And for those who see beyond any single layer, dimension or aspect, those who cut through to the underlying purpose and benefit of each expression, Buddhism transcends religion and achieves a complete understanding of the limitless nature of our reality.
Building on this foundation, Mahayana Buddhism focuses on the practice of unconditional love and compassion as a basis for developing the limitless altruistic intention known as ‘bodhicitta’ (the mind of enlightenment). They also build on the fundamental view, recognising the lack of inherent existence not only of an individual’s self but also of all perceived phenomena. Vajrayana Buddhism goes even further, adding a variety of skilful means to develop direct realisation of our underlying pure nature.
These three approaches combined into a single comprehensive system is what is currently known as Tibetan Buddhism. While other countries may emphasise one or more parts, Tibetan Buddhism offers the most complete and expansive presentation of the Buddhist path.
From another angle, we could say that meditation is the process of freeing one’s mind from the fabrications of thoughts and emotions. This does not mean spacing out mindlessly. In fact it means cultivating an extremely powerful mind free from all distortions. This is done through the use of multiple methods of meditation, such as single-pointed meditation, analytical meditation, glance (or review) meditation and visualisation techniques.
One way to understand this is to consider how we use medicine. There are many medicines and each has the capacity to cure specific types of sicknesses. We do not normally mix our medicines. Instead, we recognise the specific needs of each patient and choose the right medicines for helping them overcome their problems.
In the same way, developing a Rimé philosophy means knowing how each system works, what are its defining characteristics, what are its strengths and how can it be used to alleviate the suffering. While we may have a personally favourite view, a favourite practice or a favourite system, there is no contradiction. We know that what works best for one person, may not be what works best for others.