Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Don’t be a control freak!

(5.13) Where is there enough leather
To cover the surface of the Earth?
But just having leather on the soles of one’s feet
Is the same as covering the whole Earth.

(5.14) In the same way, it is not possible
To control all external events;
But, if I simply control my mind,
What need is there to control other things?

I think that we all have this bad habit of wanting to control. On one level we’re all control freaks.  Why?  Because we want everything to be how we want it to be.  This desire arises from our self-grasping and self-cherishing minds.  If we examine closely our thoughts, even our speech and our physical behavior, the truth of this will become apparent.  We need to know these things.  We need to identify these things in our own mind.  To destroy our enemy of delusions, we must first identify them.

This controlling mind is a horrible mind.  Rather than accepting happily whatever happens, we prefer to control.  We mentally grasp at some things being good and others being bad, and as a result we seek to control what happens.  We exhaust ourselves doing this to no avail.  We can take a simple example of just listening to somebody else.  Are we able to happily allow the other person to say what they want, how they want, for as long as they want, and we simply listen and enjoy listening.  There are levels of impatience that we suffer from all the time, in every aspect of our life. Do we genuinely leave people free to do what they wish or do we try control them?

Our mind seeks to control, it wishes to change things, it seeks to push certain things away.  Instead, we need to learn to accept them all.  This will sometimes mean our selfish wishes go unfulfilled, and this can be painful.  But what is bad for our self-cherishing is good for us.  Generally we get too concerned with immediate results.  We do the slightest virtue, and we expect to get our karmic benefits right away.  If they don’t, we are not willing to engage in the virtue.  This comes from worldly concerns.  This is a real training of the mind.  Yes, it is hard work, but the rewards are infinite.  If we have the mind of patient acceptance, it is as if we are in a pure land while still abiding in samsara.  We accept everything, can go anywhere in any situation and are perfectly happy.  We know how to accept everything just as it is without the slightest need to change anything.  We can do this because we know how to use everything that arises to accomplish our spiritual purposes.  Everything gives us a chance to train in some form of virtue or to realize some truth of Dharma, so we can use everything to advance along the path.

This does not mean we do not alleviate harm where we can do so.  Of course if there are things we can do to stop suffering, for ourself or for others, then we should do so for virtuous reasons, such as wanting to protect others from creating bad karma for themselves.  But when we can’t do anything to change the external situation, it doesn’t matter because we know how to accept everything as it is.

It is so difficult for us—to let go of our desire to have any control over others.  Are we ready to let people be as they want to be, do as they want to do—without any wish to control?  We even need to let go of the desire for control over situations.  We do this because we are still suffering from the mind that thinks that our inner wellbeing depends on what is happening in the external world, so to be happy we need to manipulate and force the external to conform to our wishes.  Most anger comes from this, we strongly convince ourselves that some external thing needs to happen, and we try force the world to conform to our vision of things.  This only creates more problems.

A Bodhisattva instead desires only to control their own mind. Shantideva says “if I simply control my own mind, what need is there to control other things?”  When we are free from needing to control other things for ourself, then we will be in a position to help people make the right choices for themselves.  We don’t want them to change for us.  Whatever they do, it is perfect for us.  Rather, we want them to change for them.  We only help people change the things about themselves that they wish to change, not what we wish to change.  For example, we might be with somebody who has huge faults, but doesn’t see any but the smallest.  We help them change what they want to change, and we accept the rest as perfect for our training.

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: How to destroy all our “enemies”

(5.12) It is not possible to subdue unruly beings
Who are as extensive as space;
But simply destroying the mind of anger
Is the same as overcoming all these foes.

The reality is this:  the world is filled with those who would do us harm.  Conventionally speaking and paranoia aside, our viewing some people as out to harm us in some way is often correct.  The mind of anger is the wish to harm those who harm us in some way, regardless of whether that person harmed us in the past, is harming us now or is plotting to harm us in the future.  On this surface, this can seem an entirely rational reaction.  We harm those who harm us to teach them a lesson to not harm us (or to harm those we love).  We think if we inflict some pain on them for harming us, then they will stop doing so.  We might even tell ourselves that we are helping them in this way because we are acting to deter them from engaging in future non-virtue.

