LAMRIM CHENMO (14)



22. THE PRACTICE OF SPECIAL INSIGHT


HOW TO TRAIN IN SPECIAL INSIGHT


This has four points: relying on the prerequisites of special insight, divisions of special insight, how to cultivate special insight, and the measure of having accomplished special insight through meditation.


RELYING ON THE PREREQUISITES OF SPECIAL INSIGHT


This has two points: a general presentation of how to rely on the prerequisites of special insight and how to determine the view in particular.



A GENERAL PRESENTATION OF HOW TO RELY ON
THE PREREQUISITES OF SPECIAL INSIGHT


The second Stages of Meditation sets forth three prerequisites for special insight: relying on holy beings, seeking to study the Dharma with them, and reflecting on it properly. [223] It is an indispensable causal prerequisite of special insight to study the stainless texts with experts who unmistakenly know the essential points of the scriptures and then to develop the view that realizes suchness by means of the wisdoms of studying and reflecting. This is because if you lack the view that has discerned the ultimate mode of being, the realization of special insight that realizes things as they are cannot arise

Again, such a view must be sought by one who is relying not on the interpretable meaning but on the definitive meaning. Therefore you need to know the difference between interpretable and definitive meanings and to comprehend the meaning of the scriptures of definitive meaning. Again, with this, if you do not rely on a treatise by one of the great, valid, trailblazing founders that elucidates the Buddha’s intentions, you will be like a blind person without a guide wandering off in a treacherous direction. Therefore you should rely on a commentary without errors. Who should you rely on? Rely on Arya Nagarjuna, widely renowned on the three levels, whom the Blessed One himself prophesied very clearly in numerous sutras and tantras as elucidating the essence of his teachings, the profound meaning free from all extremes of existence and nonexistence. You should seek the view that realizes emptiness relying on his texts.

Since the great Madhyamikas such as the masters Buddhapalita, Bhaviveka, Candrakirti, and Santaraksita consider Aryadeva to be as reliable as his master, both the father and his spiritual are sources for the other Madyhyamikas. Therefore earlier generations designated those two as “Madhyamikas of the original texts” and the others as “partisan Madhyamikas”. Some spiritual teachers of earlier generations say that there are two kinds of Madhyamikas named from the point of view of how they posit conventionalities: Sautrantika-Madhyamikas, who assert that external object conventionally exist, and Yogacara-Madhyamikas who assert that, conventionally, external objects do not exist.

There are also two names applied from the point of view of how the ultimate is asserted: proponents of illusions established by reasoning are those who assert ultimate truth to be the composite of the appearances of a subject such as a sprout and its lack of existence, and proponent of thorough nonabiding are those who assert ultimate truth to be a complete elimination – that is, appearances’ mere elimination of the elaborations. The first of these [224] were asserted to be masters such as Santaraksita and Kamalasila. Some Indians also used the designation illusion-like and thoroughly non-abiding.

The great translator Loden Sherab says, “Positing these as two groups from the point of view of how they assert the ultimate is a presentation that only impresses idiots”. With regard to this, Master Yeshe De explains,

The Madhyamaka treatises by the noble father,
Nagarjuna, and his spiritual son, Aryadeva, do
not clarify whether external objects exist or not.
After them Master Bhaviveka refuted the system
of Consciousness Only and established a system
in which external objects conventionally exist.
Then Master Santaraksita made a different
Madhyamaka system based on Yogacara scriptures
and taught that external objects do not
conventionally exist and that ultimately the mind is
without inherent existence. Thereby two kinds of
Madhyamikas emerged. The former were called
Sautrantika-Madhyamikas, the latter
Yogacara-Madhyamikas.

This chronology of elucidation through great treatises is correct.

However, although Master Candrakirti asserts that external objects conventionally exist, it is inappropriate to call him a Sautrantika because he does not conform to other proponents of the tenet system. To assert that he accords with the Vaibhasika is also incorrect. The scholars of the later propagation of the teachings in the land of snowy mountains created two designations of Madhyamikas: Svatantrika and Prasangika. This accords with Candrakirti’s Clear Words (Prasannapada). Therefore the Madhyamikas are specified as two types: those who conventionally assert external objects and those who do not. When the names are applied from the point of view of how the view that ascertains emptiness is generated within the mindstream, they are also specified as two types, Prasangika and Svatantrika.

