27 Sep 2012

Teaching: Alan continues with verses 85-87 in Ch. 9 of the Bodhicaryavatara covering components of the body. Just as we examined the body, we now examine parts of the body, going all the way down to the atomic level. As long as something has attributes, it can be divided further. The Vaibashika view contends that while we view the world with our senses and that configurations depend on our way of perceiving, atoms are truly existent. The Madhyamika view understands dependent origination as follows: 1) conditioned phenomena arise in dependence on prior causes and conditions, 2) parts and attributes, and 3) conceptual designations. The Dalai Lama says that which you’re pointing your finger at and holding to be already out there from its own side does not exist in that way. In the dzogchen view, dharmadhatu, primordial consciousness, and energy of primordial consciousness are all co-extensive. Perhaps it is possible to arrive at this one reality via different doors—e.g., probing matter, probing space, or probing the mind.
Meditation: mindfulness of the body. Attend to the 5 elements in the space of your body. Open your eyes, and see the form of your body. Note the difference between the tactile and visual perceptions. Apart from these tactile and visual perceptions, is there anything else of the body you can perceive? These perceptions are arising and dissolving either in the space of the body (tactile) or the space of the mind (visual). What do you think of as “my body” among all these perceptions? As in the Heart Sutra, form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. Appearances are mere appearances that arise from and dissolve into space. Appearances consist of space. Appearances are none other than space which is empty. Release the conceptual designation “my body” and rest in the realm of appearances, which are the basis for designation yet empty.
Q1. For me, lucid dreaming starts with me being aware that I’m asleep (body is paralyzed). As the dreamscape begins to unfold, I’m not sure how best to make use of this opportunity.

Q2. This is a question about emptiness and atoms. While people may question the reality that arises to meet them, interdependence makes classical reality true for all of us within the same quantum system. 

Q3. In Ven. Analayo’s book on the satipatthana sutta, he covers the dry insight approach which dispenses with shamatha and describes sati as attacking an object like a stone hitting the wall which sounds like it requires a lot of effort. 

Q4. There are claims of people achieving multiple dhyanas or offering 1-2 week retreats to move through all the dhyanas. From your perspective, you seem sceptical of these claims. Do such people have experiences which somehow match the dhyanas, or are there references to dhyanas with lower levels of realization?

Meditation starts at 40:19

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Transcript

Teachings:

The sound of the podcast is not so good and is quite difficult to understand what Alan was saying and on the other hand the themes are a little complex.

There are some sentences or paragraphs about some themes that we have written a sum up and not everything literally as Alan Wallace said during the session, thinking that it would be useful for the readers better understanding of the themes. But if you are listening to the podcast and following what is written, and have any difficulty, please do inform us in order that we may transcribe these themes again and upload the new transcript at media.sbinstitute.com.

This afternoon we will continue with Shantideva’s visitation of close application of mindfulness to the body. I think it is helpful to bear in mind here that there are these different levels of stratta of vipashyana insight and each has its own particular efficacy, so as H. H. Dalai Lama said - there is a whole kind of bandwidth of mental afflictions, craving, hostility and delusion that arise from the grasping onto, as per the Sauntrantika notion of the delusional concept of the self as being autonomous, self-existent, controlling and so forth, and together with that, grasping on the impermanent as permanent that which is by nature of duhkha (suffering), as being pleasant, so there is that basis, it is very practical and on that basis now we move to this other whole level of vipashyana looking right into, into, in a sense an anthological probe, into its actual nature of existence, into the empty nature which is much more profound. So we are going to return to the text here, Verse 85 in chapter 9. So he has covered the body – not to be found among any of the individual parts, not partially, that is – as a real entity, existing independently under conceptual designation, by its own inherent existence, the body is not to be found in any individual component, it is not partially in any individual component, is not in anywhere else, it is simply nowhere to be found and that’s where we come to the emptiness of the body. And then he goes right on. Now we are going to the components of the body.

So he says, in the same way – since it is an assemblage of toes, which one would be a foot? So as he did this parts and whole analysis for the whole body, now the foot, we have two feet and which one is one entity? It has a bunch of toes, it has a heel, a sole and so forth, so which one of those toes would be a foot? And then we just keep on going.

