“The profound equality of all beings is only known in the moment in which ‘I’ no longer exists. Only through the recognition of emptiness is there stainless compassion. This stainless compassion, inseparable from emptiness, is none other than the ultimate samadhi.”
—Phakchok Rinpoche, In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvas
An authentic Buddhist master has the ability to precisely identify the unique positive qualities in a student and is able to direct those qualities towards virtuous activity—such that the student, the master, and those connected with both of them are benefited directly and indirectly. The master also has an equally powerful yet devastating ability to reveal the faults of the disciple, such that the student cannot help but face every shred of egotism with which students torture themselves, obscuring the fundamental goodness of their basic nature. In one of the Buddha’s famous teachings entitled the Samādhirāja Sūtra (Samadhi Raja Sutra) or “The King of Meditation,” the Buddha taught that attaining the awakened state—emptiness with a core of compassion—requires us to embrace this process guided by the teacher: to nurture our qualities of goodness such that they overwhelm our faults, and to clearly see the nasty habits of mind so they do not grow in power. Phakchok Rinpoche, Buddhist master and lineage-holder, clearly presents this path of authentic Buddhist training in his new book, In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvas.
This process of purification can be long and gentle or short and intense, but according to all of the great Buddhist masters of the past—those incredible beings with whom you can spend ten years and never witness a moment of selfishness—it’s got to happen. If we want to be open, blissful, clear and intelligent, and if we want to enact effortless compassionate activity, we have to go through the process of assembling the conditions of disciplined conduct and virtuous action. Through skillfully comporting our minds, we can gather the potent spiritual force of merit, develop powerfully altruistic mental states, and gain the support of awakened beings. Through the application of the profound meditation instructions of the Buddha and other highly accomplished adepts, we can give rise to the experience of an unceasing domain in which we are never separate from intelligent love, wisdom, and bliss. It is not wishful thinking or religious piety— it is simply true that this can be done. Phakchok Rinpoche summarizes the result of this path, the highest form of meditation, in this way:
“This ultimate samadhi or meditation taught by the Buddha on Vulture Peak is not a state of being absorbed. It is not cultivated, not a type of mental film that we superimpose over everything in our lives. It is unfabricated—the recognition of the true nature of reality. It is the vividness of our mind’s empty nature that lacks any permanent identity, that is simply pure awareness.”
Read the full article by Jack deTar at Samye Institute.