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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reality and Extreme Viewing

Eleventh in a series. For those who perceive the philosophical realities of True Paths, it is difficult to see past correct reasoning to the lack of inherent existence or essence. One must not give up True Paths in order to find its empty nature, but hold space for that correct dynamic with the path to transformation to emerge at the correct time.

Point nine of Sage Chandrakirtis twenty; Emptiness of That Which is Beyond Extremes: “That to which extremes do not apply is expressed as being beyond extremes. Its emptiness of its very self is explained as the emptiness of that which is beyond extremes”.

It is identified as that which is beyond extremes because it actually identifies the problems that exist. Since the Dharma contains the tools of “not this and not that”, dharma is acknowledged to be beyond the extremes of permanentism and nihilism. So, we do not give up the remedy because it describes the remedy, thinking that True Paths (higher functioning Dharma) might be the first place that you would reject because it is describing cessation.

Some might think therefore we should reject true paths in order to be alive to the spirit of true paths. I know that sounds convoluted but the mind is very tricky and can easily do this. Many arrive at this stage and remain in a state of "I know now that I do not need to learn anything more. Just knowing that, I have carefully rejected true paths. In honor of its teachings, I reject it." This is totally bizarre, and very carefully done by many. They thereby stop practicing because they think that they know it now. Some intelligent Western people have done this but we never do like this in Tibet or get a smack on the head from our teacher.

It is better to hold space for the correct dynamic with the path of transformation to emerge at the correct time. You might feel like doing that and enjoy that feeling of solidifying around an exciting concept but the skillful practitioner should not act upon it. Maintain a steady course in your practice, and affirm, "I am sure I will understand soon."

We can look at the extreme views as four or two. These are the two that are the foundation and special feature of Buddhism and the middle way philosophy. Permanentism: the philosophy of those who intellectually believe that there is at least one thing which is permanent are adherents of permanentism, and those who believe that not even one thing can exist are believers in nihilism. That nothing exists, or that one true thing exists are the two extremes.

Most world religions are adherents of permanentism, that at least one thing does exist, such as God. That defines the illusory outer view but it is in the innate view that is being analyzed where another deeper view is attached to inner minds. That is where the programming of human realm that takes the temporary to be permanent is located.

I want to laugh because actually there is not such thing as a true nihilist. If they were, they would not be here. There would be no way that the inner and outer view including the innate view could remain for the 2nd second after that realization. The Middle Way is the defining characteristic of that which is not extreme, and that does not mean that you do a little bit of permanentism and a little bit of nihilism and see how it works together that way, no. So, the two views are empty and what is left after the two extreme views have been refuted intellectually and energetically, meaning outer and inner refutation; that remainder is also empty of inherent existence and not the excellent support for your intellectual craving for sensations of knowing.

Point number Ten: Emptiness of that which has neither beginning nor end. “That which has no point from which it begins nor boundary where it ends is the cycle of existence. Since it is free from coming and going, it is just mere appearance like a dream. Existence is void of any existence. This is the emptiness of that which neither beings nor ends. It was definitively taught in the commentaries”.

Now we must understand that cyclic existence feeds off of itself, and when it does, it gives rise to a sense of stability and safety that it does not possess. The habitual cycling in samsara gives a very unreliable sensation of familiarity that lulls ordinary beings. This circling is all illusory appearance without fulfilling the promise it seems to make as the excellent support of higher training of transformation by familiarity and improving or learning by experiences. It is by nature without essence.

This means that the hope you place within evolutionary development contained in samsara that will bring you the fulfillment of some imaginary samsaric promise that it seems to make is baseless. This includes a sense that everything will be okay in the future and that things are getting better and that sense of optimism that many people hold, giving rise to a feeling of stability and safety that it does not possess.

This cyclic existence; the cycle of births and moving through lives of form and having different kinds of existences produces a certain kind of familiarity and safety that it does not have. However, from a higher view, it is not good to induce a feeling that existence is dangerous, although in classic Tibetan Buddhism this technique is used seriously to instill a fear of cyclic existence. That is traditional. Since beginningless time you have wandered in cyclic existence without achieving more than a continuation of cyclic process. This larger dynamic that compels living beings to participate without choices is dreamlike in appearance and empty of inherent reality. Existence itself as a larger dynamic is without inherent basis.

