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

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

THE NATURE OF MIND 49buddha nature." This is the good news that the Buddhabrought us from his enlightenment in Bodhgaya, and whichmany people find so inspiring. His message—that enlightenmentis within the reach of all—holds out tremendous hope. Throughpractice, we too can all become awakened. If this were nottrue, countless individuals down to the present day would nothave become enlightened.It is said that when Buddha attained enlightenment, all hewanted to do was to show the rest of us the nature of mindand share completely what he had realized. But he also saw,with the sorrow of infinite compassion, how difficult it wouldbe for us to understand.For even though we have the same inner nature as Buddha,we have not recognized it because it is so enclosed andwrapped up in our individual ordinary minds. Imagine anempty vase. The space inside is exactly the same as the spaceoutside. Only the fragile walls of the vase separate one fromthe other. Our buddha mind is enclosed within the walls ofour ordinary mind. But when we become enlightened, it is asif that vase shatters into pieces. The space "inside" mergesinstantly into the space "outside." They become one: Thereand then we realize they were never separate or different;they were always the same.THE SKY AND THE CLOUDSSo whatever our lives are like, our buddha nature is alwaysthere. And it is always perfect. We say that not even the Buddhascan improve it in their infinite wisdom, nor can sentientbeings spoil it in their seemingly infinite confusion. Our truenature could be compared to the sky, and the confusion of theordinary mind to clouds. Some days the sky is completelyobscured by clouds. When we are down on the ground, lookingup, it is very difficult to believe there is anything else therebut clouds. Yet we only have to fly in a plane to discover upabove a limitless expanse of clear blue sky. From up there theclouds we assumed were everything seem so small and so faraway down below.We should always try and remember: the clouds are notthe sky, and do not "belong" to it. They only hang there andpass by in their slightly ridiculous and non-dependent fashion.And they can never stain or mark the sky in any way.So where exactly is this buddha nature? It is in the sky-likenature of our mind. Utterly open, free, and limitless, it is

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