Please take a few moments before you begin this teaching to settle yourself. Sit upright, yet naturally relaxed. Before listening to and/ or reading the teaching make aspirations such as: "I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to the precious Dharma. I am doing this for the benefit of all sentient beings so that they may be free from suffering and attain complete awakening".
Buddha Nature: Our Common Ground
Buddha Nature refers to the ground, the basic nature that we all share. It is our “starting point”, so to speak. We refer to the ground of all sentient beings, the ground of the Buddha, the ground of all dharmas, and all phenomena.
What is the common ground of all of this? We share the common ground of emptiness. And emptiness equals Buddha. Sometimes we say “Buddha Nature.” The ground, or the basic nature of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa is the same.
So, when we begin to meditate, the first and most important thing is to understand– what is our nature? What is everyone’s nature?
This is a very important point, the first thing we need to learn if we are learning how to meditate. This reminder inspires us to practice because we know that we can truly manifest awakening.
Buddha Nature: Recall in Every Meditation Session
When we begin a meditation session, the first thing is we have to remember is our Buddha nature.
We need to recognize that our mind, our essence, is Buddha Nature. In Sanskrit we call this sugatagarbha and in Tibetan we translate it as dewar shekpé nyingpo (bde bar gshegs pa’i snying po). In English, we can translate the compound literally as “The Essence of the Bliss Gone One”, referring to the Buddha. We can turn to ten classic Sūtras that expound upon this theme.
Every single sentient being shares that same awakened and perfect nature–that’s really good news! We should remind ourselves of this repeatedly so that we firmly believe this crucial message.
When we begin our meditation session, every session, we need to recall this point. And we really have to feel confidence in this!
The essence of the Buddha’s wisdom and the essence of sentient beings’ minds is not different at all. The essence of wisdom and the essence of mind is emptiness, clarity, and self-awareness. Primordial self-awareness is Buddha Nature.
At the end of the teaching, please remember to dedicate the merit of receiving a Dharma teaching. As you go through your day, take a few moments from time to time to recall these instructions.
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