L a m a . J i g m e . R i n p o c h e

Part 2


We have seen how meditation is the heart of the path to enlightenment. Although to attain enlightenment may not be the goal for every-one, those of us who wish to do the same as the Tathagatha (1) will decide to tread the path to enlightenment; for us, med-itation is necessary. Others will lead a normal life but may wish to improve their circumstances. They come to know about the nature of mind one way or another, and ultimate-ly are led to Buddhahood. Some of us want to stop suffer-ing. Since the premise of the entire Buddha's teachings is that suffering is the cause or root of everything, whether our motivation is to reach Buddhahood or to stop suffering, the path is the same.
Some people believe that the Dharma or teachings are altruistic and therefore exclude those people who only want to look after themselves. Regardless of whether the point of departure is selfishness or not, when we start practicing the Dharma, we start to see things as they truly are. At some point we will understand that nothing is possible when we are not concerned with the welfare of others. Whatever the motivation is at the beginning, the practice will inevitably reveal that others are vitally important and our motivation will naturally change.

On a practical level, the first thing is to be aware that each person is endowed with Buddha nature, a clear con-sciousness able to apprehend the whole universe. We think on the one hand, "I'll try to experience this consciousness free from suffering," and then on the other, "I live in a world made by happiness and suffering." We have to under-stand that everything is suffering. Even happiness is a cause of suffering because happiness has an end. Open any book about the "Four Noble Truths." Does it not state that every-thing is suffering? We need to understand this fundamental axiom in order to be aware that happiness is suffering. We need to be aware that our mind is the Tathagatha, and to see this world of suffering as it is, to understand it clearly.
Secondly, we look at ignorance. Some regard it as a demon, but ignorance is not an evil force nor is it some energy out to destroy us. Although it is not malevolent, it is true that it underlies the root of all suffering. When ignorance diminishes, so does suffering. For example, if my leg hurts and it does not stop, I might start to imagine that it might be cancer. If someone tells me that there is a splinter there, all my mental suffering immediately disap-pears. I can then tend to the pain. But if I cannot see it clearly, my actions might be inappropriate and harm me instead.

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