In order to be sure that a certain person is not present, you must
know the absent person. Likewise, in order to be certain of the
meaning of “selflessness” or “the lack of intrinsic existence,” you
must carefully identify the self, or intrinsic nature, that does not
exist. For, if you do not have a clear concept of the object to be ne
gated, you will also not have accurate knowledge of its negation.
For Santideva’s Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds says:
Without contacting the entity that is imputed
You will not apprehend the absence of that entity.
There is limitless diversity among objects of negation, but they
come together at the root; when you refute this, you refute all ob
jects of negation. Moreover, if you leave some remainder, fail
ing to refute the deepest and most subtle core of the object of nega
tion, then you will fall to an extreme of true existence. You will cling
to the idea of real things, whereby you will not be able to escape
cyclic existence. If you fail to limit the object of negation and over
extend your refutation, then you will lose confidence in the causal
progressions of dependent-arising, thereby falling to a nihilistic
extreme. This nihilistic view will lead you to rebirth in a miserable
realm. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the object of negation care
fully, for if it is not identified, you will certainly develop either a
nihilistic view or an eternalistic view.
Within the dharmakaya which pervades like space,
The sambhogakaya is distinctly manifest like the light of the sun,
And the nirmanakaya accomplishes the welfare of beings like a rainbow.
I know all the details of karma, but I do not really believe in it.
I have heard a lot of Dharma, but never put it into practice.
Bless me and evil-doers like me
That our minds may mingle with the Dharma.
Things happen to us all the time that open up the space. This spaciousness, this wide-open, unbiased, unprejudiced space is inexpressible and fundamentally good and sound. It’s like the sky. Whenever you’re in a hot spot or feeling uncomfortable, whenever you’re caught up and don’t know what to do, you can find someplace where you can go and look at the sky and experience some freshness, free of hope and fear, free of bias and prejudice, just completely open. And this is accessible to us all the time. Space permeates everything, every moment of our lives.
If we are honest with ourselves, we know from our own experience that the more we try to find solutions to our problems through thinking about them, the more we start going around in circles, sometimes interminably. Buddhism counsels us to resist being abused by our conflicting emotions and to let go of excessive thinking. Emotions can be expressed in an unhealthy, self-destructive manner or in a healthy and constructive fashion. Similarly, we can think in a self-destructive, confused way, which reinforces our negative habits, or we can think in a constructive way. Buddhism emphasizes that overindulgence in conflicting emotions and distorted forms of thinking only reinforces our old habits, which solidifies our karmic tendencies even further.
In the teachings of the vajrayana, it is clearly taught that once someone attains full liberation, they do not become nothing. The process of purification finally reveals, and therefore there remains, an enduring wisdom that is of the nature of nonconceptual compassion.
How do we go about implementing in our daily lives the principles which are stipulated in the practice of the Six Perfections? Buddhism recommends living one’s life within the ethical discipline of observance of what are known as the Ten Precepts, or Avoidance of the Ten Negative Actions. Most of the Negative Actions are common denominators of all religious traditions. They are seen as negative or undesirable for society in general, regardless of any religious point of view.
Once one has realized the nature of things, one no longer hopes to attain Buddhahood, neither is one apprehensive that one might not obtain it. One simply remains in the even state of all-pervading peace in which all notions of subject and object have been freed in their own sphere.
When Shakyamuni Buddha expounded his wisdom to people to show them the noble and profound ways they could conduct their lives, his intention was not to impress them with how much he knew or how well he could express himself. It was because of his infinitely compassionate concern for the benefit and liberation of all beings without exception, that he revealed the way of liberation from all suffering. Like the love of a mother who cherishes her only child, this was the loving-kindness of the Buddha’s teaching.
Temples and stupas — buildings that house sacred relics — reflect the heart and mind of the Buddha. Respecting outside forms of Buddha nourishes our own innate wisdom. Yet the true buddha, the awakened essence of mind, exists within each one of us.