Our true nature and the nature of all beings is not something

extraordinary. The irony is that it is our so-called ordinary

world that is extraordinary, a fantastic, elaborate hallucination

of the deluded vision of samsara. It is this "extraordinary"

vision that blinds us to the "ordinary," natural, inherent nature

of mind. Imagine if the buddhas were looking down at us

now: How they would marvel sadly at the lethal ingenuity

and intricacy of our confusion!

Sometimes, because we are so unnecessarily complicated,

when the nature of mind is introduced by a master, it is just

too simple for us to believe. Our ordinary mind tells us this

cannot be, there must be something more to it than this. It

must surely be more "glorious," with lights blazing in space

around us, angels with flowing golden hair swooping down to

meet us, and a deep Wizard of Oz voice announcing, "Now

you have been introduced to the nature of your mind." There

is no such drama.

Because in our culture we overvalue the intellect, we imagine

that to become enlightened demands extraordinary intelligence.

In fact many kinds of cleverness are just further

obscurations. There is a Tibetan saying that goes, "If you are

too clever, you could miss the point entirely." Patrul Rinpoche

said: "The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the seed of

delusion." People can become obsessed with their own theories

and miss the point of everything. In Tibet we say: "Theories

are like patches on a coat, one day they just wear off." Let

me tell you an encouraging story:

One great master in the last century had a disciple who

was very thick-headed. The master had taught him again and

again, trying to introduce him to the nature of his mind. Still

he did not get it. Finally, the master became furious and told

him, "Look, I want you to carry this bag full of barley up to

the top of that mountain over there. But you mustn't stop and

rest. Just keep on going until you reach the top." The disciple

was a simple man, but he had unshakable devotion and trust

in his master, and he did exactly what he had been told. The

bag was heavy. He picked it up and started up the slope of

the mountain, not daring to stop. He just walked and walked.

And the bag got heavier and heavier. It took him a long time.

At last, when he reached the top, he dropped the bag. He

slumped to the ground, overcome with exhaustion but deeply

relaxed. He felt the fresh mountain air on his face. All his

resistance had dissolved and, with it, his ordinary mind. Everything

just seemed to stop. At that instant, he suddenly realized

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