From The Union of Mahamudra & Dzogchen by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.
“STUDENT: I have a problem reconciling the statement about the basic equality of all sentient beings on the one hand, and the enormous emphasis which Buddhism lays on differences. Especially differences between what we call the ‘ordinary person’ and the ‘enlightened person’ or the ‘person on the way to enlightenment’ and also, the different degrees of capacity and capability.
“RINPOCHE: First of all, one should understand the two truths. First, the relative or conventional truth is what is true on an experiential level, concerning the conditioned appearances of things. Ultimate truth is what is true in essence concerning the nature of things. When beings are confused or deluded, they only perceive relative truth, not the ultimate truth. For those who are free from delusion, who have no obscurations, perceive both relative and ultimate truth. According to the degree of confusion one has, the degree to which one’s obscurations have been purified, and the degree to which one is realised, one will perceive things in a different way. That’s why there are different kinds of beings. In short, regarding the two truths, relative truth is what is true in one’s experience, and ultimate truth is what is true in essence.
“The conditioned things which are experienced are relative, or conventional truth. The ultimate truth is the nature of things, which is empty. Again, we can say that conventional truth is the truth of how things are experienced – their seeing mode – and the ultimate truth is how things actually are – their real mode.
“We do experience things, such as seeing through the eyes, hearing through the ears. We smell, taste and touch. Our mind experiences all kind of thoughts, good, bad and neutral about past, present and future. We feel different emotions and so forth. To say all these experiences are unreal or not true would be improper. Yet, because of considering only what appears or what is experienced in reality, we have wandered endlessly in samsara…
“…The true Dharma is something that should be reasonable, logical and sensible, which can only be proved both through one’s own understanding and one’s own experience. Through study and reflection, one’s understanding of how things are becomes increasingly clear. In addition, if one combines this intellectual understanding with the direct knowledge resulting from meditation practice, one can gain full realisation of how things are…
“…Usually, we hear, see and feel different things, one after the other, without thinking much about what’s happening. We simply experience sensations. If, however, we suddenly start to analyse what is going on, and ask ourselves, “What is sight? What is sound? What is it to hear, to taste, to see?” then we must find some kind of answer to this. We must try to define or describe our perception in some way, and once we start to have some understanding of what is going on, our perception will differ from that of someone who has never analysed anything.
“That’s why there are differences between people.”
It all depends on our level of clarity and purity.
The word Bud-dha means total clarity and purity.
This all depends on how much and what we have practised.
This all depends on our understanding of reality revealed in our conduct in daily life.