picture in a camera will sharpen as you focus it, so the onepointedness

of Calm Abiding allows an increasing clarity of

mind to arise. As obscurations are gradually removed and ego

and its grasping tendency begin to dissolve, Clear Seeing, or

"insight," dawns. This is called vipashyana in Sanskrit, and

lhaktong in Tibetan. At this point you no longer need the

anchor of remaining in nowness, and you can progress, moving

on beyond your self even, into that openness which is the

"wisdom that realizes egolessness." This is what will uproot

delusion and liberate you from samsara.

As this Clear Seeing progressively deepens, it leads you to

an experience of the intrinsic nature of reality, and of the

nature of your mind. When the cloud-like thoughts and emotions

fade away, the sky-like nature of our true being is

revealed, and, shining from it, our buddha nature, like the sun.

And just as both light and warmth blaze from the sun, wisdom

and loving compassion radiate out from the mind's innermost

nature. Grasping at a false self, or ego, has dissolved, and

we simply rest, as much as we can, in the nature of mind, this

most natural state that is without any reference or concept,

hope, or fear, yet with a quiet but soaring confidence—the

deepest form of well-being imaginable.


In meditation, as in all arts, there has to be a delicate balance

between relaxation and alertness. Once a monk called

Shrona was studying meditation with one of the Buddha's

closest disciples. He had difficulty finding the right frame of

mind. He tried very hard to concentrate, and gave himself a

headache. Then he relaxed his mind, but so much that he fell

asleep. Finally he appealed to Buddha for help. Knowing that

Shrona had been a famous musician before he became a

monk, Buddha asked him: "Weren't you a vina player when

you were a layperson?"

Shrona nodded.

"How did you get the best sound out of your vina? Was it

when the strings were very tight or when they were very


"Neither. When they had just the right tension, neither too

taut nor too slack."

"Well, it's exactly the same with your mind."

One of the greatest of Tibet's many woman masters, Ma

Chik Lap Drön, said: "Alert, alert; yet relax, relax. This is a

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