Tuesday, November 3, 2020

What is permanent, unchanging, self-arisen, uncontrived, true ... in our mind and in all phenomena - pure or impure? - 017


What is permanent, unchanging, self-arisen, uncontrived, true ...
in our mind and in all phenomena - pure or impure?


From a conventional / relative point of view,

  • the only thing permanent is impermanence;

  • the only thing unchanging is continual change of everything;

  • the only thing constant is the inconstancy of everything;

  • the only thing absolute is that there is no absolute;

  • the only thing unconditioned is that everything is conditioned / dependently co-arisen;

  • the only thing self-arisen is that everything is not self-arisen;

  • the only thing spontaneous is that everything is dependent on something else;

  • the only thing non-empty is emptiness;

  • the only thing perfect is the imperfection of everything;

  • the only thing unconstructed is the constructed nature of everything;

  • the only thing ground is the groundlessness of everything;

  • the only true basis / ground / source of everything is the Union of the Two Truths about anything & everything, the Union of the three spheres, the Union of opposites, the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle.

From an absolute point of view, the indescribable / inconceivable true nature of reality is beyond all of those dualistics concepts. But, still, we use one opposite or another to point to this inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now. We have no other choice but to use the tools (concepts, dualities …) that we have at the present moment. The important point is to always remember the limits of those tools while using them.

So, we talks about the permanent / unchanging / constant / absolute / unconstructed / unconditioned / uncontrived / naked / self-arisen / non-empty / perfect / pure “nature of the mind / awareness / rigpa” … or of the “pure land” … of the “Buddha nature & qualities” ... but at the same time we talk about the emptiness of this primordial mind / awareness and of its fabrications / displays, and even of the emptiness of emptiness; and the Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves ...

In the end there is nothing to grasp as existing inherently / separately / independently / primordially / absolutely.

No inherent mind / awareness / basis / ground / source; just conventionally, as mere temporary imperfect conceptual dualistic antidotes / pointers / rafts.

And there is always a danger of using temporary imperfect antidotes / remedies; we might become addicted to them; we might grasp at them as the absolute truth / reality; and we might fight others that do not share our "non-conceptual non-dualistic truths / mystical visions" and use all means to try to discredit them, to silence them. We identify with our views.

That is why I think the best pointer to the inconceivable true nature of the mind and of all phenomena,

-- is NOT to say that there is something “permanent, unchanging, self-arisen, uncontrived, unconditioned, uncompounded, illimites, timeless, naked, spontaneous, true ... in our mind / awareness and in all phenomena”;

-- but to say that everything is characterised by the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths, the inconceivable Union of the three spheres, the inconceivable Union of opposites, the inconceivable Middle Way free from all extremes & middle, and to use the tetralemma on all dualistic concepts.

What is left is total freedom from all views. Free from all views, concepts, dualities, but not without them. Being able to use them without grasping at them, without becoming slave to them, without thinking they are existing inherently, universally, separately, independently, absolutely.

So to the question “What is permanent, unchanging, self-arisen, uncontrived, true ... in our mind and in all phenomena - pure or impure?

The answer is this very inconceivable Union of the Two Truths, the inconceivable Union of the three spheres, the inconceivable Union of opposites, the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle, the three inseparable pure kayas / jewels. That is the only thing that is permanent, unchanging, self-arisen, uncontrived, true ... and even that is only our best pointer.

In Dzogchen, it is called the Ground with its three inseparable qualities: essence / emptiness, nature / dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances. and the compassionate energy / dynamism / the Union of essence / emptiness <==> and nature / dependent origination.