Yet who did those masters follow to seek the intentions of the noble father and his spiritual son? The past gurus of these instructions held to this system as the main one by following the Great Elder, Atisa, who made Master Candrakirti’s system the main Madhyamaka system. Master Candrakirti saw that among the commentators on Fundamental Treatise on the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamakakarika), Buddhapalita had completely elucidated the noble one’s intentions. He elucidated the noble one’s intentions basing himself on Buddhapalita’s system; he also took many good explanations from Master Bhaviveka, refuting those that seemed slightly incorrect. Since the commentaries by Buddhapalita and Candrakirti [225] are seen to be very outstanding with regard to explaining the texts of the noble father Nagarjuna, and his spiritual son, Aryadeva, their intentions will be determined here following in the footsteps of the former two masters.



HOW TO DETERMINE THE VIEW IN PARTICULAR


This has three points: identifying afflicted ignorance, demonstrating that it is the root of revolving in cyclic existence, and the need to seek the view of selflessness if you wish to eliminate the apprehension of a self.

[5739]

IDENTIFYING AFFLICTED IGNORANCE


Among the antidotes taught by the Victor, those countering the mental afflictions of attachment and the like are partial antidotes, whereas the antidote to ignorance he taught is an antidote to all of them. Therefore ignorance is the basis of all errors and faults. Clear Words says:

The nine divisions of the buddhas’ teachings based on
the two truths,
such as the sets of sutras, are perfectly proclaimed to
meet the extensive behaviors of worldly beings.
Among them, those taught in order to remove attachment
will not eliminate hatred,
those taught in order to remove hatred will not eliminate attachment,
and those taught in order to exhaust pride will not
overcome the other defilements.
Therefore they are not so pervasive; all those
discourses are not of such great import.
Those that were taught for the sake of exhausting
ignorance, however, overcome all the mental
afflictions.
The victors taught that all the mental afflictions are
thoroughly based on ignorance.

That being so, you must meditate on suchness as the antidote to ignorance. Moreover, unless you have identified ignorance, you will not know how to cultivate its antidote. Therefore it is extremely important to identify ignorance.

Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge, but this knowledge should not be understood as just any knowledge. Rather, it is the wisdom knowing that suchness of selflessness. Its opposite cannot be merely absence of that wisdom or merely something else; it must be its antagonist. It is the superimposition of a self and, more specifically, the two superimpositions of a self of phenomena and of persons. So both the apprehension of a self of phenomena and the apprehension of a self of persons are ignorance. [226] The manner of superimposition is to apprehend that phenomena exist established by way of their intrinsic nature, by way of their intrinsic characteristics, or inherently. In this regard the Questions of Upali Sutra (Upalipariprcchasutra) says that phenomena are posited by the power of conceptuality:

The various flowers that gladden the mind,
the golden, resplendent, attractive mansions:
both completely lack a creator –
they are posited by conceptuality.
The world is imputed by conceptuality.

Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning (Yuktisastika, v. 37) also says:

Since the perfect Buddha said
the world had ignorance as its cause,
how could it be invalid to say
this world is due to conceptuality?

The commentary on the meaning of this statement explains that the worlds are not established by way of their intrinsic natures but are merely imputed by conceptuality.

Four Hundred Stanzas (8.3) also says:

If, without conceptuality,
desire and so forth do not exist,
what intelligent person would uphold
both intrinsic reality and conceptuality?

And [Candrakirti’s] commentary on this says, “Things that exist only through the existence of conceptuality and do not exist without conceptuality are, like a snake imputed to a rope, undoubtedly not established by way of their intrinsic nature”. This statement explains that in terms of being imputed and not established by way of their intrinsic natures, attachment and so forth are like a snake imputed to a rope. Yet the latter is unlike attachment and so forth in terms of whether they conventionally exist.

For those reasons the manner of apprehending things as truly existent, which is to be negated, is to apprehend them not as posited by the power of beginningless conceptuality but as established by way of their intrinsic natures on top of objects. Its conceived object is called self or inherent existence. The selflessness of a person is taught as the nonexistence of this with a person as the basis for the attribute, and the selflessness of phenomena is taught as the nonexistence of this with a phenomenon such as an eye or a nose as the basis. [227] Therefore the apprehension of that inherent existence as present in persons and phenomena is implicitly understood as the apprehension of the two selves.

