However, he always cautioned me to pay close attention to the meaning, rather than just the words. What does “pure as it is” mean? Does it mean, as some would have it, that we can just perceive all as perfect if we only change our perspective? Or does it actually mean that in its true nature (“as it really is”; svabhava means “own-nature”), all is intrinsically perfect? It is this second meaning that is intended.
Relative reality is ultimately self-empty, not truly established, non-existent. Ultimate reality is ever blissful. The Kalkin Pundarika stated: Samsara and nirvana are not identical, but like a shadow and the sun. As long as we perceive the duality of self and other, it is samsara, it is shadow, it is suffering.
There need not be a contradiction between our present condition and our highest aspirations. Time is the only thing that separates us from Buddhahood, and time is ultimately a concept, a mental construct.
For the Bodhisattvas, both realized and in training, the Dharma is not escapism into personal liberation. It is not a path of self-deception. It is assuming the suffering of others and dedicating ourselves to their happiness. It is in that dedication that there is cessation of suffering, as the false self is consumed by the sun of love and compassion. In that dedication, there is true bliss, here and now.
In Vajrayoga, generating ‘the Sincere Mind’ involves two realizations: (1) that we intrinsically possess Buddha Nature, and (2) that our Buddha Nature is currently veiled by afflicted emotions and obscurations to wisdom. We then generate ‘the Deep Mind’: the certainty that the power of the Vows and Dharma activities of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not only our support on the path to cessation of suffering, but also the guarantee of ultimate enlightenment. With that certainty, we generate ‘the Mind of Aspiration’: relying on the grace of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for ourselves, we dedicate all our merit to the welfare of others.
While pride is an inflated assessment of our present condition, and thus an afflicted emotion, lack of faith in the Three Jewels as perfect and effective Refuge is an obscuration to wisdom.