But Geshe-la is very clear:  there are no external enemies.  The only enemies we fight are our delusions.  Geshe-la famously said, “love is the real nuclear bomb that destroys all enemies.”  Ultimately, somebody only becomes our “enemy” when we impute “enemy” upon them.  Love wishes others to be free from all suffering and to know only true happiness.  Somebody who wishes to harm us can either be an object of our anger, at which point we will label them “enemy,” or they can be an object of our love, at which point we label them “mother sentient being.”  In this way, love quite literally destroys all “enemies.”  Nobody will appear to us as an enemy, though they may still appear to us as somebody who wishes to harm us.

Either way, we still need to respond appropriately to their wishing to harm us, but if we act out of anger, we feed their wish to harm us; if we act out of love, we gradually undermine it.    Even in conventional circles, we are advised to “kill ‘em with kindness.”  If somebody is consistently out to undermine us, but we make an effort to be kind to them and considerate of their interests, quite often their hostility will melt and they will come to see us as a friend.

Ultimately, whether another’s actions help us or harm us depends entirely on how we respond to their harm.  If we respond with delusion, then we will create negative karma for ourselves and set ourselves up to be harmed again in the future.  If instead we respond with wisdom or compassion, then their harming us can be in fact be a blessing, pushing us along the path.  Even if their intention is to harm us, we nonetheless receive benefit.  No one actually has the power to harm us, only we harm ourselves by allowing delusions to rule our reactions.

This doesn’t mean we should naively let others harm us, but it does mean we pursue a long-term solution that can transform this person from an “enemy” into a “friend.”  If somebody is out to harm us, it is entirely appropriate to thwart their efforts.  If somebody has a tendency to act in an unruly way, it is entirely compassionate to make it harder for them to do so.  Our acting in this way is not driven by anger, but rather by compassion wishing to protect the person from creating bad karma for themselves.  Being kind and having no enemies does not mean we become a doormat nor does it mean we never fight.  Sometimes we have to fight, even kill, if necessary.  The Lamrim teachings explain it is possible to engage in physical or verbal actions such as killing and lying if we are not motivated by delusion, but instead by compassion.  For example, in one of his previous lives Buddha Shakyamuni killed somebody who was about to kill everybody else on the boat they were on.  Normally, killing is non-virtuous, but in this context because his act of killing was actually an act of protecting others, it was the virtuous thing to do.

From a long-term perspective, if we destroy our mind of anger we will stop harming others.  If we stop harming others, we will stop creating the karma to be harmed ourselves.  Once our past karma of having harmed others is either exhausted or purified, we will only have virtuous karma on our mind and nobody will even seek to harm us.  In this way, destroying the mind of anger destroys all our foes, even if it takes some time before this is our karmic reality.


Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Wish to do no harm

(5.11) The killing of fish and other creatures
Has not been eradicated anywhere,
For completing the perfection of moral discipline is said to be
Attaining a mind that has abandoned non-virtue.

I used to work in academia, and as a Professor it is easy to map out ideal solutions to problems and take righteous stands.  When I came into government, one of the first things my boss told me was, “all decisions of governance involve trade-offs.  All we can do is the least bad thing possible.”  For as long as we remain in samsara, we cannot avoid harming others.  Our mere existence in this world inflicts untold harm on those around us.  For example, walking outside kills insects and scratching our arm kills tiny living beings on our skin.  If we check, every single decision we face in samsara is one of not choosing between “good” and “bad” rather our choices are always between “bad” and “even worse.”

We might mistakenly think, “perhaps I should avoid any and all responsibility, because then I won’t have to make such choices.”  But if we assume no responsibility we have no means of helping anybody.  Not helping those we could otherwise help if we had assumed responsibility is also hurting them.  We might then think, “perhaps it is best to die because then we will do no harm.”  But when we die we are reborn somewhere else in samsara inflicting different harm.  Realizing this, we may become despondent thinking it is impossible for us to practice moral discipline because no matter what we do we will inflict harm on others.  Seeing it is impossible to fulfill our moral discipline we then give up trying.  But this is completely wrong.

Just as we should not let the fact that we are not able to give everything to everybody diminish in any way our wish to do so, so too we should not let the fact that we are unable to “do no harm” diminish in any way our wish to abandon all non-virtue.  Yes, we can’t at present “do no harm,” but we can still wish to do none.  This wish will then naturally drive us to find a way to fulfill that wish.  The only way is to get out of samsara and become a Buddha.

