any time, and as often as I like, within an hour, or a minute. Only now do I have this perfect human body, which is so difficult to find again". It is also important to remember the particular qualities of the object of refuge and the benefits of bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is the most powerful way to purify any negative karma, and it is also the quickest way to accumulate merit. The advantages of the one-pointed concentration are the extremely refined bliss and ecstasy and not just the peace of mind. By achieving this, one can quickly accomplish the remaining realisations of all the three yanas. Without this, nothing happens. It is like a tree without roots. By achieving shamatha, even tantric realisations come as easily as rainfall. Rinpoche: Do you feel that your eyes get exhausted? Many people say they feel pain in the eyes when they meditate. Piero: I generally feel pain in the eye, when I do this kind of meditation. My eyes start to itch. Lecture 4, June21st, 1984 Sinking thoughts When the mind is in a very low state, and you feel hopeless or discouraged, then sinking thoughts like "I am incapable", "I can't do anything", or something like that arise and distract the one-pointed meditation. With a sinking thought you can't see the object of meditation clearly, as the mind is foggy. That is called a gross sinking thought. Both body and mind get very exhausted in this meditation state. And even if you try to meditate, the mind remains dark and the object of meditation doesn't get clearer. This state is similar to sleep. The fogginess in the concentration is called rmug pa, and after three minutes it causes you to fall down. That is rmug pa, fogginess, and not bying ba, sinking thought, which is more subtle than rmug pa.


SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 When bying ba, sinking thoughts, arise, and you feel discouraged, incapable, or hopeless, then you should think: "Now I have received a precious human body, the highest possible, qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. With this I can receive the three great meanings. I have this precious human body qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses only once. With it I can achieve the three great purposes in any minute, at any time and as often as I wish. But this is only happening now, as it is so difficult to find a perfect human rebirth. One should also remember the particular qualities of the object of refuge. We can think of Buddha's qualities, or that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was in samsara as we are, with all the disturbing thoughts and an unbelievably uncontrolled mind. He was without one-pointed concentration, full of attachment, sinking and scattering thoughts and all sorts of interferences. Only by continuing the meditation and using the advice on how to achieve tranquil abiding, and by practising, and applying these methods, was he able to cut off attachment, sinking and scattering thoughts to achieve shamatha and penetrative insight. Then he generated all the rest of the path, became enlightened, and achieved an omniscient mind. Sometimes it might be difficult to relate ourselves to the Buddha, his qualities or particular ones of the dharma. One of the main inspirations are the qualities of the absolute sangha, as illustrated the life-stories of previous pandits and Tibetan yogis, such as Milarepa, Marpa and Lama Tsongkhapa. The way they practised dharma, tranquil abiding and penetrative insight, and finally achieved shamatha made them the recent lineage lamas of lam rim. Their life-stories show how each one attained the realisations of lam rim, shamatha and how, after that clairvoyance, so they were able to see things from a distance etc. This also applies to present day meditators, ascetic monks and lay persons who practise dharma purely, and are experimenting with shamatha and penetrative insight. I think that especially those living today, and who have accomplished these realisations, are very inspiring. Many meditators' holy minds have reached a very high level of tantra, or second stage realisations. You should remember these living yogis, their life-story, how they achieved these realisations and how they had to bear so much hardship in their practice. Their qualities are very inspiring. If you can recognise this, you can't justify not achieving this as well. The nature of your mind is unstained, and not mixed with obscurations, just as those of the meditators who accomplished shamatha, penetrative insight, and the different stages of tantric realisations is. Just as their minds were temporarily obscured, similarly, our minds are also temporarily obscured. However, with great, continual perseverance and a lot of patience, one is able to bear the hardships of practising dharma. Then, through understanding the skilful methods, and the correct, complete teachings of shamatha, one is able to put them into practice. Why shouldn't you be able do the same? There are no reasons why one cannot go the same way and do it. If you can't find something that they could, this is due to a lack 16

