About Awareness or self awareness / Rang Rig our Lopon Lak gives here some usefull explanations.
Question: What is Awareness
Answer: by Lopon
Usually Awareness means knowing something by your own conciousness and knowledge but in the Teachings and particularly in Dzogchen, it is important to know what awareness means and to distinguish it from normal understanding.
Normally Awareness means knowing something with conciousness and there needs to be a subject and an object. But in Dzogchen there is no subject and object.
We give an example of lighting up a lamp.
It is self-aware. It is not the normal understanding. You have to understand this separately. There is n o need of any consciousness to be aware. That is not easy to understand. Nature is itself aware of itself without any object or subject.
Usually the word awareness always means that we depend on consciousness to be aware of something. But here it is like a mirror which takes reflections. The mirror is like Nture which can take reflections and the mirror and reflections are not separate.
The reflections are clear to the mirror, so it looks a though the mirror is aware or knows the reflections, they are not separate. Otherwise there is no explanation which uses subject or object.
In the Teachings of Nyamgyud it is that:
Awareness is Empty Nature
Empty Nature is Awareness.
(Nyam Gyud is the Experiential Transmission and Teachings from the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud)
There is here no separation on Nature’s side; we use the words clarity and awareness. So when misunderstood you might think that Awareness is something separate or is like consciousness.
We often make use of the of the words Awareness, self-awareness, Rigpa in Tibetan or Rang rig.
We only use these terms to explain the text, but you must understand them with the meaning of Nature itself.
Nature has 3 qualities namely:
Awareness has also these 3 above mentioned qualities, it is the same thing, we just make use of only different words.
There are 2 words,
Rig pa – awareness
Rang rig – self Awareness
and they go back to the same Nature, there is here no separation, no object and no subject.
Many Tibetan schools make use of the above mentioned 2 words Rig pa and Rang rig and these words are very popular, but these schools or Traditions have each their different understanding of the term, so they are not dealing or talking about the same thing.
It is quite hard to come into understanding because Nature is self-aware, and this aware doesn’t have the same meaning as usual. It looks like it is self-clear, but it is not possible to explain what is clear.