The Crystal Mirror Theater of One’s Own Awareness

Thinley Norbu Rinpoche on the play of awareness

In the crystal mirror theater of awareness, mind the supreme artist, performs his magical displays, but rare is the clear insight audience capable of viewing this wisdom.

Endless horrible things of samsara
Endless wonderful things of nirvana
Drawn by the mind.

So the mind is the greatest artist
Painting various relative truths
With the brush of conceptions.

If we are not deluded
By the various colors of the different natural elements
As they appear on the unobstructed mirror of the mind,
Then nature is always clear space
And there is no confusion.

Various phenomena, a youthful prince
Married to untouchable emptiness,
A smooth and mysterious princess,
From their joyful inseparable union
Many generations of phenomena are increased
In a continuing display
For the comfort of their pitiful subjects.

– Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

The above are lines from Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, a great master of Dzogpa Chenpo (Mahasandhi Yoga / Dxogchen) in contemporary times. (From his book Magic Dance.) Following is a short explanation on the same.

Samsara and Nirvana are creations in the crystal mirror theatre of one’s own awareness. Yet, by lacking the clear insight to appreciate one’s own art, sentient beings wander in their horrified outlook to their own artistic creation – the horrible things of samsara. They confuse the art to be real things out their to harm them. And, some abandon the horrible things of Samsara for the wonderful things of Nirvana.

Those who develop clear insight (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas), see the art as it is, enjoy the ‘horrible’ art of Samsara and the ‘wonderful’ art of Nirvana in equal taste, merely as a work of art in the crystal mirror theatre of one’’s own awareness. They are able to use the brush of conceptions skillfully to paint various artistic displays as relative truth.

Their method (a youthful prince) is never separated from its blissful union with the wisdom of emptiness (the mysterious and ungraspable princess), the realization of the insubstantial and empty nature of the crystal mirror theatre and art.

For the comforts and benefits of those (sentient beings) who remain confused and pitifully wander by being horrified of their own creations,  the wiser ones (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas) cast generations of artistic displays from their blissful union with the wisdom of reality.

Yogi Prabodha Jnana
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