(i.e. Logic: This résumé of all Madhyamaka reasonings will be useful to analyse this text:
Union of the Two Truths about any & all dharmas [U2T]:
{All dharmas are not really different / separate / multiple / dual / in opposition or relation, but are more like an inconceivable Union of being empty of inherent existence (2nd truth - not real existence) <==> because of being inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition), equal / non-dual / one (1st truth - not complete non-existence);
they are like illusions / dreams / reflections / rainbows / like the displays of a magical show or cosmic dance of luminosity; in other words, they are appearing but still empty, empty but still appearing; one aspect / truth implies the other (<==>), one aspect / truth proves the other (<==>). This is the King of reasoning; the Union of the Two Truths. [U2T]}
<==> {because of that then they have no real three stages of existence: i. origination / beginning / birth / before / past, ii. duration / middle / life / change / during / present, iii. cessation / ending / death / after / future; they have no real parts, or defining characteristics, or three marks, or functional properties, or qualities;
and so they have no permanence / continuity / eternity, no impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation, or any combination of the two, or neither, between one infinitesimal moment and the next one (valid for any thing, any being, any relation / action), or between two consecutive rebirths for beings, or between samsara and nirvana}
<==> {because of these then they are merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised / categorised / classified by the mind / subject (after the fact) in co-dependence with its conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental; individual, collective, cosmic); in other words, as objects they are inseparable, interdependent, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing, non-dual with the subject / mind -- in the non-dual sense of those terms; ex. subject & object are not different / separate / two / dual / independent, not identical / united / one / non-dual / dependent, not both together, not neither [U3S]}
<==> {because of these then there is no real difference, separation, opposition, relation, dependence, duality between them…, and no real identity / sameness, unity, equality, non-duality, oneness, independence either; there is no inherent / universal / absolute basis for any discrimination between them (acceptation or rejection) or non-discrimination, action or non-action; ex. it is not about accepting one or few opposite(s) while rejecting the other(s), not about accepting all opposites, not about rejecting all opposites [Uopp]}
<==> {because of these then they are not 'this', not 'non-this', not both together, not neither (tetralemma) -- and there is no other possibility -- for whatever dualistic concept ‘this’ is --; meaning their true nature is indescribable, inconceivable, beyond all conceptual proliferations, beyond all extremes & middle; examples, they are
- not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither;
- not inherently existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither;
- not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither;
- not purely objective / physical / body, not purely subjective / mental / mind, not purely relational / process / conceptual / speech, not two or three of them together, not none of them;
- not dependent / caused / produced / functional, not independent / uncaused/spontaneous / unproduced / non-functional, not both together, not neither;
- not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither;
- not dependently co-arisen / interdependent (1st truth), not empty of inherent existence (2nd truth), not both truths together, not neither truth;
- not good / pure / perfect / equal / divine, not bad / impure / imperfect / unequal / ordinary, not both together, not neither;
- not conventional / relative / false, not absolute / universal / true, not both together, not neither;
- not this/that, not non-this/non-that, not both together, not neither.}
<==> {because of these then we say that they are like transparent, uncompounded, self-arisen, unborn, uncreated, unfabricated, unchanging, unceasing, spontaneous displays of the Ground, unobstructed, infinite, timeless, one in naturelessness, primordially equal, pure, perfect, divine, Buddha-nature, Buddhaverse, Dharmata, Suchness, Trikaya … That is the inconceivable indivisible self-arisen Ground / Dharmata. With direct wisdom, everything is transcended / purified / self-liberated into this self-arisen timeless equal pure perfect Ground / the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is in the three times.}
<==> {because of these then the best attitude toward them is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle;
Extremes like: i) existence / realism, ii) non-existence / nihilism, iii) both together / dualism, iv) neither / monism; or extremes like v) subject-only / mind-only / idealism / subjectivism, vi) object-only / naïve realism / objectivism, vii) relation-only / process-only / action-only / relationism / processism, viii) two or three of them together / pluralism, ix) none to them / monism;
so there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do / perceive / know in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do / not-perceive / not-know in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the truth about the true nature of Reality as it is here & now;
so the best attitude is just to let them be, and transcend / purify / self-liberate them by directly perceiving / realising / abiding in their true nature (the Ground); to use them as possible temporary imperfect adapted skillful means while being fully aware of their true essence nature & dynamic, without any fixation / reification, without any illusion about them, without being fooled by them, without any grasping, without any attachment, without any di-vision between subject action & object, without becoming slave to them, while being totally free from them not without them}
All dharmas are like that. Everything in all Madhyamaka teachings comes down to these reasonings. Together they are like a self-arisen indestructible vajra; one facet supported by the others. Together they point to the Ground, and generate 'certainty' about the view, path and fruition.)


