RECEIVING THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION - Meditation: The Journey Deeper into Pristine Mind - Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness (2016)

Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness (2016)


Meditation: The Journey Deeper into Pristine Mind


THE WAY to break through the restless habits of the mind is through meditation. Meditation frees the mind from its compulsive tendency to engage, engage, engage. This brings tremendous liberation. Once we are free from that compulsion, whether we engage or we rest, we are comfortable. We do not need to always engage. Without engaging we can still find comfort. We can choose to engage comfortably when the time is right.


So long as we are addicted to external conditions, when we engage with the world we feel good, but when we try to rest without external stimuli we can be lost, anxious, and confused. We do not know how to remain in connection with who we really are. This is why we compulsively engage in so many activities, one after another. With meditation, we break through our addictive habits. Then we can remain in touch with our true nature very comfortably, and we can engage as we need to engage, in a very healthy way. In that pristine state, we see everything more vividly than we do when our mind is stressed and agitated. We can appreciate the world of the senses much more when we remain comfortably in the natural state of mind.

When we are overwhelmed with stress and agitation, we cannot feel the beauty of the world through our senses the way we can when we are resting in Pristine Mind. The layers of agitation prevent us from seeing and experiencing the world with the vividness we experience in Pristine Mind. When our mental events are so active, we send out negative energy, and it bounces back at us in the form of our experience of the world. If we send negative energy, unhappiness, tension, and anger out to people, they pick up on it and they reflect it right back to us.

But when we remain in the pristine, genuine state of mind, then we send out positive, pleasant energy into the world and the world reflects it back in response. This is what happens when we learn how to rest in Pristine Mind for just five, ten, or twenty minutes a day.

With our mind in that beautiful, pristine state, very restful and relaxed, we can see and appreciate the entire external world, clearly with all our senses, without layers of agitation obscuring it. There is nothing between us and the universe. The universe’s beautiful nature and the beautiful nature of our mind are one. There is no duality separating us from our experience.

When our meditation expands and we can stay immersed in a pristine state of mind for thirty or sixty minutes, the frequency of our habitual restlessness really slows down. When that happens, without our doing anything, we feel happiness. Pristine Mind meditation lets us be comfortable whether we are involved with our surroundings or not.

We need to find a way to rest in such a way that even without doing anything, we still feel comfortable, happy, and content. How do we get there? Through meditation. When we gain mental stability through meditation, then, without doing anything, we can find happiness and contentment.

I notice that the real benefit in my own meditation has been that my restless energy settles down. Once that restlessness settles down, we can enjoy the world of the senses, or enjoy remaining in the present moment without engaging. That is because we are in Pristine Mind.


Once we have really realized the nature of our Pristine Mind through meditation, we have a very different experience of our entire reality. Our attitude toward our mental events and toward ourselves, the way we relate to happiness and sorrow, is totally different than it was when we did not realize in a deep and meaningful way that our mind is pristine and before we began to meditate to experience that pristine state. With realization and meditation, even when we are not meditating, we will have a completely different understanding of our entire reality, an understanding that takes place on a very deep level.

Familiarizing ourselves with Pristine Mind through meditation creates the shift that brings the new perception. Someone with this type of perception is not like an ordinary person. Their mental, emotional, and spiritual experience is very different. When we have that perception it means we have what the Buddhist teachings often call “the view.” If someone has the view, they hold the special perception that only high realization and meditation bring. It is a rich experience of Pristine Mind.

How can we tell if our meditation is working? If our mind reverts to being ordinary as soon as we stop meditating, and if we keep the same perception we had before we ever started meditation, then there is no progress, no improvement, no transformation. If we find there is no discernible difference between our attitude and the attitude of someone who does not meditate at all, then it is likely that our meditation is just serving as a temporary solution, a pleasant interlude in a still-troubled experience of the world. If we find this is the case, then we need to work more diligently on the four instructions described in our guided meditations—especially the instruction to leave our mind alone.

The success of our meditation is measured by how much our perspective improves throughout all aspects of our life. This attitude shift happens outside of meditation sessions, not just when we are sitting on a cushion. If there is no change in our perception, then it may be necessary to consult with a qualified teacher. If there is a significant change in our experience throughout our day-to-day life, even when we are not meditating, then meditation is having a real and positive impact. It is a sign that our meditation is achieving a beneficial result.


People care so much about the shape of their bodies that they exercise and go to great effort to make their bodies beautiful. But while they have fantastic bodies, they endure difficult minds.

Through movies, television, newspapers, magazines, and social media, modern culture bombards us with messages about how we should look. People feel compelled to go on the latest diets and work out to develop slim figures and gorgeous muscles, because the world tells them that it is important to be attractive if they want to be valued by others. But the world around us rarely tells us of the importance of having a beautiful mind, of mental and emotional well-being . Many people who have gorgeous physiques are celebrated in the media. But where are the people with gorgeous minds?

People can have perfect bodies and yet be mentally and emotionally distorted. Their minds are the opposite of relaxed. Even if we have a nice, healthy body, if we are mentally and emotionally polluted, we do not enjoy life. Something is missing. We have the physical side of the happiness coin, but the mental side of the coin is blank.

