Thursday, September 11, 2014

From the Depths of My Heart to My Mother

Mother -- the mind, the mind! 

By recognizing its true nature, we can free ourselves from every suffering.
However, as long as we do not, we will continue to be confused by its endless parade of challenging and bewildering manifestations in the form of thoughts and images, illusions and delusions. 

By haplessly and habitually identifying with whatever arises in our mind, we create the basis of our own stress, dissatisfaction, and discomfort.

Consequently, let’s open our eyes to our real condition and understand it once and for all.

In reality, there exists an unconditioned nature, the true and ultimate essence of the mind. 

It is our original innocence, before we began adding worldly knowledge and stories of “me and mine”, “self and other”, “good and bad”.

If we leave this mind in its state of immediate unfiltered presence, without seeking to modify it in any way with our ideas about how it should be, or about how we should be, or about how the world should be, then its spontaneous and primordial wisdom will manifest naturally.

Now, what constitutes the unconditioned wisdom of instantaneous pure presence?

However much we try to define or think it, it is beyond the grasp of the intellect.

It never began, it resides nowhere, it knows no interruption. 

It cannot be objectified or pinned down.

Nothing that we can see or know has any independent existence. 

In other words, everything depends on something else for its existence, just like the flower depends on light and rain, which in turn also depend on the sun and clouds, which also depend on various other elements, all the way down to sub-atomic particles, and so it is throughout the universe, with everything originating dependently.

Everything permeates everything, nothing is separate, despite how things might seem if we do not look closely. 

That is why the term “illusion” is applied to describe appearances, because everything is actually “empty” of any inherent existence, despite seeming to be solid and independent.

Just so, the essence of mind has always been the purity of that very emptiness, which pervades everything totally.

Indeed, mind’s nature is clarity, an open, spacious, and transparent awake awareness, which possesses the quality of wisdom in a state of total self-perfection.

Instantaneous presence, the union of empty essence and clarity, is the state of primordial purity -- the unfabricated, uncontrived nature of mind itself. 

It is actually the basis for the appearance of anything and everything.

Truly recognizing this state is what is called “the view of the total completeness of self-perfection.”

In this very moment, what does that actually mean?

If we look at an object to our right, and then shift our attention to an object on the left, in the moment in which our first thought vanishes and before the second one arises, don’t you sense a fresh awareness of the instant, untarnished by the mind, clear, limpid, naked, free? 

Stay a while in contemplation, Mother, and observe!

By paying attention in this way, we can notice a gap, or space between thoughts, and it is there where we can rest attention.

Right there! 

This is an example of the authentic condition of instantaneous presence, and also of what is called “the absolute equality of the fourth time,” which transcends the three times of past, present, and future. 

At the moment in which you no longer rest in this state, doesn’t a thought arise, swiftly and spontaneously? 

Pay attention, Mother, and notice how it happens!

Right there! 

This is what is called “the uninterrupted energy of emptiness”, which is the essence of instantaneous presence. 

If you do not recognize a thought as soon as it arises, then thoughts will multiply in the ordinary way, and thus you will be drawn back into the passing parade, rather than simply resting and observing the mind stream without identifying or fixating on any part of it.

This is what is meant by “the chain of illusions”. This simple activity of identification is the basis for our endless wandering about in a disturbing dreamland. We believe we are the thoughts, when in reality we are merely their witness. 

Mother, when a thought is suddenly born in you, whether good or bad, recognize it immediately! 

Stay with pure presence, relaxed in its state, without entering into action.

That is, neither accept or reject it, neither suppress nor indulge it, neither try to block it or entertain it. 

In this way, by not creating some attachment based on accepting or rejecting, good or evil, pleasurable or painful, all such conflicting thoughts dissolve on their own, or in other words, are self-liberated.

They freely melt back into the space where presence and emptiness are indivisible. This is called “the fundamental union of view and meditation” -- that dissolving of tension and stress in the total completeness of self-perfection.

When all doubts and uncertainties regarding the view of the nature of total completeness are dissolved from within, then continuing in that state is called “meditation.”

To support this view of the natural state, one needs to relax the consciousness of the five senses, starting with sight and hearing, without blocking those functions, while staying serene and detached.

If the various consciousnesses of the five senses become blocked, this means that one has fallen into dullness and lack of clarity. 

In that case, one must make one’s condition more lucid and transparent.

If one meditates with some personal goal or aim in mind, there is great risk that the meditation will become analytic or conceptual, and this creates a new set of impediments. 

Rather, it is enough just to leave consciousness in its original state and at the same time not let oneself become distracted. Since distraction is equivalent to falling into illusion, it is important to focus attention on not letting illusions multiply.

Remember, whatever thought arises, whether it be good or bad, neither reject or approve it, but let it liberate itself in the same way it arose.

Whatever thought arises, good or bad, let it manifest, but do not become involved by making judgments about it.

Just as waves, after churning on the surface of the sea, eventually turn calm and serene, so too is thought, when left as it is, also liberated into its own prior state.

Some so-called meditation experts claim that meditation consists in stopping thought and achieving a state free of thought, but this is the opposite direction from the path of dissolving of tensions in total completeness.

To stop thought is an action. Undertaking an action while meditating can become a further source of confusion, perpetuating the sense of stress and dilemma.

It is definitely not the way to liberate oneself from suffering born of mistaken identification.

Therefore, when a thought arises, regardless of whether it is perceived as good or bad, the key is to continue in a state of pure presence and clarity, without involving oneself in any actions based on either blocking or multiplying thought. 

When one continues in this state, whatever mental object presents itself does not become a target for our attachment. Our perception of it remains in its fresh, original condition.

Thus all phenomena which appear as objects manifest without their specific character being changed or sullied by thoughts deriving from attachment. 

We refrain from adding any of our own fantasies of interpretation to perception.

In this way, everything that appears and is recognized becomes that wisdom which is the union of emptiness and clarity.

This recognition of one’s own state, which is a condition of pure clarity and presence, can eventually become continual, whatever our daily activity might be.

When walking, when eating, when seated, when lying down and so forth, if a thought arises which is linked to an emotion or passion (for example to a pleasure or a pain, or to something good or evil), do not yield to the impulse of trying to manipulate it. 

Any sensation of pleasure or pain, if observed and left in its purity and innocence, will dissolve in the same way it emerged, without our interference.

The principal cause of our suffering is due to our unconscious inclination toward grasping and avoiding, so use every occasion to return to that deep natural state in which all concepts of acceptance and rejection purify themselves in their own condition.

May the ultimate meaning of the Awakened State arise perfectly in you, Mother!
May all beings who have contact with you liberate themselves in the primordial space of Supreme Enlightenment!

This was written by the dzogchenpa Namkhai Norbu in Lhasa on the twenty-fifth day of the first month of the male earth dog year, 2502 years after the parinirvana of the Buddha (that is, March 1958) at the moment of separation with his mother, and then freely transliterated by Bob O’Hearn, as a gift from his Friend Fukasetsu Marcel Vuijst to his mother, on her birthday, September 13, 2014.

1 comment:

  1. "In the moment in which our first thought vanishes and before the second one arises, don’t you sense a fresh awareness of the instant, untarnished by the mind, clear, limpid, naked, free?

    Stay a while in contemplation, Mother, and observe!

    By paying attention in this way, we can notice a gap, or space between thoughts, and it is there where we can rest attention.

    Right there!"

    Mu Bodhisattva Bob, mind the gap.