In Wild Awakenings, the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche writes, “Pointing out may also be understood as being introduced to the reality of mind’s nature. …. In all of the Buddha’s instructions from beginning to end, the basic techniques are shamatha and vipashyana.” … “Shamatha is sometimes translated as ‘tranquility’ or ‘calm abiding’ … In (the) context of Mahamudra, shamatha … is defined as ‘the natural pacification of the coming and going of thoughts.’ This means that the mind comes to rest in its natural condition, which is a state of bliss, clarity, and non-thought.” Wild Awakenings, pgs. 85-86 by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche; Shambhala Publishing, Boston, 2003.
In the current cycle of Intermediate meditations, the emphasis has been to notice and recognize the immediate quality and experience that is present as the meditation sitting begins. It is a pure expression of the quality nature of the mind. Until one is aware of this, one moves on quickly from the quality and its simple immediately present experience to doing something that has been part of meditation training. But, at some point, the training in withdrawal and coming inside, the acclimating to the inner landscape of arisings, interpretation, adopting (chasing after) or repulsing (pushing away), all must give way. When the practitioner realizes that all – ALL – is the landscape of the mind, then that which is perceived can take on a new purpose: to be recognized as the display of the nature of the mind. It is the display of Awareness.
The current set of instructions has been to notice and recognize the very first quality that is present as soon as one begins. It will be either luminosity/clarity, or vibrancy, or the experience of stable continuity. Variations on these themes such as brightness, sharpness, dynamism, scintillating, or even/smooth are still the same basic qualities mentioned. And, they also are the qualities stated by the Ponlop Rinpoche.
Downloadable: Inter: Supporting presence