' Realization '
THE THREE STAGES OF REALIZATION
Realization occurs in three stages: Understanding, Experience, and True Realization.
'Theoretical Understanding' - The first is theoretical understanding and comes from studying the teachings. It is necessary, of course, but it is not very stable. It is like a patch sewn on a cloth, which will eventually come off. Theoretical understanding is not strong enough to weather the good and bad things that happen to you in life. If difficulties arise, no theoretical understanding will allow you to overcome them.
'Experience in meditation' - As for experience in meditation, they are, like mist, bound to fade away. If you concentrate on your practice in a secluded place, you are sure to have various experiences. But such experiences are very unreliable, and it is said: "Meditators who run after experiences, like a child running after a beautiful rainbow, will be misled." When you practice intensely, you may have flashes of clairvoyance and various signs of accomplishment, but all they o is foster expectations and pride - they are just devilish tricks and the source of obstacles.
'True Realization' - But someone with true realization is like a mighty mountain that cannot be shaken by any wind, or like the unchanging blue sky. Good or adverse circumstances, even in their thousands, will provoke no attachment or aversion, no expectation of doubt at all. It is said in the scriptures that such a person will be no more pleased at having someone on one side of him waving a sandalwood fan than fearful of someone on the other side ready to strike him with an axe. For such a person, all deluded perceptions are exhausted. The result is that all circumstances, whether adverse or favorable, will further his progress on the path.
~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche