In short what it comes down to is the collapse of present grasping ”this present grasping”. That’s how we separate conceptual mind from primordial awareness:
The intrinsic nature is aware. That is the awareness. This is RIGPA… and within that, there is no dualistic grasping.
Mind, consciousness, "cognition" -- these are all conceptual states, these are all grasping of the mind, these are all subtle forms of attachments.
The distinction between Buddha’s and sentient beings comes down to whether or not there is this awareness of the true intrinsic nature.
As long there is no such awareness, one is a sentient being. The moment there is recognition of the primordial state, the moment we come face to face with the intrinsic nature and for as long as we are able to let that recognition continue, for that long we are Buddhas.