“Enlightenment exists, and we can attain it. We can transmute the pain of existence, and realize the perfection that we are.”
From The Truth about Enlightenment: How to Find Egolessness, Nonduality, and Wisdom on the Buddhist Path
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Experiencing the empty aware nature of mind is realization
Simply put, enlightened mind is an awareness that is empty and an emptiness that is aware. When this empty, aware nature of mind is experienced—without an experiencer, a common misconception being that the recognition of any activity implies someone that recognizes it—the person involved becomes realized.
Two aspects of Enlightened Mind: Awareness and Emptiness
The shift from belief to experience on the Buddhist path results from a more sophisticated understanding of mind. In everyday usage, “mind” implies thoughts, memories, mental images, knowledge, and decision-making skills. In the Dharma (Buddhist truth), however, it refers to the hidden aspects of enlightened consciousness. Of these, two are crucial: awareness and emptiness.
The Buddhist path begins with faith and ends with experience. Its practitioners progress beyond a belief that the teachers, teachings, and practices will reveal the true nature of self and reality, to personally experiencing that reality. The path carries its followers beyond belief in another sense as well: it enters them into a previously unknown…
This is the chapter “Binge Thinking” from Beyond Belief: Life on the Buddhist Path. “Binge thinking” is a cute way to introduce a topic, but it’s also a literal description of a problem that has a great deal in common with binge drinking. I have a lot of experience with binge drinking, and with binge…
This is Chapter 19, “Rest,” from The Truth about Enlightenment: How to Find Egolessness, Nonduality, and Wisdom on the Buddhist Path. (You can also download this chapter as a PDF.) After reading about self-existing awareness, vajra being, and crazy wisdom, a simple topic like rest might seem out of place. But the fact is, rest…
Samadhi is a Sanskrit term usually translated as concentration. I have some problem with that definition, though, because it implies fixing mind on something else, like an object or the breath. In my experience, Samadhi is more about collecting or holding mind than focusing it on something. Practicing it correctly we don’t attach mind to…
The Enlightenment Question
In this series of articles I have described various aspects of enlightenment, but I have not addressed why one might wish to become enlightened. Attaining it is a rigorous process that for most takes thousands of hours of learning, meditation and at least in Vajrayana Buddhism, turning one’s heart and mind over to another human…
This is Chapter 9, “Compassion,” from The Truth about Enlightenment: How to Find Egolessness, Nonduality, and Wisdom on the Buddhist Path. (You can also download this chapter as a PDF.) Like all insights in Buddhism, compassion (Sanskrit karuna) is felt. The feeling of compassion brings a natural sense of richness that expands limitlessly. Accompanying that…
Compassion is a human characteristic; some may say the most human of all. It is also the premier activity of enlightened people, as well as the major reason Buddhists commit to becoming enlightened. Those with Buddhist insight are particularly suited for experiencing compassion, compassion being defined as awareness of the suffering of others and the…
We have talked about emptiness, so it makes sense to talk about form. Logically, we could say that there is form because of emptiness and vice versa. In other words, if everything were form we would never have made a distinction about it and called it form. It’s like a fish would never make a…
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Nice to meet you here. I have been a student of 16th Karmapa and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche since 1979. I attended Chogyam Trungpas funeral service in Vermont way back in 1987. Perhaps you were there. Thank you for your blogs and stories and devotion to the Dharma! E Ma Ho!
Dr. Doug Werner