Fa Dao wrote:Your body, mind, thoughts, feelings, and everything you perceive that is apparently outside of you are like reflections in a mirror...an illusion. The Nature of Mind is like the mirror...not an illusion.
Much better to use the mirror's capacity to reflect, rather than the mirror itself in my opinion. I wrote this awhile ago to clarify something I had written that was posted on a blog...
"...The mirror-analogy is commonly used in attempting to describe the 'nature of mind' and there is a common misconception which tends to arise from this analogy because the implementation of a mirror seems to convey a substantiated background (or unchanging source). I was attempting to point out that the analogy isn't meant to explore the mirror in itself as an unchanging basis, but solely the mirror's capacity to reflect. So the capacity is the aspect the analogy is exploring. Equating the nature of mind to the mirror's reflective capacity (but not the mirror itself). That the reflections are inseparable from that capacity, just like AEN elucidated with the fire-to-heat and water-to-wetness examples. That capacity isn't a conceivable quality, it isn't something which can be 'known' as a substantiated suchness. The capacity (to reflect) cannot be rolled, thrown or bounced, it has no shape, color, location, weight or height. There is nothing there one can point to and declare 'there it is!'. Yet in it's elusiveness it is still fully apparent in the presence of the reflections themselves. The capacity is evident because of the reflections and the reflections are evident because of the capacity, in truth they co-emergent and mutually interdependent qualities which are completely inseparable. Evident, clear and pure, yet unestablished, ungraspable and ephemeral."
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche used the capacity aspect as well in one of his Longde books...."Our primordial potentiality is beyond form, but we have a symbol, and when we have a symbol then we can get in that knowledge. It is very easy to understand with an example. If you want to discover the potentiality of a mirror, how can you go about it? You can neither see or touch the nature or potentiality of a mirror, nor can you have contact with it in any ordinary way, the only way is to look in a mirror, and then the reflections will appear and through the reflections you can discover it. The reflections are not really the potentiality of the mirror but they are manifesting through that potentiality, so they are something visible for us. With this example we can get in the knowledge of the potentiality of the mirror...."
- Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
"Why then do we have this symbol of primordial potentiality? Primordial potentiality in the Dzogchen teaching is explained with three principles: sound, light and rays. This does not mean that sound, light and rays are manifestations, but rather that these are the root of all manifestations. When you have this potentiality then there is always the possibility of manifestations. If we wonder, for example what the potentiality of a mirror looks like, we couldn't say very much, we could say for example that it is clear, pure, limpid and so forth, but we could not really have contact with it directly through our senses. In the same way sound, light and rays are the essence of potentiality. When we have this potentiality, if secondary causes arise, then anything can manifest.
What do we mean by secondary causes? For example, if in front of a mirror there is tree, or a flower or a person, the object instantly manifests. These are secondary causes. So if there is no secondary cause there is no manifestation. Thus in front of our primordial potentiality there are all the possibilities of manifestation of the secondary causes....."
- Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
I think it's an important distinction... the mirror itself is often used to elucidate the nature of mind, but I personally believe it can potentially convey the wrong idea, the mirror's capacity (or potentiality) allows for a much more dynamic and less substantial notion of the natural state, more of an accurate representation IMO.