Psychiatrist and cultural anthropologist Henry M. Vyner spent thirty years interviewing Dzogchen masters for his research. In a new article for Down To Earth Circle, Dr. Vyner condenses the conclusion of his findings and provides his heartfelt insights.​
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Henry M. Vyner, M.D., M.A.

“I have been interviewing DzogChen lamas for over 30 years now about their experiences of their own mind. These interviews have been a joy and a gift from the universe. In our interviews I have been asking the lamas to describe their states of mind, and I have used DzogChen terminology to elicit those descriptions. For example, I might ask a lama to describe a gzhi-nang, which I translate as “primordial meaning.” Or I might ask a lama to describe the experience of de khona nyid togpa’i yeshe, which I translate as “suchness primordial wisdom.” I took the lama’s descriptions of their states of mind and turned them into a systematic modern science of the dual, nondual and predual phenomena that appear in the stream of consciousness. That science can be found in chapter six of one of my books – The Healthy Mind: Mindfulness, the True Self and the Stream of Consciousness. The next step was to derive maps of the structure and dynamics of both the natural mind (sems-nyid) and the egocentric mind (dag med gyi sems) from that science of the stream of consciousness. Then I compared those maps to determine which state of mind is healthier. My goal with this work has become that of changing humanity’s understanding of what a healthy mind is. As matters stand now, every society raises its young to have an egocentric mind — which is the cause, of course, of everyday emotional suffering. First Noble Truth. But more than that, the egocentric mind is also the ultimate cause of humanity’s identity-based socio-political conflicts: racism, misogyny, culture war, war between nation states and the like. In other words, we have mistakenly assumed, as a species, that the egocentric mind is a healthy mind. My goal with my work is to help create a body of science that will change our definition of the healthy mind so that we will all start bringing up our kids to have natural minds — a mind with an egoless ego. I believe that we can eliminate much of the suffering in the world if we could just accomplish that. It will take some time, but it will be worth the effort!”

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