Emptiness and freedom

I am engaged in a Tibetan Buddhist mind training course (Lojong) at present. The last two mind training slogans were : Patience of certainty in the nature of phenomena and the Nature of the Four Kayas is the unsurpassed protection of emptiness. The second is focused on recognizing that all the myriad appearance in our dreamlike samsaric existence are the spontaneous arising of the Four Kayas, meaning their nature is emptiness. The course’s teacher, Khentrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche, writes “when a disturbed mental state such as anger occurs, an emotional reaction does not develop … our minds remain undisturbed because we recognize the true nature of our irritating circumstance, person, or our very own disturbing emotion”.

Contemplating these mind training slogans and Rinpoche’s teachings on them got me really watching myself during the day, and when I felt anger, irritation, or aversion start to arise, I stopped by remembering the ultimate empty nature of these negative emotions. With practice a really bad habitual tendency can be remade into a positive, compassionate response to life challenges. Unwanted circumstances can be transformed into wisdom and positive qualities like patience and generosity of spirit by engaging them in a mindful way. Contemplating these mind trainings also got the Beatle’s song Strawberry Fields Forever running through my head. The song’s lyrics include : “Let me take you down  ‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields Nothing is real  And nothing to get hung about … Always, no, sometimes think it’s me  But you know I know when it’s a dream” . Remembering the empty nature of relative existence reminds me that there truly is “nothing to get hung about”.

My meditation of these teachings led to a new photo haiku which I share below. May all beings be free of suffering and enjoy ultimate happiness. dt