How the negative emotions are actually wisdoms!

This is the basis of the Buddha’s teachings.
This is the basis of the two truths.
This is the meaning of Gampopa’s words: “May confusion dawn as wisdom”.*
This is the meaning of Buddha in the Mud.

To understand this, we must first be introduced to the nature of mind, which is pure awareness (or at least have a glimpse of this). Many traditions work from the perspective that one meditates for years and finds what is called the view: pure awareness, clear light, pure view, dharmakaya, pure perception. Dzogchen starts at the end of the book: then we know why we are practising.

Pure awareness is merely awareness: silent, without comment, with no “I” identification…p u r e awareness. When there is an “I” identification present within the awareness, that is a duality. When it is pure awareness, that is non duality.

So first, we have to be aware of this pure, empty space. Pure being. Pure awareness is not something we “do” – it’s just there all the time, rather like walking through a doorway – our perception is totally open to the view that presents itself, without comment, as we are taking everything in at once without judgement. Once this clear view is established, anything that arises within this space, within this clarity, is clearly seen.

Even though we are this clarity, this pure awareness, which is constantly present, we forget. Forgetfulness is an ordinary sentient being’s way of life: we as practitioners, are in a halfway house, more or less. When there are arisings in the mind of a non-practitioner, they become locked in and lost within the emotions that arise from that occurrence. A practitioner has an inkling of sacred space.

Every emotion has a corresponding wisdom. The five basic negative emotions and five corresponding wisdoms are described as the five qualities of empty essence. These five qualities are mirror-like wisdom, all-accomplishing wisdom, the wisdom of equality, the wisdom of discernment and the wisdom of spaciousness. The five negative emotions are desire, aversion, pride, jealousy and ignorance (this has already been written about on this blog so I won’t go into great detail here).

When pure awareness sees something that is out of balance (for example, a picture on the wall, a person, a situation), we as practitioners (still unenlightened beings) will have a reaction to this event. And if it appears to be out of balance, anger may arise. If we are ordinary sentient beings, aggression will ensue from that anger, and therefore create harm. If, however, we are practitioners, that anger is merely an occurrence in the mind, in spaciousness, which is immediately recognised and self-liberated. It is an energy that brightens the mind. No reaction occurs. Awareness returns to pure awareness.

The first instant was pure awareness.
The second instant was recognition of an occurrence, which returned us to pure awareness.

This is the unity of the two truths.
This is confusion dawning as wisdom.
This is the Buddha in the Mud.

It’s the same with all the emotions.
Because of pure awareness, thoughts and emotions are self-liberated.
By virtue of one, the other is known.

This is not to say that we don’t engage with situations, but we respond if a response is necessary, for the benefit of the situation. We can empathise and show compassion, and if we are fortunate, we can clarify.

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  1. tony says:

    …Anything that appears to the mind is but a temporary illusion – a mere projection.
    It’s non reality, is its reality! This is how the two truths are seen as a unity.

    It is said that when we are out-of-the-body (normally at death), images and coloured lights appear, these too have no reality, but are guides.

    Unfortunately through our habitual fears we will react and therefore go to lower realms.
    If through practice we recognise all appearances as illusions, we will recognise our true nature and therefore go to higher realms…even enlightenment!


  2. daisymae21 says:

    Beautifully and simply explained, Tony. Thank you.

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