Buddha in the palm of your hand by Ösel Tendzin, Donna Holm

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By Ösel Tendzin, Donna Holm

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We find that Buddhism is not supporting us; there is no floor underneath at aJI . Then we become frightened and shocked. We realize that nothing, including our practice, can save us. We might even have second thoughts about our commitment to this path. T his is an extremely important point in our journey. We are about to make a transition into the mahayana, the great vehicle, the open way. This experience of vulnerability, which quivers and is not quite sure, is the stepping stone to the mahayana path.

If we think that something threatens our survival, we try to repel, intimidate, or destroy it. That is aggression. If we feel indifferent, lazy, or dull, that is ignorance. The momentum of passion, aggression, and ignorance builds until the energy produces different styles of preoccupation, hallucinatory worlds, which are known as the six realms. The experience in each of these realms is overwhelming suffering. Sometimes we create a habitual existence in which everything is predictable, so that there is no need to relate with the 14 Copyrighted material THE LANDSCAP E uncompromising quality of pain.

Going further means going beyond the idea that everything must have a purpose, including our practice. When we experience that our practice has no purpose, our awareness and sensitivity to the environment become acute. We begin to realize that awareness is present in the environment itself; therefore it needs no purpose. It is not our awareness; it does not depend on the reference point of ego at all. At this point, awareness is seen as intelligent, self-existing, and continuous. This realization is based on true insight, that is, the direct knowledge of things as they are.

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