"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

September 6, 2011

The Mind is Not Absolutely Nothing

"The fundamental reasons for the practice of meditation are that initially it pacifies mental suffering and eventually it also helps one deal with external and physical suffering as well. But you might ask, 'Does it do anything else? Does one actually generate any qualities or virtues through the practice of meditation?' The answer is yes. Although the nature of your mind is emptiness—which is to say, it is free of any kind of substantiality or substantial characteristic, and, in being empty, it is also free of possessing any ground or basis for the presence of inherent defects—at the same time, the mind is not absolutely nothing.

For example, in the Prajñápáramitá Sutra it says, 'No eyes, no ears, no tongue, no nose, no tactile consciousness,' and so on. And it goes through a list of all the things that one might think to exist - all relative truths that appear to us—and points out that all of them have no inherent, substantial existence and therefore are emptiness. But while it is saying that all of these things are emptiness, it is not saying that they are nothing whatsoever.

The true nature of things, that is their emptiness, is at the same time what was taught by the Buddha in the sutras as Buddha nature or sugatagarbha, which is to say that this emptiness, which is the nature of your mind, contains within it the inherent potential or seed of all of the qualities of Buddhahood. This means that although, when you look at your mind, you do not see anything substantial, nevertheless, the mind is not absolutely nothing."

From the Tibetan "Mahamudra Upadesha" by Tipola
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