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If there are no inner gurus,
outer gurus would not be needed
to awaken them.

– Stonepeace

Question: You said something… about an ‘inner guide.’ Could you explain that?

Answer: The nature of the mind is our Buddha-nature. It is our inherent wisdom and compassion. It is always there. It’s kind of frozen over, buried under all our vast mountains of confusion, but it’s there. We have to learn how to uncover it. If you consider it like a kind of vast underground watershed, on the top it looks like a desert. We’re pretty dry – there’s not much wisdom and not much compassion. But if we start digging down, after a while the ground begins to get damp and you can feel the moisture. We realise we are beginning to gain access to deeper levels. We keep digging deeper and deeper until finally we begin to reach this fountain of innate wisdom, our innate compassion and understanding. But even before we completely access it, we can get intimations of it. That guru is the real guru. Any genuine outer guru is simply trying to direct us towards this genuine inner guru.

The inner guide is always within us. It’s who we really are. It’s our true nature. It’s vast and knowing. We’ve just covered it up with our clouds of confusion, but it’s not coming from the outside. We can think of it as if we are getting blessings from the outside coming into us to open us up, but actually what is happening is that our own clouds of unknowing part and we can see the deep blue sky which is always there. It’s not that we have to acquire anything or that anyone gives us anything. It’s a matter of uncovering our original richness.

When the mind is still and centred, when the confusion has died down a bit, there is space and silence which enable our inner wisdom to find its voice. And at that moment we know. It’s at a very profound level. It might not even be verbal. There is just this timeless knowing. We know what is appropriate and what has to be done, from moment to moment. It has nothing to do with intellect, it has nothing to do with analysis. It’s just a knowing, in that moment, which comes from a very profound source within us which is always there but which is normally cut off from us. It is who we really are. So what we’re saying is that genuine practice leads us back to our primal wisdom.

Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism
by Ani Tenzin Palmo
Get it at Awareness Place shops or Amazon

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