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Establishing the Nature of Reality

from the "Treasury of Wish-Fulfilling Gems", chapter 18:

By Longchen Rabjampa


Once you have completed such contemplations
you should develop experiential wisdom in your process
Among the three paths of trascendence in the three Vehicles
Here you enter the unexcelled, essential import.
First, devote yourself to understanding the nature of reality.
Although it takes many forms, depending on the Vehicle,
The definitive essence is the indivisible reality
Which is the secret treasury of all Buddhas.
It is the natural transparency intuition
Beginninglessly peaceful, free from perplexity.
Like sun and sky, spontaneous and uncreated.
Since its natural great purity is primally present,
It is vision and voidness inseparable,
Free of proof and rejection, going and coming.
Beyond the realm of superficial determinations and distinctions,
Its indivisible reality is neither proven nor unproven,
Experientially vision an voidness are nondual;
This reality is called "indivisible."
When analyzed by the conventional two realities,
All things in cyclic life are mistaken appearances;
Untrue and deceptive, they are superficial realities.
Things of Nirvana are profound peace of translucency,
Accepted as ultimate reality, changeless in nature.
This manifold appearances is thus superficial.
Illusion, like the reflection of the moon in water,
It lacks the intrinsic reality it appears to have.
When examined, it lacks basis, root, and substance,
Free of intrinsic identity, empty as space.
When unexamined, this illusory, enticing diversity
Evolves as a relativistic distortion of instinct.
Thus, just like a datura hallucination,
These things are selfless and unreal.
Since that, in reality, is their way of being,
The "ultimate appears but superficially,
Though appearing, in reality it is unborn;
So naturally its reality is indivisible.
Its natural primal purity
And its transparent ultimacy are nondual,
So the life-cycle and liberation are nondual,
And its reality is indivisible.
Since the life-cycle appears while lacking reality,
In that ultimate realm of realitylessness
Nothing can be distinguished as separate and distinct,
And life-cycle and liberation are taught as equality.
Other ideas are false intellectual notions,
Quite confused about the nature of reality.
Causality exists as it appears to deceptive experience,
So cherish understanding of ethical choice.
The changeless nature of ultimate reality
Is transparency, the Bliss Lord of essence, spontaneity,
Natural indivisible awareness of clarity-void.
This is the mandala of natural spontaneity
Primal natural perfection, essence of enlightenment,
Purity, unfabricated, free from partiality,
Profound peace, body and wisdom inseparable.
It has examples known to all beings;
Known to the wise as like underground gold,
A lamp in a vase, a body in a lotus.
Just as a pauper has a treasure underground
But doesn't know and so stays poor,
Though you possess natural enlightenment,
It is hidden by the earth of body, speech, and eightfold mind,
So you stay poor, impoverished by the ills of life.
Just as a clairvoyant person can see
And find a way to take out the treasure
To perfect the wealth of self and other,
So the holy ones teach that reality
And show how enlightenment can be found within,
The wish-granting gem that fulfills both aims.
Just as a lamp in a vase might be bright
But cannot illuminate, blocked by the vase,
So the essential Truth Body abides within
Yet does not show, blocked by the vase of obscuration.
But it does show when the vase is broken,
Just as the world lamp illumines all lands,
When all obscurations are removed.
Though the Bliss-Lord Body is in the lotus,
It does not show when the lotus is closed
So the thousands petals of subjects and objects block
One's vision of the self-luminous Lord of Victors.
When the petals open, it is clear,
There is great liberation from the lotus o duality.
The three Buddha Bodies become naturally evident.
Thus please understand the reality
That ultimate-realm translucency
Exists within yourself!
This reality has names of many different kinds.
It is "the realm that transcends life and liberation
And the primally present "natural spontaneity,"
As the "essential realm" obscured by defilements,
As the "ultimate truth," the condition of reality,
As the originally pure "stainless translucency,"
As the "central reality" that dispels extremisms,
As the "transcendent wisdom" beyond fabrications,
As the "indivisible reality" clear-void-purity,
As the "Suchness" reality free of death transitions.
Such names are accepted by the clear-seeing wise.
Not understanding this, one adopts a nihilistic voidness,
Though claiming to avoid extremes of being and nothing,
Since one does not know the ground of freedom
And longs to escape to the peak of existence,
One falls outside this profound teaching,
Sits empty-minded, fit to rub with dust!
The Teacher taught the treasury of Dharma,
The path of the pinnacle, clear light, essence of all,
The "reality of the ground spontaneity."
Understanding this ultimate profound view,
Liberates one from resistance and obscuration,
frees from all absolutism and nihilism.
One's practice is fruitful, one soon becomes enlightened,,
One gains the eye to see all Sutras and Tantras.
Therefore be sure to realize the reality of clear light!

tr. by Robert Thurman