B. Alan Wallace, 02 Oct 2012
Teaching pt1: Alan outlines the situation in the modern health system regarding mental disorders. There has been an explosion in brain research since the 1990s, and while knowledge of neuronal correlations has increased, drugs targeting psychiatric disorders haven’t become more effective. Although a multitude of anti-depressants have been produced for decades, a recent meta-analysis has shown that except for severe depression, most drugs work no better than placebo, albeit with worrisome side-effects, many of which are psychological. Neuroscientists work strictly within a materialistic paradigm of mind equals brain, yet have no actual proof that this is so, but are, nevertheless, determining the discourse around fundamental questions of mind, free choice, and human nature. The media just pass scientific findings to the general public without taking a critical stance. Pharmaceutical companies appear to function as drug cartels. Doctors deal the poisonous drugs to their patients. There is support from both government and insurance companies, who prefer to pay for drugs rather than psychotherapies. The consequences of this scenario are dire, and a new Protestant Revolution is needed.
Alan would like to elaborate on verses 88-92 of Ch. 9 of the Bodhicaryavatara. He covers verses 88-90. If suffering were inherently existent like a billiard ball, then you would only experience suffering and nothing else like joy. Like suffering, happiness is not inherent in places, people, or things.
Meditation: mindfulness of feelings. Rest in the luminous, clear nature of awareness, holding its own ground. Let awareness illuminate sensations and feelings in the space of the body. Examine feelings closely. Does pleasure/pain exist like an atom? Is feeling embedded in sensations? Is there a nucleus of feeling? Is it influenced by your observation? Is the feeling already there as pleasure/pain?
Teaching pt2: Meditation on emptiness leads to the Middle Way. For someone who is well prepared, realization of emptiness leads to compassion and bliss. For someone who is still self-centered, direct insight into emptiness can lead to grief and fear.
Meditation starts at: 01:06:08
I hope you are getting comfortable this will take a little while. Yes, you just said you were warning me. I am going to try to spring together today in a coherent and actually somewhat integrated fashion, and return to the session of the Shantideva’s text and actually I am going read over the earlier lines, I don’t think I did them justice yesterday so I want to go through them again try to shed clear light on them. And I can say that I was reading both translations that I’ve been evolved with, one I did primarily and then actually had Vesna herself, it was a long time ago, my wife, long before we married when we simply had a friendship but she is expert in Sanskrit so she helped me out, a very good friend. So an earlier one that I did actually as part of my thesis at Amherst that was submitted in 1985, the 9th chapter with His Holiness’s commentary, so it has that extra perk, it has been published for a long time, it’s called Transcendent Wisdom, just the 9th chapter with His Holiness Dalai Lama’s commentary. And then also consulting on the translation that she and I did more recently in late nineties, where she really did full scale, did a full translation from the Sanskrit and I then integrated that with the Tibetan. But I really found His Holiness’s commentary very helpful here so I am going be reading that. So I presume, I hope by now you have, I have not yet got confirmation from the front desk but has anybody checked to see if you get the text? It is there, very good, ok. So the text that I will be reading, slight variation but nothing significant, because I look both, they are both good, they are both fine so it is just grammatical, tiny, tiny differences, so there is that. So we will get to that and this is classic Buddhist philosophy which I find to be timeless and really definitely worthy of very deep investigation calling for our all over intelligence, no blind faith please, all the intelligence we can muster.
(2:45) But the other one is very contemporary and it’s a matter of enormous importance and I shall really try to speak in a level fashion, without letting my passions get carried away, because I know they do at times, especially when something is very. very important. So I will try to keep the level here, because it is easy for me to go like URRRH, as you have might noticed on occasions. So I am going to link this with a comment a made yesterday that if you were listening carefully you might have had some qualm, thinking- nobody could say that. I just made a very fleeting reference yesterday to having read in major media, the term ‘placebo drugs’, and that this is being used seriously, the term I came up. And if you are thinking about that you might really have some serious qualm, like - Oh nobody is that stupid, I mean really, nobody can be that stupid and not get published in major media because the placebo by definition is not a drug, if it’s a drug it’s not a placebo, it’s like dog and apple, you can be one or the other but can’t be a dog apple, it is just complete incompatible, if it’s drug is not a placebo. So nobody in his right mind would say ‘placebo drug’, right? I must made a mistake a slip of the tongue, Alan does that sometimes, I should never refer to myself on the third person, I do that on occasion. Well it was not a slip of the tongue and I am going give you a direct quote and that is could be the launching pad for the first part of what I’d like to share with you this afternoon, and I am very much holding in mind people listening by podcast. I’ve heard from various sources that they are really all over the world and a wide variety of people. So I am really very explicitly, very consciously holding you in mind as especially for, well for the whole thing, but I invite you to listen carefully and the implications are very large, and they really call for dramatic action, benevolent, compassionate but really dramatic action. I will make the case, I will make my case that we are facing a real crisis here.
(5:16) So back to back up my statement earlier that this actually occurred, this was in published in Reuters, so major media publication, Reuters, APA and so forth, and here is the statement - placebo drugs, direct quote, and the name of the article was - “Anti-depressants give drug makers the blues”, and to give them the blues means makes them depressed. Antidepressants make drug makers depressed. That sounds like a vicious cycle. But here is just a quote from it, and by the way it’s on “Reuters” and it’s March 23rd 2012, so it is very recent - and here is the statement, so just to show that I didn’t have a lapse of memory or slip of the tongue - here is the direct quote:
(5:59) “Placebo drugs or sugar pills [so now sugar pills become placebo drugs, remember that next time you buy a sugar cube, you just bought a drug] Placebo drugs or sugar pills typically have [and listen to every word here] Placebo drugs or sugar pills typically have a massive impact in lifting depression, under scoring the subtlety of the of the disease and the suggestibility of patients, that makes it very, very hard to prove that a particular drug is actually working. “ according to --- who would you guess, who would make a statement like that? And I am going to be very critical here, but my point is not to criticize individuals, so I probably won’t mention any name of a person or any name of any pharmaceutical company or university or anything like that because the point is not to attack people or institutions, the point is to attack delusion, falsity, greed, arrogance and the policies that come from them, and there I will be absolutely ruthless, absolutely merciless, but with no harm intended to any person. . So any guesses who would make an idiotic statement like that? I mean it is sheer idiocy, is it not, to say that sugar has a massive impact in uplifting people from, and of course it does not matter whether it is sugar, could be salt, it could be chalk, a placebo really does matter what it is but now they are called ‘placebo drugs’.
