(9.32) By developing acquaintance with the view of emptiness,
We shall eventually abandon grasping at true existence;
And especially by meditating on the emptiness of emptiness,
We shall come to abandon grasping at emptiness itself as being truly existent.
Like all things in the Dharma it is just a question of familiarity. The more we acquaint our mind with the view of emptiness, realizing that the things that we normally see do not exist, then the hold appearances have over us will weaken and weaken until eventually they no longer trigger delusions within us.
True existence here refers to objects existing in the way in which they appear. Objects appear to exist from their own side independent of our mind as something that is real and actually there. The view of emptiness directly counters this by establishing that objects are in fact mirror projections of our mind. There is nothing actually there, there is simply an appearance of something being there. It is like in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulled back the curtain and revealed that the wizard was nothing more than a frumpy old man. Even though the appearances of the great and powerful oz were still appearing, Dorothy understood that it was all just an illusion, and her fear, which was palpable before, completely disappeared. She saw through the illusion. Even though it appears, it no longer triggered fear in her mind. In exactly the same way, when we understand that the things we normally see do not exist, even though they will still appear to us they will no longer have any power to generate delusions in our mind.
Here, Shantideva also points out the importance of realizing the emptiness of emptiness itself. Sometimes, we realize that phenomena are just like illusions but we still think the emptiness we realize truly exists, somehow independently of all phenomena. This is of course ludicrous. Emptiness does not exist on its own, independent of the objects that are empty. We cannot speak of emptiness on its own, rather we can only speak of the emptiness of something. For example the emptiness of our body, the emptiness of our car, and so forth.
If we grasp at emptiness as existing on its own, independent of or somehow behind all phenomena, then realizing emptiness will not completely uproot all of our innate delusions. It will help, but it won’t be enough. The reason for this is because our mind will still have a gap between our mind and the object we are trying to realize, emptiness. The emptiness we will realize still seems to be something separate from us, and therefore our mind does not mix with it completely.
This is why the Tantra Prasangika view is so powerful. The Tantra Prasangika view is the union of the Chittamatrin view and the Prasangika view. The Chittamatrins say that all phenomena are the nature of mind. The Prasangikas then say that the mind itself is empty. By realizing the emptiness of the mind directly, we realize the emptiness of all phenomena indirectly since all phenomena are aspects of the mind.
Since all of our contaminated karma is stored on our very subtle mind, by realizing the emptiness of our very subtle mind we uproot all of the contaminated karma stored on it. With one single concentration, we therefore purify all of the contaminated karma we have accumulated since beginningless time. If we had to go through and realize the emptiness of each and every phenomena individually, it would take forever because there are countless different phenomena that could appear to our mind. But if we realize the emptiness of our mind and we realize that all phenomena are aspects of our mind, then we can realize the emptiness of all phenomena indirectly by realizing the emptiness of our mind directly.
(9.33) When it is said that “No thing exists”,
This means that truly existent things do not exist;
So how could a mind grasping at the true existence of that emptiness remain
When the basis for such a misconception – grasping at true existence – has been removed?
(9.34) Eventually, when the true existence of things and the true existence of emptiness
No longer appear to the mind,
Since there is no other aspect of true existence,
The mind will abide in the resultant pacified state in which all conceptuality has ceased.
When we gain the realization by meditating on the emptiness of emptiness, there will no longer be any dualistic appearance and we will experience the union of bliss and emptiness that is the resultant pacified state in which all conceptuality has ceased. We will realize directly our own mind – both its conventional and its ultimate nature. In Mahamudra Tantra, the instructions lead us to this realization. In Mahamudra Tantra the very first stage in which we identify our mind, our own mind is actually our root mind, our very subtle mind, in the first stage we identify our mind as having the nature of clarity, just as we meditated previously.
But then we go on to identify the subtle mind as having the nature of the cessation of all gross minds. The nature of the cessation of all gross minds, such as our present conceptual minds. Then finally we identify our very subtle mind as having the nature of bliss. Then, with this mind, we meditate on emptiness. Bliss is the conventional nature of our mind, emptiness is its ultimate nature, and we see these two as the same nature, one entity.
One thought on “Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Emptiness Uproots All Delusions”
This is exactly my practice and you put it into words that clarifies and inspires perfectly. Thank you for all your articles and insights. They are deeply appreciated Love, Dennis