Everything which comes into our mind, if we recognize it in the moment that it arises, if we accept it, we can then just let it go. We don’t have to hold on to it, we don’t have to give it energy, we don’t have to be swept away. We are on the riverbank looking at the river flowing, we are not right in the middle of the river being swept along. We can all do this. The nature of the mind is naturally knowing. Without that we would be dead. So all we have to do is go back to what we really are and stop identifying with the wrong thing.
There was a very great Thai forest master called Ajahn Chah, and recently I was reading his biography. In that, when he was in the forest training with several masters, at some point he came to exactly this: he realized that basically is that which is known and that which knows. And the whole point is simply to dwell with that which knows — start identifying with that which knows and stop identifying with the known. That’s all it’s so easy, really. I mean 98% of your problems are solved, if not 100, just by doing that. But we don’t do it. It’s interesting that we don’t do it.
When one is in the presence of a very great lama with whom there is a deep karmic connection, it can happen that, if one’s own mind is very open and receptive completely, without expectations but very open, he can point at or introduce you to the nature of the mind. He doesn’t give you anything, you already have it, and it’s a very simple experience. It’s not, you know, rainbow lights and trumpets. It’s very simple but in that moment, just for a moment, everything falls apart and there is just that moment of total naked awareness.
It’s extremely simple. It’s so simple that you can miss it very easily because we always expect that somehow it’s going to be some really great experience. Something really ahh! And normally it’s so plain, so bare, that almost people might think that can’t be it.
One time one of our yogis on the hill was giving a lung, an oral transmission, of one very famous Dzogchen text. — Dzogchen is the mind training of the Ningmapa school. — He was, of course, reading it out and then he stopped and said, “You know, the problem with these kind of books is that it makes it all sound very high, and very far, and very fantastic. And it’s so simple. It’s so right here.”
And so you’re looking out there, in the future, for some incredible thing to happen, and all the time, actually moment to moment, is already happening but we don’t recognize it. You see, every time you hear a sound, everything you see, you can only see, you can only recognize a sound because of awareness. If we had no awareness, we would be like a corpse. But we don’t recognize that awareness because we’re so fascinated by our senses. Do you understand? Because we’re so captivated by this panorama outside and all the panorama inside, all our thoughts, and memories, and daydreams, and hopes, and dreams. We miss the fact that behind all that is the knowing of it.
From explanations of nature of the mind given by Jetsun Tenzin Palmo in Tashi Jong, India, in 1999.