What is Mind? ~ continued

A mind that is not agitated by thoughts concerning the past, present,and future, a mind that is thought-free, is a state that is stunningly vast and open. It is full of joy. Even when the mind’s nature is recognized, it is impossible to describe. It is empty. It rests in awareness. But this resting in the radiance of awareness does not last long. There is nothing permanent about it, for thoughts will certainly arise, strong and clear. We talk about “arising” because thoughts flash into appearance like lightning in the sky, or swell like waves on the ocean. They are in constant movement. At the outset, thoughts appear and disappear in endless continuity. So, when beginners like us meditate, we must recognize thoughts as they arise. If we fail to recognize them, their movement continues unnoticed below the surface and we are carried away by them. Meditating like this is of no help to us. If you are able to continue meditating properly, certain signs will appear. For instance, some people experience a kind of physical well-being. Others, because of the particular disposition of their subtle channels and energies, experience a powerful sense of bliss. For others, it is more like a deep sleep or an all-engulfing darkness. Whether you experience bliss or clarity, avoid any kind of expectation. Do not think to yourself, “Oh, my meditation is working. I’m making progress. If only I could have more of these experiences!” On the other hand, if you experience a kind of darkness, a thoughtless blankness, clear it away over and over again. If you don’t, your meditation will sink slightly. Some people have lots of thoughts when they meditate—an unstoppable flood. If this happens to you, don’t get upset and think that your meditation is a failure. It is just a sign that you are becoming aware of all the thoughts that under ordinary circumstances pass unnoticed. So don’t let it bother you. Don’t think you have to suppress or eliminate your thoughts. Whatever happens, it is said that you must meditate without hope or fear, doubt or expectation. That’s the main thing. It is thanks to the blessings of the Lama that realization will dawn. Therefore pray to him, mingling your mind with his. If you do, there will come a moment when you will see that what is called the Buddha is not different from your own awareness, and that there is nothing to subdue or master other than your own thoughts. The sign that your meditation has hit the mark is that your devotion to the Lama will deepen and your compassion for beings will gain in strength. You will be your own witness and you will gain great confidence in the practice. If you gain control over your mind, then even if you are at the point of death, you will understand that it is only because of a particular thought that there is an impression of dying—but that the nature of the mind is utterly beyond both birth and death. It would be excellent if you could gain this confidence. So keep this little, essential, instruction in your hearts. This conviction and confidence is what we call the Dharma—the inner qualities that you gain. If you vacillate and think of Dharma as something extraneous to you, thought up by somebody else, you will not benefit from it.  Instead, do yourself a favor and get out of samsara! Be convinced that your mind must separate from samsara, with its karma and defilements. If you do, everything will be fine. Please practice. Pray constantly that you will have no obstacles on your path and that you might be able to capture, in this very life, the primordial citadel.  And I will add my prayers to yours.

Dudjom Rinpoche
Counsels from My Heart
Padmakara Translation Group
photo:  unknown photographer