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Nature of Mind
2023, November, Issue 69
What is that bright sky?
It is not out there,
it is in here,
yet, it is not in here either, nor is it both,
it is not this or that,
not other, not neither, not the same,
it is beyond what is, both and neither, beyond
what can be added or negated,
it cannot be located
in either time or space, where can it be?
That bright spacious sky,
brilliant beyond a thousand stars,
brighter than all universes
together in one dot, utter openness expanding
expanding forever into now, that brightness
that, that amazing thatness
that cannot be explained, not not explained,
not different, not separate,
glowing from within, utter intensity beyond reason,
I can see that I have never gone away, from that;
In this present explosive radiant nowness,
as I dedicate this perfect merit
to all beings,
to dakas as well as all dakinis,
to wisdom beings and the guru
of this timelessly luminous path,
my perfect guru who is really just primordial
nature of mind,
I can see
that I have seen
all of that before,
in death and life and dreams, always
in this amazing
A poem from the book, Timeless Luminosity © 2020.
People have asked me if I can train them or give them teachings in Dzogchen, which is who we really are, or we could also say that Dzogchen is practicing the Nature of Mind. Now, this confuses me a little bit, because the Nature of Mind is something we must each discover for ourselves. I can help you by pointing out something you already know; however, Dzogchen is not something I can actually point to. It is beyond object or subject. It’s not a religion. It’s not a school. What it is is an understanding of reality that cannot be reified in any way.
In both Timeless Luminosity and The Frog, I go into various explanations about our Real Nature; however, I also make it very clear that we cannot understand this in any other way than by direct experience. It is said that there are six million Dzogchen texts. Even so, none of them actually point to anything. Even though so many Dzogchen teachings exist, we can only develop a feeling from them. We have to discover the Nature of Mind for ourselves. We have to walk through that door, and it can’t be something intellectually contrived.
When I have written about my death, I explained that we have all witnessed this bright condition an infinite number of times, really every time we die. Then we are reborn, forgetting who we are, forgetting our Ultimate Reality, over and over again. I say things like “Bodhicitta is the Key” or “As it is” or “Beyond concept”. These phrases are not pointing at anything. They are meant to set your attitude as a Spiritual Practitioner.
As Spiritual Practitioners, that is people who wish to awaken for the benefit of all, we need to have the correct attitude when we meditate. If we have discovered the Nature of Mind, then we no longer need such reminders; because, when we have discovered the Nature of Mind, our practice becomes enlightenment itself. The practice of Dzogchen is simply becoming accustomed to who we really are. This sort of practice takes no effort whatsoever. Up until this recognition of who we are, the effort can seem overwhelming at times.
When I, at last, recognized the Nature of Mind in this lifetime, one of the first things that I said was, “it’s worth it.” By all accounts, I applied a tremendous effort to this desire to awaken. I think that is the best way to approach this door where we have such realization. Although there are many ways to enter this door, sustaining such realization could prove to be quite difficult. If we do not employ great effort with Bodhicitta at the core, then we won’t have the experience or the resolve to continue with great confidence into liberation itself.
People argue about this; however, that is my understanding from my own experience. If we are to awaken, we must be efficient and determined with our own Spiritual Practice. I don’t really see any other way. As I say, each time we die, the eternal wisdom of Dharmakaya becomes apparent, and then we quickly forget again. If we were prepared, we could awaken in the death bardo, and we would be completely free from cyclic existence.
My intention is that my efforts to explain a little bit about our Real Nature, as well as what we will certainly face in the death bardo, may help a few people to awaken. We all have this ability. Don’t worry about it, if you don’t understand or think you aren’t smart enough to know these most profound teachings. Awakening has nothing to do with intellect. It is simply about realizing who you really are. When you pass through the death bardo, completely relaxed, and a great light overtakes you, remaining at ease in that will lead to awakening.
When we awaken, we awaken to reality, as it is. There’s nothing to change. There’s nothing to believe. It is direct experience.
Blessings in Light,