Tag Archives: Void

The Experience of No-Self

The subject matter of this blog-series must be prefaced with a little personal anecdote. It was August in the summer of 1999 and I was just returning from a leave of absence and was pondering what lay before me by reading and reflecting upon a book I had just purchased from the old Border’s Bookstore. It was The Experience of No-Self by Bernadette Roberts (1931-2017). What I was reading was an amazing chronicle in the annals of contemplative mystical experiences. The author was a former Cloistered Carmelite Nun who had since been married and raised a family with four children. She was in her mid-40’s when her actualized “beyond the mystical” experience occurred: read more

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The Tao of Mind

In the Void the two are indivisible,
Formerly both contained all the ten-thousand things.
When there is finally no sense of any discrimination left,
There is no longer any need of being for or against. read more

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The Void of IT

In ITs Totality IT is like the Great Void,
Lacking nothing, and not self-indulgent.
When you discriminate, you miss IT,
As such, IT’s Suchness is lost. read more

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Tārā as Our Lady of the Void


Emerging from the vajropama-samādhi Mahasiddha Acintapa discerned all that just came before him, the Scrutinies and the Divine Liturgy of Vajrasattva, were all Sacred Events conveyed to his Mind’s Eye. He found himself sitting and holding the mysterious sphere that was the mystic-source of his epiphany: read more

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There is no-environment in the Unborn

14. “If you students of the Way desire knowledge of this great mystery, only avoid attachment to any single thing beyond Mind. To say that the real Dharmakaya of the Buddha1 resembles the Void is another way of saying that the Dharmakaya is the Void and that the Void is the Dharmakaya. People often claim that the Dharmakaya is in the Void and that the Void contains the Dharmakaya, not realizing that they are one and the same. But if you define the Void as something existing, then it is not the Dharmakaya; and if you define the Dharmakaya as something existing, then it is not the Void. Only refrain from any objective conception of the Void; then it is the Dharmakaya: and, if only you refrain from any objective conception of the Dharmakaya, why,then it is the Void. These two do not differ from each other, nor is there any difference between sentient beings and Buddhas, or between samsara and Nirvana,or between delusion and Bodhi. When all such forms are abandoned, there is the Buddha. Ordinary people look to their surroundings, while followers of the Way look to Mind, but the true Dharma is to forget them both. The former is easy enough, the latter very difficult. Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma. This spiritually enlightening nature is without beginning, as ancient as the Void, subject neither to birth nor to destruction, neither existing nor not existing, neither impure nor pure, neither clamorous nor silent, neither old nor young, occupying no space, having neither inside nor outside, size nor form, colour nor sound. It cannot be looked for or sought, comprehended by wisdom or knowledge, explained in words, contacted materially or reached by meritorious achievement. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, together with all wriggling things possessed of life, share in this great Nirvanic nature. This nature is Mind; Mind is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the Dharma. Any thought apart from this truth is entirely a wrong thought. You cannot use Mind to seek Mind, the Buddha to seek the Buddha, or the Dharma to seek the Dharma. So you students of the Way should immediately refrain from conceptual thought. Let a tacit understanding be all! Any mental process must lead to error. There is just a transmission of Mind with Mind. This is the proper view to hold. Be careful not to look outwards to material surroundings. To mistake material surroundings for Mind is to mistake a thief for your son.”  read more

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The Void is devoid of Void

5. The Consolation of the Invalid, cont’d

Manjusri: Householder, why is your house empty? Why have you no servants?
Vimalakirti: Manjusri, all buddha-fields are also empty.
Manjusri: What makes them empty?
Vimalakirti: They are empty because of emptiness.
Manjusri: What is “empty” about emptiness?
Vimalakirti: Constructions are empty, because of emptiness.
Manjusri: Can emptiness be conceptually constructed?
Vimalakirti: Even that concept is itself empty, and emptiness cannot construct emptiness.
Manjusri: Householder, where should emptiness be sought?
Vimalakirti: Manjusri, emptiness should be sought among the sixty-two convictions.
Manjusri: Where should the sixty-two convictions be sought?
Vimalakirti: They should be sought in the liberation of the Tathagatas.
Manjusri: Where should the liberation of the Tathagatas be sought?
Vimalakirti: It should be sought in the prime mental activity of all living beings. Manjusri, you ask me why I am without servants, but all Maras and opponents are my servants. Why? The Maras advocate this life of birth and death and the bodhisattva does not avoid life. The heterodox opponents advocate convictions, and the bodhisattva is not troubled by convictions. Therefore, all Maras and opponents are my servants.
Manjusri: Householder, of what sort is your sickness?
Vimalakirti: It is immaterial and invisible.
Manjusri: Is it physical or mental?
Vimalakirti: It is not physical, since the body is insubstantial in itself. It is not mental,
since the nature of the mind is like illusion.
Manjusri: Householder, which of the four main elements is disturbed – earth, water, fire,
or air?
Vimalakirti: Manjusri, I am sick only because the elements of living beings are disturbed by sicknesses. read more

