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Chapter 1: Atisha the Thrice Great

The third: no-mind is the door. Atisha calls no-mind bodhichitta: that is his word for no-mind. It can be translated as buddha-mind, buddha-consciousness, too or if you like you can call it christ-consciousness, krishna-consciousness. It doesn’t make any difference what name is used, but the basic quality of bodhichitta is that it is no-mind. It looks paradoxical: the mind in the state of no-mind. But the meaning is very clear: mind without content, mind without thoughts, is what is meant, is what is indicated.

Remember the word bodhichitta, because Atisha says the whole effort of religion, the whole science of religion, is nothing but an endeavor to create bodhichitta, buddha-consciousness: a mind which functions as a no-mind, a mind which no longer dreams, no longer thinks, a mind which is just awareness, pure awareness. These are the preliminaries.

The second sutra:

Think that all phenomena are like dreams.

Now the work starts. Atisha is very condensed, seedlike. That is the meaning of a sutra: it is just a thread, just a hint, and then you have to decode it.

Think that all phenomena are like dreams.

Phenomena means all that you see, all that you experience. All that can ever be experienced, is all phenomena. Remember, not only are the objects of the world phenomena and dreams, but also objects of consciousness. They may be objects of the world; they may be just objects of the mind. They may be great spiritual experiences. You may see kundalini rising in you: that too is a phenomenon - a beautiful dream, a very sweet dream, but it is a dream all the same. You may see great light flooding your being, but that light is also a phenomenon. You may see lotuses blooming inside you and a great fragrance arising within your being: those too are phenomena, because you are always the seer and never the seen, always the experiencer and never the experienced, always the witness and never the witnessed.

All that can be witnessed, seen, observed, is phenomena. Material phenomena, psychological phenomena, spiritual phenomena - they are all the same. There is no need to make any distinction. The basic thing to remember is that which can be seen is a dream.

Think that all phenomena are dreams.

This is a tremendously powerful technique. Start contemplating in this way: if you are walking on the street, contemplate that people passing by are all dreams: the shops, and the shopkeepers and the customers and the people coming and going; all are dreams. The houses, the buses, the train, the airplane, all are dreams.

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