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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 72 very clear to you—you know your thoughts and emotions very well and you experience them directly. They are not hidden from you. They are not something you have to discover through analysis. Your emotions and thoughts are right there in front of you, so when you look at them, your examination is experiential. When we analyze a form or sound, or turn our mind to the meta- physics of seeds and sprouts, it is conceptual, an academic exercise. We come to “know,” but our knowing is not direct knowledge. Therefore, from the Mahamudra-Dzogchen point of view, that ap- proach is regarded as indirect analysis. It is not a direct experience. For this reason, the Hinayana and Mahayana stages of the path are called the “causal vehicles.” They cause us to have, or lead us to, the direct experience later. The methods of the causal vehicles will bring us to that experience at some point, but not right now. Mahamudra-Dzogchen uses the approach of direct analysis, which is known as the “analytical meditation of the simple medi- tator,” or kusulu. This does not mean simple in the sense of being intellectually deficient, but simple in the sense of being intellectually uncomplicated. The Hinayana and Mahayana approach to analysis is known, on the other hand, as the “analytical meditation of the scholar,” or pandita, which is theoretical or scholarly analysis. While the scholarly approach is necessary, if used alone, it does not bring us direct experience right away. The analysis of the simple meditator, in which we begin by looking at our imme- diate experiences of mind, is very clear and brings direct experi- ence to everyone. Using this method, when you look closely at a thought or emotion, you can see its nature of inseparable lumi- nosity and emptiness. You do not find any solid or substantially existent thing. The reason you do not find anything solid is that, on the absolute level of reality, nothing exists in that manner. Therefore, when we look for it, we do not find it. True emptiness, however, is not just “not finding” something. If, for example, you searched your home to see if there was an elephant somewhere in your house, and you did not find any elephant, would it mean that elephants do not exist? No. There are elephants living in zoos and in the wild. Simply searching for something and not finding it is not the kind of analysis that leads us to the genuine experience of empti- ness. To arrive at the true experience of emptiness, we must base our analysis on looking at something we do see, that appears to us to exist, whether that is an external or internal object. When we analyze that object, let’s say an elephant, we look at it in order to discover its true nature, its fundamental reality. We look for that nature by thoroughly analyzing the existence of the elephant and each of its parts—ears, trunk, eyes, great body, legs, and tail—until we exhaust our looking. At that point, we come to the conclusion that we cannot find the true existence of this solidly appearing being. Nevertheless, we can see, smell, hear, and touch this empty-yet-appearing elephant. That is the method of ana- lyzing that leads to the experience of emptiness. PHOTOSBYKÜNCHOKLHAMO MAY 68-73.indd 72 MAY 68-73.indd 72 3/6/08 11:32:48 AM 3/6/08 11:32:48 AM