using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Win 2012
WINTER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 43 first is infinite light. The light is you, and you experience a sense of oneness, infinity, and clarity. The second experience is infinite sound. This is not the sound of cars, dogs, or something simi- lar. Nor is it like music or anything else you have ever heard. It is a primordial, elemental sound that is one with the experience of vastness. It is harmonious in all places, without reference or attribution. The third experience is voidness. But this is not the emptiness of self-nature or of no-self that would constitute enlightenment. This is a spacious voidness in which there is nothing but the pure vastness of space. Although you do not experience a sense of self, a subtle form of self and object still exists. These progressively deeper states are all related to samadhi states. When you emerge from them, you must try not to think about them anymore because they are quite alluring. Say to yourself, “This state is ordinary; it’s not it.” Otherwise, it will lead to another form of attachment. You might be in the initial phase of the second stage of silent illumination for a few minutes or a few months. During this time, nothing obstructs you—when you are sitting, you feel the environ- ment is you, sitting; when you are walking about, you feel connected with the environment. In the later phase of the second stage, you may even think you are enlightened because the deeper levels of oneness are so profound. Practitioners sometimes think they have suddenly become smarter or understood all the scriptures. All these states of clarity are wonderful; they give you a strong conviction in the usefulness of buddhadharma and the possibility of a state free from vexations. However, they still do not repre- sent the clarity of the third stage—the realization of silent illumination. Become attached to any of these states and you will be further from them. All of them must be let go. No-Self, No-Mind The clarity of the second stage is like looking through a spotless window. You can see through it very well, almost as if the window were not there, but it is there. In the second stage, the self lies dormant but subtle self-grasping is present. In other words, seeing through a window, even a very clean one, is not the same as seeing through no window at all. Seeing through no window is one way of describing the state of enlighten- ment, which is the third stage. In utter clarity, the mind is unmoving. Why? Because there is no self-referential mind. The third stage of silent illumination is the realization of quiescence and wakefulness, still- ness and awareness, samadhi and prajna, all of which are different ways to describe mind’s natural state. Experiencing it for the first time is like suddenly dropping a thousand pounds from your shoulders—the heavy burdens of self- attachment, vexations, and habitual tendencies. Prior to that, you may not know exactly what self-attachment or vexations are. But once you are free from them, you clearly recognize them. Self-attachment, vexations, and habitual ten- dencies run deep. So practitioners must work hard to experience enlightenment again and again until they can simply rest in mind’s natural state. The key is to practice diligently but seek no results. By practicing in this way, our life gradually becomes completely integrated with wisdom and compassion, and even traces of “enlighten- ment” vanish. We are able to offer ourselves to everyone, like a lighthouse, helping all those who come our way, responding to their needs with- out contrivance. This is the perfection of silent illumination. You might ask, “I’ve been practicing for ten years now—exactly when is this going to hap- pen to me?” The difference between delusion and enlightenment is only a moment away. In an instant, you can be free from the constructs of your identity and see through the veil of your fabrications. Remember that practice is much more than following a particular method or going through stages on a path. Practice is life and all of its “furniture.” Practice helps us see the room and not attach to the furniture. Enlightenment is not something special—it is the natural freedom of this moment, here and now, unstained by our fabrications.