Reality as we know it is nothing more than a particular set of appearances arising from our karma. It is one dream, amongst countless possibilities. There is no underlying reality to speak of, only emptiness. Currently, the reality that appears to us is the fruit of our contaminated karma. It is nothing other than a mere appearance to our mind, but it is a particularly tricky one in that it ‘appears’ to not be one. It appears to be ‘real’. It appears to be something that exists independently of the mind, not created by the mind and not dependent upon the mind. Not knowing any better, we ignorantly assent to this appearance, believing it to be the case. Since everyone within this particular set of appearances likewise relates to it as if it were real, we don’t even put its ‘reality’ into question. As a result, all of our actions we engage in become contaminated by this view. They are mistaken actions based upon a mistaken view. These contaminated actions then plant contaminated karma onto our mind. Our delusions then activate these karmic seeds, giving rise once again to contaminated appearances which we once again ignorantly assent to and act upon. In this way, it continues as an uninterrupted cycle. This is samsara. What is particularly horrible about samsara is its gradient – it is steeply tilted towards extreme suffering. When our appearances are horrible, we grasp more tightly at them, engage in negative actions in response and this keeps the nightmare going. When our appearances are pleasant, we grasp more tightly at them, burning up all of our positive karma quickly, leaving us only with negative seeds leading to our fall. When we lose good things, we grasp at them more tightly, also leading to a fall. So basically no matter what is appearing, the final destination of all samsaric minds is the deepest hell. Yet, when we are in the human realm, enjoying temporarily pleasant conditions, we fool ourselves into thinking these will last forever. We stupidly do not realize that we are just burning up what little merit we have.
But through some miracle of good fortune, we have had somebody enter into our contaminated dream to explain to us what is going on, and how samsara works, and how to get out. As soon as we realize that this world is nothing more than a mere karmic appearance of mind, one karmic possibility, then whole new possibilities open up.
When samsara appears, we should recognize it as simply one karmic possibility of mere appearances. And a bad one at that! If we do not assent to its appearance of being real, but recognize it as just a hallucination, a mere appearance, then we cut its power. If we cease to pay attention to it, then it will gradually whither away on the vine. Instead, with our generation stage practice, we dissolve the contaminatedly appearing world into the clear light Dhamakaya, and then from that we intentionally appear with our mind the pure land and ourselves as a deity. We intentionally appear with our mind all beings abiding in the pure land, engaging sincerely in all of the stages of the path. We intentionally appear with our mind ourselves guiding, healing and liberating all beings. We construct an alternate karmic reality with our mind. Then, understanding that it is a better karmic possibility of mere appearances, we choose to focus our attention on this new world and we choose to abide within it motivated by renunciation, compassion and bodhichitta. Every moment that we maintain this appearing world, understanding its function and nature, we plant new, pure karmic seeds on our mind. In the beginning, there are only a few such pure seeds, but the more we engage in this practice the more seeds we plant. Eventually, we start to reach a critical mass of such seeds and they start ripening more and more. It begins by having qualified experiences within our daily practice of actually being in the pure land. But gradually the scope of this appearance grows and grows until eventually we will come to experience it all of the time as our living reality just like we currently do with our contaminatedly appearing world.
Quite simply, we cease assenting to the contaminted world, choose to construct an alternate, pure karmic reality with our mind. Then, motivated by compassion and bodhichitta, we choose to pay attention to or focus our mind on assenting to the appearance of abiding in this pure world. The more we do this, the more pure karma we plant on our mind. As this karma begins to ripen, we then begin to accelerate our transition into this new world because it is easier to assent to the pure world if we are experiencing it as our living reality. We create virtuous feedback loops which gradually transport us or move us to the pure land. Eventually, we come to abide in the pure land at all times.
Then, we help others do the same!