Mist Dream and Optical Illusion
Extracted from book 'Flight of the Garuda, Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol'
EHMAHO! Best beloved, fearless sons and daughters, without applying the spur, the horse will not gallop; without thorough churning, the butter will not separate; without detailed explanation you will not be convinced of my meaning. So while I sing my long but lyrical songs, listen in comfort, relaxed, without drooping ears!
Until you perceive all appearances as mind you will never realize the meaning of emptiness. To facilitate this understanding, you favoured children must apply yourselves fully to a diligent analysis and thorough search. Firstly, where do appearances come from? Secondly, where are they now? Lastly, where do they go?
During your examination you will see that just as mist arises out of the sky and dissolves back into the sky, appearances are the magical display of your mind, arising in the mind and vanishing back into it.
Take as an example the shimmering effect seen by a man with an impaired sense of vision when he gazes ahead. Although the shimmering appears to exist in front of his eyes, nothing is there -- it is an optical illusion.
In the same way, when mental functions are impaired by negative propensities that cause clinging to apparently external objects as discrete and substantial entities, then visual and auditory phenomena appear to exist where not so much as an atom can be proved to have ultimate reality. Everything is a figment of the mind.
All these figments of mind are baseless and empty. They are non-existent light-forms, apparition and magical illusion, like the reflection of the moon in water. Compose yourself in the reality of inseparable appearance and emptiness!
Now in our sleep we may dream of our native country, our parental home, and our relatives or friends, as if they were actually present, and an appropriate strong feeling may arise. Although our family and friends are not actually present and we have not stirred an inch from our beds, we may experience a face-to-face encounter with them of the same vivid intensity as in the waking state.
Each and every sensual experience of our lives is an experience similar to last night's dream. Just as we attach labels to dream entities, objectifying and clinging to them as substantial entities, so appearances are modified and apprehended by mind in the waking state. In the same way that dreams have no substance, so the figments of the mind, all appearances whatsoever, are also empty.
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“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”
~ Amitabha Sutra
When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.
~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow