Sogyal Rinpoche: The Nature of Mind

December 14th, 2015

H.E. Sogyal Rinpoche, a wonderful, self-effacing teacher held the packed Shrine Hall of Sakya Monastery with effortless grace and humor. A masterful storyteller, he kept the crowd enthralled for a couple of hours. He met H.E. Dagmo Kusho when he was five years old so the seed of connection with the Sakya family was planted early.  He was trained by H.E. Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (JKCL) and several masters. He humbly stated “I am neither learned nor realized” and “I am fortunate to have experienced compassion from many masters”. Of course, he proved the first quote to be an understatement and the second was evinced by his immense gratitude to his teachers.

As he warmed to the subject of his talk, Sogyal Rinpoche entertained and instructed us with his pithy aphorisms:
•    “Keep the elephant at home, look for footprints in the forest”
•    “Don’t talk, show me your presence, show me your eyes”
•    “Samasara is mind lost in stories and projections, Nirvana is the mind turned inwards”
•    “Body still, breath silent, spacious mind”
•    “Hang loose but stay present”
•    “Not outwardly looking, but inwardly seeking”
•    “Retreat, somewhere between kindergarten and a mental hospital”
•    My favorite, “Our eyes are turned in the wrong direction (meaning they look outwardly, not to the inside)”

He quoted H.E. JKCL several times throughout the evening, most importantly about meditation “Leave the mind unaltered”, a pure Dzogchen concept. After relating this quote to us he repeated the two following phrases three times each as the key to meditation:
•    “Do not alter”
•    “Do not grasp”

Sogyal Rinpoche was so gracious to his audience, during his talk, he noticed that people getting uncomfortable and asked people to stand up and stretch. He ended the evening by telling us straight out that to understand the Nature of Mind, the “secret is in the turning”. He quoted H.E. JKCL again, “Don’t be distracted, look into the nature of the mind”. We left the Shrine Hall “not outwardly looking but inwardly seeing”.