(7:36) So, no I won’t hold you in suspense, but I am going to keep it anonymous, research head at one of the major pharmaceutical companies in USA, head of research. So not a person in a mental asylum, not a person who is a babbling idiot or maybe babbling idiot but nevertheless the head of research for major pharmaceutical industry. So there it is, he actually said that - that sugar pills typically have a massive impact in lifting depression. I mean there is no way to read that other than, this man is delirious because he’s actually attributing the efficacy of this to a sugar pill and calling it a drug. That is just flat out idiocy. This research head for one of these large you know billion dollar pharmaceutical companies, I know the name, it’s a big one, doesn’t matter which one, it could be any of them. So this I always find interesting, when really foolish people with very, very low intelligent say stupid things it doesn’t perturb me at all, and when very intelligent people say very wise things that doesn’t fluster me at all, but this man has got to be really smart. You don’t get to be head of research of a major pharmaceutical company by being stupid, and yet this is an idiotic statement, right? So then that really raises my interest. What makes intelligent people make idiotic statements? And there is an answer to that, it’s called ideology it’s called dogma induced dementia. So, why is this more than just a time to ridicule an anonymous person from an anonymous pharmaceutical industry? I am not here to ridicule any person at all, much more enjoyable ways to spend time, especially our very precious time together.
(10:01) I will share with you a little bit of statists from the World Health Organization, so I think they speak with some objectivity and authority and they report recently that one in four persons will develop one or more mental or behavior disorders during their lives. In other words - mental disease is a very, very large scale issue and this is worldwide, one in four. So how we are treating mental disease becomes a matter of enormous importance, I continue:
Mental ill health is increasing and so for all of the growth of, how may more psychiatrists do we have now than fifty years ago, how many more psycho therapists and how many more drugs do we have, simultaneously mental disease is on the rise. Something isn’t working. I mean if you got polio and you have more and more doctors you have a successful treatment for polio, more and more doctors, more and more medicines, less and less polio, that’s just how it always works, right? TB, Polio, AIDS and so forth and so on, more doctors, more good medicine the disease goes down. We have more doctors and more and more psycho pharmaceutical drugs and mental disease is going up, connect the dots!
(11:06) Mental ill health is increasing and by the year 2020 neuropsychiatric conditions will account for fifteen percent of disability worldwide. Quite a large percentage. And again by the year 2020 depression will be the highest ranking cause of disease in the developed world. So that shows this is nothing just to joke around or be a bit sarcastic or what have you. This is an enormous amount of suffering that we are talking about here, and the whole point of suffering for medicine, for all of medicine is to alleviate suffering for all the Buddhadharma is to alleviate suffering, so this is our job and it is not happening.
So to take a smattering, my pick, what are some of the kind of mental diseases, mental disorders just rise very large on the horizon that are very commonly spoken of, for which there is many, many people suffering? That’s why I am talking about this, not just because I’ve got an axe to grind. But there is suffering here that could be alleviated and is clearly not being alleviated, depression, anxiety comes in many flavors but general anxiety disorder, big umbrella term, two. Post-traumatic stress disorder there is so many things within a family within in a community, within a nation and so forth and for so many reasons, natural calamity, social strife, war and so forth, abuse of all kinds. Post-traumatic stress disorder that you not only harmed at the event but you have lingering effects that can go on for decades perhaps actually, oh damage your whole life, so there is the third one.
(12:43) ADHD is on the rise and for many obvious reasons, many of them have to do with the environment, we live in an ADHD world how could not. So there’s four, and then a simply thing, insomnia, if you can’t sleep, if you’re tortured every night because you are tossing and turning, frustrated, anxious, fearful and so forth. These are psychological disorders and so what is the nature of intervention, what is primary mode especially in terms of getting it paid for by insurance, for any of these psychological disorders? You use drugs. I mentioned before in the USA first if you have a psychological disorder, any of the above for example, you require first of all, as I understand it, I have insurance, you need to go your personal physician and then that physician may, if he or she feels it necessary, then refer you to a psychiatrist but in many cases they don’t. They say, oh you are suffering from anxiety disorder, well I know what the psychiatrist will say anyway, and so here is the drug and I am a doctor and I can prescribe it, and they will.
(14:28) So I went eeny meeny miny mo , but not quite, because I knew of a certain drug, and again I am going to keep it anonymous, I am not here to beat up on any particular drug or any company, but this is a drug like many others, and if you really wanted to check it out you can find out which one I am referring to but that’s your choice, my point is not to pick out one particular drug, but this one happens to be a drug that you take if you have been diagnosed as having anxiety or panic disorder. So how many people are experiencing anxiety or panic disorder, sometimes it is really troubling and you go to your physician and think I am really desperate here, can you help me? And the doctor, maybe gives a referral to a psychiatrist and says yes and your insurance cover it, good news, and here is the drug and hopefully this is will help, because this is a drug that is specifically designed to alleviate your anxiety and panic disorder. Well, what the doctor may or may not tell you is that drug comes with side effects, possible side effects. I checked out this drug, I checked it out on multiple websites and from website to another the list of detriment side effects just got longer and longer and longer, I thought is there any end to it? I found a website and these are good websites, which had the longest list and it said at the end this is not a complete list of all the detriment side effects. It was really long, I mean one of them with 27. So here is one drug, you have just gone to your doctor because you are suffering from anxiety or panic disorder. And you go to your doctor and the doctor gives you this drug and you are taking refuge, because what do you know? You are just taking a little tablet that is very, very easily to swallow, right? Here, are, and this is just not even a complete list, but you are feeling anxiety and maybe some panic attacks, you’ve take the drugs and what you may or not may be told are here are some of the possible sides effects. Are you ready?
(16:04) Sexual dysfunction, okay well for some of you that is the end of the story, I am not taking it. Liver problems, seizures, giant hives, muscle spasms, you cannot focus your thoughts, loss of memory, slurred speech, mania, difficulty in breathing, confusion, hallucinations, new or worsening mental or mood changes, depression, irritability, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or actions, and paradoxical excitement, so basically - bipolar mania. That’s not the whole list.