Commentary on Four Hundred Stanzas says:

In this regard the so-called self is an essence of
things that does not depend on anything else.
Its nonexistence is selflessness. Owing to the division
of phenomena and persons, it is understood
as twofold, a selflessness of phenomena and a
selflessness of persons.

It is like that.


[5785]

With respect to the observed object of the apprehension of a self of persons, Entering the Middle Way explains that some Sammatiyas assert all the five aggregates and some assert only the mind to be the basis or observed object of the view of a self. As for the mind, again, Cittamatrins and certain Madhyamikas who assert a foundational consciousness (alayavijnana) assert that the foundational consciousness is the observed object. Some Madhyamikas who do not assert [a foundational consciousness], such as Bhaviveka, and many sravaka schools assert that [the observed object] is mental consciousness. However, with these systems, when it comes to the meaning invested in the term person, the one cultivating the paths, the one revolving in cyclic existence, and so forth, you need to distinguish these two modes: positing a mere I and positing something like foundational consciousness as the basis of that I’s characteristics.

With respect to the innate view of the transitory collection, which is an apprehension of a self, Entering the Middle Way refutes that the aggregates are its observed object, and its autocommentary says it has the dependently imputed self as its observed object. It is said that even the mere collection of aggregates is not the conventional self, so neither the collection of aggregates at one time nor the collection that is the continuum of the aggregates from an earlier to a later moment is its observed object. Rather, the mere I that is the observed object of the mere thought “I” arising, or the mere person, should be taken as its observed object. Neither an individual aggregate nor their collection is posited as the basis of characteristics of that I. Elsewhere, I have explained in detail that this point is an unsurpassed distinctive feature of this system.


[5797]

The mind thinking “I” that arises toward the observed object of the innate view of the transitory collection must arise naturally. Therefore the innate apprehension of the self of a person that apprehends the person associated with someone else’s mindstream to be established by way of their intrinsic characteristics is innate, but it is not the innate view of the transitory collection of that person. The observed object of the innate view of the transitory collection apprehending a mine is the “mine itself,” the observed object of the innate mind thinking “mine”. [228] It should not be held that one’s own eyes and so forth are the observed object. Its subjective aspect is to observe that object of observation and to apprehend the “mine” to be established by way of its intrinsic characteristics.


[5797]

The objects of the innate apprehension of a self of phenomena are the form aggregate and so forth; the eyes, ears, and so forth associated with one’s own or someone else’s mindstream; the environment and so forth that is not included in a mindstream. Its subjective aspect is as explained above. Entering the Middle Way Autocommentary says:

Ignorance (moha) is the ignorance (avidya) that
superimposes a nonexistent nature of things. It
essentially obstructs the view of their nature; it
obscures (samvrti).


And:

Thus [objects are posited as truly existent]
through the power of the afflicted ignorance
included in the links of existence.


This statement asserts that the apprehension of objects as truly existent is ignorance and that it is an afflicted ignorance. Therefore there are two ways of positing the apprehension of a self of phenomena, a mental affliction and as an obstruction to omniscience; this accords with the former. This was also taught by the noble father and son.
Seventy Stanzas on Empiness (Sunyatasaptati) says:

The Teacher said that ignorance is
that which conceives things born from causes
and conditions to be real.
The twelve links arise from that.

When it is known well that things are empty,
since reality is seen, there is no ignorance.
That is the cessation of ignorance
whereby the twelve links cease to exist.


To “conceive things… to be real” is to apprehend them as established in reality or truly. This is similar in meaning to a statement from Precious Garland (1.35):

As long as one apprehends the aggregates,
one apprehends an “I” in them.

This says that until you stop apprehending the aggregates as real, you will not stop the view of the transitory collection.

Four Hundred Stanzas (6.10-11) also says:

Like the body sense in the body,
ignorance pervades them all.
That is why by conquering ignorance,
all mental afflictions are conquered.

Ignorance will not longer arise
if dependent arising is seen.
Therefore, with all my effort here. [229]
I will only talk about that.

As regards the ignorance like this, the context is an identification of the ignorance that is one of the three poisons and that is therefore afflicted ignorance. In order to stop this ignorance, it is said to be necessary to realize the profound meaning of interdependence in such a way that the meaning of emptiness appears as the meaning of dependent arising. In accordance with the explanation in [Candrakirti’s] commentary on this text, afflicted ignorance should therefore be taken as a superimposition of true existence onto things. This manner of understanding was set forth clearly by the venerable Candrakirti following the example of Buddhapalita’s commentary on the noble Nagarjuna’s intention.

