Bodhisattva Attitude: How to Dedicate Your Life to Others

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Bodhisattva Attitude is the first book in our new Heart Advice series, a series of core teachings—the "heart advice"—taken from the experiential instructions of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The topic of Bodhisattva Attitude is how to develop bodhicitta by practicing it throughout the day, from start to finish. The book is drawn from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s essential teachings given from 2008 onward and is edited by Ven. Sarah Thresher.

The Teachings: Four Wrong Concepts

A motivation for taking the Eight Mahayana Precepts 82

Today I thought to read a motivation that His Holiness the Dalai Lama taught one time when giving the eight Mahayana precepts in Dharamsala. His Holiness gave the precepts quite a number of times. Once when I was staying in Dharamsala for a few months, His Holiness requested his senior tutor, His Holiness Ling Rin­poche, to give the eight Mahayana precepts in the temple. Inside and outside the temple was filled with monks and lay people and His Holiness took the precepts along with everybody else. His Holiness Ling Rinpoche gave a motivation as well as the defini­tion of each of the four major and four secondary vows.83

Another time His Holiness gave the precepts, not inside but outside the temple. The motivation was very effective so I got the tape and wrote it down. After listening to that motivation, my mind kind of changed and I could think of others. I think it was just a blessing, not the actual realization, and of course it didn’t last long because I didn’t put effort into it, even though I planned to do so.

MOTIVATION: THE FOUR WRONG CONCEPTS 84

Think:

I and all sentient beings have been suffering in samsara from beginningless rebirths up to now because of these four wrong concepts:85

While the aggregates are not I, the self,
Because of looking at the aggregates as the self and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born and suffered in samsara
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

While samsaric pleasure is only suffering,
Because of looking at samsaric pleasure as real happiness and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born and suffered in samsara
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

While this body is dirty,
Because of looking at the body as completely clean and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born and suffered in samsara
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

While all compounded phenomena are in the nature of impermanence,
Because of looking at compounded phenomena as permanent and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born in sam­sara and suffered
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

If I continue to follow these four wrong concepts, I will experience unimaginable sufferings endlessly. Just being free from the ocean of samsaric sufferings and its causes is not enough:

All sufferings, obstacles, misfortunes and unde­sirable things come from cherishing the I.

Therefore, the I is something to let go of.

All happiness—my past happiness from begin­ningless rebirths, present happiness, future hap­piness, liberation and enlightenment—comes from bodhicitta, the good heart cherishing and wanting to benefit others.

Therefore, other sentient beings are unbelievably pre­cious, kind and dear. To cause the numberless sentient beings to have the happiness of this life, future lives, liberation from samsara and enlightenment, I myself must achieve enlightenment; therefore I am going to take the eight Mahayana precepts.

ONE: LOOKING AT THE AGGREGATES AS BEING THE SELF

While the aggregates are not I, the self,
Because of looking at the aggregates as the self and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born and suffered in samsara
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

There is no I or self inside this body. The body is not the self, nor is the mind. To elaborate by going through each of the five aggregates: form is not I, feeling is not I, cognition is not I, the compounding aggregates 86 are not I, and consciousness is not I. None of these five aggregates is the I or the self and even all together they are not the self. The aggregates themselves are not I, nor can I be found on the aggregates. Nowhere from the tips of your hair down to your toes can you can find the I, the self. (The “I,” or “self,” are the same thing.)

What can’t be found are two things. First, the real I that you believe right now is sitting on a cushion taking the eight Maha­yana precepts: “I am here in a hall in North Carolina taking the eight Mahayana precepts.” That is the “real” I and it can’t be found. “Real” means “not merely labeled by the mind,” which means it is “existing from its own side.” When ordinary people call something “real,” they are actually talking about the object to be refuted (Tib: gag-cha). The object to be refuted is something that appears to the hallucinated mind to “exist from its own side” and is held by ignorance as one hundred percent true, but in reality it is not there. In everyday life, when people use the common word “real,” what they are referring to is actually the object to be refuted.

Therefore, this real I that you believe is taking the precepts and the real I that I believe is giving them is not there. Well, I can’t say that everybody in the hall is thinking that way! But anyway, in reality it is not there. There is no such real I giving the eight Mahayana precepts and no such real I taking them. It can’t be found. Nowhere from the tips of your hair down to your toes can that be found.

