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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 39 |fall 2006 ú Showing by means of illustrations how the cru- cial instructions help the meditation. Son, there are four crucial instructions. Although the creative power of the empty absolute nature appears multifariously, from the moment phenomena manifest, they have no inherent existence: appearance and emptiness are united. Because everything is by nature empty, infinite manifestations can arise: from the natural creative potential of emptiness, all the phenomena of sam- sara and nirvana can manifest as an infinite dis- play. Although all these manifestations arise, it is not as if they are permanent when they are there and impermanent when they are no longer there. Everything arises as in a dream or like a magi- cal illusion. It is like a rainbow, which, though it appears clearly in the sky, is not solid. It is appar- ent yet empty. But its emptiness and its appear- ance are not two separate aspects. It is not that the rainbow being present is one aspect and its being empty is another. The rainbow is simultaneously apparent and empty, and there is no other empti- ness than the rainbow itself. The same is true for all the phenomena of samsara and nirvana: they are empty from the very moment they appear. You need the crucial instruction that shows how to make a clear-cut decision regarding the unobstructed nature of appearances, as illustrated by a clean silver mirror. Take the example of a mirror. If you take a sil- ver mirror and polish it thoroughly, many images will arise on its surface. But though they appear clearly on the surface, they are not in the mir- ror nor are they sticking to the mirror’s surface. We cannot say that they are inside the mirror or outside. How then do they arise? It is simply the conjunction of there being, say, someone’s face in the front of the mirror and the mirror being there. As a result of these different conditions, an image appears. Now, anyone can understand that although all sorts of images appear in a mirror, they do not exist in any solid way. But we have to understand that the same is also true for all the infinite manifestations of samsara and nirvana. The emptiness and the manifestation are indi- visible: the emptiness cannot be separated from the manifestation. When we speak of emptiness and appearance, this does not mean that there are two things in the same way that we talk about the two horns of an animal. It means that there is no empti- ness besides the manifestation and there is no man- ifestation besides emptiness. Once we are free from clinging to this sort of duality, our concepts of exis- tence and nonexistence will naturally fall apart. It is important to have a clear understanding – free of doubts – of this unimpeded manifestation. When one is not bound by clinging to what is not two as being two, phenomenal characteristics are freed by themselves. You need the crucial instruction on not being bound by characteristics, as illustrated by a prisoner who has been released. A prisoner who has just been set free is very concerned not to do anything wrong that might put him back in jail again. We should be similarly mindful and vigilant so that we are not bound by concepts of existence, nonexistence, eternalism, or nihilism; otherwise, we will be seriously tied down by ignorance. What is the crucial point here? It is to know the meaning of the unborn nature of the mind. The mind does not have a color, shape, location, or any other characteristics. So although there is nothing solid and no characteristics on which to meditate, once you have gained stability and con- fidence in the realization of the unborn nature of mind, do not stray into distraction and wander from that recognition, even for an instant. Simply remain in the state of nongrasping, which is free from mental activity. Although there is not even an atom to meditate upon with regard to the unborn nature of your own mind, do not be distracted for an instant. Be free from mental activity and conceptualization: This is the crucial instruction you need on not being distracted from the unborn nature, as illus- trated by shooting an arrow straight at the target. By aiming an arrow very straight, one is cer- tain to hit the target. Likewise, when the realiza- tion of the unborn nature is aimed at the target of grasping at a self, it is impossible for it not to hit the mark. With the realization of the triple space, do not move from the inseparability of the absolute space and awareness.