156 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING understand this relationship can overlook and even disdain the relative aspects of spiritual practice and the karmic law of cause and effect. However, those who truly seize the meaning of Dzogchen will have only a deeper respect for karma, as well as a keener and more urgent appreciation of the need for purification and for spiritual practice. This is because they will understand the vastness of what it is in them that has been obscured, and so endeavor all the more fervently, and with an always fresh, natural discipline, to remove whatever stands between them and their true nature. The Dzogchen teachings are like a mirror that reflects the Ground of our original nature with such a soaring and liberating purity, and such a stainless clarity, that we are inherently safeguarded from being imprisoned in any form of conceptually fabricated understanding, however subtle, or convincing, or seductive. What, then, for me is the wonder of Dzogchen? All of the teachings lead to enlightenment, but the uniqueness of Dzogchen is that even in the relative dimension of the teachings, the language of Dzogchen never stains the absolute with concepts; it leaves the absolute unspoiled in its naked, dynamic, majestic simplicity, and yet still speaks of it to anyone of an open mind in terms so graphic, so electric, that even before we become enlightened, we are graced with the strongest possible glimpse of the splendor of the awakened state. THE VIEW The practical training of the Dzogchen Path is traditionally, and most simply, described in terms of View, Meditation, and Action. To see directly the absolute state, the Ground of our being, is the View; the way of stabilizing that View and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating the View into our entire reality, and life, is what is meant by Action. What then is the View? It is nothing less than seeing the actual state of things as they are; it is knowing that the true nature of mind is the true nature of everything; and it is realizing that the true nature of our mind is the absolute truth. Dudjom Rinpoche says: "The View is the comprehension of the naked awareness, within which everything is contained: sensory perception and phenomenal existence, samsara and nirvana. This awareness has two aspects: 'emptiness' as the absolute, and appearances or perception as the relative."
THE INNERMOST ESSENCE 157 What this means is that the entire range of all possible appearances, and all possible phenomena in all the different realities, whether samsara or nirvana, all of these without exception have always been and will always be perfect and complete, within the vast and boundless expanse of the nature of mind. Yet even though the essence of everything is empty and "pure from the very beginning," its nature is rich in noble qualities, pregnant with every possibility, a limitless, incessantly and dynamically creative field that is always spontaneously perfect. You might ask: "If realizing the View is realizing the nature of mind, what then is the nature of mind like?" Imagine a sky, empty, spacious, and pure from the beginning; its essence is like this. Imagine a sun, luminous, clear, unobstructed, and spontaneously present; its nature is like this. Imagine that sun shining out impartially on us and all things, penetrating all directions; its energy, which is the manifestation of compassion, is like this: nothing can obstruct it and it pervades everywhere. You can also think of the nature of mind like a mirror, with five different powers or "wisdoms." Its openness and vastness is the "wisdom of all-encompassing space," the womb of compassion. Its capacity to reflect in precise detail whatever comes before it is the "mirror-like wisdom." Its fundamental lack of any bias toward any impression is the "equalizing wisdom." Its ability to distinguish clearly, without confusing in any way the various different phenomena that arise, is the "wisdom of discernment." And its potential of having everything already accomplished, perfected, and spontaneously present is the "allaccomplishing wisdom." In Dzogchen the View is introduced to the student directly by the master. It is the directness of this introduction that characterizes Dzogchen and makes it unique. What is transmitted to the student in the introduction is the direct experience of the wisdom mind of the buddhas, through the blessing of a master who embodies its complete realization. To be able to receive the introduction, students have to have arrived at a point where, as a result of past aspirations and purified karma, they have both the openness of mind and devotion to make them receptive to the true meaning of Dzogchen. How can the wisdom mind of the buddhas be introduced? Imagine the nature of mind as your own face; it is always