So within the parameters of the existential dilemma that face all living beings I end todays discussion with a story. Recently I went to our local home improvement center, and when I came out, I had been in there so long that I could not remember where I parked my car and the weather had changed dramatically. It was pouring rain and I had a full shopping cart of things. The normal reaction would be to run hither and thither in the parking lot, dodging raindrops, trying to find the car. I think you get the picture. However, I decided that, out of a sense of dignity, I was not going to run, as I was not going to get any wetter if I simply walked without scrambling and looking foolish to myself.

In that way, rather than hiding from or rushing from samsara and cyclic existence out of a sense of fear and anxiety that you are going to get wet with cyclic existence because you are already, as they say, all wet. Out of a sense of dignity and understanding of the true nature of reality, I expect fully prepared beings to exit cyclic existence with a certain sense of dignity and not like people rushing in the rain. To be continued…

Friday, March 27, 2009

Reality and God

Tenth in a series. Subtle forms that appear without the usual factors… I may be digressing from the official Buddhist interpretation, but I go on: Subtle forms that appears without the usual factors, such as long-lived beings having unknown origins or phenomena such as space that are seen by some to be the support of phenomena should not to be perceived as ultimate reality or permanent because they are empty of inherent existence. This includes God. This would have to include God.

Chandrakirti states in his famous exposition Twenty Emptinesses, point eight; Emptiness of the Uncomposite: “ When arising, cessation and impermanence are not among its characteristics, a phenomenon is known as being uncomposited. They are empty of themselves. This is the emptiness of the uncomposite.

One may object by noting that if there are no causes and conditions for forms or ideas to arise, it must mean that it is real. If the causes and conditions, the primary formula for identifying illusory phenomena, upon penetrating analysis cannot be discovered, then by default this must be something real? No. The truth of the emptiness of the uncomposite, in other words, that which has no causes or conditions, such as the descriptions of God in the bible or other holy religious scriptures, or phenomena such as space or the tantras is under scrutiny.

Space is also empty of inherent existence. Simply by being open space acknowledges through this strict analysis that it is empty of inherent existence from its own side. Even many schools of Buddhism see space as being the support of phenomena, and here we pull out the support of that too as illusory, if there is a clinging by the innate view. They are also not the excellent support. Even that which cannot be included in the statement, "Everything that comes from causes and conditions, is empty and illusory”, is also empty and illusory.

Keep remembering that it does not mean it is conventionally nonexistent. It means that it is empty of the very characteristic that is attached to your innate view that causes you to grasp and cling toward something that it cannot provide. It cannot be the support of that, and so, even though you might have a strong faith in God and say that God IS, your innate view damages your correct relationship to that process. This is equally true for the innate inappropriate grasping of “I AM” or any other form of higher relationship.

We are capable of discovering our error by this marvelous method of non-affirming logic. We have to take away what it is not, in order to discover what it is, until the mind moves into dissolution, the state without foundation. That is correct investigation, and that is what the analysis induces. Returning from that extraordinary experience, you are quite convinced that the definitive state has been penetrated, even if that is still not the correct view. We call that a transitional correct view and there is still more layers to be reversed.

Now, please do not be confused by the aspect of your innate view that might happen to be unskillful in how you regard God. This very point in the analysis, in my opinion, addresses the unskillful, damaged view that forces you to see God as being an ultimate support of your belief in illusory phenomena that binds you to uncontrolled rebirth.

Subtle forms that appear without the usual factors, such as long-lived beings that have unknown origins to ordinary beings or phenomena that are seen by some, not all but some, to be the support of phenomena, are not to be worshiped as being real and permanent. These do not fall under this point as they are more easily shown to possess causes and conditions upon more careful penetration of higher functioning mind. There are also a number of categories of living beings that seem to be all-powerful such as the Greek and Roman gods. There are some similarities and some dissimilarities between gods and God.

However, the mature believer in permanence perceives that God is not something that can be identified as having come from this cause and that condition, that God simply IS. According to the analysis, that understanding of God, “that God is”, means that arising, cessation and impermanence do not automatically bestow it with reality simply because it is uncomposited and beyond dismantling.

