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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
fall 2005| 26 |buddhadharma I rEMEMBEr WELL one particular instruction that Samten Gyatso gave me at an early age. It had to do with a teach- ing on the profound topic of essence, nature, and capacity. He said, “The word capacity refers to the unconfined basis for experience, as in the moment just before something takes place. Once the arising has occurred, it usually has already turned into a thought. Capacity means the basis for that to happen, an unimpeded quality of awareness. “This unimpeded quality is extremely subtle and significant. Once you acknowl- edge this unimpededness, nothing more needs to be done. In this unimpededness, it is impossible to find any subject or object. The analogy for this is a bright mirror, a readiness for experience to unfold without any preconception what- soever. So please understand very well the third of these three: essence, nature, and capacity.” This is an example of how Samten Gyatso would teach. I feel very fortunate to have been instructed by such a mas- ter when I was young, because there are many people who misidentify capacity as being not the basis, like the mirror, but the manifestation, like the reflection in the mirror. However, the reflection means that the mind and sense object have already linked up, and the attention has already been caught up in distraction. View from the Moon Cave at Drak Yerpa, a sacred place near Lhasa in Central Tibet, where Tulku Urgyen had memorable dreams. GRahamSUnSTein