Rays of the Sun

Chapter 4: Confidence


With this background and with the structure of refuge I have described, we could go on at a future date to look at this subject in greater detail. For example, although I have talked about the establishment of confidence in a three-fold manner, the usual Tibetan form combines the outer and inner refuges by adding Lama. This is done because without the outer Lama there is no teaching and without the inner Lama there is no-one to be taught. In terms of the Nying mDo33—the Heart Sutra—this is the perfect mirror of our situation. The Heart Sutra is the essence of unconventional wisdom:

‘Chenrézigs34—absorbed in the contemplation of unconventional wisdom—perceived duality as empty. Seeing this, he turned to Shariputra saying: Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form.

Chenrézigs—for the sake of clarity—continued: Form is not different from emptiness, emptiness not different from form. That which appears as emptiness is form, and that which appears as form is emptiness. You will not find emptiness apart from form; nor form apart from emptiness. The psychology of duality—sensation, sense connections, thought, and consciousness—these are also both emptiness and form.

So Shariputra – you can only characterise form in terms of emptiness. You can only characterise emptiness in terms of form. The phenomena of reality are not existent, nor are they non-existent. They are not pure, nor are they impure. They do not increase, neither do they decrease.

Psychological attributes are neither existent, nor non-existent. The perceptions of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind – are both reality and illusion. Likewise form, sound, colour, taste, touch, and objects. Likewise the dimension of vision and awareness.

There is no understanding and no absence of understanding. There is no suffering, old age, or death – nor do they end. There is no merit, nor lack of merit. There is no accumulation of merit, no annihilation, no path, and no wisdom. There is no realisation or non-realisation. There is no attainment or absence of attainment.

Because the Mind-warrior’s awareness is characterised by unconventional wisdom, even the four philosophical extremes 35 are not perceived as a dualism. Likewise all those who realise nonduality—in the past, present, and future—dwell in the knowledge of unconventional wisdom which is none other than rigpa.

So Shariputra, relax in the knowledge that unconventional wisdom is the great mantra, the mantra of completion, the mantra of totality, the mantra which expresses everything. It dissolves all struggles. It is true, simply because it lacks the complication of falsity. It is the essence of unconventional wisdom. A: Ga-té, Ga-té, Para Ga-té, Para sam Ga-té, Bodhi Svaha A:’

So—being that I have said nothing and no-one was here to hear it—let us joyfully chant the four confidences.

Lama la kyab su chi I establish confidence in the actuality of the Lama

Sang-gyé la kyab su chi I establish confidence in the actuality of the Buddhas

Chö la kyab su chi I establish confidence in the actuality of the teachings of the Buddhas

Gendün la kyab su chi I establish confidence in the actuality of the community of practitioners.

33. sNying mDo, Skt: Bhagavati Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra

34. sPyan ras gZigs

35. Monism and dualism, eternalism and nihilism