Chapter 1: Atisha the Thrice Great
These seven points, the smallest treatise you can find, are of immense value. You will have to meditate over each statement. They are the whole of religion condensed; you will have to unfold each statement. They are like seeds; they contain much. It may not be apparently so, but the moment you move into the statements deeply, when you contemplate and meditate and start experimenting with them, you will be surprised - you will be going into the greatest adventure of your life.
First, learn the preliminaries.
What are the preliminaries? These are the preliminaries. First: truth is. Truth is not something to be created, truth is not something that is far away. Truth is herenow; truth surrounds you as the ocean surrounds the fish. The fish may not be aware - once the fish becomes aware of the ocean, the fish is enlightened. The fish is not aware, cannot be aware, because the fish is born in the ocean, has always lived in the ocean, is part of the ocean as any wave is part of the ocean. The fish is also a wave - a little more solid, but born out of the ocean, lives in the ocean and one day disappears in the ocean. The fish may never come to know about the ocean. To know something, a little distance is needed. To know something, perspective is needed. And the ocean is so close, that’s why the fish may not be aware of it.
So is the case with truth, or if you like you can use the word God. So is the case with God. It is not that he is far away and that’s why we don’t know about him; it is because he is not far away but very close by. Even to say that it is close by is not right, because you are it. He is within you and without: he is all and all.
This is the first thing that has to be allowed to sink deep in your heart: truth already is, we are in it. This is the most fundamental thing to begin with. You are not to discover it; it is not covered. All that is needed is a new kind of awareness, which is missing in you. Truth is there, but you are not aware; you are not mindful, you are not alert. You don’t know how to watch, you don’t know how to observe, you don’t know how to look and see. You have eyes but still you are blind, you have ears but you are deaf.
The first preliminary is truth is.
The second preliminary is the mind is the barrier. Nothing else is hindering you from truth, just your own mind. The mind surrounds you like a film, like a movie that goes on and on, and you remain engrossed in it, fascinated by it. It is a fantasy that surrounds you; a continuous story that goes on and on, and because you are so fascinated by it you go on missing that which is. The mind is not; it is only a fantasy, it is only a faculty for dreaming.
The mind is nothing but dreams and dreams - dreams of the past, dreams of the future, dreams of how things should be, dreams of great ambitions, achievements. Dreams and desires, that is the stuff mind is made of, but it surrounds you like a China Wall. Because of it the fish remains unaware of the ocean.
The second preliminary is the mind is the only barrier.