[Directly realizing this ‘Union of the three spheres’ is the liberating factor.
Note: We say ‘one’ meaning ‘not many, not one, not both together, not neither’.
But we insist on them being ‘not many” by saying they are ‘one’;
as antidote to our usual position.]
A successful meditation is when subject & object merge, or become one;
when opposites merge, when the Two Truths merge.
(Résumé: The goal of meditation is to directly perceive / realise / abide in the true nature of Reality as it is here & now, or the true nature of our mind. This Reality is indescribable, inconceivable for our flawed conditioned conceptual dualistic mental; it has to be directly perceived / realised / abided in without using our conditioning / karma.
But, still, we use concepts to point to it; concepts like: the Union of the Two Truths, the Union of the three spheres, the Union of opposites, the Middle Way free of all extremes & middle, the tetralemma, the primordial equality / purity / perfection / divinity of everything, etc.
To describe the goal of meditation, we can also say that a successful meditation is when subject and object merge, or when opposites merge, or when the two truths merge. This is exactly the same as the Union of the three spheres, or the Union of the Two Truths, or the Union of opposites, or Union of shamatha & vipashyana.
But, it is not like two different separate things coming together, merging. They have always been inseparable, interdependent, co-dependent, in harmony. The ‘merging’ is in fact the direct perception / realisation that it is so.)
Mind and the object of meditation ~ Thrangu Rinpoche
(The three spheres -- subject, relation/action, object -- merge;
Union of the three spheres: Union subject <==> relation/action <==> object)
The novice meditator feels that there is someone meditating and something that is meditated upon — a mind and an object of meditation. It is by looking again and again into exactly what (subject) it is that meditates (relation / action) and what the object of meditation actually consists of that we find — not intellectually, but in actuality — that they are insubstantial, intangible, and altogether devoid of any true existence (empty of inherent existence because co-dependent, and vice versa).
– Thrangu Rinpoche
from the book "Crystal Clear: Practical Advice for Mahamudra Meditators"
(i.e. A successful meditation is when subject & object merge, become one.
Meaning: when we directly realise their true nature & dynamic.
Indeed, the three spheres -- subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena -- are all three 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝟮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵) <==> because inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, 𝗰𝗼-𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗰𝗼-𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗰𝗼-𝗲𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 (𝟭𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵), co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, equal / pure / perfect / non-dual / one
-- in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither;
not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; ... --.
Meaning their true nature is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all conceptual elaborations, beyond all extremes & middle.
Extremes like: existence / realism, non-existence / nihilism, both together / dualism, neither / monism, subject-only / subjectivism, object-only / objectivism, relation-only / process-only / relationism, etc.
The three spheres, all dharmas, are appearing (1st truth) but still empty (2nd truth),
empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) but still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances. One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>).
That is the 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝘄𝗼 𝗧𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀 -- subject, relation / action, object --, about all dharmas. A Union beyond all extremes & middle.
To understand and then directly realise this is the 'goal' of the path.
This direct wisdom is the liberating factor.)
The indivisibility of the two truths ~ Patrul Rinpoche
(The Two Truths, appearance & emptiness, merge;
Union of the Two Truths: Union appearance / dependent origination <==> emptiness.)
𝗨𝗹𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝘄𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 [Union] 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝘀, but claiming that the relative refers to existence, while on the absolute level things do not exist, will never qualify as the view of the middle way.
When we realize the one genuine nature of the correct relative, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗹𝘆, 𝗯𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝘀 of existing, not existing, permanence and nothingness.
As it says in the Mother Prajnaparamita:
'The real nature of the relative is the real nature of the absolute.'
– Patrul Rinpoche
(i.e. If there is only one thing to understand about Buddhism, it is this.
Everything else is deductible from this one fact about Reality:
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝘄𝗼 𝗧𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝘀 & 𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗮𝘀: that everything is empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) <==> because dependently co-arisen (1st truth), and vice versa. One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>).
These two aspects / truths are themselves inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, ..., in harmony ... <==> thus themselves both empty of inherent existence. Appearing & functional but empty, empty, but still dependently appearing & relatively functional tools.)
From: A Song of Joy ~ Shabkar
(Appearances, the three spheres, & emptiness merge;
Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres.)
All appearances are vast openness,
Blissful and utterly free.
With a free, happy mind
I sing this song of joy.
When one looks toward one’s own mind –
The root of all phenomena –
There is nothing but vivid emptiness,
Nothing concrete there to be taken as real.
It is present and transparent, utter openness,
Without outside, without inside –
An all pervasiveness
Without boundary and without direction.
