How to go home

waves 1Last Monday I found myself at Fort Funston in San Fran, had that vast beach to myself again, just like the old days when I lived there; so I sat on a rock and watched the ocean. I love contemplating waves — they lead me into the deep noumenal (for want of a better word) and vast phenomenal relationships between everything and everyone — where we all come from and where we all disappear, and how not even an atom of us exists without depending upon every other atom.

Going deep

Going deep, I think of how I arise like a wave from the water of my root mind at my heart — my true home — every lifetime and every day. And I dissolve back into it every time I fall asleep, and every time I die. As Mahasiddha Saraha says:

All phenomena are manifestations of the continually abiding mind. They arise from that mind just as waves arise from an ocean. ~ Great Treasury of Merit, page 192

Going deeper, I consider how I arise from the bliss and emptiness of my root mind.

And going even deeper, I consider how that bliss and emptiness is not other than the bliss and emptiness of enlightenment. Part human, part divine!

Going vast


Going vast or wide, I like to consider that I am arising from bliss and emptiness, which is cosmic enough, but so is everyone else! Every sentient being, ie, everyone with a mind — including humans, mice, and the smallest ants — arises like a wave from the ocean of the root or clear light mind.

Our minds are not inherently separate so, although we each have our own mental continuum, at a deep level, at the level of clear light — where all mistaken, dualistic appearances have subsided — we are all of one blissful taste. It is as though we are all equally water – so drawing hard and fast distinctions between self and other is false and futile, like trying to draw lines in the ocean.

Once arisen, also, each wave is still not in the least independent of all the other waves. We exist in relationship, as relationship, not in and of ourselves. A wave in an ocean may put up her watery hand and say, “Look at me! I’m distinct! I’m unique!” In a way she is right, and we’re all distinct and unique; but the truth is that this wave is made up of all the other waves. In the same way, we cannot exist on any level (physical, emotional, or spiritual) without others, we are already in a symbiotic, dependent relationship with them all.

The Buddhist meditation on the kindness of others shows how every atom of our being waves 2depends upon others and how they in turn are affected by everything we do.

I am because we are. We are because I am.

Wisdom and compassion

In every moment, therefore, we are like a wave both arising from the water of the root mind and existing only in relationship to every other wave-like being. We are never separated from others, and never other than the ocean of reality itself.

All waves are enjoyable when we are identifying with the ocean, and all living beings are part of us when we stop grasping at the self-identity of self and others, to realize we’re all equally waves.

Our true home is bliss and emptiness; we just haven’t realized it yet. We exist only in relationship to others; we just haven’t realized it yet. Getting started on this wisdom and compassion is spreading the two wings that will fly us to enlightenment – an enlightenment that will never be found outside our own hearts, yet that pervades all reality.

Be the ocean
Trijang Rinpoche
Ven Trijang Dorjechang

Realizing our true nature makes us whole and sets us free. And we don’t have to go anywhere to seek our true nature any more than a wave has to go looking for the sea.

So, drop into your heart whenever you can. Buddha is there waiting, if you like. (You can also start with him or her in front of you, then let him dissolve through your crown to your heart.) Feel the spaciousness and peace of your own root mind. Remember emptiness. Go for refuge in this experience. Be the ocean. Know that we all equally arise from and return to it.

I find this deeply enjoyable to contemplate! Your comments are most welcome.

Related articles

The relationship between mind and its objects 

The kindness of others 

Drop into your heart and breathe 

Wisdom and compassion: a response to reality

Articles on past and future lives

Tantra: bliss and emptiness


Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

21 thoughts on “How to go home”

  1. I wish that the path could more easily be found without so much intellectual jargon which through my experience the average person just does not understand .Surely there is another way that is more simple and does not rely on the jargon that has been created around the Dharma .A simpler way through doing rather than intellectually attempting to understand would be far more attractive to most people and not just attract those who enjoy the paraphernalia we have created that surrounds our spiritual searchings.

    1. I think it is possible to explain Dharma in many different ways once we have some experience and skill. And I think we should make every effort to do that, I agree with you there. There is so much common sense in, for example, the teachings on overcoming anger and attachment and cultivating love and compassion, and we don’t even have to use Dharma words to convey it. For deeper topics, like emptiness and Tantra, some stretching and training of the mind is going to be necessary, which stands to reason given that we have been in samsara since beginningless time and need a profound wisdom to get out.

  2. As has Yoko Ono said in her song “There may not be much difference.” “..we’re all water in this vast vast Ocean one day we will evaporate together”

  3. Great post, thank you. I know that all is bliss and emptiness but have trouble reconciling our unique mental continuum in this context. I guess this and karmic appearance to mind are the ‘substrate’ that determines our unique path but how to reconcile this with lack of self?

  4. Thanks Luna,
    Yes,I agree we are never separated,our minds are the same nature,clear light great bliss emptiness ❤️ 😊

  5. Beautiful article Luna ty🙏🏻 .
    I can agree with everything you say. What I have trouble with is knowing this is my spiritual path. I have been to other gurus and felt strong heart felt shifts in my mind. However I was always unsure if it was an authentic path to enlightenment. On the other hand in Kadampa teachings I can logically see the truth of Buddhas teachings but it remains intellectual and doesn’t move my heart. Do you think it would be wise to explore the other teachings again? Or to keep going with The Kadampa path. Is it a normal stage in spiritual evolution to have a massive heart opening experience then have that dissipate and make everything a bit intellectual?
    Thank you for your kind contributions to our world 🙏🏻 x

    1. Hi Robert, to get profound teachings from the head to the heart needs faith and blessings and meditation. And yes, sometimes things flow better than at other times. From my own experience and that of many others, I know that the Kadampa teachings are fully able to transform our hearts — so if you are asking me, I would suggest you keep going 😉

      1. Thank you Luna 😊
        Faith for me is definitely my main doubt. But I know if u have faith you have everything, so just going to be patient and try and connect to blessings regularly.
        Your articles are one of the main reasons I still feel connected to this path, much gratitude and love. ❤️

  6. Hi Luna love ❤️ this post
    There is only one part I have to disagree with which is ……. we cannot exist on any level physical , emotional or (Spiritual) without others.
    In the spiritual ultimate bliss and meaningful emptiness, we are aware of all that is and all that is not simultaneously 🙏
    We need no other , other than you , your own simple awareness of the I am presence 🙏
    I so love Trijang Dorjechang 🙏🙏🙏
    When I first started working with Dharma his love and wisdom illuminated and shone like a beautiful diamond 💎 to which I feel so very blessed

    1. Hi Lotusblossom,

      I would say that we DO depend on others for our spiritual development because, for one reason, as it says in Oral Instructions:

      “Although attaining enlightenment depends upon generating the realization of compassion, this is impossible without an object of compassion. Only living beings can act as this object.”

      We also depend entirely on others for our ability to hear teachings, have a body that we can use to meditate and practice Dharma, etc.

      We are not independent either, as the wave analogy helps us realize — we exist ONLY in relationship with others. This is even more clear at the very subtle level of our mind, which is not inherently other than the minds of all enlightened beings and living beings.

      1. Oh I say 😊🙏 what a wonderful reply! Here was …. I …. thinking …. I …. was an island 🤔 Or I am until those waves 🌊🌊🌊crash over me and I have to find that turtle 😁🐢 oh I got the giggles Luna as a mala appeared to my mind! Thank you for your lovely posts 👍

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