Sitting alone where there are no distractions and few traces of the human world, we faithfully reflect that, according to the Buddha, there is a hidden part of us called pure Mind or the same, Buddha-nature. We are also aware, at the same time, that we are connected with it but, as yet, we cannot cognize it. We have no way to get at it. In this division the latter part seems to rule. It tries various strategies by which to access the first part, directly, but ultimately fails. We have no way of shifting to the immediacy of pure Mind although we know it is here! Fraz Kafka expresses this perfectly when he writes:
"He is thirsty, and is cut off from a spring by a mere clump of bushes. But he is divided against himself: one part overlooks the whole, sees that he is standing here and that the spring is just beside him, but another part notices nothing, has at most a divination that the first part sees all. But as he notices nothing he cannot drink" (Erich Heller, The Disinherited Mind, p. 158).
We might call this predicament, avidya, or ignorance. But there is more to it than avidya can describe. The other part of us that rules, let's call it the second man, leads a life of willful avidya. It has not dawned upon him yet that he is the problem. And even if it did dawn upon him, how could he get rid of himself, sufficiently, so that he might see the pure Mind, or the first man?
The edifice that the second man has built and continues to build in his effort to get to the first man really turns out to be a kind of fortification against his own demise (remember, he is the problem). Even having faith that he is pure Mind (the first man) or that he has the Buddha-nature, only prompts him to build more. He calls this the seeking of pure Mind. Or if he tries to ignore the seeking of pure Mind and the implicit first man, he still continues to build believing that he is a builder. Then strangely, he goes so far as to guard his great edifice against those who suggest his edifice is really a prison which keeps him from the truth of himself: the ever present truth of which he is, but cannot cognize.