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Lions Roar : May 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2006 100 theory. This declares that the fundamen- tal nature of mind is utterly pure and pri- mordially in the state of buddhahood. It is the absolute buddha. It has never changed from beginningless time. Its essence is wis- dom and compassion that is inconceivably profound and vast. The term tathagata is an epithet for the Buddha and refers to one who has “gone beyond” the ordinary world to the state of perfect enlighten- ment. Garbha is sometimes translated as “womb” or “seed.” Thus, tathagatagarbha points to the enlightened potential that is inherent within all sentient beings, wheth- er they exist as humans, animals, gods, or even demons. However, this potential is covered over by certain temporary obscurations, in the same way that the sun may be temporarily con- cealed by clouds. Therefore we do not ap- prehend it directly. Instead, we see only what is perceptible by means of our dualistic con- sciousness: a stream of sense perceptions, mental constructs, thoughts, and emotions that arise and dissolve ceaselessly. It is these appearances of relative phenomena that obscure the direct recognition of the open, brilliant, and dynamic reality of genuine mind. Nevertheless, our buddhanature itself has never been diminished by the presence of such adventitious phenomena, just as the sun itself is never diminished by the pres- ence of clouds. Indicative and Definitive Meanings The third turning is called the dharma- chakra of thorough distinction because, at this time, Buddha made clear distinctions between his various statements. He divid- ed them into indicative statements and de- finitive statements, or statements relating to relative truth and absolute truth. State- ments with “indicative meaning” are those that indirectly indicate the path to awak- ening without being a direct or definitive statement of the final nature of awakening. These statements are not misleading; they lead you in the right direction in a man- ner that is appropriate to your particular concerns at that time. For example, in his Three Turnings continued from page 47