using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 70 Nirvana is nothing imported from somewhere else Samsara is nothing deported to somewhere else I’ve discovered for sure the mind is the buddha... From the point of view of the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions of Vajrayana Buddhism, there is nothing within samsara—our state of dualistic confusion—to be relinquished, discarded, or left behind. And nirvana—the state of enlighten- ment—is not a place we go to from here. It is not a place found outside of where we are right now. If we wanted to renounce samsara, leave it behind physically, where would we go? To the International Space Station, the moon, or Mars? We would still be within samsara. So how can we leave samsara behind? What we are trying to leave behind is duality, the mind of confu- sion, our perpetual state of suffering. Physically, yes, you can leave your hometown and go to some secluded place such as a moun- tain cave or a monastery. Your body will be somewhere else, but will your mind be in a different state? How your mind functions when you are in a mountain cave, a monastery, or at home is what determines whether you are in the state of samsara or nirvana. According to the Vajrayana teachings, enlightenment is right here within our mind’s nature. That nature is what we are trying to discover and connect with. It is what we are trying to recog- nize, realize, and perfect. The entire journey on this path is trying to discover the nature of our mind as it is. How can we recognize this nature of mind? The experience of awakening, of complete enlightenment, can be arrived at through many different methods. The methods of the three vehicles of Bud- dhism—the Hinayana, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana—all lead to the same goal. The difference is not in the result achieved but in the time it takes to reach that result and in the methods used. Only the Vajrayana is said to possess the methods that can lead to the re- alization of the true nature of mind in one lifetime. In the Vajrayana liturgy, this way of achieving the state of wakefulness is called attaining “complete enlightenment in one instant.” When we take the instructions to heart, when we employ the methods prop- erly, stage by stage, and when we focus on the path and do not drift on to any sidetracks, this awakening can take place in any minute. One moment we can be a totally confused, ordinary sentient being, and the next we can be a completely enlightened being. This out- rageous but very realistic notion is known as sudden enlightenment, or “wild awakening.” The Path of Devotion The tantric path is sometimes known as the path of devotion. With the eye of devo- tion—toward our guru, our lineage, and our instructions—we can see the true nature of mind. What role does the guru play in our journey to find enlightenment? On the one hand, it is said that en- lightenment is right there within you, and on the other hand, it is said that there is no enlightenment without devotion to the guru or lineage of enlightened masters. It sounds a little contradictory. Why is devotion so important? How does it work? Devo- tion is a path, a skillful means through which you develop basic trust—trust in your own enlightened heart, trust that your mind is totally, utterly pure and has been right from the beginning. Trusting in that truth is what devotion is. You come to see the truth of your own enlightened heart through the guru and the lineage. Your relationship with your guru is personal, yet it is also beyond the personal. It is so close that you feel like you can con- trol it, yet at the same time you realize it is beyond your control. It is similar to your ordinary relationships—with your spouse, friends, and family—yet it goes beyond them. If you can work with the relationship with the guru, it opens a door to working with every relationship in the world. It becomes a great vehicle for transforming your negative emotions and suffering. The point here is that the guru simply plays the role of a mir- ror. When you look in a mirror, your own face is reflected back to you. The mirror does not reflect itself. It shows you whether your face is clean or dirty or if you need a haircut. The mirror is unbi- ased; it reflects positive and negative qualities equally clearly. In the same way, when you look at the guru with devotion, you see both your positive and negative qualities. You see your failures, your struggles, your disturbing emotions arising, just as you see dirt on your face in an ordinary mirror. At the same time, you see beyond the surface impurities—which can simply be washed away. You see your true face, your actual reality, which is the perfectly pure nature of your mind. What happens, though, if you are sitting in front of the mirror in a room that is dark? The mirror still possesses the potential to reflect, and you still possess all those qualities to be reflected. But if there is no light, you could sit there in the dark for ages and nothing would happen. You would never see anything. Therefore, it is not enough just to sit in front of the mirror. You need to turn on the light. In this case, the light is the light of devotion. When this light is on, and when the mirror of the guru is in front of you, you can see the reflection of your own nature of mind very clearly and precisely—yet in a nonconceptual way. That is the role of the guru and the lineage in our enlightenment. The guru is not the creator of your enlight- enment. He or she is simply a condition for attaining your own enlightenment. The mirror does not turn on the light for you. It does not bring you into the room and tell you to sit in front of it. It doesn’t say, “Look here!” The mirror is just a mir- ror occupying a certain space. You have to MAY 68-73.indd 70 MAY 68-73.indd 70 3/6/08 11:32:44 AM 3/6/08 11:32:44 AM