Groundlessness, uncertainty, insecurity, vulnerability — these are words that ordinarily carry a negative connotation. We’re generally wary of these feelings and try to elude them in any way possible. But groundlessness isn’t something we need to avoid. The same feeling we find so troubling when we open to it can be experienced as a huge relief, as freedom from all restraints. It can be experienced as a mind so unbiased and relaxed that we feel expansive and joyful.
We cannot identify the nature of space
As having this or that attribute
Or as having this or that empirical characteristic.
It has no color, shape, or form
And cannot be contaminated by anything that occurs within it.
In the same way, emptiness —
Which is inexorably bound with the mind —
Is free from all empirical characteristics.
The nature of mind is not contaminated
By karma of either a positive or negative nature.
The ancient Buddhas taught the Dharma
Not for its own sake but to assist us.
If we really knew ourselves
We would not have to rely on old teachers.
The wise go right to the core
And leap beyond appearances;
The foolish cleave to details
And get ensnared by words and letters.
Such people envy the accomplishments of others
And work feverishly to attain the same things.
Cling to truth and it becomes falsehood;
Understand falsehood and it becomes truth.
Truth and falsehood are two sides of a coin:
Neither accept nor reject either one.
Don’t waste your precious time fruitlessly
Trying to gauge the depths of life’s ups and downs.
Good conduct is the way in which life becomes more meaningful, more constructive and more peaceful. For this, much depends on our own behaviour and our mental attitude.
Traveling on paths that pass through regions infested by bandits is a fearful experience fraught with dangers. The spiritual path, too, leads through difficult and dangerous defiles, and anyone making the arduous journey toward enlightenment must expect to encounter some formidable obstacles, especially desire, anger, confusion, pride, and jealousy. You may manage to avoid the ambush set up by desire, only to find anger lying in wait, ready to overpower you at the next crossroads on your path. Even if you escape that danger, it will be all too easy to fall into the clutches of pride and jealousy. The five poisonous emotions are merciless marauders who will not have the slightest hesitation in killing your chance of reaching your destination, freedom from samsara. To bring you through these dangers, you will need a soundly reliable escort. That escort is the spiritual master. Only with the master’s guidance will you arrive safe and sound.
This is something we can look at and see for ourselves. When we act with a kind heart and good motivation, without any greed or lust, without any aggression, and without any delusion, that is virtuous. If, on the other hand, we act with a bad motivation out of the greed that wants only to benefit ourselves, out of the aversion that wants to harm someone else, or out of delusion that does not know what to take up and what to give up, that is non-virtuous.
Since revulsion is like the feet or the guardian of your meditation practice, you should contemplate the suffering of samsara. Keeping in your innermost mind that this life is impermanent and without lasting substance, cut worldly ties and resolve to equalize life and practice.
Since devotion is like the head or the enhancement of your meditation practice, entrust yourself fully and make sincere supplications to your guru and the lineage masters, never parting from seeing them as buddhas in person.
Since mindfulness is the watchman or heart of your meditation practice, never forsake it, not only during sessions, but also train in keeping constant company by reminding yourself of the natural state at all times and in all situations.
Make compassion the activity of your meditation practice, so that you cultivate loving kindness, compassion and bodhichitta for all sentient beings and bring them under your protection with dedication and aspiration.
The mind is like a crazy monkey, which leaps about and never stays in one place. It is completely restless and constantly paranoid about its surroundings. The training, or the meditation practice, is a way to catch this monkey, to begin with. That is the starting point.
Realizing that everything is a creation of our mind is the most important discovery; it is the fundamental enlightenment meditation. It is the best, most immediate way to solve problems, because when we realize that every problem we have comes from our own mind, there is nothing to blame on others. Even if somebody is angry at us and abuses us, it comes from our own mind. Previously we have put the entire blame on other people, thinking that all our problems came from outside, not from our own mind.
When we find that there is nothing external to blame, there is nothing for us to do except to transform our own mind, to purify our own karma. We have to purify our present impure karma, which projects these unpleasant appearances, and accumulate more merit. Since everything comes from our mind, enlightenment also has to come from our mind. Our own mind has to create englightment.
One practice that I especially like is taking mental snapshots. You can begin by closing your eyes. Then turn your head in any direction — up, down, sideways. It doesn’t matter which way. The idea is that you’re not exactly sure what you’ll see when you open your eyes. Then, abruptly open your eyes and see what’s in front of you. Almost immediately, you will revert to labeling everything, but try to observe that moment before the labeling happens. In a relaxed and open way, try to take a mental snapshot of that instant, which is empty of imputed meaning.