It is very important if we are to observe moral discipline and experience good results that we train in developing a heartfelt mental intention/desire to abandon all faults.  Geshe-la has said that when training in moral discipline our intention must be a sincere intention.  We want to abandon our faults, not we want to continue engaging in them, but think we shouldn’t.  There is a huge difference between these two.  If in our heart we still wish to engage in non-virtue, but stop ourselves because we think we “shouldn’t” then all we will do is repress our non-virtuous desires, where they will grow like a cancer until eventually they overwhelm us.  Instead, we need to get to the point where we don’t want to engage in non-virtue because we see doing so only makes things worse.

We must feel it’s harming ourselves to go against our moral discipline.  It is like banging our head against the wall and creating the causes for our own suffering.  We naturally don’t want to do this, so we naturally want to change our behavior.   If we have this kind of wisdom, seeing how our faults harm us, then eventually we will achieve a mind that actually strongly wishes to abandon non-virtue.  From this, all of our actions of body, speech, and mind will become pure.  Moral discipline is not just looking like we’re behaving ourselves, but we are behaving ourselves.  And we are doing so because we want to.

Geshe-la says our vows and commitments are like an inner spiritual guide that always gives us good advice.  My parents were divorced and I didn’t see my father much as I was growing up, but his constant lectures and advice sunk in.  Even now, when I am confronted with some situation, I find myself internally debating with him about what to do.  Sometimes I don’t want to follow his advice, but I still hear him in the back of my mind telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing.  And even if I don’t want to admit it at the time, he is usually right.  Of course, all of this conversation is just taking place in my own head and he knows nothing about our constant “talks.”  In the same way, the Spiritual Guide is like our internal father who explains to us what is to be attained and what is to be abandoned.  His advice is born from the wisdom knowing what is best for us, not some external set of rules we must obey for fear of some externally imposed punishment if we do not.  While my father of this life may sometimes be wrong, my spiritual father is always right.  It is only my ignorant rebellion against his advice that convinces me otherwise.  We need to learn to activate his voice within our mind, allow ourselves to hear his advice and take the time to reflect on the reasons why he is right.  He will never lead us astray.  His wisdom is born from compassion.

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Give everything to everybody

(5.10) The completion of the perfection of giving is said to be
The thought wishing to give everything to all living beings,
Together with the merit that results from that giving;
Therefore, it depends only on mind.

Normally we think of giving as a physical action that transfers ownership of some object from ourself to others.  In reality, though, it is a change in mental imputation that transfers ownership, not any physical moving of objects.  Mentally we can give everything away right now by simply imputing “this belongs to others” on everything we own, indeed everything we encounter.

We need to stop thinking “mine”, feeling anything belongs to me to keep, to enjoy.  We need to feel like nothing is ours.  This is a training of mind, so we have to let go of this thought “mine”.  Perhaps we are unaware, but if we check we will find we are still imputing “mine” on many, many things.  If we check we’re still thinking this with respect to our clothes, body, friends, time, life, etc.  We need to look for and know that mind.  We need to ask ourselves the question, “what do I still consider to be mine?  Why am I still trying to hold on to this?  What good does it do me to have this attitude?”  We need to make a distinction between possession and ownership.  It is entirely possible for you to remain in possession of things, but you understand these belong to others, so you take care of their things for them and use these things for their benefit.

We must train in the thought to give everything, absolutely everything, to all living beings—even the merit we accumulate. We do this so that others can experience the good results of our virtues.  We must train the mind to give up everything.  If we don’t train in this mind now, then when we die, things will be ripped away from us. The perfect result of training in giving, we will find in the mind.

We need to train continuously in the mind of giving.  Venerable Tharchin says it does not matter how much we give, rather it matters how often we generate the mind of giving.  It is better to give a little quite often than it is a lot only a few times.  Why?  Because it is the mental intention we are training in, not the sum we give.  Sometimes we think our giving is so small, it is not worth doing.  But there is no act of giving too small.  Surely giving nothing is worse than giving at least something.