[5834]

DEMONSTRATING THAT IT IS THE ROOT OF
REVOLVING IN CYCLIC EXITENCE


That being so, the ignorance apprehending the two selves explained above is not the apprehension of intellectually acquired selves of persons and phenomena that are thoroughly imputed by the unique assertions of non-Buddhist and Buddhist tenet systems, [including beliefs in] (1) a permanent, unitary, and self -powered person, (2) external objects of apprehension, which are either partless particles  that lack an eastern side or coarse composite of them, (3) an internal apprehending consciousness that is either moments of awareness without parts such as earlier and later, or a continuum of awareness joining partless moments together, and (4) self- consciousness that is nondual in that it is empty of such objects and subjects. Rather, it is the two innate apprehensions of a self shared by all, whether or not their minds are influenced by tenets. They have operated beginninglessly without depending on the minds’ being affected by tenets. Here, just that is held to be the root of cyclic existence, because Entering the Middle Way (6.125) says:

The apprehension of “I” is still seen to operate
in those who have spent numerous eons as animals
and do not conceive of some unborn permanent entity.

Through this reasoning it can be understood that what binds all sentient beings in cyclic existence is innate ignorance, and since intellectually acquired ignorance is only present in proponents of tenets, it is illogical for it to be the root of cyclic existence.

It is extremely important to gain discriminating certainty about this. If you do not understand that, then while ascertaining emptiness by means of the view, [230] you will not know how to hold as the main thing the ascertainment of the absence of real existence as apprehended by innate ignorance or how to negate the objects of intellectually acquired apprehensions subsidiary to that. If you negate the two types of self but do not refute the way they are apprehended by innate ignorance, you will ascertain just the selflessness that negates only imputations by the proponents of tenets mentioned above. Therefore, since the ascertainment by means of the view is for the purpose of meditation, when you meditate, you will necessarily only meditate on that.

Therefore, when you meditate on that selflessness and it becomes manifest, even if you perfect that cultivation, there will be nothing more to it than just that. Thus it is quite absurd to assert that the innate mental afflictions are reversed through seeing the nonexistence of the two selves merely as imputed by intellectual apprehensions. Entering the Middle Way (6.140) says:

[You claim that] when one realizes selflessness, one abandons
the eternal self, yet you assert that self
is not the basis of apprehending an I. Hence it is odd
to claim that knowing such selflessness casts out the self-view.

And the autocommentary also says:

For clarification, this point, the absence of a mutual
relation [between seeing the absence of a permanent
self and eliminating beginningless grasping
at a self], is explained by way of analogy:

Say you see a snake in a hole in a wall of your house.
The idea that you could eliminate your fear of the snake
by saying, “There is not elephant here!” to clear up doubts
would alas! only be laughable to others.

Although this is said with regard to the selflessness of persons, one could say the same with regard to the selflessness of phenomena, like this:

When one realizes selflessness, one abandons
the acquired self, yet you assert that that self
is not the basis of ignorance. Hence it is odd
to claim that knowing such selflessness casts out ignorance.

Someone might object and say, “Well, Precious Garland (1.35) says that the apprehension of a self of phenomena that apprehends the aggregates as truly existent is explained as the root of cyclic existence. It says:

As long as one apprehends the aggregates,
one apprehends an “I” in them.
If one apprehends an “I,” there is karma,
and from karma there is rebirth. [231]

Whereas Entering the Middle Way says that the view of the transitory collection is explained as the root of cyclic existence. It says (6.120):

Seeing with his wisdom that all faults and afflictions
arise from the view of the transitory collection…

These two explanations are contradictory because it is illogical to have two different roots of cyclic existence”.

We would answer that there is no fault in this. This system distinguishes the two apprehensions of a self by their distinct observed objects, but there is no difference in their mode of apprehension because both apprehend the object as established by way of its intrinsic characteristics. The contradiction of two roots of cyclic existence is understood to arise only when positing two modes of apprehension that do not accord in their way of engaging in their objects as the roots of cyclic existence. Therefore, when the apprehension of a self of phenomena is taught as the cause of the view of the transitory collection, the two subdivisions of ignorance are being described as cause and effect. When the two are taught as the root of the mental afflictions, they are described as the root of all the mental afflictions with other modes of apprehension. Since this is the same for both of them, there is no contradiction [in saying both are the root of cyclic existence], just as there is no contradiction in saying both earlier and later moments of the same kind of ignorance are roots of cyclic existence.

