The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Tools to Deepen in Your Practice”
When you see, you react with acceptance or rejection. You have an acceptance or rejection or even a neutrality, which would be a combination of both or a decision not to do either; but there is that first knee-jerk reaction. It’s the same with all of our senses. We react to what we sense. The senses are really to keep us pacified in the belief that our lives are inherently real, that we are sitting on solid, that we are solid, we live in solid and everything’s ok. And that’s what the senses are meant to do. They are meant to grasp on in a way, and hold on to the time and space grid so that we can feel as though we are safe. Because we don’t like that idea of emptiness. That’s just troublesome.
So when a Tantric practitioner sits down to meditate, he has to take the senses and open them up. How can you do that? Can you visualize it? Well, you really have to go quietly in your practice and find out for yourself. It’s very difficult for any teacher to tell you exactly how to let go of the senses or to let go of the attraction of the senses. Yes, we can give you pointers. But it comes down to the point really when you have to sit and you have to know your own mind. When we know our mind, we know how to deal with it. And it’s like feeling our way around. Oh, we know we shouldn’t go there because there’s an object; and we know we should go there because it’s ok. We’re kind of feeling around.
So when a Tantric practitioner meditates on emptiness, he doesn’t build emptiness. He doesn’t make emptiness. He doesn’t cling onto emptiness which is somewhere else and bring it here. Instead, what the practitioner does is to simply allow the grasping to solid phenomena and solid self-nature to be appeased. One relaxes. One awakens to emptiness!
How does one awaken to emptiness? Well of course, the first time you sit down and try this, you’re not going to awaken to emptiness fully because that would be like becoming practically enlightened in a very swift time, like very swift. And so, you can’t expect that. You must be patient with yourself and expect that this will take some work, that it will take some time.
When one relaxes the grasping, the difference is . . . Ok. If you take a crystal and sunlight comes through the crystal and is reflected and refracted and you see a rainbow, the rainbow is the same nature as the light that came through the crystal. In a way, what you’re going to do, is if you’re seeing a red ray and a purple ray and a blue ray or whatever color you’re seeing from this crystal, you’re going to, with intention, go to the heart of that color, as though you were peeling away the colorness of it. Almost reversing it. Putting it back through the crystal and understanding its source. Like that.
I know. That’s a little chewy. So you have to chew on that for a little bit. But it is very much like that. To be a Tantric practitioner, in fact, you must have assumed the nature of emptiness. And in one’s practice, that is what you do. You assume the nature of emptiness. So, you are relaxing the senses and the grasping knowing that. You don’t visualize emptiness because when you allow the relaxing and the grasping to go, emptiness is what is. It spontaneously arises. And even that’s a joke. Because here I am telling you “it” spontaneously arises. And of course, that’s not possible. Because once it’s “it”, then it isn’t empty. And yet I say to you that this is the trick of it. When we take that precious minute before we generate the deity to really allow the senses to unlock, to stop contriving, to cease to evaluate, to stop giving you the food that you use to react, to simply let go, the more deeply we go into our practice. And your assumption there—and that should be your first assumption—is that separate from this grasping, there is the nature of emptiness. That, in fact, if we can pacify this grasping, then the empty nature is visible or knowable in some way.
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