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

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

266 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGseems as though there is nothing between you and the sky,because you cannot see the surface of the glass. You couldeven bang your nose if you got up and tried to walk through,thinking it wasn't there. But if you touch it you will see atonce there is something there that holds your fingerprints,something that comes between you and the space outside.In the same manner, the ground of the ordinary mind preventsus from breaking through to the sky-like nature of ourmind, even if we can still have glimpses of it. As I have said,the masters explain how there is a danger that meditationpractitioners can mistake the experience of the ground of theordinary mind for the real nature of mind itself. When theyrest in a state of great calm and stillness, all they could bedoing in fact might be merely resting in the ground of theordinary mind. It is the difference between looking up at thesky from within a glass dome, and standing outside in theopen air. We have to break out of the ground of the ordinarymind altogether, to discover and let in the fresh air of Rigpa.So the aim of all our spiritual practice, and the real preparationfor the moment of death, is to purify this subtle barrier,and gradually weaken it and break it down. When you havebroken it down completely, nothing comes between you andthe state of omniscience.The introduction by the master to the nature of mindbreaks through the ground of the ordinary mind altogether, asit is through this dissolution of the conceptual mind that theenlightened mind is explicitly revealed. Then, each time werest in the nature of mind, the ground of the ordinary mindgets weaker. But we will notice that how long we can stay inthe state of the nature of mind depends entirely on the stabilityof our practice. Unfortunately, "Old habits die hard," andthe ground of the ordinary mind returns; our mind is like analcoholic who can kick the habit for a while, but relapseswhenever tempted or depressed.Just as the glass door picks up all the traces of dirt from ourhands and fingers, the ground of the ordinary mind gathersand stores all our karma and habits. And just as we have tokeep wiping the glass, so we have to keep purifying theground of the ordinary mind. It is as if the glass slowly wearsaway as it gets thinner and thinner, little holes appear, and itbegins to dissolve.Through our practice we gradually stabilize the nature ofmind more and more, so that it does not simply remain as ourabsolute nature but becomes our everyday reality. As it does

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