63 Reification Is the Root of All Mental Afflictions

04 May 2016

Alan says we will return to vipashyana territory, based on the current theme of the Panchen Rinpoche’s text on emptiness. Alan describes two technical terms central to Prasangika Madhyamika – the basis of designation (or imputation) and the designated (or imputed) object. He illustrates how each and any of our senses or mental activity can provide valid bases of designation (e.g. the body parts of someone), but that does not mean the designated object (e.g. a person named such and such) exists in the manner imputed. The foundational vipashyana practice of ‘in the seeing let there be just the seen’ is important to understanding that on the basis of the appearances we designate, impute or project upon the self or phenomena what wasn’t there already e.g. imputing permanence or something as a source of happiness. Alan frontloads the guided meditation first with a clarification on the difference in the practice of settling body, speech and mind for which the culmination is just coming to rest with no object, compared to the shamatha practice of settling the mind in its natural state, in which we attend to one of the six domains of experience (the mental domain) and then we take that all the way to the substrate. The forthcoming practice is to settle body, speech and mind and then taking the mind as the path, including the appearances arising and subjective impulses such as emotions. Alan says the practice will be to use the sharp knife of discerning intelligence so that whenever a sense of “I” arises relative to appearances or subjective impulses in the mind, see if you can identify the basis of designation and the self that is designated upon that. Doing only this is not delusional, but then the deeply ingrained tendency is to reify that which we designated. This really strikes home when we make judgements about other people as in Alan’s amusing example from today’s news of the likely Republican Presidential candidate. The reification that we do is not just an abstract activity – it is the root of all 84,000 primary and secondary mental afflictions. All afflictions are launched and have power via the delusion of reification. The meditation practice is to shine a bright light on how we impute and reify self and phenomena. Following meditation practice Alan relates the story of Milarepa and the 5 demons. We then resume the transmission and discussion of the Panchen Rinpoche’s text.

Meditation starts at 21:00

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