Second, not only can that real I not be found, but you can’t even find the merely imputed I that does exist. Even that can’t be found. You can find it in the United States and right now you can find it in this hall but you can’t find it on these aggregates. If you look for the merely labeled I, you can’t find it.

Which I is to be refuted?

So there is a question: When you look for the I and can’t find it, is that the definition of realizing emptiness? My view is that that needs to be checked.

The text87 mentions three I’s: The merely labeled I; the real I that is not merely labeled by the mind but existing from its own side; and the general I, the I that is not specifically merely labeled or truly existent, it is just I.

These three are basically different ways an individual can view the I. By looking at the I as merely labeled, we can specify that there is a “merely labeled I”—which actually accords with reality—then apply the label “merely labeled I” and look for it. Then we can specify that there is a “real I” or “truly existent I”— the I we believe is inside this body and we feel to be something very truly existent from its own side—then apply the label “truly existent I” and look for it.88 Then when you are not thinking of the I as being either truly existent or merely labeled but just I, that is the general I. For example, you can look for the truly existent book, the merely labeled book, or just the general book without either of those being specified.

So when we look for the I and can’t find it, which I are we talking about? That needs to be checked because neither the truly existent I nor the merely labeled I can be found, but if you look for the merely labeled I or the general I on these aggregates and can’t find them, that becomes falling into nihilism.89

In the lam-rim it is explained that if you look for the vase—not the “truly existent” or “real” vase that is the object to be refuted, but just “the vase”—at the end of the analysis when you can’t find the vase anywhere, it is not clear what the vase is, because you didn’t touch the object to be refuted. Then you fall into nihilism or destroy dependent arising.

The first of the four vital points of analysis is “understanding the object to be refuted.”90 The reason that comes first is because it makes no sense to look for the merely labeled I or general I and not find it. Recently I checked and saw a few paragraphs in dif­ferent places talking about this mistaken way of analyzing. This is analysis, but it is done in the wrong way because the object to be refuted is missed out. Because the object to be refuted is not touched, the result is unclear and you can’t point out what the vase is. You cannot come to the conclusion that the vase exists as a dependent arising, which is its conventional truth, or the “truth for the all-obscuring mind.”91

Analyzing this way doesn’t support dependent arising but only destroys it, therefore you are lost! This kind of analysis is not meditating on emptiness. Meditating on emptiness should harm ignorance, but this doesn’t harm ignorance; ignorance is left there. Therefore, we need to be very specific about exactly which I it is that, when we look for it and can’t find it, means we are seeing emptiness. Anyway, this is just a tiny drop to give you some idea.

The realization of emptiness

Therefore, the real I that is now taking the eight Mahayana precepts and the real I that is now giving them are not there. That real I can’t be found in this body or on these aggregates. It is totally empty. It has total non-existence from its own side. It is totally non-existent right there from where it is appearing to your hallucinated mind.

Normally I say that this is my mudra for meditating on emp­tiness. The mudra for the object to be refuted is to [bring your hands toward yourself palms facing upwards] expressing that the real I appears to exist from there, from its own side. Then the mudra for seeing emptiness is [to turn your palms downwards and move the hands down away from yourself] showing that the real I is totally non-existent, right there from where it is appear­ing. It is totally non-existent right there.

As sentient beings, everything appears to us to be truly existent. Only in meditative equipoise with the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness is there no truly existent appearance and no halluci­nation. Otherwise, even when arising from that concentration, hallucination is there again. The truly existent view ceases only when the subtle defilement of ignorance—the negative imprint that projects the truly existent view—is ceased and there is no more concept of true existence. Buddha doesn’t have dualistic view, the truly existent view, but we sentient beings do and that is why for us there is always the appearance of a truly existent I. The I appears to us to be truly existent and because of not having realized emptiness, we hold to its existing that way.

After realizing that the I is empty, there is no longer the concept holding it to be truly existent. The simultaneously born concept of true existence is still there—that remains right up to the eighth ground—but not the clinging to true existence. The difference between the way of apprehending an object before realizing emp­tiness and after realizing it is like the difference between the sky and the earth. Before realizing emptiness, there is a strong hold­ing on to true existence. A person who hasn’t realized emptiness apprehends the I to be truly existent and clings strongly to that. But after realizing the I to be empty, that total holding on to the I as truly existent is no longer there.

It is like looking back after crossing over the sand and seeing a mirage. The sunlight hitting the sand creates a vision of water and it really looks like there is water. But because you just came from there, you have the understanding that there is no water there. There is an appearance of water but at the same time you have the realization that there is no water. There is no clinging or total holding on to there being water.

The evolution of samsara and the suffering of the six realms

This I is totally empty. It is totally non-existent. Not only now, not only from last night, not only from birth, but from beginning­less time. It has been empty and non-existent from the beginning. It never came into existence. But while it is like this, we have the hallucination that it exists from its own side.

The I that is just this second merely imputed by the mind, the very next second appears back to the hallucinated mind as not merely labeled. That appearance is a mental fabrication, but we let the mind hold onto it as one hundred percent true and in that moment, we create the root of samsara, ignorance.

This happens because we have been following ignorance and have been under the control of ignorance from beginningless rebirths. Ignorance has been our guru and we have been listening to everything it says with total trust up to now. Because of that, all the other negative emotional thoughts and wrong concepts arise: anger, attachment and ignorance along with the many dif­ferent branches and types of these three poisonous minds. It is said that 84,000 teachings were given by the Buddha because, when elaborated, there are 84,000 different types of delusion.

Ignorance motivates karma, which plants a karmic seed on the mere I. This is according to the Prasangika school, but how can an imprint be left without the continuum of the mind?92 From that seed, rebirth is produced. It is because of this igno­rance—the self-grasping of the person and self-grasping of the aggregates—that we have been suffering in samsara from begin­ningless rebirths up to now.

Numberless times we have been born in each of the hell realms—the eight major cold hells, the eight major hot hells and the neighboring hells—from beginningless rebirths.

Numberless times we have been born in the hungry ghost realm. Hungry ghosts experience the heaviest suffering of hunger and thirst for hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of years. They cannot find even one drop of water, not even dampness on the ground or even a spoonful of food for hundreds of thousands of years. It is the most unbearable suffering and we have been born in that realm and experienced it numberless times from beginningless rebirths.

Numberless times we have been born as animals and experi­enced the suffering of being extremely foolish and ignorant, as well as the unbelievably, unbelievably heavy suffering of being eaten alive. Wherever an animal is, its enemy is right there. Whether it is in the water, in the forest or underground, due to karma, wherever the animal is, its enemy is always nearby and it can be eaten any time.

In recent years I have been telling people that some time ago, when I was in an airplane, the thought came to me that when you look down at the ocean it seems very peaceful and calm, but when you think about the creatures that live in the water—wow, what suffering! What unimaginable suffering! There are big ones the size of a mountain that eat an unbelievable number of small ones. They eat whatever comes next to their mouth. Then there are many small ones who feed off the bodies of the big ones.

Animals are constantly running in fear of being eaten. While they are escaping from their enemies, they’re looking for other animals to eat at the same time. It is just amazing; an unbelievable state of fear. Look at the birds. When a bird lands on the ground to eat food, it looks this way and that in every direction.You have to understand why—there is always fear. Wherever an animal is, its enemy comes. There is one creature I have seen that lives underground. It digs a tunnel in the earth but then snakes crawl in to eat it. Sometimes it will come out and make a lot of noise until the snake goes away. At the moment, we are not living with the constant fear of being eaten alive as we run to eat another creature alive. Many human beings in this world do eat creatures alive, but due to having met the Buddhadharma and due to Bud­dha’s kindness and compassion, we are not doing that.

It is just amazing that we have not been born as those ani­mals. Wow! It is just amazing that we have such unbelievable comfort and pleasure, especially the freedom and opportunity to practice Dharma. Like today, for example, right now taking the eight Mahayana precepts and doing retreat with lam-rim medita­tion and tantric practice, the quickest path to enlightenment. On the foundation of lam-rim we do the Guru Puja, which is the quickest way to achieve enlightenment. It has so many methods to purify obstacles and collect extensive merits, the necessary conditions. It is just amazing. We do not realize enough the situ­ation those animals are in, all their continuous suffering and fear. We are simply not aware. We have such unbelievable comfort and pleasure that we can’t imagine it. We are totally spoiled and pampered—yet we are still unable to practice Dharma.

We have been born as all those different creatures living in the ocean numberless times. We have been born as whales the size of mountains and as tiny creatures that can only be seen through a microscope. We have been born as jellyfish and have been eaten numberless times. We have continuously suffered all of this numberless times from beginningless rebirths.

Even the animals that live with human beings have unbeliev­able suffering. They suffer from heat and cold, from being tor­tured, made to carry heavy loads and pull carriages. I see many beasts in India with their noses running and breathing “haaah haaah” because the load they are pulling is too heavy. Horses and cows are used as long as they can produce milk or be ridden, then killed for meat when they are old and no longer able to walk or be useful. Usually horse meat is not eaten but in Mongolia and some other countries it is very common to eat horse meat and drink horse’s milk.

These animals cannot say anything. They have no freedom. They cannot express their feelings or say how much they are suffering. Can you imagine the difference between us as human beings and them? Wow! We don’t have the kind of problems they face for even a day.Therefore, if we make no use of this incredible life we have now with all its comfort, wealth and so on to practice Dharma and instead waste it—there is no greater loss. I am not going to go through all the quotations in A Guide to the Bodhi­sattva’s Way of Life, but Shantideva says:93

If I don’t collect merit
While I have the fortune to enjoy virtue,
What can I do when I am born totally ignorant
And suffering in the lower realms?

If we don’t practice Dharma, purify, collect merit and attain the path now while we have this incredible opportunity, what will we do when born in the lower realms due to negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths and which we have still not purified or finished experiencing? Nothing. There is nothing that can be done in the lower realms, except just suffer for eons and eons and eons until the karma finishes.

Numberless times we have been born as human beings and suffered. Humans have eight types of suffering. In the Great Treatise, these eight are each explained in five outlines.94 There is the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, death, worry and fear about meeting what you don’t want, not being able to find what you do want, not getting any satisfaction when you do find what you want and the suffering of the aggregates. The Rolling Stones’ singer expressed our inability to find satisfaction exactly from his own experience. He was somebody who was world famous, had a good reputation, wealth, friends and everything else, but he could not get any satisfaction from all of this. Human beings have all these sufferings and the suffering of the aggregates.

Numberless times we have been born as suras and asuras and suffered. The mental suffering of the suras when they experience the five signs of nearing death is much heavier than the physical sufferings of the hell beings.

For example, sometimes I think that beggars who live on the street have not that much worry. Every day they beg for some food and live on that. They don’t have to worry about having a bad reputation or not being richer or better than others like wealthy people with businesses. Millionaires, billionaires and zillionaires have all that wealth and huge mansions, but so much worry.

Recently I saw a very wealthy American man on TV showing off his house. He has a mansion built on the water by the side of a lake and he was showing off all the many rooms and beds and boats and comfort. The good thing about being wealthy is that even if you don’t have the Dharma, you can help by doing good things for others with a sincere heart and compassion. Otherwise, there is nothing, just a lot of worry and fear about your business or reputation.

Wealthy people are always anxious and afraid that somebody else will become richer or more powerful and that they will lose their reputation or wealth. Even though they already have enough money for many, many lifetimes, still they have an unbe­lievable amount of anxiety. There are many problems at work, relationship problems at home and a lot of pressure and stress all the time. The beggar on the street doesn’t have that much concern.

When Gelek Rinpoche was living in Delhi, he mentioned during teachings that the poor laborers working outside under the hot sun building roads or doing construction work look up through the windows of the large houses and see the air condi­tioning and fans. For them it seems like heaven and they think, “Those people have so much comfort and pleasure! How won­derful their lives are! They have no problems, only happiness!” At the same time, the wealthy people living in the houses look down at the laborers and think, “Those people working on the road have such a good, simple life with no heavy responsibili­ties or problems!” They are attracted to the poor people’s lives because they have so many business and relationship problems and a lot of worry and fear.

In a similar way, Kyabje Chöden Rinpoche explained that the mental suffering of the devas is heavier than the physical suffer­ing of animals.

Numberless times we have been born and suffered like this in samsara due to ignorance, looking at the aggregates as being the I, the self, when in reality there is no I or self. This is the main wrong concept and from that come three others.

