Great Vow welcomed the inimitable Keith Dowman to lead a meditation retreat on “The Perfection of Passion” in the Tibetan Dzogchen style.

Our venerable teacher stressed the inclusivity of sensory experience including all thought and the complete insubstantiality of form in the visual field. He guided us through visualizing a cloud of sky blue hung symbols flowing from the chest, blessing everything they touched while clarifying the mind. After much practice, we envisioned turning the symbols red to incinerate the materiality of the visual field as well as our own sense of body and self.

On Day 2, he said, “I feel as if I’ve been talking too much. But I’m going to start back at square one. If that were the whole practice, starting back at square one. Think of the game Chutes & Ladders. You go all over, up, down, right, left, then find yourself back to your original place and ask, ‘Why did I ever move one iota from this spot?'”

Each day, he fielded questions about method, interesting experiences, insights needing to be tested. Finally one earnest practitioner exclaimed, “What is it about our wiring that makes this so difficult to get?!” The radical Dzogchen master lifted an eyebrow and smiled. “You believe in the wiring,” he said without skipping a beat. “See it as the charge before it crystallizes into wiring.”

First photo by Michael Sojin Kip.
Second and third photos by CD Adkins.