By Michael Roth
The Natural Mind Meditation offered by Geshe Dangsong Namgyal is a direct approach to spiritual freedom, now available to all interested in the greater Santa Cruz area.
The premise of Geshe Namgyal’s approach, as taught in his Tibetan Bon Tradition, is profoundly simple: Mind, at the deepest level, is already whole and complete, being clear, radiant, and peaceful. Through the power of Geshe Namgyal’s own realization and his Bon Dzogchen (Great Perfection) lineage, the Nature of Mind is communicated directly to the mind-heart of the seeker, revealing non-conceptually, as direct experience, what the mind actually is in its essence. From the perspective of this approach, the mental and emotional afflictive obstacles are rendered increasingly transparent as the underlying Nature of Mind is recognized more and more clearly. The complex web of ego-grasping is undermined at its root by the direct insight into the Nature of Mind, facilitated by Geshe Namgyal’s teachings and meditations. As this insight deepens over time, the “branches” of ego—the mental afflictions—gradually begin to dissolve.
This approach exists in contradistinction to sutra (oral teachings of the Buddha) and tantra (Tibetan Buddhist Deity practice) approaches, as these paths rely on cultivating positive qualities and states through the application of great effort. From the Natural Mind approach point of view of Geshe Namgyal, such practices can be helpful, but if the Nature of Mind is not at first recognized to some degree, that experiential, intuitive understanding of the inherent condition of existence, the non-dual Nature of Mind, will not inform one’s aspiration. In this Dzogchen approach, the inner experience of the unconditioned Nature of Mind arises through the power of spiritual association. The dawning of this recognition allows for the normally disturbing thoughts and feelings to be seen as non-binding arisings in the indescribable, spacious presence of one’s field of awareness, now revealed to be what it truly is. Like a lamp illuminating the darkness, the basic clarity and radiance of Mind-Nature outshines one’s ordinary, limited, “humdrum” sense of reality.
Through this means, the heart-mind comes to rest naturally in its own transcendent actuality—there is no effortful striving to “witness” phenomena, just as a mirror does not have to “try” to be reflective. Similarly, there is no need, eventually, to apply antidotes and counter-measures to the mental afflictions; or, to generate elaborate imaginary scenarios in an attempt to transform one’s vision of reality. According to Dzogchen, reality is already complete, sacred—it only needs to be recognized as such.
In addition to being an accomplished yogi, scholar, and teacher, Geshe Namgyal brings a warmth, humility, and approachability to his teachings which seems rare. There is a quality of openness, intimacy, and depth, that I personally have felt during every teaching I’ve attended. The reality to which Geshe Namgyal points always seems accessible in his company, even if it’s fleeting at some other times.
So… please feel welcome to attend any of Geshe Namgyal’s classes, special teachings, or pujas (liturgies) as described on the Kunsang Gar (community) website— KunsangGarCenter.org. The opportunity to receive such direct, profound teachings on an on-going basis is exceedingly rare in this world—we are all blessed to have this opportunity to study with Geshe Namgyal.