Awareness

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Awareness (rig pa)

  • The Tibetan term rig pa in its verbal sense means "to know", or "to be aware". When used as a noun, it has several distinct though not unrelated meanings, corresponding to the Sanskrit vidya: 1) as a general term encompassing all experiences of consciousness and mental events, 2) as intelligence or mental aptitude, 3) as a science of knowledge or epistemology, 4) as a pure awareness. According to the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po), the term intrinsic or natural awareness (rang rig) refers to the fundamental innate mind in its natural unalloyed state of spontaneity and purity, beyond the alternating states of motion and rest. As such, "intrinsic awareness" gives the meditator access to buddha-mind (citta; Tib. thugs) itself, and it stands in direct contrast to the fundamental ignorance (avidya; Tib. ma rig pa) which is the primary cause of rebirth in cyclic existence (samsara). GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)