Sometimes we do one act of giving and then think we have done our bit and can go back to taking.  We do a few favors for others and then think, “now they owe me.”  Or perhaps we give to the center and think, “now I don’t have to give again because I have done my part.”  Giving needs to become a mental habit, where when we receive something we immediately think about how we can give it away.  What are the best objects of giving?  The three jewels, because giving to them gives to all living beings.  Giving Dharma means giving Dharma advice where possible and making teachings accessible to others, for example through helping our local Dharma center.  Giving to Buddhas means mentally offering everything we have to the Buddhas, sincerely requesting them to use these things for the enlightenment of all beings.  Giving to Sangha means helping support our teachers, retired monks and nuns, and helping our Sangha friends gain access to teachings when it otherwise would not be possible for them.

One of my old teachers used to say, “we should give until it hurts.”  Only then are we pushing the envelope and actually weakening our miserliness.  Miserliness feels pain and loss when we give.  This is one of the most deceptive of all delusions.  Miserliness convinces us that giving makes us poorer and hoarding makes us richer, when in reality it is the exact opposite.  Our miserliness condemns us to poverty and our generosity will make us rich.  This does not mean we should be foolish in the way we give.  For example, if we have a million dollars and transfer it out of our control, it will be a great act of giving.  But if instead we mentally transfer the money as belonging to others but keep it so that we can give away the interest earned on that money, it can keep on giving indefinitely.  It all depends upon the context, but one thing is clear:  mentally we should give everything away right now.  Afterwards, it is just identifying when is it most beneficial to actually physically transfer control.


Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Why is there still poverty?

Over the next several verses, Shantideva explains how each of the six perfections is an action, or training of the mind, not of the body.  We need to be very clear about what minds we are trying to generate.

(5.9) If completing the perfection of giving
Were eliminating the poverty of living beings,
Since hungry beings still exist,
How could the previous Buddhas have completed that perfection?

Many Christians struggle with the seeming paradox of God being both omnipotent and perfectly good.  If he is omnipotent, then he has absolute power over everything and can accomplish everything.  Yet if that is the case then why hasn’t he ended all suffering, such as poverty.  Surely, if he was perfectly good he would do so.  The doubt therefore arises, how can he both be omnipotent and perfectly good?  If he is omnipotent, he can’t be perfectly good because suffering exists.  If he is perfectly good, then he can’t be omnipotent because if he was he would have already ended suffering long ago.

In the same way, we might generate doubts thinking, how can a Buddha have completed the perfection of giving if poverty still exists?  Nagarjuna says for whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible.  Surely, then, a Buddha could emanate everything necessary to end all poverty.  Since poverty still exists, then either a Buddha hasn’t completed the perfection of giving (and thus could not have become a Buddha) or Nagarjuna is wrong and not everything is possible.

Shantideva explains the answers to these paradoxes.  First, giving is not perfected by having given everything to everybody, rather we perfect the mind of giving when we wish, without reservation, to give everything to everybody, including any merit we might accumulate from that act of giving.  In many of the Bodhisattva trainings, we need to set aside useless thoughts thinking there is no point generating virtuous wishes if we are we are unable to fulfill them.  For example, imagine 20 people come to you asking for help, but due to the constraints of having only one body you can only help one of them.  At such times, we could easily imagine wishing 20 people hadn’t come to us because we can’t fulfill all their wishes.  This is completely wrong.  Even though (at present) we lack the ability to help all 20 people simultaneously, we should nonetheless generate the desire wishing we were able to help all of them.  Just like Avalokiteshvara, our heart should burst forth with a burning desire to help everyone even when we can’t (at present) do so.  This burning wish will drive us to seek a means of being able to fulfill this virtuous desire.  The only way being by becoming a Buddha who has such power.  In the same way, we should not dim in any way our desire to give everything to everybody simply because we are unable to do so.  We should cultivate this wish to its fullest, and then seeing we can’t fulfill it, we will naturally feel pushed to find a way to do so – in other words, by becoming a Buddha.  The perfection of giving, therefore, is the mind consumed by the burning wish to give everything to everybody, including the merit that would flow from such giving.  This mind drives us relentlessly to enlightenment.

