This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
One of the fundamental concepts of Mahayana Buddhism, absolute bodhichitta refers to the primoridial openness of existence, the all embracing ground of our being that permeates and transcends all of Life/Death. Although the theologies of the various religions of the world draw a diverse picture of the Absolute, I believe that the words God, Allah, the Tao, Brahma, Wakan Taka and many others refer that Reality. An experiencing of the Absolute, whatever it was named, has emerged in the experience of mystics, seers and sages throughout the ages. In the Tibetan Buddhist system the term shunyata or "emptiness" is used. These days I like the term One Love.
The foundation of "the main practice" referred to, is, of course, meditation, and the slogans of Point Two primarily refer to ways of framing the experiences of our formal sessions of meditation -- although eventually the distinction between the cushion and the rest of our life becomes less and less apparent. The Point Two slogans are generally seen as guidance to both how to "do" and how to "view", our experience in meditation --although there is one that refers specifically to our approach off the cushion.
REGARD ALL DHARMAS AS A DREAM
As the first absolute bodhichitta slogan, this slogan calls on us to view all that we experience, to view everything, as a dream. It sets the stage for recognizing for ourselves that the apparent solidity of everything in the both the so-called "inner and outer" world is a mere appearance, not the actuality of existence. Based on the development of the samatha-vipashyana meditation, as we become present to the river of thoughts, sense perceptions, bodily sensations, feelings and intuitions, we come to see that there is an on-going fluidity, a constantly changing ephemeral quality to our actual experience. Pema Chodron and others use the term "passing memory" to describe our the way we actually experience our lives. Paying attention closely, we notice that instanteously, each thought emerges and passes. Right now, the thought impression of the word you just read has already passed. So has the thought about it having passed. Looked at closely, each momentary thought, each impression seems to emerge out of nowhere and immediately retreat into a memory. Slogan two challenges us to really notice that.
Although we are capable of creating the appearance of an extremely powerful illusion of solidity through our thinking mind and it's belief structures, our experience in meditation can provide us with the actual experience of de-constructing that solidity by merely noticing that we are thinking, labeling it "thinking" -- and returning to the experience of the sensation of our own breathing. What had seemed very solid and all consuming one moment, can disappear in a flash. (We weren't really in Paris after all.)
As adults we have conditioned ourselves to think that we know what is really going on in this world. We pride ourselves in having a solid grasp on reality. Slogan two challenges us to get over it. Taking this slogan to heart, what actually emerges is a greater sense of ease, of spaciousness. We see that we can can "lighten up" and develop a greater curiosity about what is actually going on. In the process we may see that everything is a lot more magical and mysterious than we thought it was. As we experience everything as "vividly unreal" ( a term Pema Chodron uses), we may recapture that sense of wonder that most of experienced as kids.
With our commitment, with time and effort -- or maybe with the very next breath -- we are invited to to "lighten up", to get out of our heads and engage Life directly, to really live the dream!
It just takes Practice.