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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
46 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 3 through the Mahayana principles of relative and absolute bodhichitta, focusing on those practices well known for their power to cultivate experiences of emptiness and compassion: making commitments to the bodhisattva way; engaging in the practices of the six paramitas and the seven points of mind training; and applying ourselves to the study of the profound view, meditation, and conduct of the five paths and ten bhumis. The whole journey we take here is designed to bring us back to our original state, the open space of “primeval intelligence”—also known as the state of buddhahood. Avidya, or ignorance, is transformed back into vidya, pristine intelligence, through the general Mahayana notions of benevo lence and insight into egolessness. This is not neces sarily a swift or direct path to awakening but rather a long journey to full enlightenment. Vajrayana Next we enter the final stage, the diamond path, or Vajrayana journey, which is notably “short and concentrated,” but as Trungpa reminds us, that does not mean we get to bypass the Hinayana and Mahayana. Trungpa points out that “in order to become decent Vajrayana people, we need to estab lish a strong foundation through Hinayana disci pline and Mahayana benevolence... we never really abandon the previous yanas, but we constantly go back and forth.” Sacred Outlook A key difference between the Mahayana and the Vajrayana, Trungpa explains, is that “the Vajrayana teachings understand that even relative truth is workable and insightful. On the level of relative truth, all dharmas are seen as equally important and in equilibrium.” The relative truth is “not regarded as a pickandchoose situation; rather everything taking place there is regarded as the real world,” says Trungpa. Sacred outlook, or “the awareness that all phenomena are sacred,” is the understanding that “stems from the experience of mindfulnessawareness practice, or shamathavipashyana.” The idea of sacredness, says Trungpa, is not based on a popu lar “theistic view of sacredness,” a sense of being “blessed or influenced by external holiness.” Sacredness here is self existing, originally pure and free. Hence, Vajrayana introduces the notion of “sacred outlook”—a vision or perception of the world and its inhab itants as genuinely beautiful and originally pure. It’s a sacred world just as it is. Trungpa Rinpoche explains: In the Vajrayana, we learn how to respect our world. We realize that this particular world we live in is not an evil world, but a sacred world. It is filled with sacredness alto gether. We learn to develop sacred outlook. As we develop still further, we receive transmission. And from that, we develop a sense of how we could actually perceive phenom ena without trying to perceive. We realize how we could appreciate phenomena instantly, without a struggle. In this vehicle, Trungpa points out, there is an emphasis on having a kind of “fundamental trust. You could experience either trust or distrust when such truth is told.” Yet there is room for doubt and intellectual questioning because, as Trungpa explains, “it is important that you know what you are getting and what you are getting into.” This “intellectual understanding acts as a vanguard before you do anything” in the Vajrayana or tantric tradition. However, doubt and distrust are not the same. According to Trungpa, Vajradhatu Seminary, Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta, 1980 FROMTHECOLLECTIONOFSHAMBHALAARCHIVES/PHOTOGRAPHERUNKNOWN