[5892]

Although the venerable Candrakirti does not appear to clearly explain the view of the transitory collection specifically as ignorance, he generally says that the apprehension of things as truly existent is afflicted ignorance, without differentiating between persons and phenomena. He also asserts that the apprehension of a self of persons is the apprehension of persons as established by way of their intrinsic characteristics. Moreover, he frequently explains the innate view of the transitory collection as the root of cyclic existence. If he asserted it to be different in meaning from the ignorance that is the apprehension of true existence, he would be positing two roots of cyclic existence with discordant modes of apprehension, which would be contradictory. Therefore both of them should be understood as ignorance.

All the other innate and intellectually acquired afflictions, as they operate, apprehend features of that very object that have been superimposed by the innate ignorance explained above. Therefore, just as the other four sense powers of eyes and so forth abide in reliance upon the body sense power rather than abiding independently in a separate place, all the other mental afflictions also operate depending on innate ignorance, [232] which is why ignorance is said to be primary. Four Hundred Stanzas (6.10) says:

Like the body sense in the body,
ignorance pervades them all.


Commentary on Four Hundred Stanzas says:

Attachment and so forth also operate by superimposing
features such as attractiveness and repulsiveness
on the mere inherent existence of things
thoroughly imputed by ignorance, and as such,
they operate in a manner that is not different
from ignorance and even depend on it, for
ignorance is primary.


After that, once ignorance has apprehended the objects as established by way of their intrinsic characteristics, if an object is agreeable to one’s own mind, attachment arises when it is observed, and if it appears disagreeable to one’s own mind, anger arises toward it. If the object does not appear agreeable or disagreeable to one’s mind and remains as an ordinary thing in between, neither arises when the object is observed, but further ignorance of the same kind does arise. Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning (v.52) says:

Why would the great venom, afflictions, not
arise in those whose mind have a basis for it?
Even when it is an ordinary [object],
they are seized by the snake of the mental afflictions.

In the commentary these lines are explained as above.
The intended meaning of Precious Garland also appears to be the view of the transitory collection arises from apprehending the aggregates as truly existent. The way the remaining mental afflictions arise should be inferred and understood from the explanations in the context of persons of medium capacity. Also, Commentary on Compendium of Valid Cognition (2.218-19) says:

He who sees a self will always
adhere to what he refers to as “I”.
Through that adherence there’s craving for happiness;
through that craving faults are obscured.

There is strong craving when excellence is seen.
The ”mine” is grasped as that which achieves it.
As long as there is attachment to self,
one will thus revolve in cyclic existence.


You should come to understand it that way. [233]
Although this system differs from the way the above explanation posits the two apprehensions of a self, you should come to understand the stages of how the mental afflictions arise depending on it. Initially, attachment to the self arises once the observed object of the thought “I” is apprehended as established by way of its intrinsic characteristic. That generates craving for the self’s happiness. However, since there is no independent happiness for the self that does not depend on what is mine, there is craving for mine. That obscures the faults [in what is identified as mine] and causes one to see excellent qualities in it. Consequently, “mine” is grasped as something that achieves the self’s happiness. Karma is committed owing to the mental afflictions that arise like this; through that karma, one is again reborn in cyclic existence. Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness says:  

Karma has mental afflictions as its cause;
karmic formations derive from the afflictions.
The body has karma as its cause.
Those three are empty of a nature.

You should train in this manner to gain certainty regarding the stages of revolving in cyclic existence.

[5928]

THE NEED TO SEEK THE VIEW OF SELFLESSNESS IF YOU
WISH TO ELIMINATE THE APPREHENSION OF A SELF


This has two points: the reason you need to seek the view that realizes selflessness if you wish to eliminate that ignorance, and how to generate the view that realizes selflessness.