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The Right Stuff

5. The Consolation of the Invalid

Then, the Buddha said to the crown prince, Manjusri, “Manjusri, go to the Licchavi Vimalakirti to inquire about his illness.” Manjusri replied, “Lord, it is difficult to attend upon the Licchavi Vimalakirti. He is gifted with marvelous eloquence concerning the law of the profound. He is extremely skilled in full expressions and in the reconciliation of dichotomies. His eloquence is inexorable, and no one can resist his imperturbable intellect. He accomplishes all the activities of the bodhisattvas. He penetrates all the secret mysteries of the bodhisattvas and the Buddhas. He is skilled in civilizing all the abodes of devils. He plays with the great superknowledges. He is consummate in wisdom and liberative technique. He has attained the supreme excellence of the indivisible, nondual sphere of the ultimate realm. He is skilled in teaching the Dharma with its infinite modalities within the uniform ultimate. He is skilled in granting means of attainment in accordance with the spiritual faculties of all living beings. He has thoroughly integrated his realization with skill in liberative technique. He has attained decisiveness with regard to all questions. Thus, although he cannot be withstood by someone of my feeble defenses, still, sustained by the grace of the Buddha, I will go to him and will converse with him as well as I can.” Thereupon, in that assembly, the bodhisattvas, the great disciples, the Sakras, the Brahmas, the Lokapalas, and the gods and goddesses, all had this thought: “Surely the conversations of the young prince Manjusri and that good man will result in a profound teaching of the Dharma.” Thus, eight thousand bodhisattvas, five hundred disciples, a great number of Sakras, Brahmas, Lokapalas, and many hundreds of thousands of gods and goddesses, all followed the crown prince Manjusri to listen to the Dharma. And the crown prince Manjusri, surrounded and followed by these bodhisattvas, disciples, Sakras, Brahmas, Lokapalas, gods, and goddesses, entered the great city of Vaisali.
Meanwhile, the Licchavi Vimalakirti thought to himself, “Manjusri, the crown prince, is coming here with numerous attendants. Now, may this house be transformed into emptiness!” Then, magically his house became empty. Even the doorkeeper disappeared. And, except for the invalid’s couch upon which Vimalakirti himself was lying, no bed or couch or seat could be seen anywhere.
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti saw the crown prince Manjusri and addressed him thus: “Manjusri! Welcome, Manjusri! You are very welcome! There you are, without any coming. You appear, without any seeing. You are heard, without any hearing.” Manjusri declared, “Householder, it is as you say. Who comes, finally comes not. Who goes, finally goes not. Why? Who comes is not known to come. Who goes is not known to go. Who appears is finally not to be seen. “Good sir, is your condition tolerable? Is it livable? Are your physical elements not disturbed? Is your sickness diminishing? Is it not increasing? The Buddha asks about you – if you have slight trouble, slight discomfort, slight sickness, if your distress is light, if you are cared for, strong, at ease, without self-reproach, and if you are living in touch with the supreme happiness. “Householder, whence came this sickness of yours? How long will it continue? How does it stand? How can it be alleviated?” Vimalakirti replied, “Manjusri, my sickness comes from ignorance and the thirst for existence and it will last as long as do the sicknesses of all living beings. Were all living beings to be free from sickness, I also would not be sick. Why? Manjusri, for the bodhisattva, the world consists only of living beings, and sickness is inherent in living in the world. Were all living beings free of sickness, the bodhisattva also would be free of sickness. For example, Manjusri, when the only son of a merchant is sick, both his parents become sick on account of the sickness of their son. And the parents will suffer as long as that only son does not recover from his sickness. Just so, Manjusri, the bodhisattva loves all living beings as if each were his only child. He becomes sick when they are sick and is cured when they are cured. You ask me, Manjusri, whence comes my sickness; the sicknesses of the bodhisattvas arise from great compassion.”
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