Meditation and Buddhism

The Buddha Within You

By Tergar Meditation Community • 5 min read

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Right here, right now

When you hear the word “buddha,” what comes to mind? An enlightened being? A presence that is perfectly peaceful and stable, like a mountain? Boundless wisdom and compassion? Whatever you think of, it may feel like something unattainable, or even superhuman, and certainly far from the hustle and bustle of mundane life. In the Vajrayana tradition, though, the most essential point is this: you are a buddha right here, right now.

Fruition as the Path

This unique approach of the Vajrayana is called “taking the fruition as the path.” This means that while other traditions teach us that we have the potential to become enlightened, the Vajrayana teaches us that we are and always have been buddhas. It is not that there is some shining, glorious buddha-self you can attain sometime in the distant future after years of practice. Your buddha nature — or what we sometimes call “nature of mind” — is within you at all times, including this very instant. And you set out on a “path” simply to recognize what you already possess.

Right in front of us the whole time

To illustrate this, let’s say you are extremely poor, living on bread crusts and water. You happen to own a pair of diamonds the size of golf balls, perhaps covered in dry mud, and you often hold them in your hands, just for something to do. You gaze at them, play with them, hold them to the light — but because you aren’t aware of what these objects in your hands represent or are capable of bringing you, they bring you no wealth whatsoever. No matter how often you handle and look at them, you’ll still believe that you’re poor and carry on living on crusts. Someone else is going to have to introduce you to them properly.

Likewise, we have diamond-like buddha nature within us but haven’t recognized it up until now. We don’t even know how to look for it! This is where the guidance of someone who does comes in. A teacher who has recognized the nature of mind and stabilized this recognition can introduce us to it through what are traditionally called “pointing out instructions.”

Taking refuge

You might be thinking, “This sounds kind of nice . . . but I still have no idea what the heck a buddha really is!” It’s true that to recognize your buddha nature, you have to first have at least some idea what a buddha is. Herein lies the importance of “taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha,” — or, in other words, looking to a teacher and path to help you recognize what you already have. By taking refuge, you’re in the process of learning what the Buddha is all about — and the Buddha is like a reflection of what is within, the internal buddha.

Following in their footsteps

All the buddhas of the past and present reached enlightenment by following a path that was laid out by great, realized beings — the very same path we are on today. And for what reason would one set out on such a path in the first place? To benefit others. To help all sentient beings find true happiness and be relieved from suffering — for this reason, we set out to discover our true nature. The Vajrayana holds that this incredible capacity is already there within all of us. All it requires is recognition.

“This is the great paradox of the Buddhist path: that we practice in order to know what we already are, therefore attaining nothing, getting nothing, going nowhere. We seek to uncover what has always been there.” 

– Mingyur Rinpoche –

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About the Author

By Tergar Meditation Community Team

Tergar Meditation Community supports individuals, practice groups, and meditation communities around the world in learning to live with awareness, compassion, and wisdom. Grounded in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage of our guiding teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, our online and in-person programs are accessible to people of all cultures and faiths, and support a lifelong path toward the application of these principles in everyday life.

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