True Purity


From The Spiritual Path:  A Compilation of Teachings by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo


Let’s say you have become satisfied with an idea of what a practitioner should be. You are quiet, meek, gentle, and ever so passive. You attempt to be pure by never adorning your face, hair or body. You do what you think is right. Fine. But what if you stop there? What if you allow days, weeks, years, your whole life to pass by with no true sense of the need to eradicate hatred, greed and ignorance from your mindstream? What if you have no real understanding of the emptiness of phenomena? No true perception of the nature of mind? What have you really accomplished? What is yours to carry with you? How will you enter the afterlife state, the bardo? Will you not see as you have always seen? Will you not see the events within the bardo state as external phenomena? Will you not be excited, afraid? Will you not still be lost in the delusion of self and other?

On the Vajrayana path, true purity, true virtue is central and precious. Even one moment of true perception of the nature of mind is the only conceivable virtue. If you merely live according to the rules, you will definitely have merit. But in terms of the value of your own nature, your own mind, you will not have the purification that leads to true perception. The Vajrayana path is unique in its perspective on this. It adopts the morality and rules of the Hinayana path, as well as the Mahayana perspective of compassion and purity, yet it goes further into the understanding that true perception is the thing of value—the diamond.

The goal of the Vajrayana path is to realize the nature of mind. The nature of mind is absolute compassion. At that primordial-wisdom level, there is no good or bad. There is clear, uncontrived, pure, self-luminous nature. Primordial mind is unborn, yet perfectly complete. It is unmarked, un-measured by time or space. It is self-arising. True virtue is not a way of acting. Nor is it a way of thinking—as most people understand thought. There is only one real virtue: the realization of primordial mind. Naturally arising within that realization is a deep and abiding compassion—a compassion that is capable of manifesting in any form necessary in order to bring true benefit to beings.

Please understand that primordial mind itself is not filled with hatred, greed and ignorance. This is simply not possible. The mind is forever pure. It is unchanging. It cannot be defiled in any way. What then is the problem? Where is the defilement? Not in mind itself, but in perception. The real value of practicing on the Vajrayana path is that you are involved in a system by means of which your mind can arise with all the pure qualities of the Buddha. Think, for instance, of Buddha Vajrasattva. This is the practice of a Buddha who is the perfect union of wisdom and compassion. He represents that phase of mind as it first moves into manifestation from the primordial level. The pristine connection between the primordial nature of mind and its transition into an activity phase is not separate from that basic nature.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo