The Nature of the Mind

Ole Nydhal is from Denmark. He’s a teacher  in the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Also the founder of  a worldwide lay organization, The Diamond Way. I’ve attended a few of his talks and have spoken with him, briefly, a couple of times. I like his informal teaching style and liberal attitude.

I know he’s the subject of a few controversies, but I’m too far away from them to have any opinions. The first time I attended one of his talks, he just walked into the room, wearing a plain white t-shirt and faded blue jeans, hopped onto the edge of a table and started talking. No pomp and circumstance, no fuss, no muss. He’s a Lama and that’s supposed to be a big lofty deal, right? When I spoke with him afterward he seemed to be a pretty ordinary, down-to-earth guy. That told me a lot.

Actually, being a lama is not really a big deal. It only means teacher.

I don’t remember where I culled this from, but it seemed like a natural segue from yesterdays post. Here is Lama Ole Nydahl talking about the nature of the mind:

There are two kinds of wisdom: that which concerns the things happening in the mind, and the kind which knows the mind itself. The first we learn in schools and universities. It enables us to have interesting jobs, earn good money, drive fast cars and die with more debt than our neighbor. It is very fine, but when they put us in the grave, all benefit is gone. This wisdom is limited to things that we cannot take with us.

Insight into the nature of the mind, on the other hand, can never be lost. Mind is open, clear and limitless like space – it has never been born and can never die. For that reason, whichever of its aspects we realize, they are of a permanent nature and will benefit us from life to life.

Mind in its true nature is open, clear, and unlimited. When it recognizes its space-like nature, all fear is lost. Knowing that our essence cannot be destroyed, complete security arises, a resting in oneself. The important insight here is that we are neither the body, which gets old, gets sick and dies, nor the thoughts, which come and go. What looks through our eyes and listens trough our ears right now is radiant space. It is beyond coming and going, birth and death.

Wisdom – the enlightening kind pointing to the mind’s timeless nature – also manifests as our true nature. It shines forth naturally when the veils of disturbing emotions and stiff ideas have been removed. Experiencing things both as they truly are and as they appear, one can benefit countless beings.

Photo: Ginger Neumann

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