An excerpt from a teaching called Awakening from Non-Recognition by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo
According to the Buddha’s teachings and according to everything that we can surmise from the information we receive as we travel along the path, we as sentient beings, are in a state of non-recognition. When you hear a term like “non-recognition,” it’s hard to really understand what it means. When we think of the word “recognizing,” we think in superficial terms such as “I recognize you” or “you recognize me.” We recognize people with whom we are familiar.
That concept still holds true, but there needs to be a deeper, more able way to understand what non-recognition means. According to Buddhist philosophy, we contain within us the seed that is the Buddha nature. It is not smaller than the Buddha’s nature. It is not bigger than the Buddha’s nature. It is not different from the Buddha’s nature. It is the same. It is that nature inherent within us that is the primordial wisdom state or the natural ground-of-being that is our nature. As we move toward enlightenment, we don’t construct that nature. It doesn’t become complete. It doesn’t become bigger. It simply is what it is, but we move from a state of non-recognition into a state that the Buddha clearly described as being awake. And that’s the only difference.
In our culture we tend to think in a materialistic way even about things that are very subtle, very pure, very profound and very spiritual. We tend to think that perhaps the Buddha or a great Bodhisattva or even one’s teacher has a bigger Buddha nature than we do. Somehow their Buddha nature is bigger and maybe more muscle-bound, more fit or stronger than ours. At the risk of being crude, we wonder if the teacher’s isn’t bigger than ours. According to the Buddha’s teaching, that is not the case. The simple difference is recognition. One Buddha nature is not different from another.
As ordinary sentient beings we are locked in the state of non-recognition, and that non-recognition is so all-pervasive that it becomes invisible. It’s like being born on a merry-go-round. If no one ever stops the merry-go-round and you spend your whole life on the merry-go-round, you will never know that you’re on it. You will never know anything other than that reality. Our condition of non-recognition is very much like that. It has always been this way. We project everything outward onto a screen. We know no other way to be aware. So that is the dilemma of sentient beings. We wish to awaken as the Buddha is awake. We wish to come to understand our true nature, our primordial wisdom nature, which is the ground-of-being, and yet we are locked in a state of non-recognition.
© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo