Saturday, March 31, 2012


What does life look like when you awaken? In one way it looks exactly the same but in another way everything has changed, only it hasn’t. I suppose that sounds abstruse but actually it isn’t. Our natural mind is pure and unconditional. It is always with us and is beyond detection. It is the source of everything but has no nature at all. It is like a mirror that reflects whatever passes before it but in itself contains nothing.

Today during our meditation group a helicopter flew overhead. As it approached the sound gradually came in contact with our ears, the sound grew stronger and then faded as it moved on. Without thinking about where the helicopter came from and where it went, the sound was just sound and left no tracks. The conditions changed but our mind didn’t—it remained silent, aware and as pure as a mirror.

Upon awakening we become aware of awareness itself: the mirror. Until that point we are consumed with making something out of the sounds and other forms of perception and thus never wake up to our unconditional mind. Nirvāna is the state of being free from suffering and is understood as “blowing out”—referring in the Buddhist context, to the blowing away the smoke of greed, hatred, and delusion.

Our conditional mind and unconditional mind are often portrayed as the difference between smoke and fire. We can see the smoke of thoughts, which emanate from the fire of mind. When thoughts are blown out, the smoke goes away and we lose that mind and find our true mind. That no-mind state is what is known as Nirvāna: our natural mind, which has always been present. The mirror never comes or goes. Without it perception would be impossible. The mind moves and it doesn’t and everything is just a reflection of the way things are.
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