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Introduction to Voidness (Emptiness) Voidness, or emptiness, is an extremely important and central topic in the Buddhist teachings. What it means is an absence; something is absent, not there. What is absent is an impossible way of existing, something that has never existed at...
Incorrect Consideration and Emptiness
Self-Voidness & Other-Voidness in the Four Noble Truths
This weekend I’ve been asked to speak about self-voidness and other-voidness, what is called in Tibetan rangtong (rang-stong) and zhentong (gzhan-stong). This is a very advanced topic, and very complicated, and also a very important topic. Therefore, it requires a great deal...
Main Points of Self-Voidness and Other-Voidness
Obtaining the Necessities for Mahamudra Practice
[Clarifications by Dr. Berzin are included within square brackets.] Homage Homage to my Gurus. The author, the Third Karmapa, was an extremely learned master who wrote many profound texts that became the core of the Karma Kagyu teachings. Rangjung Dorje (Self-arisen Vajra) was...
Commentary on "The Mahamudra Prayer" – Beru Khyentse Rinpoche
Identifying Absolutism and Nihilism in Daily Life
Introduction If we want to summarize the Buddhist teachings in one word that would describe what Buddha was trying to impart to us, I think that word would be “realism.” Realism means seeing clearly what is reality, and getting rid of our unawareness and confusion about that....
Elaboration of "Dependent Arising: Avoiding the Two Extremes"
Avalokiteshvara Expounding the Sutra
This weekend I’m going to be speaking about The Heart Sutra. Actually, with a longer title, it’s The Essence of Far-Reaching Discriminating Awareness, the Vanquishing Lady Surpassing All. So when we talk about far-reaching discriminating awareness – and this is the word...
Commentary on "The Heart Sutra" – Dr. Berzin
The Foundation and Deepest Bodhichitta
Sources of the Text I’d like to explain a very important text in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition called The Seven Point Mind Training by a great master from the Kadam tradition, Geshe Chekawa. This teaching is primarily based on the practice of changing the viewpoint of self...
Extensive Explanation of “Seven Point Mind Training” – Dr. Berzin
The Importance of Correct Discriminating Awareness of Emptiness
Brief Introduction to Nalanda Monastery Today we are here at Nalanda Monastery in France. In ancient India there was also a Nalanda Monastery, or Shri Nalanda in Sanskrit, meaning the great all-around perfect Nalanda Monastery. Many great masters studied and taught there,...
Studying Shantideva’s Presentation of Emptiness – Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche
Emptiness Is an Absence of Impossible Ways of Existing
I’ve been asked this weekend to speak about the topic of voidness, which is of course an advanced topic and a topic which is not terribly easy to understand. And in order to understand it, we need to be very well prepared. If we’re not prepared – in other words, if we don’t...
Emptiness and Dependent Arising
The Gelug Understanding of Svatantrika
Introduction Concerning the life of Tsongkhapa, one of the most important points is what a great revolutionary Tsongkhapa was. Through all his tremendous efforts in meditation, and preliminary practices, building up positive force and so on, he gained a newer and deeper...
Elaboration of the Special Features of Gelug
Frame of Mind for Studying Bodhisattva Behavior
Introductory Verses and Verse 1 Setting the Motivation First of all, we need to have very good motivation for studying about the behavior of bodhisattvas. When we have a strong motivation, it is interesting how our minds work. If I were to say, “Let’s all go to the Dalai...
Commentary on “37 Bodhisattva Practices” – Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche II