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On the nature of the mind, there are two kinds. One nature in the ultimate sense, is emptiness, because if we investigate what the mind or the consciousness is, we find that the mind does not exist by itself. This nature we call shunyata, the ultimate reality of mind.

The second kind of nature is illuminating. Just a clear light, like infinite space. No color, no shape, yet it can reflect everything. On a conventional level, that is the nature of the mind. Take pure water. If we drop some dust into it, for the time being, that water becomes muddy. But muddy is not the real nature of the water. Due to certain causes, the water becomes unclear or unclean temporarily. If this water remains as it is, without shaking, then gradually you see the water become clean again. Similarly, the nature of the basic consciousness or mind is pure and clean. Different kinds of thoughts spoil this basic nature of the mind.

HH the Dalai Lama at Kilauea Volcano, October 1980 photo by Chiu Leong

HH the Dalai Lama at Kilauea Volcano, October 1980 photo by Chiu Leong

The two natures of mind are the basis of all good thoughts and good practices. The virtuous mind can grow within that. Usually we call the two major natures of mind Citta Buddha or Buddha Nature. We also have that nature. The question is whether we make an effort to realize that nature and concentrate on it. It affects all thoughts at the moment. Thought is superior and very much controls the basic mind. Once we concentrate on the very nature of mind, the other thoughts become less effective. The thoughts come and go like clouds in open space. Clouds form and disappear into space; from space, clouds appear and disappear. Thoughts come and gradually disappear in that nature.


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