We have gone from the body to the foot, now we go to a toe. The same applies to the toe, since it is an assemblage of joints, and to the joints, and to the joint as well, because the joint has its division into its own parts. So we are going right down and finding which parts, as we are going down, looking for the entity, the ‘brass tacks’, that which is really there, how far do we need to go? Because each of these is composed of parts in the same analysis as wholes. Then he is going to “cut to the chase” as they say in the movie industry, we have gone as far as a joint, but now we can just keep on going. He is going right down to atoms, so even the parts, even the parts can be divided into atoms and an atom itself can be divided according to its cardinal directions.

So even if you conceive of an atom, for which there is no real stuff to it, or maybe it is just one homogenous entity, imagine one absolute building block, a little tiny sphere, one sphere of hard core matter, and say - the buck stops here, this is as elementary as it gets, even there, even if you say pure atoms, you can still see the front part of the atom, the back, the sides, it still has parts.

It is not only that is has spatial components, let’s bring in something from the 21st century - does this tiny atom, this basic, fundamentally, absolutely real building block of physical reality, does it have mass? Does it have charge, does it have spin, does it have a field, does it have size, shape? Does it have velocity, momentum? As soon as you can say that it has attributes, then the same parts and whole analysis, applies. He is saying this applies all the way up and all the way down. To galaxies, galactic clusters, the universe, right down to elementary particles, every time you find this object that has attributes. An atom itself can be divided according to its cardinal directions.

The section of a cardinal direction is space, because it is without parts. Space itself is undifferentiated but not inherently real. Therefore, then he says the same thing he said about the body, therefore an atom does not exist.

Looking at the Tibetan :

“. . . Since the cardinal directions have no parts, they are like space. Therefore, atoms do not exist.” So it is a little clearer in the Tibetan. Since the cardinal directions have no parts,they are like space.

So either way, is Geshe wrong then? When he said we are not refuting atoms, we are just questioning how they exist. Is he refuting Shantideva? Not likely. He was a great master of Madhyamaka , he knew Shantideva inside and outside. So it is the same thing as before, when Shantideva said therefore the body is non- existent, and that is that if your notion of existence is – it is really there – from its own side, before we thought anything about it, before it was measured and so forth, - it was really there – then, if that is what it means to be existent, atoms don’t exist.

Alan said: so let’s back and see the Vaibashika system (view) and Madhyamika view.

Let’s look at another system, I hope it won’t be too technical, but it will be brief, and that is in the Vaibashika system, which is largely considered a bit more primitive, not quite as sophisticated as Sautrantrika view. In the Vaibashika system, for those interested in Buddhist philosophy, they are aware of the fact that when we with our senses, when we view the world around us, we are seeing these configurations of macro objects, eyeglasses and objects and so forth and so on, but what we are perceiving as these configurations are very much based on our ways of perceiving, especially the visual and tactile.

We see it and touch it primarily, and they are saying but that’s relative, the fact that you are saying it is this this and this, it has the attributes and so forth, that is all relative, after all we have a different mode of observation, different measuring system. And you won’t be getting the same data, the same configurations. They say, that is real. And we call this ‘Reductionism’. They are saying what is ultimately, physically real , absolutely there – are not the configurations, because they will be configured differently depending on the measuring system, who is looking, who is thinking, the measuring systems, and so forth, it is all relative, but what is ABSOLUTELY there? Let’s get real, what is really, really there? And the Vaibashika says – the atoms, the absolutely fundamentally tiniest building blocks. That is not a configuration, that is what everything else is a configuration of. That is very much like Democritus, the Greek philosopher, who said everything boils down to atoms moving in space. Well that kinda sounds like Vaibashika. And then it is the configuration, it depends on who is looking and so forth. What’s really there? Vaibashika says atoms, and one can understand why. That was a dominant view until 1900. According to a man who knows his quantum mechanics much, much better than I do, he said although the full implications of quantum mechanics are not yet clear, one thing that it demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt for anyone who understands quantum mechanics, is that it totally refutes atoms and that the universe is not fundamentally composed, as Newton and other great minds thought. It refutes atomism and that is that the whole universe is, what it boils down to - configurations of absolutely real little nuggets of stuff. Quantum mechanics shows it is not true . There is apparently complete consensus there that seems to be one point where there is a lot of agreement.

