I saw a great teeshirt the other day that said "We don't have to believe everything we think". We don't have to work through every tangled emotion and thought...we can give ourselves a break by understanding that thoughts and emotions are frequently just excretions or like the dreams we have at night. All that stimulation and sensation we take in during our wacky modern life is seeping back out. We can just neutrally observe all the excretions and periodic vomiting...watch them arise and fall away, like waves. Release them and let them appear and disappear without getting all grabby with them. We're not our thoughts or emotions.
All this ties up with wisdom, compassion and emptiness, doesn't it?
Yes, there's a beautiful logic and flow that brings order to all of those. For me, this Tibetan Bon essence teaching summarizes the logic that imo is found in all traditions of Buddhism also (although wording varies from tradition to tradition:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss
- Dawa Gyaltsen, 8th century Tibet
1. Vision is Mind
Everything we see, feel, taste, touch, hear, absorb, vibrate with, experience, all circumstances...is all Mind - we can call it our karmic vision. It's our own unique experience of everything, which for most all of us is inaccurate...a projection based on ignorance.
2. Mind is Empty
Our karmic vision is inaccurate because it is clouded by our attachment-fueled reactivity that demands and imagines solidity and certainty. If we look carefully at everything inside and outside of us including our mind we begin to understand that it is all dynamic, insubstantial, conditioned appearances...empty of all our projections.
3. Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear refers to emptiness, and light refers to awareness. Clear Light is used here to mean clarity. Through our practice we become aware of the emptiness of our projections - we experience clarity. Clarity means "clear" as in when we understand something, it's clear to us. Our confusion is cleared away, and we have the sense of the dark walls of confusion dissolving into light as if the sun returns or a light bulb goes on...aha!. When we clear the dirty window of dirt, light enters. When we empty a cluttered room, it is cleared and open and there is spaciousness and light. The same with our mind...when we clear out our projections that clog our vision, when we're clear that our projections are false, we recognize emptiness and spaciousness in everything that arises in our karmic vision.
4. Clear Light is Union.
Clarity is union. There is no separateness or distinction between emptiness (the space-iousness that arises when our projections are cleared away, made clear, emptied) and our awareness (the light-ness that clarity gives birth to). They are united, they are one.
In this union of emptiness and awareness (clarity) we see how all living beings bump and scrape around in the projection-cluttered confused darkness throughout our entire lives as we react in hunger and fear to a projected imagined solidity that is a ghost of our own making - this in turn opens our heart as we recognize the extent of the endless dissatisfaction that our lack of clarity generates repeatedly with all our unskillful efforts to find peace, and we experience authentic compassion rather than mundane reactive compassion for all living beings. We understand that only clarity (the awareness and experience of emptiness) will bring living beings relief, peace, contentment, space to breathe.
5. Union is Great Bliss
When we recognize this union of emptiness and awareness and our Great Heart arises, we finally exhale and let go of all our striving to fix, and we let go of our incessant urge to "become" because we see that there is no "becoming", there is only space and awareness. We are freed from our "self"-ishness because we known that there is no "self". We are content, and authentic (not mundane, conditioned) happiness arises. This is wisdom. This is bliss. This is when we become effective because we are fully awake.
Our vision is projection
Our projection is empty.
Awareness of the emptiness of our projections is clarity
Clarity is re-integration with the whole of experience - just.what.is.
Re-integration with the Whole results in wisdom, contentment, and happiness.
Great Bliss is none other than Vision.
That's how I understand it.