Mentally and emotionally we carry thick layers of habits, stress, fear, resistance, and worries. If we lack the beauty of good mental qualities, our physical body and mind are a painful contrast. We may see beautiful people on television appearing to be having fun, but if we could look inside their minds it might be a very different story.

When physical discipline and mental discipline are moving in opposite directions, it creates tremendous tension. But when all the physical, mental, and emotional components of our lives are aligned, it is a very beautiful, wonderful experience. Physically we need to exercise and eat right. But mentally, emotionally, and spiritually we need to train our mind with meditation to be prepared to deal with mental events. Then gradually the weight of mental and emotional distortions diminishes.

People are sometimes depressed, angry, and lack good relationships. If their minds feel overwhelmed with stress and unhappiness, of course they have a hard time relating to others; their minds are completely out of shape. They are just like that person who never exercises and is always eating junk food. Without meditation, our mind is easily controlled and dominated by the stresses and moods of mental events. The mental events have become so powerful that we are a slave to them. We have no power to get them to subside or disappear.

To reap the full benefits of meditation, I strongly recommend practicing at least a few times a week. If we do it regularly, like exercise, then it prevents mental events from controlling our mind. In our physical exercise, if we stop exercising for too long, we will get out of shape and will need to rebuild that momentum; but if we exercise regularly, we gain strength and improve our health.

It’s very similar with meditation. If we never meditate, we are like someone who overeats and never exercises. Our mind is out of shape and very unhealthy. It can be hard to start directing the mind in a healthy way again. If we do not meditate regularly, our mind reverts to being polluted and distorted. Once it becomes completely distorted, then it can become very hard to start meditating again.

But if we practice meditation regularly and remain present in Pristine Mind, then we can break the chains of mental events. Each time we meditate, we have more access to that clear mind as we break through more mental events. If our mind is calm and relaxed, even if we are surrounded by many irritations, we will not have such an adverse reaction. We will have more patience and may even laugh and see the irony of what would otherwise be an irritating situation.

If we meditate regularly, our mind becomes more relaxed, calm, and clear. Then all positive qualities surface; it gives us a healthy, happy, more tolerant and enlightened mind.


The time when we need to apply Pristine Mind meditation the most is when we are experiencing difficulty in our life, when the circumstances around us are at their poorest. In these times, too, it is possible to quiet our thoughts and have a Pristine Mind, even when we feel miserable. We can apply Pristine Mind meditation in the midst of difficulty, we can apply it while experiencing suffering and challenges, and we can apply it under any other circumstances.

The way to apply this practice at any time in your life, regardless of the circumstances, is to follow what Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava says:

Don’t follow the past.

Don’t anticipate the future.

Remain in the present moment.

Leave your mind alone.

If we know how to access our Pristine Mind at any time, in any moment, including at times when we feel upset or the circumstances are difficult, then we have the ability to solve our problems and difficulties. If we remain present and meditate, then slowly our agitation fades away and dissolves, and our pristine clear state of mind comes to the surface. Whatever is bothering us—sadness, anger, obsession—slowly fades from our perception and dissolves as our Pristine Mind appears. And when we become accomplished meditators, we can take action at any time, we can cut through mental events—especially negative, uncomfortable, or hurt feelings—immediately, as soon as they appear, without having to stop and engage in formal meditation.

In the midst of very heavy life experiences, our mind may need to take more time to rest and settle down because there is so much distorted energy to dissolve. At the beginning it can be difficult because thoughts and feelings have their own attraction, pulling us in their direction. But as it becomes easier for us to apply meditation, the easier it is to dissolve even very strong emotions and misperceptions.

Once the agitation in our mind subsides, we can connect with everyone in the world because we are completely comfortable and totally relaxed.


When we first start to meditate, each session may feel like an eternity, but eventually we notice that the time seems to pass much more quickly. This is a very good sign.

The reason time initially can seem to go on and on forever is because we are resisting the present moment when we sit down to meditate. We are trying to speed it up a bit. We think, “Let’s get this over with. What time is it? How long has it been? How much longer? My knee hurts. I don’t want to sit still anymore. I’m bored.” The emotional, reactive mind is always fighting against the present moment and constantly resists it.

When we are in that boundless state of Pristine Mind, it reduces all this resistance to being in the present moment. Then the time passes quickly. The accompanying stress and discomfort created by our own resistance subsides. If we are thinking, “I can’t wait for this to be finished; this is taking too long,” it creates an anxious feeling and makes meditation feel like it takes forever. It’s only due to that stress, that feeling of discomfort, that it feels like an exercise that seems to go on and on. But when we remain in the present moment in boundless Pristine Mind, there is no resistance. Since there is no resistance, there is no discomfort, anxiety, or tension. This allows time to pass by very quickly. An hour can pass, and yet it hardly feels like it has been any time at all because we have been very comfortable that entire time. We have been at ease with the silence, our self, and our mind. All of these are indications that our meditation is progressing well.