So let’s just go back, because we are talking about atoms here, we are speaking in the 21st century, not in rural Tibet or classical India. So I made this statement yesterday that should have been jarring, and that is – let’s take this recent discovery, this empirical discovery, of something that was hypothesized a few decades ago, an elementary particle that gives mass to all other particles of the universe. Its presence was a very big deal, the physicists were very excited about this. And so it was predicted, there was no evidence, they finally got a piece of technology that was up to the task, high enough energy, and low and behold they did the most sophisticated measurements they possibly could, and a large group of very well informed, very intelligent, astute physicists agreed – yes. This is not compelling evidence.

So the question I posed yesterday was, did that big photon exist before they measured it ? If it didn’t then this is just a joke. You created it, big deal, what’s that tell us about the universe? Nothing at all. None of them would accept that it was an artifact of the system, and that is exactly what they were seeking to avoid. I speak not only with total respect, these are really smart people, they know the difference between an artifact of the system as opposed to something they are actually discovering, it is spending an awful lot of money to discover it.

So the view of Madhyamika, I think I can say this with confidence, as per my teachers, Geshe Rabten, His Holiness and so forth, and that is that if photons existed before, if it is true, let’s imagine if it really was true, that evidence was compelling, that they discovered it. Well according to Madhyamika and according to modern physics, well if they have been around for billions and billions of years, if they were, then how can they not be inherently existent? If they were already there before anybody measured them, then they must have been there, which means they were absolutely there which is why it is such a big deal to discover them. We are going right back to metaphysical realism? Are we going there? That is not Madhyamika that is Sautrantika. They were not really there and they were discovered? Yippee if so, give them a nobel prize. Or was it an artifact of the system?

Then we are back to well whatever your reality. So it is neither of those two. Then how do we find a middle way? To say it was there before they measured it but is not inherently existent? And I think, Stephen Hawking and others have all pointed exactly to the solution for this within modern physics. And to my mind it is exactly the same solution as we find in Madhyamika.

Here is the solution I think is the a sound one, both for modern physics and low and behold for Madhyamika, and that is, the very prediction, it was not just some guy dreaming it up all by himself, this took place in a very intricate, highly sophisticated, highly intelligent, internally consistent, conceptual framework. Called the Standard Model . A very successful model in many ways. A good system, an ultimate system? No one is claiming that, but there it was, the conceptual framework was in place, it predicts this, and this very year, that empirical evidence, we thought it might exist, we hypothesized that it may exist, and with the empirical evidence we now conclude it - does exist. From the cognitive framework, that is that conceptual framework of the standard model, and the systems of measurement being used, to put those predictions to the test, from that perspective, from that cognitive framework – they do exist, they are out there, they were out there a long, long time ago, relative to this cognitive frame of reference. But they say never mind the cognitive frame of reference, they were really out there, right? Really. Now we can see that statement is gibberish. It means nothing at all. In other words throw out all the standard model, throw out all the systems of measurement , say never mind all of that, it really exists doesn’t it? Those words don’t mean anything.

Independently of the conceptual framework those words, “does it exist or not” – don’t mean anything. It is like asking if shrivels exist or not. You haven’t defined it, and you have no way of measuring it so why are you asking this question? It doesn’t mean anything. So independently of the Standard model, independently of the system of measurement, the question doesn’t mean anything. So it neither existed nor didn’t exist anymore than shrivels exist right now. You can’t answer that question because it is not a meaningful question. You haven’t defined it and you have given us no way of knowing if swarvels do exist. It is an irrelevant question.

In a similar fashion, electrons were discovered in the first part of 20th century, from that cognitive framework, which now continues in a kind of a lineage, from that framework, electrons have existed since shortly after the big bang. But independently of that framework, whether they exist or not, makes no sense. I will give one example that I like: As I have understood, in terms of theoretical physics, there is something of an awkwardness, something of a difficulty of bringing together field theory with particle theory – particles and fields, mashing those two fields is a messy, it gives problems, I won’t elaborate, but it is messy, so I understand that Albert Einstein, recognizing this, he envisioned the possibility of doing away with all together the notion of elementary particles and replacing all such concepts with the pure field theory. Understanding everything within fields. Now he didn’t succeed, maybe he didn’t live long enough, but he really envisioned that it might be possible, a unified field theory, the notion that little particles would drop out and everything that we presently know would be in terms of empirical evidence, as well as things that could be predicted from this theory, would all be understood in terms of a field theory.

