My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
For anxiety, it is very good to look at yourself as empty: subject empty, action empty, object empty.
Empty doesn’t mean nothing; it means empty of existing from its own side, it means that. Mainly it’s looking at the creator, oneself, as empty of existing from its own side, totally false. There’s you, but [the view that] you are existing from there is totally false.
We come into existence because there’s the valid base, the aggregates, and then the valid mind labels “I”, so like that, the valid mind focusing on the aggregates then merely imputes I. The mind not only labels I but also merely imputes I. We can start with the label and then finalize that, then the subtlest thing is merely labeled, that’s it. Nothing exists from its own side; no I exists from its own side, nothing.
If we think there is something real from there, anything from there, anything real, that is a total hallucination, totally non-existent. That’s what we should meditate on even for lifetimes, for many lifetimes, many years, months, weeks, days, always, so have mindfulness of that.
After training the mind like that, as we realize this, just as the I, action, object, samsara and nirvana, hell and enlightenment, happiness and problems, all that, exists, then we see that what exists is like a mirage.
It’s like the very hot sun heating the sand and when we cross there’s no water at all, but after some time, when we have crossed the sand and then look back, there’s water running in our view, so like that. We know there’s no water at all; we just realized that when we came there. When we look back, there’s [the appearance of] water, but we know there’s no water, that it’s a false view.
That’s what mindfulness of the I, action, object, everything, the whole thing, is. That’s how we should come to see our life, so there’s no basis at all for attachment, anger, ignorance, pride, jealous mind, all those things. So that’s fantastic. There’s no basis to arise any delusion because there’s no basis for the object of ignorance, the root of samsara, the root of the oceans of samsaric suffering holding the I, action and object, all the phenomena. They appear as something real from there, but all those, for example, the I, are not true.
As I mentioned before, on the valid base, the aggregates, the thought which is focusing on that then labels, merely imputes “I”. Therefore, that’s all that exists, the I is not more than that, there’s nothing slightly more than that. Anything, the slightest thing more than that, appearing from there, that is a hallucination, a total hallucination, that is what is empty, that’s what we should meditate on, to see that, to realize that.
So then as I explained the mirage, as a result we see things as merely labeled. Things are happening, but like a mirage, nothing is real and everything [exists in mere name]. The I exists in mere name, action exists in mere name, the object exists in mere name, samsara exists in mere name, nirvana exists in mere name, enlightenment exists in mere name, hell exists in mere name, happiness exists in mere name, suffering exists in mere name, everything exists in mere name, everything; we are working in mere name, creating good karma in mere name, creating bad karma in mere name.
The more you meditate on this, then your anxiety will become less and less. Anxiety is built on the basis of the hallucination, the truly existent I, the I existing from its own side, by its nature, the real I.
Thank you very much.
In terms of your practice, according to my observation, regarding your yidam, there are Tara Cittamani, Secret Vajrapani and Most Secret Hayagriva. Choose whichever deity you have a stronger or closer feeling for. Sometimes you can have two deities, not only one. So for any of them you can do the initiation and then do the practice.
You can do retreat on the main deity after you’ve received the commentary. You can do the enabling retreat, the short retreat, or the long three-year retreat. Those who are able to do a three-year retreat can do that, but [not] everyone has to do a three-year retreat.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha taught the 84,000 teachings in three levels: the Lesser Vehicle teachings, the Greater Vehicle teachings of sutra and the Greater Vehicle teachings of tantra. All those three are embodied into the lamrim, the graduated path to enlightenment.
The lamrim has the graduated path of the lower capable being in general, the graduated path of the middle capable being in general and the graduated path of the greater capable being, so like that. Then this is condensed even more than that into the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment: renunciation, bodhicitta and the right view.
So for you, the particular lamrim text that you should mainly read and study is the Middle Lamrim, but also Essence Of Refined Gold. Read this mindfully from beginning to end, so that it becomes a meditation, in order to actualize the path to enlightenment.
Study the Middle-Length Lamrim or The Essential Nectar, you can also use the Essence of Refined Gold outline, but the commentaries of those two and also Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, and any other lamrims, you can read those, then integrate that into the main one, the Middle-Length Lamrim. Also read Essence Of Refined Gold if you need something in order to find clarity. You should do this three times.
Then do effortful lamrim meditation:
- Five months: correctly devoting to the virtuous friend, going over the lamrim outlines with meditation.
- One month: the graduated path of the lower capable being in general.
- Eleven months: the graduated path of middle capable being in general.
- Four months: bodhicitta, divided week-by-week into the three sections: the special kindness, exchanging self for others, the seven-point Mahayana cause and effect instruction, and the third week division, remembering the kindness by receiving protection and comfort through our house, food, clothing, like that.
- Two months: emptiness.
The section on shamatha you can learn, but your meditation to actualize that has to be in the future, when you’re equipped to do that. So that’s in the future.
Cycle through the lamrim outline four times, then do effortless meditation.
This part relates to the deity, the yidam. If you don’t have the great initiation of the deity, you can still recite the mantras for a while and if you want, I can give you the lung by audio and then while reciting, you can make prayers and requests for realizations. This is after you have decided which of the three deities you have the strongest feeling toward. There is no rush for this.
- Refuge: 50,000.
- Tonglen: 100,000. This is an extraordinarily powerful practice to develop bodhicitta, it’s like a bodhisattva hero practice. Like, for example, when we’re so brave and we just run to the enemy alone, we’re able to run. Like that, we are giving up the self-cherishing thought and cherishing other sentient beings, serving sentient beings, experiencing their suffering and the cause, karma and delusion, taking it on ourselves, then leading them to enlightenment, like that practice. And we give all our happiness, our possessions, body and merits of the three times to them. Tonglen is a very powerful practice, each time we do this tonglen, taking the suffering of others or giving [our happiness, possessions and merit] to them. Then we become closer to enlightenment and we benefit every single sentient being—every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, every single animal, and that means every single animal in the ocean, every single animal under the ground, in the bushes, in the trees, and in the body of the animals and the human beings, all those tiny creatures, whatever they are called, germs and all those tiny things, also the numberless humans, suras and asuras.
- Tsa tsas: 20,000, dividing between Mitukpa, Chenrezig, and Manjushri.
- Water bowls: 10,000.
- Prostrations while reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas: 50,000.
- Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga: 120,000, reciting the Migtsema mantra, counting that with meditation.
- Nyung näs: Do as many as possible each year, whatever you can. Just do whatever you can; there’s not a specific number. It’s the greatest purification and the way to collect merit, to generate compassion for all sentient beings, to quickly attain enlightenment and to attain pure land.
Recite OM MANI PADME HUM all the time, whatever you are doing, when you are working you can recite from the mouth, when you are jogging or walking, just as Tibetans recite it all the time. You can also recite this mantra while in sitting meditation; it is so good. There are books explaining the meaning and the benefits of the mantra. Later, I am also planning to produce one book and then you can get that.
You are most welcome to enlightenment.
With much love and prayers ...