Free Your Mind – Exploring The Matrix

Compiled by Jyrki Papinniemi

Morpheus: "What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad."

The Matrix is, probably, the most Buddhist film ever made so far. Almost too good to be true... It deals with many essential topics connected with discovering the full potential of mind, speech and body — our true nature. 

Rather than being an analysis of the story itself, this website discusses some Buddhist elements in The Matrix. You can have a look at some selected quotes from the film together with some quotes by Vajrayana Buddhist masters. The synopsis of each section has been filtered by my limited understanding from various teachings of Lama Ole Nydahl and other Vajrayana masters.

Please do not take this too seriously! This page has been made purely for your entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!


Last Update: 15.08.2003 14:45


It's Up to Your Readiness

The Secret Transmission

The Conditioned Existence


Showing the Way

A Critical Analysis of the Situation

The Precious Human Life



The Direct Experience

Being an Example to Others

Taking It into Heart

Beyond All Concepts

Skillful Use of Concepts

Free from Extremes


Unborn, Uncreated

The World as a Dream

Your Mind Makes It Real

No Mind Can Be Found

Mind's Limitless Potential

The Mind-Body

The Totality

There Is No Separation

Dissolving Stiff Ideas

Manipulating the Illusion

Just Let Go

Beyond Intellect

Spontaneity and Effortlessness

The Diamond Way

Beyond Restrictions

Powerfully Protective Activity

It's Up to Your Readiness

It is up to you whether you are able to benefit from the beyond-dualistic teachings of the Diamond Way or not. You must have some intuitive trust in space and its perfect and limitless qualities. Furthermore, you must find a teacher you feel you can trust, and you have to be ready to open up to the transmission.

Morpheus: I don't know if you are ready to see what I want to show you.

Lama Ole Nydahl: One's readiness to not block out painful teachings concerning one's own situation, such as those of cause and effect, means that doubts will fall away in droves. From this point on, life only becomes more meaningful. [---]
   One needs neither to die to inhabit a pure land nor to go somewhere else to meet Buddhas; perfecting one's view is enough. What one needs is a readiness to see ever more clearly what really is supported by the intelligent determination to remove the veils of disturbing feelings and ignorance from mind. Soon the realization dawns that everything has ultimate meaning simply because it happens or doesn't happen and that every thought is wisdom simply because it can appear. With the deepest of thankfulness, one realizes that every particle vibrates with happiness and is kept together by love. 
— The Great SealBack to the top of the page

The Secret Transmission

Especially higher practices are self-secret and only become relevant when their foundation has been accomplished in this or an earlier life.

Oracle: You've got the gift but it looks like you are waiting for something.
Neo: What?
Oracle: Your next life maybe, who knows? That's the way these things go.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Higher practices are [...] self-secret and only become relevant when their foundation has been accomplished in this or an earlier life.
— The Way Things Are

Back to the top of the page

The Conditioned Existence

Due to the mind's ignorance of its true nature, all sentient beings are caught in the conditioned existence. 

Morpheus: It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes, to blind you from the truth.
What truth? 
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell, or taste, or touch... a prison for your mind. 

Agent Smith: I must get free, and in this mind is the key, my key.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Conditioned existence or confusion arises because unenlightened mind works like an eye; it sees only the outer world and not itself. As the experiencer does not recognize itself behind the experiences, one then has no center, charges after one’s passing impressions, assumes subjective experience to be real, and in the end suffers because everything is impermanent. It produces life's vast cattle market where everyone is searching for something but nobody is ultimately satisfied. Birth, old age, sickness, loss, and death are the most classic concerns of humans; but they also try to get what they want, avoid what they do not like, hold onto what they have and make do with whatever they cannot avoid. [---]
   The tricky point with disturbing emotions is that for a long time one considers their transient plays to be real and acts upon them. This is the case right up until liberation. If not purified, the unwholesome seeds they sow in body, speech, and mind will later bring about outer and inner difficulties. When they do appear — and they will if not removed by meditation or other conscious means — one will not recognize their unreal nature. Once again one will act from a state of delusion. One will harm others or oneself through clumsy words and actions and will lack the power to break out of the conditioned cycle.
— The Great Seal

The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
Self-manifestation, which has never existed as such, is erroneously seen as an object. Through ignorance, self-awareness is mistakenly experienced as an I. Through attachment to this duality we are caught in the conditioned world. May the root of confusion be found.
The nature of beings is always Buddha. Yet, not realizing this, they wander in the endless cycle of conditioned existence. May the limitless pain of all beings awaken an overwhelming compassion in our minds.
— Great Seal Wishes

The fool in his ignorance, disdaining Mahamudra,
Knows nothing but struggle in the flood of samsara.
Have compassion for those who suffer constant anxiety!
Sick of unrelenting pain and desiring release, adhere to a master,
For when his blessing touches your heart, the mind is liberated. 
— Tilopa's Mahamudra Instructions to NaropaBack to the top of the page


In their ignorance of mind's true nature, beings seek happiness in conditioned things, but since everything composite will eventually fall apart, these sources of happiness are not lasting.

Cypher : You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain... that it is juicy... and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
Agent Smith : Then we have a deal? 
Cypher: I don't want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I wanna be rich... you know, someone important. Like an actor.

Lama Ole Nydahl: As beyond-personal awareness shines ever stronger, it becomes painfully evident how all beings chase joy and try to avoid suffering but usually seek their bliss in conditioned situations where no lasting happiness can be found. Realizing how strongly all are hostage to them, one will naturally protect them.
— The Way Things AreBack to the top of the page


The problem is that the karmic habitual energies of beings are of a sticky quality, and therefore the mind has trouble letting go. The mind 's tendency to cling to its constantly changing impressions leads to clumsy words and actions. The feedback from one's store-consciousness and the outer world then produces more unpleasant experiences, which strengthen one's tendency towards further unskillful acts. In this viscous cycle, beings have no freedom to choose what they wish to experience.

Morpheus: The mind has trouble letting go.

Lama Ole Nydahl: What especially hinders us is the mind's tendency to cling to its constantly changing impressions. For example, though we may not have experienced any anger five minutes earlier, and it will most likely be gone five minutes later, our mind still treats the feeling as if it were substantial and real. It then acts on this basis, setting things in motion in outer world as well as planting seeds in its store-consciousness, which will bring about suffering in the future. This cycle, which is largely out of one's control, is the normal state of most beings; people are not free to choose what they wish to experience.
— Ngöndro: The Four Foundational Practices of Tibetan Buddhism

Lama Ole Nydahl: Mind will remain attached to what is actually its own free play until it recognizes itself to be unborn clear light. When awareness is experienced whether it has any objects or not, the timeless goal has been reached. 
— Lama Ole Nydahl talks about Death, Rebirth and the Power of Phowa

Gampopa: Reflecting upon the difficulty of leaving behind the habitual tendencies for delusion, inspire yourself to meditation training and sadhana practice.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime PathBack to the top of the page

Showing the Way

Since you are responsible for our your life, the teacher can only show you the way. It is up to you whether you use the example and liberating methods the teacher provides or not.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

Shakyamuni Buddha: I have shown you the methods that lead to liberation but you should know that liberation depends upon you.

