Most of us live in the relative world. It is a dualistic world split into a self that we feel is inside us and a world outside that we try to align with self’s wishes. The interaction between self and what lies outside it creates three types of behavior: wanting, rejecting and ignoring. These behaviors create the pain of human existence.

A few live, at least in part, in the absolute world. That world is composed of two aspects: emptiness and awareness. Emptiness from a Buddhist standpoint means without the qualities of a thing. What is empty has no color, shape, size and can not be found in any specific place. Mind is that way: empty, as well as aware. The awareness of mind is obvious, since we would not be able to appreciate our world with out it.

Since emptiness is limitless and indivisible, those who experience it do not have a sense of self and something outside of it. Emptiness is empty of everything, including self. Also what arises in the emptiness of mind, such as thoughts, emotions, and objects in the phenomenal world are also empty, so for those who see in that way, everything is empty. There is no duality between mind and what arises in it.

Through the appropriate teacher, teachings and practices, we can experience the emptiness we are. After that, if we persist on the path to enlightenment, we can begin seeing that everything in our experience is empty as well. If we reach the point of seeing everything that arises in mind is the same as the emptiness of mind itself, we are considered realized. When we never leave that mind, day or night, we are considered enlightened.

It is possible for all of us to experience the absolute world of empty awareness. If we do, we will know a freedom beyond any that the relative world provides, and the bliss that accompanies it. We will also be committed to sharing our good fortune with those who suffer through not knowing it.

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