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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 113 Vajrayana continued from page 73 When it comes to the Mahamudra- Dzogchen tradition, however, the masters of these traditions introduce ordinary mind, or bare awareness, with utmost sim- plicity. Such a master might say to a stu- dent, “Look, a flower. Do you see it?” The student will say, “Yes, I see the flower.” The master will say, “Do you see the beautiful sunshine outside today?” The student will say, “Yes, I see the beautiful sunshine to- day.” Then the master will say, “That’s it.” Normally we feel that our perceptions, thoughts, and emotions are too ordinary to mean much. Just seeing a flower or the sunshine on a beautiful day is too simple to be profound. As meditators we want what- ever is profound, and so we look past our mundane experiences. We are looking for something that is extraordinary. Something big. We want the maha, or “great,” religious experience that we know is out there some- where in a mysterious place called “the sa- cred world.” However, whenever we try to look outside, that is the point at which we depart from our own enlightened nature. We start walking away from the natural state of our mind—the basic state of Ma- hamudra and Dzogchen. “Looking outside” does not mean that we literally leave our home and go look in our neighbor’s back- yard, or that we pack our bags and catch a bus for the next town, or shave our head and enter a monastery. Looking outside means looking outside whatever experience you are having right now. Think about it from the perspective of your own experience. What do you do when an aggressive thought suddenly arises? You might try to stop that thought, deflect its energy by justifying it, or even correct it— change it from a “negative” thought into a “positive” one. We do all these things be- cause we feel that that thought, just as it is, is not good enough to meditate on. We will meditate on the next pure thought we have; or even better, we will rest in the es- sence of the gap between our thoughts, the very next one we recognize. In this way, we continually miss the moment that we are awake now. The problem is that we will never catch up to the wakefulness of the next moment, the wakefulness we will have in the future. If aggression is here now, then that aggression is at heart, in its very nature, vividly awake, empty, and lu- minous. As our simple-minded master of Mahamudra and Dzogchen might say, “Do you see it? That is it.” You may prefer to meditate on the Bud- dha rather than on your emotions. The Buddha is always perfectly relaxed and at ease; therefore, you feel very comfortable. When you are meditating on your emo- tions, you may start to feel slightly anx- ious and uncomfortable. You may think that your mental health is at risk, or that the environment of your mind is not in a sacred, uplifted, or spiritual state. It is helpful to a certain point, at the begin- ning of our training, to meditate on pure objects like images of the Buddha, deities, or great masters. If, however, you get ad- dicted to relying on such objects, there can be negative consequences. When you feel you cannot invoke the experience of sacredness or connect with your basic, enlightened mind through your everyday experiences of perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, you are developing a serious problem. Your emotions are as familiar, as commonplace, as sunshine and flow- ers, and that is great news for realizing ordinary mind. You have so many oppor- tunities. Appreciate and take advantage of them. What we have been looking for—the true nature of our mind—has been with us all the time. It is with us now, in this very moment. The teachings say that if we can penetrate the essence of our pres- ent thought—whatever it may be—if we can look at it directly and rest within its nature, we can realize the wisdom of bud- dha: ordinary mind, naked awareness, lu- minous emptiness, the ultimate truth. The future will always be out of reach. You will never meet up with the buddha of the fu- ture. The present buddha is always within reach. Do you see this buddha? Where are you looking? ♦ Adapted from the “Wild Awakening” lecture series presented in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada, in February, 2004. Stephen & Ondrea Levine Need Your Help These two beloved teachers are ill and need our support. For more details, please read a letter from Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass and Sharon Salzberg: www.stephenandondrealevine. blogspot.com Benefit Event, June 14th Spirit Rock Meditation Center www.spiritrock.org MAY 106-120.indd 113 MAY 106-120.indd 113 3/6/08 11:37:48 AM 3/6/08 11:37:48 AM