If you recognize non-duality, you’ll have no fear.
All fear and insecurity comes from not being realistic, from the wrong conception that holds fearful objects as concrete self-entities. A story from the life of Tibet’s great yogi, Jetsun Milarepa, illustrates this point.
Once Milarepa left his cave to collect wood, and when he returned, he saw a terrifying face with big eyes glaring at him. It blew his mind. But he looked carefully at the face and meditated on it as illusory, and later wrote a song about this experience. By removing the conception that identified that horrible image as a concrete self-entity, it disappeared. This is not a fairy tale; this is a meditator’s experience.
People scare themselves with thoughts of ghosts and demons. It’s all superstition, the wrong conception believing in a self-entity. There’s no such thing. But when you have a superstitious belief, for some reason it manifests. So you say, “It’s real. I saw it.” What you saw is important? That’s completely ridiculous. What you see is absolutely unimportant. You need to know that. People in the West set incredible store by what they see; they really do believe that seeing is believing, that what they see is real. This basic misconception also engenders a kind of pride: “I saw that he is this, therefore, he is this.” “I saw” makes your ego proud. This is a completely wrong conception.
What you see, what you experience, is not necessarily the truth. In fact, believing what you see to be real actually obscures the truth. Buddhist meditation demonstrates this. It is very important to know this. When you have a degree of flexibility, you will feel, “What I see is not that important. It is relatively true, but not ultimately.”
If you believe that the relative truth is the only truth, your hallucinations must also be true, because they produce effects. They make you angry; they make you afraid. What you perceive is not there, but that hallucination still makes your heart shake. It, too, is an interdependent phenomenon.
You say that your hallucinations aren’t true and therefore don’t matter, but what you see is real. In response, I say that they are equally real; both exist. Why? The thing that determines whether something exists or not, whether something is or is not a phenomenon, is whether it functions, produces an effect. Since both relative phenomena and hallucinations can cause you happiness or anxiety, they both function; therefore, they both exist. Both are interdependent phenomena. Until you realize the emptiness of a hallucination, it remains real for you…
This article is an excerpt of the full article printed in Mandala.