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Buddhadharma : Fall 2014
FALL 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 19 Two Truths—Indivisible When we enter the path, we are working at the level of relative truth, and with practice we may gain insight into the absolute. But we don’t enter the final stage of practice, says Tsoknyi Rinpoche, until we realize these truths were never separate. The art and beauty of practicing dharma becomes more and more subtle and profound as we learn the dance of the relative and absolute truths. Since the natural state is timelessly present in both, their indivisibility or inseparability is like a single thread interwoven throughout all the teachings, functioning at every level and stage of practice. It is important to recognize that practice solely at the relative level, or even at the level of the absolute, is not so difficult when we keep it sepa- rate. The real art comes in uniting the relative and absolute in practice. When we first start practicing, we are typi- cally at the conventional or relative level, which when practiced well can eventually lead to a realization of the absolute. However, the final stage, which we are speaking about here, is the realization of the inseparability of the two. When we talk about this unity or indivisibility, it’s not that we have to somehow figure out how to fit two separate, distinct things together, like gluing two blocks of wood into one piece. That would be forcing a conceptual notion of emptiness to connect to clarity. In Dzogchen, rigpa, or recognizing mind’s essence, has three qualities or aspects: empty essence, the lucid or cognizant nature, and their indivisible unity. When our meditation practice strays from rigpa, two things can happen: we can overemphasize the empty aspect, causing a kind of blockage, because although it is thought-free, PAINTINGS BY VICKI SMITH (Opposite) Softly Goes the Day, 2014 Private Collection BAU-XIGALLERY,TORONTO|vickismith.ca