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Leaving no trace ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


Once we are no longer producing reactions, thoughts are like designs drawn on water, which disappear as they are drawn. If it is like that, though the thought occurs, there is neither benefit nor harm.

The occurrence of thoughts happens the same way for yogins and worldly people. Even a yogin who has actually realized the ultimate nature will not be completely free of thoughts. Someone who had no thoughts at all would be inanimate, like a rock or a piece of wood. Even though yogins have thoughts, they remain unaffected.

But worldly people get caught in their thoughts. That is how they get confused. That is what is meant when it is said that the yogin’s mind surpasses the worldly mind. Even though a yogin has thoughts, they are like many images reflecting on the ocean. The reflections of trees, forests, rocks, mountains, stars, and planets do not change the nature of the ocean. The ocean does not have to expand or shrink in order to reflect these images. In the same way, though a lot of thoughts, both positive and negative, manifest in the yogin’s mind, they do not leave a trace and are recognised and liberated. There is no confusion.

When an ordinary person has thoughts, it is like erecting houses and planting trees in a small space – every house and tree makes the space more crowded, and less of it is available for use. When ordinary people have many thoughts, they are carried away by them. Enslaved by their thoughts, they have lots of troubles and are very busy in this life. In future lives, they will also experience lots of happiness and suffering. Therefore, it is said that if one cannot liberate thoughts, one should cut the trace of the habitual patterns of past thoughts, not stimulate thoughts of the future, and not let the present awareness wander free. [Maintain a state of mindful awareness of present awareness].

Once thoughts are liberated, all this is not necessary. If thoughts do not affect us, liberation or nonliberation is utterly not at issue. What is called “liberation” is when a thought leaves no trace and so no positive or negative karma is accumulated.

~ Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

From: “Primordial Purity. Oral Instructions on the Three Words That Strike the Vital Point” by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

(Posted by Mahayana Mind Training/ Friends who like DJKR, a living Buddha In Our Time, 20 February 2024)

  • February 20, 2024