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

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

54 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGtransformation at all, we see it as only possible for the greatsaints and spiritual masters of the past. The Dalai Lama talksoften of the lack of real self-love and self-respect that he seesin many people in the modern world. Underlying our wholeoutlook is a neurotic conviction of our own limitations. Thisdenies us all hope of awakening, and tragically contradicts thecentral truth of Buddha's teaching: that we are all alreadyessentially perfect.Even if we were to think of the possibility of enlightenment,one look at what composes our ordinary mind—anger,greed, jealousy, spite, cruelty, lust, fear, anxiety, and turmoil—would undermine forever any hope of achieving it, if we hadnot been told about the nature of mind, and the possibility ofcoming to realize that nature beyond all doubt.But enlightenment is real, and there are enlightened mastersstill on the earth. When you actually meet one, you will beshaken and moved in the depths of your heart and you willrealize that all the words, such as "illumination" and "wisdom,"which you thought were only ideas, are in fact true.For all its dangers, the world today is also a very exciting one.The modern mind is slowly opening to different visions ofreality. Great teachers like the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresacan be seen on television; many masters from the East nowvisit and teach in the West; and books from all the mysticaltraditions are winning an increasingly large audience. The desperatesituation of the planet is slowly waking people up tothe necessity for transformation on a global scale.Enlightenment, as I have said, is real; and each of us, whoeverwe are, can in the right circumstances and with the righttraining realize the nature of mind and so know in us what isdeathless and eternally pure. This is the promise of all themystical traditions of the world, and it has been fulfilled and isbeing fulfilled in countless thousands of human lives.The wonder of this promise is that it is something notexotic, not fantastic, not for an elite, but for all of humanity;and when we realize it, the masters tell us, it is unexpectedlyordinary. Spiritual truth is not something elaborate and esoteric,it is in fact profound common sense. When you realizethe nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don'tactually "become" a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to bedeluded. And being a buddha is not being some omnipotentspiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being.One of the greatest Buddhist traditions calls the nature ofmind "the wisdom of ordinariness." I cannot say it enough:

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