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

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

THE GROUND 265

explain its sacred meaning, they have oversimplified it and

jumped to quick conclusions. One assumption they then make

is that the dawning of the Ground Luminosity is enlightenment.

We might all like to identify death with heaven or

enlightenment; but more important than mere wishful thinking

is to know that only if we have really been introduced to

the nature of our mind, our Rigpa, and only if we have established

and stabilized it through meditation and integrated it

into our life, does the moment of death offer a real opportunity

for liberation.

Even though the Ground Luminosity presents itself naturally

to us all, most of us are totally unprepared for its sheer

immensity, the vast and subtle depth of its naked simplicity.

The majority of us will simply have no means of recognizing

it, because we have not made ourselves familiar with ways

of recognizing it in life. What happens, then, is that we tend

to react instinctively with all our past fears, habits, and conditioning,

all our old reflexes. Though the negative emotions

may have died for the luminosity to appear, the habits of

lifetimes still remain, hidden in the background of our ordinary

mind. Though all our confusion dies in death, instead of

surrendering and opening to the luminosity, in our fear and

ignorance we withdraw and instinctively hold onto our

grasping.

This is what obstructs us from truly using this powerful

moment as an opportunity for liberation. Padmasambhava

says: "All beings have lived and died and been reborn countless

times. Over and over again they have experienced the

indescribable Clear Light. But because they are obscured by

the darkness of ignorance, they wander endlessly in a limitless

samsara."

THE GROUND OF THE ORDINARY MIND

All these habitual tendencies, the results of our negative

karma, which have sprung from the darkness of ignorance, are

stored in the ground of the ordinary mind. I have often wondered

what would be a good example to help describe the

ground of the ordinary mind. You could compare it to a transparent

glass bubble, a very thin elastic film, an almost invisible

barrier or veil that obscures the whole of our mind; but perhaps

the most useful image I can think of is of a glass door.

Imagine you are sitting in front of a glass door that leads out

into your garden, looking through it, gazing out into space. It

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