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Lion´s View: Attention on Attention - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.11

The image was generated by the YOU.COM AI image generator on 14.3.2023. The prompt was "Create an image of a person throwing a stick at a lion" (respectively dog).

It seems that AI "understands" (or has seen enough instances of) the different behaviors of lions and dogs when a stick is thrown at them: the lion faces the thrower, the dog will chase after the stick. It was impossible to create a lion image with the lion behaving like a dog.

Sam Harris

Turn attention upon itself

This is (in principle) the kernel of "becoming conscious" in 4 words: the turning around of the mind towards itself. The mind watching itself. The watcher watching the watcher. There are many ways to say it. One older Tibetan metaphor is "A mirror held up against a mirror so that it can see itself" (Source unknown).

It encapsulates what Peter Barth (2007) says "is at the heart of both Mahamudra and Dzogchen". Barth formulates it like this: "Looking with awareness at awareness is at the heart of both Mahamudra and Dzogchen". He uses awareness instead of attention, but it means the same.

(Check out here a clarification of the terms attention and awareness).

The Lion´s view

The thought is for example, beautifully expressed in the "Lion´s view" metaphor.

When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once. (Milarepa, 2021)

This is a wonderful metaphor for "awakening", if one is into that: once one has had a glimpse of this "awareness showing itself to awareness" at a deep level, one will never forget.

Daniel P Brown, in the intro the Tapihritsa´s work "The Six Lamps", describes the Lion´s view like this:

This view...entails taking the limitless, timeless field of awareness itself as the object of meditation, holding the view of the non-dual unbounded wholeness uninterruptedly, moment-by-moment, without looking at anything in particular. In this way, any tendency of the mind to pick out anything in particular is viewed as the activity of the unbounded wholeness itself, in such a way that the view no longer interferes with the direct recognition of the unbounded wholeness that is always right here. (Tapihritsa et al., 2022, p. 4)

The Lion's view as a teaching metaphor for adolescents

TBD: Summarise !


Barth, P. (2007). A Meditation Guide for Mahamudra [PDF]. Mahamudra Meditation Center, Petaluma, USA. (Original work published 1998)

Center for Adolescent Studies. (2021, December 28). Cultivating the Lion Mind: A Mindfulness Metaphor that Sticks | Center for Adolescent Studies. Center for Adolescent Studies | Competent Training for Professionals Working With Adolescents.

Yates (Culadasa), J., & Immergut, M. (2017). The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness. Hay House Uk.

Gebel, T. (2022a). Attention and Awareness - confusion. Till Gebel.

Milarepa. (2021b, July 20). Milarepa: “When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick.” Wildmind. Retrieved 11 September 2022, from

Samaneri Jayasara [Samaneri Jayasāra - Wisdom of the Masters], & Milarepa. (2021, January 25). Milarepa (1) - Selected Pointers and Teachings for Meditation - Tibetan Buddhism - Kagyu [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 11 September 2022, from

The clip with the Lion´s view from the above Youtube video

Tapihritsa. (2022, May 3). The Six Lamps: According to the Zhang Zhung Oral Transmission Lineage of Bon Dzogchen (Daniel P Brown & G. Sonam Gurung, Trans.). Mustang Bon Foundation.

A thought on...

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