Saturday, September 05, 2009

Snow Lion's Dalai Lama Quote of the Week - Grasping at Self-Existence


by the Dalai Lama,
translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Broadly speaking, there are two types of grasping at the self-existence of persons--those that focus on one's own self, and those that focus on others. The first is known as the egoistic grasping at self-existence, within which there is the grasping at the thought 'I am' or 'me' on the one hand, and the grasping at 'mine' as the possessions of that self on the other. Working from this basis we then extend the sense of self onto our belongings and so forth, such as 'my house', 'my body' and 'my mind'. Afflictions like attachment and anger arise on the basis of these possessive thoughts. This is the causal dynamic process through which our afflictions--the cause of our suffering--come into being.

In order to bring about an end to this chain of afflictive causes and effects, we need to cultivate an understanding of the two selflessnesses--'the selflessness of the person' and the 'selflessness of phenomena'. While many texts present the selflessness of phenomena first, it is said that in terms of order of actual practice we should meditate first on the selflessness of the person. This is because it is generally easier to identify the notion of self-existence in relation to one's own sense of self than it is in relation to other phenomena.

~ From Lighting the Way by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications.

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