TWO: LOOKING AT SAMSARIC PLEASURE AS REAL HAPPINESS

As I have already explained:95

While samsaric pleasure is only suffering,
Because of looking at samsaric pleasure as real happiness and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born and suffered in samsara
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

Samsaric pleasure is only suffering, but because of labeling it and looking at it as real happiness and then being attached, we have been continuously suffering in samsara from beginningless rebirths.

THREE: LOOKING AT THE BODY AS CLEAN

While this body is dirty,
Because of looking at the body as completely clean and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born and suffered in samsara
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

This body is like a garbage can or a septic tank that collects all the waste from the toilet. Can you imagine being inside a septic tank? That is what this body is like. Nagarjuna said the body is “a container of thirty-six dirty things.”

Khunu Lama Rinpoche explained that before food is eaten, it is clean, but after going inside the body, it is dirty. Whether it comes out from the mouth, the ears or the holes in the lower part of the body, it is dirty. When food is put in a container or pot it doesn’t become dirty, but when it is put inside the body it becomes dirty. The reason it is dirty is because the inside of the body is dirty. This shows that the nature of the body is dirty.

While this body is dirty because of looking at it as completely clean and being attached to it, we have been continuously taking rebirth and experiencing suffering in samsara from beginningless rebirths up to now.

FOUR: LOOKING AT IMPERMANENT PHENOMENA AS PERMANENT 96

While all compounded phenomena are in the nature of impermanence,
Because of looking at compounded phenomena as permanent and being attached,
I and all sentient beings have been born in samsara and suffered
Numberless times from beginningless rebirths up to now.

Our life, this I, these aggregates, our possessions, the people around us and our family members are all impermanent by nature. They are impermanent because they are compounded by causes and conditions and therefore under the control of causes and condi­tions. That is why everything decays and nothing lasts. Things change not only day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second, but even within each second. Geshe Lamrimpa from Tibet mentioned that things change even within each sec­ond and that this is perhaps the subtlest impermanence.

It is because of not meditating, not being aware and not real­izing that phenomena are in the nature of impermanence that we live our lives with the concept of permanence, believing that things are going to last for a long time and becoming attached to them. Then when things do change and death or decay comes to us or to someone in our family, it is an unbelievable shock. We have a nervous breakdown or go crazy.

For example, the first time I went to Malaysia I stayed at the house of a wealthy family because there was no center. Many lamas had stayed there previously and given the family Bud­dha statues. I heard that one day the son suddenly died and the father couldn’t stand it. He threw all the statues on the floor and broke them because he thought that Buddha had not taken care of his family. That is what happens when you don’t think about impermanence. You think things are permanent and that you and your family will live for a long time. Then when things suddenly change, even though that’s the nature of life, it is an unbelievable shock.

LETTING GO OF THE I AND CHERISHING OTHERS

Because of being under the control of these four wrong concepts, we have been suffering since beginningless time and if we con­tinue to follow these wrong concepts, we will experience all these unimaginable sufferings endlessly. Just being free from the ocean of samsaric sufferings and its causes is not enough:

All sufferings, obstacles, misfortunes and undesirable things come from the self-cherishing thought, from cherishing the I.

It all comes from the self-cherishing thought, from the I.97 There­fore, the I is something to let go of.

All happiness—our past happiness from beginningless rebirths, present happiness, future happiness, libera­tion and enlightenment—comes from the good heart cherishing and wanting to benefit others, bodhicitta.

That means all our past happiness from beginningless rebirths as well as our present and future happiness up to enlightenment comes from others.98 It comes from numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras and intermedi­ate state beings.

Wow! Can you imagine that? All our happiness from begin­ningless rebirths came from the numberless sentient beings in each realm. Even without thinking of any other happiness, just that much kindness is unimaginable and depthless. There is so much to think about and feel. It is amazing how kind sentient beings are. Each one is unbelievably precious, kind and dear.

On top of that, all our present happiness comes from every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, sura, asura and intermediate state being, therefore they are even more kind, pre­cious and dear.

On top of that, all our future lives’ happiness, which is still only temporary happiness, comes from each of the numberless sentient beings in each realm, therefore they are much kinder, much more precious and dear.

On top of that, liberation from samsara comes from each of the numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras and intermediate state beings. Wow! Can you imagine? Now this is ultimate happiness, therefore they are unbelievably, unbelievably precious, kind and dear.

