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Maya Yoga

- Finding Comfort and Ease in Enchantment -

A Book of Dzogchen Precepts

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Second Edition, 110 pages, August 2014
Dzogchen Now! Books
ISBN-10 1500741264
ISBN-13 978-1500741266

Maya Yoga

Lonchenpa's Finding Comfort and Ease in Enchantment

A Book of Dzogchen Precepts

A Radical Dzogchen Translation by Keith Dowman.

Maya Yoga is the title of the translation of "Finding Comfort and Ease in Enchantment" written by the inimitable Longchen Rabjampa. In the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism, this text is considered second to none in its power to evoke the nature of the nondual reality of the Dzogchen view.

With poetic mastery, Longchenpa provides the precepts that can instantly illuminate the buddha-reality that is our ordinary everyday experience. He asserts that we are presently under the spell of magical illusion and that by recognizing it we are instantaneously released from a conceptual cage into an enchanting reality which is pure pleasure itself. That reality is maya, apparent yet absent, and the recognition of it in that state of natural relaxation is maya yoga.

In this renowned atiyoga manual, we find the key to the natural mystical state that Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, constantly evokes.


Contents of Maya Yoga

[Click on Highlighted Chapter Heading for Excerpt]

  • Dedication to Dr Herbert Guenther
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Finding Comfort and Ease in Enchantment
    • Dream: The First Analogy
    • Magic Show: The Second Analogy
    • Optical Illusion: The Third Analogy
    • Mirage: The Fourth Analogy
    • Reflection of the Moon in Water: The Fifth Analogy
    • Echo: The Sixth Analogy
    • The City of the Gandharvas: The Seventh Analogy
    • Apparition: The Eighth Analogy
  • Appendix I: Analogies for the 21st century
  • Appendix II: Cave Culture
  • Selected Glossary of Dzogchen Terms
  • Selected Bibliography

Book Excerpts

Reflection of the Moon in Water: The Fifth Analogy

The buddhas in their wisdom have said
all experience is like the reflection of the moon in water
and here I explain it so you may realize it directly.

In the deep, pellucid lake of mind’s nature
lie bright images of spontaneity, timelessly arisen;
but the rough polluting waves of dualistic perception
roils the clarity already churned by a storm of concepts.

That worldly confusion springs from belief in an ego, a self,
and primal awareness now opaque, dull and emotional,
sinks into beginningless and endless samsara.

Just as the stars’ reflection in a pellucid pool of water
shines steadily, absent yet apparent,
so delusory images appear in the still mirror of mind,
and those evanescent images worry us.

Nothing solid, nothing to grasp,
no specific marks, nothing to identify,
neither existent nor nonexistent, beyond real and unreal—
that is what the buddhas intend by ‘reflection’.

Colour and form, all sensory perception,
therefore, are like the reflection of the moon in water:
because there is appearance without existence,
because nothing permanent can be found,
because its features, uncongealing, uncrystallizing,
uncompounded, remain but a film of light-form,
the constructs of the eye, the visual faculty and cognition,
suffused by emptiness, are but hollow fictions,
reflections of the moon in water.

We see all things as devoid of truth,
like a ghost, like a banana palm, without a core.

The mind, uncircumscribed, uncontaminated,
uncontrived like the reflection of the moon in water,
simple, empty light-form, unstructured,
we now know as profoundly peaceful, thought-free,
utterly inexpressible primal awareness,
unmoving from the space of its own clarity.

Insofar as the moon appearing in water is not the moon,
so multiplicity as it occurs cannot be substantiated;
free of conceptually imputed divisions of time,
beyond any conceptual elaboration, let it be, just let it be.

Since pure mind has no purpose whatsoever,
we envision it without outside or inside, beyond thought;
since reality surpasses all invidious, partial distinctions,
we give up the struggle for spiritual capital and status.

Unthought, always a multiplicity, as primordial space,
everything that appears, however it appears,
all things are like the reflection of the moon in water;
not true, not false, samsara and nirvana the same,
let the mind relax into the space of reality just as it is.