Sharmar Rinpoche: The Buddha said that he can show the way, but it is through personal efforts alone that enlightenment is attained. 
— The Three Main Approaches in Buddhism: An introduction

Khenpo Chodrak Rinpoche: Tilopa brought a snake and he tied a knot in the snake and put in on the ground. On its own the snake untied the knot. He asked Naropa, what he understood. Naropa answered he understood it to mean that, even though our mind is the Dharmakaya, the Truth body itself, it is tied up through the illusion of the perceiving mind and the perceived object as being different. By the mind untying itself, it is possible to be liberated from this impure concept. In fact, that is the only way to do it. It cannot be done from the outside. It has to be done by the mind itself.
— The Lifestory of Naropa (Part II) 

Lama Ole Nydahl: The Buddha's goal, then, is to enable us to know that freedom which we've always had, to help beings experience the open, clear, unobstructed nature of mind.
— Ngöndro: The Four Preliminary Practices of Tibetan BuddhismBack to the top of the page

A Critical Analysis of the Situation

If we want to apply the appropriate remedy for our maladies, we need to start from a critical analysis of our current situation. 

Neo: Shit!
Morpheus: Yes.

Jigmela Rinpoche: We need to be aware and gain understanding of our situation. We will then be able to apply the appropriate remedy for our maladies.
— Jigmela Rinpoche: Architect of One's Life

Lama Ole Nydahl: Every development in Buddhism starts from a critical analysis of the current situation. This allows one to understand in an unshakeable way that the present moment offers the most precious and amazingly rare conditions and that one can actually steer one's life consciously towards liberation and enlightenment. These insights are generally known as the 'Four Basic Thoughts.'
— Introduction to Mahamudra

Lama Ole Nydahl: Always, we start by examining our situation. Here we discover four important things: That this life offers the precious conditions for practicing and becoming enlightened for the benefit of all. That we should use the chance now. We don't know how long we will live, and only the mind will always remain. That cause and effect function. That everything we do, think and say will become our future. And finally, why meditate: Enlightenment is highest, unceasing joy, and we can do little for others while confused ourselves.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and Freedom

Back to the top of the page

The Precious Human Life

First, we recognize our precious opportunity in this life, that we can benefit countless beings through the methods of a Buddha. Few people ever meet beyond-dualistic teachings and even fewer are able to use them.

Morpheus: What you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters... The very minds of the people we are trying to save. [---] You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Even in the rich, free, and educated countries, which offer the opportunity, people's priorities are mostly immature. Few seek anything ultimate, and it is considered one's best investment to spend twenty years from the age of six at schools and universities. Unfortunately, is doesn't guarantee happiness; and earning more money during the following thirty to forty years helps nobody beyond the grave. Only a tiny fraction of the brightest people pick up the scent of the strongest and only lasting fulfillment, which has been inherent in all beings since beginningless time: the experience of mind. The conscious use of such conditions to find values that give meaning through old age, sickness, death and rebirth is what makes a life precious.
— The Great Seal

Meditation on the 16th Karmapa: We recognize our precious opportunity in this life, that we can benefit countless beings through the methods of a Buddha. Few people ever meet Diamond Way teachings and even fewer are able to use them.

Gampopa: It is extremely deluded to try to tame the minds of other incorrigible and childish people rather than taming your own entrenched habit of delusion.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime PathBack to the top of the page


Secondly, we remember the impermanence of everything composite. Only the unlimited clear space of mind is lasting and it is uncertain how long conditions will remain for recognizing it. Therefore, we have no time to waste. We have to practice right now!

Morpheus: We don't have time, Neo.

Morpheus: Time is always against us.

Gampopa: At first, you have to acknowledge that you have no time to waste, like someone who has been hit in the chest by an arrow.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path

The 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje: The universe and all its inhabitants are impermanent. In particular, the lives of beings are like bubbles of water. The moment of death is uncertain and our body will become a corpse. At this time only the Dharma can help us and therefore we must make every effort to use it now.

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: How we live this life is what decides how we will manage in the bardos [i.e. intermediate states] which follow after we die. Right now it is in our hands, right now we have the chance, the freedom, the possibility to learn and practice. If we do it now, we will know what to do when we die. But if we don't use our life now, then we won't manage at the time of death; it will be too late. We cannot suddenly at that time start to ask what we should do and start practicing. It will be too late. We will be too confused and will not be able to manage. Guru Rinpoche explained: "If one now thinks that one has enough time and that dharma practice belongs to the time of death, that one can learn it later when one is about to die, then one is wrong. When death approaches, it is too late. At that time there is no way to learn what we need to know."
— Bardo Teachings: The Bardo of Life

Lama Ole Nydahl: Time is our only enemy. (For explanation, see Lama Ole's travel plan.)Back to the top of the page


Thirdly, we understand causality, that it is up to us what will happen. Former thoughts, words and actions became our present state and right now we are sowing the seeds for our future. 

Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.

Oracle: You'll remember you don't believe in any of this fate crap. You're in control of your own life, remember?

Lama Ole Nydahl: Karma means cause and effect, not fate. The understanding that each of us is responsible for our own lives makes it possible to consciously generate positive impressions which bring happiness while avoiding the causes of future suffering. Positive states of mind may be effectively strengthened through the methods of the Diamond Way, while negative impressions waiting to mature, can be transformed into wisdom. 
— What is karma?

The 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje: At the time of death we have no control over what happens, but will experience the results of our previous actions. Therefore we should give up negative actions, devote all our time to positive actions and watch our minds every day.Back to the top of the page

What Is Important

Finally, we have to be aware of what is really important and what is not. Attachment to impermanent things such as friends, pleasures, places, possessions, ideas, or one's body, eventually leads to suffering, while realizing mind's true nature is timeless highest bliss, and we cannot benefit others while confused or disturbed ourselves. 

Rhineheart: The time has come to make a choice, Mr. Anderson. Either you choose to be at your desk on time from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another job. 

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: We need to practice Dharma as much as we can, trying not to spend all our energy on worldly activities that yield no lasting results anyway. We need to find some kind of balance since we have a lot to do, but we should not do more than is necessary. [...] We need to remember what is really important and what is not. Then we will put our energy into what is really important, and we will not become entangled in what is not. True significance of this is to give up our attachment to this life.
— Bardo Teachings: The Bardo of Dying

Gampopa: This fleeting human life, already short in this dark age, is wasted when spent on pointless activities. 
  It is extremely deluded to struggle with endless worldly affairs as though you were going to live forever, instead of being carefree concerning the temporary events of this life. [---] It is extremely deluded to let your life run out in petty pursuits, chasing this and that, rather than familiarizing yourself with realization of the natural state. [---] It is extremely deluded to pursue ambitions of grandeur in this life, rather than cultivating the experience and realization you have already glimpsed.
Understand that many engagements are obstacles for merit because they hinder spiritual practice.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path

The 9th Karmapa: Everything we experience in conditioned existence, including our friends, pleasures and possessions, always contain the three kinds of suffering — just like the last meal prepared for somebody who is going to be executed. Therefore we should cut through attachment and joyfully strive for enlightenment.