"What was your original face before parents were even born?"

"What is the true face of phenomena before ...?"

Wikipedia: The original face is a term in Zen Buddhism, pointing to the nonduality of subject and object. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_face 


Returning to that place where you started with ~ 17th Karmapa

In terms of the nature of mind, the TRUE NATURE, I don't know what I could say about that. It's just there. Usually we think of the true nature of mind as something really high, and although I haven't done a lot of practice in relation to the true nature of mind, if I speak from my own experience of this, I could say that eventually we will return to what we were bored with in the beginning and discover that was it.

So we start off by thinking that what we have right now is too simple, too ordinary. The true nature of mind must be something special, something high, something prettier than what we have now. And what we have now doesn't really satisfy our desires, it's not very attractive to us, but if you put some serious effort into your practice, then eventually I think that recognizing the true nature of mind means returning to that place where you started with — your boring unattractive, not new, not high, mental state — and actually recognize that it has been what you're looking for.

– 17th Karmapa



The only constant of relative reality ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

Whatever or whoever made us happy today, this month, or this year is bound to change. Change is the only CONSTANT of relative reality.

– Mingyur Rinpoche

from the book "The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness"




One’s own mind, which is the union of emptiness and clarity, embodying the essential nature (EMPTINESS -- 2nd truth), natural expression (ENERGY, UNIMPEDED EXPRESSION -- Union of the Two Truth), and compassion (FUNCTIONALITY -- 1st truth), present from the very beginning (PRIMORDIAL), is the nature of the Three Jewels (inseparable pure three kayas / gems).

In order to realize that, one adopts the causal refuge or, most importantly, rather than looking for refuge elsewhere (for it is spontaneously present within oneself), one settles naturally in the UNCONTRIVED, UNCHANGING state of one’s own mind without adopting or rejecting anything (Middle Way free from all extremes & middle). This is the resultant refuge. The Accomplishment of Wisdom says:

The mind FREE of anything to be purified and anything to be attained is the Buddha,

Its UNCHANGING nature, free from stains, is the Dharma,

Its qualities, SPONTANEOUSLY COMPLETE AND PERFECT, are the Sangha.

For this reason it is the nature of one’s own mind that is supreme.

Regarding the etymology of the term “Jewels” in this context, the word “Jewel” (ratna in Sanskrit) was translated as “rare and supreme” on account of its preciousness and its six analogous features, as presented in the Sublime Continuum:

Because they occur rarely, are flawless,

Have power, are an ornament for the world,

Are supreme, and do not change,

They are indeed rare and supreme.

These six features analogous to those of a jewel are explained as follows:

  1. The Three Jewels’ occurrence is RARE because beings in the world who have not given rise to sources of good will not come across them even in many, many kalpas.

  2. They are IMMACULATE because they are entirely unstained by faults.

  3. They are POWERFUL because they possess inconceivably powerful qualities such as the six kinds of preternatural knowledge, and can therefore dispel the troubles of the world.

  4. They ORNAMENT the world because they are the source of all beings’ positive wishes.

  5. They are supreme, SUPERIOR to counterfeit jewels, because they have supramundane qualities.

  6. They are UNCHANGING, UNAFFECTED by circumstances such as praise or criticism, because theirs is the UNCOMPOUNDED ABSOLUTE NATURE.

The Three Jewels’ excellent qualities can also be found in greater detail in texts such as the Sutra Remembering the Three Jewels.

- Dudjom Rinpoche - A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom

Note: The causal refuge are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha that already exist. ... The resultant refuge is the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha that we ourselves will become in the future.




Since each of these [constructs] is negated.

It is also NOT BOTH, (& NOT NEITHER)

Since existing and not existing are a contradiction.

It is not a living being

Nor other than living beings.


This is how I have established the ultimate:

“Mind is based on space,” as it is said.


Perceives (FUNCTIONAL) while EMPTY, and while empty it perceives.

Experience and emptiness are therefore indivisible (UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS),

Like the analogy of the moon in water.

This is how I have established nonduality:

“Space is not based on anything,” as it is said.


Is itself the very basis of samsara.

Nirvana as well is also just this.