Let’s imagine, out of whimsy, let’s imagine some 16 year old girl from Bodhgaya, IQ just off the charts, she is finishing her PHD at MIT at the age of 16 and she comes up with this really bright idea, a field that accounts for everything known about particles and fields that is now completely consisted in pure fields, and since she is a Beatles fan, she calls the fields, Strawberry fields. The top guns at MIT, CAL Tech, Cambridge and so on look at her and think this girl is just amazing, this is amazing, how many noble prizes do we have to give her, this is incredible, this antiquates all our earlier theories on particles and the Strawberry fields cover everything. And then she gets her PHD like Einstein getting his PHD, and from that perspective, let’s say this happens in the year 2020, the physicists say that is brilliant, we agree, she nailed it, and they say it is so good, maybe it has predictive value, maybe it predicts like the relativity theory, predicting things that nobody has ever expected before. So everyone is teaching Strawberry Fields. From that cognitive frame of reference, electrons, particles, don’t exist at all, and they never existed.

But right now we don’t have Strawberry Fields. So we have the Standard Model and it is the best one they have. There is String theory, they don’t have any empirical evidence to support it, if they do, who knows, maybe particles will be out and strings will be in, but right now we are stuck with particles and fields, so from this cognitive frame of reference, particles and fields have existed since just after the big bang, they will exist all the way to the big Whimper, if the universe just goes out, dissipates into entropy. Or they will exist all the way until the big crunch. If the universe does expand and then contracts again, goes back into a singularity. All these elementary particles will have existed from then until then, in that cognitive framework.

So all that yes, but relative to a cognitive frame of reference. That is what it boils down to.

Can they exist, from their own side, by their own inherent nature? No. Do they exist? Yes. Do they have causal efficacy? Yes. Was it extremely good science that enabled us to discover them? Yes. Do people die when a hydrogen bomb drops and they are hit with particles photons and so forth? Yes. As well as providing nuclear energy to hospitals and so forth.

  • The Vaibashika view:

Summary made by SB Institute:

The Vaibashika view contends that while we view the world with our senses and that configurations depend on our way of perceiving, atoms are truly existent.

Alan’s Comments:

What is really there? And Vaibashika says: atoms.

  • The Madhyamika view:

Summary made by SB Institute Staff:

The Madhyamika view understands dependent origination as follows: a) conditioned phenomena arise in dependence on prior causes and conditions, b) parts and attributes, and c) conceptual designations.

(21:26) Alan’s comments:

Now from this Madhyamika view, what is the real essence of pratityasamutpada (dependent origination) and in what fashion are all these composite phenomena arising as dependent related events?

  • First one as Shantideva here is highlighting is that all of these conditioned phenomena do arise in dependence upon prior causes and conditions.

They don’t arise for no reason at all otherwise they would arise all the time or never, that is Buddha’s view.

  • The second step this is straight from Tsongkhapa: all these composite phenomena arise in dependence upon their own parts and qualities.

That is they are not equivalent to their components, they are not equivalent to their attributes, but were there are not parts and attributes then those phenomena would not exist therefore they are dependent upon the presence of their own attributes and also simultaneous dependence. That is, you don’t have a box with all its qualities but first the box and then the qualities later. You don’t have the qualities without the box. They are mutually dependent. The box is dependent upon its parts and attributes. That is the second kind of dependence, simultaneous. The other one is sequential. So far it is all out there, and so far, pretty much all of the physicists would say that is true, so far very comfortable. Now the part that is say what? That is that for all this composite phenomena : -

  • The third indispensable element is that all of these composite phenomena are dependent upon the conceptual designation of them, without which they do not exist. And that is where you parted ways from all the other beliefs, they say it doesn’t matter how you conceptually designate them, how you think about them and so forth, they are there - and that is exactly the object to be refuted. That it is already there, prior to and independent of, any conceptual designation. As His Holiness says, and it is so practical :
  • H. H. Dalai Lama comments:

Summary made by SB Institute Staff:

The Dalai Lama says that which you’re pointing your finger at and holding to be already out there from its own side does not exist in that way.

