Like waves, all the activities of this life have rolled endless on, yet they have left us empty-handed. Myriads of thoughts have run through our minds, but all they have done is increase our confusion and dissatisfaction.
Normally we operate under the deluded assumption that everything has some sort of true, substantial reality. But when we look more carefully, we find that the phenomenal world is like a rainbow—vivid and colorful, but without any tangible existence. When a rainbow appears we see many beautiful colors—yet a rainbow is not something we can clothe ourselves with, or wear as an ornament; it simply appears through the conjunction of various conditions. Thoughts arise in the mind in just the same way. They have no tangible reality or intrinsic existence at all. There is therefore no logical reason why thoughts should have so much power over us, nor any reason why we should be enslaved by them.
Mind creates both samsara and nirvana. Yet there is nothing much to it—it is just thoughts. Once we recognize that thoughts are empty, the mind will no longer have the power to deceive us. But as long as we take our deluded thoughts as real, they will continue to torment us mercilessly, as they have been doing throughout countless past lives. To gain control over the mind, we need to be vigilant, constantly examining all our thoughts, words, and actions.
To cut through the mind’s clinging, it is important to understand that all appearances are void, like the appearance of water in a mirage. Beautiful forms are of no benefit to the mind, nor can ugly forms harm it in any way. Sever the ties of hope and fear, attraction and repulsion, and remain in equanimity in the understanding that all phenomena are nothing more than projections of your own mind.
To realize that appearance and voidness are one is what is called simplicity, or freedom from conceptual limitations.
H.H. DILGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE