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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
SPRING 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 43 There is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what we dis cover about who and what we are. In fact, we should be proud of actually finding out who and what we are and appreciate the courage it took to acknowledge that. According to the Vajrayana view, our fundamental nature, the basic ground, has always been open, spacious, pure, and rich with enlight ened wisdom. Trungpa’s imagery here is simply elegant: In the beginning, there is open space belonging to no one, and within that space is primeval intelligence, or vidya, so there is both intelligence and space. It is like a completely open and spacious room in which you can dance about and not be afraid of knocking anything over. You are this space; you are one with it. But you become confused. Because it is so spacious, you begin to whirl and dance about. You become too active in the space. As you dance, you want to experience the space more and more... When we are unaware of this genuine state and start fixat ing, “spinning around in our life,” that is the beginning of samsara. We are giving birth to ego, duality, and samsara all together. Trungpa explains this mechanism with clarity and precision: When you try to cling to space, to grasp it, the whole perspective is completely changed. You have solidified space and made it tangible. That sense of selfconsciousness is the birth of duality... There is still primeval intelligence, or vidya, but it has been captured and solidified. Therefore, it has become avidya, or ignorance. That blackout of intelligence is the source of the ego. Trungpa describes the ego that we discover in the process of solidifying the space as “a brilliant work of art.” According to Buddhism, ego is merely a label given to the collection of the skandhas experienced as “I” or “me.” Trungpa felt that this process—how the egolabel unifies this “disorganized and scattered process into one entity”—was rather clever. The “blackout of intelligence” becomes the very ground on which we develop the path of transcend ing ego. Although such a ground “may not be particularly enlightened, peaceful, or intelligent, it is good enough,” says Trungpa, and we can work with it “like plowing a furrow and planting seeds. We are not trying to get rid of the ego, but simply acknowledge it and see it as it is.” Learning how to deconstruct our ego, or transcending avidya, is crucial for attaining true liberation. Mastering the methods of transforming our ego involves the progressive development of right view, familiarization with meditation, and engaging in mindful actions in accordance with the three yanas. How do we cut through this seeming “ape instinct of habit ual struggle” and find liberation from egofixation? Trungpa answers, “Everyone possesses ultimate wakefulness,” which is not a product of our effort. He says, “The only effort needed is to give up that struggle.” Only then is liberation—gentle and delightful—realized. hinayana After presenting us with a panoramic view of the principles of the Buddhist path, Trungpa guides us stepbystep through Tail of the Tiger, Barnet, Vermont, ca 1972 PHOTOGRAPHERUNKNOWNRYSZARDK.FRACKIEWICZ