The Great MIDDLE WAY is also just this.

[GROUND:] That to be seen is also just this.

[PATH:] That to train in is also just this.

[FRUITION:] That to attain is also just this.

The valid truth is also just this.

The renowned threefold tantras

Of basic CAUSE [GROUND], method [PATH], and result [FRUITION],

And what is known as ground, path, and fruition,

Are just different situations of this.

The basic consciousness, the all-ground,

And all possible aggregates in samsara,

Are known as the ‘dependent,’ and so forth.

-- Naropa



[The GROUND is the permanent, unchanging, self-arisen, uncontrived, true ... basis of reality -- subject / mind, relation / action / process / function, object / phenomena / world --, of samsara & nirvana:]

The three qualities of the Ground / Being / Reality in Dzogchen:

1 Its essence is emptiness (2nd truth);

2) its nature is luminosity / cognizance / appearances (1st truth);

these two are inseparable ("shadowless luminosity") = Union of the Two Truths.

3) That is expressed as the third quality of the ground: its unimpeded energy, capable of spontaneously manifesting anything ("the play of the universe", "neither real nor unreal", "Being accommodates everything") = the inseparability / harmony of the two truths.


Essence of mind ~ Mipham Rinpoche 

What we call “essence of mind” is the actual face of UNCONDITIONED pure awareness, which is recognised through receiving the guru’s blessings and instructions. 

If you wonder what this is like,

it is EMPTY in essence, beyond conceptual reference;

it is COGNISANT by nature, spontaneously present;

and it is all-pervasive and UNOBSTRUCTED in its compassionate energy.

This is the rigpa in which the three kayas are inseparable 

(i.e. The Union of the three pure kayas).

-- Mipham Rinpoche



The most important attitude and practice ~ Kalu Rinpoche 

The essence of the Lama or Buddha is EMPTINESS;

their nature, CLARITY;

their appearance, the play of UNIMPEDED awareness.

Apart from that they have no real material form, shape or colour, whatsoever – like the EMPTY LUMINOSITY of space. 

When we know them to be like that we can develop faith, merge our minds with theirs, and let our minds rest peacefully. This attitude and practice are most important.

-- Kalu Rinpoche



Emptiness and dependent origination ~ 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche 

Mind is by its very nature EMPTY,

yet APPEARANCES ARISE from it without obstruction.

Out of the UNOBSTRUCTED emptiness of mind the whole range of appearances can manifest without limit.

On a RELATIVE level, phenomena manifest through dependent origination; this is inseparable from the emptiness of mind, which is the ULTIMATE level.

Freedom from extremes is realizing that emptiness and dependent origination are ONE (UNION) and do not contradict each other.

Confusion lies neither in the appearance of things, nor in the fact that they are manifested by mind, but in one’s own misunderstanding of the emptiness and luminosity of mind.

-- 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche



In the moment of love ~ 3rd Karmapa 

The play of overwhelming compassion being UNOBSTRUCTED,

In the moment of love the empty essence dawns nakedly.

May we constantly practice day and night,

The supreme path of unity (Union of the Two Truths), devoid of errors (The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle).

-- 3rd Karmapa



Everything is mutually interpenetrating ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche 

All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid. 

The whole universe is open and UNOBSTRUCTED 

– everything is mutually interpenetrating.

-- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche



From: Flight of the Garuda by Keith Dowman

SONG SEVEN: Assertion of our Intrinsic Buddhahood.

EHMAHO! Once more listen attentively, my noble sons and daughters.

a) THE THREE MODES of buddha's being -- essence, nature and responsiveness --

b) and THE FIVE MODES of being, as well as the FIVE ASPECTS of primal awareness,

all are completed and perfected in the naturally LUMINOUS intrinsic awareness of the here and now.



1. The ESSENCE of Awareness, indefinable by any term such as colour, shape or other attribute, is the DHARMAKAYA;

2. the inherent RADIANCE of emptiness is the light of the SAMBHOGAKAYA;

3. and the UNIMPEDED MEDIUM in which all things manifest is the NIRMANAKAYA.

