tion and is the path or medium of transcendence; and the

"pure vision" of realized beings. A realized being, or a buddha,

will perceive this world as spontaneously perfect, a completely

and dazzlingly pure realm. Since they have purified all the

causes of karmic vision, they see everything directly in its

naked, primordial sacredness.

Everything that we see around us is seen as it is because

we have been repeatedly solidifying our experience of inner

and outer reality in the same way, lifetime after lifetime, and

this has led to the mistaken assumption that what we see is

objectively real. In fact, as we go further along the spiritual

path, we learn how to work directly with our fixed perceptions.

All our old concepts of the world or matter or even ourselves

are purified and dissolved, and an entirely new, what

you could call "heavenly" field of vision and perception opens

up. As Blake says:

If the doors of perception were cleansed,

Everything would appear... as it is, infinite. 3

I shall never forget when Dudjom Rinpoche, in a moment

of intimacy, leaned toward me and said in his soft, hoarse,

slightly high-pitched voice: "You know, don't you, that actually

all these things around us go away, just go away ..."

With most of us, however, karma and negative emotions

obscure the ability to see our own intrinsic nature, and the

nature of reality. As a result we clutch onto happiness and suffering

as real, and in our unskillful and ignorant actions go on

sowing the seeds of our next birth. Our actions keep us bound

to the continuous cycle of worldly existence, to the endless

round of birth and death. So everything is at risk in how we

live now, at this very moment: How we live now can cost us

our entire future.

This is the real and urgent reason why we must prepare

now to meet death wisely, to transform our karmic future,

and to avoid the tragedy of falling into delusion again and

again and repeating the painful round of birth and death. This

life is the only time and place we can prepare in, and we can

only truly prepare through spiritual practice: This is the

inescapable message of the natural bardo of this life. As

Padmasambhava says:

Now when the bardo of this life is dawning upon me,

I will abandon laziness for which life has no time,

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