Lama Surya Das on the Power of Pith Instructions

Pith instructions are oral teachings given as direct introductions to our true nature and the nature of our heart-mind. Traditionally received through an interaction with a lama or teacher who has themselves been given a direct introduction through his or her own teachers, pith or “pointing out” instructions have come down to us from the Buddha—from time immemorial, through an unbroken oral transmission passed from master to disciple.

Not just the information that we have read in books or the Buddhist scriptures, pith instructions are the essence of lessons actually learned from life—the most naked instructions boiled down to their essence. The aim of pith instructions is to help us to see things as they are while seeing through them at the same time, not deceived by mere appearances of phenomena. They are not only helpful in meditation practice but also applicable in daily life.

Some important pith instructions are:
“Leave alone the present wakefulness like a totally clear sky.” —Lama Shabkar
“Cultivate the awareness that abides nowhere.” —The Buddha
“In meditation, be free of clinging to experiences.” —Padampa Sangye

Lama Surya Das

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Lama Surya Das is one of the most learned and highly trained American-born lamas in the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition. For over 30 years, he has studied with the great spiritual masters of Tibet, India,...

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