One who sees the Dhamma sees me.
One who sees me sees the Dhamma.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Buddhahood is a state free of all obstructions to knowledge and disturbing
emotions. It is the state in which the mind is fully evolved
Our teacher, Sakyamuni Buddha, is one among
the thousand Buddhas of this aeon. These Buddhas were not Buddhas
from the beginning, but were once sentient beings like ourselves.
How they came to be Buddhas is this.
Of body and mind, mind is predominant, for body
and speech are under the influence of the mind. Afflictions such
as desire do not contaminate the nature of the mind, for the nature
of the mind is pure, uncontaminated by any taint. Afflictions
are peripheral factors of a mind, and through gradually transforming
all types of defects, such as these afflictions, the adventitious
taints can be completely removed. This state of complete purification
is Buddhahood; therefore, Buddhists do not assert that there is
any Buddha who has been enlightened from the beginning.
Buddhism of Tibet'
Only a Buddha has extinguished all faults and gained all attainments. Therefore,
one should mentally go for refuge to a Buddha, praise him with speech, and respect
him physically. One should enter the teaching of such a being.
A Buddha's abandonment of defects is of three types: good, complete, and irreversible.
Good abandonment involves overcoming obstructions through their antidotes, not
just through withdrawing from those activities. Complete abandonment is not
trifling, forsaking only some afflictions or just the manifest afflictions,
but forsaking all obstructions. Irreversible abandonment overcomes the seeds
of afflictions and other obstructions in such a way that defects will never
arise again, even when conditions favourable to them are present.
Tantra in Tibet
More than twenty-five hundred years ago, a man who had been searching for the truth for many, many lifetimes came to a quiet place in northern India and sat down under a tree. He continued to sit under the tree, with immense resolve, and vowed not to get up until he had found the truth.
At dusk, it is said, he conquered all the dark forces of delusion; and early the next morning, as the planet Venus broke in the dawn sky, the man was rewarded for his age-long patience, discipline, and flawless concentration by achieving the final goal of human existence: enlightenment.
At that sacred moment, the earth itself shuddered, as if “drunk with bliss,” and, as the scriptures tell us: “No one anywhere was angry, ill or sad; no one did evil, none was proud; the world became quite quiet, as though it had reached full perfection.” This man became known as Buddha.
On that momentous night when Buddha attained enlightenment, it is said that he went through several different stages of awakening. In the first, with his mind “collected and purified, without blemish, free of defilements, grown soft, workable, fixed and immovable,” he turned his attention to the recollection of his previous lives. This is what he tells us of that experience:
I remembered many, many former existences I had passed through: one, two births, three, four, five . . . fifty, one hundred . . . a hundred thousand, in various world-periods. I knew everything about these various births: where they had taken place, what my name had been, which family I had been born into, and what I had done. I lived through again the good and bad fortune of each life and my death in each life, and came to life again and again. In this way I recalled innumerable previous existences with their exact characteristic features and circumstances. This knowledge I gained in the first watch of the night.
A person who is liberated, who has freed his or her mind of all mental afflictions, still experiences physical suffering. The difference between us and an arhat, a person who has freed the mind from mental affliction, is that an arhat doesn't identify with pain. Arhats experience physical pain vividly but don't grasp onto it; they can take action to avoid or alleviate pain, but whether they do so or not, the physical pain doesn't come inside. What an arhat does not experience is mental suffering. A buddha, one who is perfectly spiritually awakened, has gone a further step. A buddha has no mental suffering of his or her own, but is vividly and non-dually aware of the suffering of others.
Superficially, the arhat who is free from mental suffering can seem to us who lack this realization as numb and detached, in a state of existential anesthesia. A buddha, one who is fully awakened, presents the paradox of being free from suffering and also non-dually present with other people's joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. A buddha taps into immutable bliss, the ultimate ground state of awareness beyond the dichotomy of stimulus-driven pain and pleasure. The mind of a buddha has been purified of all obscuration and from its own nature there naturally arises immutable bliss, like a spring welling up from the earth. With the unveiling of the buddha-nature of unconditioned bliss, there is also a complete erosion of an absolute demarcation between self and other. The barrier is gone. This is why buddhas are vividly and non-dually aware of the suffering of others, their hopes and fears, the whole situation, and at the same time are not disengaged from the purity and bliss of their own awareness. The mind of a buddha doesn't block out anything and nothing is inhibited, and this is why the awareness of an awakened being is frequently described as "unimaginable."
B. Alan Wallace, from 'Buddhism with an Attitude: The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind Training'
December 12, 2011