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CLEAR LIGHT — 7 Comments

  1. Hi Zafrogzen,

    I took LSD and Mescalin in my student days without any negative effects and then eventually I got deeply involved with Vajrayana and gave up hallucinogenics and hashish. I’m sorry about your friend, I saw a few people ending up in psychiatric units myself.

    The teacher-directed practice involving the top of the head and transference of consciousness is called “Phowa” by the way. As for reading Evans Wentz (1878-1965) books, it would be a lot more fruitful to read something by established Tibetan teachers if you’re interested in Tibetan Buddhism. I can always recommend some resources, if you want.

    Sending best wishes for your health and happiness,


  2. Yes, the series by Evans-Wentz is somewhat dated now but in the early sixties there was not much else available. I’ve since read other translations of the books in that series, including the Six Yogas of Naropa. The translator John Myrdhin Reynolds is especially critical of Evans-Wentz.

    In the eighties when I was involved with the Santa Cruz Zen Center I got to know a traditional Nyingmapa teacher, Lama Tharchin and his English wife, when they first arrived in California. He was a very beautiful, humble man. Several prominent members of the Zen Center became his students, but despite the high regard I had for him, I was not ready for the more elaborate Tibetan forms — even Dzogchen, which is like zen in some respects.

  3. “.. even Dzogchen, which is like zen in some respects.” I don’t know all that much about Zen, in what way is it like Dzogchen?

  4. I don’t know enough about the actual Tibetan practice to make an intelligent comparison. Suffice it to say that there are quite a few zen practitioners who are also into Dzogchen. My friend Hugh, from the introduction to this post, is a good example. He’s seriously into both.

  5. He’s more impressive in his books. He along with Lama Tharchin, who I mentioned earlier, collaborated with the translator John Myrdhin Renolds, in a translation of a work attributed to Padma Sambhava. Aside from the translator’s unseemly and prolonged put-downs of Evans-Wentz, who translated the work earlier, it’s a worthwhile read — very similar to zen. Personally, I like the version by Evans-Wentz and his Lama/translator just as much, although it’s a more difficult read. I’ve reread both translations several times and even wrote a combined version of my own which I might publish here if I ever get around to polishing it up.

  6. Padmasambhava is known as “Guru Rinpoche” to Vajrayana practitioners. I once spent a month in a group retreat receiving and practising the Bardo teachings with a Tibetan teacher.

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