Word Play

A Solstice Quote

Within an enormous vacuum, an enormous space, enormous outer space, you begin to experience the dawn of enlightenment — just the dawn. You get the message that the sun is going to shine, purely because there is a little glow in the east. The dawn of enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition cannot take place unless first there is a sense of desolation, meaninglessness, and being a fool, to begin with. Then the dawn of enlightenment can actually take place properly. You begin to experience what we might call, from a traditional Western reference point, the Star of Bethlehem. The birth of something is taking place. There’s a star in the midnight sky. The sky is black, deep blue, but there is a star shining in that sky. There is hope in the positive sense. There is something taking place. Such a thing cannot happen unless there’s nightfall and darkness … We have already understood that there’s no me, no self, no ground. That nonexistence begins to make sense. That non-existence of self, of ego, becomes the Star of Bethlehem, and the dawn of enlightenment begins to take place.

  — Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987), From “The Dawn of Enlightenment,” Talk Five of MEDITATION: THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA, July 8, 1974, Naropa Institute. Edited from the transcript.