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The Authentic Path - a wise search

ManjushriThe Authentic Dharma
- in the words of Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche -

Authentic dharma. What is 'authentic dharma'? It is the remedy for the afflictions in our mindstream. Why is it that we need a remedy for them? Because they are the cause of our suffering and they are the suffering itself.

For example, when strong afflictions arise in the mind, the body as well as the mind will experience pain and discomfort. The only relief we can find is in the authentic dharma. If we place our hopes in other things, like alcohol or tobacco, entertainment or routine, or even in our friends and associates, they will never really be able to help us. They can only give us slight relief that lasts but for a short time, and then our suffering will surely come back. They can never get to the root of the problem for us.

If, on the other hand, we rely on the authentic dharma, it means that we are really applying the very best remedy to the afflictions. And if we do this, we will find that the pain and discomfort we experience in body and mind will decrease. This is because of the very skilful means of the authentic dharma

What does 'authentic dharma' mean? It is the union of wisdom and loving kindness, compassion. Wisdom understands the cause of the suffering and loving kindness, compassion, eliminates it. The result is the true nature of mind. What does 'true nature' mean? It is peaceful and blissful, without any suffering, completely pure, self-existing and primordially spontaneously present. It is the essence of mind and the essence of each and every phenomenon.

For example, if we take two glasses of water, one dirty and one clean, the true nature of each glass of water is the same, and because it is the same, the dirty water can be purified and drunk. If the essence of both the clean and the dirty water were not the same, then the dirty water could never become clean. It is only because the essence of the water itself is the same that it can be made dirty or clean.

The true nature of the ground, which is the true nature of mind, and the realisation of the true nature of the ground, are not one and the same. Why not? It is because one is realised and the other is not. This is like the difference between gold that has not yet been refined and gold that has been fashioned into a piece of jewellery. The basic gold of each is the same, but their qualities are different. Once mind has realised the true nature of mind, then delusion and impurity are banished forever. This is the state beyond suffering, and in particular, it is the appearance of primordial wisdom.

All mind appearances, the sufferings of the ocean of cyclic existence, are transformed into true nature, the vast space of wisdom appearances. This is a state of perfect ease, of complete relaxation and of great spaciousness. We must all realise appearances like these, as well as the bliss that accompanies them, the bliss that is beyond all pain and discomfort. It is attained through our own mind and not given to us by anyone else. Neither is it realised anywhere else but in our own mind.

Guru Rinpoche said: 'Look at your mind. Look at your mind. Again and again, look at your mind.'. If we continually look at our mind, we will find true nature, the mind of enlightenment. Apart from the mind of enlightenment, there is no truth; there is no bliss; there is no buddha. If we realise the mind of enlightenment, we have found truth, bliss and buddhahood. It is in the palm of our hand.

Whatever physical, verbal or mental virtue we accomplish brings us closer to the realisation of the mind of enlightenment; so, whatever physical, verbal or mental activity we do accomplish must be enhanced with the mind of enlightenment. If there is one supreme practice, then it is the mind of enlightenment. For me, a miserable pauper, who accomplishes neither the dharma nor worldly activity, it is the one and only practice.

Patrul Rinpoche teaching in Malaysia

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