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Buddhadharma : Fall 2014
20 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY FALL 2 0 1 4 it still involves subtle clinging; there is a kind of stuckness—a lack of naturalness, fluidity, and awareness of the unconfined capacity or totally open nature of genuine rigpa. If, on the other hand, we overemphasize the clarity or lucid aspect, we can become fixated on that and lose the awareness of inner space. Therefore, this subtle art involves unifying the experience of empty nature and lucidity such that the “third” quality of inseparability (the union of emptiness and clarity) may naturally and spontaneously manifest. The inner space, or empty aspect, is com- pletely free from any of the four or eight philo- sophical extremes taught with great precision by Nagarjuna and others. It is also free from birth, abiding, and cessation and from the three divi- sions of time: past, present, and future. It has nei- ther center nor circumference and is completely devoid of all reference points. When the con- ceptual mind is dropped, there is still a noncon- ceptual cognizance, which is without reliance or dependence upon conceptual signs and symbols and is aware of its own nature as emptiness, or inner space. Mind then has two aspects: its own basic nature, which is primordial wisdom, and dualis- tic consciousness. One way of putting this is that it can either be confused lucidity or the lucidity of wisdom. In either case, the empty aspect is always completely open and free. In the Tibetan language, this naturally lucid or clear aspect of mind is called salwa, and it is emphasized mostly in the Vajrayana tradition. In the sutra system, the emphasis is more on the empty nature, and of course when we speak about the indivisibility of lucidity and the empty TSOKNYI RINPOCHE is a meditation master in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and son of the late Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. He teaches widely in the West and oversees nunneries and monasteries in Tibet and Nepal. His latest book is Open Heart, Open Mind. nature, then it is the same for both sutra and tantra. The differences in emphasis are related to where we are on the various stages of the path. In the Vajrayana system, when we talk about the fundamental luminosity of mind, it is described as the vajra heart, and in Dzogchen, it refers to clear light or luminosity. In these teachings there’s more emphasis on the clarity or lucid aspect. Terminology can be a bit confusing, so keep in mind that the Tibetan word salwa is translated variously as luminosity, lucidity, cognizance, con- sciousness, knowing, or clarity, depending on the translation and the specific teaching context. But the basic point here is that salwa can either be confused or not, and the empty aspect is always free and open. Normally our day-to-day experience is at a gross level of consciousness in which there’s no awareness of the inseparability of the empty nature and lucidity. The natural state of mind appears divided, and the natural unity of the two truths is mistakenly separated into seemingly distinct entities of subject and object. However, within that split mind there is a seed of primor- dial wisdom through which we can realize the indivisibility of the empty and lucid natures. Through the timely methods and direct instruc- tions of a genuine teacher, confused mind is cut through, allowing us to experience a taste of what I call “baby rigpa,” which with continued practice goes through various stages of growth and development. When we practice rigpa, we become natu- rally aware of the nonconceptual lucidity and its open nature. It is not something complex; in fact, it is actually quite simple. It involves a subtle shift in our view, because rigpa is there and ©CHRISTINEALICINO