THE REASON YOU NEED TO SEEK THE VIEW
THAT REALISES SELFLESSNESS IF YOU WISH
TO ELIMNATE THAT IGNORANCE


It is necessary to want the extinction wherein the ignorance explained above as the twofold apprehension of a self has been eliminated. One may deem it necessary and even appear to want it, but one who wants to but does not put effort into understanding how apprehending a self becomes the root of cyclic existence has very dull faculties. So does someone who does not put effort into generating the pure view of selflessness in his mindstream despite partial insight into this, having thoroughly refuted the object grasped by the apprehension of a self with scriptures of definitive meaning as well as reasonings. That is because he [or she] has lost the vital essence of the path that leads to liberation and omniscience and yet remains indifferent about this.

This is why the glorious Dharmakirti said [in his Commentary on Compendium of Valid Cognition 2.222-23]:

Without their objects being disproven
they cannot possibly be abandoned.
Abandoning desire, hatred, and so forth
connected with excellent qualities and faults
requires not seeing these in objects
and not some external approach. [234]

When removing an external object of elimination such as a thorn that has pierced your skin, you can completely remove it by means of something like a needle, independently of negating the object caught in this manner. When eliminating an internal mental object of abandonment, however, you cannot do it like this. Rather, you must eliminate it by seeing the nonexistence in the object of the meaning apprehended – the apprehension, for instance, of a self.

The glorious Candrakirti also taught that once all the afflictions, such as attachment, and all the faults, such as birth, aging, and so forth, are seen to arise from the apprehension of a self, the desire to negate and eliminate it will arise. At that point the yogi negates with reasonings the object superimposed by the apprehension of a self, the self of a person. Entering the Middle Way (6.120) clearly says: 

Seeing with his wisdom, that all faults and afflictions
arise from the view of the transitory collection,
a yogi knows the self to be its object
and performs the negation of the self.

In fact that is what someone who meditates on suchness must do; that is why it says “a yogi”.


[5963]

This approach is also the excellent thought of the protector Nagarjuna. He says in Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning (vv. 47 and 48):

That is the cause of all the views;
without it afflictions do not arise.
Therefore, if you thoroughly know this,
views and afflictions are thoroughly purified.

If you wonder how this is known,
it is by seeing dependent arising.
The supreme knower of suchness taught
that things born dependently are unborn.

He is pointing out that the apprehension of true existence called “asserting as things,” which is the cause of all afflicted views and all other mental afflictions, is eliminated through realizing the suchness of things: that they are not inherently arisen because they are dependently arisen. The insight that there is no such inherent existence does not arise without negating the object of the apprehension of things as inherently established. A statement by Aryadeva that accords with this was already quoted above. In Four Hundred Stanzas (14.25) he also says: [235]

If selflessness is seen in objects,
the seed of existence will cease.

That means the root of existence, ignorance, is cut by seeing that the object of observation grasped by the apprehension of a self lacks a self. The venerable Santideva also says [in his Compendium of Trainings]:

Thus the emptiness of persons is thoroughly
established, and since their root has been cut, all the
mental afflictions do not arise at all. It is as the
Tathagata’s Secret Sutra (Tathagataguhyakasutra)
says:

Santimati, it is like this. When a tree is cut
at the root, all the branches, leaves, and twigs
dry up. Likewise, Santimati, when you fully
pacify the view of the transitory collection,
you also fully pacify all the mental afflictions
and secondary mental afflictions.

This means that the view of the transitory collection is reversed through cultivating the realization of emptiness that sees the person as empty of inherent establishment. Once it is reversed, all other mental afflictions are also reversed. Furthermore, the realization of selflessness is impossible without negating the object of the apprehension of a self of persons.

The sutra passage points out that the view of the transitory collection is the root of all other mental afflictions. If it were different in meaning from ignorance, there would be two different roots of cyclic existence. Therefore is should also be understood as ignorance.

[5985]

In brief, when the many supreme scholars who commented on the meaning of the profound scriptures determined the meaning of suchness, they carried out a thorough analysis by means of numerous scriptures and reasonings. They did so having perceived that it is impossible to realize selflessness and emptiness without seeing that the self grasped by the erroneous apprehension does not exist and without seeing that it is empty of that self. It is essential to gain certainty with regard to this.

If you do not meditate like this on the meaning of the negation of the erroneous object that is the root of being bound in cyclic existence, then even if you meditate on something else that you claim is profound, it will not harm the apprehension of a self at all. For unless the mind enters the suchness of selflessness and emptiness, the apprehension of a self cannot possibly be reversed. [236] Also, if you do not negate the object of the apprehension of a self, you might hinder your mind from going towards its object, but that cannot be posited as entering selflessness.

