Tag Archives: emptiness


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

If you vanquish ego-clinging today, tonight you will be enlightened. If you vanquish it tomorrow, you will be enlightened tomorrow night. But if you never vanquish it, you will never be enlightened. Yet ” I ” is just a thought. Thoughts and feelings have no intrinsic solidity, form, shape, or color. When a thought of anger arises in the mind with such force that you feel aggressive and destructive, is anger brandishing a weapon? Is it at the head of an army?

Can it burn things like fire, crush them like a rock, or carry them away like a violent river? No. Anger, like any other thought or feeling, has no true existence—- not even a definitive location in your body, speech, or mind. It is just like wind roaring in empty space.

Instead of allowing wild thoughts to enslave you, realize their essential emptiness. If you subdue the hatred within, you will discover that there is not a single enemy left outside. Otherwise, even if you could overpower everyone in the whole world, your hatred will only grow stronger. Indulging it will never make it subside. The only truly intolerable enemy is hatred itself.

Examine the nature of hatred; you will find that it is no more than a thought.

When you see it as it is, it will dissolve like a cloud in the sky.

— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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When you see thoughts as they are, they will dissolve like clouds in the sky



They call Him Emptiness who is the Truth of truths,
in Whom all truths are stored!
There within Him creation goes forward,
which is beyond all philosophy;
for philosophy cannot attain to Him:
There is an endless world,
O my Brother! and there is the Nameless Being,
of whom naught can be said.
Only he knows it who has reached that region:
it is other than all that is heard and said.
No form, no body, no length, no breadth is seen there:
how can I tell you that which it is?

— Kabir – Songs of Kabir – LXXVI  (transl. Rabindranath Tagore)

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They call Him Emptiness


Nisargadatta Maharaj made this beautiful statement: “Wisdom says I am nothing. Love says I am everything. Between the two my life flows.” As the vast ocean of Being, you are no thing in particular. You are not a ‘me’ or a ‘you’. What you are is the vast open space in which everything happens, and the recognition of that brings clarity and wisdom. But clarity and wisdom are not complete without their reflection, love. And love comes from the recognition that, as open space, as the ocean, what you are deeply accepts all of the waves that appear – all of the sights and sounds and smells and sensations appearing now. I find that many spiritual seekers get stuck in the “nothing” aspect of realisation, and are left with only an intellectual understanding of awakening, which does not bring total freedom. The true end of suffering comes from the recognition of this total intimacy with life itself – in other words, the deep acceptance of “everything” appearing in experience. In this deep acceptance, mind and heart are one. Nothing is everything – they were never two. Mental clarity and certainty give way to deep acceptance of this moment. And there, the war ends.

— Jeff Foster

Wisdom says I am nothing. Love says I am everything


Whatever good or bad things appear to us seem to exist from the side of those objects. How do they exist? If they exist from the side of the object, then, contemplating the basis of imputation, which lies out there at finger-point, we should see whether it is the object in question or not. Let us take for example a physical object and examine its shape, color and so on to see if that object is to be found anywhere among those attributes. If we do so, we find nothing that is the object in question. If we take a person as an example, and inspect the individual aggregates that are the bases of designation of a person, we find that none of them is the person. In that way we recognize that the imputed object is not to be found upon investigation.

Then if we contemplate how things appear to the mind, we see that they seem to exist from the side of the object, without dependence upon anything else. But when they are sought analytically, they are not found. They do exist, for they can help or harm us. But when pondering the manner in which they exist, we find no basis for the assumption that they exist from the side of the object. Thus, they exist by the power of subjective convention, by the power of designation.

When pondering the nature of existence, we find that entities are not found upon seeking them analytically. So they exist by means of conventional, conceptual designation. They do undeniably exist. But as long as they do not exist independently, from their own side, they must exist by the power of subjective convention. There is no alternative. An entity exists due to its being designated upon something that is not it.

The Dalai Lama – Transcendent Wisdom – p. 54

How things appear to the mind


Once you realize that the world is your own projection, you are free of it. You need not free yourself of a world that does not exist, except in your own imagination! However is the picture, beautiful or ugly, you are painting it and you are not bound by it. Realize that there is nobody to force it on you, that it is due to the habit of taking the imaginary to be real. See the imaginary as imaginary and be free of fear.

— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That

The world as a projection of your consciousness


As it stands, the oak tree is an oak tree. If, however, we were to pluck out all of the leaves of this oak tree, would it still be a tree? Most people would definitely say yes. Trees lose their leaves in the winter all the time yet still remain trees. Suppose now that we were to saw off a few branches. Would our tree still remain a tree? Most people, again, would respond in the affirmative. We have all seen trees without a few branches. But let us say that we were to take another step and cut off all of the branches. What would we be left with? Now the response we would most likely get would be a trunk on a root, definitely not a tree. The point of this analogy is to illustrate that once any existent is subjected to thorough analysis, we soon realise that its nature is not fixed and determinate. In the case of the tree, this becomes clear when we ask: exactly when in our process of sawing off the branches does the tree stop being a tree? The difficulty in pin-pointing a universal essence which we can unequivocally identify as “treeness” is one reason for believing there is no such essence to begin with.

— Sacred Web (Volume 23, p. 51 – Atif Khalil – Emptiness, Identity and Interpenetration in Hua-yen Buddhism

If a tree has no leaves nor branches can you still call it a tree?


“Once you have the View, although the delusory perceptions of samsara may arise in your mind, you will be like the sky; when a rainbow appears in front of it, it’s not particularly flattered, and when the clouds appear, it’s not particularly disappointed either. There is a deep sense of contentment. You chuckle from inside as you see the facade of samsara and nirvana; the View will keep you constantly amused, with a little inner smile bubbling away all the time.”

— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche – p. 170)

The View


I boasted among men that I had known you.
They see your pictures in all works of mine.
They come and ask me, `Who is he?’
I know not how to answer them.
I say, `Indeed, I cannot tell.’
They blame me and they go away in scorn.
And you sit there smiling.

I put my tales of you into lasting songs.
The secret gushes out from my heart.
They come and ask me, `Tell me all your meanings.’
I know not how to answer them.
I say, `Ah, who knows what they mean!’
They smile and go away in utter scorn.
And you sit there smiling.

— Rabindranath Tagore – Gitanjali – 104

The inability to describe the secret love for the Unknowable


Psychologists talk about people who are co-dependent because they don’t have a sense of self. What psychologists mean when they say a person has no sense of self is very different from what the Buddha meant by no-self or selflessness. People with psychological problems actually have a very strong sense of self in the Buddhist sense, although they may not in the psychological sense of the word. Psychologically, they don’t see themselves as efficacious individuals in the world, but they still have a very strong sense of “I”: “I am worthless.” When somebody criticizes them, they don’t like it. They get into co-dependent relationships to protect or to please this “I.” When they fall into self-pity, their sense of an inherently existent “I” is very strong. Thus they still have self-grasping even though they lack a psychologically healthy sense of self.
Buddhism recognizes two kinds of sense of self. There’s one sense of self that is healthy and necessary to be efficacious on the path. The object of this sense of self is the conventionally existent “I.” The other sense of self grasps at an inherently existent self that never has and never will exist. Within Buddhism, when we talk about realizing emptiness, we’re negating the false self, this self that appears inherently existent to us.

— Thubten Chodron – Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig