When the sun of prajna shines, all notions, all ideas, all perceptions of how things are vanish like the stars at dawn.
(Prajna – Wisdom, insight into the nature of reality)
Sometimes if you read dharma books, you can be struck by insight, a penny drops, and a teaching becomes clearer. It may be particularly well-written, or from a perspective you hadn’t come across before. This happened to me over the holidays,and it was the teaching of emptiness, or voidness, in this case through the lens of anatta or selflessness.
Anatta is one of the three portals to insight, or lakshanas, the lack of any lasting true self is a window looking out onto enlightenment. Indeed, this selflessness is one way to the end of selfishness, the end of duality, a way of approaching the great voidness, the great light.
It is so clear that the assumption of the self, in everything we do or think, is the fundamental root of all craving, all suffering, and all the other defilements such as greed, hatred and delusion. Without a self desiring, where can be desire? Continue reading Full of Emptiness Like Sky, Nowhere the Mind’s I
What is meant by the Buddhist doctrine of no-self?
Mistakes abound in interpreting this, falling mostly into eternal and nihilistic views. It is not to be confused with no self-development, in fact a recognition of no-self, is to refuse to allow the being to stop developing. Continue reading No Self?
Creating the self. We are essentially a product of what we think about and our beliefs. Believing in enlightenment, or tao, or approaching God, or some way of framing a goal is important to keep us practising. This belief, simply put, changes our consciousness, and involves working with our consciousness in some way. Continue reading Believing in Enlightenment – Existentialism, Doubt, Lemmings, and Hope
Taking and giving. In meditation one visualises breathing in the sufferings of the world, and breathing out relief, or happiness. It is a training in altruism. This meditation will reduce selfish attachment, increase a sense of renunciation, create good karma by giving, and to develop and expand loving-kindness and bodhicitta. All six perfections are involved – giving, ethics, patience, joyous effort, concentration, and wisdom. Continue reading Tonglen – Gently Beheading the Ego
I come up against all my various responses to humanity when I look at Facebook. It is an obsession for so many people, an addiction, a window through which we relate to the world and assess our lives. What is it we are doing and why?
I see friends who are obviously successful in the material sense, a plethora of exotic locations and smiles. I see a wife who I might covet if I allowed myself to get sucked in and look at all the photos chosen to show off her beauty. I see children everywhere, abundance, successes, reminders of my own choices, my own battles. I see those who would share every thought, every detail of their lives, and the cries of the needy and the lonely. Continue reading Facebook and the Bodhisattva – Mirrors and Memes, Ego and Envy, Facades and Fearlessness
Our ego, or egoic consciousness, dominates our world. Even if we are aware of it, even if we work with it, fight against it, it still seems to be there. It is the tragic force in us which has to make us right, by forming our identity according to our thoughts and ideas that we like. It will defend us, by making us furious that someone dares argue with the idea that we have made a part of us. It can kill, and does kill.
The same force is present globally, any human entity or institution seems to have an ego. This could be a company, a church, a religion, a club, a country, even a race or species.
As with the mental poisons of greed, hatred and delusion, we must work with it in ourselves before we can hope to see its influence gone in the world. Continue reading EGO, THE FINAL FRONTIER