a relaxed state of mind

Compassion and non-violence: Cultivate a relaxed state of mind

Learning to tackle anger and develop kindness is part of the practice of emotional hygiene.
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In briefly clarifying emptiness His Holiness Dalai Lama alluded to three key verses (6.34-6) of ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ in which Chandrakirti outlines the four logical fallacies that would occur if things possessed objective existence; if they had an essential core in and of themselves. These are that an Arya being’s meditative absorption of emptiness would be the destroyer of phenomena; that it would be wrong to teach that things lack ultimate existence; that the conventional existence of things would be able to withstand ultimate analysis into the nature of things, and that it would be untenable to state, as the Buddha does, that things are empty in and of themselves.

He mentioned two further verses from Nagarjuna’s ‘Root Wisdom of the Middle Way’:

That which is dependently arisen
Is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent designation,
Is itself the middle way. 24.18

There does not exist anything
That is not dependently arisen.
Therefore, there does not exist anything
That is not empty. 24.19

“When you gain some conviction about this,” His Holiness declared, “you’ll see some transformation within yourself. Buddhism is not just concerned with reciting prayers or sitting in thoughtless meditation, it is founded on compassion. This is why Chandrakirti opens his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ with a eulogy to compassion:

Buddhas are born from bodhisattvas.
The compassionate mind and non-dual cognition
as well the awakening mind: these are causes of bodhisattvas. 1.1

As compassion alone is accepted to be
the seed of the perfect harvest of Buddhahood,
the water that nourishes it, and the fruit that is long a source of enjoyment,
I will praise compassion at the start of all. 1.2

His Holiness clarified that enlightenment is won through a combination of compassion and wisdom. All mental defilements, mental afflictions and cognitive obscuration are eliminated by employing them both.

In responding to a series of questions from members of the audience His Holiness agreed that humanity is facing a number of crises including the Covid pandemic and climate change. Nevertheless, as human beings, he said, we must use our unique intelligence to make our lives meaningful. He noted that the variety of difficulties he’s faced since leaving Tibet and becoming a refugee has actually contributed constructively to his practice of the Dharma.

Asked how to prepare ourselves for coming face to face with death, His Holiness described the dissolution of the elements and the occurrence of the three visions: whitish appearance, reddish increase and black near-attainment culminating in the manifestation of the mind of clear light. He recommended that we familiarise ourselves with these stages of dissolution. In tantra, there are references to transforming the three states of death, intermediate state and rebirth into the three bodies of a Buddha.

His Holiness mentioned the phenomenon known as ‘thukdam’ that takes place when an accomplished meditator dies. Although their bodies are recognised to be clinically dead, they remain fresh and don’t decay. He recalled that his tutor Ling Rinpoché remained in this state for 13 days and that recently a monk at Gyutö Tantric College maintained his meditation on the clear light of death for 32 days. His Holiness noted that people with experience of the stages of dissolution at death can recognise them as they occur. Then, the dawning of the clear light of death provides an opportunity for a profound meditation on emptiness.

His Holiness answered a question about how children should cope with feeling angry with their parents with the advice to consult Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Way of a Bodhisattva’. Chapter six, he pointed out, gives explicit guidance about the disadvantages of anger and learning to deal with it, while chapter eight extols the advantages of cultivating an altruistic attitude. The goal is to cultivate a relaxed state of mind. Learning to tackle anger and develop kindness is part of the practice of emotional hygiene.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of Tibet. Since taking asylum in India in 1959, His Holiness has become a global advocator of peace, compassion and happiness. He is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognised for his concern for global environmental problems.

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