I prostrate to the Arya Triple Gem. Thus have I heard at one time...
[Rinpoche recites the Heart Sutra in English up to “...no attainment and no non-attainment...”]
Relating to experience, form is emptiness, emptiness is form, how it appears to you, how it appears to your mind, so relating to the I, the condition is first the association of body and mind, the aggregates. Depending on that, you label, your mind merely imputes “I” on these aggregates. Then the I that you have merely imputed by your thoughts on these aggregates does not appear as if it is merely imputed but appears in the aspect of an I that exists from its own side. After your thought merely imputes it on the aggregates, it does not appear as merely imputed. It appears to exist from its own side. But it cannot be found anywhere, there is no way it can be found. This I, which is unlabeled, independent, cannot be found anywhere from the tip of the hair down to the toes. Inside and out, it cannot be found anywhere. It is completely empty.
The I is neither all the aggregates nor form, substantial, feeling, recognition, the compounded aggregates, or consciousness. The I is none of those, not the whole aggregates, or any of them. Now when you analyze like this, it looks like the I exists separately from the aggregates, from the association of body and mind, and from the five aggregates gathered. It looks like it exists separately from this, but the I doesn’t exist separately. From the previous analysis it looks like the I exists separately from them, that the I is none of these and that the I exists. The I is neither the whole aggregates nor each of them. Of course the I exists, so then it seems it should be that the I exists separately from these aggregates, but in reality, to make it clear, the I doesn’t exist as either oneness with the aggregates or separately from the aggregates.
How does it exist? Then the question, is there no I? No I is not our experience. The existing I is our experience. That the I is non-existent is not our experience. If there is no I, there is no suffering, there’s no problem for this “I.” So if you don’t have problems, if there’s no problem for this “I.” This I experiences sufferings, problems that the I doesn’t want. The I wants happiness and the I is experiencing problems that the I doesn’t need, and the I is missing happiness, the I is devoid of happiness, which the I needs. So, if there’s no I, there’s no problems, and then why should we work, why should we keep busy, why should we spend thirty, forty years, why should we study from child time, why should we do all those studies to have happiness, to obtain happiness for this I, why should we keep busy to get a job? So, it’s completely contradictory to the daily life experience, that there is no I.
If there is no I, then there’s no you. Then you have no problems, there’s no subject who experiences the problems, there’s no receiver, there’s nobody who receives the problems. There’s nobody who gives problems, there’s nobody who receives problems, there’s nobody who experiences problems. You understand?
Also, if there’s no I, in general worldly life, there’s no need to rush, to get all this education to get a job. And then, if there’s no I, there’s no need of religion for happiness, no need, no reason. What for? You don’t exist and others do not exist, so what for? If we don’t exist, others don’t exist, same thing. Then you don’t need to meditate. What for? If there’s no I. If there’s no I then it becomes simplest; if there’s no I, there’s no need for action. What for? If there’s no I, there’s no action, no object. Then the omniscient ones, the fully enlightened beings, the holy beings, generating the good heart to benefit others becomes completely wrong, because others do not exist. Then Buddha revealing teachings—it comes to the point that the Buddha is hallucinated.
Just any thought of the I, without analyzing the different thoughts of the I, without differentiating, if all the thoughts of the I are wrong, hallucinations, that means there’s no I, because if the object that the thought perceives or believes in is non-existent, then that thought is a hallucination, a wrong conception.
The way the thought perceives the I, the way it believes in the I, if that I existed, then that thought would be a correct, valid thought, not hallucinated. The way it thinks, the way it perceives the I would be a correct thought, that perception would be correct.
Without analyzing the I that exists and the I that doesn’t exist, and the different thoughts that realize the I that exists and believe in the I that doesn’t exist, the unlabeled, independent I,—there are two aspects of the way the thought perceives the I. For the thought, there are two. One is the hallucinated one and one is the valid one.
