Essence is like the sun itself. The sun’s nature is to shine, to be warm, and to illuminate. In the same way, you should distinguish between mind and mind essence. Mind essence has all three of these qualities. It is the essence of this mind essence that is empty, the nature of this mind essence that is cognizant, and the capacity of this mind essence that is unconfined.
The ground is Buddha-nature, which is unmistaken in nature, the basic state of all things. It is the natural state, which is not made by the Buddha, and not created by any ordinary being either. It’s naturally so, all by itself. That is the ultimate truth. Whether a buddha comes into this world or not, the nature of things is still the nature of things. The Buddha is someone who realizes what is true, what actually exists. If we want to become enlightened, we simply have to acknowledge or recognize what is.
– Tsoknyi Rinpoche, from “Dissolving the Confusion” (Spring 1999)
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