Nagarjuna is still correct because implicit within a correct understanding of emptiness is an understanding of the laws of karma.  Je Tsongkhapa explains that when the wisdom realizing emptiness confirms karma, and our understanding of karma reveals emptiness then our understanding of both emptiness and karma is correct.  The wisdom realizing emptiness does not bestow upon us some magical power with which we can break the laws of nature, rather the wisdom realizing emptiness enables us to harness the laws of karma towards any end we may wish.  One of the laws of karma is if an action is not completed, the effect cannot be experienced.  Poverty is the karmic result of miserliness and wealth is the karmic result of giving.  Even though a Buddha would want to give everything to everybody and thereby end their poverty, if other living beings have not created the karma of giving for themselves, their poverty will not end.  We might then wonder what is the point of becoming a Buddha wishing to free all living beings if living beings themselves still need to do all the work?  The answer is as a Buddha we will be able to be by their side for the rest of eternity, gradually helping guide them to the path of giving.  It may not be a quick fix solution, but who ever said such a solution existed?  (As a side note, from the perspective of a Buddha, once they attain enlightenment they will experience all beings as having always been enlightened, so it will be as if everyone instantaneously attains enlightenment with them.  They do not see things in this way because it is objectively true, rather they see things in this way because this view helps ripen living beings in the swiftest possible way).

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  All fears and all sufferings arise from the mind

(5.6) Buddha, the Able One, says,
“Thus, all fears
And all infinite sufferings
Arise from the mind.”

(5.7) Who purposely creates the weapons
That harm the beings in the hells?
Who creates the blazing iron ground?
From where do the tempting hallucinations arise?

(5.8) The Able One says that all such things
Come only from evil minds.
Thus, there is nothing to fear within the three worlds
That has not come from the mind.

Control over our life comes only when we have control over our mind.  Why?

Because our mind is the creator. We need to try to understand clearly how our mind is the creator of all fears, sufferings, and so forth.  Where do these appearances come from?  The mind itself.  Everything is like objects in a dream.  With the creation of a cause within our mental continuum, there’s also the creation of a potentiality, which will ripen as a mind and its object.

Since the mind and its object are the same nature, if we have an impure mind we will experience all objects as impure.  Why do we perceive and experience things as they do?  Since nothing exists outside the mind, they must be imputed by mind.  If we discriminate in ordinary, harmful ways, that’s how objects will be experienced.  If we regard someone as our enemy, that’s what they will be for us, through the force of discrimination.  At present we have many negative, impure, harmful states of mind.  What will arise from these?  All these states of mind must be bound, subdued, so that we can put an end to the fears and sufferings that arise from them.  All will be bound simply by binding the mind.  Why?   Because they come from mind.

We might object, “but even if I change my mind, my bank account will still be empty and my partner will still have run off with somebody else?  Changing my mind changes nothing.”  It is important we think deeply about this objection and come up with a definite answer to it.  If we don’t, we won’t be convinced of the need to realize emptiness.

There are two answers to this objection.  First, changing our mind can change our opinion about what appears, and therefore our experience of it.  We can view something as a “problem” or as an “opportunity.”  From its own side, the situation is neither, but it becomes these things depending on how we view them.  For example, imagine we have a bad stomach ache.  If we view things from the perspective of unpleasant feelings, this is a bad thing.  If we view things from the perspective of opportunity to purify our negative karma, train in renunciation or generate compassion, then our experience of the stomach ache is a good thing.  It may still be “uncomfortable,” but it ceases to be a “problem.”  The same is true or all things.  By changing our mind, we can change our opinion about what appears, and as a result change our experience of these things.

Second, we can actually change what appears, but with a lag in time.  It is true changing our mind will not give us our job back after we have been fired.  But why did we get fired?  It was the effect of karma.  Karma comes from action, and all action comes from the mind.  Kadam Bjorn said, “if you don’t like your karma, change it.”  By changing our mind, we change our actions, by changing our actions we change our karma.  From a very long-term perspective, if we stop creating negative karma, even if we engage in no purification practice, eventually all of our negative karma will exhaust itself and only positive karmic seeds will remain on our mind and we will know only pleasant experiences.  If all our minds become pure, all of our actions will become pure, and therefore all of our karma will become pure.  From this, eventually all of our experiences will become pure.  There is a lag in time between when we change our mind and it starts changing what appears, but it does eventually happen.  If we understand this, we realize if we change our mind we can change everything.  Nothing else can promise such results.  This is why Geshe-la says there is no solution to human problems other than Dharma.