Alan is explaining H. H. Dalai Lama comments as below:

If I am reifying Daniel, I am pointing my finger to Daniel and say: Daniel is over there. It means that I am pointing my finger at someone who appears to be over there and I am grasping as being over there, from his own side, independent of anything over here, he is absolutely over there waiting to be discovered or not discovered, but he is waiting, it is called in Tibetan “Zugzussa”, that which you are point your finger at. I love the practicality of this from His Holiness, the (Daniel over there right where I am pointing my finger - “that”), and it is exactly what Madhyamika says, doesn’t exist. If that were to exist it would be in no way dependent upon conceptual designation, it would be already designated.

So think again about dream, because it is to my mind the most powerful metaphor or analogy. And that is that in a dream, and imagine we are all dreaming now, and everything appears to be inherently existent, right? Now I could dream Daniel and he could appear as clearly as he does now, a lot of you have had very vivid dreams, where you couldn’t believe it’s a dream, how can it be a dream? I can see the shininess of his hair. In the dream, even in a lucid dream I have looked at it and say – hey, I can prove it to you and walk over and touch him on the shoulder. See? He is absolutely there, he is really there. I will throw things at him, watch them bounce off his head and chest and so on, doesn’t that prove it? But in a lucid dream you know, aha, dream you lie! And that is – Daniel appears to be there, but I know he isn’t, because I know I am dreaming. And the fact that I can walk over and touch him on the chest, or bounce something off his chest, that doesn’t prove anything. I am dreaming and I know there is no one there. I am asleep in bed. These are appearances, and all are empty. That is astonishing, absolutely astonishing hypothesis of Madhyamika.

I remember years ago, doing Geshe Rabten’s biography, 1972 / 1973, he had been in a six year retreat, he had been meditating for a long time on the pillar right in the middle of his hut, that held up the ceiling, and he was just meditating on it. Having just four years of Madhyamika alone, and he was meditating on the emptiness of the inherent existence of the pole holding up his roof, and he told me, you know, if I should tell you Westerners how the world appears to me upon engaging in such analysis, you will think I am simply crazy, so I won’t. Because he would be saying of course, from the side of the pillar, there is no pillar, any more than in a dream. Sure, it is firm and it holds things together, you have heard that one before, but pillars hold up roofs in dreams too, so what exactly is that supposed to prove, except that illusions can be very helpful. To actually have this type of analysis, with referencing to quantum mechanics and so forth, to actually have it strikes the target of our mental afflictions so that upon engaging in meditation, investigation and so forth, we actually see our mental afflictions subside. That is not so easy, but let’s not lose that, that is the whole point. That is the whole point. (29.00)

His Holiness has had long conversations with highly respected physicists, one, a German Austrian with a really great mind, spending a whole day just talking about this, many other outstanding physicists, when that happens, you know something is afoot. What this raises in my mind, is an absolutely fascinating image, let’s just imagine this hypothesis – that Dzogchen view, which is really the Vajrayana view which is completely in line with the Madhyamika view, is that when we tap into the ultimate reality, on the one hand is the Dharmadhatu which is equivalent to Nirvana, equivalent to emptiness on the one hand, but we are talking Dzogchen, Vajrayana, not only the ultimate nature of reality, this dharmadhatu, this absolute space of phenomena, but together with that and even indivisible from that, is primordial consciousness, pristine awareness, rigpa. They never intercept. You can realize one without the other, without realizing the other. Then there is a third component – Yeshegelung – The energy of primordial consciousness. That is undifferentiable from the primordial consciousness itself, and it is co extensive from dharmadhatu. Absolute space of the mind. So these three, ultimate absolute space, this ultimate dimension of energy, ultimate dimension of consciousness, and they are all at peace.