Simply think, check—if all the thoughts of I are wrong, then how can you generate great compassion, great loving kindness? There’s no way to generate great compassion, great loving kindness. Great compassion not only thinks how wonderful it would be if sentient beings were free from all the sufferings, but thinks, “I want to cause the sentient beings to be free from the sufferings and the cause.” So that’s great compassion, taking the responsibility upon oneself. “I will do it!” That is great compassion. So, if all the thoughts of the I are wrong, now the thought of great compassion is wrong—this mistake arises. Great loving kindness becomes wrong, because there’s no I, so that thought is wrong. There’s no I so there’s no action for that I to cause the sentient beings to be free from the sufferings and to lead them to happiness, to liberation, to enlightenment.
The holy beings, the bodhisattvas having the thought, “I will do this. I will bear the hardships working for other sentient beings. I will achieve enlightenment to accomplish the work to free sentient beings from all the sufferings and lead them to all happiness.” So you see now, in this case, bodhicitta becomes the wrong conception and the hallucination to be abandoned.
Is it like that? Do you see it like that or not? Or do you see from a different way?
Or you can sleep. If you say that all the thought of the I is wrong, do you think then that the bodhicitta becomes a wrong conception? To be abandoned?
There is a way to generate bodhicitta, is there? Huh?
It’s a good way to think, to analyze. Then in reality, there’s no one who takes responsibility, there’s no I.
The I neither exists as oneness with the aggregates or as separately from the aggregates, OK? So, then the question comes, is the I nonexistent? No! The I exists, but what it is and how it exists is not as oneness with the aggregates, nor separately, which means without depending on the aggregates—neither as oneness with the aggregates nor separately from that, but as being merely imputed on the aggregates by thought. In other words, the I exists on the aggregates as mere name.
Form is empty, emptiness is form. Relating to the I, which is the easy way to meditate, the easy way to realize emptiness, on the I. That’s why in the Madhyamaka teachings, it says that in order to realize the emptiness of the aggregates, first one should realize the emptiness of the I. Without realizing the emptiness of the I one cannot realize the emptiness of the aggregates. That is because it is easier, I think because of the base, it is easy to recognize the refuted object, the true existence of the I. It is easier to recognize that than to recognize the refuted object, true existence, the unlabeled, true existence of the aggregates.
So now, the I is empty, form is emptiness. Relating to the I, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. So the I is emptiness, the emptiness is the I, which is the easy way, easier to understand, easier to feel, by relating to the I, by meditating on the I.
So, now, the I is emptiness; the I that is merely imputed on these aggregates, on the association of body and mind. That I does not appear as merely labeled, but as a real “I.” This means the real self, the I, appears as independent, truly existent or existing by its nature or from its own side.
The I is emptiness. Now, where you are pointing out emptiness is on the real self, the refuted object, the real I that is appearing from above the I that is merely imputed on these aggregates. Where you are pointing out the I is emptiness. The real self that you feel is in a particular location in the body, not in the belly, not in the head, but around the heart, inside the chest. I don’t mean the heart, this bumping, physical heart, but inside the chest—the I that you feel somewhere in a particular location, that one.
When you say “I is emptiness,” the real I or the truly existent I, that which appears to you from above the I that is merely imputed by your thought on the aggregates. So, I is emptiness. This becomes empty, you see this as empty, it exists nowhere. That is because the I is dependent, and it exists by depending on the base, the aggregates, and the thought that labels. The I exists by being merely imputed on the base by the thought. Therefore, this I is completely empty of the independent I. This I is not the independent I, not the truly existent I, not the I existing from its own side. This I is completely empty of those. So, this emptiness is the absolute nature of the I. So the I is emptiness.
By relying upon the word, by using the word on the truly existent I, the I appears from its own side as real, merely imputed on this base by the thought. That is empty.
Now what comes as a result through this realization of the emptiness of the I, the result that comes in your experience is that the I is not completely non-existent, the I is not non-existent even in name. The I is not non-existent even in name. Not that. I exist! The definite understanding that comes in your heart by meditating and realizing the emptiness of the I is that the I is not non-existent even in name, that the I exists.
By realizing our own hallucination on the I that exists from its own side, we realize that the unmistaken refuted object is completely false, completely empty. The true existence of the I is completely empty.
Then, naturally, without choice, like the scales in the shops, if this is heavier, the other one comes up, if one is heavier, this one comes up, like that, so, without choice, that happens. So same thing—by realizing the emptiness of the I, that the I is empty of existing from its own side, then even if you don’t try to think that the I exists at all on these aggregates, naturally, without choice, very powerfully and strongly, the understanding that the I exists on these aggregates under the control of name comes very strongly and powerfully. Even if you don’t particularly try to think that the I exists, the definite understanding, the realization that the I exists, that it exists under the control of name, comes so powerfully.