Now when I read one of the medical websites, it was a medical website, it said should you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. But you got those symptoms by seeking medical attention right away. What do you imagine? Let you imagination just fly here, you’ve got one or more those side effects and you do exactly what the website says, you seek medical attention, and you say doctor I am experiencing confusion, hallucinations, mood changes, depression, irritability, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and I cannot flow, I have loss of memory, slurred speech, mania. What do you imagine the doctor will give you? Is maybe the same drug and when you tell him – no that’s the drug I already took. What do you expect will be coming? Another drug. What do you expect its list will look like? Do you think it’s going to be any better? And if so why on earth you think that? It is laughable, it makes one just belly laugh and then just not know when to stop, weep. That this is poison, it’s hard to imagine one substance being poisonous in so many different ways! Strychnine just kills you, arsenic just kills you, this is poisonous in two dozen ways. How could they make a drug that can be poisonous in so many ways? That takes some ingenuity or stupidity. I find this very concerning, that this continues to be the major intervention, drugs like that, and I can see the name of the drug and I can see the producer. If this were an isolated case then I will say, hey nail that one, those people are bad people. But no, there is nothing special about this drug it’s just one more psycho pharmaceutical drug.
(19:10) So why is this head of research at one of the major pharmaceutical companies, why is he so concerned? That it makes it so very, very hard to prove that a particular drug is actually working? The pharmaceutical industry have been producing antidepressants just for starters, for decades. They’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars, I mean it’s one of the most lucrative general industries in the modern world, pharmaceutical companies can’t count the money it is coming in so fast. And they have tremendous lobbying power in USA, fantastic lobbying power. And for something like 30 - 40 years they are producing this one after another, this antidepressant drugs and only a few years ago, and this is from the American Journals, I think I cited it earlier, where finally, some people in the medical establishment did this mega study of this whole range of psycho pharmaceutical drugs for depression, and they found they are all worth nothing, except in extremely severe cases of depression, and besides that they were marginally better than eating sugar tablets. This is after forty years or so of the pharmaceutical industry peddling this snake oil, at very high prices, in an enormous profits and shall we really believe that the pharmaceutical industry that created these drugs and had to test them, shall we really believe that they didn’t know? Are we really that gullible? When they are testing their own product, shall we really believe they didn’t know that their drugs are no better than placebos? How could they be that stupid? I don’t think so. I think the only reasonable conclusion is they know perfectly well, but they saw they can pull the wool over the government’s eyes, they got the FDA approval for all of these drugs that they produced, because they didn’t harm anybody except for those minor side effects like you might want to kill yourself.
(21:30) So the government went along with it, not government not goes along with it, the government provides them public funds to help them out, researching such drugs. They had to have known all along, I can’t imagine they were so stupid that they didn’t know that their own drugs weren’t working but they recognized people who are really depressed and suffering from other mental diseases are stupider, and not just stupider, but they will trust, they will trust their physicians, they will trust the pharmaceutical industry, they’ll trust the government to protect them from charlatans. So we’re all taking refuge. That came up earlier in one of our discussions, you don’t start taking refuge when you become a Buddhist, you’ve already been taking refuge. We all take refuge, we take refuge in our dentist when we need a filling, when we need our teeth cleaned we take refuge, we are not going to study dentistry long enough so we can clean our own teeth but it would probably be a botched job anyway. So we all take refuge, especially when we are suffering, mental suffering, physical suffering, but I want to focus here on mental suffering, we are desperate, we need help and we need to call upon, we need to rely upon, place are trust in people who know more than we do. So naturally the first line is the medical sangha, the doctors especially because they are the only ones that are going to prescribe these drugs, and I am talking right now, medical, mental disorders. If you go to the psychiatrist, psychotherapist can’t prescribe drug but the psychiatrist MD, is the medical establishment you take refuge there. Where is the drug is coming from? The doctor didn’t invent them. So that is your sangha. What are you really relying upon? What’s your real refuge? Not the doctor, the doctor, the doctor is simply conveying, like the sangha, like the nurse, like the medical personal is conveying to you the real refuge. That which you are really placing your trust in, and that’s what you are putting in your mouth, that’s the drug. Your dharma, your path, is the drugs you are taking produced by the pharmaceutical industry, and you are trusting in them. That they are not there just to make a buck or a billion bucks, but they are there doing what they say they are doing, that is that they are doing their very best, to come up with medications to help to alleviate suffering and the causes of suffering. You are placing your trust there that is your dharma, the pharmaceutical industry is your dharma, the medical establishment is your sangha.
(24:02) But now who is behind that, who really knows what is going on, all these drugs, these complicated drugs. These are having an effect on what organ? Well detrimental side effects on your liver and so forth and so on. But what are they explicitly designed to do of course? They are targeting the brain. So who’s your Buddha? Who really knows what is going on here? The neuro scientific community, those who really speak with the greatest authority about the brain, because that is what the drugs are designed to treat, your brain. And so your Buddhas are the neuro scientists, specifically the cognitive neuro scientists, but generally the community as a whole. The professionals that we rely upon, you know, you are the ones who know, you’re as close to omniscience as you can get, you are not omniscient yet, but you are the best we get. Tell us about the brain because the pharmaceutical industry is learning from you, they are not brain scientists, they are producing drugs and the medical doctors are not pharmaceutical people nor are they brain scientists, they are healers, trying to be healers. And so our refuge the proxy to the Buddha is the neuro scientists.
(25:03) Ever since George Herbert Walker Bush declared the 1990’s to be the decade of the brain, there’s been this exponential growth in USA, of funding for brain science, just enormous amounts of money. Very deliberately, there must have been tremendously good lobbying to get all the way to the president to declare a whole decade for your own particular discipline. That took some major clout, and it succeed, a
decade for the brain. So the neuro scientists must have been singing and dancing in the streets when that happened because they now know the money is just going to flow in, and it did, and as a result a lots of money coming into science, you generally get a lot of knowledge and that is exactly what’s happened. Since 1990 the knowledge about the brain, specific parts of the brain, functions of the brain, global activity of the brain and so forth, technology for studying the brain, exponential increase, really good science something to rejoice in. We know so much more, we, the scientific community they let us know by way of the media, know so much more about the brain than we did just twenty two years ago. And really money talks, having really good science as we all know is very expensive, one case in point - neuroscience is not cheap. And so exponential growth of knowledge, consensual knowledge, valuable knowledge about the brain.
But it’s startling somewhat to neurologists, to brain scientists, fully aware of the tremendous progress they’ve made over these past 22 years and of course before then, but boy the last 22 years has been a jackpot, a bonanza. They have been troubled, puzzled by the fact that while their knowledge of the brain in so many aspects of the brain, its functioning and so forth, chemically and electrically, while the knowledge has increased exponentially during these 22 years, there has been no, not even any remotely corresponding increase in the efficacy of psycho pharmaceutical drugs for effectively treating even the symptoms of mental disease, let alone getting to the causes and actually healing them. So you take the drug for while it gets to the root and then you are free, you no longer have that mental disease because you actually went to the root. It’s not there.
