Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and
openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing
everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that
one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself.

This produces a tremendous energy which usually is locked up in the
process of mental evasion and a general running away from life

Clarity of awareness may, in its initial stages, be unpleasant or
fear-inspiring; if so, then one should open oneself completely to the
pain or the fear and welcome it. In this way the barriers created by
one's own habitual emotional reactions and prejudices are broken down.

When performing the meditation practice one should develop the feeling
of opening oneself completely to the whole universe with absolute
simplicity and nakedness of mind, ridding oneself of all protecting

Don't mentally split into two when meditating, one part of the mind
watching the other like a cat watching a mouse.

One should realize that one does not meditate to go deeply within
oneself and withdraw into the world. In buddhist yoga, even when
meditating on chakras there is no introspection concentration:
complete openness of mind is the essential point.

The ground of samsara and nirvana is the alaya, the beginning and the
end of confusion and realization, the nature of universal shunyata and
of all apparent phenomena. It is even more fundamental than the trikaya
and is free from bias toward enlightenment. It is sometimes called the
"pure" or "original" mind.

Although prajna (wisdom) see in it no basis for such concepts as
different aspects, the fundamental aspects of complete openness, natural
perfection, and absolute spontaneity are distinguished by
upaya (skillful means) as useful devices.

All aspects of every phenomenon are completely clear and lucid. The
whole universe is open and unobstructed, everything mutually
interpenetrating. Seeing all things nakedly, clear and free from
obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of
things naturally appears and is naturally present in time-transcending
awareness; this is complete openness.

Everything is perfect just as it is, completely pure and undefiled. All
phenomena naturally appear in their uniquely correct modes and
situations, forming ever-changing patterns full of meaning and
significance, like participants in a great dance. Everything is a
symbol, yet there is no difference between the symbol and the truth
symbolized. With no effort of practice whatsoever, liberation,
enlightenment, and buddhahood are already fully developed and perfected.
This is natural perfection.

The everyday practice is just ordinary is life itself. Since the
underdeveloped state does not exist there is no need to behave in any
special way or try to attain or practice anything.

There should be no need of striving to reach some exalted goal or higher
state; this simply produces
something conditional or artificial that will act as an obstruction to
the free flow of the mind. One
should never think of oneself as "sinful" or worthless, but as naturally
pure and perfect, lacking

When performing meditation practice one should think of it as just a
natural function of everyday living, like eating or breathing, not as a
special, formal event to be undertaken with great seriousness
and solemnity. One must realize that to meditate is to pass beyond
effort, beyond practice, beyond aims and goals, and beyond the dualism
of bondage and liberation.

Meditation is always perfect, so there is no need to correct anything.
Since Everything that arises is simply the play of the mind, there are
no "bad" meditation session and no need to judge thoughts as good or
evil. Therefore one should not sit down to meditate with various hopes
or fears about the outcome: one just does it with no self-conscious
feeling of "I am meditating" and without attempting to control or force
the mind, and without trying to become peaceful.

If one finds that one is going astray in any of these ways, one should
stop meditating and simply rest and relax for awhile before resuming.

If, either during or after meditation,one has experiences that one
interprets as results, they should not be made into anything special;
recognize that they are just phenomena and simply observe them. Above
all, do not attempt to recreate them as this opposes the natural
spontaneity of the mind.

All phenomena are completely new and fresh and absolutely unique,
entirely free from all concepts of past, present, and future- as if
experienced in another dimension of time; this is absolute

The continual stream of new discovery and fresh revelation and
inspiration that arises at every moment is the manifestation of the
eternal youth of the living dharma and its wonders; splendor and
spontaneity is the play or dance aspect of the universe as guru.

One should learn to see everyday life as a mandala in which one is at
the center, and be free of the bias and prejudice of past conditioning,
present desires, and hopes and expectations about the future.

The figures of the mandala are the day-to-day objects of one's life
experiences moving in the great dance of the play of the universe, the
symbolism by which the guru reveals profound and ultimate meaning and
significance. Therefore, be natural and spontaneous; accept and learn
from everything.

See the comical, amusing side of initiating situations. In meditation,
see through the illusion of past, present, and future. The past is but a
present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and
the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.

One should put an end to conceptions about meditation and free oneself
from memories of the past. Each moment of meditation is completely
unique and full of potentiality of new discovery so one is incapable of
judging meditation by past experience or by theory.

Simply plunge straight into meditation at this very moment with your
whole mind, and be free from hesitation, boredom, or excitement.

When meditating it is traditional and best, if possible, to sit
cross-legged with the back erect but not rigid. However, it is most
important to feel comfortable, so it is better to sit in a chair if
sitting cross-legged is painful.

One's mental attitude should be inspired by the three fundamental
aspects, whether the meditation is with or without form, and it may
often prove desirable, if not essential, to precede a period of formless
meditation by a period of meditation with form.

To provide for this eventuality many classes of preliminary meditation
practices have been developed over centuries of buddhist practice, the
most important being meditations on breathing, mantra recitation, and
visualization techniques.

To engage in the second and third of these classes, personal instruction
from one's guru is required, but a few words on the first would not be
out of place here as the method used varies little from person to

First, let the mind follow the movement of the breath, in and out, until
it becomes calm and tranquil. Then increasingly rest the mind on the
breath until one's whole being seems identified with it.

Finally become aware of the breath leaving the body and going out into
space, and gradually transfer the attention from the breath to the
sensation of spaciousness and expansion.

By letting this final sensation merge into complete openness, one moves
into the sphere of formless meditation.

In all probability the above description of the three fundamental
aspects will seem vague and inadequate. This is inevitable since they
attempt to describe what is not only beyond words but beyond thought as
well. They invite practice of what it is, essentially, a state of being.

The words are simply a form a upaya, skillful means, a hint which if
acted upon, will enable one's innate wisdom and naturally perfect action
to arise spontaneously.

Sometimes in meditation one may experience a gap in one's normal
consciousness, a sudden and complete openness. This experience arises
only when one has ceased to think in terms of meditation and the object
of meditation. It is a glimpse of reality, a sudden flash that occurs
infrequently at first, and then, with continued practice, more and more
frequently. It may not be a particularly shattering or explosive
experience at all, just a moment of great simplicity.

Do not make the mistake of deliberately trying to force these
experiences to recur, for to do so is to betray the naturalness and
spontaneity of reality.