This is It

One time a few years ago, at a large teaching given by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in San Francisco on the subject of emptiness and enlightenment, I got up and asked a question. I hardly knew Rinpoche at all, and I think this may have been the first time I’d ever stood up at a mic and asked him anything. Anyway, I said something like (and, really, this is making myself sound coherent, when, in actual fact, I wasn’t), “How can we talk about what enlightenment is like, when we’re so far from being enlightened? We can’t even imagine enlightenment, so how can we have the vocabulary?”

Rinpoche looked at me somewhat appalled (I imagine), and said something like, “You people don’t get it: This is it. You have to stop thinking that enlightenment is out there somewhere, waiting for you. Stop it now. This is it.” That’s not quite what he said, but I know he said, “You people,” and I know he said, “This is it.” And I remember him eliciting from me the promise that I would stop it now—stop thinking anything but this is it.

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