Essence of Mind: An Approach to Dzogchen
Jes Bertelsen, Marianne Bentzen
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This handbook to spirituality gathers together Danish meditation teacher Jes Bertelsen's advice on training the mind through wordless prayer and meditation to realize the essence of consciousness. Bertelsen has been teaching philosophy and meditation since the early 1970s; in 1989, he met the Tibetan lama Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who authorized Jes Bertelsen to teach Dzogchen, and to do so using his own judgment as to the most appropriate way to assimilate these teachings into Western culture. Bertelsen's teachings are based on an experiential investigation of the nature of consciousness, using comparative analysis of Eastern and Western spiritual teachings and consciousness practices on a foundation of modern psychological, philosophical, and scientific approaches.
Essence of Mind outlines the author's experience and approach to Dzogchen, the natural primordial state of human consciousness that is timeless, pure, and untouched by suffering. The book is divided into three parts. The first part describes different methods for pointing out the essence of consciousness and the techniques related to them. The second part seeks to outline the key principles of a training system suited to Western students that can lead to realization. The final section outlines the significance of continuous exercises, and describes the way spiritual practice slowly permeates daily life, dreams, sleep, and eventually death. Through the mind-training process, the practitioner approaches an almost ecstatic state of completion, a luminous, blissful wakefulness in which the consciousness is also fully relaxed, not clinging to bliss or desiring ecstasy, but transparent and open.
Bertelsen emphasizes that while more advanced forms of spiritual training can only take place in a face-to-face, deeply engaged mutual process between teacher and student, books are useful as sources of inspiration, in particular to help review one's insights and refresh one's practice. Essence of Mind systematizes the experiences that occur along the spiritual path and helps students to refine, correct, and clarify their efforts; it is the author's hope that many students in the West will be able to benefit from his comparative approach to Dzogchen.
eISBN: 978-1-58394-632-9 Copyright � 1994, 2013 by Jes Bertelsen. Translation � by Marianne Bentzen, 2013. Original Danish edition, Nuets himmel, published by Borgens Forlag, Mosedalvej 15, DK-2500 Copenhagen Valby, Denmark. All rights reserved. No portion of this book, except for brief review, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the written permission of the publisher.
theosis, deification, and enosis, unity consciousness) can be gained by many, or even by all, mostly by being taught. A few men receive this gift from God without being taught, working from inner compulsion and the warmth of their faith. But what is rare is not the law. Therefore it is necessary to seek a teacher who is not himself in error, to follow his instructions. (In the Hesychastic tradition, the foundation consists of the monastic vows, the clearing of one’s conscience, and the letting
go of worries. This is a foundation that our own era can presumably better manage by satiating the ego-life, clearing biographical issues in psychotherapy, and a process of self-development.) On concentration as preparatory training for prayer and meditation: Attention is serenity of the mind, or rather its standing firmly planted and not wandering, through the gift of God’s mercy. Attention means cutting off thoughts, it is the abode of remembrance of God and the treasure-house of the power to
this is said frequently by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as by many others. We cannot act as if we had grown up in a Buddhist society. If we do that we cut off our Christian roots—the entire archetypal level. Jung put it this way, anima naturaliter christiana, which means: the Western atheistic soul is at the deeper, archetypal level Christian. This also is an insight that we cannot just throw overboard. We must relate to it. And this project is a way of showing how we got it to work in a
asleep. It only takes a split second. Where the early stages of the process of falling asleep (relaxation, neutral observation, defocusing) can take minutes or hours, the fall itself is momentary. And when the fall into sleep occurs, consciousness is bidirectional; it is open to its naked essence. Sometimes we experience this opening inward as a startling fall and jerk awake. Deep sleep, the final step, corresponds to the nondual state. But unfortunately the light of consciousness is now