THE THREE MODES are explained figuratively like this:

1. the dharmakaya is a crystal mirror (EMPTINESS);

2. the sambhogakaya is its nature -- brilliant CLARITY;

3. and the nirmanakaya is the UNOBSTRUCTED medium in which the reflection appears. (Union clarity <==> emptiness)

From the first, people's minds have existed as these three modes of being. If they are able to RECOGNIZE THIS SPONTANEOUSLY, it is unnecessary for them to practise even so much as a moment of formal meditation -- the awakening to Buddhahood is instantaneous.

In this introduction to the three modes they are defined separately. In truth, my heart-children, do not fall into the error of believing them to be separate, belonging to different continuums.


From the beginning, the three modes of being are empty and utterly pure. Understanding them as a single essence that is the union of radiance and emptiness, conduct yourself in a state of detachment. 




Understanding these three as the mystic UNION OF EMPTINESS AND RADIANCE (UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS), conduct yourself in a state of detachment.



1. Further, since the primal awareness of self-existing Awareness manifests everything whatsoever, this awareness is the pure-being of the Creator, Vairocana;

2. since it is unchanging and unchangeable, it is the pure-being of Immutable Diamond, Aksobhya-vajra;

3. since it is without centre or circumference, it is the pure-being of Boundless Light-form, Amitabha;

4. since it is also the gem that is the source of supreme realization and relative powers, it is the pure-being of the Fountain of Jewels, Ratnasambhava;

5. since it accomplishes all aspiration, it is the pure-being of the Fulfiller of All Ambition, Amoghasiddhi.

These deities are nothing but the creative power of Awareness.

1. The primal awareness of Awareness is mirror-like awareness because of the manifest clarity of its unobstructed essence.

2. It is awareness of sameness because it is all-pervasive.

3. It is discriminating awareness because the entire gamut of diverse appearances is manifest from its creativity.

4. It is the awareness that accomplishes all actions because it fulfils all our ambition.

5. It is awareness of the reality-continuum, the dharmadhatu, because the single essence of all these aspects of awareness is primal purity.

Not so much as an atom exists apart from these which are the creativity of intrinsic Awareness.

When a pointed finger introduces you directly and immediately to the three modes -- essence, nature and responsiveness -- and the Five Buddhas and the five aspects of awareness, all together, then what is experienced is brilliant, awakened Awareness unaffected by circumstance and uninfluenced by clinging thought; it is cognition of the here and now, unstructured and unaffected.

All the Buddhas of the three aspects of time arise from this Awareness. Constantly identify yourselves with it, beloved sons and daughters, because this is the spirituality of all the Buddhas of the three aspects of time.

Awareness is unstructured, natural RADIANCE your own mind, so how can you say that you cannot see the Buddha?

There is nothing at all to meditate upon in it, so how can you complain that meditation does not arise?

It is manifest Awareness, your own mind, so how can you say that you cannot find it?

It is a stream of unceasing radiant wakefulness, the face of your mind, so how can you say that you cannot see it?

There is not so much as a moment of work to be done to attain it, so how can you say that your effort is unavailing?

Centred and dispersed states are two sides of the same coin, so how can you say that your mind is never centred?

Intrinsic Awareness is the spontaneously originated three modes of being, which is achieved without striving, so how can you say that your practice fails to accomplish it?

It is enough to leave the mind in a state of non-action, so how can you say that you are incapable of attaining it?

Your thoughts are released at the moment of their inception, so how can you say that the antidotes were ineffective?

It is cognition of the here and now, so how can you say you do not perceive it?



The Life and Liberation of the Mind -- Patrul Rinpoche


Mind itself has always been without substance.

It is not seen by looking, but is EMPTINESS.

It is not a void, but is COGNIZANT and clear.

This INSEPARABLE AWARENESS and EMPTINESS is pervasive like space.

You can steady it, but it moves aimlessly and unimpededly.

You can set it in motion, but it returns to its own natural state. Even without arms and legs, it runs about everywhere.

In motion, it does not disappear but returns to its own place.

Even without eyes, it sees everything.

But the experience of seeing turns into emptiness.

You cannot pinpoint any essence of mind,

And yet thoughts and impressions still arise.

It is NOT EXISTENT because it turns into emptiness.

