Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Jhampa December 13, 87
We are following on the visualization of Shakyamuni. We spoke of it in two ways, approaching it from a relative level of what enlightenment means. And the other way was approaching it from the absolute level. I covered this in the past few weeks. Tonight was supposed to be the introduction of the first of the six perfections. These six perfections are the path which people who are aspiring for enlightenment travel upon, or bodhisattvas work upon. The are perfections in the sense that one strives to bring about the culmination of those. The culmination of generosity is to have a sense of openness and being able to give not just materialism but also on other levels. They say charity for example has, charity of the material possessions we own, charity of love, charity of protection called fearlessness, and charity of the dharma, spirituality. So there are different types of charity or generosity to share with other people. Tonight we will set up the context for it.
When you visualize, you should try to on one level make it that there is a definite relationship between you and the enlightened being that you visualize. The most definite relationship, the most immediate relationship is that the nature of your own being is pure and the nature of the enlightened being is pure in the sense that there is no differentiation of what is called the buddha nature. The buddha nature you have now and the buddha nature you have in enlightenment is exactly the same. It doesn't increase or grow or doesn't change what so ever. Rather that buddha nature is exactly the same quality and nature whether you are a sentient being or whether you are an enlightened being. So, when you think of the enlightenment nature, you should really relate that there is no difference not even an atom of difference between the divine nature, or your buddha nature, and the nature of a fully enlightened being.
Now where the difference lies is, is in the revealing of that nature. And it's almost wrong to say purification of that nature, because you don't purify something that is already pure. you don't need to. You can really look at yourself that you are O.K., right as you are. But what they say it's like is they use an example, that if you have a very clear crystal and you place it upon a golden colored cloth, it becomes gold. If you put it on a yellow cloth, it becomes yellow. If you put it on a red cloth it becomes red. If you put it on a blue cloth, it becomes blue. The crystal itself is always pure in its nature. But because of what it is around, it takes on the color.
When you relate about your own buddha nature, your buddha nature is so to speak colored right now with your predispositions. Like how your personality is and such things like that. And because our being is not realized, because we are not cultivated in good quality, our pure buddha nature is in many ways obscured or hidden from us. And so what we have to do is reveal it. The way to reveal it is to one, realize your innate purity of your being, and the second say is to practice the six perfections which bring it about.
Last week I explained fairly extensively, in working with yourself, you are actually in one way don't have to do anything. You don't have to accumulate positive energy. Be positive, be meritorious, be charitable or anything. If you can just realize your pure nature, that's it. You are liberated. You are enlightened.
But the problem with just doing that is, that the quality of your being isn't really perfected. And also so to speak, your capacity to help others is severely limited because although you have complete freedom liberation within yourself, your being can't manifest itself back from that state because as you do, then you manifest back and there are defilements there. There is what is called subtle imprints of negativity which have not been purified. So therefore if one did have that level of enlightenment just now, lets say that you managed to reveal your buddha nature, if you tried to come back and help anybody, you would be right back where you are now, so to speak. You wouldn't be deluded about yourself, but you would still have habit patterns which would have to be worked through.
What is appropriate for us is to try to cultivate the good qualities at the same time trying to reveal our buddha nature. And that way we actually go on an evolution of trying to become a more beautiful person and at the same time we can accomplish the task of actually revealing our pure nature. In the final end result, if we actually perfect ourselves in totality, we will be fully enlightened like a fully enlightened being of the buddha. So it's something that you can really rejoice at in the sense that you have no imperfections and impurities, distortions of your being whatsoever. Your being is pure, it's realized, and it's fully capable in any way of relating to any being to help them.
And I think particularly for western people, why go for only half of it when you can go for the whole thing and it's not really that much extra work. It's just a matter of applying oneself to the particular task.
So when you think of the fully enlightened being in the space before you, think of it as fully imbued with qualities, free of any distortions of reality. When you relate to yourself, think of yourself as having the complete pure nature but at this time you still distort reality. And when you interact with other beings, your prejudices, your habits and such things get in the way and distort the world around you. And then you have various sufferings or happenings in proportion. You can look at it that the distortions are temporary, they have not distorted the pure nature of your being. Therefore it's not difficult to apply yourself to purify them. Have that as a context for your meditation. That there is a relationship between you and enlightenment. There is a relationship between you and the fully enlightened being.
The only difference is one, whether I am ignorant or confused about my nature, or two, if I realize my nature, and in realizing my nature have I realized it fully in the sense of being fully enlightened, or have I realized it only to the extent that I have liberated myself. Really what we we would like to do is liberate, having full enlightenment, so we have full quality. So our compassion and our love have full freedom of expression.
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