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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 10 58 nothing at all—but at the same time there is clarity. You could call this the aspect of wisdom. It is not just blank nothingness, it is the union of clarity and emptiness. There is clarity, but the essence of this clarity is emptiness. This is what we actually experience. If we were to think about it, we would say, “Oh, that’s what mind is.” Of course that would just be a thought produced by our minds; when we actually experience it, we do not have this thought. Instead, we have a feeling. This is the intelligence born of meditation that comes from directly seeing the nature of mind as it is. When we directly see the nature of mind as it is, it is not just nothingness, blankness, or darkness. Instead, we experience this intelligence and rest evenly within this experience. Looking Inward In one of his meditation manuals, Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche says that the reason we do not realize the nature of the mind is not because it is too difficult, but because it is too easy. The nature of the mind is something that we have, so we think, “It can’t be that.” There’s nothing we need to do to it; there is nothing complicated about it. Do we not realize it because it is far away? No, it is not—rather, it is too near. It is so close to us that we already have it, but we do not realize this. For this reason we do not need to make up an essence to rest in; we rest within our own nature as it is. This is how we should meditate. When I was young, I studied philosophy, including the middle way. Middle way texts talk a lot about different types of emptiness such as categorized emptiness, uncategorized emptiness, and so forth. When I asked Khenpo Lodrö Rabsal, “What is this? What does emptiness mean?” he said, “Don’t think so much about the outside. Think a bit about the inside, and that will help.” “Ah,” I thought. “How can you do that? How can you think about the inside?” I did not understand what he meant. I thought there was probably nothing to think about on the inside. Then later I met Khenpo Gangshar. Everyone said, “He is a strange lama. There’s something different about him. You get a different feeling from him.” I wondered what they meant. The first time I saw him, there was no different feeling. I wondered what was going on and what was going to happen. Then he gave a pointing out of sorts. He asked, “Did you recognize anything?” but nothing happened. But as I spent some time in his presence, I had the thought, “Oh, this is it. This is the emptiness that Nagarjuna talked about, isn’t it!” Before I had thought that emptiness was something far away, but then I came to see that emptiness is really close. This happened because of the blessings of the lama. At that point I realized what Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche had meant by saying it was too near. I realized what he meant by saying it was too easy. The mind is not far away; it is within us. If you fiddle with it and alter it a lot, then it becomes fabricated. That doesn’t work. The essence of the mind itself, however it may be, is just the way it is. We need to meditate by looking at it the way it is. There are many different methods for pointing out the nature of mind through symbols and so forth. Often students