The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

THE INNERMOST ESSENCE 165

your pure presence. The pervasive, peaceful state of your meditation

is the Rigpa itself, and all risings are none other than

this Rigpa's self-radiance. This is the heart and the basis of

Dzogchen practice. One way to imagine this is as if you were

riding on the sun's rays back to the sun: You trace the risings

back, at once, to their very root, the ground of Rigpa. As you

embody the steadfast stability of the View, you are no longer

deceived and distracted by whatever rises, and so cannot fall

prey to delusion.

Of course there are rough as well as gentle waves in the

ocean; strong emotions come, like anger, desire, jealousy. The

real practitioner recognizes them not as a disturbance or obstacle,

but as a great opportunity. The fact that you react to arisings

such as these with habitual tendencies of attachment and

aversion is a sign not only that you are distracted, but also

that you do not have the recognition and have lost the ground

of Rigpa. To react to emotions in this way empowers them

and binds us even tighter in the chains of delusion. The great

secret of Dzogchen is to see right through them as soon as

they arise, to what they really are: the vivid and electric manifestation

of the energy of Rigpa itself. As you gradually learn

to do this, even the most turbulent emotions fail to seize hold

of you and dissolve, as wild waves rise and rear and sink back

into the calm of the ocean.

The practitioner discovers—and this is a revolutionary

insight, whose subtlety and power cannot be overestimated—

that not only do violent emotions not necessarily sweep you

away and drag you back into the whirlpools of your own

neuroses, they can actually be used to deepen, embolden,

invigorate, and strengthen the Rigpa. The tempestuous energy

becomes raw food of the awakened energy of Rigpa. The

stronger and more flaming the emotion, the more Rigpa is

strengthened. I feel that this unique method of Dzogchen has

extraordinary power to free even the most inveterate, deeply

rooted emotional and psychological problems.

Let me introduce you now, as simply as I can, to an explanation

of how exactly this process works. This will be invaluable

later on, when we come to look at what happens at the

moment of death.

In Dzogchen the fundamental, inherent nature of everything

is called the "Ground Luminosity" or the "Mother Luminosity."

This pervades our whole experience, and is therefore

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