Mind-Body, Mindful Living

The Beauty of Pristine Mind

By Orgyen Chöwang //

At its core, our mind is pristine. Pristine Mind is a beautiful, naturally vibrant state, brimming with life, self-sustaining in its capacity to provide a dependable, inexhaustible source of happiness and joy.

Sadly, most of us do not realize the true nature of our mind. We have become disconnected from it. Pristine Mind becomes obscured by the mind’s misperceptions and inner experiences—thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and judgments—that pollute its true nature. As a result, we live in a mind that leaves us insecure, alternating between times of happiness and sadness. This robs us of the ultimate experience of life, deeply connected and aware of this pristine state of mind.

In Pristine Mind we are not detached or withdrawn from the world. We do not need to reject worldly pleasures. In Pristine Mind we are far more present to the world than we have ever been before. We experience life’s pleasures more robustly, work more effectively, and, above all, love more richly and more universally. Living in this way does not leave us dry and disconnected, but fills us with gratitude and energy. Our very life changes from one of fending off fear and despair to one of contentment, love, and splendor.

Fortunately, this happy state is in us right now. It is who we really are, so we can never really lose it. But in order to rediscover it, we must look for it in the right place. Any quest for unconditional happiness must begin with our own mind.

Excerpted from Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche’s book Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness — now available from Shambhala Publications. 

About the Author

OCR-sitting-300x300Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition. He studied for nine years at Larung Gar in Serta, eastern Tibet, with his teacher, Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche, who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Dzogchen meditation masters of the twentieth century. Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the founder and spiritual director of Pristine Mind Foundation. He travels throughout the United States and around the world teaching a broad range of audiences—including those at universities, tech companies, and yoga studios—how they can improve their lives through meditation. Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is the author of Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness — now available from Shambhala Publications.


  1. Ronnie says

    I had the good fortune this past summer to attend a weekend retreat with Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche hosted by The Shambhala Mountain Center in colorful Colorado. Having had met his teacher Jigmed Phuntsok again at the Shambhala Mountain Center
    around 1996 ish and having recently been introduced to the Dzogchen teachings I sensed it would be good to check him out. And yes such a wonderful weekend it was. Would recommend reading his book titled Our Pristine Mind. A simple and easy to read guide for meditation and a beginning to understand how to approach our pristine mind. Thank you kind sir and looking forward to our paths crossing again.

    With warm regards,

  2. How fortunate to have a genuine connection to the teachings of the Gautama Buddha through the writings and the visits of Orgyen Chowang, Rinpoche. Thank-you for such personal efforts in accomplishing the seemingly impossible training in the Buddha’s rules of law and of being and in keeping alive the Buddhist tradition in the New World — a system introduced so long ago, more than 2500 years ago in northern India.

    csa 12/10/16 Johnstown, Colorado, USA

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