Imagine that within you there is a projector that shines light on a huge screen where images and thoughts are displayed. Sometimes they are happy images, sometimes horrible but they all come from your inner light. If I am in charge of the projection room I can choose what film to watch without ever forgetting that I am the one who plays or stops the movie.
If I became an expert projector I would not be blown away by the ever-changing winds of the outer and inner worlds; I would not have to choose from relative concepts like good and bad, pure and impure; I would not have to apply imagined antidotes; I would not have to implore and pray. I would be the boss of the projection and never be fooled by the movie. Yet when I look out the window I see trees, roof tops and sky that seem to exist independently, outside of myself. When I see something pleasant I go after it like a puppy and when I see something unpleasant I turn my back on it. But then again I remember my inner projector and see the landscape as it is, beyond likes and dislikes. I imagine that the inner light dwells in the deepest recesses of my heart and that it connects with the windows of my eyes that illumine what I see. What a radical view! What a total change of perspective! I am not any longer alone in a unpredictable world that needs to be controlled, tamed or embellished. I am back in the projection room and I am the creator of my own movie.
There is a beautiful image in the Dzogchen teachings* of the body seen as a house. It’s dark at night but someone inside turns on the light and we see light coming out of the windows which illumine the surroundings. In the same way our inner luminosity colours and shapes everything we see, hear, taste, touch, smell and think. Again, how is it possible that something as intangible as light can create that which looks so concrete like trees, houses, etc… This question has always opposed materialists and spiritualists. To make these views even more difficult to reconcile Dzogchen tells us that the true nature of all phenomena is luminosity-emptiness. The Prajna Paramita says, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form…” Emptiness is also described as the Mother which manifests as light and energy. The emptiness issue has been long debated through the centuries in the East. Is there a soul or not? And what is this emptiness anyway? May be it is just a matter of semantics. “Emptiness” is a word trying to describe the inexpressible, the source without beginning or end, but there are other words like” consciousness” and “soul” that also try to describe, in a futile attempt, the same concept. And it is a concept as long as “it” is not experienced. However there is something very scary about the concept of “emptiness” because it puts us face to face with the abyss. But regardless of the word we use we have to deal with the issue of nothingness eventually.
I like the image of the house, luminous and empty, sending out shafts of light through the windows of the eyes moist with compassion. It is a beautiful image that helps me in meditation. However I keep forgetting again and again that the light comes from the inside and I get caught in enticing visions and enchanting sounds and lose my hold on the ground. But I do not despair because this forgetfulness, this confusion, is another way the Mother, luminosity-emptiness, manifests. How could it be otherwise? Never, for even an instant, have I stopped being her daughter. So confident of my heritage, aware and at ease, I keep watching the unfolding of the show which leaves no traces on the screen.
- Very ancient teachings of the Tibetan Buddhist and Bön traditions, originators of The Bardo Todhol or Tibetan book of the Dead.