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Dzogchen: On Being Aware

This may make it easier for those that may still be trying to discover and experience the
actual and authenticate state of pure Awareness. Pure Awareness is known in Tibetan
Dzogchen as Rigpa. Rigpa means Knowing. This Knowing is not some knowledge or
information. It is the quality of being knowingly aware. We can use the example of the
five senses. To see, there is nothing we have to do in order to see. We open our eyes and
seeing is happening automatically. The same with hearing and all the rest of the senses.
Whether we are thinking about our seeing or not, does not affect the capacity for seeing.
Seeing is not dependent on the mind or thinking. This is true for all the 5 senses.
Likewise our capacity to be knowingly aware is also not influenced by our mind or
thinking. For example, one of the exercises that I utilize in my retreats that I lead is to
close your eyes and visualize a dog. There are two things present: the image of the dog
and the awareness that is aware of the image. With your eyes closed, visualize a dog.
Notice the dog and then notice how you are aware of the image. What is it that is
experiencing the image of the dog? It is an observer. It is awareness. Notice how this
observing awareness seems to be what you would consider to be “you”. You are the
observer of the dog. What is this “you” that is observing the dog? Check it out with your
eyes closed. Does the observer have a shape or form? Does it have a permanent exact
location? Examine this observer that is aware in various ways.

The one thing you will discover, even though you can’t find any specific shape, form or
substance… you can tell that is definitely aware, knowingly aware of itself and what it is
observing. So again, make a picture of the dog in your mind. Notice the dog. Notice the
awareness of the image, you are aware of the dog. Now let the image of the dog
dissolve. Notice how there is still remaining the awareness, even though it is not looking
at anything. The awareness is always there whether there is an object to view or not.
You are that awareness. Now open your eyes and look at the room you are in. Is there
awareness of what you are seeing? That is the same awareness that was looking at the
image of the dog. Now notice, with your eyes closed, the sounds that you are hearing.
Are you aware of the sounds? That is the same awareness again. The objects may
change but the awareness does not change.

Next with another thought, like the dog, notice any thought or idea or feeling. Just
notice the idea or feeling. Are you aware of the idea or feeling? That awareness is again
the same awareness. So the awareness is there while thinking, perceiving or without
objects of experience.

Now notice as you are seeing with your eyes open. Seeing occurs with thoughts or
without thoughts, isn’t that so? Try it. Same with hearing and the rest, right? This is
also true with awareness. You are aware of thoughts and you are aware without mental

You can be in a condition of just seeing and hearing without thinking about what you are
seeing and hearing or you can be thinking about what you are seeing and hearing.
Likewise you can be in a condition of being aware of what you are aware of or you can
be thinking about what you are aware of. To rest as awareness is to be aware of what
you are aware of without thinking about what you are aware of. Just aware of…. No
need to think about what you are aware of. When you come into this simple awareness
and leave awareness just being as it naturally is, it will become more and more clear and
will manifest a self-knowing quality of intelligence called yeshe in Tibetan. In that
moment you will realize that this simple ordinary awareness we have been working with
in these exercises is Awareness, and you are that. That is Rigpa.

So you can simply be aware of what you are aware of from moment to moment, or you
can be thinking about what you are aware of. The first condition is to be awake. The
second condition is to be dreaming. The Buddha Nature which is perfect and changeless,
is your present awareness just as it is. You are a Buddha when you are just aware of what
you are aware of and you are an ordinary sentient being in samsara when you are thinking
about what you are aware of… Resting as awareness, in just being aware is Awareness.
Awareness has no defects that need to be corrected. Awareness, your awareness, what
you are, has no karma, no self idea, no problems and no suffering.

You will never find another teaching that is higher than this nor one that is more easy to
follow… no other practices are necessary, if you could even call this a practice. There is
nothing further that you need to study or read. Look no further than your own
awareness… all the answers are there, but none of the questions…

Jackson Peterson