So then, this time there’s no I from its own side but, from above the aggregates, there’s no I, but there’s an I on the aggregates. There’s an I from the side of the mind. There’s no I from its own side. From above the aggregates there’s no I existing, but there’s an I from the side of the mind. There’s an I on the aggregates.
There’s the definite understanding that the I exists, which is the realization of the conventional truth, or the relative truth, depending on the translation that is used in different times. Relative truth, or conventional truth. So, there is the definite understanding that the I exists on these aggregates. The person clearly sees the way the I exists according to reality. Then, in a similar way, the person sees that there is the existence of negative karma and good karma, and there is the existence of happiness and suffering. In a similar way, he sees dependent arising. The perceiver, the one who experiences the happiness and suffering of the I, exists, then also from that, one gets the definite understanding of how negative karma exists and how good karma exists, and also the definite understanding of how suffering exists, how happiness exists, and how they are dependent arisings. How they exist and how they are dependent arisings, by depending on base and thought.
This gives us more faith in karma. Instead of losing faith in karma by saying there’s no I, which makes us think, “If there’s no I, what’s the point of practice, of putting effort into abandoning negative karma and practicing good karma? If there’s no I there’s no action of giving harm others, and there’s no action of benefiting others.”
In this way it gives us stronger, greater faith in karma. Through this great faith in karma we are able to see how things exist, how things are dependent arising, and also we know, we have the definite understanding because they are dependent arisings. The negative karma, the cause of suffering, is dependent arising, so by depending on causes and conditions it can be stopped, it can be purified. Negative karma exists by depending on cause and conditions, so same thing, by depending on cause and conditions, it can be stopped. Suffering exists by depending on cause and conditions, so therefore by depending on cause and conditions suffering can be stopped. Happiness depends on cause and conditions, happiness exists by depending on cause and conditions, so it can be developed. So you have a much more clear understanding how you can stop suffering and how you can develop happiness. In this way it is possible to achieve liberation. It gives you a very clear understanding that you can achieve liberation.
The reason there is suffering is because there’s a cause. The cause is a dependent arising, dependent on cause and conditions, and the delusion arises and produces karma—karma arises because it is dependent on cause and conditions, so therefore, you see now, there are six causes explained in the lamrim teachings, there are six things that cause delusions and disturbing thoughts to arise. By stopping those six causes, delusions cannot arise.
The disturbing thought arises, so like this, basically, when we meet objects, how does the delusion arise? How do ignorance, anger, and attachment arise? How do they arise? They do not arise without depending on cause and conditions. They arise by depending on cause and conditions, by the imprint that is left on the mental continuum by the disturbing thoughts and karma that was produced by disturbing thoughts in the past. By generating the remedy path within your own mind, gradually you can completely remove the seed and the imprint that is left on the mental continuum by the disturbing thoughts and karma.
If you don’t have the imprint, if the mental continuum is completely pure, however many sensual objects, however many desirable objects are around, thousands, billions, however many desirable objects are around, it is impossible for disturbing thoughts to arise. However, many objects make the strongest desire arise, however many millions, even if you’re always with them, continuously, all the time, without separation, it is impossible for attachment to arise even for a second.
In day-to-day life, there are six causes for disturbing thoughts that are explained. However, the basic thing is the imprint. So now, because the imprint is there, because you haven’t removed it by generating the remedy path, when you meet the object, either you don’t know because you haven’t met the teachings that contain the advice on how to control the disturbing thoughts, and you don’t have Dharma wisdom, or you know the teachings, meditations, and advice about how to control disturbing thoughts, but you don’t apply them, you don’t practice. Therefore, since you are not protecting yourself, just by meeting the object of desire, suddenly the desire arises, and just by meeting the object of anger, suddenly anger arises. Like lighting, or like when you strike a match and the flame comes. Like that, the imprint of delusion is there on the mental continuum, not having been removed, and you’re not applying the meditations, not putting the teachings into the practice, so, by meeting the object, the disturbing thoughts arise. It is the same thing with jealousy, pride, and all the disturbing thoughts—they arise, and create karma.
