When you look into a pond or a lake, if there's no wind, then it's a mirror.
It's perfectly still. If we throw a rock in, then ripples in concentric circles extend outward. The image changes.
Enlightened mind is often compared to a lake, a pond without ripples. But I don't think that that's completely correct. Because I think enlightened mind also is a lake or a pond with ripples.
We throw a rock into a lake and the pure serenity is disturbed. The ripples cascade; they come and go and then every-thing becomes still again. I think that's better. It's more like enlightened mind. Enlightened mind is not just serenity. Serenity is an idea. Enlightened mind is beyond ideas. No matter what we think about or how we conceptualize enlightened mind, we're always going to be looking at an image or a picture, not enlightened mind. In all the scriptures it says that enlightened mind is beyond the mind's knowledge. You can't know intellectually what it is. You can't imagine what it is. It's beyond knowing, beyond imagination. It's not sensorial. You can't taste it, smell it, touch it, hear it, feel it. Yet it's there. It's eternal. It's what is.
Tantric Buddhism, then, is a series of methods that we use to expand awareness beyond awareness.
We look at the world around us filled with cars and jets and people and activities, and it's hard to understand that there could be anything else than this. I mean, the world seems so full of the world. You're on Wall Street, you're on Madison Avenue, and everything seems so active, so busy. The sights, the sounds, the smells, everything is so furiously paced. Even if you go to the forest, the forest is very loud. There are all kinds of birds and noises and winds. The trees creak. There's a lot of activity. Mosquitoes.
A lot is happening in the sensual world. The sensual world, which is the world we're most familiar with, is problematic because we find that it doesn't really make us happy. It always is so appealing. We look at these wonderful fresh images that life brings forth from itself and we're attracted. The promise is so great.
I think sex in a way is perhaps the most exemplary form of that. We look at someone, we're attracted to them, they're beautiful. They take their clothes off, we embrace and there's this cascading sensual experience where everything is so vivid. Everything is so strong. The energies are so intense, you know. This mating ritual is taking place. But then afterwards, it's gone. There's nothing, except memory - which lingers, fades.
The sensual experiences in life are not to be avoided. This is the philosophy of Tantric Buddhism. Nor are they particularly to be sought after. They are inevitable. They come with daily living. A cup of coffee, fasting, the way the sky looks - all of the sensual images of life are there; they can't be disputed. Most people run after them with the sense that if we can experience more, somehow we will feel better.