Beyond emptiness: Zen, Tantra, and Dzogchen

ox herding picture #8: emptiness
number eight: emptiness

Buddhist Tantra begins where Sutrayana ends: at emptiness. Tantra concerns the realms beyond emptiness, about which mainstream Buddhism (Sutrayana) has nothing to say.

Few Buddhist systems go beyond emptiness. This post is a humorous sketch of the differences among three: Zen, Tantra, and Dzogchen. (Mahamudra is another, which I won’t discuss.) I can’t write seriously, because my practice of Tantra and Dzogchen is pathetic, and I haven’t practiced Zen at all. The post is long, but I hope you will find it entertaining, and that it conveys something of the attitudes of the three approaches.

Continue reading “Beyond emptiness: Zen, Tantra, and Dzogchen”

Spacious freedom

“Spaciousness” is freedom from fixed meanings. Spaciousness liberates you from automatic interpretations, and from habitual responses.

Lacking spaciousness, here is the pattern of life:

  1. Something happens
  2. You perceive the event
  3. You immediately interpret it, based on some familiar framework of meaning-making
  4. An emotion arises in response to the meaning you have given
  5. The energy of the emotion demands action
  6. You do something that seems mandatory based on the emotional interpretation

This is unnecessarily limited at steps 3 and 6:

  • There may be other ways to interpret the event. And it may not be helpful to interpret it at all.
  • There may be other ways to react to the emotional energy. And it may not be helpful to react at all.

Continue reading “Spacious freedom”