with you, but you cannot see it without help. Now imagine

that you have never seen a mirror before. The introduction by

the master is like suddenly holding up a mirror in which you

can, for the first time, see your own face reflected. Just like

your face, this pure awareness of Rigpa is not something

"new" that the master is giving you that you did not have

before, nor is it something you could possibly find outside of

yourself. It has always been yours, and has always been with

you, but up until that startling moment you have never actually

seen it directly.

Patrul Rinpoche explains that, "According to the special tradition

of the great masters of the practice lineage, the nature

of mind, the face of Rigpa, is introduced upon the very dissolution

of conceptual mind." In the moment of introduction, the

master cuts through the conceptual mind altogether, laying

bare the naked Rigpa and revealing explicitly its true nature.

In that powerful moment, a merging of minds and hearts

takes place, and the student has an undeniable experience, or

glimpse, of the nature of Rigpa. In one and the same moment

the master introduces and the student recognizes. As the master

directs his blessing from the wisdom of his Rigpa into the

heart of the Rigpa of his student, the master shows the student

directly the original face of the nature of mind.

For the master's introduction to be fully effective, however,

the right conditions or environment have to be created. Only a

few special individuals in history, because of their purified

karma, have been able to recognize and become enlightened

in an instant; and so the introduction must almost always be

preceded by the following preliminaries. It is these preliminaries

that purify and peel away the ordinary mind and bring you

to the state wherein your Rigpa can be revealed to you.

First, meditation, the supreme antidote to distraction, brings

the mind home and enables it to settle into its natural state.

Second, deep practices of purification, and the strengthening

of positive karma through the accumulation of merit and wisdom,

start to wear away and dissolve the emotional and intellectual

veils that obscure the nature of mind. As my master

Jamyang Khyentse wrote: "If the obscurations are removed,

the wisdom of one's own Rigpa will naturally shine." These

purification practices, called Ngöndro in Tibetan, have been

skillfully designed to effect a comprehensive inner transformation.

They involve the entire being—body, speech, and mind—

and begin with a series of deep contemplations on

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