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Lions Roar : November 2014
the third method is to allow samsara to manifest and imme- diately recognize that it is the expression or display of primordial wisdom. this is the approach in the Dzogchen and mahamudra meditation traditions of vajrayana Buddhism. in Dzogchen practice, the most important thing is the rec- ognition of inner space, or emptiness. if you can practice this, then whatever phenomena of samsara arise are dissolved into wisdom mind. For this to happen, your recognition of mind nature has to be unwavering. if you can achieve this, then anything that arises your mindstream—any emotions, thoughts, likes, dislikes, perceptions of good and bad, and so on—is naturally released without effort. the problem is that when phenomena arise from confusion and ignorance, they dominate your perception and the result is suffering. However, habitual negative emotions like fear can be naturally liberated by allowing them to dissolve into the inner space of mind. you can do this because the essence of these habitual emotions is actually wisdom. the key point is to let go of the grasping within the emotion and see its true nature. When habitual emotions arise, you neither suppress nor get caught up in them. you do not get carried away by clinging to self and other. if you just allow the emotion to dissolve, the energy trapped within it is released and blossoms as wisdom. With continued practice in the true nature of mind, you can develop strong self-knowing awareness so that it naturally alchemizes negative emotions into their essence. When phenom- ena arise, they are self-liberated because your ego identity and con- ceptual mind have finally retired. then the true nature of mind, which is wisdom, lets them resolve into inner space naturally. in Dzogchen, this is called the “great ease,” in which even the concept of death is a joke, just another phenomenon that is ultimately empty. you have gone through a secret door of sorts: everything that was hidden from you by conceptual mind and ego fixation is revealed. you realize it has been completely acces- sible and present all the time as your basic nature. true mind nature does not act, do anything, modify, or func- tion as some subtle antidote to phenomena. it is simply open space and luminosity in union. if you throw colored chalk pow- der into the air, it has nothing to hold onto or cling to. it natu- rally falls to the ground. it is not like space does anything. it is simply how space is. the true nature of mind is like that. there are progressive unfoldings in Dzogchen, as you deepen your experience of wisdom mind and learn to liberate habits with- out effort. the stage of self-lib- eration is compared to throwing chalk into space. Liberation upon arising is like making a drawing on water, and liberation beyond benefit and harm is like a thief entering an empty house. When you reach this last level, everything that arises is seen as friendly and you are completely carefree. you do not need to accept, reject, or change any- thing. all appearances are real- ized as pure wisdom phenomena, arising spontaneously as com- passionate energy from the unity of absolute and relative truth. this natural liberation of thoughts and emotions is based on a non-conceptual recogni- tion of inner space. you know that the essence of any afflictive emotion is pure wisdom and that thoughts in themselves are empty. this gives you a deep sense of spacious ease, a carefree feeling. you have confidence that all phenomena can be natu- rally released by themselves without the necessity of an antidote or remedy. you experience the infinite purity that pervades everything. you do not need to eliminate or abandon anything, since it is already pure in essence. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 60