Switch: We don't have time for twenty questions. Right now, there's only one rule: Our way... or the highway.
Neo: Fine. 
Trinity: Please Neo, you have to trust me. 
Neo : Why?
Trinity : Because you have been down there, Neo. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that's not where you want to be.

Back to the top of the page

The Direct Experience

If we want to realize the true nature of mind, it is important not to mistake intellectual knowledge for the direct experience. 

Oracle: Being the One is like being in love. No-one can tell you're in love. You just know it, through and through, balls to bone.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Many give marvelous explanations on the Mahamudra. If you ask them how it feels, however, they have little to say. Their intellectual studies didn't tell them that. Actually, is is the most powerful and total of experiences. It is not being able to rationalize a lot of things, but the most intense joy, courage and love — like holding our fingers in the main socket and pulling the town's electricity through our bones. [---]
   Nothing goes beyond the vibrant energy of direct experience; that is what makes love and excitement so wonderful. Here we forget separation, concepts, past and future, and experience the naked power of mind.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and Freedom

Lama Ole Nydahl: If you visit monasteries or libraries which contain the Tibetan Kanjur, you will probably find the teachings arranged in four groups of 21,000 each depending on their content. One group is called Vinaya and works with attachment. It contains especially the rules for monks and nuns, and aims to help people not get caught up in the world. The Sutra part changes anger and ill-will, and the Abhidharma transforms confusion and unclear thinking. Obtaining these three teachings is like going to school, and only gradually does the information move from head to heart and change us. The fourth group is different: it's like riding a fast motorcycle or falling deeply in love. It is called Vajrayana or Diamond Way.
— Teachings on the Nature of MindBack to the top of the page

Being an Example to Others

You can't tell by the outer appearance whether someone has that experience or not. And yet, only those who are authentic holders of the transmission, of the living stream of experience, can fully convince others through their example. 

Tank: I knew it! He's the One... 

Lama Ole Nydahl: However satisfying a deep intellectual knowledge of Buddha's teaching may be, only those who realize mind on the level of experience — and retain its freshness and bliss in the marrow of their bones — can fully convince others through their example.
— The Great Seal

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: When the dharma was still flourishing in India, there were great masters like Garab Dorje or Shri Singha. At this time, the human beings practiced the three Yogas very seriously and achieved results, many becoming realized and dissolving into rainbows. [---] The human beings around them did not know that they were great masters because they practiced in secret and therefore were not famous. [---] The twenty four main students of Guru Rinpoche, and in later times others who were serious practitioners, did not make a show of their practice and meditated a lot with corresponding results.
— The Intermediate States: The Bardo of Clear LightBack to the top of the page

Taking It into Heart

It is meaningless to have intellectual knowledge of the nature of mind, if you don't take it into your heart through meditation and put it into practice.

Morpheus: There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Having prepared your mind through learning and reflection, don't use it embrace mere platitudes, but train in the meaning of what you understand.
   A spiritual practitioner is in error when he comprehends the meaning and still doesn't put it into practice. 
   Like a parrot reciting verses, it is meaningless to have a tongue expert in Dharma terms that are not taken to heart. [---] Like a doctor struck by an incurable disease, it is meaningless to have studied a lot and yet remain a shallow person. Like a rich man without the key to his treasury, it is meaningless to be learned in the oral instructions but not to apply them in practice. Like the blind leading the blind, it is meaningless to teach others the significance of a spiritual practice you haven't realized yourself. 
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path

Lama Ole Nydahl: Even the wisest and most convincing thought are like bubbles in the air when we die; they cannot help us. On the other hand, strong dharmic habits influencing our totality will not only help us in this life, but also at and after death. 
— Ngöndro: The Four Foundational Practices of Tibetan BuddhismBack to the top of the page

Beyond All Concepts

The ultimate nature of mind is beyond all concepts, and cannot be conveyed by words.

Morpheus: Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

Lama Ole Nydahl: The mind is not a thing, but it manifests all things. The closer we come to the ultimate insight, the less precise are words. They can only express concepts while the experience of mind is all-knowingness and timeless ecstasy. The certainty that this is so is what sets us on the way and makes everything possible.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and Freedom

The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
May we find certainty in the ultimate true meaning. One cannot prove it by saying "it is this". One cannot deny it by saying "it is not that". Truth-nature, beyond concepts, is non-composite.
— Great Seal WishesBack to the top of the page

Skillful Use of Concepts

However, that is not to say that intellectual understanding is totally without importance. It can be used as a springboard to deeper, more intuitive experience.

Agent Smith: And tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call... if you are unable to speak.

Kalu Rinpoche: We need to remember that when we that when we are using these terms, we are attempting to describe something that is indescribable. However, that does not mean that it cannot be directly experienced. The person who is mute is still able to experience the sweetness of sugar without being able to describe it to anyone else. Just as the mute person has trouble describing the taste of sugar, we have trouble describing the nature of mind, but we try our best. We search for examples and metaphors that will give us some idea of what is being experienced.
— MahamudraBack to the top of the page

Free from Extremes

The extreme views of a permanent reality and of nihilism only lead to suffering. The true nature of phenomena is free from all extremes.

Agent Smith: I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering.

Nagarjuna: Believing in existence is the view of eternalism. Believing in nonexistence is the view of nihilism.

Lama Ole Nydahl: All buddhist methods aim at this total experience of awareness and phenomena which lies beyond concepts. They remove the roots of expectations and fear, making one centered and strong. The importance of such a teaching cannot be overestimated as it is people's values that steer the world. Still today, neither the views of eternalism nor nihilism have ever managed to satisfy their advocates. If during some point in history a culture decided to see everything as real, it at first brought about a great deal of expansion and many direct experiences. This view however also made suffering more real, as the facts of old age, sickness, and death were still inescapable. In some more educated situations where the opposite view was chosen, stating that nothing has any reality, then every experience appeared gray. One was then without any joyful tools to handle the outer and inner worlds, while suffering was still present.
— The Great Seal

Lama Ole Nydahl: If things truly exist, also illness, old age and death are real. So is ultimate suffering and loss. The other extreme, nihilism, also doesn't hold, and in two ways. On the inner level all things lose their fun and freshness, and on the outer nothing functions if we don't honor cause and effect. [---] As always, the Buddha has the answer: Everything outer and inner is like a dream. It arises, changes and dissolves again.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and FreedomBack to the top of the page


Since body, thoughts, and feelings are in a constant state of flux, they are unable to provide a basis for a real existing ego. On the relative level, all outer and inner events arise, change, and cease interdependently and are thus empty of independent existence.

