The Role Of Meditation In
The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
the transcript of "Tranquility And Insight Meditation" (Texas
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Buddhism is a pure science
of the mind, working with our mental development, and also a pure
philosophy of humanity. It is also the science of insight. Its
purpose is to serve as a method for removing the confusion which
obscures our mind, and thereby illuminating, expanding or bringing
out the unconfused wisdom which is present in our minds.
The Buddhadharma is fundamentally as pure and free as
water. Water has no shape or color--it depends on the
container it is put into. Yet the nature of the container
(whether of iron or of gold) does not change the nature of the
Similarly, the Buddhadharma has no color or
shape. It is not what we conceptualize it to be. We see
from the history of Buddhism how it has traveled from India
throughout the east, and adopted different shapes and colors, but it
still has the same pure essence.
It is only possible to get a complete taste of this
water by meditating and contemplating what we have heard.
Hearing, meditating and contemplating are the three prajnas, and all
three are necessary. Studying is important because without
prajna, knowledge of our practice is not clear. It is like
walking without eyes--we may reach our destination, or we may
not. Our path is foggy without prajna eyes. We must see
the path clearly--where and how we are walking.
Without the other two aspects, we have clear eyes but
no feet. We can see the path and destination, but we can't go
there. First one must learn, then reflect thoroughly. We
must internalize and overcome the conceptual mind. We may have
some experience but no realization. It is like chocolate chip
cookies. Learning about the dharma is like having a recipe for
chocolate chip cookies. Contemplating the dharma is like
smelling the odor of the cookies baking. But we still need to
take them out and eat them--this is meditation.
Therefore, all three stages are necessary to achieve
enlightenment. We cannot lack even one. As Gampopa said,
"To combine hearing, contemplating and meditation is the
unmistakable implementation of the dharma."
In general it can be said that the root and basis of
all Buddhist meditation is the practice of tranquillity.
As I mentioned, the explanation of tranquillity is to be found in
the eighth section of The Treasury of Knowledge, which is an
examination of the training in excellent meditative
absorption. We talked briefly about the three stages of
practice: hearing, reflection and meditation. Among these the
practice of tranquillity is the beginning of the third step, the
practice of meditation. The tremendous importance of
meditation practice is explained in this book by Jamgon Lodro Thaye
using the following example or metaphor. If one were a farmer
and had an excellent field, planted it with the proper seeds, and it
had the conditions necessary for their growth into crops, and the
crops ripened into their result, still that would not be sufficient;
that would not satisfy one's hunger. One still has to go
through the process of harvesting the crop, and then using it as
food. In the same way, even though one understands the dharma,
it is not enough. There has to be the actual implementation of
that understanding in practice.
Meditation is so important for that reason.
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