We awaken to enlightenment by recognizing and fully realizing the primordially pure essence already present as our nature. That’s how to be an awakened buddha. Even though the enlightened state is actually already present, imagining or forming a thought-construct of enlightenment doesn’t make you enlightened. It’s the same as when you are really hungry and you look at a plate of food and try to imagine what it taste like. Does it work to then imagine, “Mmmmm, I’m eating the food, I’m no longer hungry.” You can think this for a very long time – forever, in fact – but it still doesn’t dispel your hunger. Once you actually put the food in your mouth, it tastes delicious, and your hunger is satiated. It’s the same with experience. Experience only occurs in a direct way, in practical reality, not through a theory about taste. If your meditation practice is merely an exercise in imagining and keeping something in mind, it is only a theory, and not direct experience.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
from the book As It Is, Vol. 2
translated by Erik Pema Kunsang
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Further quotes from the book As It Is, Vol. 2:
- Essential meditation instruction
- Growing familiar with mind essence
- The essence of mind
- Space yogi
- Clearly seeing the state of how others are
- Buddha nature cannot be fabricated
- Pretending enlightenment
- The way to become enlightened
- Enhancement practices
- Self-knowing wakefulness