I sit in my garden, gazing at the turning leaves of the Japanese maple, the last roses and the geraniums, filled with gratitude for the sustenance the beauty of our earth provides, along with its natural pointing out instructions the earth is always giving to us. As the previous Kalu Rinpoche wrote in the prayer Blessings Fall as Rain:
The myriad forms and appearances,
interdependent yet unobstructed,
Arise in the outer world as my symbolic teachers;
Indescribable is the harmonious dance of magic.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche often refers to watermoons, which appear when the moon shines on a still body of water in the night. Watermoons point out that phenomena can appear clearly, yet lack any substantial nature – likewise with rainbows, dreams, mirages, email, movies. All point to the illusory nature of phenomena. That phenomena is illusory does not in any way diminish its preciousness, its value. The brilliant sun in a cloudless sky was a favorite image of Trungpa Rinpoche. Indeed, he called it the “Great Eastern Sun,” and used it as a primary metaphor for liberation; for the rising of wakefulness: awareness resting unimpeded; luminous clarity inseparable with space.
As our wisdom awareness becomes activated by our practice and by the compassionate pointing out instructions of our teachers, we can see and understand more and more how the natural world is always demonstrating to us the nature of reality. As Thangthang Gyalpo, the great mahasiddha of Tibet, wrote in his commentary on Niguma’s Mahamudra teachings:
You have never been joined to nor separated from the mind’s abiding nature, emptiness, yet it is too close, you did not see it. This fault made you wander throughout samsara. The metaphor for this is your own face: when you encounter a mirror, you can see your own face. Likewise, when you encounter the mirror of the holy lama’s pith instructions and practice them, you can see the mind’s abiding nature.
In the garden, the essential instructions of our teachers are reinforced by the pointing out instructions inherent in the natural world. When the two come together, we are indeed fortunate.