Chapter 12: Non-duality
Speaking of “empty illusion,” it is illusion when created, and illusion when experienced too; it’s illusion when you’re knowing and aware, and illusion when you’re lost in delusion too. Past, present, and future are all illusions. Today, if we realize our wrong, we take an illusory medicine to cure an equally illusory disease. When the disease is cured, the medicine is removed, and we are the same person as before. If you think that there is someone else or some special doctrine, then this is the view of a misguided outsider.
In the instant of Maitreya’s finger-snap, Sudhana was even able to forget the meditative states fostered in him by all his teachers: how much more so the beginningless habit energy of empty falsehood and evil deeds! If you consider the mistakes which you committed in the past as real, then the world right in front of you now is all real, and even official position, wealth and status, gratitude and love, are all real.
If your mind does not run off searching, or think falsely, or get involved with objects, then this very burning house of passion is itself the place to escape the three worlds. Didn’t Buddha say, “Not depending on, or abiding in, any situation, not having any discrimination, one clearly sees the vast establishment of reality and realizes that all worlds and all things are equal and non-dual.”
Though a bodhisattva of the “far-going” stage appears to act the same as outsiders, he does not abandon the Buddhist teachings; though he appears to go along with all that is worldly, he’s perpetually practicing all world-transcending ways. These are the real expedient devices within the burning house of passion.
Only having penetrated all the way through can you say that affliction is itself enlightenment and ignorance is identical to great wisdom. Within the wondrous mind of the original vast quiescence - pure, clear, perfect illumination - there is not a single thing that can cause obstruction. It is like the emptiness of space.
One of the most fundamental problems that has to be faced by everyone on the path to enlightenment is that when you become enlightened, all that you have passed through looks illusory. It is just as when you wake up in the morning, the whole night of dreams simply becomes unreal; you don’t even think about it. But while you are asleep, the dreams are very real.
In a very strange way, while you are awake you may doubt whether that which is surrounding you is real or not. At least, doubt is possible. Who knows? you may be seeing just a dream. But while you are dreaming even the doubt is not possible. You cannot doubt - “What I am seeing perhaps is not real.” The dream seems to be more deep-rooted in the mind than our so-called reality.