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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
fall 2006| 40 |buddhadharma There are three spaces: the outer space, the blue sky, which is like an ornament;4 the inner space, which is the nature of the mind; and the space in between, the space in the eye channels that connects the outer and inner spaces. When these three spaces are blended together, one realizes the inherent union of the empty aspect, the absolute expanse, and the clarity aspect, one’s awareness. Do not waver from that understanding. You need the crucial instruction on resting in one-pointed concentration, as illustrated by an ophthalmic surgeon.5 When people with an eye disease that is mak- ing them go blind find a doctor who can treat them, they listen carefully to the doctor and do everything necessary for the treatment to succeed. As a result of the treatment, their eyes open and they can see the mountains and all the other beau- tiful things in the universe. If we listen in the same way, with one-pointed attention, to our teacher’s instructions and practice them exactly as he tells us, one day our eyes will open and we will see the absolute nature just as it is. All the deluded perceptions of samsara and nirvana will clear by themselves, for they are, after all, groundless by nature, unborn, and empty. Then all our dualistic concepts of existence, nonexistence, and so forth will naturally fall apart. By this means, deluded perceptions, being groundless, are cleared away and phenomenal characteristics fall apart by themselves. ú Personal advice on how to cut conceptual constructs regarding mental and extramental phenomena. Son, there are four “cuts.” 6 Whatever dualistic thoughts arise, there are none that are anything other than the absolute nature. Cut the stream of the arising of dualistic thoughts and the following after them, taking the example of a tortoise placed on a silver platter. Of the many thoughts that arise in our minds, good or bad, none of them move away and sepa- rate from the absolute nature for even a moment. They are like a tortoise placed on a silver plat- ter: it finds the feeling of the smooth silver surface underneath it so pleasurable that it does not move at all. So if we never depart from the absolute nature, even when thoughts arise in our mind, there will be no way the chaining of delusion can occur. Normally, when we think of something in the past, it leads to another thought, which again leads to the next thought, and we project into the future, creating an uninterrupted chain of deluded thoughts, with each thought triggering the next. If we follow such chains of thoughts, they will never stop. But if, whenever a thought arises, we remain in the absolute nature without wavering, the flow of these thoughts will naturally cease. Whatever appears, nothing has moved from the absolute nature. Decide that nothing is extraneous to the abso- lute nature, taking the example of gold jewelry. Once we know how to remain in the absolute nature, the manifold thoughts that arise in the mind are no different from gold jewelry. One can make all sorts of things out of gold, such as ear- rings, bracelets, and necklaces, but although they have a variety of different shapes, they are all made of gold. Likewise, if we are able to not move from the absolute nature, however many thoughts we might have, they never depart from the recognition of the absolute nature. A yogi for whom this is the case never departs from that realization, whatever he does with his body, speech, and mind. All his actions arise as the outer display or ornament of wisdom. All the signs one would expect from med- itating on a deity come spontaneously without his actually doing any formal practice. The result of mantra recitation is obtained without his having to do a large number of recitations. In this way every- thing is included in the recognition that nothing is ever extraneous to the absolute nature. In that state one does not become excited at pleasant events or depressed by unpleasant ones. Everything, The whole variety of joys and sorrows is one within the state of awareness. Decide on its indivisibility, taking the example of molasses and its sweet taste. We usually think of molasses as one thing and sweetness as another, and we therefore have two names and concepts for these. But in fact it is impossible to separate the sweetness from the molasses itself. If we reach a similar clear-cut understanding that all phenomena in samsara and nirvana, all happiness and suffering, are included in the absolute nature, then 4 The “ornament space” is the blue sky, which is conventionally considered as a “thing” as opposed to space, which is defined as the absence of anything. 5 “Eye-opening doctor,” one who removes cataracts. 6 In the first instruction the Tibetan word bcad (meaning “to cut”) is used on its own and in its literal sense, but in the other three instructions it is employed in the com- pound word thag bcad pa, meaning “to decide.”