Your belief being challenged here is not that “God is not”, but the very inner programming that causes you the obstacle of craving permanence. That defective underlying belief should be addressed. It will never be healed in reality if we affirm that everything else is illusory and continue to rest in a illusory relationship by craving to grasp onto God, or Allah, or Brahma, or Yahweh, or in Native American, Wakan as self existing and causeless from its own side. Your conceptualization of a being of unknown origin that simple IS, alive without causes or conditions, should mature beyond the unexamined defective relationship that you might presently have with deity.

I have sensed fear in many believers of one permanent thing to be worshiped, who are capable and ready to skillfully dissolve the innate view that takes the transitory to be permanent. Remember, we are not damaging your careful illusory relationship with God, you will be a better Buddhist, Christian or Muslim without the clinging and grasping toward the permanence you desire as the highest saints overcame their fear.

Regarding the method used in Vajrayana Buddhism that incorporates this analysis into the practice, His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, “The emphasis is not on the union of calm abiding and special insight, (which belongs to the non tantric methods of inducing a state of emptiness in the conceptual mind) but on a union of appearance and emptiness qualified by the vivid appearance of one’s own mind in the form of a deity and the conceptual realization of emptiness – simultaneously. This is a distinctive assertion of tantra: namely, that an empty phenomenon can appear to a consciousness that is realizing its emptiness conceptually

God is not the excellent support for your innate view craving for stability. That is a transitional energetic clinging to a virtuous object and at this point in the analysis of the nature of reality, you should no longer be seeing God through the filter of the defective programming of a human realm innate view. God or other uncomposited phenomena are not the excellent support that you are confused into thinking they are. It does not mean that they do not exist or that they do not act as another kind of support, but not in the way you think do. To be continued…

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reality and the Siddhas of Magic

Ninth in a series. I feel a strong sense of sharing in this series about the analysis of reality in order for many to benefit in the future by this teaching. The statements by the ancient Indian Buddhist sage Chandrakirti and my commentary are a step-by-step method to bring the meditator correctly and easily to a place where the mind has no place to settle in dysfunctional view.

We now go on to ideas that are common at this point in the method. The mind is seeking solidity and comfort and that could be expressed as a wish to say, "Well, if I do not exist, then I take a sense of safety that the cosmos and the great constellations exist. I guess I do not care if I do not exist as long as that exists and I am okay just being an illusory speck within that cosmos. If that is the way it is, then that is the way it is."

Chandrakirti says and I echo him. No! The cosmos and all of the stars, even the Hubble telescope do not exist in reality from their own side by having permanence other than an illusory interdependence existence. Even the delightful images that the Hubble space telescope transmits back to us in evanescent digital form are empty of inherent existence as well as the starry objects that they focus upon.

One might say then, "Well, if that does not exist, and now you are telling me, okay, so everything in the human realm and all the things that I experience are illusory. I bet there is someplace that I just have not figured out where it is, and that does exist. Maybe some pureland actually exists and that is real.”

So, before we lose our dharma practice completely we again stabilize the mind. Yes, this Tibetan singing bowl I have in front of me IS here. Yes, I can ring the bowl, it is here, and the sound is here, but not in the way you presently think it is! That is the error that we are addressing. From its own side, it does not have inherent existence. This bowl, and the sound it makes arose from causes and conditions, and that is that! We are suffering from magical thinking and need to wake up! That is why they call the Buddha the Awakened One. The Buddha and myriad Great awakened ones are no longer hypnotized.

“Moreover, when the extreme of existence is dispelled by appearance,
And the extreme of non-existence is dispelled by emptiness,
And you know how emptiness is perceived as cause and effect,
You will not be captivated by extreme views.” Je Tsongkhapa

As meditators become more focused and energized, due to causes and conditions, there could arise what is called ordinary siddhas, ordinary super abilities such as unlocking a door it with the mind by looking at it, seeing the future or hearing at a distance. These will arise either spontaneously or after having deliberately done yogic practices and visualizations. The ordinary siddhas could arise without that person being enlightened. That is why they call them the ordinary siddhas, because they are not signs of enlightenment itself. Should the meditator become fascinated with ordinary siddhas, very often their advanced studies will become diminished, and their attention and energy will channel into the siddhas that will likely recreate them into a seeker of power that will eventually harm many.

Siddhas are a development of relationships you have already with your dear ones. For example, you do not want to tell them directly to pick up their dirty socks, and so you might say to them mentally, "Now you come here. You Want to Pick Up Your Socks. You Want to Pick Up Your Socks." Then one day they miraculously pick up their socks. However, it is uncertain if you had the super power yet because you have done this a hundred times with no effect whatsoever.

