Recognizing Clarity: A Dzogchen Meditation

Dzogchen master Tsoknyi Rinpoche shares a meditation to encourage clarity of mind.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche
22 February 2021
Photo by Manki Kim.

Clarity is the capacity to recognize and distinguish the unlimited variety of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and appearances that continually emerge in the mind. It is also called luminosity. Without clarity, we wouldn’t be able to recognize or identify any aspect of our experience. To recognize clarity, do this meditation practice using a physical object as the focus of your attention.

1. Rest for a few minutes in open presence.

2. Turn your attention to an object on which you’ve chosen to focus. I advise using a physical object that is clear and transparent, like a glass.

Thoughts, feelings, and judgments about the object will almost inevitably arise: “This is pretty.” “This is ugly.” “This is—I don’t know—it’s just a glass.” You may even wonder, as I did many years ago when I was first taught this practice, “Why am I doing this?” The point of the practice lies in the next step.

3. After focusing for a few moments on an object, turn your attention inward. Focus on awareness that perceives not only the object, but also the thoughts, feelings, judgments surrounding it.

As you do so, a very gentle experience of what many of my teachers called “awareness of being aware” emerges. You’ll begin to recognize that whatever you see, however you see it, is accompanied by emotional and cognitive residue—the stuff that remains from being a neglected child, a failure in the eyes of parents or teachers, the victim of a schoolyard bully.

When we turn our awareness inward, we begin to decompress the images we hold about ourselves and the world around us. In so doing, we begin to see how past experiences turn into present patterns. We glimpse the possibility of a connection between what we see and our capacity to see.

Adapted from Open Heart, Open Mind: A Guide to Inner Transformation by Tsoknyi Rinpoche with Eric Swanson. Published by Harmony, a division of Random House, Inc.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Tsoknyi Rinpoche is a meditation master in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and son of the late Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. He teaches widely in the West and oversees nunneries and monasteries in Tibet and Nepal. His most recent book is Open Heart, Open Mind.