Anybody studying this area knows that’s the case, I read just recently in an article, solid article, neuroscientists saying, I am really perplexed by this, we know so much more but this no corresponding growth of the production of affective psycho pharmaceutical drugs, it is not happening. Fancy that, how could that be? Well go figure. So where does ideology come in? Let’s ask a few questions first, okay - nature of consciousness, because clearly consciousness has to be implicated in any mental disorder. If you are not conscious of the mental disorder, then you don’t have it, and the mental disorder must have to do in terms of the etiology how arises must have something into with consciousness, because that is its home, that’s where it’s manifesting.
So what do we scientifically know now after a hundred and thirty five years of mind science, which started at a hundred & thirty seven years, we started in 1875, ah, somewhat arbitrary but pretty close. So a hundred and thirty seven years of mind science, experimental science in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral science and so forth. Now after all that time, decades upon decades, the whole 20th century which witnessed the greatest exponential growth of scientific knowledge in the history of humanity, absolutely fabulous, so in the midst of that and the mind science is being no exception, part of that exponential growth, now after all that tremendous progress, now what can the scientific community say - please now tell us what is some of the core discoveries that you have made about the nature of consciousness? Well we covered that one, can’t define it, we have no consensual definition. We can’t measure it at all, in anything, not in a developing human fetus, not in a person who is brain dead, not in senile, not in healthy adults, not in animals, not in primitive animals, if insect eating plants are consciousness we have no way of knowing, our core consciousness, the annals, we don’t know, in another words complete 100 percent ignorance. We can’t measure it at all scientifically. We don’t know there’s necessarily sufficient causes to produce it, we don’t know what causes consciousness, we don’t know what happens to it in death, since we don’t know the causes it then you really don’t have a clue what terminates it, there is a symmetry there.
(28:58) And then on top of that we have this whole mind and body issue, and so what we know from these last 20-22 years and before then of course, it’s just increasing an exponential growth of scientific knowledge, really good knowledge about - this is correlated to this, this is correlated to that, and so these wonderful correlations between very specific neuron activities and very specific subjective mental experiences, fantastic science. Now we ask the question, good, what is the nature of these correlations? What is the nature of them? William James laid down three possibilities. What’s nature of these correlations? Because all we know is that they are correlated, but that is a very big category, all different kinds of ways of things can be correlated. What’s the nature of the correlations? If you find any honest reflected neuroscientist and pin him down – and say, what exactly are the nature of the correlations? That honest neuroscientist will tell you - we don’t really know. We would like to know but we don’t know, this is a young science just give us a time, but we don’t know. It’s fair enough. If you don’t know something you simply say you don’t know, that is only honest. Good.
(31:00) Now that we’ve had this serious conversation, when in front of a microphone, when they are reporting to the media what are they saying? “The mind is what the brain does, I am a neuroscientist”. I am not saying this is my bullshit opinion, I am not saying this is my speculation, I am not saying this is one of many hypotheses that I prefer. I am just telling you this is the way it is, or to quote another neuroscientist, world famous - “you are a brain carrying a body on your back, human beings are brains”. To quote a psychiatrist quoted in the New York Times: “all psychological disorders are neurological disorders they are nothing other than neurological disorders”. So it seems like you know after all, because you are saying the mind is the brain, is the function of the brain, a phenomena of the brain, but pretty much the mind is the brain. So you do know, right? Because that is what are telling everybody in the media. So when did you find this out? That’s a really important discovery. When did you discover that the correlation is actually a correlation of identity, that in fact they are same thing, viewed from different sides? When was that discovered is made? What is the evidence? Who has got a Nobel Prize for that? That’s an enormously important discovery. And then you find that nobody made that discovery. We just think you are stupid. No, we don’t mean that. This is short hand, it’s just a manner of speaking. But what about when you say: the brain is doing this, the brain is doing that and these neurons are communicating with each other and they are sending messages to each other and the neurons know where they are, and this part of the brain feels this and your thoughts are in this part of the brain, your emotions are in this part of the brain. Where is the evidence for any of that? All you know is correlations but you just said that they actually don’t know the nature of the correlations, so why are you saying that? That the brain now is the agent and everything is happening is really the brain is doing it and you don’t even really exist and if you do you are just watching the show as an illusion? Where is the evidence for that? Oh, you don’t have any, that is more short hand is it? You are talking to children who really don’t understand, you think we are all stupid?
(33:25) Do we or do we not take literally your statements that neurons talk to each other, they communicate, they send messages back and forward? Do we take that literally or is this a children’s story? You’re treating us as we were in kindergarten, the entire population of the planet, and you are talking down to as we like we have crap for brains. When do you talk seriously, when do you talk honestly, obviously not to the press? Because every time you report, and I mean virtually without exception that - the brain is the agent, not you, and not your mind, the brain is the agent. How can you train your brain, brain makes the decisions, the brain does this, the brain does that, the brain is the agent, it’s ubiquitous now in the media. In another words the mind is the brain but again when did you discover that? Oh you haven’t. Then why are you saying this as if you know what you are talking about? Why don’t you simply say - we really do not understand the nature of the relationship between mind and brain? And we going to repeat you of this because we are honest and humble people and we want to acknowledge where we don’t know something. Why are you doing the opposite, deceiving everybody and telling everybody they are brain? You are now taking on the authority of telling us what our human nature is and who we are, one of the biggest philosophical problems, questions in all of the human history and you are saying now you have a franchise, that you are the go to people. You who know about the brain and don’t have a clue about the actual relationship between mind and brain, but you are taking on the authority now, that if we want to know about human nature, who you really are, what is your identity, who are you, what is the nature of your mind, and where is it come from? You are taking on the role of being authority, the press is treating you as an authority but you don’t know what are you talking about. Are you or are you not deceiving everybody on the planet? And if so, why are you doing this? Do you not know better? Have you deceived yourself? Are you so deluded that you don’t you even know that you are deluded? And how do you justify this? Because this is not children’s play, this is not like having some flippant notion about something distant from human existence, because you are telling us that we are brains. You telling us as brains, and you often frequently say that in fact that we have no free will because the brain already has done it before you have the feeling to make a decision and that is fluff, that is an epiphenomenon, it’s an illusion because the brain has already done it after all the brain is the agent and your experience is illusory, you keep on telling us that, psychologists, neuroscientists alike - our first person experience is illusory, don’t take it seriously, rely upon the neuroscientists because they know the underlying neuro mechanisms of your illusory first person experience. So who you going to trust? Your own experience or the neuroscientist? Don’t trust your own experience at all, because all you are dealing with is illusions. Trust in the neuroscientist, take refuge in us. It’s fraud and it’s tragic because even they are not following out the implications of their own position. If you really are a brain you are making no choices at any time. Robotics don’t make choices, your computer doesn’t make choices, if your brain is a computer, which is what they say it is, and you are your brain, you are a computer, which means you never make any choice, free will or no free will, you are not making any choices at all, the brain is the agent after all not you and not even your mind.