Joking aside, should you become obsessed to use techniques with others eventually you will become like an ordinary magician. You will continue to accumulate karma but it often happens that that one will think that they are no longer affected by karma and possibly creating suffering and discord through carelessness.

However, there are realms of valuable practice such as the human realm, so we do not disregard as useless the meditation practices such as our visualizations, healing and helping all living beings. These will create authentic siddhas in you in the future in other realms, after having accomplished the training in the human realm. Do not disrespect the training that you are getting or think that in the future your training in the human realm will not come to save you or another being. These are the things that you will be permitted to do. Now, what realms have you existed in, what kinds of training have you received in other places that you are presently using for amusement or money making because of self cherishing? To me that makes perfect sense to caution at this point.

These abilities or vestiges of previous trainings are certainly unusual by the standards of the human realm. However, in other ways of being, other times, or other perceptual realms that you may have lived in, this was simply the training that you were receiving. Perhaps you even accomplished the meditations and achieved signs of success that made you candidates for the completion of your training.

Here, there is not an intention of presenting you with any other system that requires diagrams of which realms exist where or how many yogyanas they are underneath the earth. This discussion is about larger principles. To me the specific curiosities are boring. When people ask me a question about details of esoteric knowledge, I feel like I just want to fall asleep. I feel intense boredom arising, and sometimes a look comes on my face where I cannot hide this painful boredom. I am not trying to be bored, but sometimes it is because I have nothing to say, and sometimes I struggle to be interested, so I am so sorry. I will continue to do my best to answer all questions. Be informed that what I say about boring subjects might not be from a wisdom point of view, but I might just say something social. To be continued…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reality and the Grid of Manifestation

Eight in a series. Let us go directly to Chandrakirti point number seven of twenty: Emptiness of the Composite: “Because they arise from conditions, the three realms are composite, it is taught. They are empty of themselves, and this, the Buddha taught, is the emptiness of the composite.”

So, that means that all realms are held together in a complex structure comprised of primarily the needs of living beings that abide in them. Realms of humans, gods, and lower beings and in the animal, hungry ghost, and hell realms, arise from causes and conditions that facilitate their manifestation from energetic grid models in their interiors.

In previous teachings I have given on how to be more effective doing world peace prayers as well as how the world actually exists, you might remember my explanation of how energetic grids act as transitional supports. Our particular realm has a certain kind of energetic grid that is a pre-manifestation of the human realm that we recognize as the ordinary world we live in. In the same way, there operates in other realms, structures acting as the support for the different kind of manifestation of that perceptual realm. Because everything that has form is actually empty of existence from its own side, this grid can arise due to the needs of beings with karma to experience certain kinds of effects, providing a suitable environment.

This energetic substrate or grid exists for many beings simultaneously because it is a good match for any individual who corresponds in their interior individual grid, for what they need to experience. Causes and conditions ripen in the individual from previous confusions, virtuous self-cherishing actions and non-virtuous self-cherishing actions that inappropriately drag the innate view into their interior mind. This produces a certain kind of disfigured configuration that will match the parameters to enter this world. However, it does not mean that they are the same as the grid, they become a candidate for arising in manifestation in that realm. As I have said before, living beings cannot control it.

In Buddhism, we say that beings are attracted toward manifestation in one realm or another by karma. It is not something that we spend a lot of time on outside of the explanation of the between life state called the bardo. Saying that living beings are attracted to it means there is a special kind of desired object that is being activated toward. You know, when you say attracted toward in English, it usually means a liking toward, but that is not true here. Living beings cannot help it. They are helpless before the attraction to arise in a form in a particular realm. So, living beings arise from the results of the very causes and conditions that continue to facilitate spontaneous manifestation from grid models in their personal interiors.

Meanwhile, the lamas are busily trying to help those who have passed, working to change them to make them unrecognizable for entry into the lower realms. We tried to remove the causes and conditions the best we could. I myself was very active in this procedure to change their karma. Now I see it differently but that is another subject.