The reason why is that when the mind engages an object, there are three possible apprehensions: an apprehension of that observed object as truly existent, an apprehension of it as not truly existent, and an apprehension that does not qualify it as either or those two. Therefore, simply not apprehending something as truly existent does not entail that you apprehend it as not truly existent; likewise, a mere lack of involvement in the two selves does not entail that you are involved in the two selflessnesses. There are countless mental states in the third category.

The two apprehensions of a self mainly operate while something, a person or a phenomenon, is being observed. Therefore you must determine that the very bases for misapprehension do not exist in the way they are apprehended. Otherwise it would be like searching for a thief in a meadow after he has fled to the forest. Consequently, since you remove the mistake by meditating on the determined meaning, such an emptiness is the supreme meaning of suchness. If you determine something apart from the meaning of suchness that eliminates that [mistake], then the only thing that will cease is something imputed by your own assertions. Therefore remember that this deviates from the meaning of the scriptures.

That being so, the ignorance that apprehends the elaborations of persons, such as men and women, and of phenomena, such as forms and feelings, to be truly existent is stopped by gaining the view that realizes their emptiness, selflessness, and meditating on it. Once that ignorance has stopped, you stop discursive thought, which is the improper mental attention that superimposes qualities such as attractiveness and repulsiveness while observing the object of the apprehension of true existence. Once that has stopped, the other mental afflictions that have the view of the transitory collection as their root, such as attachment, also stop. Once they have stopped, karma motivated by them stops. Once that has stopped, rebirth in cyclic existence propelled by karma without control stops, and liberation is thereby achieved. With this in mind, generate strong certainty and then decisively seek the view of suchness. The Root Text in Wisdom (18.5) says:

There is freedom when karma and afflictions are spent.
Karma and afflictions arise from thoughts,
and those arise from elaborations.
Elaborations are stopped by emptiness. [237]

You must understand those stages of entering into and turning away from cyclic existence and greatly cherish the realization of the meaning of suchness. However, it will not come through a vague involvement that fails to distinguish well the objects of observation.

[6006]

HOW TO GENERATE THE VIEW THAT
REALIZES SELFLESSNESS


This has three points: the stages of generating the two views of selflessness, the actual progressive generation of the two views of selflessness, and presenting conventional and ultimate truths.


THE STAGES OF GENERATING THE TWO
VIEWS OF SELFLESSNESS


As for the stages in which the two apprehensions of a self arise, the apprehension of a self of phenomena generates the apprehension of a self of persons. Still, when you engage in the suchness of selflessness, you must first generate the view of the selflessness of persons and then, after that, generate the view that realizes the selflessness of phenomena. Precious Garland (1.80-81) says:

If persons are not earth, not water,
not fire, not wind, not space,
not consciousness, and not all of them together,
then what else could persons be?

Since beings are composites of the six elements,
they are not real, an in that same way,
each element is also a composite
and therefore is not real either.

He explains lack of inherent existence first in terms of the person and then in terms of the basis it is imputed on, the elements such as earth. Candrakirti’s Clear Words and Buddhapalita also explain that when entering into suchness, one first enters by way of the selflessness of persons. Santideva also says that.

It must be done like this because although the selflessnesses ascertained on the basis of persons and phenomena do not differ in terms of being more subtle or coarse, it is easier to ascertain selflessness on the basis of persons and more difficult to ascertain it on the basis of phenomena owing to attributes of the bases. Likewise it is more difficult, for example, to ascertain the selflessness of phenomena on the basis of eyes, ears, and so forth and easier to ascertain it on the basis of reflected images and the like, which is why these latter are taken as illustrations for determining the selflessness of the former. This is the intended meaning of the King of Concentrations Sutra when it says:

Just as you know the perception of self,
apply it to everything mentally.
The nature of all phenomena [238]
is completely pure like space.
All of them are known through one,
and all of them are seen through one.

This says that once you know well the way the “I” abides with regard to which the perception of a self, thinking “I,” operates, you should then apply its reasoning to all internal phenomena like eyes and ears and external phenomena like pots, knowing that they are similar to it. Thus, through knowing and seeing the natural disposition of one phenomenon, you are thus able to know and see the natural state of all other phenomena.

[6043]








(to be continued…)