The apparent world and all our lives, samsara and nirvana,
are our pictured forms of emptiness, like the moon in water;
nothing in origin, nothing in their advent, nothing in the moment,
duplicitously imputed by the intellect as true or false, real or unreal,
why should we cling to opinions and preferences?

So long as the intellect compulsively assumes an ego, or Self,
there is no possibility of release from samsara;
yet beyond belief, naturally settled, in genuine ease,
transparent, transcendent, free in itself and wide open,
the mind egoless, why try to change anything?

When every situation is devoid of ego and substance
like the reflection of the moon in water,
and the intellect free of compulsive activity
and free of habitual presumption about reality,
since in perceptual nonduality mind and its object are one,
this is the space of unmediated, involuntary, Dzogchen.

With a receptivity that takes every occurrence as friendly,
knowing the spontaneity of the cool, nondiscriminating, bliss,
now we are left without anywhere at all to go
and we stay in this pure mind in the primordial ground.

With such realization, abiding in such space,
unerringly, we familiarize ourselves with all experience
as the reflection of the moon in water.
The fortunate person should faithfully recognize
that whatever occurs is a floating, shimmering, mythic reality.

The Meditation
As before, in preparation, aspire to see every moment
as the reflection of the moon in water.
The main praxis is to settle in cognitive sameness,
allowing the mind to perceive what arises
as the reflection of the moon in water.

At night-time, as before, but focus
on the mystical experience of reality
as the reflection of the moon in water;
abiding in unitary space without any clinging
we seize the citadel of the sovereign nature of mind.

Now gazing at whatever appears, free of attachment,
there arises a radiant brightness, the clear light,
that is like the reflection of the moon in water.
Let the supremely fortunate become familiar with that!

Hologram: The Tenth Analogy

The buddhas in their wisdom will say
that all our experience is like a hologram.
Again listen to the elucidation of that truth.

Just as a hologram is visible but insubstantial
so magical illusion is absent yet apparent;
all our experience is insubstantial delusion,
the maya of false concepts like a hologram,
even immaculate maya like a hologram.

Just as each part contains an image of the whole,
just as a single particle of it contains the entire light-form,
so by knowing a part we know the whole—
we know the universe in a grain of sand.

Like electrons communicating regardless of proximity,
the nature of mind is all-embracing,
each experience an unbounded whole,
space-time as the ground in which it arises.

When its bricks and mortar are empty unitary fields,
space-time is groundless, lacking root or core;
like phantasm, all apparition, like a hologram,
every experience a unitary light-form of mind and its field.

Samsara is an interference pattern, a meaningless jumble,
until illumined by the laser-like light of the mind;
then all our samsaras are nirvana, patterns of light,
like a hologram, awareness of clarity and emptiness.

When the hologram is divided its parts are identical.
Like the hologram that is indivisible into discrete parts
so each of the parts of our experience is a whole—
here and now only this unitary light of the mind.

If the particles of a hologram are identical to all others
instant timeless connectivity ensues;
three-dimensional space is a prefabricated illusion
and there are no divisions of time in the here and now

The Meditation
To prepare, as before, we aspire to see all things as a hologram
and the main practice is to gain familiarity with that insight.

First visualise oneself as a hologram,
then include the immediate environment in that hologram
and increase the scope to include the whole world
and finally the entire cosmos with its stars and galaxies.

Experience all the events of the waking state as holograms,
all form as shimmering, scintillating light-form,
abiding where inner and outer, present and absent, are one,
where mind and its transparent creations are only one.

As in the day so at night: fix the mind in the heart centre
and sleep in the space where dream is like a hologram,
and lucid dream, and so on, as before, will certainly arise.

Even visions and great insights are like holograms.
The eye of insight, psychic powers, samadhis
and perfectly responsive spontaneity are achieved,
and living as buddha we become lamps to all living beings.
Familiarise yourselves with all situations as a hologram!

We think of the key, each in his prison
thinking of the key, each confirms a prison.

T.S Eliot, The Waste Land

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S.Eliot, Little Gidding

Sarva Mangalam!
May all beings be happy!