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Lions Roar : January 2011
37 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2011 accOrdIng tO the Buddha,our freedom is never in question. We’re born free. the true nature of the mind is enlightened wisdom and compassion. Our mind is always brilliantly awake and aware. nevertheless, we’re often plagued by painful thoughts and the emotional unrest that goes with them. We live in states of confusion and fear from which we see no escape. Our problem is that we don’t see who we truly are at the deepest level. We don’t recognize the power of our enlightened nature. We trust the reality we see before our eyes and accept its validity until something comes along—an illness, accident, or disappointment—to disillusion us. then we might be ready to question our beliefs and start searching for a more meaningful and lasting truth. Once we take that step, we’re starting off on the road to freedom. On this road, what we free ourselves from is il- lusion, and what frees us from illusion is the dis- covery of truth. to make that discovery, we need to enlist the powerful intelligence of our own awake mind and turn it toward our goal of expos- ing, opposing, and overcoming deception. that is the essence and mission of “rebel buddha”: to free us from the illusions we create by ourselves, about ourselves, and from those that masquerade as re- ality in our cultural and religious institutions. the word buddha simply means “awake” or “awakened.” It does not refer to a particular historical person or to a philosophy or religion. It refers to your own mind. you know you have a mind, but what’s it like? It’s awake. I don’t just mean “not asleep.” I mean your mind is really awake, beyond your imagination. your mind is brilliantly clear, open, spacious, and full of excellent qualities: unconditional love, com- passion, and wisdom that sees things as they truly are. In other words, your awakened mind is always a good mind; it’s never dull or confused. It’s never distressed by the doubts, fears, and emotions that so often torture us. Instead, your true mind is a mind of joy, free from all suffering. that is who you really are. that is the true nature of your mind and the mind of everyone. But your mind doesn’t just sit there being perfect, doing nothing. It’s at play all the time, creat- ing your world. If this is true, then why isn’t your life, and the whole world, perfect? Why aren’t you happy all the time? how could you be laughing one minute and in despair the next? and why would “awakened” people argue, fight, lie, cheat, steal, and go to war? the reason is that, even though the awakened state is the true nature of the mind, most of us don’t see it. Why? something is in the way. something is blocking our view of it. sure, we see bits of it