Vajrayana Buddhism is a vast system of methods which facilitate the discovery of one’s natural state. This natural state is one where human goodness, spacious presence, and communicative appreciation are discovered to be our essential nature. In everyday existence however, we fail to recognise this.
Vajrayana describes reality as the nondual dance of two seeming opposites: form & emptiness. In the understanding of Vajrayana, we are both existent and non-existent. Our dilemma lies in compulsively seeking solidity, permanence, separateness, continuity, and definition in order to feel safe. We flee their opposites: insubstantiality, impermanence, non-separateness, discontinuity, and lack of definition — because we feel that they negate existence. But because form and emptiness – existence and non-existence – cannot be separated, this activity is fruitless.
As long as we attempt to separate the form and emptiness qualities of experience, we limit human responsiveness to three modes: attraction, aversion, and indifference. If what is perceived comforts feelings of solidity, permanence, separateness, continuity, and definition – one will be attracted. If what is perceived generates feelings of insubstantiality, impermanence, non-separateness, discontinuity, and lack of definition – one will be averse and attempt to avoid it. If what is perceived does neither — one will be indifferent and ignore it.
When experience is characterised by attraction, aversion, and indifference one ‘goes around in circles’ – this is the Tibetan meaning of khorwa, better known in the West by its Sanskrit equivalent: samsara. Khorwa is a self-defeating process where one goes around in circles trying to find happiness yet unfailingly creating the causes of further unhappiness.