Summing Up the Path
In 2006 someone asked t.k. if he could summarize the teachings in a single statement - this is what he said:
"The spiritual longing of every human being is to realize, make real in the continuum of life, body, feeling, mind the untrammeled freedom, love, wisdom, bliss of their truest nature. You are not being asked to believe unquestioned dogma or interesting philosophy. But you are also not encouraged to pretend these pleasant words can mean anything if you do not take up the way.
What must be understood is the heart of wisdom is an Original Innocence and Bright Virtue – this is the authentic reality of Buddha Nature. It has, from the start, been our own truest nature – not ‘original sin’ but Original Innocence. This innocence transcends the vagaries of circumstances, relationships, mind’s ups and downs.
The true nature of our life and mind is like an ocean of fathomless depths whose dynamic energy plays across the surface as waves. Those waves are our world, our embodied life. Our life is the creative task of manifesting That Depth within the process structure called ‘my life’. It is in us, in human beings, that the depth and dynamic expression meet. Our lives are an open endedness whose longing is to unify the ocean’s unfathomable depth, the sky’s ineffable openness and the spontaneity of divine manifestation.
In the deep we are, always, unstained Original Innocence - replete with potentiality. In our manifesting we are, always, Bright Virtue – a vector making the potential virtual and longing into actual.... the manifestation of appearances as divinity. In the movement from the openness’ no-thing-ness Original Innocence → to the dynamic some-thing-ness of Bright Virtue’s manifestation there can occur a disconnect. System transformations can lead to seeming system breaks and mind becomes confused thinking that the wave has lost connection to the ocean’s deep.
Form (us) disconnected from the emptiness openness of Original Innocence becomes frantic, anxious and loses connection to spirit as well – to Bright Virtue. Dharmakaya collapses into thinking’s conceptual complexity, Sambhogakaya collapses into emotive confusions and Nirmanakaya collapses into the seeming entrapment of what is called body/world. Openness becomes the ‘space’ of our world – Brightness becomes Beingness and my being – Ineffable Divine Appearances become our actions, our karmas.
When this happens life becomes an attempt to recover what seems to have been lost. Of course nothing was ever truly lost – a tiger mistaking itself for a sheep is still always a tiger ...it has not lost its tigerness. Still, having imagined a loss, the tiger shapes its life into that of a sheep and grass does not make a good meal for a tiger. The tiger is always uncomfortable, suffering indigestion! The tiger might try and try all sorts of sheep strategies for happiness but it will never work. They may even go to sheep satsangs and pretend to be tigers while still acting like sheep and eating grass – this also won’t work, suffering won’t come to an end.
In our confused life we enact all sorts of silliness trying to be happy in the smallness that we imagine we are. We strive to recover our intuited lost freedom, bliss, love, wisdom – but we strive within the confines of our imagined predicament. Happily, since the divine is never any distance at all from us, its influence is always intervening in our enshrouded narrow canyon life. The path conforms life to the shape and process of divinity – the tiger quits eating grass, quits trying to bleet. When a human being encounters true wisdom then every aspect of their life also changes, is reshaped, in accord with the ten virtues of wisdom bliss.
Enlightenment is not merely a question of forming happy concepts to replace confused concepts – though this can be part of the path. Enlightenment is not another idea – another head put on top of your head. Enlightenment is as much in the feet, toes, as in the mind. When the mind ceases to be confused then the process structure of unfreedom unravels and tremendous energy and creative wisdom-love-bliss is released.
Before this one must work to undo the energetic strictures that prevent radical insight and its concomitant radical transformation of body, world, all appearance into divinity. Because the actual transformation, and eventual translation, of appearance into divinity is rare there can be a certain Emporer’s New Clothes phenomena in spirituality where people with no living wisdom spout platitudes and parrot insight – but there is no need to fret or worry over this. Prajnaparamita, the goddess of wisdom, reveals to each person the nature of mistaken view in the form of suffering and this leads back to the path.
In short all appearances are not other than the spiritual potency of mind’s great mystery – the ocean’s rich depth, the sky’s openness and freedom. Mind itself has no basis – it is unutterable mysterious Original Innocence. It is the function of the path to awaken you to this subtle wisdom understanding, but the wisdom itself is always true from the beginning. Wisdom, enlightenment, then is to inhere in-and-as this truth... it is in the living of the unknowing and knowing. Unknowing the confusions and their structure and knowing – gnsotic knowingness immediate and liberating. This is the meaning of the Tibetan word for Buddha – Sangye .... to unknow confusions and to expand all enlightened qualities.
The spiritual longing of every human being is to realize, make real in the continuum of life, body, speech, mind, this reality. To embody and enworld the beauty of Buddha Nature’s expanse and luminous clarity is the meaning urge of our lives. The essence of spiritual reality, the essence of mind, is an expanse of unutterable mystery – a perfect purity. The nature of this purity is a luminosity whose radiance is a perfect clarity. These are the Original Inocence and Bright Virtue of your life waiting for you to discover and live them to the point of being translated into them.
When prince Siddhartha became Shakyamuni Buddha his first words of enlightenment were “How wondrous, how marvelous all beings have been Buddha since the beginning.” All whose minds have awoken to the marvelous illuminating nature and essence of mind’s reality have experienced this same shock of wonder! They see the inseparable union of Original Innocence and Bright Virtue shining and appearing as galaxies, the worlds and beings from timelessness itself.
But Buddhas do not sell you the vapid shallowness of ‘non-seeking’ as excuse for shirking the human responsibility of transformation and translation. So long as delusion persists it is embodied in a process structure whose impact is to veil direct insight into the true nature of things. This embodiment of enshrouding habit we call ‘my life’ - with its happy moments, sad moments, and underlying suffering of each moment. To confront this, challenge this, change this is serious hard work which we would all like to avoid but which is unavoidable for those who long to mature spiritually.
Buddhas see only Buddha. Nothing other than Buddha nature is seen by Buddhas. No original sin is seen, only some seeming beings mistaking their true nature for something more dim, less free. Buddhas do not see any actually existing suffering, no death, no birth, only the play of wisdom bliss, only Original Innocence – appearance as Dharmata. There is no expulsion from the Garden of Eden only a distorted vision unable to see the way things are in their truth. The blessings of Buddhas and the path of Dharma are that which leads to clear seeing – those blessings and our own courage, earnestness, hard work and sincerity.
Here the invitation is into the methods which make the body, the mind, feeling, all into subtle tools for spiritual knowing. The path is not easy, the path requires intelligence, courage, hard work, independence …….. but, suffering is not easy either.