linguistics and looking at the mind
- by Lama Ole Nydhal,
Vajrayana Buddhist Lama
....its important to begin by observing the nature of our
mind. Looking at the mind we often think that there are two things. There is
something seeing and there is something being seen. There is a mirror there,
the picture is in the mirror. There is that which observes and that which is
But if we look for true duali ty this cannot be found. Where does every thought
and feeling and experience come from? It comes from the open clear space of the
mind. Who knows it? The open clear space of the mind. Where does it change? It
changes inside that open clear space and it al so returns to it again. So, if
we look for the mind we see that it's not two things, the seer and the things
seen, the experiencer and the experienced.
They are not two, but one totality
manifesting in two ways. There is the timeless aspect which is like the ocean
and there is the changing aspect inside time which is like the waves coming and
going in the ocean. And we cannot say that the things either are or are not the
thoughts and feelings, either are or are not the mind.
They appear there they are known by it. They disappear there again. Of course
they are felt to be different and they are experienced as different. We see
them as something apart.
If we look at these two different aspects of mind we see that that which is
aware, that which is looking through our eyes, listening through our ears, that
which is hearing and feeling and experiencing now, is timeless. It is open like
space. It is rad iantly clear. It has no limit or end anywhere. Something which
is like open clear limitless space of course is not bound inside time. It is
not limited by time and place. But if we look for the true nature of that which
is aware, which is experiencing the world right now this must be seen to be
timeless and limitless. Our own clear space and mind is without birth or death.
It is however very rarely that we experience our timeless nature. It is very
rarely that the mirror is aware of itself and the mind se es its own nature.
Usually we are caught in the things coming and going in the mind. We are not
seeing the ocean. We are seeing the waves which come and go there. The few
times when the mind experiences itself are the moments of greatest intensity
and joy that we can imagine. The way that the radiance of the mirror is
actually more than the images coming and going in the mirror when the mind
experiences its own nature are very powerful, very exciting and unforgettable.
People may tell you about the clear light.
They may tell you about the peak
experiences before the parachute opens in free fall or something like that. You
may actually also have had moments where you forgot to expect anything or fear
anything or live in the past or live in the future, where there was time when
nothing else was in the mind. Suddenly you became exceedingly joyful, totally
secure. You found yourself to be very powerful, very kind. You saw suddenly
that the experiencer itself, that which is aware, really had some lasting
qualities that we usually don't see.
Sometimes we know who is calling before we
lift up the receiver and that means that the nature of the space of our mind is
information. When we get happy on the inside for no outer rea son because we
forget to hope or fear or think of anything, it shows that the space of our
mind is joy.
When we are kind and compassionate without thinking that we are doing something
to somebody else but simply because they are not separate from us and t here is
nothing else to do, it shows that the space in our mind is kindness and
unlimited love. Even though we may have experiences like that for a few moments
in this life most of the time we are constantly caught in the things which come
and go. We are in the pictures in the mirror not in the mirror. We see what
changes all the time.
Seeing this then, different kinds of feelings will appear, attachment and
aversion, likes and dislikes. Hope and fear will follow most beings during
their lives. Instead of being here and now in the truth and the intensity and
the meaning of what happe ns in every moment, recognising it to be true just
because conditions come together like that, we are thinking of the past of the
future, we are somewhere else. Doing that we experience the human life.
The Buddha tells us that there is no one thing which stays the same during this
life, not one single thing. The open clear limitless space is the same in
everybody. It never changes, is not born and doesn't die. But the pictures in
the mirror, the stream of experiences, even though they seem to be similar, are
more like a stream of water that flows all the time and new water is there in
If we really look we see that in the boy of seven and the man of
seventy there is no-one who has stayed the same. There is not one single
personal thing which stays the same from one moment to the next. All things
appear, change, disappear again, are born and die and come and go.
On the other hand there is relative continuation because if there was no
child at seven there will not be a
man at seventy.
So we see that even though no
experience of the body or mind, no
molecule, no atom stays the same from
one moment to the next, s till there
is this continuation. One thing brings
about the next and becomes the cause
of the next thing again. Things move
in a stream like that. We are aware
of this stream.