' Mental Deterioration in Lamas and Masters '..

I heard today that a very favorite Tibetan Lama teacher/master of mine is experiencing dementia from Alzheimers.

Many will be shocked because they don't understand how such a realized master could lose control of his mind, memory and clarity of awareness.

We somehow think "realization" makes one a superman or superwoman beyond all physical illnesses and brain diseases. We forget that Buddha taught "impermanence" regarding ALL phenomena.

A personality, an identity, a sense of personal selfhood are all temporary mental fluctuations arising within impersonal Empty Consciousness (Dharmakaya). There is no enduring person, personality, mind or soul that survives death intact. At death or severe brain injury or brain disease, the temporary assemblage of mental factors that define a person's individual selfhood fall apart forever. The mental individual is only a temporary assemblage of brain/mind activities and processes.

Our self is no more real and enduring than who we seem to be as the self identity experienced in a dream at night. Our daytime self is also just a projection of subconscious conditioning, memories, thoughts and imagination; all being projected from a much deeper source.

Our deepest Nature as the Ultimate Emptiness or Absolute Truth, Dharmakaya, is like a movie projector projecting our body, brain, self identity and world like a movie upon the screen of Consciousness itself, like a dense hologram (or reflections appearing in a mirror).

It's possible that suddenly the projector can cease projecting "our" virtual movie. In that moment all that remains is the Absolute Mind of the projector. This moment is called "rigpa" or gnosis, but the individual is fully absent in that moment. When "you" aren't, then You are.

So you see, no one at all has ever made it to Nirvana or realized enlightenment. How can a projected figure on the movie screen go home or anywhere when the movie projector is turned off, even if the star of the movie being projected, was starring in the temporary role of being a "great spiritual master"?

-Jackson Peterson

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