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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 69 way down to the ocean. However, when he reaches the ocean, he still doesn’t find his buffalo. It is not in the mountains or at the beach. Why? Because the buffalo is back home in the stable in his yard. In the same way, we search for enlightenment outside our- selves. We search for freedom high up in the mountains of the Himalayas, at peaceful beaches, and in wonderful monasteries, where there are footprints everywhere. In the end, we may find traces of the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa’s enlightenment in the caves where he meditated, or hints of the Indian pandit Naropa’s enlightenment at the bank of the River Ganges. We may find signs of the enlightenment of many individual masters in dif- ferent towns, cities, or monasteries. What we will not find, how- ever, is the one thing we are looking for: our own enlightened nature. We may find someone else’s enlightenment, but it is not the same as finding our own. No matter how much you may admire the realizations of the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and yogis of previous times, find- ing your own freedom inside yourself, your own enlighten- ment, your own wakefulness, is much different. When you have your own realization, it is like finding your own buffalo. Your buffalo recognizes you and you recognize your buffalo. The moment we meet our own buffalo is a very emotional and joyful moment. In order to find our own enlightenment, we have to start right here where we are. We have to search inwardly rather than outwardly. From the Vajrayana point of view, the state of freedom, or enlightenment, is within our mind and has been from beginningless time. Like our buffalo comfortably resting in its stable, it has never left us, although we have developed the idea that it has left home. We think it is now somewhere outside, and we have to find it. With so many footprints lead- ing in different directions, so many possibilities for where it could be, we may start to hallucinate. We might think it was stolen by a neighbor and is gone forever. We start to have all kinds of misconceptions and mistaken beliefs. To summarize this, we can say: There is nothing called “buddha” or “buddhahood” that exists outside of one’s mind. We can say the same for samsara: It does not exist apart from one’s mind. That is why Milarepa sang: PHOTOBYJOSEPHSZOSTAK MAY 68-73.indd 69 MAY 68-73.indd 69 3/6/08 11:32:44 AM 3/6/08 11:32:44 AM