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  • Dianne McKinnon

Understanding "Emptiness"

Whatever arises out of conditions is [by nature] un-arisen

If something possessed true arising [nature] it wouldn't be such.

All that arises relying on conditions is taught to be empty.

Those who have apprehended [this] emptiness ­are conscientious.

~The Sutra Requested by Anavatapta~

མ་དྲོས་པས་ཞུས་པའི་མདོ་ལས། །





In unraveling the philosophy of emptiness, this verse was cited by Geshe Jinpa Sonam in last week's teaching. He offered additional line by line commentary this week along with the quote in Tibetan.

Line 1. Saying that dependent phenomena- things that arise due to and relying on conditions- are 'un-arisen' means that they are not naturally truly intrinsically established- and have no truly established arising.

Line 2. If something were to arise truly established way [ truly established / established by nature] it could not be due to the influence of conditions on it as it something that is truly established and would not be able to change or be modified.

Line 3. So these dependent phenomena are empty of that - which is in line 2; that is their emptiness. If one understands that thoroughly and perfectly, and through direct experience sees that emptiness in objects that are appearing as real, then one severs ignorance.

Line 4. Severing ignorance, the afflictions are severed; severing the afflictions, one becomes careful and conscientious. For once we are in the domain of a completely unafflicted mind, we are free from falling under the rule of emotions. In this affliction free state, we became very heedful and mindful.

Geshe Jinpa Sonam 12/3/20


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