Agent Smith: You are empty.
Neo: So are you.

Kalu Rinpoche: All conditioned lives, all conditioned phenomena, result from a multiplicity of interactions which belong to the twelve links of dependent origination. [---] The empty nature of what exists at the relative level is what we call ultimate truth. [---] When you completely understand dependent arising, you also understand emptiness. And that is freedom. [---] The correct understanding of emptiness lies between the two extremes of eternalism (believing things to be inherently or truly existing) and nihilism (believing them not to exist at all). 
— Luminous Mind: The Way of the Buddha

Manfred Seegres: At the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma, Buddha taught how to accumulate merit, how to give up negative actions, etc., in order to attain liberation. In this context he talked about existence in such a way as if karma would truly exist. If one does a certain kind of action, accordingly one will experience a certain kind of result.
  At the second turning, he explained the emptiness of all phenomena in order for beings to overcome the attachment towards true existence. Here he spoke about non-existence, the fact that all phenomena only arise interdependently and at the same time are empty by nature. 
  In order to avoid people falling into the extremes of either existence or non-existence, he gave the third turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Here he explained the ultimate meaning, free from all extremes, the primordial wisdom beyond concepts.
— Buddhist Terms

Gampopa: The ultimate Buddhahood is Dharmakaya, Dharmakaya is all-pervading emptiness, and emptiness pervades all sentient beings. Therefore, all sentient beings are of the Buddha-nature.
— The Jewel Ornament of LiberationBack to the top of the page

Unborn, Uncreated

On the absolute level, one realizes that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence and thus ultimately unborn.

Choi: This never happened. You don't exist.

Fully realizing that phenomena are without any inherent existence is the practice of the supreme perfection of wisdom awareness.
   That which is called wisdom awareness has been thoroughly explained as coming from the realization of the emptiness of inherent existence, which is the realization that aggregates, constituent elements, and sources are without birth.
   The realization that all phenomena are unborn — that is the perfection of wisdom awareness.
— The Jewel Ornament of Liberation

Lama Ole Nydahl: A detailed examination of phenomena shows that they do not exist independently and that they have no lasting nature. This does not only relate to one’s own perception, which clearly appears, changes, and disappears. But it is equally valid, although less easily noticed, for the outer world which one shares with others. 
— The Great Seal

Shamar Rinpoche: So what is the world? The Buddha taught that it is made up of interdependent relationships. One thing is based on another thing, which is itself dependent on something else. Nothing can be said to truly exist, because for something to exist it must be self-contained and independent phenomenon. There is therefore no point in searching for the cause of the world, because it has no existence of its own.
— A Change of Expression Back to the top of the page

The World as a Dream

Both inner and outer phenomena are like the appearances in a dream. Being inseparable from mind, they appear and develop in its space, are known through its clarity-awareness, and disappear again in its unlimited essence. One cannot say they are really existent, nor can one say they are non-existent. They are not both existent and non-existent, nor are they something else.

Neo: Have you ever had that feeling where you're not sure you're awake or still dreaming?

Morpheus: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Morpheus: You've been living in a dream world, Neo.

Neo: This... this isn't real?
Morpheus: What is real? How do you define real?

Maitripa: Phenomena are like a dream, empty of true nature.

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: The most useful and most meaningful practice we can do is to understand that this life is only an illusion. Everything is like in a dream with no independent reality. To thus develop some understanding of Mahamudra is truly very important.
— The Intermediate States: The Bardo of Becoming

Gendyn Rinpoche: It also helps to remember that the world we know is a world of illusion. It is a vision, a visible appearance that is the expression of confusion. Everything we perceive as the world around us, including ourselves, is only the product of all the tendencies associated with the five disturbing emotions. Dreams have exactly the same nature and in fact, the world and dreams are the same source of illusions or confused manifestation. The dream doesn't really exist, it is neither permanent nor real, and it can disappear at any time. If we believe that the dream is real, if we are attached to the idea that it is something that is really happening, we are tempted to manipulate what happens in the dream. We might want to obtain something, want to be happy, or want to avoid suffering. This is how we create suffering in the dream state.
  It is exactly the same in the case of waking world. If we recognize that it is only the natural expression of our past actions, we free ourselves of any attachment to the reality of the world. The experience we encounter while awake is called the Bardo of Birth and of Existence, an intermediate and temporary state made up of all the experiences of our life while awake. If we can purify our attachment to the reality of this world, we then have the possibility of detaching ourselves from the experiences met in the bardo of the dream. This training prepares us for the experience of death and everything that happens afterward when our consciousness moves toward the next rebirth. This training can free us from the experience of rebirth and can open us to perfect awakening.
  Discussing the meaning of the content of dreams is a waste of time since they are unreal.
— The World as a Dream

Lama Ole Nydahl: Therefore, knowledge about mind's absolute and relative nature is essential. We need to understand that every experience is like a individual dream inside a collective one and only the experiencer really exists.
— Kagyü PracticeBack to the top of the page

Your Mind Makes It Real

What an unenlightened mind experiences as solid reality is actually a magical display of superficial appearances arising out of latent karmic imprints. While adopting the view that this life is only an illusion, it is, however, essential to remain aware of the relative interplay of cause and effect. 

Neo: I thought it wasn't real.
Morpheus: Your mind makes it real.

Lama Ole Nydahl: While the outer frame or world condenses from the collective consciousness of beings, their individual karmas manifest as their experiences, bodies, environments, and tendencies. Therefore, the teaching that everything is mind is a central pillar of Buddhism. Not only are one’s filtered experiences of the world mind, but the world itself is mind. [---]
   Due to basic ignorance, mind’s continuous activity, which manifests outwardly as worlds and situations, is experienced as real and existent.
— The Great Seal

Thrangu Rinpohce: Even though there is nothing that inherently exists, things do obviously appear. Wee see a car and we open the door and climb in and drive along the highway. A vast variety of appearances do appear and do have an effect on us. We wouldn't, for example, deliberately drive our car into a wall. These appearances are part of relative or conventional reality and they appear to mind because mind has luminosity. When this luminous aspect of mind which is knowing awareness is impure, we have consciousnesses. When this luminosity is pure, we have wisdom. [---] 
   Why is it that we are not always happy? It is that through countless lifetimes we have become thoroughly habituated to the false belief or delusion that external appearances are inherently existent or "real" and and are distinctly separate from our mind.
— Transcending Ego: Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom

Tsele Natsok Rangdröl:
Tendencies of all the phenomena of samsara and nirvana remain in this all-ground in the manner of seeds. The various objects of gross materiality and the pure and impure parts of nadi, prana, and bindu of the inner body, as well as all the various phenomena of samsara and nirvana, the worlds and beings of the three realms, appear externally in an interdependent manner. All of these, however, like objects appearing in a dream, are a magical display of superficial appearances, which do not actually exist. Growing more and more used to fixating on them as being permanent, solidifying and clinging to them as being real, you experience the various kinds of pleasure, pain and indifference of three realms and six classes of beings. You spin perpetually through the causes and effects of samsara as though on the rim of a water wheel.
— The Lamp of Mahamudra

The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
All phenomena are manifestations of mind. [---] Observing phenomena, none is found. One sees mind. 
— Great Seal Wishes

Gampopa: You need to avoid letting phenomena stray into concrete materiality by means of discriminating knowledge and understanding.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime PathBack to the top of the page

No Mind Can Be Found

All phenomena are manifestations of mind, and yet, looking for mind, no mind is seen. The mind is empty of any limiting characteristics such as size, color, weight, form, taste, or voltage. In fact, no own, separate mind can be found! Since mind is non-composite, it cannot fall apart. Being unborn, it cannot die or disappear.

