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Lions Roar : July 2018
desirable qualities of loving-kindness and clear insight. Achieving our own liberation from the suffering of samsara is our motivation in the first stage (yana) of the Tibetan Buddhist path. Our motivation for entering the second yana, the noble path of compassionate bodhisattvas, is different and much more expansive. Here our aim is to realize our innate potential for awakening because such realization would be of immense benefit to all sentient beings. This is the fulfillment of what Shunryu Suzuki Roshi called our “inmost request”—the strong wish to manifest our “enlightened genes” in awakened activity that benefits oth- ers. We are motivated to meditate by the heart- felt wish to liberate all beings and establish them in the state of buddhahood. Finally, we are motivated to enter the indestructible path of Buddhist tantra (the Vajrayana) in order to realize the sacredness that is already here. In this yana, sacredness is the ground, sacredness is the path, and sacred- ness is the fruition. What does this mean? Saying that sacred- ness is the ground means that the basis of the entire world and all beings is primordially good—free of fault or stains of any kind. This is original sacredness, the fundamen- tal wisdom that is already present as our innate nature, complete and perfect from the beginning. However, our experience of this primor- dially pure ground is impeded by temporary obscurations, which are like clouds in the sky covering the light and warmth of the sun. However, even on the cloudiest of days, the brilliant sun remains as it is. Going even farther, Vajrayana views even the emotional entanglements as inherently sacred. Desire, jealousy, and pride all have wisdom as their fundamental nature. In this approach, the clouds of neurosis are inseparable from the sun of wisdom. So the path of sacredness is to develop trust in that innate sacred wisdom—however it arises. We do that by means of simple resting in this ground nature and by developing con- fidence in various visualized forms embodying this sacredness. Finally, the fruition is celebrating the vivid qualities of wakefulness which have been here from the very beginning. This is compassion- ate activity fully unleashed. A traditional way of articulating this motiva- tion of sacredness is called the realization of the five certainties: the sacredness of the teacher, the students, the teaching, the place, and the time. This means experiencing the Vajrayana teacher as the human embodiment of sacredness, and the assembled stu- dents as themselves innately awake and sacred beings. The teachings uttered in such a setting are sacredness itself; the place is experienced as a buddhafield, or sacred mandala; and the time is sacred nowness, beyond the conventions of past, present, and future. Yet true confidence in this sacredness suggests that it has been present in us at every stage of the path—in our initial longing PHOTOBYDANGDUMRONG/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM ➢ page 80 LION’S ROAR | JULY 2018 67