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The Twelve Links: Ignorance
Twelve Links of Dependent Arising Describe Rebirth and How to Stop It The twelve links of dependent arising (rten-‘brel yan-lag bcu-gnyis) describe the mechanism of rebirth. Rebirth concerns the continuity of the mind. When we speak about mind in Buddhism, we are not talking...
The Twelve Links: An In-Depth Analysis
7-Part Bodhichitta: The Lam-rim Basis
Dharma-Lite vs. The Real Thing Dharma I’m very happy to be back here in Seattle once more and to have the opportunity to speak to you about the meditations for developing bodhichitta.I suppose that it would be appropriate to give an introduction. Bodhichitta is something that...
The Seven-Part Cause & Effect Development of Bodhichitta
True Sufferings and the True Cause of Unhappiness
Samsara This evening, we’re going to begin a series of talks on how the understanding of voidness (emptiness) helps us to overcome our uncontrollably recurring rebirths, samsara. Samsara is not some place that we want to escape from and go instead to some transcendent realm...
Elaboration of “How Cognition of Emptiness Liberates Us”
Emptiness of the Various Levels of an Impossible “Me”
Three Layers of Unawareness Voidness (stong-pa-nyid, Skt shunyata; emptiness) is a total absence of impossible ways of existing: impossible means there is no such thing. Here, we are speaking specifically about the voidness of impossible ways in which the conventionally...
How Cognition of Emptiness Liberates Us from Samsara
Ignorance: The First of the 12 Links
Review of the Need for Understanding the 12 Links The 12 links of dependent arising describe how true suffering, the first noble truth, comes about from the true origin or cause of suffering, the second noble truth. True suffering refers to the aggregate factors of our...
Perpetuating Samsara: The 12 Links of Dependent Arising
Aftermath of Karma
We have discussed the first two periods, immediately before doing, saying, or thinking something and while we are actually doing, saying, or thinking it. Now we are ready to discuss what happens after the karmic action has ended. After a karmic action has ended, there are...
Mechanism of Karma: Asanga’s Presentation
The Five Ever-Functioning and Five Ascertaining Mental Factors
Review Yesterday we began our discussion of the types of appearances that the mind gives rise to. We saw that in order to understand this, we need to understand what we mean by “mind.” We saw that what it’s referring to is mental activity, which is the individual, subjective...
Elaboration of “Types of Appearances Mind Gives Rise To”
The Coarse False “Me” of the Non-Buddhist Indian Systems
Review: The Context for Meditating on the False "Me" Yesterday we began our discussion of how to meditate on the voidness of the false “me” experiencing the four noble truths. We looked at the general context within which this is studied and meditated upon. We saw that this...
Refuting the False Me Experiencing the Four Noble Truths
Review of the Three Principal Pathways Tsongkhapa emphasized that there are three principal paths, meaning three principal pathways of the mind, or ways of thinking, ways of understanding that are the essence of the graded path. These are renunciation or the determination to...
Studying the Lam-rim Graded Path
Becoming Convinced of Enlightenment
The Importance of Having an Accurate Idea of Enlightenment With bodhichitta – relative bodhichitta is what we are talking about here – it’s very important to have an accurate mental representation of enlightenment, an accurate idea of what enlightenment is. Otherwise...
What Needs to Be Understood to Have a Bodhichitta Aim