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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 53 |fall 2006 to your experience. Everything is a practice. Everything you learn points directly to your own experience – jealousy, envy, anger, and so on – and how to free yourself right on the spot. These teachings deal with the fact that you are a human being. buDDhaDhaRma: A lot of wonderful Dzogchen litera- ture is now available in English, and in these works one can read profound descriptors for natural awareness – “the stainless face,” “the clear light,” “the original ground” – or statements such as “like the sky, realization is changeless” and “rigpa is self-manifest.” Furthermore, rigpa is said to be ever-present and immediate, not far away, and you attain it by not trying to attain it. This makes for lovely and inspiring reading, but how helpful can it be? Does it not cause us to grasp for experiences in the way that Rinpoche talked about? Ron GaRRy: Once again, it is the teacher who makes the difference. When most of us are first connect- ing with spirituality, we go through a process of searching. We find books that are really inspiring and teachers whose writings move us. That’s what happened to me. What I read lit a fire within me. It motivated me to look for a pure lineage and a pure teacher, because that’s what you need to do to go beyond the book-reading level. At the same time, when I think back to the state I was in, I wonder how in the world I could tell the difference between a pure teacher and one who is not. I don’t have a definitive answer for how one sorts that out. I just found that the more I looked at my motivation and my intention as I went through the process, the more I tried to let go of intentions and motivations that were not so pure. As a result of letting go of these lesser moti- vations, it became more likely that I would find my own motivation reflected in a pure teacher. There are texts that talk about how to find a teacher, but in the end it is based on your motiva- tion. What you are after will influence what you connect with. It’s very easy for someone to speak all these beautiful Dzogchen words, and if they’re charismatic, very articulate, and maybe kind of funny, they can fulfill our desire to be entertained. But will we receive genuine teaching from them? We need to look at our own motivation carefully. If our motivation is pure, we will connect with what’s pure. The Only child of the Buddhas Devotion unleashes the boundless compassion of the awakened state, explains tulku urgyen Rinpoche The state of enlightenment is totally beyond concepts. there is no joy or sor- row within it, such as being happy when one is pleased or feeling sad when one is treated badly. the state of buddhahood is beyond all of these. because of this, buddhas make no preferences between sentient beings; each one is like their only child. the compassionate “hook” of their enlightened activity is totally impartial and all-pervasive, like the sunshine radiating from the sun. the compassion of the awakened state is beyond both partiality and distance. it is like sunshine in that it is totally unbiased. it is not that the sun shines on some countries and not on others; the sun has no concept that “i will shine on that spot and leave this one in darkness.” the buddhas’ compassion transcends all distance as well. imagine that you have positioned a mirror facing the sun: the moment you do so, the sun’s rays are instantly reflected. it is the same with the buddhas: the moment we think of them, they “gaze” on us; the rays of their compassion contact us. the state of enlightenment lies beyond time and space. its capacity is such that an instant as brief as a snap of the fingers can be transformed into an entire aeon, and an aeon can be transformed into a single moment. we are never excluded from the gaze of enlightened beings. we are never outside their vision. the enlightened state of all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, the dakas and the dakinis, and so forth, is the dharmadhatu itself. this state of realization is said to be of “one taste,” identical in its essential pure nature. all the various buddhas are like different butter lamps in one room. the individual flames are separate and distinct, but the nature of the light itself is indivisible. the state of mind of all the buddhas is dharmakaya itself. the nature of our mind is also dharmakaya. the fact that we have the same essence serves as a direct link between us and all awakened beings. lacking faith and devotion, it is as though the dharmakaya nature of our mind is encased in obscurations. but the very moment we open up in devotion, we receive the blessings of the buddhas. the dharmakaya of enlightened beings is like a butter lamp where the flame is burning brightly. the dharmakaya nature of a sentient being’s mind is like a butter lamp where the wick has not yet been lit. therefore, it is very important to allow the compassion and blessings of enlightened beings to enter us. the link between us and the state of enlightenment is faith and devotion. to simply think, “i will only worry about recognizing mind essence,” while not engendering any trust in the authentic enlightened state will not help us progress very much. from Devotion and Compassion, by tulku urgyen Rinpoche, as featured in The Dzogchen Primer: Embracing the Spiritual Path According to the Great Perfection, compiled and edited by marcia binder Schmidt (Shambhala Publications).