Original innocence, not original sin, is the intrinsic condition of the human mind, Traktung asserts. And he is not alone in this declaration. When great mystics and sages have discovered the deepest essence of reality, they too have proclaimed "original innocence.” While their words may have varied, and the flowering of this realization may have taken different expressions, the essence remains the same. This is good news for the weary traveler, the man or woman lost in samsara (confused perception), perhaps you and I. This confused perception is like that of a person with mental illness who thinks themselves to be Napoleon; or an anorexic who perceives themselves as fat. Such a complex of thought-feeling-behavior thus influences everything they do. And so, samsara brings suffering to one's life. This book has grown out of a last request from the author's Guru, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche: "Please help Westerners be weary with Samsara.”
Essays, quotes from seminal texts, poetry and teaching stories weave throughout these pages, creating a rich meal that any serious student of life can enjoy and be nourished by. The book is a hologram of spiritual teachings-each page a blueprint, an invitation, and an immersion into the spaciousness of the author's realization. From the highest, most advanced teachings to the core beginnings-the 4 Noble Truths of the Buddha-nothing is at odds. All work together to illuminate a vision for transforming life from suffering to wisdom bliss.
In Original Innocence, his second book, Traktung Yeshe Dorje once again refuses glib fixes to perennial challenges. Instead, he calls us, his readers, to think deeply, critically, and aesthetically in order to explore our own fields-the obvious, the day-to-day, the ordinary-as the foundation for true spiritual growth and transformation.
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Original Innocence is the very essence of your mind. Feel it for a moment. Not suffering, not frustration, hope or fear but Original Innocence. Not original sin but Original Innocence. When great mystics and sages come to discover the deepest essence of reality this is what they discover. Their words may vary, the flowering of this realization may find different expression but the essence remains the same because it is Truth.
The mind's day-to-day conceptual functioning is merely the tip of an iceberg. The sum total of your day-to-day identity, even the whole appearing called "the human realm,” is the very tip of an iceberg. Beneath this tiny tip is a vast and deep expanse of spiritual mystery. The tip, the day-to-day conundrum, is like the foam on the edge of a rising wave; but your essence is like the ocean's depth. This truth, and the methods to realize it- to make it real in the continuum of your body, feeling, mind, qualities and actions -is the intent of every Buddha's, every mystic's, communication. It is the sole import of the sage's speech and activity.
Mind's essence, timelessly-right now, always-is an expanse of unchanging Original Innocence. Somewhere, deep within, all beings intuit this, and this intuition is precisely what draws the body, mind and heart toward spiritual seeking. The wave is never separate from the ocean. If the wave forgot its union with the ocean and only felt itself to be a separate movement of water, what anxiety it would suffer! It would feel itself to be so temporary, so momentary and at the whim of rise and fall, birth and death. It would desperately search for meaning within the minute span of its existence, not knowing that its meaning is an expression of the deep, and not found in and of its shortness.
The "search” in its immaturity is for partial, temporary meanings within the momentary dimension of appearing. As maturity grows it becomes a search for direct knowing of mind itself. The search is to discover what has always already been the case.
Although the sky appears grey when covered over with clouds it is still blue above the clouds. The clouds are simply adventitious stains, temporary. If you fly up in a plane you can see that there is always already blueness, a stainless sky ultimately unharmed by temporary clouds.
Table of Contents
Part I Original Innocence 1
Interlude: Palate Cleanser 33
Part II Letters to Friends 61
Part III Entering the Way 127
Contact Information 198