There are many new age ideas presented as reasons for being born here as a human being. Meeting with soul mates, or choosing ones own birth in some cosmic conference are a couple of ideas in other philosophies. However, it is unusual for an unenlightened person to have deliberate relationships with another specific individual ordinary person that transcends lifetimes. This is because that implies that you have choices, and that is what that you do not have. This is the suffering of uncontrolled rebirth, being impelled or compelled to take rebirth in one or another suffering realm separated from loved ones. Our karma remains with our self and is perpetrated on others or our self without regard for individual connections. The connections with others in this life are example effects of other times and situations.

Now the view might change again with another good idea to repair all of the broken promises that were made in previous lives without concern toward what individual it happened. The deeper unresolved energetic wounds of karma need to be addressed. The careful meditator wants to repair all the damage caused by previous lives that are being experienced as unhappy karma in this life. Now we are going to fix it up perfectly so we can leave this suffering realm. This is very good. But while you are trying to fix it, what else did you mess up? Who elses toe did you step on? That is why karma cannot be exhausted through karma. Virtuous karma produces an easier life. Non-virtuous karma produces more suffering for yourself, others and unfortunate repercussions beyond that, but karma in general will never release you. You cannot become virtuous enough to become released through karma.

Now you are an adult and have had experiences that have changed you. You have come into contact with others and have continued in this life to produce in yourself causes and conditions that will ripen in the future. You are now the product not of your birth, but the product of your present day. Many meditators remember childhood in comparison to their own stressed lives. "How could I have made my life so complicated when it seemed all so simple and easy to think about spiritual things when I was a child? I knew there was something I had to do in this life that was important. Why don't I just go back to that feeling of simplicity and not keep reinventing myself into what has caused me to be here in the unhappy and unsatisfied way I am right now?" However, you cannot go back, you are already different than that child due to life experiences. The healing must come from another method.

So, these present day interior grid models from which you arise and fall away simultaneously in your interior, also come from causes and conditions. These interior grids of realms also come from causes and conditions. Remember, we are still on point seven here. These vast grids, which are the pre-manifestation of the three realms or myriad realms, as well as the individual grids from which arise the person, also come from causes and conditions. Because they come from causes they are empty of essential nature and not capable of intrinsic self-arising support of form. They are not the excellent support your cravings are seeking.
To be continued…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reality and Heaven

Seventh in a series. Emptiness of the Great: is point five of Chandrakirti Twenty Emptinesses “The great is what the ten directions encompass, all sentient beings and the entire universe. The immeasurables prove the directions' in finiteness. They pervade the limitless directions, so they cannot be measured in extent. That all ten directions in their whole vast extent are empty of essence is the emptiness of the great. The Buddha taught about its emptiness to reverse our concept of the vast as being real.”

For the educated modern person, shock is a normal reaction to learning that all inner and outer events and forms and sense bases and even the emptiness are not anything you feel you were promised. This could have the effect then, of driving your awareness to seek refuge into the undifferentiated magnitude of living beings as real in their combined life force. That means all sentient beings as possessing something real. This sense of, “We are all one and that feels real”, is the experience of universal oneness that is the root and goal of many spiritual traditions. It is also a stage of growth where many kind and well meaning people rest in their compassion and inner identity without going further. However, this is not any liberation from suffering, only a temporary respite from the rigors and suffering of individuality.

The mind might wish to look to outer space, the constellations, the vast systems of stars and planets and possible life on other planets as the vast reality, and be just a speck in that vastness. This natural reaction from feeling important and finding that without essence causes a diving into a small place in a vast cosmos to be a correct relationship. However, this vast is of the very same baseless nature as the grain of sand and is not the excellent support of your craving.

At this point you might feel that your cultivated sense of emerging bodhichitta is being threatened as being of little or no value. Your investment and faith in universal responsibility at this point in the analysis should be the alive and vibrant wish to save all sentient beings, and now that should be introduced and attached to the correct view. This correct view of the altruistic wish to be of benefit to all sentient beings belongs with a careful understanding of the illusory nature of the world in order to mature.

Number six: Emptiness of the Ultimate: “Because it is wanderer's supreme of all needs, nirvana's cessation is the ultimate here. Nirvana, the truth body, is empty of itself, and this is what the emptiness of the ultimate is. The knower of the ultimate taught the emptiness of the ultimate to counteract the mind's tendency to think that nirvana is a thing.”

