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Milarepa - Rechungpa-s Journey to Weu

by Sangharakshita

The Rechungpa's Journey to Weu” Seminar Page 1
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SANGHARAKSHITA IN SEMINAR


From: The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa
Chapter 52: Rechungpa's Journey to Weu

Held at: Padmaloka

Date: November 1980
Those Present: The Venerable Sangharakshita, Subhuti, Jayaratna, Anandajyoti, Siddhiratna, Ratnaketu, Bob Jones, Ray Bisson, Wayne Spavin,
Glynn Ivens, John Leah, Johnny Baker, Keith Mitchell.


Sangharakshita: Let's start reading. Would someone like to read that first paragraph, its Chapter 52, page 584. We'll go round in a circle.

"By the invitation of his patrons in Nya Non, who provided perfect food and service, Jetsun Milarepa dwelt in the Belly Cave, while Rechungpa
stayed in another cave above it. At one time the Gurus, patron buddhas, and Dakinis revealed themselves to Rechungpa in his dreams
persuading him to ask the Jetsun to relate his life story. After Milarepa had done so, Rechungpa yearned to go to Central Tibet [Weu]."

S: Just one or two points require some discussion here. One is the fact that 'the Gurus, patron buddhas and dakinis revealed themselves
to Rechungpa in his dreams'. What do you think that signifies?

Just consider the situation. Milarepa and Rechungpa have been invited to stay in a particular place by the lay disciples who are looking after
them, and providing them with food. Very well each of them is staying in a cave, they're meditating, and Rechungpa has dreams, dreams about
Gurus, patron Buddhas and dakinis. Does one usually have dreams about these things?

__________: Not very often! (Laughter)

S: Not very often (laughter). So when one does have these sort of dreams what do you think that represents? What do you think it signifies?

Subhuti: Well that you're contacting a very much deeper level of your own....

S: It says here that the 'gurus, patron buddhas and dakinis all revealed themselves to Rechungpa in his dreams'. It's not that it was a purely
subjective experience. He was in contact with, and through and in the dream state. So what do you think that means? Why the dream state
rather than the waking state? Why did they not reveal themselves to him while he was meditating? Well perhaps they did but they also revealed
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themselves in his dreams. If you dream about something what do does that usually mean?

Johnny: There's something that you're not conscious of...

S: It's usually something that you're not conscious of, in your ordinary state, or you may be conscious of it in your ordinary state, but in either
case what does it mean if you experience it in your dreams?

Well it means that you're concerned with that particular thing that particular object, on a quite deep level of your being. As though it has gone
beyond, or even by-passed the ordinary waking consciousness. We know that if we're worried about something we tend to dream about it.
That's just with regard to ordinary things, but if you're say meditating on gurus and patron buddhas and dakinis, if you're thinking about them,
maybe reading about them, maybe the puja that you do is concerned with them, and then if you start dreaming about them, it means that they, or
whatever it is that they represent, have started percolating down to a deeper level of your existence, your experience, which they don't usually
reach, which is usually closed to them.

So this suggests that the individual consists of varying levels of being and consciousness, and that these levels are of varying degrees, one might
say, of opacity. You might imagine the comparison of say the ocean and you might have falling on the ocean the rays of the sun, but these rays
penetrate only a quite short distance. The upper levels are illumined but the depths are not illumined at all. They're left in darkness. But if the
light is very bright and very powerful, well the rays may penetrate all the way down and reveal everything that is there. So usually what happens
is that we're aware or conscious of or preoccupied with gurus, patron buddhas and dakinis on the surface of our consciousness, or with the
surface of our consciousness that there's a surface of our being, but their influence doesn't go very far. We're affected just in a quite superficial
sense, but in the depths of our being we may be stirred by quite different influences, quite different forces. But as you practise more an more, as
you meditate more and more, as you become more and more deeply conscious of, or more deeply open to, these ideals, then gradually their
influence starts permeating other levels of one's being, deeper levels of one's being. And one of the manifestations of that is that you start having
dreams about gurus and buddhas and dakinis, and dreaming that you're meditating, and dreaming that you've gone away on retreat, or if you
might dream that you're on pilgrimage in India and visiting different sacred places.

Someone told me, only a few days ago, that he'd had a dream of this sort, that he was on a pilgrimage in India, he was visiting
Buddhagaya. So clearly some awareness, or some consciousness of Buddhagaya, and what it represents, had penetrated into his dream
consciousness.

So this is what happened it seems, in the case of Rechungpa. `the Gurus, patron Buddhas, and Dakinis all revealed themselves to Rechungpa in
his dreams, persuading him ask the Jetsun to relate his life story'. This is the autobiography, so to speak, of Milarepa, which you find in "Tibet's
Great Yogi, Milarepa", according to tradition recorded by Rechungpa. I wonder why the Gurus, patron Buddhas, and Dakinis' had to appear to
Rechungpa in his dreams to inspire him with this work? Why do you think that was? Why not in his meditations? Why not during his waking
state? [Pause] Well it's a different thing, isn't it? It's a different topic. It could not have occurred to him, at least not occurred in his conscious
mind at all, to ask Milarepa to relate the story of his life. Perhaps Rechungpa was deeply occupied with his meditations and so on. But there
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was another level so to speak on which he was aware of some other need. The text expresses this by saying that 'the gurus, patron buddhas and
dakinis all revealed themselves to him', but perhaps, even though on the level of his conscious mind he was preoccupied with whatever
meditations and practices he was doing, on another level he was aware of the fact that Milarepa's life was very interesting, very inspiring, and it
would be a very good thing if Milarepa could be induced to relate this life in full detail so that it could be recorded and transmitted to future
generations for their benefit.

So it's as though this sort of thought could not find expression on the conscious level because on that level Rechungpa was concerned, and
perhaps quite rightly concerned, with his current spiritual practices. But the gurus, patron buddhas and dakinis found a way, they found an outlet
in Rechungpa's dreams.

Sometimes we find that, that the surface mind, the conscious mind, is busy and it's only when that surface mind is not busy, that is to say, when
we're sleeping, that inspiration can sometimes come from deeper sources.

So perhaps if Rechungpa had not been meditating, if he hadn't been doing whatever practices he was doing, if he was just sitting calmly and
quietly, well, perhaps he would have been inspired by the gurus, patron buddhas and dakinis in that way in the conscious waking state. So this
almost suggests that we must allow some room, some scope, for this sort of inspiration, not be so busy that we don't heed any little whispers
coming to us from our intuitions, so to speak.

Sometimes the surface consciousness can be so busy, and so preoccupied that we miss certain things, you lose certain things, and if you're lucky
they may come out in dreams or they may not come out at all. They may not be able to find and outlet in dreams even, because maybe your
dreams are taking up with, or by, the things that you've been mentally preoccupied with during the day.

But there is the point, additionally, that one can contact reality directly from the dream state. Because clearly the gurus, patron buddhas and
dakinis here are not presented as purely subjective experiences, not in the sense that as we would say 'it was only a dream'. They were actually
present to him in the dream, just as beings could be actually present to him in the waking state, in the waking consciousness. So it is quite
interesting that the point is made seemingly, that access to reality is not only from the waking state but it can be from the dream state as well, or
in the dream state.

Usually, perhaps, we over value the waking state, the state of waking ...

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