His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje’s reply to a disciple on 27 February 2014
聖下 第十七世大寶法王 聽列泰耶多傑 對信眾的回答 （日期：2014年2月27日）
His Holiness discusses realizing our true nature.
Q: ‘Your Holiness, what is stopping me from realizing my true nature, the Buddha nature?’
問：聖下，請問什麼阻礙我們察覺自己真正的本性 – 佛性？
A: Perhaps it is a lack of a sense of adventure that is holding us back from realizing our true nature. It is easy to get used to the mundane life, the daily routines. As a result, we don’t want to let go of our familiar atmosphere, the life that we are used to. We are missing a sense of adventure.
I think this is rooted in a deep fear: a fear of facing ourselves; a fear of knowing exactly who we are. It is almost like saying we fear looking at ourselves in the mirror and seeing our own reflections.
Of course, the trouble, or rather the challenge, comes from believing that the mundane elements of our lives somehow define who we are. The errors, the mistakes, the hardships and challenges that we have faced, can sometimes feel like they become a part of us. They hold us back, leaving their mark, sometimes even a sense of trauma. But these experiences are not part of our true nature. In fact, in some ways they can hold us back from seeing our true selves.
Over the years, this kind of habitual pattern can somehow make us not believe in our own true nature, and feel that it is just wishful thinking that our true nature is different – a hopeful dream! So, I think this is what we have to overcome.
So that’s why we have to have great courage, and be a bit stern – even a bit stubborn – to really face ourselves.
As practitioners, we will all be faced to some degree by the emotions, challenges and obstacles we experience in life. Without truly facing them, we will never ever realize our true nature.
When we really face ourselves, when we see our true reflections in the mirror, we see that the errors of this life are manifestations of none other than karma and klesha. We are then able to accept the way things are in quite an efficient way. It is almost as though we are tagging or categorizing our mundane experiences. Once we have somehow put them in their own places, we have nothing to see but ourselves and our true potential. This takes courage. It takes courage to face the fear of the past – to overcome the error of seeing our negative experiences as part of our true selves – but we need to do this in order to to help realize our true nature.