So imagine, that as in traditional Buddhism, we speak of 3 doors of liberation, imagine if this were true, that if we look only to the outside, if you look into the nature of space, and the material phenomena within it, and you probe to the ultimate depth, and you penetrate it through, which is deeper, deeper, deeper insight, then you might in principal, at least intellectually or conceptually penetrate through to dharmadhatu. If that’s the reality of it and you are looking at the nature of reality which is emerging from that, then you penetrate right through to dharmadhatu, as clearly implied when His Holiness said: “How can you know that without knowing Madhyamika?” And he turned to the physicist Anton Zeilinger, and Anton Zeilinger said: “how can you know that without knowing quantum mechanics?” They really did have a sense that they were penetrating the same reality. But from such different avenues. And then just take this theme that I have elaborated on briefly -

For those who are really focused in on the very nature of space itself, not matter, but space itself, and finding that space – now we are talking about quantum field theory, a very main stream field of modern physics, going back to the 1930’s. The notion that when you really look into the nature of space, low and behold there is not a bare vacuity, it is not general relativity, when you really penetrate into the nature of space, you see it is not empty, if you take the equations literally, which I did with every single step so I could really know what’s going on, then you see that the energy density of empty space is infinite, that it is just right there in the nature of space, it is not an add on, like the energy of matter, or thermal energy, or electromagnetic energy, it is the nature of space itself, an infinite density.

Then you take the contemplative approach. Where there is no mathematics. Nothing more than addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, that is it, pretty basic. No technology. The best technology they had going in Tibet was the prayer wheel. That is all the technology we need to develop great compassion. Om Mani Padme Hum. We don’t need Ritalin, we don’t need an EEG, but we don’t need prayer wheel 5.0 or six months later, 6.0 , its faster, and you have not lived yet until you have got prayer wheel 7.0, compassion would go so much faster. ( laughter)

There is another kind of technology that we don’t have, which by and large is right there in front of us and we just don’t see it, we are not ready to see it, we are just assuming that we know more about everything than anybody else, if you are not part of our group, then you are pre scientific, which means you are done. But as soon as you get one of our educations, then you are part of the team, exploring where no man has gone before.

But they had the technology of course with samadhi starting in India maybe 3 or 4 thousand years ago. So what if then, by using the contemplative technology of samadhi, and why not Dzogchen, but through that you are able to penetrate the coarse mind, all the way down to primordial consciousness, and by the way of that direct insight, draw a valid status about the nature of matter and space and the energy pervading space with no mathematics and external technology. And why, because you are coming through 3 doors of the same reality, the matter door of quantum mechanics, the energy door by being quantum field theory, by the consciousness door by way of contemplative inquiry. But all looking into the same and low and behold finding that the Dalai Lama and physicists have something to talk about all day. If the Dalai Lama were simply a religious man, talking about his religious beliefs, I think they would be short of conversation.

So right down to the elementary particle, they don’t exist at all. If by exist you mean already there by their own nature, unrelated to a cognitive frame of reference It is a beautiful paradigm. With relativity theory you simply cannot speak of the true velocity or location, or mass, or energy or momentum, of anything, in an independent context. If you try, you are not making any sense. That was the belief until 1905 and since then, no reputable physicist believes that. You can see all of the things, mass, energy, velocity, location, sides, dimension also, you can speak of all of those only relative to a conceptual frame of reference relative to something else, but not absolutely. There is no absolute space, space does not provide an absolute medium of which you can say – oh yes, all by itself a single particle traveling 5 miles an hour, relative to what? Well space? Not possible. That is big, that is really big,that is relativity physics. And this is ontological relativity where you must now finally, bring consciousness back into the universe. Where it always was, and has always played a central part. Absolutely.

What discerning person would be attached to form, which is just like a dream? And attached to their minds, it is not simply - oh is this person attractive, that is a beautiful flower and so forth, they are, attractive people are attractive, beautiful flowers are beautiful, but attachment means AH, attachment is always based on reification, that sense [that it exists] from its on side.

What discerning person would be attached to form, which is just like a dream? If you were lucid in a dream you might be attracted to a beautiful woman, or a handsome man, she could be still beautiful, attractive. But what person in a lucid dream would think “oh, that person will bring me such happiness” – in a lucid dream? It would be crazy?

Since the body does not exist, then who is a woman and who is a man? It shatters sexism. It means, there is no inherent woman or man over there, get over it.

