The Dharma Is Not Over There
It is funny how, during practice, some insight may occur, usually as a subtle change in understanding. Take the words Ground, Path and Fruition. They are referred to as:
Ground = our true nature
Path = our confusion about that true nature
Fruition = realising that the confusion about our true nature never existed
Reading this is instructive but it somehow feels ‘over there’, a bit of knowledge to be tucked away for future reference. In fact, any translation contaminates the actual experience. Words are only a rough idea. This is why some prefer the word ‘shunyata’ to ’emptiness’; in using the word ‘shunyata’ there is nothing to get hold of, whereas the word ’emptiness’ can have conceptual connotations. The knowledge of an apple is in the experience of taste, smell and sight and not in the name.
I’ll have to admit to not being totally sure about chanting in our native language, or in Tibetan or Sanskrit. We have to know the meaning of the words, but not be limited by that meaning, or it could feel like a lucky charm. Whether chanting mantras changes the phenomenal world, I do not know, but life does seem to become more ‘fortunate’.
Back to Ground, Path and Fruition.
It suddenly occurred to me that Ground is emptiness, Path is awareness and Fruition is the unity of the two.
Remember: emptiness is absolute reality and awareness is relative reality.
Why is awareness relative reality? Every creature has awareness to survive; they use awareness constantly in order to relate to a situation. This use of awareness to relate to a situation maintains confusion; it is our belief that everything is real, and this makes us fight, fly or freeze. Not many creatures know their true nature of emptiness/shunyata – pure uncontaminated being. As we are humans, we need to be aware, but also be aware of our true nature if we are going to break out of the cycle of The Three F’s of fight, flight and freeze!
The Dharma is never ‘over there’,
a million miles away.
The Dharma is realising
we are pure…awareness.
Ground is emptiness.
Path is awareness and
Fruition is the unity of the two.
That is not ‘over there’.
The mind may not find this change in perception to be very important , and no big deal. Its only important to the individual who realises this; the practicality of the Buddha’s teachings. The teachings are a generalisation until we put them into practice, and then they become very precise.
As previously stated, there are nine levels of understanding (yana), each complete in itself. From Rainbow Painting by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche:
“Each of these vehicles from the very beginning, feels that it is putting the genuine, authentic view into practice and not a false one. But when viewed from the vehicle above, it appears that the viewpoint of the vehicle below is incomplete; this principle applies all the way up through the eight yanas. Whenever one regards this view from the vantage point of Mahamudra, Dzogchen or the ultimate Madyamika, these views are all seen to possess subtle concepts.”
Same words, superior meaning. A change in perception could indicate a change in yana.