People often ask me exactly how long, down to the minute, they should practice meditation. In the same way that there is a certain amount of time we need to exercise in order for the physical benefits of the exercise to really begin, there is a certain amount of time we need to meditate to really benefit from it, particularly when we first start meditating. I recommend meditating at the beginning at least two or three times a week for twenty to thirty-five minutes each time, if possible. Although this may seem long at first, a shorter time is not really enough to get the full benefit from the meditation because it takes some time for the mind to settle down and to really begin to enter a natural state.

When we exercise, we need to warm up and gradually increase our heart rate until we are fully exercising. If we stop before we get to that level of exertion, we do not really get the full benefits of exercise. A person who exercises only fifteen minutes a day and does not increase the length of the exercise sessions or use heavier weights may reach a certain fitness level. This may be sufficient for physical fitness, but in the journey of Pristine Mind, there is no upper limit. If we only meditate for ten or fifteen minutes, that meditation doesn’t have as big an impact on us as it does if we meditate longer. Our mental events are still very present. We may never get the most powerful benefit.

Of course, we get benefits from meditating even only ten or fifteen minutes—it reduces our focus on mental events, it boosts our level of vitality, and it increases our positive experiences. So while we can do meditation for however long we want, and no matter how long our session is, it will be better than not meditating at all, if we really want to get the most benefit from our meditation we should meditate for twenty to thirty-five minutes or more at a time.

I have heard some people say their meditation has not helped them. Sadly, I suspect that these practitioners may get close to the point where they can access Pristine Mind, but then stop before fully connecting to it. They never get past that initial phase.

But if we spend fifteen or twenty minutes following the instructions so that our mental events calm down, and then enter into and remain in that pristine state for another fifteen minutes, our practice will have a huge impact. Getting into the natural state takes time. Experienced meditators may enter into that state easily, but for others it takes time to get into it. We need to give ourselves enough time for our mind to settle down during each session so that we really get the benefits of meditation. That is why I suggest meditating for twenty to thirty-five minutes at a time in order to make sure we do actually abide in Pristine Mind.

These guidelines are mainly for beginners, less so for people who have already developed a strong meditation practice. As a beginner, it’s critical to be realistic and discipline oneself to take the time necessary to actually settle down and enter into Pristine Mind, and then to remain in that state. That is how we become familiar with Pristine Mind, and it is essential to developing a genuine meditation practice. Only then will we truly get the benefits of meditation.

Aside from taking enough time to meditate regularly, it can help very much to practice in a group as well as by ourselves at home. Coming together to practice as a group is very helpful because then we motivate each other to practice more. It is like people going to the gym together or joining a yoga class to work out and practice together. To further our familiarity with Pristine Mind, we need opportunities to come together as a group and practice meditation.

Formal meditation is the regular time that we set aside to sit down on our chair, cushion, or mat, and develop our meditation. Beginners often ask where they should meditate. Many meditators find it helpful to have a specific space for meditation set up in their home, to be used only for that purpose, such as a separate room or the corner of a room. We can place there a small statue or painting of the Buddha or Padmasambhava, or any other object or artwork that supports our meditation. Our meditation shrine can thus serve to inspire us and to remind us of the need to practice regularly.

But in reality, all we truly need is a comfortable space. Once we have established our practice, then we can do it anywhere. We can do it in any place, during any activity, or under any type of circumstance.


Pristine Mind meditation must be applied throughout all phases of the living process—and that includes during our sleep and dreaming episodes and during the dying process. It can be applied at the moment of death, and applied in the states of consciousness that arise after we die. It can be applied to every moment that our consciousness experiences.

If we have stability in our meditation during this lifetime, we can also achieve stability at the moment of death. We can gain the strength not to become lost in hopes and fears and attachments at that critical time.

Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava explains that after our body and mind become separated from each other upon dying, then we lose consciousness. Once we become completely unconscious, we have no awareness or mental activity. That is death.

When we awaken after this passing and regain consciousness, we are no longer in this realm and no longer have this body. We regain consciousness in another dimension. It is a dreamlike experience.

At that moment, if we do not recognize that everything is just a projection of our own mind, then we will become completely lost in the experiences that arise. As sounds, lights, and other experiences arise, our consciousness is like a feather in the wind, blown about by those experiences. If we have stability of Pristine Mind, however, during this lifetime, any after-death experiences that arise are all automatically interpreted correctly and we are not subjected to the painful distortions of a polluted mind.

At the moment of death, it is most important that we have a Pristine Mind and not a polluted mind; it is the best way to die. Someone who is familiar with Pristine Mind dies without fear, anxiety, or agitation. With that familiarity, at the very moment of death our consciousness is more vivid, clear, and brilliant. When we gain confidence in our practice, then we are already prepared for the moment of death.

“Hell” is having a polluted mind. When our mind is polluted, everything is polluted. Without our polluted perceptions, there is no hell.

Pristine Mind brings pristine experience. There is no heaven other than this state. Experiencing Pristine Mind is heaven because once our mind is pristine, we experience the state after death—the time between births—and our next life as well, as pristine. This is why it is especially important during this life that we detoxify our ordinary mind by accessing Pristine Mind. That is our greatest priority.