A world dominated by digitalism offers exponentially more myriad ways to hide from others and escape from ourselves. We become experts at sweeping things under the digital carpet—our unresolved fears and tensions, anxieties and conflicts, and all our bungled conflicting thoughts.
When this happens, we are more prone than ever to lose sight of our deep nature—our ground consciousness that though Adamic (sin-saturated) is, relatively speaking, the subtlest dimension of our being. Some spiritual and contemplative traditions would call this deep nature our atman or purusa or buddhata (buddha-nature) or adi-buddha (primordial buddha). Not that we’ve ever caught sight of it even in our less digitally hectic days. Be that as it may, our digital obsession clouds this recognition of our being like never before. Actually we don’t see it. Rather we see as and through it. We are That.
But if we are blessed enough to inquire into who we really are at our deepest depths, we might catch sight of this adi-buddha of our empty aware being—shining luminously in transparent bliss, uncontrived and free. This adi-buddha is described as a union of primordial purity (kadak) and spontaneous presence (lhundrup), our presumed enlightened nature and “original mind.” Adi-buddha is none other than dzogchen.
To be primordially pure is to be free of any reified existence, thus without inherent self of any kind. To be spontaneously present is to have the capacity to manifest phenomenal appearances of any kind—forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensation, thought, image, percept, feeling, choice, and intention. With respect to the adi-buddha, primordial purity (symbolised by Samantabhadra) and spontaneous presence (symbolised by Samantabhadri) are the referents of what we call ultimate and relative truths. Bear in mind that I’m not talking about metaphysics but the phenomenology of enlightened experience.
Many mistake this realization of adi-buddha as the final telos of spiritual practice, its full realization being nothing less than enlightenment itself. But enlightenment is not the final end. For adi-buddha is still sin-saturated consciousness despite the profound subtlety of its union of primordial purity and spontaneous presence, as symbolised by the blissful conjugal union of Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri.
Only if and when Christ by His Spirit breaks in and breaks through to adi-buddha awareness, by His sovereignty gracious initiative, will there be salvific regeneration of that awareness in toto. Only then is adi-buddha truly emancipated from sin, which is sinful resistance to God, and thus saved. Saved in what sense? Saved from relational alienation into relational intimacy with the Triune God who is Father-Son-Spirit, ensconced in the circle of love and divine embrace of Father, Son, and Spirit. For the first time in one’s personal history, one’s eyes are opened and one’s heart enlightened, to the absolute truth of Triune Love, Light, and Life in and through Jesus Christ. By grace alone. Through faith alone.
Hence, sin-saturated adi-buddha pristine awareness is instantly recreated into sin-emancipated adi-buddha seed of Christ awareness. This recreated consciousness is a seed of Christ consciousness because it has yet to fully mature and grow into the fullness of Christ. This process of spiritual maturation is enacted in the form of a Spirit-led, Spirit-enlivened, Spirit-empowered, Spirit anointed, and Spirit-actualised practice of spiritual disciplines centred on and perfused by love-filled savouring of Christ and active surrendering to Him.
In this life of awesome grace, one’s adi-buddha seed of Christ consciousness scintillates and manifests its primordial purity and spontaneous presence marinated in the heavenly agape love of God in Christ. The blazing splendour of Spirit’s fruit emanates forth in good works of faith that glorify God and exalt Christ, even as they bring good to the world.
To me, this journey of sanctified holy living in the Spirit is a journey without end, for our God is an immeasurable God. Our entry into Him and transformation in Him is equally beyond calculation. To Christ be all the glory, forever and ever. Amen.