The Berzin Archives

The Buddhist Archives of Dr. Alexander Berzin

Switch to the Text Version of this page. Jump to main navigation.

Home > eBooks > Published Books > The Gelug-Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra > 5 Meditation on the Deepest Nature of the Conventional "Me" and All Phenomena, Including Mind

The Gelug-Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra

Originally published as
H. H. the Dalai Lama and Berzin, Alexander. The Gelug/Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra. Ithaca, Snow Lion, 1997

Order this book directly from Snow Lion Publications

Part III: A Discourse on A Root Text for Mahamudra

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Dharamsala, India, June 1978
translated by Alexander Berzin
July 1996

5 Meditation on the Deepest Nature of the Conventional "Me" and All Phenomena, Including Mind

Promise to Compose

The text continues,

As for the methods that can lead you to know, face to face, the actual (deepest) nature of mind, I shall now set out the guideline teachings of my root guru, Sanggyay-yeshey, who (as his name literally means) is (the embodiment of) the Buddhasdeep awareness. Assuming the guise of a monk clad in saffron, he has eliminated the darkness enshrouding my mind.

This is the author’s promise to explain how to reach a decisive understanding of the deepest nature of mind.

Scrutinizing the Manner of Appearance and Manner of Existence of “Me”

The text continues,

While in a state of total absorption as before, and, with a tiny (portion of) awareness, like a tiny fish flashing about in a lucid pond and not disturbing it, intelligently inspect the self nature of the individual who is the meditator.

How do we meditate here? While in a state of mind that is totally absorbed on mind, we employ a small part of that mind to inspect and scrutinize, intelligently, learnedly and discerningly, the nature of ourselves as the person or individual who is conventionally “me” and who is focusing with absorbed concentration on mere clarity and awareness. In other words, we supplement our serenely stilled and settled mind with the additional accompanying mental factors of inspection and scrutiny.

As we say about the nature of what dependently arises, “All phenomena are devoid of truly and inherently existent identities.” This we must see and know with deep conviction. We must come to a decisive understanding of identitylessness, or “selflessness” – the total lack or absence of a truly and inherently existent identity with respect to anything. The way to gain such an understanding is by realizing the deepest nature of both phenomena and individual animate or “sentient” beings – persons. A person or conventional “me,” regardless of current rebirth state, is the one who feels happy or sad and utilizes things, while phenomena refer to what that person feels or utilizes – be it among the five aggregates of the individual’s experience, or whatever. As understanding the identitylessness of the conventional “me” is easier to gain than that of other phenomena, we come first to a decisive understanding of the identitylessness of the conventional “me.”

How shall we understand the manner of appearance of our conventional “me” – in other words, the usual way in which our mind makes it appear within the context of the aggregate factors of our everyday, moment-to-moment experience? How does its mode of actual existence compare with its mode of appearance? We begin by inspecting and scrutinizing each of them, discerning the differences.

Whenever our mind gives rise to an object of cognition, it makes that object appear as if it existed as something we could point our finger at as being truly and inherently “this” or “that.” This is the case whether we speak of “me” as the one who feels things, or the things this “me” feels – such as pleasure or pain – or utilizes – such as aggregates, cognitive sources and so forth. No matter what we think of as being “this” or “that,” our mind produces an appearance of it that seems as if it were an object we could point our finger at as being truly and inherently “this” or “that.” Our mind makes it appear as if the existence of this thing as a “this” or a “that” were established by something findable at the place where it understands the object to be located.

On a conventional level, there is a valid distinction between the person or “me” who utilizes things and the utilized body and mind controlled by this “me” as their controller. There is what directs and what is directed. For the reason that my body is sick, we say, “‘I’ am sick.” For the reason that my mind sees or knows, we say, “‘I’ see or know.” Our mind, however, makes this “me” that is the knower, or the one to whom things appear, seem to be something the existence of which is inherently established from its own side. Our mind gives rise to an appearance, feeling or impression of a concrete “me,” as if there were something independently existing there through its own power, by virtue of itself.

