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Pure Perception 

Pure Perception

Pure Perception adapted from The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, by Dilgo Khyentse, © 1992. Reproduced by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc.,

Samsara is nothing other than how things appear to you;
If you recognize everything as the deity, the good of others is consummated.
Seeing the purity of everything confers the four empowerments on all beings at once;
Dredging the depths of samsara, recite the six-syllable mantra.

What, then, is meant by pure perception? The way we usually experience the outer world, our bodies, and our feelings is impure, in the sense that we perceive them as ordinary, substantially existing entities. From this erroneous perception come the negative emotions that perpetuate suffering. However, take a closer look at all these appearances; you will find that they have no true existence. From a relative point of view they appear as a result of various causes and conditions, like a mirage or a dream, but in reality nothing that arises from causes and conditions has any true existence whatsoever. In fact, there is not even anything to appear. As it is said, “He who realizes voidness is the true sage.”

If you continue investigating, you will find that there is nothing anywhere, not even a single atom, that has a verifiable existence. Now, to see things otherwise, as truly existing, is the deluded perception underlying samsara—but even that deluded perception itself has never actually left the realm of voidness. Ignorance, therefore, is no more than a transient veil devoid of intrinsic existence. When you recognize this, there is no impure perception; there is only the limitless display of the Buddha's body, speech, mind, and wisdom. Then there is no longer any need to try to get rid of the three worlds of samsara or to suppress suffering, because neither samsara nor suffering actually even exist. Once you realize that samsara is as void as a mirage, all the karmic patterns and negative emotions that lie at its root are severed.

Voidness, however, is not just nothingness or empty space, for as the Prajnaparamita says, “Form is voidness, voidness is form; voidness is no other than form, and form is no other than voidness.” When you realize this true voidness of phenomena, you will spontaneously feel an all-embracing, nonconceptual compassion for all beings who are immersed in samsara's ocean of suffering because they cling to the notion of an ego.

This troublesome ego which is so concerned about itself has in reality never begun to exist, it does not exist anywhere now, and so it cannot cease to exist. Not the slightest trace of it can be found. When you recognize the void nature, therefore, any notion of there being an ego to dissolve vanishes, and at the same time the energy to bring about the good of others dawns, uncontrived and effortless.


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