So you are making no choices at all. How does that sit? Would you like to be depressed now or should we wait a little while until I speak more? Shall we trace the growth of depression to this mind numbing soul killing ideology that is snuffing out any type of imagination for looking outside the box of the materialism, that’s dehumanizing, reducing us as to robots or animals at best, who never make any choices therefore we have no moral responsibility whatsoever because you never imprison a computer, you never punish or never imprison, you never bring to trial a robot or a computer because they no free choice, they are just programs, and that is exactly what you telling us here, that we are genetically neuro physiologically programmed. And then you wonder why morality seems to be slipping? Are you not a major cause of this? You’ve given us an ideology as our refuge, as the authority, which you are grasping, you are clinging to dangerously, look to us - we are telling you the underlying neuro mechanisms are your illusory experience, you are giving an ideology that depersonalizes us, dehumanizes us, disempowers us and demoralizes us. And you don’t seem to notice or you don’t seem to care. Out of this ideology it natural follows that when I come to my medical doctor and say I am feeling very depressed, I am feeling quite hopeless. The medical doctor goes to the pharmaceutical industry, the source of the dharma, the pharmaceutical industry is saying - what is the nature of the mind? It’s the brain, can do! We’ll find a drug because after all psychological disorders are neurological disorders, that means they are now functions of chemistry and electricity. So therefore all psychological disorders should be treated most effectively with drugs. Then when they don’t work, then you now have really good grounds for being depressed. Because if they don’t work and you are a brain, you are screwed. Because if the people who know the most about the brain, about the chemicals in the brain, if they can’t help you then you are hopeless, you are screwed. Who has screwed you? Not people, not institutions, it is delusion, all comes to delusion. So I find this enormously sad, not hopeless.
(39:33) We found the three refuges- they are - Buddha, dharma and sangha. And then we find who is spreading the word? Why is this not confined just to them? Why is this now on everybody’s lips? Common people, with no scientific training whatsoever using the words mind and brain interchangeably, all over the place, globally. How did this happen? How does this mental disease that seems to be extremely infections, like typhoid of the mind, bubonic plague of the mind, how is this being transmitted? How do people of Mongolia catch it? And Bhutan and Singapore and China, India? How are they catching this virulent, incredibly toxic virus of the mind? By way of the media, international media, BBC, New York Times, Time Magazine you name it, The Guardian , the London Times and so forth. And they are pretty much homogenous. I read this closely, I watched it closely, I’m not an expert but I read a lot in this area, you know what I find? The media never challenges, they never challenge, the science journals in particular, they never challenge this, that statement by this head, published in Reuters, do you think the journalist said - Ah, Mr. Head of research of this major pharmaceutical industry, what you just said is utter nonsense, would you like to rephrase that or you are just stupid? They never say that, they pass it on as if the word investigative journalism has no reference in reality at all. They pass it on uncritically always, I mean I am reading this constantly, and I don’t see them ever criticizing the metaphysical beliefs and assumptions even when it is a sheer idiocy, they just pass it on. The modern media is the propaganda arm of the church of scientific materialism and they don’t tell you that, but they never question, they never question. One of the most prominent, and I won’t give the name, but one of the most prominent propagandists of the mid19th century, it’s a commonly quoted statement, he said - if you tell a lie frequently enough, it will be accepted as truth. If you heard it before you know where it comes from, not a good source, a really incredibly vile and evil source, the person who said that. If you say a lie frequently enough it will come to be accepted as common knowledge. Well I have just been narrating a bunch of lies, or the very best , the most charitable delusions uncritically accepted, uncritically transmitted, directly over the pharmaceutical industry, directly to your to your doctor, directly to the pill you put into your mouth, that is poison.
(43:08) And now refer to these pharmaceutical industries, especially the psycho pharmaceutical - as drug cartels. Psycho pharmaceutical drug cartels. Which is really more destructive, the cocaine dealers, the cartels in Mexico for example or in Afghanistan, which is more endemic, which has a bigger impact on society as a whole? How many people do you know that are taking cocaine? And how many people do you know that are taking psycho pharmaceutical drugs? Where is the larger damage? And which side is going to jail? So there is a triad here, as if there were a conspiracy theory, this - I scratch your back and you scratch mine of the neuro scientific community, because this empowers them. If you’ve got one community now, that said we are the go to people now, if you want to know about your own identity, the nature of your mind and whatever ails you, what will make you happy, it’s all your brain, in another words - wherever your question is we have the answer. Whatever your questions is about your identity, your happiness and your suffering, we care about, that segues into Shantideva, whatever your question is, we already have the answer. And the answer is – it’s the brain, stupid. That is what Bill Clinton called - ideology. An ideologue already has the answers before the question is ever posed, whatever your question is, we have the answer – it’s a brain and leave to us, we will tell you who you are, we will tell you where you came from, we will tell you what happens at death, we will tell what your potentials are, we will tell where your sufferings comes from, where your happiness comes from, we will tell how to lead a good life. We are the go to people - give us more money, we will do the research for you, in another words power, prestige and money, these are intoxicants, and the whole notion of value as science in any way, any imaginable way being value free, becomes a lacking stock. Even in the most benign way, value free in a sense of being free of prejudice and bias, it’s a laughing stock. They don’t even try. Come to the society for neuro science, a big annual convention, thousands upon thousands, try to deliver a paper that presents any view of the mind and brain outside of the materialistic paradigm, try it. Try to get to the podium and see what it’s like to get the door slammed in your face. Try to go to any scientific preview journal of neuroscience and present something that is non materialistic and see what it’s like to see the door slammed in your face. They already have the answer before you pose the question. The answer is you are wrong, because we already have the answers, and they are all within the materialistic paradise. By the way this is rooted in 19 century physics which goes hand and hand with mechanistic materialism.