Sometimes when our body is in pain, we develop anger directed at our body. When we forget something important, we develop anger at our mind. The object of our anger is our body or our mind. That which is angry is “me.” Our mind makes it appear as if there were something distinct, standing on its own, sending out anger, and something separate from it, also standing on it own, as the object or place to which anger is being directed. This is the manner in which we develop anger toward our body or mind.

For example, if we hurt our hand, we grab it as if it were an object, like a poison dagger, and regard the pain of it as an enemy to us. We develop anger or repulsion at this painful hand that is hurting us. Our mind makes it appear as if the hand and “me” were individual, totally separate things. It produces an appearance or feeling of a “me” who seems independent and unrelated to our body or mind. But what kind of nature does this “me” have? With a corner of our sharp intelligence, we inspect and scrutinize it while still in a state of unwavering absorbed concentration on the conventional nature of mind.

Refutation of the “Me” To Be Refuted

The text continues,

It is just as our actual protector for refuge, the highly realized Arya Nagarjuna, has said, “An individual is not earth, not water, nor fire, nor wind, not space, not consciousness. Nor is he or she all of them...

If we examine what a person or a “me” who feels happy or sad and utilizes things relies upon in order to be imputed, we could say the bodily elements of earth, water, fire, air and space – in other words, the solid, liquid, heat, gas and cavity constituents of the body. Although a person, such as “me,” does rely on these things, if we evaluate each of them through a process of elimination and ask, Am “I” this body’s solid constituents? Am “I” its fluids, or its temperature and acidity? and so on, we cannot find or identify this “me.” But, from another perspective, we can conventionally say that the location or place in which “I” exist is in a body and mind. This body and mind as a basis or location is where “I” exist. “I” cannot be established as existing in some other location where the body and mind are not, such as in the table. Therefore where “I” exist is definitely somewhere in the body and mind.

Although this is the case, yet if we scrutinize our aggregates, by a process of elimination, examining those factors upon which “I” am imputed, asking, Am “I” this? Am “I” that? Am “I” the four bodily elements together with its cavities? Or if not, am “I” my body at all? Am “I” my mind? a basis with a defining characteristic making it “me” is not in the slightest bit findable there as any of the parts of the body. Nor is it findable there as their collection, network or continuity. Likewise, in terms of being based on the mind, a basis with a defining characteristic making it “me” is not in the slightest bit findable there as mind’s continuity, collection or parts. This is why Nagarjuna has said, “A person is not earth, not water, nor fire, nor wind, not space and not consciousness. Nor is he or she all of them.”

The quotation of Nagarjuna cited in the text continues,

Yet what individual is there separate from these? …

Although “I” am not the aggregates, yet there is not in the slightest bit a basis with a defining characteristic making it “me” that exists as a separate entity, in a different package from the body and mind, in the manner, for example, of the aggregates being possessions – either individually or taken all together – and “me” being their possessor. A “me” cannot be found totally apart from these aggregates, nor can a “me” be found as something distinct from them yet located in one of them, for instance in the mind and so forth. Where else could “I” be found?

Furthermore, it is not that there is no “me” at all. There definitely is a “me” who is helped and harmed, who collects karma and experiences its results. If, for the reason that a “me” cannot be ultimately found, we say there is no “me” at all, this is contradicted by straightforward perception. From straightforward perception and direct experience, it is well known in the world that there is a “me.” From our own personal experience, we say, “‘I’ am happy. ‘I am sad.”No one has to ask someone else for affirmation of this. Although we do not know clearly where this “me” ultimately is, the existence of a “me” is established from our own experience.

That being so, and there being no findable basis with a defining characteristic making it “me,” then what is called “me” is simply what can be labeled or imputed upon the basis of the collected bodily elements and so forth. Because of that, a “me” is not something the existence of which is established by its own power, by virtue of itself, without relying on such a basis. It is not something the existence of which is established by virtue of an inherent self-nature. There is no inherent self-nature findable on the side of “me” that establishes, proves or empowers my existence and makes me “me.” In this sense, a “me” is not something truly and inherently existent. That being the case, except for a “me,” as an individual person who feels happy or sad and utilizes things, being simply that to which a mental label refers on the foundation of a basis for labeling, a “me” cannot at all be established as existing independently by its own accord.

