Commentary on Self-Liberation text, part 3
This is Part 3 in an ongoing series of writings and commentary by Mark West on the Dzogchen Terma treasure text entitled “Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness”, translated from the Tibetan by John Myrdhin Renolyds. This particular Terma text was composed in the 8th Century of our era by the master from the then province of Uddiyana in Tibet, namely Guru Padmasambhava.
This text and certain others represent an introduction to Dzogchen, The Great Perfection. Dzogchen is not the name of a religion, philosophy, school, or sect but rather the Primordial State of the individual, or what Nisargadatta Maharaj referred to as the natural state. The essence of the teachings of all the Buddhas and enlightened ones is the understanding of this state, which is the nature of one’s own mind.
As for this sparkling awareness which is called mind,
Even though one says that it exists, it does not actually exist.
(On the other hand) as a source, it is the origin of the diversity
of all the bliss of Nirvana and all the sorrow of Samsara.
And as for it being something desirable, it is cherished alike in
the eleven vehicles.
With respect to its having a name, the various names that are
applied to it are inconceivable (in their numbers)
Some call it “the nature of mind” or “mind itself”.
Some Tirthikas call it by the name Atman or “the Self.
The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or “the absence of
The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or “the Mind.”
Some call it the Prajnaparamita or “the perfection of
Some call it by the name Tathagatagarbha or “the embryo of
Some call it by the name Mahamudra or “the Great Symbol.”
Some call it by the name “the Unique Sphere.”
Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or “the dimension of
Some call it by the name Alaya or “the basis of everything.”
And some simply call it by the name “ordinary awareness.”
This particular verse contains the key to the entire text. This “key” is contained in the very last line of this verse – And some simply call it by the name “ordinary awareness.” Could it possibly be that simple, clear, and obvious? This “ordinary awareness” that you are enjoying right here and now, presently, as you are reading these words “is” the so called great enlightenment that every apparent person is searching for, seeking, or trying to attain through the various different religions, teachings, practices, meditations, and endless different techniques.
How can you attain something that is already and ever present – THIS self-evident fact of your very own Being – Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient. How deluded and ignorant can one be, taking oneself to be a poor, limited, insignificant, sentient creature, while all the while being the limitless, awake, aware, non dual essence which is nothing or no thing to the apparent time bound persona or illusory entity “me”, Mr or Mrs So and So.
All the varied names that are applied to this self-existing presence of awareness are legion, yet the bottom line is THIS ordinary awareness that you have never moved away from at any imaginary or non existing time. Recognize and acknowledge it “as it is”, nothing more, nothing else but this.
This world bewitching Maya or phenomena appearing in THIS mirror-like wisdom or wakefulness of self-existing Mind, or intrinsic, naked, non conceptual awareness has hypnotized you into believing that you are only that insubstantial reflection or image appearing in the mirror; instead of realizing that you yourself are the mirror-like essence or endless capacity of unborn Mind itself, and not just the reflection that always appears in it.
One never sees the mirror itself(unborn awareness-emptiness) because it is seemingly always covered in reflections(dualistic phenomenal manifestation of infinitely varied appearances). However on clear investigation it is seen-known that in actuality(the truth and Reality of non duality) that the very reflections themselves are nothing but the mirror(unborn Mind or intrinsic awareness) itself, so to speak.
Now the first two lines of this verse: “As for this sparkling awareness called “mind”,
Even though one says that it exists, it does not actually exist.”
What mind is there apart from thought or thinking that there is one? Do you have a mind or memory for that matter, if you don’t resort to thought, if you don’t think about it? Of course not! There is no such thing as mind, it does not actually exist. What does exist is this very fact of your own Being, this ever-present impersonal presence of all inclusive intrinsic awareness which is always and ever with you as you.
Notice that from time to time whenever there is a gap or break in the thinking process, that there, in that so called gap or break in the thinking, that you are still fully aware, conscious, and knowing that you are. If you consciously pause a thought, even if only very briefly, or for a short interval, what is there? When the thinking stops involuntarily, or you consciously pause a thought, do you disappear, fall apart, or cease to exist? No, you are still present and aware. When you pause a thought and there is no mind operating temporarily, what is there? When there is no thinking going on there is just pure Mind, capital ‘M’ Mind which is intrinsic awareness. This Mind that the Text is referring to is your natural primordial condition, or what we call the Natural State.
Mind as it is being used here is intrinsic, non conceptual, naked, awareness which ‘is’ the Great Perfection of Dzogchen. This Dzogchen is the very clearest, simplest, most direct, and best expression of Buddhism which points straight to the actuality of your very own Mind which is intrinsic awareness. There are no steps, meditations, endless practices or techniques to undergo. No different levels, stages, or divisions in it at all – are you choicelessly and effortlessly present and aware right here and now? Yes, you are – then THIS is it, and quite evidently and obviously – you are THAT! Don’t forget it or loose sight of it by getting carried away by the machinations of your dualistic, time-bound, conceptual mind.
Simply remain “as you are” in THIS ever present natural state. Full stop right there!