(46:00) Neuro scientific community is immensely empowered by this and enriched, and its prestige goes through the roof. The pharmaceutical industry is making billions of dollars selling us poison to alleviate mental suffering. The medical industry, caught between a rock and a hard place because but I think so many people in the medical industry come out of the sense of altruism, caught between a rock and a hard place, what are they supposed to do? The insurance won’t pay for it. If you really need top therapy your psycho therapist, your psychiatrist may know this is what you really need, you went through tremendous trauma and what you need is not a drug that can suppress the symptoms, you need understanding, you need warmth, you need compassion and this may take two or three months but I am sorry your insurance will not pay for it.
(47:24) So with tears and lamentation take this drug with my apologies, because I just screwed you. I am not a healer, I am a drug peddler and I work for the cartels, but it’s legal anyway. Enriching for the pharmaceutical industry, money flows in to the medical industry. The journalists are the propaganda arm of this whole mess. Why did they go along with it? Why, and I am going to answer the question, evening news, watch evening news in USA: CBS, ABC, NBC those are the three big ones , then there is Fox new, you can skip that one, the other ones at least make some pretense of being objective. Watch! Watch not the news watch the commercials in between, every night and see who is paying for the news. The pharmaceutical industry figures very, very, very large. They will show you little cartoons of a depressed little blob, and how happy the blob becomes when it takes a certain drug and everybody who has an IQ less than that of a turtle, is watching and thinking – I want that drug because I want to be a happy blob. They’re talking down to us like we have crap for brains.
(48:44) But they are so cunning, to sidestep the people who actually access, professionally with compassion and knowledge and high training - is this drug good for my patient or not? The medical doctors, they are so clever they manage to get legislation so they can slip around the medical doctors, all medical establishment and go right to the general public who has no medical training at all of course, but which is suffering from insomnia, from anxiety, from depression. They go right to the people with no training at all and they give a cartoon and some asinine pitch about how this is going to make you happy and at the bottom line in a quietly murmuring voice: this makes you nauseous, gives liver problems and so forth. Have a nice day! But of course they can’t give the whole list because the advertisement couldn’t last that long, it would be too expensive.
(49:25) So you are the news media and you are getting a major slice of the pie, a major percentage of your revenue that pays your salary from the pharmaceutical industry. What do you think will happen if one of the anchor people for the major news starts blowing the whistle on the sociopathic behavior of the pharmaceutical industry? Gosh, do you think they might pull their ads? Might that be a reason why the media, the journalists, are utterly uncritical except for the most extreme cases, they just pass it on as if they’re all evangelists for the church scientific materialism. So the media, the journalists are absolutely culpable in all of this. And then there is a fifth wheel, the government. The government goes along with all of this, allows the pharmaceutical industry to advertise to the general public in an area they really have no ethical business doing that at all. The government using tax payer’s money actually pours millions upon millions of dollars, just give some donations to the pharmaceutical industry to come up with more drugs to poison us.
(50:53) The insurance industry pays for it, because they are looking at the short term, they figure: this is cheaper than psychotherapy, that can go on and on whereas give people a drug it’s cheaper. So the insurance industry says look: we got to follow the bottom line here, and it’s cheaper if you just give people drugs rather than months and months of psychotherapy, that can be a hundred dollars an hour or more.
So it’s a collusion, the problem here is in the system, neuro scientific community, pharmaceutical industry, the medical establishment, the media and government. But the victims in all of this are the general public, including people who work for all of those industries because they get depression and anxiety like anybody else. So this whole system is pathologically delusionally dysfunctional. So I’ve spoken of a need for a renaissance, contemplative renaissance among the world’s religions, I spoken of the need for a scientific revolution in the mind sciences, which has been warded off successfully for a hundred and forty five years by the dogma, the ideology, the close mindless, and bigotry and flat out stupidity of proponents of the scientific materialism, and now I would suggest the third component is necessary for the sake of all beings especially as humans. We really need a protestant reformation, protesting the, vehemently, passionately, intelligently and with a level head, an absolute core reformation of the way this whole system, the neuroscientists start telling the truth and don’t blow smoke in our eyes, the Pharmaceutical industry try to heal instead of suppressing symptoms and never lie. The medicals establishment don’t be lackies, don’t be drug peddlers for the pharmaceutical industry, they just want to make a buck. Government, start protecting the people, you are here to protect us not collude with these big business, and the media get a brain, start being critical this is your job. You are pathetic, you don’t deserve the name of journalists, call yourself secretaries, propagandists, you are doing a terrible job, and the impact on humanity is disastrous.
(53:29) And now we go to a deep ground. That was contemporary, it’s not always been true but it’s true now and if we don’t face it I think the consequences will just be more and more dire and everybody suffers including neuroscientists, people working in the pharmaceutical industry, everybody suffers and if the suffering were necessary then I’d practice equanimity, but compassion stems from the possibility of seeing that there could be freedom, and there could be freedom here, with good science, with good pharmaceutical research, with good medicine, with good government and with good journalism, all of those we have experienced in the past, it could happen again. So everybody listening by podcast if I’ve over stated it, I’ve tried my very best here, not to speak in hyperbole, fly off the handle and so forth, I think this is too serious, I reflected on this a lot before I came here. I said Alan hold your passions in check here, don’t over state, then you discredit the whole thing and this is too important, this is really important, so I’ve tried my best. Any people listening by podcast and of course here, if I’ve over stated, if I’ve said untruths, open up a blog and demolish what I said, if you can’t then pass the words because this is important. (55:00)
Then after that Alan returns to talk about the the Shantideva’s verses 88 and 89 as you may see below.
(55:00) Now we go to Shantideva, Oh, Oh, we are not going to finish in four days on feelings, it’s too important. I’m going right back now I’m reading my earlier translation but I can also look at the same page to His Holiness’ commentary. I think I can do it more justice than I did yesterday, I thought it was pretty superficial yesterday, my own explication. So here is Shantideva verse 88 people listening by podcast we are back to verse 88 and I am reading now from my early translation published in the book: Transcending Wisdom [by H.H. The Dalai Lama, translated, edited and annotated by B. Alan Wallace].
Instructions for one that is reading this transcript: first you have the more recent translation of verses 88 and 89 and then Alan is reading his early translation of verse 88 and 89.
88. If suffering truly exists, why does it not oppress the joyful? If delicacies and the like are a pleasure, why do they not please someone struck by grief and so forth?
See below the early version of the verse 88 and we are adding Alan’s comments between the sign […] as below:
“If suffering exists in reality, if it inherently exists, truly exists, why does it not prevent joyful experiences”. Ok, just for starters.
