Newsletter of the Dogzen Dyad Group

March 2002

rDzogs Chen In the Dyad

Lots of people have mentioned that they wanted some activity outside of the Intensive to support their opened-up states of consciousness. A short time ago, a group of us started getting together for a couple of hours about twice a month. Our goal is to bring the enlightened states we get at Enlightenment Intensives into our lives. 

What do we do at these sessions? Well, for a number of years, I have been working on the Bon perspective. (Bon is the old religion of Tibet, predating Tibetan Buddhism.) What the Bonpo do is similar to what you might do by practicing rDzogs chen, Nyingma  Buddhism, Mahamudra, Atiyoga, Vipassana, and similar disciplines.  

We are currently focusing on one aspect of the teachings: awareness of awareness. This takes two forms: pure awareness being aware of itself, and being aware of our awareness of something (in the mind, body, environment). Both are what we are calling "the view."

"Pure awareness aware of itself" was taught by a Yoga guru, Master Subramuniya. That's where I first heard about it. In Bon, Garab Dorje talks about the state of intrinsic awareness that is uncreated and self-existing. The terma texts of Padmasambhava talk of seeing with naked awareness. It is being present in the union of clarity and emptiness. They point out that, when one decides upon that state, things just liberate themselves. 

However, rather than thinking about these things in our intellectual minds, the focus of our group is to have the experiences first. We are using the dyad to discover powerful new ways to access "the view." I can tell from what our group is doing that the dyads are more effective than the older techniques that don't use communication and contact. I guess this is to be expected from our experience with Enlightenment Intensives.

I'm trying to put the dyads in order so that anyone can go from one step to the next and open to the view in a steady progression. The list of dyads, below, are what we've got so far.

I'm curious about whether the results come from the dyads themselves, or just from the shared energy of our group. I'm curious to find out if others get the same results that we get. These dyads, I believe, are probably safe to do, so I encourage you to try them out. (People with schizophrenia should not do them, though.)

The Dyads

These dyads are run with a 5-minute bell timer. Like most dyads, they are 40 minutes in length. I suppose they could be run as cycle change-overs, but right now I prefer the 5-minute bells.

The descriptions of the dyads are shorthand. I'm assuming you are familiar with the dyad format as practiced in Enlightenment Intensives. 

Dogzen Dyad 1.0

Purpose: Get your first experience (or freshen up your experience) of awareness of awareness. Know your own consciousness by your own subjective experience. Note: Do not intellectualize at all. It is all experiential.

  1. Are you conscious? (Take yes or no answer, it does not matter.)
  2. Tell me how you know that.

People might need to do this dyad only once or twice. Many will not need it at all. As soon as you can be subjectively aware of your own consciousness, you have completed its purpose.

Dogzen Dyad 1.1

Purpose: Practice detaching awareness from what it is aware of. Explore "the view." The [named object] should be a small physical object. We use a macadamia nut. The receptive partner holds it up and gives the instructions.

  1. Be aware of the [named object].
  2. Detach awareness from what it is aware of and become aware of awareness itself.
  3. Tell me any comments or observations you have about that.
  4. Repeat from step 1 for the entire 5-minute period.

Continue until you are familiar with the transition between being externalized into the physical world or your mind to the awareness of awareness state, which is at the heart of "the view." 

Dogzen Dyad 2

Purpose: Stabilize in "the view."

  1. Be aware of an object.
  2. Detach awareness from what it is aware of and become aware of awareness itself.
  3. Comment at will.

The idea is to continue in the (2.) state for the whole 5 minutes. Comments are said without breaking the state.

Dogzen Dyad 3

Purpose: Imprint "the view" into your muscles and nerve system. Bring "the view" into everyday actions.

  1. Look out from your body at your surroundings.
  2. Be aware of your awareness of your surroundings.
  3. Walk to the wall without losing "the view."
  4. Turn around.
  5. Walk to the other wall without losing "the view."
  6. Continue in this manner for the whole 5 minutes.

 It is understood that you comment at will without losing the state.

The receptive partner walks along with the active partner.

This dyad is run in a relaxed and informal style, allowing comments, jokes, spontaneous movement, and so forth. It is wide open as long as you don't lose the awareness of awareness of the surroundings while moving the body.

Dogzen Dyad 4

Purpose: Deepen awareness of awareness and begin to see into the depths of consciousness. Note: This is very powerful and "hot." May be difficult for the inexperienced. It helps to have had some enlightenment on "What is another?"

  1. Be aware of another as a sentient being (your partner)
  2. Be aware of your awareness of the other.
  3. Comment at will.

Continue in the (2.) state for the whole 5 minutes. You can comment at will, but don't break the contemplation. You can continue in the state while you are the receptive partner as long as you can keep your attention on the other (rather than on your own reactions).

Other Dyads are Planned

One of the goals is to be able to detach awareness when it gets entangled in the life drama. We should be able to do this easily and quickly. The dyads that have you detach your awareness from things are supposed to help with this. The instant of breaking out is sometimes tricky and these dyads give us practice. The goal, of course, is to practice these things in our day-to-day lives so we get the benefit all the time.

Another goal is to change our relationship to problems. Things come up in life all the time. It is how we relate to these things that we want to improve on. The problems will still be there (there always seems to be plenty of them), but our freaking out can diminish. There will be some dyads that will have us reflect on a current problem and then become aware of our awareness of the problem and notice the difference. This will eventually train us to just experience things with naked awareness and not magnify them with a lot of internal reactions. It is amazing to me how much we "overlay" what is going on with our own stories and head trips. Life, itself, is very simple.

Also, we will be working on realizing the self and dissolving the false self that comes from the mind. By stabilizing in awareness of awareness, then going deeper and deeper with that, the self dissolves and there is just Truth. We should have access to this any time of day or night. This is the plan!

Want to Learn More About This?

If I were you, I wouldn't read a lot of books about this since it just loads up the mind with ideas. It is better to just go for the experience. However, reading one or two books can help to give some clarity about what we are up to. If you want to read, I recommend the following:

The Golden Letters, by Garab Dorje, translated by John Myrdhin Reynolds, Snow Lion Publications.

Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness, by Padmasambhava, translated by John Myrdhin Reynolds, Snow Lion Publications.

Wonders of the Natural Mind, by Tenzin Wangyal, Station Hill Press

These are all exceptionally clear about the stuff we are doing.

The Dogzen Dyad Group

(Why "Dogzen?" It's just a play on "rDzogs chen." One of our members, Mark, came up with it and it stuck.)

There is still room for a few brave souls to join our group. We want to keep the number fairly small. Only people who are sincere and want to live enlightenment in their lives should come, however. This isn't a group that works directly on personal problems. We are working on basic abilities that will enable us to live life better, including solving problems.

We meet every other week, on Wednesday nights, 7:30 to 9:30 PM, at Edrid's house in Menlo Park. If you want to come, email Edrid at or phone 650 328-4941.

If you can't come Wednesday nights or live too far away, I'll be publishing this newsletter to report on what transpires. If you want to receive an email copy of the newsletters, let me know. To minimize unnecessary email traffic, I will only send them to those who indicate they want them.