The wide-open expanse of the view,
The true condition of the mind,
Is like the sky, like space:
Without center, without edge, without goal.
By leaving whatever i experience
Relaxed in ease, just as it is,
I have arrived at the vast plain
That is the absolute expanse.
Dissolving into the expanse of 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀
That has no limits and no boundary,
Everything (𝗼𝗯𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀) I see, everything I hear,
My own mind (𝘀𝘂𝗯𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁), and the sky 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲.
Not once has the notion arisen
Of these being separate and distinct.
In the absolute expanse of awareness
All things are blended into that single taste –
But, relatively, each and every phenomenon is distinctly, clearly seen.
(i.e. not many, not one, not both together, not neither)
from the book The Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin
(i.e. Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle: Union appearances <==> emptiness.
Union of the three spheres free of all extremes & middle: Union subject <==> relation/action <==> object.)
A more fluid sense of identification with other beings ~ Mingyur Rinpoche
(Self & others, or the three levels of organisations -- individual & collective & cosmic -- merge;
Union self <==> other(s); Union individual <==> collective <==> cosmic.)
Clarity, like emptiness, is infinite: it has no limits, no starting point and no end. The more deeply we examine our minds, the less possible it becomes to find a clear distinction between where our own mind ends and other’s begin. As this begins to happen, the sense of difference between "self" and "other" gives way to a gentler and more fluid sense of identification with other beings and with the world around us.
– Mingyur Rinpoche
from the book "The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness"
[i.e. About the true nature of the mind:
[U2T] Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle about the mind:
Union emptiness (2nd truth) <==> clarity / luminosity / cognizance / functionality / conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth):]
It is not just the clarity-emptiness (U2T) of separate individual beings that we need to realise, but the clarity-emptiness of the whole indivisible universe.
It is the true nature of the luminous expanse / Reality / Dharmata / Suchness / Ground.
Indivisible whole & parts, like the ocean & its waves:
Not many, not one, not both together, not neither.)
The Innate Beyond Subject And Object ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
(The three spheres -- subject, relation/action, object -- merge;
Union of the three spheres: Union subject <==> relation/action <==> object)
Phenomena (objects) are the radiance of the innate absolute (Ground);
(Subject) Mind’s nature is the wisdom of the innate absolute (Ground).
The ultimate teacher – 𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗻𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗮 (object) 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱 (subject) 𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲 –
Dwells naturally within myself. Ah ho! What a joy!
-- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
quoted in the book The Tibetan Buddhism Reader
(i.e. The self-arisen Ground is the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres; Union of conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (ex. subject, relation/action, object) <==> and emptiness of inherent existence.)
Mind and thought inseparable / Union ~ Mingyur Rinpoche
The mind itself and the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that arise, abide, and disappear in the mind are equal expressions of emptiness—that is, the open-ended possibility for anything to occur. If the mind is not a “thing” but an event, then all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that occur in what we think of as the mind are likewise events. As we begin to rest in the experience of mind (subject) and thoughts (objects) as inseparable (Union), like two sides of the same coin, we begin to grasp the true meaning of clarity as an infinitely expansive state of awareness.
-- Mingyur Rinpoche
from the book The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
The unity / non-duality / Union of subject & object, Union of coarse and fine ~ Sengcan
Things are objects because there is a subject or mind;
and the mind is a subject because there are objects.
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two (subject & object) are indistinguishable (Union)
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.
Let appearance and awareness be indivisible ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Do not divide appearances (OBJECTS / UNIVERSE) as being there and awareness (SUBJECT) as being here.
Let appearance (objects) and awareness (subject) be indivisible (Union).
-- Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
from the book Vajra Speech: A Commentary on The Quintessence of Spiritual
When we say that the PRIMORDIAL AWARENESS (ABSOLUTE) IS INHERENT OR CO-EMERGENT WITH [ORDINARY] MIND (CONVENTIONAL / RELATIVE), it means it has always been there from the very beginning. There was never any separation from that buddha nature. Without trying to alter this nature in any way, let it arise by itself. This is why it is said that there are no other practices to be done besides practicing on the mind, and why the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teaching are all aimed at the recognition of the nature of mind.”
-- Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche - Commentaries on Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche's 'The Lamp that dispels darkness' Collected Works Vol III pg 689, Shambhala
"conceptual mind and naked awareness arise as a co-emergent unity (Union)"
~ Ŧoƞpa Ɉoƞ
Although ~ Padmasambhava
Although your realization is equal to that of the buddhas', make offerings to the Three Jewels.
