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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
winter 2005| 42 |buddhadharma overwhelming love and devotion, and want to be around them all the time. Or – and just as much a sign of our connection with them – we may feel terror and want to run away to the farthest corner of the universe. In Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, for example, the primor- dial lineage was blazing. In his presence one felt terrified, but also incredibly and irresistibly attracted. Our feeling around teachers like this has such intensity because in them we are meeting our own deepest nature, or in Zen terms, our “original face.” Having met our own primordiality in them, we can, over time and through meditation practice, discover it as the very foundation of who we are, the unborn awareness out of which “we” continually arise. In looking at the most accomplished primordial lineage holders, one can sense three qualities that are particularly evi- dent: depth, vastness, and realization of the implications of pri- mordial awareness. First, there is a great depth of realization. The experience of the awakened state is infinitely profound – there is a depth within the space of awareness that goes on and on. In this case, we are not talking about depth in the sense of “down” but rather that the experience of space itself – this present moment of aware- ness – has layer upon layer of subtlety that call to be fathomed. For example, our mind may be at rest and we may think, “This is it. This is the unconditioned mind.” But then, sud- denly, we see that we are hanging on to some subtle concept of mind or space, and we let go into a freer, fresher, more open state of being. Then we may think, “OK, this is it,” only to discover ourselves holding on at this subtler level and needing to surrender our grasp once again. And so it goes, on and on. Perhaps there is no end to how open and unconditioned the nature of the space can be, and the question is, how completely can we abide and stay with that free-fall? Second is breadth, or vastness. As one Tibetan text says, “The nature of mind is the great space of dharmadhatu.” This means that our awareness has no inherent boundary or limit. In fact, it is co-extensive with space itself, with the infinite reaches of space and time. So the question here is, can we sur- render without reservation to this infinite vastness? Or is there a point at which we retract from it and set an artificial limit to how far our awareness extends? Third are the implications. While the original state is beyond causes and conditions, from another viewpoint it is not isolat- ed from them or irrelevant to them at all: it has the potential, indeed the momentum, to touch every aspect and dimension of our lives. We may think that after touching the primordial nature we can just return to our habitual patterns and business as usual. But the primordial lineage implies that there is not Marmar Sea, Silivli, 1991 Black and white photograph hIRoshIsuGImoto/CouRtesyofsonnAbendGAlleRy