We just concluded a study of the text, “Waking Up from the Slumber of Ignorance,” when a flash of lightning brightened the sky outside our Dharma Center. As I drove home, I witnessed a double rainbow framing the grey-beige atmosphere while bolts of lightning interpenetrated the scene. This is one of those storms that is etched deep into my memory—especially because of the teachings we were exploring. My teachers always assigned great significance to wild natural events when they coincided with auspicious expressions of Dharma.
Just as in waking up to our true nature, rainbows, clouds, and lightning are fleeting and ungraspable but very profound. A thunderstorm never ceases to get our attention. In the same way, the recognition of our innate awakened mind, or Buddha nature, is often referred to as a “flash of lightning in the sky.” It is always inviting our attention—but we have to pay attention to the flash.
In Dzogchen, we experience our mind as a field of light. A thought comes. A thought goes. And nothing remains but the light of awareness. All our incessant mind chatter comes from an unwillingness to embrace this simple observation. We actually have a mind that merges seamlessly with rainbows, clouds, and lightning. We innately understand how the universe moves in us and notice each moment is a display of precious luminosity.
Waking up to this light of awareness inspires us to reach full realization. As the text informs us, “Nothing lasts permanently, not even for today. There is only the moment to accomplish permanent happiness, not the time to fritter away in the state of laziness.” A bolt of lightning blazes in our mind—and we wake up from the slumber of ignorance. The veil parts and we recognize auspicious signs everywhere.