And now, after rightly becoming disappointed with the vast as a flimsy excuse for true reality, the seeker makes great effort to find something real. The meditator then should embark upon the path that is common to all seekers of cessation to rid them self of the thorn of craving. This extreme step seems to be the last option to become free of the suffering of craving. So they begin to withdraw the mind from sense objects, rejecting the world of ideas and mental constructs, and develop an even stronger wish to enter into another way of being that is actually really real. However, the meditator still holds a distorted view toward a goal that has the same defective problem that all other phenomena have: The perceiver is holding it to have a solidity that it does not possess. This is because and only because the bonds of the innate view are still holding the practitioner into a model that is dependent upon the human valuation of freedom.

Even the heaven realms, the pure realms and holy places of pilgrimage where practitioners are looking to as the excellent support for their craving and grasping are empty of essence. Devotees of this sort are looking for a special kind of stability, one that which will support them in their life process to make them feel secure. And that cannot give it because it does not have it in the way that the devotee wishes to relate to it.

How can you have the correct view while you are still grasping and craving toward something that it cannot provide? I have just told you, not just me, Chandrakirti said this too, and Nagarjuna told him. He is just explaining a little bit more. Nagarjuna is telling you what the Buddha said, we all say the same thing.

A valid meditation practice is based upon the understanding that your innate view is still in place and you are in error. Have I, or any of your mentors given you any indication that your innate view is the excellent support of the deeper practices? Never. You will become a better meditator when you release the grasping at your innate view. Some will object saying, “Didn’t you want my innate view attaching to aspects of the practice and grasping after the practice, and now you are saying that that is wrong? But you have always told us to turn away from grasping and grasp onto virtuous?” Wouldn’t it be better to say as a result of this analysis, ”Well, everything is empty, so why bother to do meditation practice?” Yes, that would be an error. That would be a big error although many people have done that. They say, "What difference does it make? Everything is empty anyway!"

Another tactic used is to think, "Even thought it is called empty of intrinsic reality would it be okay to hold onto this little bit of meditation process as being real? Now Rinpoche is telling me it is not okay, and that does not seem fair." I answer that it did not make it any more real that you believed it. However, I do love the enthusiasm of your process and so we are looking at it in the correct way. I did not get this feeling when we tried to discuss it before, so I am so happy.
To be continued….

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reality and That Nameless Thing

Sixth in a series. The very thing that your mind, holding the innate view, is trying to sit upon as the excellent support of it’s inquiry into valid cognition does not exist. That thing does not have a name. It is not called tree or body or self. It has no actual name, but it is something that you innately believe is there, and it is not!

So, everything that has form cannot actually exist as form unless it is empty of essence. It is not the fault of form that it cannot provide you with the actual deep support that you energetically crave. Even more subtle forms such as a smoke, odors, and the sounds that surround you, and the impressions that are brought to you such as food and your interactions with it by tasting, are all equally unreliable as the excellent support of your craving for stability.

Some wish to substitute the word matter instead of the word form. This is probably because matter, quite recently in fact, has been found to not be the solid thing we sense it is, and even the quantum levels of energy underlying it is not what we thought a foundation for matter would be like. However, whether you choose scientifically described composition, or analytical description, they are the same; without providing a suitable support and are carefully unsuitable for supporting the grasping mind. No wonder you are suffering. No wonder you are suffering.

Number three of twenty emptiness’s analysis by Chandrakirti: Emptiness of the inner and the outer: “That both inner and outer lack an essential nature is what is called emptiness of the inner and the outer”. If we move our awareness from outer forms and outer sensations and feel that what we are thinking or inner mental events are real, we are again mistaken.

However, this shift might cause you to then feel that your mind is an unsuitable location for reality to arise because your inner senses are dulled and damage by abusing them with lifetimes of unskillful activities creating confusion and distress. In that case, you might choose to take specially empowered outer form such as Buddha statues or political systems or the solidity of a piece of rock crystal to be a real and steady support, at which point you are even more mistaken.

Further, some say, “I only believe what I can touch and feel!” Another one says “All of this is out there is a dream, but inside I am real!” Neither of these is correct and the method to leave the suffering state of confusion and understand what is truly real. Point three of twenty emptiness’s states that everything, everything, both inside you and outside you, is exactly the same, meaning without essence coming from its own side that neither creates or displays reality. Now we pay closer attention because we are chasing our innate view hither and thither without blaming it or distressing it. We do it calmly and carefully!

