A Light in the Dark

Instructions for Resting in Space-like Balance

By means of the natural flow and natural clarity of pure being, identify awareness —like a rice shoot — free of the husks of mind consciousness, analysis and energy surges. It’s not enough just to know how this awareness is. You need to stabilize the resting by practicing being right there. It’s very important to keep an undistracted continuity of attention when you let knowing flow naturally.

As you keep doing this, waves of conditioned energy and patterns of thinking habituated from time without beginning arise with no particular rhyme or reason. Sometimes you experience unthinking thickness and sometimes, in the brilliance of insight, unthinking transparency. Sometimes bliss experiences arise with desire and sometimes without desire. Sometimes clarity experiences are accompanied by clinging and sometimes brilliant pristine clarity arises with no clinging. Sometimes unpleasant and disturbing experiences arise and sometimes pleasant and peaceful experiences arise. Sometimes meditation disintegrates because you are lost in the turmoil of out of control thinking, and sometimes you are troubled because you are thick and dull, with no sense of clarity. Whatever arises, set no goal and keep to your path, like a person on a long journey who sees both delightful and dangerous places along the way.

In particular, when you are not well practiced, experiences of agitation may arise with thoughts blazing up like fire. Don’t be upset. Keep attention steady by balancing focus and relaxation and, one by one, a progression of experiences such as “attainment” will arise.

At this point, in general, trust the distinctions between awareness and ignorance, ground of experience and true being, and ordinary consciousness and timeless awareness that you recognized in your own experience through your teacher’s instructions. When you practice, you should work mainly with the instruction to let pure being arise clearly on its own as timeless awareness by letting ordinary consciousness rest naturally, just as water becomes clear when it is not disturbed. Don’t reinforce conceptual thinking with theoretical speculation or by analyzing how to adjust your experience, e.g., “Is my meditation ordinary consciousness or timeless awareness?” as both peaceful resting and insight will be somewhat distorted.

The practice consists of peaceful resting, the steady continuity of attention when you rest in the natural flow, and insight, knowing that recognizes its own clarity and presence, joining through their own momentum. When you stabilize this practice, knowing that is undifferentiated resting and insight, that is, timeless natural flow and natural sheer clarity — naturally present timeless awareness — an experiential understanding of Great Completion, [7] will arise.

The distinguished Saraha taught how to place attention:

Let go completely of cares and caring.
Rest like a child, free from cares.

To make the oral instructions that point out awareness your own:

If you focus on your teacher’s words and work hard,


Without doubt, the awareness that is you will arise. [8]

A naturally present timeless awareness arises, awareness that is the pure being of experience that has always been present in your experience. Because this pure being is not different from the pure being of all experience, it is also the sheer clarity that is what you are. [9]

This way of letting attention rest naturally and keeping to the awareness that knows what you are, that knows essence of mind or pure being, is an oral instruction that summarizes a hundred crucial points in one. This is what you keep going all the time.

What is a measure of progress? Night-time sheer clarity takes hold. What are signs that you are on the right path? Faith, compassion and wisdom grow through their own momentum. How does direct experience come easily with little difficulty? You will know this through your own experience. Why is this path profound and fast? Without doubt, when you work at this practice and pour your energy into it, your direct experience will be similar to the experience of those who have engaged this or similar practices.

What do you attain when you practice the sheer clarity of your own experience? [10] When the spurious distortions of conceptual thinking and associated patterns have naturally cleared and the two kinds of knowing have effortlessly developed, [11] you experience eternal being [12] and the three dimensions [13] are naturally present.


For the sake of city practitioners and others who generally don’t put much effort into study and reflection but want a practice on mind nature, on the twelfth day of the second month of the Fire Horse year (April 6, 1906) Mipam Jampal Dorjé composed this practical guide to the experience of old sages using profound instructions in easily understood language. In Los Angeles, California, in September, 2010, in gratitude to Kilung Rinpoche, Ken McLeod translated this text into simple non-technical English, in keeping with Mipham’s intention. Let virtue grow.

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  1. Tib. rdzogs chen, Great Completion []
  2. Tib. lhan cig skyes pa, usually rendered co-emergent. I have chosen to render this freely for two reasons: to avoid the clumsy technical term and to give an experiential flavor of what the technical term means. []
  3. Tib. gnyug ma, usually rendered as innate or genuine. Again, my choice here is consonant with these meanings, but aims to avoid the sense of an absolute or something that resides within. []
  4. The folk etymology of the word buddha associates the quality of clearing away (or awakening) with the syllable bud and the quality of fullness with the syllable dha. []
  5. Tib. mkhyen gnyis, knowing how experience appears and knowing how experience arises. []
  6. Tib. gtan srid. []
  7. The three kayas, dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. []

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