As we go through our daily lives, we should make Shantideva’s questions our mental habit.  We can look at any object, any situation, any problem and ask ourselves the questions, “where do these things come from?”  “Who created these things?”  When we ask these questions with wisdom, we are eventually led to a clear answer of our own mind.  There is no creator other than mind.  If we remind ourselves of this again and again, day by day our wisdom will grow, and as it does the efficacy of practicing Dharma as the sole solution to our problems will become self-evident.

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Subdue your mind, subdue everything

(5.4) Tigers, lions, elephants, bears,
Snakes, all kinds of enemy,
Guardians of the beings in hell,
Evil spirits, and cannibals –

(5.5) These will all be bound
Simply by binding the mind,
And will all be subdued
Simply by subduing the mind.

If only it were that simple.  It is! “simply by subduing the mind” we can subdue everything.

Everything that exists in the world is nothing more than mere karmic appearances of mind.  If last night we dreamt of tigers, lion, elephants, and so forth, where did they come from?  Where do they do when we wake up?  How were they created?  Who or what created them?  Geshe-la said, “there is no creator other than mind.”

Everybody wants to change the world, sometimes out of a child-like naiveté, sometimes out of purely selfish motives.  Virtually everything we do is aimed, one way or another, at changing the world.  The problem is the method we use will never work.  We try change the external environment to try set everything right only to be surprised when the same problems seem to come back, just with different faces.  Why does this happen?  Because it is the mind that creates the world.  If we try change the world without changing our mind, our mind will just reproject the same problems and patterns, just against a different karmic surface.

A movie projects its image on a blank, white screen.  Because the screen is clear, it can reflect any sort of image.  If we see something we do not like on the screen, but forget where the image is coming from, we might try block the image by covering the screen.  But when we do so, for as long as the movie is still playing, the image will just be reprojected onto this new surface.  In exactly – exactly – the same way, our mind projects all sorts of karmic movies onto the blank, clear-light screen of the clarity of our mind.  Because our mind is clear, it can reflect any sort of image.  If we see something we don’t like in the world, but we forget that the image is coming from our own mind, we might try to change what we see by trying to externally change the world.  But when we do so, for as long as the karma giving rise to that appearance has not exhausted itself, the same image will just be reprojected onto this new external surface.

We see this dynamic all the time.  I know somebody who once lived in L.A., convinced herself that her problem was all the crazy people of California, so she moved as far away as she could to North Carolina.  At first, things seemed better, but before long she found herself with the same sorts of problems she had in L.A., just with different people.  Geshe-la gives the example in Joyful Path that if we try to run away from our problems by moving into some cave, it would not be long before we start to prefer some parts of the cave to others, or like some bird songs and not others.  The reason for this is because our minds of attachment or aversion are not tied to specific objects, rather they are habits of mind that quickly reassert themselves regardless of which objects we have around us.  We all know people with addictive personalities, who finally manage to abandon their dependency on one drug to find themselves dependent on another, or maybe they fixate their attachment from one boyfriend to another, to another, always encountering the same problems again and again.

The bottom line is a deluded, negative mind will project a deluded, negative world.  Two people can experience the same restaurant as a heaven or a hell entirely based on their mental imputations.  Hamlet said, “Things are neither good nor bad, but thinking makes them so.”  When we think about it, this makes perfect sense.  Modern physics tells us all that is really around us is a bunch of electrons, protons and neutrons flying around in different combinations.  And according to Quantum physics, even these things aren’t actually there, but only come into existence when we observe them.  From their own side, these things are neutral at best (actually, from their own side they are nothing).  They are neither good nor bad, but it is how we think about them that makes them so.  Every “problem” we have is created by our own mind relating to these appearances in a “problematic way.”  There is nothing intrinsic about any appearance that makes it a problem, it is our mind that imputes “problem” onto these things.

But just as the mind can impute problem and samsara onto things, it also has the power to impute “perfect condition” or even “pure land.”  Whether we abide in samsara or in the pure land is purely a question of point of view.  Geshe-la says, “a pure mind experiences a pure world, and an impure mind experiences an impure world.”  If we contemplate deeply the meaning of emptiness, we begin to realize we can never change the external world with external methods.  It is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube that has no solution, no matter how long we try, we will never solve it.  But, if we change our mind – if we change the way we impute the world – we can change everything.