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Lions Roar : July 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 50 W ILLIAM BLAKE famously wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite, for man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.” That purified perception, looking out into the “immense world of delight” that Blake communicated to us through his paintings and poetry, sounds very much like the sacred vision practiced in Vajrayana Buddhism, the experience of everything around us as a pure land. It is a realm beyond our ordinary senses, yet one which our intuition instinctively recognizes, and which comes upon us from time to time like a gift. How is it that we have become separated from this realm, so much so that spiritu- ality is often thought to be unrelated to sensory experience, or even opposed to it? A Dzogchen poem tells us: “Appearances are not mistaken; error comes through grasp- ing.” In other words, the senses and sense-objects are no problem. Texts such as these describe how mind can either rest in the awakened state of open- ness, clarity, and sensitivity, or suddenly feel afraid of such vastness, seeing itself as sepa- rate. This is said to occur “in the beginning,” but it is taking place at the most subtle and hidden level of our mind at every instant. Through the Gateway of the Senses When we cleanse our perceptions of grasping and attachment, we experience a universe that is infinite, awakened, and full of delight. FRANCESCA FREMANTLE on sight, sound, touch, and other miracles. PHOTO©JERRYN.UELSMANN