It is NOT NON-EXISTENT because it thinks, sees and experiences.

The radiance of the UNION OF APPEARANCE AND EMPTINESS blazes.

The self-radiance of EMPTY YET COGNIZANT dharmakāya is clear.

Complete with the five wisdoms, it radiates fully.

The primordially pure natural state is spontaneously present,

The kāyas and pure realms appear without obstruction,

And the mother and child luminosities merge as one.

The natural state of mind, which is like this,

Have you realized it, all you realized ones?

Have you understood it, all you great meditators?

Put this into practice, all you yogis! ​

- Patrul Rinpoche


Within Dharmakāya,

1) which is Appearance-Emptiness nondual,

2a) one experiences Samsara and Nirvana as one.

2b) When sentient beings and Buddhas merge,

One has perfected ONE-TASTE.

- Milarepa


From: A Brief Presentation of View, Meditation and Action - Yangthang Rinpoche

... Therefore, clarity and emptiness are an inseparable unity.

Since they're not different, but of a single taste,

There's no duality of something seen and one who sees it,

This is ‘seeing’ in a non-dual way.

Hence it is called ‘self-knowing rigpa.’

The mind sees itself by itself.

In the experience of the single taste of clarity and emptiness,

Good and bad — saṃsāra and nirvāṇa — are of equal taste.

Thus, ‘saṃsāra and nirvāṇa’ are not different.

This is the Great Perfection, Dzogpachenpo. ...



Primordially pure ~ Dudjom Rinpoche 

From the very beginning, awareness has never been established as being material and having characteristics that can be conceptualized, because its essence is PRIMORDIALLY PURE, sublime, all-pervasive emptiness. The ocean of realms of phenomena of existence and enlightenment naturally manifest as the display of UNOBSTRUCTED emptiness, like the sun and its rays. Therefore, awareness is neither partial nor a completely empty void because its nature is the supreme SPONTANEOUS presence of wisdom and noble qualities.

-- Dudjom Rinpoche

from the book Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche's Heart Advice




Mind, which is like lightning, a breeze, or passing clouds, is coloured by its various thoughts of everything under the sun,

but when examined thoroughly is found to lack a basis or origin.

Just like a mirage on the horizon, it is devoid of essential nature.

While being empty, it appears; and while appearing, it is empty.

(i.e. Union of clarity / luminosity / radiance / clear light / cognizance / functionality / dependent co-origination / relativity <==> and emptiness / absolute.

Everything, including the mind and its natural fabrications, is empty <== because dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances; and dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances <== because empty of inherent existence. One aspect implies the other (<==>). Union of the Two Truths. So it is not about rejecting its natural fabrications to abide in a pure blank-cosmic-mind; that would be impossible. It is not about rejecting "life" but about realising its already pure / perfect / divine nature.

A mind is at peace, not when it is blank / dead, but when there is no more confusion, not more grasping at / desiring this or fearing / hating that ... because it is fully aware of the true nature of Reality as it is here & now while acting / living.)

~ Mipham Rinpoche



The Nature of Mind Is the Non-Duality of Luminosity and Emptiness -- Khenpo Sodargye 

"Ultimately, the nature of mind is not just emptiness. Rather it is the non-duality of luminosity and emptiness. The rainbow in the sky or the moon’s reflection in the water may look real, but their illusory nature is actually empty—while in the emptiness they absolutely appear. This is the ultimate reality realized through practicing on the master’s pith instructions. And once realized, one can be called an enlightened being—one who has attained liberation and is free from all suffering. ...

The nature of the mind cannot be understood as mere emptiness or nothingness. It’s the non-duality of luminosity and emptiness. Luminosity was the main subject of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s third turning of the wheel of Dharma. It means that although the mind has no intrinsic existence, its nature is clarity, so we can see whatever we see and hear whatever we hear.

As said in a sutrayana scripture:

The mind is devoid of mind

For the nature of mind is clear light.

Also from the King of Samadhi Sutra, it can be known that the mind is just like an empty shell:

The reflection of the moon appears

On the surface of a still clear lake,

Yet the reflection has no intrinsic existence—

Such is the nature of all things.

