INTRINSIC RADIANCE 285 So the five negative emotions arise as the direct result of our not recognizing their true nature. When truly recognized, they are purified and liberated, and arise themselves as none other than the display of the five wisdoms. In the bardo of dharmata, when you fail to recognize the brilliant lights of these wisdoms, then self-grasping enters your "perception," just as, one master says, a person who is seriously ill with a high fever will begin to hallucinate and see all kinds of delusions. So, for example, if you fail to recognize the red, ruby light of the wisdom of discernment, it arises as fire, for it is the pure essence of the fire element; if you fail to recognize the true nature of the golden radiance of the equalizing wisdom, then it arises as the element earth, because it is the pure essence of the earth element; and so on. This is how, when self-grasping enters into the "perception" of the appearances of the bardo of dharmata, they are transformed, you could almost say solidified, through that into the various bases of delusion of samsara. One Dzogchen master uses the example of ice and water to show how this lack of recognition and self-grasping unfold: Water is usually liquid, an element with wonderful qualities, that purifies and quenches thirst. But when it freezes, it solidifies into ice. In a similar way, whenever self-grasping arises it solidifies both our inner experience and the way we perceive the world around us. Yet just as in the heat of the sun ice will melt into water, so in the light of recognition, our unbound wisdom nature is revealed. Now we can see exactly how, after the dawning of the Ground Luminosity and the bardo of dharmata, samsara actually arises as a result of two successive failures to recognize the essential nature of mind. In the first the Ground Luminosity, the ground of the nature of mind, is not recognized; if it had been, liberation would have been attained. In the second the energy nature of the nature of mind manifests, and a second chance for liberation presents itself; if that is not recognized, arising negative emotions start to solidify into different false perceptions, which together go on to create the illusory realms we call samsara, and which imprison us in the cycle of birth and death. The whole of spiritual practice, then, is dedicated to directly reversing what I would call this progress of ignorance, and so of de-creating, de-solidifying those interlinked and interdependent false perceptions that have led to our entrapment in the illusory reality of our own invention.
286 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING Just as when the Ground Luminosity dawned at the moment of death, here too in the bardo of dharmata, liberation cannot be taken for granted. When the brilliant light of wisdom shines out, it is accompanied by a display of simple, comforting, cozy sounds and lights, less challenging and overwhelming than the light of wisdom. These dim lights—smoky, yellow, green, blue, red, and white—are our habitual, unconscious tendencies accumulated by anger, greed, ignorance, desire, jealousy, and pride. These are the emotions that create the six realms of samsara: hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, demigod, and god realms, respectively. If we have not recognized and stabilized the dharmata nature of mind in life, we are instinctively drawn toward the dim lights of the six realms, as the basic tendency toward grasping, which we have built up during life, begins to stir and awaken. Threatened by the dynamic brilliance of wisdom, the mind retreats. The cozy lights, the invitation of our habitual tendencies, lure us toward a rebirth, determined by the particular negative emotion that dominates our karma and our mindstream. Let us take an example of the appearance of one of the peaceful buddhas from the TibetanBookof the Dead, which will illustrate this whole process. The master or spiritual friend addresses the consciousness of the dead person: O son/daughter of an enlightened family, listen without distraction! On the third day, a yellow light will arise which is the pure essence of the element earth. Simultaneously, from the yellow southern buddha-field known as "The Glorious," the Buddha Ratnasambhava will appear before you, his body yellow in color, and holding a wish-fulfilling jewel in his hand. He presides upon a throne borne up by horses and is embraced by the supreme female consort, Mamaki. Around him are the two male bodhisattvas, Akashagarbha and Samantabhadra, 4 and the two female bodhisattvas, Mala and Dhupa, so that six buddha bodies appear from within the expanse of rainbow light. The inherent purity of the skandha of feeling—which is the. "equalizing wisdom"—a yellow light, dazzling and adorned with ikiés of light, large and small, radiant and clear, and unbearable to the eyes, will stream toward you from the heart of Ratnasambhava and his consort, and pierce your heart so that your eyes cannot stand to gaze at it.