Morpheus: You were born into [...] a prison that you cannot smell, or taste, or touch.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Looking for mind, that also cannot be found. It has no size, color, weight, form, taste, or voltage. It is also not composed of some 'subtle' material, as those with little confidence in space would like to imagine. Mind possesses no characteristic through which it can be substantiated. In essence it is empty and not a thing. The fact that consciousness is inherent in this space, which non-meditators may also suspect during moments of sudden inspiration, is mind's truth-state. 
— The Great Seal

Lama Ole Nydahl: Mind cannot be established as being material; it cannot be experienced as a something. In north India 2550 years ago, the young prince Siddharta Gautama reached enlightenment by recognizing that no own, separate mind can be found. Thus any obstacles through ignorance or disturbing feelings like expectation, fear, attachment, and aversion simply fell away; and the unhindered unfolding of his mind made him a Buddha. As any investigation shows mind to be without weight, form, color, taste, or size, Buddha described it as being essentially 'empty' — i.e., empty of any such characteristics.
— The Great Seal

Kalu Rinpoche: However exhaustive our investigations, we will never be able to find any formal characteristics of mind: it has neither dimension, color, form, no any tangible quality. It is in this sense that it is called open, because it is essentially indeterminate, unqualifiable, beyond concept, and thus comparable to space. [---] But we must be careful here! Because to say mind is open like space is not reduce it something nonexistent in the sense of being nonfunctional. Like space, pure mind cannot be located, but is omnipresent and all-penetrating; it embraces and pervades all things. Moreover, it is beyond change, and its open nature is indestructible and atemporal.
— The Luminous Mind — The Way of the Buddha

Lama Ole Nydahl: Mind cannot be found because it is not a thing. No part of it can be made visible or examined. As it is without size, weight or color, without middle and in every way empty of anything limiting, it also cannot observe itself from somewhere else. What sees and what is seen — both are mind.
— The Great Seal

The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
Mind is not 'a' mind; it is empty in essence. Although empty, all things arise in every way without hindrance. 
— Great Seal WishesBack to the top of the page

Mind's Limitless Potential

While mind is empty in its essence, at the same time it is the basis of everything. It is rich in nature, clear, and conscious. All sentient beings are pervaded by this omniscient union of clarity and space, the buddha-nature. What keeps beings from experiencing this unborn clear light of mind are the transitory impurities which cloud their minds. 

Rhineheart: Do I make myself clear?
Neo: Yes, Mr. Rhineheart.

The darkness of a thousand aeons is powerless
To dim the crystal clarity of the sun's heart;
And likewise, aeons of samsara have no power
To veil the clear light of the mind's essence. 
— Tilopa's Mahamudra Instructions to Naropa

The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
The basis of purification is mind itself, its union of clarity and emptiness.
The method of purification is the Great Seal, the diamond-like practice.
The object of purification is the fleeting illusory impurities.
May we accomplish the fruit of purification, the perfectly pure state of truth.
— Great Seal Wishes

Tsele Natsok Rangdröl:
This mind-essence devoid of ground and root is the basis of all phenomena. This essence is not something that exists within the mind-stream of just one individual person or just one buddha. It is the actual basis of all that appears and exists, the whole samsara and nirvana. [---] This all-ground, not a mere nihilistic and void nothingness, is self-luminous cognizance that occurs unceasingly.
— The Lamp of Mahamudra

Lama Ole Nydahl: Thus in its essence mind is empty, no thing; but at the same time it is rich in nature, clear, and conscious. If it were not basically pure, then how could one clean it? Washing a piece of coal would simply make it smaller. However, the same process applied to a diamond makes it shine ever more. Like an effective detergent, the Foundational Practices and other Diamond Way methods will also discolor the washwater for a while. Then however, it will show clearly that mind’s final state is indestructible and radiant, like this king of stones. [...] 
   It is [...] neither necessary to die in order to experience a pure land nor to go elsewhere to meet Buddhas; purifying one's mind and keeping maximum consciousness is enough. [---] And just why is it that mind's clarity can have its timeless veils removed? Because the liberating power of the Great Seal is so convincing.
— The Great Seal

Lama Ole Nydahl: Full clarity appears when the emptiness of all things inner and outer has been realized. Then past, present and future are simultaneously there.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and FreedomBack to the top of the page

The Mind-Body

To purify one's mind, one needs to remove the veils of disturbing emotions and stiff ideas. One stiff idea to be dissolved is the materialistic belief that the mind is produced by the body. Since nothing, such as indivisible atoms and so on, really exist externally, no material objects, to say nothing of mind, can ultimately emerge from them. On the relative level, one should understand that mind is not produced by the impermanent brain but transformed by it.

Morpheus: The body cannot live without the mind.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Few have the necessary basis for even starting on a path — which is the certainty that they possess a mind and can work with it to obtain lasting results. Today this means understanding that mind is not produced by the impermanent brain but transformed by it; that its stream of information moves since beginningless time from one conditioned existence to the next, picking up the experiences which mature as one's next life... that this goes on until one recognizes the mirror behind the pictures, mind's unconditioned state. The veils covering one's consciousness exist since beginningless time and are no weak opponent. Even with the strongest of blessing and meditations, their removal must happen step by step.
— The Way Things Are

Lama Ole Nydahl: If the brain is understood as not producing but transforming mind; as the radio and not the radio station, many parapsychological phenomena would be understandable. On the relative level, beings' minds would then be programs of conditioned experiences held together by the illusion of being a separate self like the streams in an ocean and working through certain nervous systems and bodies until they die.
  Due to the lack of sense-impressions, mind's dominant subconscious imprints will then surface, bringing it into new lives and environments and this beginningless process continues until mind recognizes its absolute state, the ocean where the streams appear, play around, are known, and disappear again.
— Reply to an article of Washington Post, published on June 18th, 2001

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: The moment when the consciousness leaves the body is very crucial. We can only maintain control if we have been practicing well in this life. If we have developed a very stable practice and have achieved some understanding, we will manage to keep the mind under control. Otherwise, this moment will be very painful; most people suffer immensely.
— Bardo Teachings: The Bardo of Dying

Dozer : It's a single celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything the body needs.
Mouse : It doesn't have everything the body needs.

Kalu Rinpoche: Tied in with the conception process, then, is not only the sperm from the father and the egg cell from the mother joining together to create a physical basis; there is also the consciousness of the bardo being, in its disembodied state, as an involved third element. There are thus two physical elements and one mental element that come together for the complete conception of the human individual.
— Eye of the Storm: Teachings of Bardos of Death and DyingBack to the top of the page

The Totality

One should understand that everything is part of the same totality.

Rhineheart: Every single employee understands that they are part of a whole.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Space is much more than a black hole or a nothingness. Often one knows who is calling before one hears the voice on the phone. Often letters arrive from people whom one has recently thought strongly about. This is not due to improved eye-sight or hearing, but to moments where we forget about being separated from the totality. When we are simply there, naked, open and resting in whatever is happening, things happen. During such moments we not only experience through our senses but through the vibration of every atom in our body. Because space and energy inside and out, are expressions of the same totality, and cannot be separated, we are always connected with everything. In Buddhism this is called the 'state of truth'... It means that everything is part of the same totality. On another level it expresses that space is like a container — that we are inside it... It is very important to see space as something which connects beings and is alive, as a container which also conveys information between beings. 
   However, space has more to it than awareness, and that is what makes it interesting; it is joyful by nature. The radiance of mind itself is much richer than the conditioned experiences of joy we all strive for. The best moments in life are actually gifts and appear when beings forget themselves. There are situations where feelings of separation disappear, like being in the arms of our loved ones — the timeless moment of 'being one'. Here mind's innate, timeless joy can manifest, and it will become permanent when one stays beyond hope and fear in the richness of immediate experience. This state is inseparable from space, expresses its limitless qualities and is most convincing. Highest joy is thus inseparable from mind's spontaneous insight and is a transmission of wisdom. It is mentally joyful; it is the basis of everything outer and inner and may even recognize itself through the process. 
   Finally, because space is unlimited, it expresses itself as love... When subject, object and experience are a totality and one cannot separate one's own wishes for happiness from the wishes of others, one is in the absolute state. Observing the world, this feels exceedingly natural. There can be no doubt that all beings want to have happiness and avoid suffering. This full unfolding of mind is prepared by the Great Way or Mahayana Buddhism and obtained quickly through the countless skillful methods of the Diamond Way... In the Karma Kagyu lineage, which I represent, the mirror and its radiance are never separated. Space and bliss are understood as one. What looks through one's eyes and listens trough one's ears is clear light. It is nothing exterior. However, it is not a shiny light like from a projector. Instead, it is a constant state of freshness, an exciting here and now, and momentary insights appear in direct connection with the experience itself... This is true joy and the goal. 
 — HappinessBack to the top of the page

There Is No Separation

So, there is no real separation between subject, object and action. They arise interdependently and are all part of the same totality.

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
Through the examination of external objects we see the mind, not the objects. Through the examination of the mind we see its empty essence, but not the mind. Through the examination of both, attachment to duality disappears by itself. May the clear light, the true essence of mind, be recognized.
— Wishing Prayer for the Attainment of the Ultimate Mahamudra

Lama Ole Nydahl: The highest teaching known as Chag Chen or Dzogchen, as Mahamudra or Maha Ati, allows us to open to the experience of total non-separation between subject, object and action. 
— What is Buddhism?

Gampopa: To realize that the viewer, the viewed, and the realization are indivisible is the correct view for the person of highest capacity.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime PathBack to the top of the page

Dissolving Stiff Ideas

When one fully realizes the illusory, dream-like nature of the present outer world, one is no longer at its mercy.

Morpheus: How did I beat you?
Neo: You... you're too fast.
Morpheus: Do you believe that my being stronger, or faster, has anything to do with my muscles in this place? You think that's air you are breathing now? 

[From the movie script of the Matrix: If you can free your mind, the body will follow.]

A story from the life of Gampopa:
Once Rukom asked, "When one achieves the state of one taste, do body, mind and appearance become one?"
  Gampopa demonstrated by waving his hand through a pillar, and replied, "Just as there are no obstructions when one moves one's hand in space, so, body, mind, and appearance become one." 
— The Life of Gampopa

Meditation on the 16th Karmapa: Disturbing feelings and stiff ideas dissolve and our mind becomes spontaneous joy. It is space and bliss inseparable.

Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to.

Gampopa: Once you recognize that sights and sounds are magical illusions, you don't need to accept or reject. 
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path

Back to the top of the page

Manipulating the Illusion

A realized yogi may manipulate this world of illusion, if that makes someone to be interested in discovering the true nature of his or her mind.

Rhineheart: You believe that you're special, that somehow the rules don't apply to you.

Lama Ole Nydahl: The realm of unusual occurrences may in fact be much closer than people usually assume when they are busily caught up in their stressful lives. Whoever recognizes this from a healthy state of mind is usually already very bright and experiences a great deal of happy excitement in life.  [---]
   As mind and the world evidently influence one another and seem to be in essence inseparable, one should obtain for oneself a relaxed relationship to this sort of phenomenon at an early stage. As they will anyway tug at one's mind stream ever more frequently in the course of one's development, it is useful to understand just what an openness to mind's beyond-materialistic potential entails. [---]
   One first succeeds in recognizing that one's own experiences are impermanent and change like dreams whether they happen during the day or at night. Then, one can take the next step and focus on the condensed karmic dream that is the present outer world of one's senses. As it consists of constantly shifting conditions, it is also not real and one is therefore not at its mercy. It can be worked with and changed. [---]
   What the Uri Gellers or Ted Serios of this world display [...] are miracles that [...] appear through a particularly strong ability to focus mind. This generates outer as well as inner events from the endless possibilities of space. The type of meditation that brings them about is the previously mentioned 'Shine' or Shamatha, which literally means calming and holding mind in one place. The benefit derived from wonders such as these depends on the maturity of those who produce them as well as those who witness them.
— The Great SealBack to the top of the page

Just Let Go

Glimpses of mind's timeless nature may appear spontaneously when people forget to expect or fear, to spend their energy on past or future, and just relax.

Morpheus: You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind!

Lama Ole Nydahl: Because ultimately everything is perfect anyway, one only needs to let go to have true fulfillment!
— The Great Seal

Lama Ole Nydahl: Finally everything will fit; wherever one looks, there will be only purity. There is then only happiness within, and fulfillment without. From a position of such richness, mind joyfully goes beyond concepts and trusts in its timeless space; in this state freed of hope and fear, every breakthrough makes one more spontaneous and effortless. 
— The Way Things Are

Lama Ole Nydahl: Our moments of real joy, where things are simply right and the hairs stand up on our arms with joy, are not caused by chasing happiness and seeking to fill our mind with pleasant impressions. They appear when we forget to expect or fear, to spend our energy on past or future, and just relax. Then mind recognizes its timeless nature.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and Freedom

In the transcending of mind's dualities is Supreme vision;
In a still and silent mind is Supreme Meditation;
In spontaneity is Supreme Activity;
And when all hopes and fears have died, the Goal is reached. 
— Tilopa's Mahamudra Instructions to NaropaBack to the top of the page

Beyond Intellect

This effortless original state of mind is free of attachment and beyond intellect. It is the mirror behind the pictures, the ocean beneath the play of the waves.