That’s how the delusion is a dependent arising, the cause of suffering, and how disturbing thoughts and karma are dependent arising. Depending on the cause, the imprint, and those six conditions, and the object, the disturbing thoughts arise. When you see how the delusion is a dependent arising, when you see this clearly, you have the definite understanding how you can eliminate the cause of suffering. Then you have the clear understanding of how you can stop disturbing thoughts from arising. Not only by keeping distance from the object, not only by using the teachings to control the disturbing thoughts, the lamrim teachings, the teachings of the graduated path to enlightenment, not only that, but there are many things.
The second method is putting the teachings of the Buddha into practice when you meet these objects and there is the danger for disturbing thoughts to arise. The main thing is to generate the remedy of the path, which completely removes the imprint and ceases it, within the mind. If there is no seed at all planted in the ground, and if you take the seeds that are there out, it is impossible to grow a poisonous plant that harms life. So, same thing. In this way, you can make it impossible for disturbing thoughts to arise. That’s how liberation is possible, how ultimate happiness is possible, and how everlasting happiness is possible. The definite understanding of how you can achieve liberation and full enlightenment comes from the understanding of dependent arising. It comes from the understanding of how the cause of suffering and suffering are dependent arising, how they are empty, how the subject—the one who experiences suffering and the one who creates the cause of suffering—is empty, a dependent arising.
What His Holiness often explains is that the Buddhist view is dependent arising, and the practice of conduct is not to harm other sentient beings. Here is the whole essence of the Buddhadharma, sutra and tantra, the Lesser Vehicle teachings, the Paramitayana teachings, the tantric teachings—all the teachings of Buddha, the whole essence of Buddha’s teaching is contained in this.
Happiness and suffering are all dependent arisings. This also shows the need for compassion within you, within your mind—even for the reason of the happiness of self, and especially for the reason of the happiness of other sentient beings. There is a need to stop harming others and the need to benefit other sentient beings. In some ways, all the reasons come from dependent arising, because everything is dependent arising, and this gives the reason to have compassion and the conduct to not harm others and to benefit them.
The other one is more subtle; maybe I will explain the twelve links in the teaching.
When you see the emptiness of the I, then there’s no I from above the aggregates, but there’s an I on the aggregates. There’s an I existing without choice on these aggregates under the control of name. This comes without the need to think, but as a result of your experience. This might be the realization of the subtle dependent arising of the I, that the I exists on these aggregates as merely imputed by thought.
This one is the realization of relative truth. After realizing emptiness, the experience comes that the I definitely exists on the aggregates. The truth of the illusive mind, kun tsob kyi den pa, or the truth of the all-obscuring mind, in other words, relative truth. This realization comes only after having realized the absolute truth, the emptiness of the I, the truth of the absolute mind. As the absolute mind sees the object, emptiness, it is the truth for the absolute mind. As the illusive mind, the all-obscuring mind, sees the ignorance of true existence as true for that, so it is the truth of the all-obscuring mind. So the emptiness of the I is the truth of the absolute mind, and the I itself if the truth for the all-obscuring mind. As the ignorance of true existence sees the I, it is true for that ignorance.
Form is emptiness, I is emptiness. So you see that emptiness is form or emptiness is I. Relating to the I, you see its nature as empty of existing from its own side. That is the I. You have realized the I is empty. I is empty of existing from its own side. The I whose nature is empty of existing from its own side, that is the I, so the emptiness of the I.
First of all, you see the real I. First of all the I appears, the truly existent I on the aggregates, and then you see that is empty. The I which appears to exist from its own side is empty from its own side. And then you see that the I that exists is imputed on the aggregates, so emptiness is the I. So it relates very well with experience.
The whole meditation is done on the I that is merely imputed on the aggregates—on that there is the appearance of true existence. This I is empty of existing from its own side. This I that is empty of existing from its own side, exists in mere name or being merely imputed by thought, or under the control of name, is I.
Anyway, you can check, you can meditate and check whether it is like that or not. I don’t know! It might be like that. I’m not sure.
[Tape ends, next two tapes are missing]