Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche presents practices for recognizing the true nature of thoughts — empty and open, luminous and conscious.
In a single on the spot, the sunshine of a lamp can illuminate
A home that has been darkish and uninhabited for a thousand years.
Simply so, realizing the luminous nature of your personal thoughts for even an on the spot
Will purify an eon’s price of negativity and obscurations.
—Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol
The one distinction between us and buddhas is that they acknowledge their true nature whereas we don’t. The excellent news is that Mahayana Buddhism usually, and Vajrayana Buddhism particularly, supply us many efficient strategies for working immediately with the thoughts to comprehend our buddhanature.
There are three principal Tibetan traditions of meditation that work with the thoughts on this approach. In Tibet, we refer to those because the chenpo sum, the “three nice traditions”: the Nice Seal (Mahamudra), the Nice Perfection (Maha Ati or Dzogchen), and the Nice Center Manner (Mahamadhyamaka). These traditions have completely different kinds and strategies, however their goal is similar: to assist us acknowledge the true nature of our personal minds, which is to say, to immediately expertise our buddhanature.
Buddhas change into buddhas as a result of they acknowledge this true nature. We’re struggling beings as a result of we don’t.
Usually, Vajrayana, or tantric, observe has two phases that assist us acknowledge our true, woke up nature: the event stage and the completion stage. In my earlier article on this collection on Vajrayana observe, I shared an summary of improvement stage observe. This model of observe helps us rework our notion by imagining ourselves to be totally woke up buddhas. As we observe the event stage many times, we slowly situation our thoughts to expertise the world in a approach that’s nearer to its true nature, as basically pure.
However there may be an much more direct solution to uncover our buddhanature. This type of meditation is “the most effective of the most effective” from the standpoint of my lineage. It’s the completion stage with out idea, also referred to as the trail of liberation. It’s the swiftest and most profound path to realizing our true nature.
Right here we aren’t utilizing our creativeness, we aren’t visualizing, and we aren’t utilizing our mind. Slightly, we’re working step-by-step with our thoughts immediately.
On the coronary heart of the trail of liberation is the exploration of consciousness. In meditation practices resembling mindfulness, we focus our consciousness on what we’re pondering, what we’re feeling, and what we’re doing. However within the path of liberation practices we flip our consciousness towards our consciousness itself. We focus not on the objects of thoughts however on thoughts itself. We discover how our thoughts creates actuality and the way the thoughts is the basis of every part that we expertise.
At an applicable level in our path, the Vajrayana instructor will immediately level out to us the true nature of thoughts. This is named “pointing-out instruction” and is given solely to certified college students who’ve laid the bottom to obtain it via their meditation observe. To obtain this instruction immediately mentioning the true nature of thoughts is taken into account extraordinarily lucky. It’s mentioned to be probably the most valuable, transformative educating in Tibetan Buddhism.
Many people might have glimpsed the character of thoughts, on or off the meditation cushion. Maybe we’ve got skilled a second of openness, or a groundless, ungraspable high quality of thoughts that’s on the similar time radiant and luminous. Nonetheless, it’s seemingly we didn’t register the preciousness of this incidence and missed the second altogether. So the teachings we discover within the completion stage with out ideas particularly assist us acknowledge the true nature of thoughts in these moments and progressively stabilize this recognition so we don’t lose contact with it.
So what’s the true nature of thoughts? It’s taught that thoughts has three qualities: the empty facet, the readability or luminous facet, and the union facet.
The primary of those qualities is vacancy. Within the Dzogchen custom, that is known as the “empty essence.” Our physique, our feelings, and our experiences appear so strong, but when we actually look at them deeply, we discover solely a primary openness, an area out of which every part arises. That’s what we imply by the time period “empty essence.”
The trail of liberation teachings assist us to reach at an preliminary understanding of vacancy, after which, via observe, to expertise it. When we’ve got direct expertise of vacancy, we transcend struggling. Not solely are we free of struggling, our primary goodness is unlocked and our potential enlightened qualities manifest.
The second high quality of thoughts is its pure readability, or “clear nature.” Right here we aren’t speaking about readability as a light-weight. We don’t imply that the thoughts is luminous within the sense that it’s shining like a vibrant mild. It’s luminous within the sense that it is aware of, it experiences. For instance, if you find yourself consuming an apple, you “know” you might be consuming an apple. The a part of you that is aware of that is the thoughts’s pure readability.
Something in any respect, whether or not it’s ideas or feelings or any look, will be seen or seen by this readability facet of the thoughts. The truth is, whether or not you assume or don’t assume doesn’t matter. Whether or not there are feelings or no feelings doesn’t matter. Whether or not or not you might have perceptions doesn’t matter. The thoughts is all the time current on this luminosity, the understanding high quality of consciousness.
