The Wisdom of the Simultaneously Born
-By Bhiksu Heng K’ung
The Wisdom of the Simultaneously Born need not exist only for those who have awakened to their True Mind. Those of us who are still burdened by the myriad illusions and entanglements that the ego-clinging mind envelops us in, can also experience, though in a less dynamic way, the freedom that is simultaneously born with an intelligent application of skill and means.
Skill and means together arising in the mind of the advanced yogi, an adept in the science of cultivation, produce light and bliss. Skill is knowing how to use the means. Means are the tools that skill uses. Needless to say, what these consist of depends on how far along enlightenment's path one has proceeded. Generally speaking, however, simultaneously born wisdom refers to the light of enlightenment experienced by those who have certified to the uncreated. Let us play with the words a bit and see if those of us who are still drowning in what is created can get a breath of air.
Effortlessness and naturalness are two aspects of the path that are often times lost sight of when one begins enduring bitterness and undergoing suffering in order to taste the sweet fruit of awakening. Although effortlessness and bitterness, suffering and naturalness seem to be diametrically opposite one another, they need not be experienced as such. Milarepa, the "poet saint" of Tibet, whose body was completely covered by lumps and calluses from hardships endured and austerities practiced, continually emphasizes in his songs that all proper cultivation should have effortlessness and naturalness as characteristics. But he also points out that it is because of his guru's grace that he could endure the suffering of all humanity and ever remain in bliss.
Bringing it all down to earth, cultivation is just the developing of skill to experience objectively what is commonly experienced subjectively. We learn to stand apart from our ego or personality and experience it. It is this aspect of expression that differentiates humans from animals and inanimate material objects. A light bulb, for instance, is a medium that electricity runs through and gives forth light. It is just an avenue however, and knows nothing of the light it is giving forth. People, on the other hand, have not only the ability to express, but also the capacity to understand what is being expressed. It is only our capacity to understand what is being expressed that increases with enlightenment, and not what is being expressed.
Skill and means must be kept in balance. If we have means (methods and knowledge) and don't skillfully use them, we will only develop faculties of mind that don't relate to the experience of enlightenment. If our skill is good and we are vigorous in our application, but our means (techniques) are not founded in orthodox teachings, we are in danger of developing a large capacity for misunderstanding. Although this may sound funny, it is a tragic mistake that frequently happens. As Milarepa says, "Although many Yogis spend their days immersed in bright light, when at the time of death reality's light shines, few will be able to stabilize their light and merge it with reality's light.
In cultivation we don't want to attract to ourselves greater experiences than we are capable of understanding. Also we don't want to understand more than we are capable of using. If these two basic rules are followed our time will be most effectively spent, and wisdom's simplicity revealed to us.