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The Sutra of the Unblemished Mirror

In the ageless tradition of the Dharma, there once lived a wise and venerable teacher who imparted his insights into the nature of self and illusion. He spoke thus to his devoted student:

"O seeker of truth, consider the mirror of introspection, a tool of profound clarity and deceptive simplicity. The mirror reflects all without discrimination, yet what it reveals is naught but illusion, a fleeting dance of forms and shadows that we mistake for our true essence."

The teacher, seeing the puzzled look upon his student’s face, recounted a parable:

"In the heart of the ancient forest, where the trees whisper the secrets of the universe, there lived a majestic tiger, striped with the colours of the earth. This tiger, upon discovering a clear and still pool of water, beheld his reflection for the very first time. Enthralled by the sight, he roared in challenge, mistaking the image for a rival. Day and night he watched, never straying from the water's edge, his eyes fixed upon the phantom that mirrored his every move, unaware that the enemy he faced was none other than himself."

The student pondered this tale, and the teacher continued:

"Like the tiger, we too are entranced by reflections, not of water, but of mind. We gaze into the mirror of introspection and see the self — a self-constructed of thoughts, desires, and memories, an image shaped by the pools of our perceptions. But this self, this reflection, is as illusory as the tiger's adversary."

The student, with humility in his heart, inquired, "Master, if the self is an illusion, then what is the reality? How does one discern the truth?"

The teacher replied with a serene smile:

"Reality, my dear student, is the nature of the mirror itself — clear, undisturbed, and empty of form. It is the pure awareness that exists prior to reflection, untouched by the ripples of thought. To discern truth, you must look beyond the image, the essence of the mirror — your true nature. This is the space of pure consciousness, where all distinctions dissolve and the notion of self and other vanishes. In this space, the illusion of the individual self is seen for what it is — a play of light and shadow, no more real than the tiger’s adversary."

The teacher, noticing the student’s deepening understanding, offered another parable:

"In a village, there lived a skilled artisan famous for crafting the finest mirrors. One day, a seeker of truth came to him and asked, 'O artisan, what secret lies behind the perfect reflection of your mirrors?' The artisan replied, 'It is not in the crafting, but in the polishing. A mirror must be cleared of all blemishes to reflect the true image of the world.'

The seeker then understood that to see the truth, one must polish the mirror of the heart, removing the dust of ego, the smudges of attachment, and the stains of false identity. Only then can one behold the purity of Reality, the undistorted truth."

"And so," the teacher concluded, "to transcend the illusions reflected in the mirror of introspection, one must engage in the practice of Dharma. Meditate with diligence, act with compassion, and cultivate the wisdom that sees through the veil of Maya. As the surface of the mirror becomes flawless, so too will your perception of the true Self — boundless, luminous, and free from the confines of illusion."

The student bowed deeply, the weight of confusion lifting from his shoulders. In the mirror of his mind, the reflections began to clear, revealing not the illusions of self, but the radiant emptiness of pure awareness, the ultimate reality beyond all reflections.


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