Although you have gained mastery over your mind, direct your innermost aims towards the Dharma.
Although the nature of the Great Perfection is supreme, don't disparage other teachings.
Although you have realized that buddhas and sentient beings are equal, embrace all beings with compassion.
Although the paths and bhumis are beyond training and journeying, don't forsake purifying your obscurations through Dharma activities.
Although the accumulations are beyond gathering, don't sever the roots of conditioned virtue.
Although your mind lies beyond birth and death, this illusory body does die, so practice while remembering death.
Although you experience dharmata free from thought, maintain the attitude of bodhichitta.
Although you have attained the fruition of dharmakaya, keep company with your yidam deity.
Although dharmakaya is not some other place, seek the true meaning.
Although buddhahood is not anywhere else, dedicate any virtue you create towards unexcelled enlightenment.
Although everything experienced is original wakefulness, don't let your mind stray into samsara.
Although your mind essence is the awakened one, always worship the deity and your master.
Although you have realized the nature of the Great Perfection, don't abandon your yidam deity.
Those who, instead of doing this, speak foolishly with boastful words only damage the Three Jewels and will find not even an instant of happiness.
from the book "Advice from the Lotus-Born"
(i.e. Why? Because, although everything is empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth).
One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>).
It is because everything is empty that everything works, and vice versa. (Nagarjuna)
The two truths -- appearance & emptiness -- are not contradictory, but in perfect harmony. One implies the other (<==>).
Karma and emptiness are not contradictory, but in perfect harmony. One implies the other (<==>).
The path (virtuous methods) and emptiness (wisdom) are not contradictory, but in perfect harmony. One implies the other (<==>).)
The unity of shamatha and vipashyana ~ 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche
(Shamatha and vipashyana merge;
Union of shamatha <==> vipashyana)
What does it mean to practice shamatha and vipashyana together? Shamatha involves letting the mind rest on an object in a state of concentration. Both mind and object lack ultimate reality. This true nature is present at all times, not only when one achieves insight into it through vipashyana meditation. Maintaining this awareness or insight in shamatha meditation – that is, not separating one-pointedness from awareness — is the unity of shamatha and vipashyana.
When a feeling or thought arises, what does it mean to unite “calmness, movement, and awareness” through shamatha and vipashyana? Let us take the arising of anger as an example. First one notices that anger has arisen and acknowledges it. This corresponds to shamatha or mental calmness, that is, mindfulness which allows one to notice that a feeling has arisen. Based on this, one examines the feeling or thought by means of vipashyana. Calmness, movement, and awareness are the three phases that one examines. Calmness corresponds to the question: “where does the feeling or thought dwell?,” movement to the question: ”where does the feeling or thought go to?,” and awareness to the question: “what is present between the arising and the subsiding of the thought or feeling?” This form of investigation brings one to the realization that the feeling has no real existence.
– 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche
from the book "Cloudless Sky"
The Unity of Shamatha and Vipashyana ~ Tsele Natsok Rangdrol
Shamatha is generally held to mean abiding in the state of bliss, clarity, and non-thought after conceptual thinking has naturally subsided. Vipashyana means to see nakedly and vividly the essence of mind that is self-cognizant, objectless, and free from exaggeration and denigration. Put another way, shamatha is said to be the absence of thought activity, and vipashyana is recognizing the essence of thought.
Numerous other such statements exist, but, in actuality, whatever manifests or is experienced does not transcend the inseparability [Union] of shamatha and vipashyana. Both stillness and thinking are nothing but the display of the mind alone; to recognize your essence at the time of either stillness or thinking is itself the nature of vipashyana.
Shamatha is not to become involved in solidified clinging to any of the external appearances of the six collections, while vipashyana is the unobstructed manifestation of perception. Thus within perception the unity of shamatha and vipashyana is complete.
Vividly recognizing the essence of a thought as it suddenly occurs is shamatha. Directly liberating it within natural mind, free from concepts, is vipashyana. Thus within conceptual thinking shamatha and vipashyana are also a unity.
Furthermore, looking into the essence without solidly following after a disturbing emotion even when it arises intensely is shamatha. The empty and cognizant nakedness within which the observing awareness and the observed disturbing emotion have no separate existence is vipashyana. Thus the unity of shamatha and vipashyana is complete within disturbing emotions as well.
-- Tsele Natsok Rangdrol
quoted in the book Jewels of Enlightenment: Wisdom Teachings from the Great Tibetan Masters
Shamata and vipassana ~ Thrangu Rinpoche
If one practices śamatha meditation without vipaśyanā, one will not be able to understand the true nature of phenomena; one will just be able to rest the mind on something. It is like being on a vacation; one experiences peace on a vacation, but one does not get any lasting results from it.
