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

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

THE INNERMOST ESSENCE 159• the uniqueness of human life• the ever-presence of impermanence and death• the infallibility of the cause and effect of our actions• the vicious cycle of frustration and suffering that is samsara.These reflections inspire a strong sense of "renunciation," anurgent desire to emerge from samsara and follow the path toliberation, which forms the foundation for the specific practicesof• taking refuge in the Buddha, the truth of his teaching, andthe example of its practitioners, and so awakening a confidenceand trust in our own inner buddha nature• giving birth to compassion (Bodhichitta—the heart of theenlightened mind, which I shall explain in detail in Chapter12) and training the mind to work with ourself and othersand the difficulties of life• removing obscurations and "defilements" through the visualizationand mantra practice of purification and healing• accumulating merit and wisdom by developing universalgenerosity and creating auspicious circumstances. 1All these practices build up to and center around the GuruYoga, which is the most crucial, moving and powerful practiceof all, indispensable for opening the heart and mind to therealization of the state of Dzogchen. 2Third, a special meditative investigation into the nature ofmind and phenomena exhausts the mind's restless hunger forthinking and research, and its dependence on endless conceptualizing,analysis, and references, and awakens a personalrealization of the nature of emptiness.I cannot stress strongly enough how important these preliminariesare. They have to work hand in hand systematically,to inspire the student to awaken the nature of mind, and toenable the student to be ready and prepared when the masterchooses the time to show him or her the original face ofRigpa.Nyoshul Lungtok, who later became one of the greatestDzogchen masters of recent times, followed his teacher PatrulRinpoche for about eighteen years. During all that time, theywere almost inseparable. Nyoshul Lungtok studied and practicedextremely diligently, and accumulated a wealth of purification,merit, and practice; he was ready to recognize theRigpa, but had not yet had the final introduction. Then, one

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