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 of merit, a shortage of good karma. Then you must first create that good karma. That is why it is important to create and accumulate as much merit as possible. With the seven limb practice, and other fundamental methods one is able to accumulate extensive merit in a short time and to purify the obscurations on the path to enlightenment. Accumulating merit means generating great compassion, loving kindness and bodhicitta for all sentient beings, by practising charity. It also requires making offerings to the Triple Gem, the object of refuge. The more powerful an object is, that one makes an offering to, the more merit one can accumulate. Furthermore one should rejoice, practise tonglen and do prostrations. Some have practised the Maha-anuttara yoga tantra with self-initiations, special meditations in tantra, the sadhanas, purifying sentient beings, and meditating on pure actions. The result of meditating yourself as a Buddha in your mind is similar to the way you act and guide the sentient beings when you become a Buddha. It is an unbelievably quick way to purify the obscurations, and to overcome even the heaviest negative karma, such as breaking the Maha-anuttara yoga tantra root vows. These skilful methods make it possible to accumulate extensive merit quickly. To purify the many obscurations one should sit as much as one can, make mandala offerings, and practise constantly, or whenever there is a chance, also while one is walking, eating, or even sleeping. If nothing happens or if many obstacles arise when you are doing a retreat, then it due to not having created enough merit. For many years a Bhutanese geshe from Drepung lived in retreat and lead an ascetic life. He achieved shamatha, then wrote and made offerings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Whenever Gelugpa lamas and meditators, and sometimes from other sects, have attainments, they inform His Holiness Dalai Lama. He in turn informed Gen Jampa Wangdu. I'm not sure whether everybody tells him about their tantric or lam rim attainments. Maybe it is like in the West when someone shares their extremely good experiences, such as waves, mountains, a city, or something, that caused great pleasure that other people haven't experienced. These are great things to talk about. I think Gen Jampa Wangdu already accomplished shamatha in Tibet, where he did a chu.len retreat in the Kadampa Geshes' caves. However, according to his explanations, it seems he experienced shamatha in Dalhousie, India. His Holiness is very interested in anyone who has experienced shamatha. It is very unusual if someone has achieved it, but has nothing to show. Perhaps His Holiness is so interested because he encourages people to experiment. If there were just a lot of studies, but nothing practised, then you couldn't show any achievements. Pemo: Did Gen Jampa Wangdu say he did not achieve shamatha when he was in Tibet? Rinpoche: Gen Jampa Wangdu said he experimented but did not clarify the results. Piero: He actually accomplished the nine rounds of shine. 17

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Rinpoche: Hm? Piero: Actually went through the nine rounds. Rinpoche: He didn't say "I have achieved shine or the nine rounds" or a definite statement like that. On the other hand it was dependent on the person with whom he was speaking. Some of the meditators talk about everything they have achieved. But he is very strict. Piero: Did Geshe Tobden achieve shine? Rinpoche: I think everybody is experimenting with shamatha. For Geshe Tobden and many meditators in Dharamsala, the main thing in the beginning was shamatha. Pemo: Did His Holiness find anyone who achieved shamatha? Rinpoche: When I go to Dharamsala, I don't hear much. When meditators go down to see His Holiness once a month or when there is a problem, sometimes they might speak about some attainment. For instance, Geshe Thubten lived in Australia: I heard he went to His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, where he offered the realisation of impermanence, death and Guru devotion that he had achieved. HH Trijang Rinpoche told us about it many years ago. Then His Holiness told Gen Jampa Wangdu to make offerings to HH