Although our being is pure, divine essence, we don’t notice what we are because of ignorance. As a result of this lack of awareness, we took embodiment in a physical body. However, it is precisely because of having this precious human form that we are able to realise this divine essence. This is why the unity of the two truths – relative and absolute – is so essential in our human existence. It is crucial to have the ability to recognise the obscurations preventing our realising this truth, so that confusion dawns as wisdom. These obscurations arise from our strong identification with an acquired idea of a ‘me and mine’ – a dark reflection.
The very moment of actually seeing and experiencing our confused suffering is the unity of these two truths. It is divine essence that recognises. That recognition is the unity! The light in the darkness. All we need to do is find the switch, which is recognition. Then, all doubt is cleared.
Recognition and realisation are simultaneous, thus empty essence is revealed. When the switch is on, that which was dark is now illumined: knowing obliterates not knowing.
The importance of understanding the unity of the two truths is what the Dharma is all about. Realisation and conduct, merit and wisdom (something we do to realise something we are), appearances and emptiness, darkness and light, meditation and non meditation, the devil and God*.
If we get caught up in extremes and separations, then we will never realise the unity of the middle way, and so will remain divided. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are merely designations – an act of choosing. Before ‘good’ and ‘bad” there is merely unbiased awareness, or knowingness.
When we are in disunity, we remain in chaos, confusion and distress. We are in conflict with a group of ideas which, in itself, is in conflict with other groups of ideas. To see clearly, we need a panoramic, open view that takes in everything, looking at all possibilities. If we become fixated on just one aspect, this is a limiting view. This biased view may be cosy for a time, but conflicts are bound to arise. The sole purpose of a group is to maintain itself, and the individuals are just part of that process. It’s possible to understand why this happens because we are ‘led to believe’, as opposed to seeing for ourselves.
Realisation happens in meditation: that realisation is pure being. Essence beyond mind – emptiness. But we are sentient and, as such, have to do things. This is where our conduct – the continuity of realisation – comes to the fore. Here we practise, or remember, the six perfections of generosity patience, perseverance, discipline, meditation/concentration and transcendent knowledge: maintaining these requires effort. Once transcendent knowledge is realised and transformed into transcendent wisdom – which is the realisation of empty essence – then these same perfections become wisdom conduct: as there is no fixation/clinging, the six perfections are now maintained without effort. Another, simpler word for this is love. The light in the darkness. But it is the recognition of the darkness that is the light. This is the unity of the two; they just cannot be separated.
So, instead of remaining aloof in emptiness – which is, by itself, rather dry and could become nihilistic – we can have fun in expressing this realisation. The juice of love! We can thus be fearless, not bound by dogma.
* This is an intriguing story: the devil is merely the absence of pure consciousness (or god consciousness if you prefer). Division creates confusion, and perhaps this has been exploited through the anthropomorphising of the devil and god. When realised, the recognition of the absence of pure consciousness is pure consciousness (again, god consciousness if you wish).