Just as the reflection of the moon has no intrinsic nature, but it undoubtedly appears on the water. Like the rainbow, in the moment of appearing, it is empty; while in the emptiness it absolutely appears. Our mind is the same—although it’s appearing, its nature is empty. So the mind’s nature is to be the non-duality of emptiness and luminosity, which is the utmost reality.

In order to realize these words, one should practice according to the pith instructions from the master. Throughout history, there’re many great masters—monastics and lay practitioners—in India and Tibet, who have achieved such a realization. Thus, they can be called mahasiddhas, the ones who have attained liberation from all suffering of samsara."

See video



“As it was before so it is later — The immutable suchness

The luminous clarity that is the nature of mind

Is IMMUTABLE like space.

It is UNDISTURBED by adventitious defilements

Such as attachments that arise from the imagination of the unreal ...

The basic element is empty of those adventitious [phenomena] that have the character of separability 

But not empty of the UNEXCELLED PROPERTIES that have the character of inseparability.”

- Maitreya/ Asanga, Uttaratantra Sastra


"In brief, from the beginning, awareness has never existed as a substantial entity with elaborated characteristics (EMPTINESS), its nature is primarily pure, void, vast, and all-pervasive.

As the RADIANCE (CLARITY / FUNCTIONALITY) of voidness is unobstructed, the ocean of phenomena of samsara and nirvana appears spontaneously, like the sun and its rays; thus awareness is not a blank nothingness, totally void, for its NATURAL EXPRESSION is the great spontaneous presence of the qualifies of primordial wisdom."

(i.e. Primordial awareness: Union of CLARITY / luminosity / radiance / clear light / cognizance / functionality / dependent co-origination / relativity <==> and EMPTINESS / absolute. Union of the Two Truths.)

- Kabjye Dudjom Rinpoche - On The Path to Enlightenment by Matthieu Ricard


The two levels of mental obscuration ~ Kalu Rinpoche

Buddhist texts do not exaggerate when they say that our greatest enemy is clinging to a self. Why? We are caught in a situation where mind is incapable of directly experiencing its own essential emptiness, and instead posits a SELF that must be sustained. We thus develop all the needs and wants that must be gratified in order to maintain such a self. Suffering comes from the endless search to satisfy that which cannot be satisfied. "I'' leads to "I am" which leads to "I want" and so on. 

1. The fundamental level of ignorance, // THE FIRST LEVEL OF OBSCURATION // in the mind, is the mind's inability to recognize its own nature. Moreover, mind is not simply EMPTY. It has another aspect, its CLARITY, which is its ability to experience all sensory impressions, thoughts, emotions and ideas. 

(i.e. First problem: Ignorance of the mind's true nature. Ignorance of the Union of the Two Truths about the mind itself, and about anything & everything. Union of being dependently co-arisen relatively functional appearance <==> and being empty of inherent existence. Union of clarity / functionality <==> emptiness. Functional but empty, empty but functional. One aspect implies the other (<==>).)

2. Because of fundamental ignorance, this aspect of the mind is also taken to be something different: the OBJECTS we perceive are seen not as expressions of the mind's Clarity, but as existent in and of themselves, separate from the mind (SUBJECT). A dualistic split has occurred between the self (SUBJECT) which is posited, and an OBJECT understood to be separate from it. This duality and the clinging to it is the obscuration of habitual tendencies, // THE SECOND LEVEL OF MENTAL OBSCURATION //. 

(i.e. Second problem: Ignorance of the Union of the three spheres. Union subject / actor / perceiver / knower <==> relation / action / perception / cognition / awareness <==> object / result / perceived / known / apparent world. The three spheres are inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other, <==>), co-defined (one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-contingent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing, in Union / coalescence, equal / non-dual / one -- in the non-dual sense of those terms using the TETRALEMMA: ex. the three -- subject, object and their relation / action -- are not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither.)

Thus in our present situation, we already have a degree of IGNORANCE which causes us to experience a self as something ultimately real (1st problem). 

Further, the Clarity of mind has been distorted into something OBJECTIVE, seen as completely separate from the mind and ultimately real (2nd problem). 

