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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
89 summer 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly In other words, the yogi who has brought an end to grasping at “I” and “mine” is not intrinsically real. If you believe in the intrinsic reality of such a yogi, then you also grasp at selfhood. What appears to the mind of the person who has ascertained the absence of self and its properties is only the absence of all conceptual elaborations. Just as grasping at me and mine must cease, so must grasping at a yogi who has ended such grasping. Both are devoid of intrinsic existence. The point is that our understanding of emptiness should not remain partial, such that we negate the intrinsic existence of some things but not of others. We need to develop a pro- found understanding of emptiness so that our perception of the lack of intrinsic existence encompasses the entire spectrum of reality and becomes totally free of any conceptual elabora- tion whatsoever. The understanding is one of mere absence, a simple negation of intrinsic existence. Dismantling the Causes of Cyclic Existence Nagarjuna continues, When thoughts of “I” and “mine” are extinguished with respect to the inner and the outer, the process of appropriation ceases; this having ceased, birth ceases. This refers to the twelve links of dependent origination. “Inner” and “outer” here can be understood as the concep- tion of self as either among the aggregates or apart from them. When grasping at self and “mine” ceases, then, because no more karmic potentials related to external or internal phe- nomena are activated, the ninth link in the twelve links of dependent origination—grasping, or appropriation—will not occur. We will no longer grasp at objects of enjoyment and turn away from things we deem unattractive. Thus, although we may continue to possess karmic potentials, they are no lon- ger activated by craving and grasping, and when this happens, birth in cyclic existence, the eleventh link, can no longer occur. This is the sense in which birth will come to an end. Therefore, as we deepen our understanding of emptiness, the potency of our karma to propel rebirth in cyclic existence is undermined. When we realize emptiness directly, as it is stated in Exposition of Valid Cognition, “For he who sees the truth, no projecting exists.” In other words, once we gain a direct realization of emptiness, we no longer accumulate karma to propel rebirth in cyclic existence. As we gradually deepen our direct realization, so that it permeates our entire experience and destroys the afflictions, we eventually eliminate the root of grasping at intrinsic existence altogether and the continuity of rebirth in cyclic existence is cut. This is true freedom, or libera- tion, where we no longer create new karma through ignorance, where no conditions exist to activate past karma, and where the afflictions have been destroyed at their root. www.tibetanlanguage.org Tel: 406/961-5131 • firstname.lastname@example.org TIBETAN LANGUAGE INSTITUTE LEARN TIBETAN Experience the joy of reading your texts and prayers in Tibetan LESSONS with LAMA DAVID CURTIS 16 years’ experience teaching hundreds of students Virtual Group Courses by Telephone Conference Call Free “Intro to Tibetan” Lecture: June 2009 Level 1, Level 2, & Reading Courses: July 2009 Private Instruction by Telephone TIBETAN LANGUAGE SEMINARS in BOSTON in JUNE 2009 Level 1: Introductory Weekend Level 2: Intermediate Weekend TIBETAN LEARNING MATERIALS Best-selling Beginners’ Package with Instructional DVDs Tibetan Language Workbooks For more info, complete online bookstore, free study aids, etc., s ee our website “Learning Tibetan from David Curtis is definitely one of life’s better experiences.” —K.J., VA