Different doors in practice

From: Death: Friend or Foe 1
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When I was in the three-year retreat, we learned probably 150 different meditation practices. I’ve never gone through and actually counted them. But I remember very distinctly reading a small section at the end of one book that was full of quite advanced practices. And there’s a series of quotations from different teachers in this particular tradition--the Shangpa tradition--and one of them has just stayed with me, really made an impression. It’s by a person called Kyergongpa Chökyi Senge, who lived in the 12th century in Tibet. And this is not an exact quote, but it's to the effect that there are three doors in practice. One is death and impermanence, the second door is compassion, and the third door is devotion/insight. They end up being the same door. And then he said a little bit about each one of those. And I found that, over the years, to be very true. If you look in the Theravadan texts, they explain that death and impermanence is the door for certain kinds of people and compassion is the door for other kinds of people, and devotion is the door for other kinds of people.


How the meaning of a meditation instruction is revealed

From: Pointing Out Instructions 3
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Ken: A lot of instruction in Buddhism is expressed in mythic language. I'll give you one example. It happens to be a mahamudra instruction--I thought I'd keep it on topic.  
Body like a mountain, Breath like the wind, Mind like the sky.
Now, I think this is quite a good example. If I say body like a mountain, what do most of you think of immediately?
Student: Rigid. 
Ken: Yeah. Okay, now what's it's like meditating like that?
Student: Tiring.
Ken: Does it work? No. So, is this what it means?
Student: No. 
Ken: No. So, what does it mean? Nick? 
Nick: You become very stable. 
Ken: How do you become very stable? Can you just say "I'm going to be stable."? Does that work? 
Nick: To relax your body. 
Ken: What does that have to do with a mountain? 
Nick: Mountains don't make any effort to sit there like that. 
Ken: Exactly. Say it again loudly. 
Nick: Sorry. I said mountains don't make any effort to sit like that.
Ken: Yeah. So this phrase body like a mountain means to sit without any effort whatsoever. And you come at this by actually just taking it in and letting it speak to you, not trying to analyse it and figure out exactly what it means, etc., etc. Okay.  
This is the language of poetry. And it's similar things with Breath like the wind, Mind like the sky. So, in what we work with in these days that we're here together let the instructions sit in you. Let them reveal their meaning. You'll know when they've revealed their meaning by what happens in your practice.