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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 71 enter the room, turn on the light, walk toward the mirror, and look into it. So who is doing the job here? It’s us. We are activat- ing this relationship. Some traditions say that you have to be passive to receive divine grace or to have mystical experiences, but here it is the opposite. To invoke the blessing of the lineage, you have to be active. Everything is done by you; the guru is simply a condition, a mirror, that you have chosen to keep in your room. That mirror did not mysteri- ously land there, you know. You selected it and placed it there through your own efforts. The lineage instructions are also not the creator of your en- lightenment. They are simply another condition. They are power- ful and profound tools, which you must employ. Instructions are like directions for getting where you want to go. The instructions, the directions, play an important role, but not more important than your own role in initiating and taking the journey. You play the more active role on the path. You act on the directions. They give you all the information you need—which way is the safest, which is a little bit risky, and which is the fastest but most hazard- ous. However, if you take no action, then eons from now you will still be wandering around without reaching your destination. We have full power to decide the course of our personal journey. This is the Buddhist view. Even from the perspective of Mahamudra and Dzogchen, you are the center of the path and your enlight- enment depends on your own effort. It does not depend on anyone or anything outside of you. Using Mind to Discover the True Nature of Mind The basic nature of our mind, and the basic nature of all phe- nomena that we perceive as being external to our mind, is lumi- nous emptiness. In other words, all forms, sounds, and so on, as well as all thoughts and emotions, are appearing yet empty, empty yet appearing. There are various approaches to discover- ing this nature of mind that is with us all the time. From the Mahamudra-Dzogchen point of view, we first look directly at the appearances of thoughts and emotions and ascer- tain their emptiness. Their nature of appearance-emptiness is easy to see, because such mental forms are fleeting and insub- stantial. Once this is seen with confidence, then we look at exter- nal appearances. Having penetrated the nature of thoughts and emotions, seeing the true nature of the outer world—the exter- nal objects that appear to our sense consciousnesses—is much easier. We see that they are equally empty. In the Hinayana and Mahayana approach, the order is re- versed. We first focus our analysis outside and ask: How is form empty? How is sound empty? How is smell empty? and so on. Through reasoning, we discover that the true nature of all these forms is emptiness. Once we find that the nature of all perceived objects is empty, we conclude that the nature of the perceiving subject is naturally empty as well. Subject and object exist only in dependence upon one another. From the Vajrayana point of view, it is easier and more straightforward to analyze your mind first. Your own mind is PHOTOSBYKÜNCHOKLHAMO MAY 68-73.indd 71 MAY 68-73.indd 71 3/6/08 11:32:46 AM 3/6/08 11:32:46 AM