Meditation:

(40:34) Now that I have conceptually stirred up the snow-globes of your mind, conceptualization flying all over the place, see if you let your mind settle down and let your awareness descend to a non-conceptual space that is quiet, into the space of the body. Settle your body, speech and mind in a natural state and for the best of your ability makes you mind serviceable, there is important work to be done.

(44:00) To probe to the ultimate nature of any phenomena and be imperative, first of all recognize what is its relative nature, its conventional nature within the realm of causality, within the realm of space and time, once you identify that it does exist, then you can ask: how does it exist? Let’s go back to the earlier course on the application of mindfulness to the body, attending to the elements that arise in the space of the body, the elements of earth, water, fire and air, this first person in physics, this first person physiology, it is said the body is materially composed of these elements - solidity, fluidity, heat, motion. Closely apply mindfulness to these appearances in your body.

Let your eyes be a little bit open and you will see your body, see the forms and see the colors and shapes. Is there anything more that you directly perceive of your body here and now, apart from these visual appearances and the tactile? Noting how different they are. And note while these elements, earth and so on have their own attributes, you can examine – are they are permanent, impermanent and so on, but that they don’t have a body, they do not belong to something else, they are arising into space and dissolving back into space and the same is true for shapes and colors, they do arise in the visual space and dissolve back therein, space that dissolve into is the space of the mind so they can’t belong to some body that inherently exists in physical space, which is two entirely different spaces.

These visual appearances do not exist, you do not see them. The tactile sensations and the elements do not exist in our experiences, there are bodies that do exist when nobody is looking, then what? That nobody is experiencing them.

Take a long look, closely apply mindfulness in terms of what you direct perceive in your body and bear in mind you are the only insider’s view and in terms of what you can see of your body, composed of many internal organs, skin, flesh bone, blood and so on. Exactly what here that you direct perceive or conceive of, exactly what here is your body, what truly deserves the label - my body is this?

(51:20 Scan through your immediate perceptions of the body and ask: is anything here my body? Does it simply have its own label, its own nature, its earth element, its color, its shape, but not the body? Likewise, conceptually as you scan though the body conceptually, from the hair on top of your head down to the soles of your feet, is there anything here individually or collectively which you can say, yes I found it, this is a real body?

(53:26) Consider the Heart Sutra: “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” but they are conceptual forms as in the tactile sensations, visual appearances, they are simply appearances and there is nothing more to them. Appearances are arising in space and dissolving back into space, but there is no other substance, and likewise when we conceive of the body and parts of the body - once again we are presented with only appearances, conceptual appearances. They are just that, appearances devoid of substance that arise in space and dissolve back into space.

(54:50) And we can even say these appearances consist of space, they are not other than space. Space itself is empty and taking on form.

(55:50) Release the conceptual designation of ‘my’ body, rest in the field of appearances that are the basis of designation or that label which are empty of that label and its referent, rest in the field of emptiness.

(59:00) Becomes obviously does not it? That you release conceptual designation, it’s feasible, if and only if you have a serviceable mind in which you have the ability to release rumination at will.

Teachings after meditation:

A brief commentary of what Dalai Lama said in speaking on behalf of Madhyamika view:

(1:05:08) In order to eradicate mental afflictions, klesha, from their root so that they never arise again, it is not enough to realize impermanence, the nature of duhkha and the absence of a kind of autonomous , substantial self that controls the body and mind, it is not enough. That will do a lot of purifying because there is a whole bandwidth of mental afflictions that arise in dependence upon that domain of ignorance.

But could your metal afflictions still arise? Yes.

It is not enough to realize personal identitylessness, the absence of inherent nature, of just a self. This is why in the Heart Sutra it is said:

The five skandhas they also are empty of inherent nature. It is not enough to realize the emptiness of self and think, yeah but I am still surrounded by a real world, it is just me that is gone, me that is an apparition, that is a mirage, that is an illusion, it is not enough because you will still being grasping onto everything else which means you have not fathomed the nature of reality, all you realized is the emptiness of personal identity, it is not enough, you must realize the emptiness of all the skandhas, the body, all the others, bodies and everything else. So it is a big deal, it is going for the complete cure.

Transcribed by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Revised by Cheri Langston

Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Posted by Alma Ayon

Discussion

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