Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dalai Lama - Realising the absence of self-existence

by the Dalai Lama,
translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa


Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

At the level of conventional truth we all naturally possess both the desire and the potential to overcome suffering and to attain happiness. In this context, we can reflect upon the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Two Truths, and on the basis of such reflection we gradually develop an understanding of how we can gain freedom from suffering and of the potential we possess within ourselves for accomplishing such a goal.

We can reflect further that: 'Just like me, all other sentient beings possess this same desire and potential to be happy and overcome suffering', and ask ourselves: 'If I continue to be guided by my own self-centredness and, through my single-pointed concern for my own well-being, continue to ignore the well-being of others, what will the consequences be?'

Then we can reflect: 'From beginningless lifetimes I have harboured this self-cherishing attitude and have grasped onto the notion of an intrinsically real, enduring self. I have nurtured these two thoughts of self-cherishing and self-grasping deep in my heart as if they are twin jewels. But where has this way of being led me? By pursuing the dictates of my self-grasping and self-centredness, have I actually managed to attain the fulfilment of my self-interest? If it were possible, surely by now I should have achieved my goal. But I know that this is not the case.'

We should then compare ourselves to enlightened beings such as the Buddha Shakyamuni who achieved total victory over all defilements and perfected all qualities of goodness. We should then ask ourselves: 'How did the Buddha accomplish this?' Through contemplation we will come to recognise that, at a certain point in his existence, the Buddha reversed the normal way of thinking and being. In the place of self-cherishing he cultivated the thought of cherishing the well-being of other sentient beings, and in place of self-grasping he cultivated the wisdom realising the absence of self-existence. In this way he attained full awakening. (p.30)

--from Lighting the Way by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

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