On top of that, enlightenment comes from every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, sura, asura and intermedi­ate state being. Wow! Now every sentient being is the dearest, kindest, most precious one in your heart. They are kinder even than Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, because Buddha, Dharma and Sangha came from the kindness of sentient beings. It is like you need food to survive and since the food has to come from a field, that field is very precious.

Therefore, whatever small service and benefit you can offer to anybody, whether it is a person or even an insect that is being eaten or drowning in water, is the happiest, most enjoyable thing in your life. Of course, if you can give great help it is good, but even if you can only offer some small help, still it is the happiest, most meaningful and most joyful thing. By seeing that sentient beings are the most precious, kindest and dearest ones in your life, you are unbelievably happy to do anything you can to help them.

Now think:

I am going to cause sentient beings to have not only the happiness of this life, but more importantly, the happiness of future lives; then even more importantly, ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara; and most importantly, enlightenment. In order to offer that service and benefit to others, I myself must achieve enlightenment. Therefore, I am going to take the eight Mahayana precepts.


NOTES

82 This commentary is based on Light of the Path, 11 September (morning and evening) 2009. [Return to text]

83 For teachings on the eight Mahayana precepts and the actual ceremony, see The Direct and Unmistaken Method and Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat. [Return to text]

84 I have not seen a copy of the original motivation by His Holiness transcribed by Rinpoche and Rinpoche does not seem to have read this out. Therefore I extracted and summarized the following motivation from Rinpoche’s teaching and it is not part of the original discourse. [Return to text]

85Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Volume 1, p. 312, lists these four wrong concepts as: “Perceiving impermanent things to be permanent, suffering as pleasure, the impure as pure and the selfless as having an independent absolute reality.”That is the order in which they are given in Lama Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise. [Return to text]

86 Rinpoche’s comment: “Compounding aggregates in Tibetan is du-je kyi phung­po—the word is the title. There are fifty-one mental factors and when you take out two—feeling and cognition—forty-nine are left. Those forty-nine mental fac­tors are called du-je kyi phung-po (‘du byed kyi phung po), ‘compounding aggre­gates,’ because they ‘compound’ the result. The Tibetan is similar to du-je (‘dus byas), which means ‘causative’ or ‘compounded’ phenomena, i.e. the action has been done. But this is ‘compound-ing’ phenomena, because it is compound-ing or producing its result. The translation needs to be made precise.” [Return to text]

87 It is not clear which text Rinpoche is referring to here, but the “three I’s” are mentioned in Lama Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Exposition of the Stages of the Path. See Tsongkhapa’s Final Exposition of Wisdom, p. 57. [Return to text]

88Rinpoche’s comment: “The Vaibhashika, Sautrantika and Cittamatra schools all believe there is a truly existent I. The Svatantrika and Prasangika schools— although they have a different understanding of what ‘truly existent’ means—do not believe this exists.” [Return to text]

89This is because—as Rinpoche goes on to explain—the merely labeled I does exist as a dependent arising and is therefore not the object to be refuted; whereas the truly existent I does not exist at all and is a mental fabrication. Therefore, it is the truly existent I that we need to realize is empty and this realization will not destroy the view of dependent arising. [Return to text]

90 Analyzing by way of the four vital points is one of the main techniques for meditating on emptiness. Pabongka Rinpoche explains that it is particularly suit­able for beginners, see Liberation, Part Three, pp. 274–90. [Return to text]

91Kün-dzob den-pa is usually translated as “conventional” truth and don-dam den-pa as “ultimate” truth. Rinpoche translates kün-dzob den-pa as “truth for the all-obscuring mind” to bring out the full meaning that although conventional truth is true for a valid conventional consciousness, it obscures the ultimate nature of reality (emptiness). [Return to text]

92 Here we are being challenged to understand the meaning of the Prasangika school view that imprints are left on the mere I. [Return to text]

93 Ch. 4, v. 18. [Return to text]

94Volume One, pp. 272–79. [Return to text]

95 See Give Up Stretching the Legs, pp. 79–89. [Return to text]

96 Meditation on impermanence is dealt with in Cutting the Concept of Permanence. [Return to text]

97 See note 72 and appendix 6 for the shortcomings of cherishing the self. [Return to text]

98 See note 74 and appendix 6 for the advantages of cherishing others. [Return to text]