13 February 2021

Silent Sitting - Ngakma Nor'dzin & Ngakpa 'ö-Dzin


In this video from February 2010, Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin and Ngakma Nor’dzin discuss the reality and benefit of silent sitting practice.


Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: What we would say for the sake of somebody who’s considering beginning meditation practice, is that silent setting is all about boredom and pain.

Ngakma Nor’dzin: – it’s not that bad! You make it sound worse than it is!

Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: I think it’s worth giving people a non-governmental health warning that those images of people looking serene – these are inspirational indications of perhaps the resultant condition and it doesn’t always feel that way when you practise.

Sitting practice is coming face to face with the reality of our own condition and the irony of the fact that we think our minds are our own, and they should do what we want. We sit, and we may attempt to have no thought – and at that point we can discover that thought actually seems to have the nature of an addiction.The process of that practice leads us to understand that we’re actually quite keen on thinking and we’re not too keen to let go – and that in itself is interesting.

So we realise that there is something else happening – some deep-seated habit or need that is saying: ‘Think. Think about anything. Think about shopping. Think about going to Tesco in your pyjamas. Think about almost anything rather than not think’.

So rather than leave a practitioner with this difficulty, we can then engage in various methods that are there to enable us to come to an experiential understanding that the possibility is there that we can sit and not be addicted to thought. This leads to the possibility of spaciousness that will be there spontaneously in the rest of our lives. But silent sitting practice in a formal sense is fundamental to giving us the opportunity for that to happen.

The habitual state of being we discover in silent sitting is actually what’s there all the time underlying our actions – that we develop certain habit patterns and they’re always there. We find them in their raw sense when we attempt to sit, and through that process discover what is behind that.

We discover that we can sit comfortably without thought, and then that spaciousness appears within our lives and allows us to see our emotions almost from a different dimension, and certainly a dimension that includes a sense of humour. As soon as humour can arise then the situation explodes. We no longer take it seriously. We no longer entirely take ourselves seriously, and we can let go of things that previously we had been so dreadfully attached to.

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