Trijang Rinpoche. Others, who have a deeper connection to HH Dalai Lama go to him. Piero: Did Geshe Thubten have realisations of guru devotion, death and impermanence. Rinpoche: (laughs) Why do you think that? Piero: Well, if he says so, it must be the case. Rinpoche: (laughs) Geshe Thubten is very good, and always speaks about his own mistakes. It shows he is a great practitioner. It was the same with Geshe Rabten Rinpoche. Whenever something went wrong he would say, "Oh, I made a mistake". Talking about his own mistakes is a sign of a great thought-training practitioner. In Dharamsala, Geshe Thubten was very much like that, so people thought he was a bit strange, when he talked about his mistakes. As he was able to compete with his self-cherishing thoughts, he was not afraid to speak about his own mistakes. When Gen Jampa Wangdu wore good clothes, the other meditators would say, "You shouldn't wear that. An ascetic should wear simple clothes." I think people accept, whatever they complain about. Ascetics are supposed to dress poorly, so everyone can say "He's ascetic monk". However, this worldly concern that people expect, is actually not good for dharma practice. For inner wisdom to develop, it's not good to pay attention to the meditator's worldly concerns, or to believe that he is holy. On the other hand, the meditators were worried about being criticised for wearing nice clothes: "Oh now he looks so good, and dresses so well. That might not beneficial for a monk. Actually, thinking that he is not holy, might be beneficial for his practice, because if people think: "Oh, he is so holy, and blah, blah, blah, and make a lot of offerings, it doesn't help his practice. 18

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 After the chu.len advice I asked Geshe Jampa Wangdu, to give some essential advice on lam rim, for instance how to develop lam rim realisations and to eliminate obstacles quickly. Gen Jampa Wangdu answered that he was against self-cherishing thoughts. "If I wear very good clothing, people don't like that. They think I am wealthy, and have lots of everything. For this reason people would not come, and if the did, they wouldn't bring many offerings. A Tsangpa, Geshe Tobgay, who used to live with Geshe Thubten, reacted similarly. As long as he lived in the mountains, everybody respected him: "Oh, he is such an ascetic...". At the beginning of the course they had to live up there, but later Geshe Tobgay moved to McLeod Ganj and worked for others. He delivered parcels and messages to people in Dharamsala. Because of this people thought that he was not meditating, the Tibetans believed: "He is no longer living up there." They say this is "not so good", and don't recognize him as a meditator. As people left him in peace, it was helpful for his practice that he choose to move. Gen Jampa Wangdu told me that HH Dalai Lama sent Gen Rabten Rinpoche to Dalhousie to check if anyone had achieved or was experimenting with shamatha. At that time the Kangyur Lama passed away. He was Gen Jampa Wangdu's guru and the leader of all the ascetic monks. Geshe Nyima Rinpoche was there. When he took the blankets out at night-time, he saw a small white light, sparkling on the tip of the lama's nose and there were many other signs, that indicated the level of his tantric realisations. When Gen Nyima saw these signs even though his guru was sitting in meditation, he was overcome with unbelievable devotion. Geshe Nyima told the other meditators: "I didn't have that much faith before, but after seeing a white light sparkling on his nose and many other signs of maha-anuttara bliss and voidness, when my guru was dieing, I recognised his great attainment. His Holiness mentioned that this lama had achieved the clear light of the tantric path, the second stage of clear light. Piero: He was going in and out of the mountain and in Lhasa... Rinpoche: Yes, that's right. He and another disciple, Serkong Dorje Chang, passed their Geshe Lharampa exams at the same time with HH Trijang Rinpoche at the great Mnlam festival. Afterwards D. Rinpoche left with Geshe Rabgye, who achieved shamatha just before Gen Jampa Wangdu did. A lama was born, very high up in the mountains, in Pembo Minrol Tsering, where it was always foggy. D. Rinpoche found a cave there with Geshe Rabten. He always carried a copy of the lam rim chen mo, a mandala and ch.gu. One day somebody was throwing stones. Following the path of the stones, he came to a cave with a skeleton sitting in it. He sat down and offered a mandala to the skeleton. After Lama D. Rinpoche offered a mandala, the skeleton sitting there collapsed. Then he decided it was the right place to do his meditation.


SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Each meditator did his own practice, and experimented with their path. Sometimes they met and discussed their practice, their mistakes, and whatever was important. Geshe Rabten came to check as His Holiness wanted identify as many as possible of those who have achieved this experience. For instance, His Holiness sent Geshe Rabten Rinpoche to Dalhousie to check the monks and meditators, and also to encourage people to practise shamatha. Geshe Rabten went there and was impressed by the way Gen Jampa Wangdu spoke about a dream he had, when he started shamatha. He dreamt that he was riding a horse, and it fell down. Gen Jampa Wangdu said that in the beginning he had interpreted it as being unsuccessful in shamatha. I thought it was a good sign, because riding on a horse and falling down, could mean the end of intensive, attachment, scattering thought. And Gen Jampa Wangdu used to say: "If you don't achieve shamatha, then everything you call meditating is not really meditation". He admired the extremely refined bliss, the greatest ecstasy, and used to say: "In the West you have the best football games, but when you come to the East it is different. Here you experience the generation of extremely refined great bliss, that is both incredible, and incomparable to other pleasures. One meditator came from the army. He had children, and a family. When his wife died, he moved to Dharamsala. He hadn't studied philosophy. He took lam rim teachings from Geshe Nyima, the previous abbot of Namgyal Dratsang, and HH Dalai Lama ... but very few. Within three years, he had generated renunciation of samsara, bodhicitta and shunyata. Then he experimented with the tantra path, Naropa's Six Yogas. He offered of his tantric attainments to HH Dalai Lama. Piero: Was this recent? Rinpoche: Yes, quite recent, just a few years ago. Piero: Did he become a monk? Rinpoche: He became a monk and was very skinny. He also took lam rim teachings from HH Ling Rinpoche and the four commentaries from HH the Dalai Lama. You could see that he was serious, straight forward and very different from all the others. He thought of nothing else except Dharma and practising. I think there are many meditators who didn't study much in this life but who have very strong impressions from past lives. When they put in a little bit of effort, do some purification, and meditate, then just the realisations just come. His Holiness said that one Nyingma-pa meditator, even remembered Milarepa's lifetime. Pemo: What did he remember? Rinpoche: I'm not sure. Maybe he was a disciple but he his memories came back. His Holiness said one day he felt an unbelievably great devotion to his guru, and at that time, he remembered. When the unbelievable devotion came, all the other gross thoughts stopped, and his mind became very very refined, extremely clear, and peaceful, like very fine calm water. Then he remembered the impression on his subtle mind. 20

SKYED RIM TEACHING Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Kopan Monastery, 1984 Main thing has to do with devotion. The other gross thoughts block you from seeing things. The life stories we read in lam rim and those of the present meditators, who have achieved shamatha, show that the quality of the sangha is very high. In The Lines of Experience Lama Tsongkhapa points out: "If you let the mind go, then it naturally goes to all the virtuous objects". After achieving shamatha, it is so incredibly easy for the mind to be virtuous continuously, as the non-virtuous and disturbing thoughts cease to rise. By remembering the qualities of meditation and one-pointed concentration the sinking thoughts are cut off. Padampa Sangye's advice is: Mix the wind and the mind with the sky. To do this you first visualise the channels inside your body, and then the wind. The consciousness is like a pea inside the cental tube. As with powa or chd, you shoot it up the central channel from the navel through the crown into the sky, like shooting an arrow up into the sky, and then being one with the sky. Stay there for some time. This is helpful for the clarity of mind. Visualise the consciousness as a white, sparkling light, the size of a pea, and then with word PHAT, you shoot it up into the sky. He suggests to practise visualising a sparkling light the size of a sesame seed on the tip of the nose. The same form of light can be applied to stop attachment and scattering thoughts, but you visualise it lower, at the navel. To stop sinking thoughts his advice is to visualise it higher. As explained in the commentary, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo concentrated on a small white light or a small Tara on the tip of the nose. However, by placing your mind on the object of meditation the sinking thoughts are cut off. If the mixing of the consciousness with the sky doesn't stop the sinking thoughts it means that they are extremely gross. Then it is advisable to stop the session for a while, and to go outside. If you walk around to refresh yourself, all the heavy, sinking thoughts will go away. Then you can continue the session. It is very good for the mind to practise shamatha on a very high mountain, for example Namo Buddha Kagyu-pa monastery or Lawudo, where you have so much incredible space. Also look at the very clear light or some bright things, at the distant, high mountains or look at something bright inside. From here one should look at the top of those far mountains. It is said that this will cut off the sinking thoughts, and when they are cut off, then you can do the session. There are about twelve different methods to stop sinking and scattering thoughts, and to accomplish shamatha without interference.