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Buddhadharma : Fall 2018
GESHE LHUNDUB SOPA 51 concentration with the insight cognizing emptiness. In other words, in conjunction with a shamatha that is peaceful, stable, and blissful, we must develop a vipashyana or wisdom that properly understands reality. Wisdom is a mind that arises from investigating the way things actually exist; it sees emptiness, shunyata, clearly. We should not be satisfied with any lower level of attainment. Shantideva says: Vipashyana conjoined with shamatha Destroys the mental afflictions; Having understood this, first search for shamatha Achieved through the joy of being unattached to the world. Tsongkhapa’s point is that to remain for an incredibly long time in a subtle state of bliss is not the main reason for developing sha- matha. We begin by developing meditative concentration. However, not only must we not be satisfied with mere meditative concentra- tion, or shamatha conjoined with mundane insight, but we should also join shamatha to supreme insight in order to destroy the mental afflictions permanently. Permanent cessation of mental afflictions begins owing to a much higher level of insight meditation than those on the mundane paths. Only with supramundane insight can we get rid of the seeds of the mental afflictions and thereby achieve any permanent cessation. In short, the purpose of developing medita- tive concentration is to unite it with supreme insight so that we can eliminate all the mental afflictions with their seeds. If we do not have a realization of shunyata, then no matter how skillfully or how long we engage in shamatha meditation, we will not eliminate the two kinds of self-grasping: grasping at a self of persons and grasping at a self of phenomena. The primary problem is the grasping at a self of persons, or more specifically, the egotistic view that holds oneself to be truly existent. Although we do not consciously use these descriptions, whenever we think or say some- thing about ourselves, we usually feel that there is a “me” that is absolutely real. If somebody says, “You are stupid, and I am better