(55:23) Well let’s take the analogy. I think this actually makes really good sense, it’s not that esoterical or abstract, it actually can make an impact. Think about the analogy, we have already looked the body, right? That was the first of the four applications of mindfulness, the body and going right down to atoms, atomistic theory Democritus, Vaibhasika – that what the physical world fundamentally consists of, down to brass tacks, reductionistic mode, is fundamental absolutely core little pellets of physical reality. Atoms a little tiny billiard balls, and they get configured in complex configurations and they manifest as in plants, animals, inorganic chemicals and so forth and so on, oh yeah and there is energy, they interact with energy. So there it is, so envision that, envisioning is not hard to do but what I am asking you to do now is bring to mind the object of refutation in Madhyamaka, envision a very, very tiny, essentially a billiard ball, may as well make it spherical, it seems that even electrons are spherical last time I read, incredibly tiny but spherical, so that’s a nice shape, and so imagine now the fundamental constituents of the entire universe, physical universe as these little tiny billiard balls, they are hard, they are gnarly, they are tight, they are homogenous, they are absolutely there, and then with energy, whatever gravitation energy, electromagnetic energy, they congeal, they form complex configurations and voila! So Richard Feynman a man of the brilliance, Richard Feynman said: all of life can be understood in terms of the configurations of atoms. So he expressed his belief, as a true believer of scientific materialism, not his brightest moment. He should have known better. But what can you say? It’s part of the education, the education indoctrinates. A friend of mine, a research psychiatrist, a very bright guy and very good man, good altruistic man, and we’ve had conversations about this, he’s really top, I will keep him anonymous, he has my admiration, my respect, psychiatrist, research and I said you know really, where is the evidence that the mind is the brain and so forth, he said - you know it is not there but my whole training taught me that is the only way to think, in my whole training, graduate level, all the way through, medical training in through psychiatry and so forth and all of my colleagues ever since, he is a senior researcher, they never question it, I really don’t know how to think outside that box because I was never exposed to any alternative view of the mind brain relationship other than the mind is the brain. So it’s hard for me, I am open but I really don’t have a handle on how to think otherwise and still think scientifically, because scientifically seems to be thinking materialistically. And that’s the great fraud.
(58:16) So here we are. Imagine that billiard ball, back to that, there it is and imagine it’s inherently existent and absolutely real out there in absolute space and in absolute time moving on, bumping into things. If that’s inherently existent, that is inherently has its own attributes , then there was never a point that it came to existence, it had to be always there, and there is never a way that’s going to pass away from existence because again, it’s inherently got a vice grip on its attributes, they will not change, it is inherently there. So that’s a little permanent phenomena, and wherever it goes there it is, in configurations all by itself, all by is lonesome, well that’s exactly what quantum mechanical has refuted, but without pursuing that because when we looked into that already at some length. Now, but holding that as an analogy, now imagine that there is something analogous to that, an atom, a very large atom, maybe it’s a very large molecule but let’s take a very large atom of misery. It’s inherently existent, it has its own properties, it’s absolutely real and it’s moved into the space of your mind, and Chodron now feels miserable and why? Because this great nucleus, this titanium nucleus of misery has moved into her mind and says - I feel depressed. Because her mind is possessed by this inherently existent entity, this great big atom of misery. So if that’s the case, if her mind has been possessed by this inherently existent atom of misery, then why does not it not prevent joyful experiences? Because we know in an actual fact, Chodron might be miserable at 5 pm but then at 6 pm something really nice happens, and she becomes cheerful, but that’s not possible - because we know where that atom of miserable went, it lodged itself in her mind and as long as it’s there, there is no possibility of being miserable and joyful at the same time, each can’t do that anymore you can be a placebo and a drug at the same time.
(1:00:42) So if she really has this great big titanium core of misery embedded in her mind, that should make it impossible forever to experience anything else, because there will be no way for an atom of joy to come in. But you do feel joy. So one can imagine there is a possibility, what you need is a pool cue, a pool cue and need to get that pool cue and come over to Chodron’s mind and find that billiard ball of misery and go ping! and in Elizabeth - it pops out of Chodron’s mind and pops over to Elizabeth’s mind and she goes UHHH, you just made me miserable, that doggone pool cue! Because it’s got to go somewhere, it’s inherently real, you can’t just make it go away, it’s inherently real, so if it’s not staying in your mind you need to go (cough sound) and hope it comes out at your mouth and goes over to somebody else, because it has got to go someplace. But if it can’t go anyplace else, then I’m sorry but you are stuck with misery because somehow that got in there, I don’t know how it got in there, but you are stuck forever because it’s inherently real and unless it goes someplace else and makes them inherently miserable, you’re stuck, you’re screwed. So there we are.
But now in the same verse, this is a very tight packed - “If happiness is truly exists, why do savory things and so on and not brighten up the pain of grief?”
Or the alternate translation: “If suffering truly exists, why does it not oppress the joyful? If delicacies and the like are a pleasure, why do they not please someone struck by grief and so forth?” This can be a better translation as my wife is super in Sanskrit
So now we are attending to something that we take very seriously: and that is that happiness – that’s a really happy place.
Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. There are cars that are ultimate driving machines and they will definitely make you happy, just get behind the driving wheel. If it’s not a BMW, it’s definitely a Porche. There are people that just make you happy, there are places, there are jobs that are just happy jobs, and there is medicine, that’s happy medicine, so that’s what Shantideva is challenging, as we say it all the time, this person makes me happy, this is delightful, that’s happy, that’s wonderful, that’s a cheerful place, Acapulco is a cheerful place, right? Vladivostok? Not so much.
If that is true, if there is happiness and pleasure in the food, then you could have just learned that your loved one just passed away, oh never mind open up, have some chocolate or whatever your favorite is, have some happy food. And if the happiness is actually in the substance, that should make your grief just vanish because, Oh, chocolate, Oh Lasagna, but that doesn’t brighten up the grief, so that should show right there that’s not true, that happiness is not in chemicals, happiness is not in objects, it is not in appearances, it is not in places, things or other people.
89. If it is not experienced because it is overpowered by something more intense, how can that which is not of the nature of experience be a feeling?
