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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
40 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 1 4 between happy and unhappy states, you have understood the instructions perfectly. If you see happiness and suffering as differing, you are not using the instructions effectively. How do you know whether or not you have correctly understood the various instructions and gained proficiency in practicing them? Here you have to examine your own experience. The question you should ask yourself is: “Do I treat happiness and suffering as different?” If you do not, you have mastered the instructions. When we say there is no difference between happiness and suffering, do we really mean there is a difference but it is artificially dispensed with through meditation? Or do we mean there is actu- ally no difference? The answer is the latter—there is no difference whatsoever in their nature. It is just like in a dream. If you dream of seeing a lovely flower and then you dream of seeing some- thing foul, the only difference is your own thoughts about them. There is no difference in the essence of the dream flower or the dream filth. The same goes for the pleasant or unpleasant state of mind accom- panying the perception. Meditation in this context can be understood as simply familiarizing ourselves with the ultimate truth. In the ultimate truth, there is no happiness and suffering. There is no meditation that artifi- cially cancels out a difference. In the example of the flower and filth seen in a dream, happiness in the one case and unpleasant- ness in the other are generated merely by the way our thoughts apprehend the object. There is a dif- ference in their apprehension, but in their essence there is no difference. When we think there is a dif- ference, we are confused by our thoughts. Seventh, Milarepa tells Rechungpa: Not seeing affliction and wisdom as differing This is as full as realization can be When one reaches the point where affliction (kle- sha) and wisdom are not different, one has reached the peak of realization. As long as these two are at odds, one has not reached realization “as full as it can be.” In Mahayana Buddhism in general, and in par- ticular in the Vajrayana, the essence of the kleshas is taught to be wisdom. Because of that, there is no difference between affliction and wisdom. But this is not referring to the apparent level—the way things appear to be. In that context, the two appear to be different. But wisdom is the very essence of the kle- sha, and in their essential nature, there is no differ- ence between them. If there were a difference between affliction and wisdom, kleshas would be bad and wisdom would be good. If this were the case, kleshas would be something to reject outright and wisdom would be something to replace it with. There would be thoughts of rejecting and adopting. But the transcendence of adopting and reject- ing is taught extensively in the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions. In the Buddha’s teachings, factors to be rejected and adopted are taught in the context of how things appear to be, when one is deluded about their true nature. There is no such double take within the true nature of mind. Meditation is simply familiarizing ourselves with the ultimate truth. In the ultimate truth, there is no happiness and suffering. There is no meditation that artificially cancels out a difference.