and appear to take on an objective existence. They seem to

inhabit the world outside of us. And without the stability of

practice, we have no knowledge of anything that is non-dual,

that is not dependent on our own perception. Once we mistake

the appearances as separate from us, as "external visions,"

we respond with fear or hope, which leads us into delusion.

Just as in the dawning of the Ground Luminosity recognition

was the key to liberation, so here in the bardo of dharmata

it is also. Only here it is the recognition of the

self-radiance of Rigpa, the manifesting energy of the nature of

mind, that makes the difference between liberation or continuing

in an uncontrolled cycle of rebirth. Take, for example, the

appearances of the hundred peaceful and wrathful deities,

which occur in the second phase of this bardo. These consist

of the buddhas of the five buddha families, their female counterparts,

male and female bodhisattvas, the buddhas of the six

realms, and a number of wrathful and protective deities. All

emerge amidst the brilliant light of the five wisdoms.

How are we to understand these buddhas or deities? "Each

one of these pure forms expresses an enlightened perspective of

a part of our impure experience." 3 The five masculine buddhas

are the pure aspect of the five aggregates of ego. Their five wisdoms

are the pure aspect of the five negative emotions. The

five female buddhas are the pure elemental qualities of mind,

which we experience as the impure elements of our physical

body and environment. The eight bodhisattvas are the pure

aspect of the different types of consciousness, and their female

counterparts are the objects of these consciousnesses.

Whether the pure vision of the buddha families and their

wisdoms manifests, or the impure vision of the aggregates and

negative emotions arises, they are intrinsically the same in

their fundamental nature. The difference lies in how we recognize

them, and whether we recognize that they emerge from

the ground of the nature of mind as its enlightened energy.

Take, for example, what manifests in our ordinary mind as

a thought of desire; if its true nature is recognized, it arises,

free of grasping, as the "wisdom of discernment." Hatred and

anger, when truly recognized, arise as diamond-like clarity, free

of grasping; this is the "mirror-like wisdom." When ignorance is

recognized, it arises as vast and natural clarity without concepts:

the "wisdom of all-encompassing space." Pride, when

recognized, is realized as non-duality and equality: the "equalizing

wisdom." jealousy, when recognized, is freed from partiality

and grasping, and arises as the "all-accomplishing wisdom."

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