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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
winter 2 0 1 4 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly 37 If you recognize that you are dreaming, you will see that what appears to you to be a flower in the dream is actually empty of being a flower. This first- hand experience of the inseparability of appearance and its emptiness will lead you closer to certainty. When you have stable certainty, you have mastered the view. Second, Milarepa sings: Not seeing dreams and day as differing This is as meditation as it can be Here, Milarepa is speaking in the context of Mahamudra. He indicates that when you are able to meditate on the inseparability of appearance and emptiness in a dream exactly as you would in the waking state, you have mastered meditation. If you can only meditate on the inseparability of appear- ance and emptiness during daytime experience, then your meditation does not give you independence. You do not have power over your own mind—you have not gained your freedom. Meditation is per- fected only when you’re able to meditate during dreams just as you meditate during the day. In the Vajrayana, the practice of meditating with dreams is known as dream yoga. In dream yoga, you are able to recognize you are dreaming while doing so, and you are able to meditate on what you are dreaming about as appearance–emptiness insep- arable. When you are able to meditate in this way, you will be able to recognize what you experience after death as the bardo experience and meditate on appearance–emptiness at that time. Just as rec- ognizing the dream and meditating on it as appear- ance–emptiness frees the mind from the delusion of taking dream appearances as real, recognizing after- death appearances as the bardo and meditating on those frees you from the delusions that come from taking the bardo experiences as real. Third, Milarepa sings: Not bliss and emptiness seen as differing This is conduct as mastered as it can be How can you master conduct or, in other words, gain freedom through conduct? By realizing that bliss and emptiness are not separate. If there is a difference between bliss and emptiness, you have not mastered conduct; your conduct does not bring freedom. To say that you have mastered conduct means your conduct sets you free; it is an expres- sion of your independence. In the Mahamudra tradition, the ultimate nature of mind is emptiness, and emptiness is great bliss. There is no differentiation between mind’s empti- ness and great bliss. They are of the same essence. And just as bliss and emptiness cannot be differen- tiated in essence, they cannot be differentiated in conduct. When you get to the point where every sensation arises as emptiness, and its emptiness is blissfulness, conduct has been mastered. Mastery of conduct corresponds with recogniz- ing that you are dreaming. When you don’t know you are dreaming, there is good and bad, clean and dirty, enemies and friends. You are not free; you are simply reacting to all these perceptions. Your behavior is tied to this process of reacting. There is no independence there. But when you recognize you are dreaming, you are independent of whatever appears; you are not subject to it. Your actions are free—that is how we should understand this term “mastery.” Similarly, the realization of bliss–emptiness insep- arable becomes directly evident in one’s conduct. One is no longer treating emptiness as something different from bliss. This type of conduct perfects view and meditation. It is conduct that is view and meditation’s best friend. When you recognize you are dreaming, you are independent of whatever appears; you are not subject to it. Your actions are free—that is how we should understand mastery.