Enter, undistracted, the path of listening and hearing, reflection and

contemplation, and meditation,

Making perceptions and mind the path, and realize the "three

kayas /7 : the enlightened mind; 4

Now that I have once attained a human body,

There is no time on the path for the mind to wander.


I sometimes wonder what a person from a little village in

Tibet would feel if you suddenly brought him to a modern

city with all its sophisticated technology. He would probably

think he had already died and was in the bardo state. He

would gape incredulously at the planes flying in the sky above

him, or at someone talking on the telephone to another person

on the other side of the world. He would assume he was witnessing

miracles. And yet all this seems normal to someone

living in the modern world with a Western education, which

explains the scientific background to these things, step by step.

In just the same way, in Tibetan Buddhism there is a basic,

normal, elementary spiritual education, a complete spiritual

training for the natural bardo of this life, which gives you the

essential vocabulary, the ABC of the mind. The bases of this

training are what are called the "three wisdom tools": the wisdom

of listening and hearing; the wisdom of contemplation and

reflection; and the wisdom of meditation. Through them we are

brought to reawaken to our true nature, through them we

uncover and come to embody the joy and freedom of what we

truly are, what we call "the wisdom that realizes egolessness."

Imagine a person who suddenly wakes up in hospital after

a road accident to find she is suffering from total amnesia.

Outwardly, everything is intact: she has the same face and

form, her senses and her mind are there, but she doesn't have

any idea or any trace of memory of who she really is. In

exactly the same way, we cannot remember our true identity,

our original nature. Frantically, and in real dread, we cast

around and improvise another identity, one we clutch onto

with all the desperation of someone falling continuously into

an abyss. This false and ignorantly assumed identity is "ego."

So ego, then, is the absence of true knowledge of who we

really are, together with its result: a doomed clutching on, at

all costs, to a cobbled together and makeshift image of ourselves,

an inevitably chameleon charlatan self that keeps

changing and has to, to keep alive the fiction of its existence.

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