Number four: Emptiness of emptiness: “All phenomena lack essential nature, and the wisest of those call it emptiness. Furthermore, the wise one, the Buddha, said, "This emptiness is empty of being an inherently existent emptiness."” This lack of intrinsic reality of what is called emptiness, is the emptiness of emptiness.

The Buddha taught this way to counteract the mind's tendency to think of emptiness as something that is truly existent. I remind you again that they are describing what I call a state without foundation in order to make it more meaningful for my Western students.
At this point in the analysis freed up energy is causing grasping so great that the inquirer will strongly want to hold onto something real. This is a prime cause for many who could finish the careful analysis to stop and grasp at the various levels of possibilities. Can we see how the great religions, new age thinking or individual spiritual journeys can stop the process and form around one or another manifestation to be the really real?

Now you know that everything is emptiness without remainder, and now you know what it is made out of. It is made out of emptiness. Unfortunately emptiness is real at this point for the one analyzing. This is due to grasping which has become great and concentrated on this idea. This emptiness grows in importance and becomes a really real something, but it also cannot be the excellent support of your craving. To be continued….

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reality and the Dreamlike World

Fifth in a series. I remind you that our intention here is to develop the desire to enter into a certain state without foundation, and the purpose of the analysis is to drive your careful mind hither and thither seeking something that, upon specialized reflection, you cannot prove is actually there. In that way, your mind needs to release that grasp, but maintain a direction, like a specific trajectory that allows you to land into the actual process and the correct view. Chandrakirti states emptiness of the outer, “ For these reasons, form's nature is emptiness. Therefore, form is empty of being form”.

We can do these mental exercises skillfully to achieve a state without foundation even though it happens naturally in highest yoga tantra deity practice. We do the exercises because we wish to participate more fully in transformative process in various methods at various times. What is addressed in other practices will emphasize perhaps a different dynamic than this analysis. You want to become skillful on all levels of your being, even on the outside gross mental.

This analysis should be done with prepared faith in the Buddha, Dharma, the teachings and the enlightened body of practitioners, the sangha, in a reproducible method so that you will not arouse or experience fear. It will also familiarize you with the components of the concepts so that you can understand better what is going on when thoughts and experiences come up. Meditators who could benefit by the analysis can become frightened or rigid or put off by study about emptiness, thinking, "Oh, that is for scholars. I am just a simple practitioner. I will just do my practice, and that is good enough."

There is a famous Lam Rim story about Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Geluk tradition of Tibetan Buddhism 500 years ago. He was teaching this or very similar instructions on the nature of reality to a large group of monks and noticed that one of the monks was grasping onto his own collar. Je Tsongkhapa said, "I see that so-and-so has discovered the innate view," The monk was trying to hang on because he was entering into the destruction of his innate view while still trying to hang onto his worldview. There are many benefits from receiving inner and outer teachings in person with a qualified mentor.

We continue. Chandrakirti states here that form's nature is emptiness. Therefore, form is empty because it is form. In addition, sounds, odors, things that are tasted, and body sensations such as a breeze on your face or arm; all of these phenomena are exactly the same in that they do not possess intrinsic permanence. Further, form and so forth cannot arise and remain for even the smallest fraction of time because it is illusory. This very lack of essence to be grasped toward is described as emptiness of the outer.

How worlds and their contents exist in manifestation is like dream objects to awakened beings, even those awakened ones who still have a human body and mind. All worlds are dreamlike and this human perceptual world is not a particularly scary one. It is a regular old standard-issue perceptual world. It is like a dream object. It is not meant to be relied upon as the excellent support for superior meaning. So, the way it works in manifestation is that everything that has form cannot exist in that way unless it is empty of essence. Everything that has form cannot exist as form unless it is naturally empty of the very essence that might prove it exists as it appears to exist. It's just the way it works. Hmmm, you might think. Hmm, why, why, ahhh! This means…. And rightly so.

We must keep our minds going in the correct direction so that our trajectory will take us to the correct view, and a correct conventional view of the world, so right now we focus on emptiness of the outer. We already looked at the analysis of emptiness of the inner earlier. It is without the inherent essence you perceive with your innate view as a filter for your worldview. Again, the very thing, the core upon which your mind craves to be supported by as being real and true, is like a dream object. To be continued….