The third high quality is that the vacancy and luminosity of thoughts are inseparable. That is what is supposed after we say they’re in union. This inseparable vacancy–luminosity is the idea for all perceptions, all appearances. All that we expertise arises inside this and out of this. Ideas come and go, feelings come and go, experiences come and go, however all are manifestations of the thoughts’s nature of vacancy–luminosity.
These three qualities—the empty essence, the clear nature, and their union—are what we imply after we discuss our buddhanature. As I mentioned earlier, buddhas change into buddhas as a result of they acknowledge this true nature. We’re struggling beings as a result of we don’t.
When we don’t acknowledge our true nature, we understand dualistically. We don’t see that the self is empty. We see the self as “one thing,” and that one thing turns into so delicate, sensitive, and grumpy. On the similar time, no matter we see round us turns into a strong “different.” We don’t see it as empty. Based mostly on this dualistic notion of a strong self and different comes ignorance, aggression, and attachment, that are often called the three poisons. We don’t see issues as they really are and so create countless struggling for ourselves and others.
Every little thing we’ve got mentioned up thus far considerations the “view” of the completion stage with out idea—the best way we see ourselves and our expertise after we start to acknowledge the empty readability of pure consciousness. So how will we observe this understanding?
In Mahamudra observe, we hear meditation directions like, “Merely stick with nonetheless your thoughts is. Stick with a very unusual thoughts. You shouldn’t have to meditate. Be utterly pure. Simply don’t get misplaced.”
That’s the Mahamudra model. No matter state your thoughts is in, let or not it’s in that state. In case your thoughts is blissful, let or not it’s blissful, however with consciousness. In case your thoughts is uninteresting, let or not it’s uninteresting, however with consciousness. In case your thoughts is uninteresting, don’t attempt to make it alert.
That’s not vital. In case your thoughts has quite a lot of busyness and ideas, going right here and there, let it go right here and there, however be with consciousness. The primary factor is to not get misplaced since you shouldn’t have consciousness. Don’t meditate, however don’t get misplaced.
Within the Dzogchen custom, first we take a look at the essence of all ideas, feelings, and perceptions. What’s the true nature of all these ideas, feelings, and perceptions? We then relaxation within the nature of thoughts and proceed to remain there. That’s the meditation.
Having regarded on the view of vacancy, readability, and their union and the way we observe this view, we transfer on to the third vital a part of our observe: software. This refers to how we apply the view and meditation in our on a regular basis lives. On this custom, the thought is just to take care of the popularity of our true nature always via our day. We return to this recognition many times, bringing it into on a regular basis life whereas we’re strolling, speaking, consuming, and, particularly, when experiencing detrimental feelings.
Once I was younger, I suffered from panic assaults. My lecturers informed me to easily let the panic be and as an alternative discover the sector of consciousness via which I skilled it. This was completely different from what I had discovered with shamatha meditation, which is extra generally often called mindfulness meditation as of late. In shamatha, I’d relaxation my consciousness on an object, resembling my breath or the emotions in my physique, after I was having a panic assault. However within the Dzogchen teachings, I used to be taught, I didn’t have to do something with my panic. I didn’t even want to concentrate to the panic, or divert my consideration to one thing else.
As an alternative, I ought to acknowledge the essence of panic, which is pure consciousness, then merely drop every part and be with that pure consciousness.
This similar strategy will be utilized to any expertise or scenario. For me, it was panic. Possibly for you it’s stress, anxiousness, melancholy, anger, and even optimistic experiences, resembling pleasure and compassion. No matter we expertise, we will merely relaxation with the empty readability of consciousness itself. We will do that anytime and wherever, whether or not we’re in a gathering, strolling, exercising, driving, or consuming tea. That is how we apply the observe in on a regular basis life.
To start with, seeing our elementary nature immediately is kind of tough. Usually, earlier than the popularity comes, we first need to observe shamatha meditation so our busy thoughts settles down and the thoughts turns into pliable and workable.
As soon as we’ve got developed stability of thoughts, we will then take a look at the thoughts and look at it immediately. This is named vipashyana observe, or perception meditation. The purpose just isn’t to consider these items conceptually however merely to launch an inside inquiry through which we glance immediately at our expertise. After we acknowledge the character of thoughts, vipashyana is nature of thoughts observe. We discover how the thoughts creates actuality and the way the thoughts is the basis of every part.
When we’ve got actually gone deeply into expertise, when we’ve got actually explored it deeply, then even one easy pointing-out instruction from the instructor can have a very transformative impression on the thoughts. Within the second of recognition of our true nature, we understand who we’re and all the time have been. We see our buddhanature finally.