Morpheus: What are you waiting for? You're faster than this. Don't think you are. Know you are.

Lama Ole Nydahl: Everything stilted and artificial misses the point. Such behavior limits awareness and strength. Every spontaneously arising insight, however, is a fleeting glance at enlightenment and sets one free. Therefore one may use and enjoy relative thoughts, but they should not be considered too real. If they set in motion processes of hope and fear, one is deeply in the conditioned world. Outside the feeling that we truly grow and develop, there exists nothing completely satisfactory. Whoever does not trust space here and now, may hardly ever notice the self-liberating potential that constantly manifests in the situations of one's life.
— The Great Seal

Lama Ole Nydahl: In true absorption we rest in the original state, beyond concepts, knowing awareness to be our space and objects our clarity; that both together are our unlimitedness. Then mind shines naturally like a diamond or an electric bulb, spontaneous and effortless. To sum up: thoughts are a good slave but a very bad master, and here we make the strong wish to remain in our timeless essence and not be distracted or caught by the conditioned world.
— Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and Freedom

The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje:
Unpolluted by deliberate and intellectual meditation and not driven by the winds of ordinary life, may we learn to rest mind in its non-artificial and natural state and be skilled in sustaining this practice of mind’s nature. [---] Unceasing great bliss, free of attachment. Unobscured clarity, free of clinging to characteristics. Spontaneous non-conceptuality, beyond the intellect. May these effortless experiences be continuous.
— Great Seal WishesBack to the top of the page

Spontaneity and Effortlessness

The four buddha activities emanate spontaneously and effortlessly out of the fearless, joyful, compassionate space.

Morpheus: Stop trying to hit me, and hit me!

Lama Ole Nydahl: The secret level is perfected by abiding in the experience of space and bliss as inseparable. One experiences the buddha-essence of all beings, the fundamental truth and the nowness of all events, and acts spontaneously and effectively.
— The Great Seal

Tilopa: KYE HO! Listen with joy!
The truth beyond mind cannot be grasped by any faculty of mind; 
The meaning of non-action cannot be understood in compulsive activity;
To realise the meaning of non-action and beyond mind,
Cut the mind at its root and rest in naked awareness. 
— Tilopa's Mahamudra Instructions to Naropa

Gampopa: One moment of spontaneous action is far superior to any amount of deliberately intended positive deeds. [---] Since the conduct of effortless non-action is free from the constructs of accepting or rejecting, it is spontaneously present as great bliss. 
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path

Gendyn Rinpoche: Happiness cannot be found through great effort and willpower, but is already present in open relaxation and letting go. [---] 
Don't strain yourself, there is nothing to do nor undo. [---] Nothing to do or undo. Nothing to force. Nothing to want. Emaho! Marvelous! Everything happens by itself. 
— Free and Easy, A Spontaneous Vajra SongBack to the top of the page

The Perfection of Patience

It is the practice of a bodhisattva to cultivate the perfections of generosity, conscious living, patience, diligence, meditation, and wisdom.

Morpheus: You have a look of a man who accepts what he sees... because he is expecting to wake up.

Gampopa: With a mind of joy, and without sadness for your suffering, voluntarily accept the suffering of the practice leading toward the unsurpassable enlightenment [...] like the suffering related to places, and so forth.
— The Jewel Ornament of Liberation

Gendyn Rinpoche: Recognizing that our suffering is the result of our past karma, we need not try to prevent anything from happening, but rather accept the situation as being the natural result of our past actions. 
— The World as a Dream

Gampopa: Don't reject enemies and obstructions, since they are inspiration for you innate nature.
— The Precious Garland of the Sublime PathBack to the top of the page

The Diamond Way

For those who are able to use it, the Vajrayana, or Diamond Way, is the most effective method that directly and easily reveals the nature of mind. It allows one to constantly identify with one' own buddha-nature and experience being in a Pure Land. The practices of this so-called resultant path make extensive use of mantra, which is a means of transforming one's energy and awareness through sound. 

Oracle: Open your mouth, say ah.
Neo: Ah.

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: To condense the Buddha's teaching still further, all four sentences could be expressed in one syllable: the syllable AH, in either Sanskrit and Tibetan. The syllable AH is the nature which is free from any creation, any condition, and any fabrication. In this context, AH symbolizes the essential nature of emptiness. The limitless teachings of Buddha are intended to convey the completely empty nature of all phenomena to us. The Prajnaparamita, the very well-known teaching with which we are all familiar, also explains the nature of emptiness. The syllable AH symbolizes that emptiness, so the Buddha's teachings, which are limitless, could be condensed into just one syllable!
— Abondoning What is Not Worthwhile

The Guru Yoga Meditation on the 16th Karmapa:
Emanating from Karmapa's throat, a radiant beam of red light streams out. It enters our mouth and throat and dissolves all difficulties in our speech. All impressions of harmful and confused words disappear and we become conscious of our speech. It is now compassion and wisdom, a powerful tool for benefiting others. Along with the red light, we retain the deep vibration of the syllable AH. 

Lama Ole Nydahl: After one stops breathing, during the following ten to fifteen minutes the white energy loosens its hold at the top of one's head and moves down towards the heart. On its way down, a beautiful clear light is experienced, like from the moon, while thirty three feelings, which have their basis in anger, disappear. Many hear the sound of a drawn-out HANG syllable and memory is so intense that one frequently sees beings who have died before one.
  After that, a red light rises from the point four fingers below one's navel. The feeling is very powerful and the light is like a deep sunset. While it moves up to the heart, also taking ten to fifteen minutes, many hear the deep vibration AH. Forty feelings of attachment disappear at this point and an indescribable joy is felt. Twenty to thirty minutes after death these two energies have thus fused in the center of one's chest and everything becomes black. While this happens, seven veils deriving from ignorance dissolve.
   Then appears a radiant light, totally beyond-personal awareness. If we can hold that state the meditation is called thugdam. It means that mind is bound at the heart in a condition which does not separate truth inside and out. Here, its open, clear and limitless essence pervades all times and directions; this is the awareness of lamas like Karmapa. It is compared to the meeting of a child and its mother and, if it can be held, there is real enlightenment. Every separation between space and energy, as between past, present, and future then falls away.
— The Bardo of Death and RebirthBack to the top of the page

Beyond Restrictions

A yogi's speech and body are conscious tools for benefiting others and have no option but to respond spontaneously to the ultimate needs of beings, to liberate them from the confines of their emotional and mental prisons. Whenever people become too dualistic, moralistic or dense, it is a yogi's job to kick the chairs from under the pillars of societies. 

