'The Real Nature of the Relative is the Real Nature of the Absolute'
This weekend Rigpa Dublin welcomed Bodhicharya Ireland Sangha members into their shrine room in Wicklow St. Dublin to watch the live webcast of Ringu Tulku's teachings on the 'Two Truths' that was streamed direct (with a few interruptions on Sunday) from teachings at Lerab Ling in the Dordogne, France.
Unfortunately we missed the Friday night session, when Rinpoche introduced the short text by Patrul Rinpoche entitled 'An Instruction on the View of the Mahayana Clarifying the Two
Truths'. The text begins : 'For those who wish to attain liberation, there is both (I) the teaching on what is to be realised, and (II) the teaching on how to put this into practice'.
On Saturday Rinpoche began with the first instruction, 'Teaching On What Is To Be Realised' and discussed the three ways in which we can experience the Two Truths, (a) the stage of ordinary beings who perceive with grasping, which is termed the incorrect relative; (b) the stage of noble beings, who perceive appearance without grasping, termed the correct relative;
and (c) the stage of buddhahood where there is no ordinary appearance or non ordinary appearance - and because it is the absolute, concerns for grasping no longer apply, it is beyond grasping.
In this teaching Rinpoche continued to discuss the importance of seeing the natural condition of ones own mind, using the provisional understanding as a reference point until the ultimate understanding becomes clear - that the Two Truths are inseparable and that any type of provisional understanding is still a concept.
From the Nirvana Sutra : 'Emptiness means perceiving neither 'empty' nor 'non empty'. The natural radiance of emptiness can appear as anything at all. Since it is empty as it appears, appearance and emptiness are a unity. This can only be known by looking inwards. It is within the domain of your self-knowing awareness-wisdom'.
There are two sections in the text, with instructions on the Direct Practice for the sharpest faculties, and the Gradual Practice for those with duller faculties. The Direct Practice is a very short section and was taught very quickly, however the teaching on the Gradual Practice for dull faculties section is far more extended (!) and took longer to teach.
Rinpoche pointed out that it is the simplest teachings that we tend to overlook, because we think they are easy, but he said it is most important to begin with what is easy, because this will begin the journey towards transformation and help us to reach the more profound teachings. He encouraged us to remove ideas of emptiness from our conceptual thought, because if we don't we are grasping, so we must relax and just let the mind be with the current understanding.
At the close of the teachings on Sunday Rinpoche addressed the many people in the Lerab Ling shrineroom who have recently emerged from an intensive 39 month retreat. He spoke to them about the temptation to measure the achievements of practice, saying that the best progress is like life, it goes by unnoticed.
Many many thanks to Ringu Tulku who embodies these teachings with such grace and to Rigpa Dublin for opening this invitation to Bodhicharya Ireland to attend these amazing talks.
Advice from Machig Labdrön:
When nothing whatsoever is conceptualised
How could you possibly go astray?
Annihilate your conceptions. And rest
The text that was prepared for this study had been translated by Adam Pearcey.