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Buddhadharma : Spring 2014
been fully purified. The two wisdoms are fully awakened within them. Although these two—sentient beings and buddhas—are on two different levels, they share the same essential true nature. The difference is that sentient beings are bewildered in a jungle of confusion. They have failed to recognize their buddhanature and wander in helpless suffering as a result, whereas buddhas have purified their ignorance and revealed their true nature. Out of great wisdom and compassion, buddhas teach the dharma based on the certainty that buddha- nature makes perfect enlightenment possible for everyone. The dharma is not some kind of instant magic. We gradually follow in the footsteps of great masters like Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, Phagmo Drupa, and Jigten Sumgön. One after another, they practiced and forcefully destroyed their delusions. Therefore, there is no doubt that we too can experience this. We only need courage, dedication, and strength. The buddhas and great masters did not cre- ate their own view of reality; rather, they real- ized it as it actually is. They recognize the very ignorance that causes the perpetual suffering of samsara as primordial wisdom. When one sees everything clearly and precisely, there is no samsara to give up and no nirvana to achieve. Duality and all bardos are transcended. This is the principal point of all our dharma study and practice. A simple analogy can help demonstrate this point. Let’s say you are suspicious of someone and think, “Oh, this is a terrible person. She gives me such a hard time.” But after some time, you get to know her better, discover her good qualities, and become close friends. The other person is the same; the duality of her being good or bad does not exist from her side. But as you gained understanding, your perceptions changed. Similarly, as we develop more loving-kindness, compassion, and bodhicitta, our perception of negative thought purifies. Mental clarity grows stronger as we perceive with a healthier mind. We can even get to the point where we feel grate- ful when someone presents us with an obstacle. There is an account of a bodhisattva in ancient times whose hand was cut off by a king. The bodhisattva reacted by saying, “Thank you so enlightenment, laughing and crying, this life and the next, or between meditation sessions. Our life constantly plays out in between, in duality. This song is a teaching on how to transcend duality or, in other words, how to purify the concept of duality. Since Gampopa was highly accom- plished in meditation and scholarship, Milarepa explained these bardo teachings from the point of view of Mahamudra. All appearances related to every subject manifest in dependence on cau- sality from the Mahamudra state, and they dis- solve back into Mahamudra. A great amount of wisdom based on meditation experience with nonduality is needed to capture the meaning of inseparable appearance and emptiness. Sentient beings in the three realms of samsara and buddhas who have passed beyond suffering are one in their actual true nature. This is the bardo of view. The three realms that comprise samsara are the desire, form, and formless worlds. The desire world is the largest, extending from the hells up to the six lowest desire god realms. In that world, beings are ruled by their senses and their desires are fulfilled by outer objects. For example, our human desires are fulfilled when we look at beautiful forms, hear beautiful sounds, smell lovely fragrances, taste delicious foods, and touch smooth objects. Beings in the four stages of the form world have a more subtle existence, and their desires are completely satisfied through meditative absorption. They feel so joyful and peaceful that external phenomena are of no inter- est. Instead of looking for outside stimulation as we do, they are content to abide inside the mind. Beings in the formless world are even more subtle and have no physical form. They have only a mental form that is so fully absorbed in equipoise that it can remain so for many thousands of eons. They are satisfied with a meditation state that is even more profound than that of the form world. All the countless sentient beings are contained within these three contaminated worlds. Buddhas are those who have transcended these three realms to reach full enlightenment. Their obscurations, both gross and subtle, have KHENCHEN KONCHOG GYALTSHEN is a meditation master and scholar in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Vajrayana. He is the founder of several Buddhist centers worldwide, including the Tibet Meditation Center in Frederick, Maryland, which he founded in 1982. This teaching is adapted from his new book, Opening the Treasure of the Profound, published by Shambhala Publications, 2013. 30 PHOTOGRAPHERUNKNOWN