Dzogchen Ponlop is a teacher, a poet, visual artist and city-dweller, based in the United States for two decades. He is the author of Rebel Buddha.

From the Buddhist point of view, to discover the truth about our mind and our world, we have to start with study and analysis. Buddha said that it is most important, before we accept his teachings, to contemplate their meaning, to analyze them thoroughly and submit them to logical reasoning. Buddha taught how to explore the nature of our suffering until we reach the end of our search, where we find only peace.

We start by looking at the thoughts we have, and the reactions they produce. We look at our feelings, and our reactions to those. We look to see the relationship between our thinking and our emotional reactions. We explore our options. After a while we reach a logical conclusion about what is true and what is false in our perception of ourselves, others, and situations.

After we analyze, we have to meditate. Analysis is important, but through analysis alone we cannot experience the truth. We can really only experience the nature of mind through meditative contemplation. In this kind of meditation we look into the nature of our pain and what causes it. We also examine our happiness and its causes — we take stock of the whole range of our experiences and emotions. By doing this meditative contemplation, we gradually experience the nature of the mind without words, without concepts, and without labels.

We do this meditation in the same way that we might experience a Snickers bar. When we take the first bite, we experience it very directly, but we can’t really describe how it tastes. You could say the Snickers is sweet, but what does that mean? Is it like a spoonful of sugar in your mouth? No. Just the word “sweet” doesn’t do it. You could say it is “milky,” but is it like drinking a glass of milk? Not at all. “Milky” is too vague. Is it like the taste of butter, or cheese, or some other milk product? No, it’s not like that, either. Even if you say, like the ad agency, that it has peanuts and creamy caramel, that still doesn’t say anything about the actual taste of the Snickers. Meditation is like that. When we experience the true taste of meditation, it’s beyond words.

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  1. avatar Jack says:

    Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t? … no that’s Mounds and Almond Joy ????? Each session each experience is a little different than the last No matter how much we crave the candy if we pay attention each taste is different.

  2. avatar Charlotte Kennedy says:

    Yes, Halloween is an good time to embrace all our shadowy aspects and let them breath some crisp fresh night time air. If we don’t embrace our hobgoblinish, fiendish and nefarious parts, how can we get close enough to see their true nature? Here’s to the true taste of that ‘sinister’ snickers bar deep in the depths of that Hallowed eve bag – trick or treat?

  3. avatar Ben Tremblay says:

    A Snickers bar and a bottle of EverFresh … pretty hard to resist! (I’d rather a bowl of popcorn and a mug of home-brew beer, but that’s another topic.) I think there’s something in “comfort food” that’s not entirely corrupt … something about familiarity, and maybe simplicity. The sort of thing one can look into without having to fight too much fear / aversion / dread. You know, enough to have insight into junk-food buzz but not like staring into the maw of addiction. The stuff that allows us familiarity with “status quo”.
    Having written that just now, here in the moment, I find myself awash in a sort of empathy / pity; imagine those whose jaded sophistication has alienated them from such simple pleasures … something like hell realm, nae?

    p.s. a standard gag when we were sitting as family by a campfire on the beach (in front of the humble cabin my dad had builty by the lake) was just this: “I wonder what the rich folk are doing.” *grin*

  4. avatar Ian says:

    I love this guy – found about his book the Rebel Buddha on Google news. Dzogchen is right in much of world Buddhism is statism or idolatory and the true path of the Buddha is a revolutionary one.

    BTW in the UK Snickers use to be called Marathon bar before global branding took over and adopted the US name.

    I think we can no longer save the world collectively only ourselves individually – as Bill Hicks remarked if you’re in advertising or marketing kill yourself.

  5. avatar Paul says:

    Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche once hit me on the head with a Snickers bar. It didn’t wake me up, but I can’t eat or see a Snickers bar now without being aware of meditation.

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