Annual India Tours
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt
gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity.
These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Sept 30 1990
The emphasis on voidness is in two ways. One, on a fundamentalist level, you have suffering in your life. Having to deal with separation, death, loss, not getting what we want, and such, in one way or another we are always having to deal with suffering. If we meditate on the states we experience we can become more conscious of the fact that all experiences we have, happiness is merely a lessening of the previous suffering. Then quickly suffering kicks in again. The nature of cyclic existence is suffering. This is important because it means you do not engage any thing, you do not become consumed with new involvements because you should be more aware of that in cyclic existence all things are of one level or another of suffering. Maybe you are not directly miserable but there is inherent suffering and dissatisfaction within them. And if you want to experience a higher level of satisfaction and fulfillment, then you should not invest yourself in those areas because they will never be satisfactory. Although might attain a high level of physical or emotional satisfaction, There is inherent within that suffering. Again you will have to go through trauma.
Buddhism says the nature of existence is that it is not inherently self existent. That it is void, void of an inherent nature. If you were to take the parts away from the bobcat, you would find no bobcat essence. In looking within for the final essence of self as something which you can clearly identify to be very stable as a basis, you will not find it. In investigating your mind, you find things manifesting, but nothing which can be established to be pointed to. I can point to this base underneath me and say, yes, this is what I am using as a seat to be placed upon. And even this is not a truly reliable base to be relied upon. But if you look in your mind and when you are dealing with trying to align yourself to a more real source of happiness and fulfillment, then you have to find what is reliable within you, what is the basis upon which I could put my reliance? And in Buddhism we say that is like looking for the antlers on a rabbit. An illusion.
We all do want happiness and do the things we do for that purpose. We want to be happy in a more realistic manner. I would like to say that what I am doing is an investment in my real sanity, real fulfillment. We try by buying a car, a house, and so on. That is the way we are. In life we are always looking for something to invest in for reliability. So we should question, what within me can I invest in which is reliable? In Buddhism we say that what is reliable as something we can invest in, is an illusion. Thoughts like we have a true existence. That we have an independent existence. Our ego carries this very strongly. That from our eyeballs we look at the world and think about what we can gather around us that will comfort us and such.
With investigation we will find that there is nothing in the material world which is reliable or found to be consistent. From there one searches for something more reliable. Buddhism says one should realize that ne's self is not inherently self existent, particularly one's ego, personality which we have always thought to be very real. The one which gets hurt very easily. And that ego or personality is an illusion, it's sense of solidity is an illusion. That we are not solid. We are created from causes and circumstances and that is what we are.
Voidness as a subject matter says not to make yourself as non existent because you are an existent entity. You are created and are the product of many different inputs that gives you your particular emotional state. On the other side, you are not truly inherently existent. Your existence is a created or produced nature. You have to apply that your personality and question how your mind works in regards to reality. Become conscious of every time you have a negative motivation, and I will talk about negativity because that is what makes our life miserable, and there are three basic delusions, attachment, aversion and ignorance of the mind.
When we work with attachment, it looks at the world and says what can I gather around me which makes me feel good. It is clinging, wanting to have the right amount of objects, that certain person. First we don't think about ourselves. Then we want to be happy and divest ourselves in those areas. Attachment is based on a sense of independence, separateness, and that is what motivates us.
Aversion says I want to be happy, and this thing is making me unhappy and I want to reject it, get rid of it, destroy it. In that way we are not conscious on a deeper level of how things are, but superficially. Not really looking at the issue of oneself, but at the outer world and how it needs to change for oneself to be happy. Again it is based on an independent sense of identity.
Ignorance is when the mind does not think about anything. It goes along and never has a deep realization about reality. It then acts out attachment and aversion very regularly and spontaneously. It is an unintelligent and un realized way of existing.
In the fundamentalist approach we try to realize that ourself is not independently self existent. When we have attachment arise we meditate on that it comes from strong grasping and need. And if we feed into that it will not really help us. It is maybe like an addiction. We invest ourself in the particular activity feeling that somehow it will work out and we do not need to worry. That is the mind that does not want to be conscious of reality. In Buddhism the basic line is you meditate that your personality's decisions of the past has been based on the sense of independent self existence. And that is not true so therefore I have to not feed into the old delusions I had, and rather invest myself into something more satisfactory. In a fundamentalist approach, one would say one was going to invest into ever lasting bliss and nirvana. You put a lot of energy into not allowing old habit patterns to kick in. Therefore become more free, liberated in a sense, and finally attain ever lasting bliss within the great essence of the subtle level of our mind.
On the mahayana side, it says we are not independently self existent so why should we invest so much energy into this non inherently existence. Rather we should put our energy into kindness and consideration and love without the attachment, aversion. In it's more pure aspect. It is a higher path because it requires we work through our attachments and not let them get involved with us. Although we become more loving and kind we have to be more conscious that we do not let ourselves slip into old habit patterns of attachment. And you do it within the concept of realizing that if you give kindness and positive energy, that actually helps them. It is like a gift with no strings attached. It is I am fully interdependent, the person I interact with is also, so I will give them positive support and energy and hope they will realize that attitude is not good one, and they become more positive and happy.
That is the philosophy. If you want to be happy in a real manner, you have to start shifting away from old habit patterns into a more realized way of existing. To do that there are different techniques to use. Tonight's meditation is the same as before, to breathe and become more conscious of the breath absorbing into the blood and through the body, but try to think about it in regards to my personality thinks of itself as independent and separate. To say to yourself, you are a product of what I have learned and such to this moment. Right now I am going you on a more real basis to make you realize that you are always changing. Impermanent. As you change in each moment, you are not self existent. There are different aspects and such but they are based on image and experience. So shift the mind into a deeper mode of understanding, appreciating that just as my body is fully interdependent with the phenomenal world around, also is my personality.
If you can do it well, you should get a little bliss because then you understand that when you interact with someone that you love, that you are changing them. You can have confidence that you are not buying into just an old habit pattern, but that if you do something nice it makes your personality open, the other person feels good, I am helping them grow, myself grow in positive patterns and ways. You are investing in real happiness, in the potential of your own nirvana because you are getting out of your old habit patterns. And then there is only for you to go into the most subtle level of your mind to realize that voidness on a subtle level which gives you true nirvana, true ever lasting bliss.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
All Rights Reserved