If you practice vipaśyanā without śamatha, you will not be able to eliminate whatever negativity needs to be eliminated, because vipaśayanā without śamatha is unstable. So even if you have the understanding of vipaśyanā, your mind will be agitated. Therefore you need to have both śamatha and vipaśyanā.
-- Thrangu Rinpoche
from the book The Practice of Tranquillity & Insight: A Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation
Advice for a King ~ Katok Rigdzin Tsewang Norbu
(Opposites -- ex. stillness & movement -- merge;
Union of opposites: Union stillness <==> movement)
Svasti. You might have a hundred or a thousand teachers,
But the one who introduces you to mind’s nature is supreme,
Superior in kindness even to the Buddha —
To the root guru, I bow down in homage.
The very essence of your own mind,
Is entirely beyond arising, ceasing and remaining —
This is what followers of the Great Perfection
Call rigpa, pure and open awareness.
The essence of this approach is none other than
Taking this awareness as the path,
In undistracted, non-meditation —
So, without distraction, sustain the genuine nature.
What we call ‘stillness and movement inseparable (Union)’
Means that in stillness, which is beyond arising,
There is movement, which is beyond cessation —
Stillness and movement, arising and ceasing, are thus inseparable.
Undistracted awareness is the path of the Victorious,
And distraction is the playground of saṃsāra.
So maintain awareness without distraction,
Continuously, both day and night.
The nature of mind is clear light.
Sullying thoughts are to be purified.
But movement must neither be rejected nor indulged.
The stirrings of mind must naturally free themselves.
The source of virtuous action
Is none other than devotion for the guru.
So exert yourself in guru yoga,
And avoid sporadic practice.
There is no limit to what could be said,
But now is the time for essential practice,
So may this short explanation
Cause experience and realization to increase just like the waxing moon.
-- Katok Rigdzin Tsewang Norbu
Transcending both nonduality and duality ~ Chögyam Trungpa
You have to go beyond duality (manyness) and you also have to go beyond non-duality (oneness) at the same time. You have to return to duality: that is the final goal. It is like the ox-herding pictures: finally you return to the world, with a big belly and with the ox behind you. That picture, returning to the world, is the final point. So you have duality; then you discover non-duality because of duality; then you transcend both nonduality and duality because of them.
-- Chögyam Trungpa
from the book The Teacup & the Skullcup: Chogyam Trungpa on Zen and Tantra
Released from all entanglements ~ Sengcan
(Opposites -- ex. stillness & movement, manyness & oneness -- merge;
Union of opposites: Union stillness <==> movement;
Union manyness / duality <==> oneness / non-duality)
To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible (in absolute terms)
in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider motion in stillness
and stillness in motion;
both movement and stillness disappear (are transcended).
When such dualities cease to exist (are transcended)
Oneness itself cannot exist (is transcended).
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.
ENJOYING WITH AWARENESS ~ Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
If we are spiritual practitioners we feel contempt for samsaric situations; we are not seriously or deeply interested in them. This does not mean that we feel disgust for or reject everything. In our life, all is relative. In our life, not everything is how it should be, nonetheless we continue to live. We accept and integrate the various circumstances of life. This is part of our awareness. To accept everything with awareness is different from being completely attached. Some people have an exaggerated liking for this or that: this is attachment. However, it does not mean that if you are a good practitioner you cannot have likings. You can like and enjoy with awareness. In the samsaric condition, we possess five or six senses, and with the senses we enjoy contact with objects. When we see an object, a flower for example, we may like it. We observe its beauty and smell its fragrance. We enjoy looking and smelling. TO ENJOY WITH AWARENESS MEANS TO KNOW THE REAL NATURE OF THE OBJECT (of the three spheres) AND NOT BECOME ATTACHED TO IT (them). In this way, we enjoy without having negative consequences (without creating bad karma). If we are not aware, we become distracted with our liking for the flower; we want to possess the flower and attempt to have it. Thus, attachment increases, releasing all other emotions, with the ensuing negative karma. In brief, if one is aware and undistracted the enjoyment of the senses does not pose any problem. If one is distracted, enjoyment always bears negative consequences, even if things appear joyful and gratifying. For that reason, the teaching says that all is illusion. When we see a nice object and we become attached, we resemble a moth which, attracted by a flame at night, flies into it, burns, and dies.
-- Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
from the book Longchenpa's Advice from the Heart