Q: You described awakening as bright sunlight where we cannot hide. Does it highlight your whole being?
NN: Yes, there is nowhere to hide if you take refuge in Buddha. It’s not concerned with indulging in ideas such as ‘everything about me is dreadful’. We are all miserably, wickedly, horribly distorted all the time by the way in which we manufacture duality – but we are also beginninglessly non-dual!
Our dualistic ugliness is laid bare by the light of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, but so is our sparkling non-dual beauty. We have to learn to be comfortable with this nakedness and exposure and trust that misery is only a distortion of joy. Then we are free to practise and begin the process of transformation.
Q: When we take refuge, are we taking refuge ‘from’ samsara as well as ‘in’ Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha?
NN: Samsara and nirvana are not separate. The potential of nirvana is implicit in samsara. We take refuge in the exposure of samsara as nirvana, and all that that implies in terms of view and conduct. If we regard our life circumstances as perfect exactly as they are, then we can no longer blame our anger on the situation, or justify our lack of tolerance.
Q: Is this where there starts to be no difference between fruit and path?
Q: It sounds absolute – I mean there is no way to squirm out of it: I’m not feeling very well today, or I thought it was someone else’s job…
NN: It is absolute. This is living as a warrior.