This condition will continue forever if we do not attain Enlightenment. We cannot expect it simply to fade away. On the contrary, if we do not transcend the obscurations which led to this distortion, the state is permanent. It will continue to reinforce itself as long as we do not attain Enlightenment.

(i.e. Third problem, not mentioned here: Ignorance of the Union of opposites.)

(NOTE: For more see the article:

A résumé about the Two Truths &

A résumé about the Union of opposites &

A résumé about the Union of the three spheres

https://www.gilehtblog.com/2020/10/buddhist-logic_18.html )


The Mind Is Like Space ~ 17th Karmapa 

(i.e. Union of clarity <==> and emptiness. = Union of the Two Truths about the mind. Never forget the clarity aspect and fall into the extreme of "mere emptiness" / nihilism.)

The essential nature of the mind is like space. There is no such thing as a mind that truly exists or a mind that is inherently established even though we might find reasonings, scriptures, or experience to the contrary. Mind is empty. Our ordinary mind, however, becomes confused in thinking that things really exist. The nature of our mind is EMPTINESS, but not a blankness, not the result of mere negation: emptiness is also radiant CLARITY, the basis for the appearances of both samsara and nirvana. The mind is like space and it also has a clear and knowing aspect, which allows us to say, “This is space.” Resting in mind’s EMPTY, CLEAR nature, we will be at ease as we move along the path of practice.

– 17th Karmapa

from the book "Music In The Sky: The Life, Art, And Teachings Of The 17Th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje"



Not fabricated, never stained ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The self-arisen wisdom, which is also called bodhichitta, is not something that has been fabricated, a new product created by the conjunction of causes and conditions. It never has changed, never changes, and never will change. The absolute nature remains what it is, perfectly pure, at all times. Even if it appears obscured for impure beings at the start of the path, it has never actually been obscured. If it seems to be a mixture of pure and impure during the course of the path, it in fact always remains pure. And at the time of the result, perfect enlightenment, it is simply the same ground nature made evident and not something new that was not there before. So even though all the hallucinations that make up existence fall like rain from the sky, it cannot affect one's confidence: the kinglike bodhichitta that is the doer-of-everything will never be stained or dampened.

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

from the book "Zurchungpa's Testament"



Unaltered like the pure sky ~ Saraha

Clouds draw water from the ocean to fall as rain on the earth

And there is neither increase nor decrease;

Just so, reality remains unaltered like the pure sky.

– Saraha

Saraha's Dohakosa: The Royal Song



Exposing ourselves to annihilation ~ Pema Chödron

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.

– Pema Chödron

from the book "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times"



Awareness is always present ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

One of the first qualities of buddhanature that my teachers introduced me to was awareness. Awareness is like a thread that runs through every experience we have. Our thoughts and emotions are constantly changing. Our reactions and perceptions come and go. Yet despite these changes, awareness is always present. It is wide open and accommodating like the sky, immeasurably deep and vast like the ocean, and stable and enduring like a massive mountain.

Awareness doesn’t get better when we have an inspired thought or a sublime emotion. It doesn’t get worse when we’re completely neurotic. Awareness just is. It’s not something we do. It’s who we are.

Since awareness is always there, the only thing we need to do is recognize it. We don’t need to improve it, and we couldn’t even if we tried.

The biggest challenge with awareness is that it’s so close, we don’t see it. It’s so ordinary, we don’t believe it. It’s just knowing, effortless presence.

-- Mingyur Rinpoche



The Seven Indestructible Vajra Qualities

“Without any transition in the three times, the essential nature of being is ‘unchanging’, since it does not change into anything else. It is ‘invulnerable’, in that it cannot be injured by anything. It is ‘indestructible’, since it is not destroyed by itself or anything else. It is ‘authentic’, since it abides as the common ground of all samsara and nirvana. It ‘is incorruptible’, since elements of good and bad do not contaminate it. It is ‘stable’, since it is free of vacillation or shifting. It is in all ways ‘unobstructed’, since it is capable of penetrating anything, including subtle obscurations concerning the knowable. It is in all ways ‘invincible’, since no object or condition surpasses it.”

-- Dudjom Lingpa – Nang-jang (A Visionary Account Known as Refining Perceptions) Chapter X – p 122, Padma Publishing









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