Let’s continue (the early translation of verse 89): “you may say that such pleasure is not experienced due to being overridden by intense suffering”
And that is you may say that there is intense suffering but there’s still pleasure because if you are taking something really that make you happy, like some really good food or listening some really nice music, listen to some happy music, you have all heard happy music, polka, who listens to polka without wanting to get a smile on your face and starting to move along? Isn’t it happy music? So the argument here is that you still grief stricken but there still occurrence of happiness because you just got some happy input. And his response is:
But you are not experiencing that underlying happiness all you are experiencing is grief and say it is not making me happy, turn off the music. The food is not making me happy, stop stuffing my mouth. Turn off the sitcom, it’s not funny. And Shantideva response is:
“Then don’t call a feeling that you are not experiencing - a feeling, it’s not there”. You are not getting happiness from that substance.
I want to meditate, we are going to speak a little bit longer than I thought about feelings but I think the time will be well spent, I don’t have more big agendas I think now we’ve covered contemplative renaissance, scientific revolution, the protestant reformation in the mental health care industry with all of its five branches so we don’ need to go there again, and now you see somebody actually did say, placebo drugs. Let’s meditate.
(1:07:19) And now take executive control of your attention, over your mind or at least your awareness, release the conceptual turbulence if it is there, settle your body in its natural state, relaxed, still and vigilante, your respiration in its natural rhythm and your mind let it be loose, still, clear.
Let your awareness hold in its own ground, know the taste, know the immediate experience of your awareness hovering motionlessly in the present moment, free of grasping, unmoved by appearances and yet illuminating all appearances and activities of the mind.
Some of you already began to experience the fact that the more you release grasping and allow your awareness to rest in its own place, allow your mind to settle in its own natural state, with a sense of wellbeing and even joy that emerges from the very nature of your awareness itself, independent of any type of stimulation or activity of the mind. Rest in this clear luminous nature of awareness itself, and let it illuminate both the sensations as well as the feelings arising in the body, and observe that while your awareness illuminates those feelings and sensations, the sensations and the feelings are not in the very nature of your own awareness itself, nor do they intrinsically belong to you, they arise in space in dependence upon prior causes and conditions, they are simply what they are, with no ego and no owner.
When a feeling arises within the body examine it closely, the very feeling itself. Is it like an atom of pleasure or pain, inherently real, discrete self-defining? Simply witnessed passively, or are you a participant? Which suggests some possibility of degrees of freedom rather than simply being the victim of the suffering and pain arising in the body.
When you eat tasty food you can when you closely apply mindfulness to eating, that the pleasure you experience is not intrinsically within the nature of the taste itself, you know that if you keep on eating and eating until you don’t want to eat anymore, no more pleasure but the food tastes the same. If you hear lovely music you can distinguish between the pleasure of hearing the music in the actual sound of the music, hear it too many times pleasure vanishes, pleasure is not in the music and pleasure is not in the food. How about then the sensations that arise in the body whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, is that feeling embedded in the very nature of the sensations themselves earth, water, fire and air? Are they already there simply being presented to you? As the sensations simply presented to you, are the feelings also simply given? Or not? Examine closely.
With discerning intelligence, with discerning intelligence examine closely, closely apply mindfulness to the feelings arising in the body and the sensations that act as cooperative conditions for those feelings, which is to say they don’t predetermine them, they simply catalyze, trigger or contribute to the emergence of those feelings which are in the very nature of experience, your away of experiencing the sensations. Probe right into the nucleus of the feelings, is there a core like that hypothetical atom that is 100% homogeneous atom. Can you find the core of feeling? Can you find its nucleus? Is it internally homogenous? Is it in any way influenced by your observation of it?
Can you detect something very subtle, and that is not only your identification with the pain or whatever feelings arises in the body as my feeling but on a subtler level, the conceptual identification of a feeling as suffering, as painful or as pleasant? Can you detect this conceptual imputation and can you detect that upon which you are imputing this label, this concept - this is painful - this is pleasurable - and can you see that the basis and the imputation are not the same?
And can you see that when you do not designated it conceptually as pleasant or unpleasant, it was not already inherently so. This takes or requires very, very subtle investigation, close analysis to see the objective emptiness of what that is designated.
Let your awareness be like space, view your body as space and observe the empty appearances arising from space and dissolving back into space within this field of the body, and be in peace, free of grasping, free of reification.
Meditation on emptiness leads to the Middle Way. For someone who is well prepared, realization of emptiness leads to compassion and bliss. For someone who is still self-centered, direct insight into emptiness can lead to grief and fear.
(1:31:04) What is extraordinary about the meditation on emptiness, is that when it’s done properly, when you really have found Middle Way, rather than leading to some sense of emptiness, like life is empty, a kind of a nihilism some kind of a sheer vacuum, that the realization of emptiness actually naturally emerges or displays itself or gives rise to compassion, quite remarkable.
And how just on the contrary, when we reify ourselves, when we take our own personal identity as something inherent real, absolutely real, absolutely separate of course, then that undermines all compassion, because that means we’re unrelated, your problem, your problem, my problem, my problem, good luck! Quite interesting, but it’s also interesting at least one of you has already discovered this experientially, that if one really makes a point of probing into nature of reality, to see whether or not phenomena are indeed empty of inherent nature, when you start gaining some glimmering there, some insight, some experience, it can give rise to different types of emotions. In one case grief, sadness it’s all empty, or in other cases fear, I am going to be annihilated! And yet other people experiences bliss. Same realization. Once experience fearful, miserable, another person blissful, radiant, joyful, so why, how can that be? What’s the taste of emptiness? Terrifying or blissful? They are very different tastes. And this just highlights a whole market of contemplative science, radically unlike third person science. It’s just an observation, not a criticism.
(1:33:22) But contemplative science, you must make your mind serviceable, you must prepare the mind for the deepest insights so that when you are cultivating the four immeasurables and going deeper and deeper there, cultivating bodhichitta and you bring that mind to the investigation of emptiness, it gives rise to bliss. Bring a mind that is not so well trained, a mind that’s really quite habituated and unchallenged in its habituation, to the fixation of my wellbeing, self-centeredness, prioritization of one’s own wellbeing over everybody else, so that my mind always does that, it always goes into the mudra of self-grasping, it’s a fist. Let that mindset go unchallenged and now say - “I really want to realize emptiness”, and you get a bit of taste and it freaks you out. Instead of finding the great possible treasure which is what the bodhisattva finds, you find when you get some glimmering into the very emptiness of a separate, autonomous, inherently existent self, you feel like you just lost your most precious treasure. The one who was seeking emptiness winds up being devastated. That’s why, two wings to enlightenment, two hands in mudra, skilful means and wisdom, together.
Happy, sorry for being so happy, but not very. I won’t do it all the time, I promise. Enjoy your evening.
Transcribed by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Revised by Cheri Langston
Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Posted by Alma Ayon and Quinn Comendant