Rhineheart: You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson. You believe that you're special, that somehow the rules don't apply to you.

Lama Ole Nydahl: In Tibet, there were three possible ways of following Buddhism: one might become a monk, practice as a lay person, or be a yogi. Monks and nuns lived separately in monasteries and nunneries and had strict rules of conduct. The lay people had families, a normal occupation and tried to put the teachings into their everyday lives. The yogis lived unrestricted by social norms, often in various caves with changing partners and focused their entire lives on spiritual development (one example is the well known yogi, Milarepa). 
— The Way Things Are

Lama Ole Nydahl: There was also a third group of people whom the Buddha taught, the yogis. Living beyond conventions and holding the highest view of the purity of all phenomena, their function was to kick the chairs from under the pillars of societies when they became too dualistic, moralistic or dense. Being the holders of vision and constantly testing the boundaries of existence, they were supposed to constantly see everything as naturally fresh and full of potential. Experiencing the world as radiant and sparkling, there was always space for new solutions. 
— Learning in a Total Way

Lama Ole Nydahl: Buddha's confidence in his students is shown clearly in the freedom he gives them to trust their own minds. He does not force them to make automatic moralistic judgments, which so often completely miss the point. This is particularly true when it concerns the liberating and sometimes controversial activities of the Bodhisattvas. They are the people who free others. Having understood the dream-like nature of all existence, they can help beings to mature in effective but unconventional ways.
— The Great SealBack to the top of the page

Powerfully Protective Activity

Whoever uncovers the mind's limitless clear space has no option but to work compassionately for the good of all beings. This active love and compassion manifests in peace-giving, enriching, fascinating, and powerfully protective ways.

Tank: So what do you need? Besides a miracle.
Neo: Guns. Lots of guns.

Buddhism Today: Many people today say that they especially like Buddhism because of its emphasis on peace. They understand it as expressed by teachers like Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh. Does a Buddhist teacher have to be a pacifist?
Lama Ole Nydahl: No, although the feeling of anger must definitely be out. At least to a Great Way Buddhist, there are causes worth protecting and fighting for. It is a question of emotional economy and common sense. Thomas Jefferson put it somewhat like this, "I learned the art of war so my children can farm and their children can study philosophy." Of course I share the above mentioned great teachers' wish to see a world where mildness is appropriate anywhere. In all honesty, however, I think they are wrong and that preaching a harmony, which only exists at religious meetings is misleading. I see great dangers in and around our soft and spoiled democratic countries. Islam and over-population often hand in hand, move ever closer, and if there is no willingness and foresight to protect our values, we will fall like earlier high cultures. This would be a vast step backward for humanity and is also unnecessary if decisive steps are taken now. By the way, if the Tibetan army had functioned, the Dalai Lama would certainly not have yielded to the Chinese aggressors. The weak parties are always for peace, at least until they can arm or re-arm. But peace without freedom is a jail for a German and a morgue for a Dane. For Americans it was often the reason to get on a ship or a covered wagon. There were never more posters for peace than earlier behind the Iron Curtain, with fat pigeons everywhere in the uniform gray-blue color of socialism.
— Keeping Buddhism AliveBack to the top of the page

Main Sources

  • Gampopa: The Jewel Ornament of Liberation: The Wish-fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings. Snow Lion Publ., (Ithaca, New York), 1998, ISBN 1-55939-092-1
  • Gampopa: Precious Garland of the Sublime Path. Rangjung Yeshe Publ. (Boundnath etc.), 1995, ISBN 962-7341-24-1
  • Gendyn Rinpoche: The World as a Dream. Buddhism Today 9, 2001 []
  • Kalu Rinpoche: Gently Whispered: Oral Teachings by the Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche.  Station Hill Press (Barrytown, New York), 1994, ISBN 0-88268-153-2
  • [Kyabje] Kalu Rinpoche: Luminous Mind: The Way of the Buddha. Wisdom Publ. (Boston), 1997, ISBN 0-86171-118-1
  • Kalu Rinpoche: Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism.  Snow Lion Publ. (Ithaca, NY), 1999, ISBN 1-55939-117-0
  • Khenpo Chodrak Rinpoche: The Lifestory Of Naropa (Part 2) — Naropa's Time with Tilopa. The Twelve Major Hardships. []
  • Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: Abondoning What is Not Worthwhile []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Ngöndro — The Four Foundational Practices of Tibetan Buddhism.  Blue Dolphin Publishing (Nevada City), 1990, ISBN 0-931892-23-6
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Mahamudra: Boundless Joy and Freedom.  Blue Dolphin Publishing (Nevada City), 1991, ISBN 0-931892-69-4
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: The Great Seal. [To be published soon. Please, buy it and read it!]
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  • Lama Ole Nydahl talks about Death, Rebirth and the Power of Phowa []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Introduction to Mahamudra. Buddhism Today 9, 2001 []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: The Bardo of Death and Rebirth. Buddhism Today 6, 1999 []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: What is karma? []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Reply to an article of Washington Post, published on June 18th, 2001
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Kagyü Practice. Kagyu Life International 2, 1995 []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Happiness []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: What is Buddhism? []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Learning in a Total Way. Kagyu Life International 4, 1995 []
  • Lama Ole Nydahl: Keeping Buddhism Alive. Buddhism Today 4, 1998 []
  • Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: Bardo Teachings. Part I: The Bardo of Life, Buddhism Today 8, 2000, 12–15
  • Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: Bardo Teachings. Part II: The Bardo of Dying, Buddhism Today 9, 2001, 9–15
  • Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: The Intermediate States. Part III: The Bardo of Clear Light, Buddhism Today 10, 2001, 9–13
  • Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche: The Intermediate States. Part IV: The Bardo of Becoming, Buddhism Today 11, 2002, 13-17
  • Shamar Rinpoche: A Change of Expression. Buddhism Today 8, 2000
  • Shamar Rinpoche: The Three Main Approaches in Buddhism: An introduction []
  • The 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje: Great Seal Wishes. From The Great Seal by Lama Ole Nydahl. 
  • Tilopa's Mahamudra Instructions to Naropa []
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  • Tsele Natsok Rangdol: The Lamp of Mahamudra.  Rangjung Yeshe Publ., 3rd edition (August 1, 1997), ISBN: 9627341315
  • [The Third] Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoche: Cloudless Sky — The Mahamudra Path of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyü School.  Shambhala Publ. (Boston & London), 1992, ISBN 1-57062-604-9
  • Jampa Mackenzie Stewart: The Life of Gampopa — The Incomparable Dharma Lord of Tibet.  Snow Lion (Ithaca, New York), 1995, ISBN 1-55939-038-7
Last Update: 15.08.2003 14:45 © Jyrki Papinniemi, 2003