The quotation from Nagarjuna concludes,

And just as an individual is not perfectly existent because he or she is (what can be labeled on) a conglomeration of six constituents, likewise none of the constituents are perfectly existent because each is (what can be labeled on) a conglomeration (of parts).”

The “me” that is the collector of karma for happiness or suffering, the one that experiences its results and feels happy or sad, is simply what can be labeled on the basis of a conglomeration or network of causes and circumstances. Do the aggregates, stimulators of cognition and cognitive sources upon which “I” am labeled exist independently, by virtue of themselves? No, they do not establish their own existence. Just as with the manner of existence of “me,” these lack inherently established existence. Why? Because each constituent is a network.

Just as a “me” is what can be labeled by depending on the basis of a network of six constituents of earth and so forth, likewise each of these six constituents depends for its existence upon the basis of its parts and what is collected under its rubric, such as everything solid being included in the constituent element of earth. The earth element has parts, and what has parts entails both what a mental label refers to and a basis for labeling. Thus its existence can only be established by relying on, or depending upon factors other than itself. The existence and identity of these or those things, as what can be mentally labeled “this” or “that,” cannot be established by anything ultimately findable on their own side in the place where they are referred to, or at the place where they are mentally labeled to be.

The Conventional Existence of Phenomena That Is Not To Be Refuted

If we conclude that since phenomena cannot ultimately be found as establishing their existence from their own side, or at the place where they are mentally labeled to be, they do not exist at all, we are incorrect. They do exist. They should exist. But when we cannot ultimately find them establishing their existence from the side of the place where they seem to exist, what does this mean? It merely means that there is nothing ultimately findable on their side establishing their existence from the place where we would expect them to solidly exist, implied by the ordinary appearance of them our mind produces.

But when the issue of how do ultimately unfindable things actually exist becomes unbearable and we have to say something, the bottom line is that their existence is established by virtue simply of names. In other words, the existence of these things is established and proven by virtue simply of the fact that they can be named within the context of mental labeling. There is no additional need for an inherent, findable, defining characteristic on the side of the basis for labeling rendering things existent and giving them their identity. Thus the existence of ultimately unfindable things is merely conventional. This is the implication of it being unreasonable to consider them truly and inherently existent.

Nagarjuna has attested to this in Root Stanzas on the Middle Way, as has Tsongkhapa in The Essence of Excellent Explanation of Interpretable and Definitive Meanings. If the existence and identity of things as “this” or “that” were established through their own power, by virtue of an inherent, ultimately findable self-nature – some defining, characteristic feature existing as something findable we could point to with our finger somewhere inside the crevices of the things that arise as our objects of cognition – their existence and identity would not be established by virtue simply of the conventions of the mind that can take them as its object of cognition. Their existence and identity would be established by virtue of their own defining characteristic making them “this” or “that” from their own side. But, this is not so, because when we scrutinize closely and look for a defining characteristic on the side of the objects of our cognition, we cannot find even the slightest example of a defining characteristic that could render them “this” or “that” which exists from the side of their basis for labeling.

This being the case, then it is just as is said, things exist as “this” or “that” by virtue simply of the conventions of the mind that can apprehend them as “this” or “that.” This means that things are established as unsuitable for being considered truly and inherently “this” or “that” from their own side, being made “this” or “that” by virtue of some inherent self-nature or defining characteristic. Thus the existence and identity of things are established by virtue simply of what can take them as its object, or by virtue simply of mind, by virtue simply of convention, by virtue simply of mental labeling. That being so, nothing exists independently, by virtue of itself, even in conjunction with mental labeling. Nothing has true, inherent existence.

The same is true with respect to each of the six constituents of an individual – in short, the body and mind of any animate, sentient being. Consider a body as something having parts. A body is simply what can be labeled a “body” on the basis of a collection or network of such things as a head, legs and so forth. This is because when we dismember the individual parts, a basis with the defining characteristic making it a body cannot ultimately be found. Likewise, a mind is simply what can be labeled as a mere clarity and awareness on the basis of the collection or network of many things, such as a continuity of former and later moments and the act of taking various aspects as objects of cognition. Except for being like this, none of these items exist as their basis for labeling having an ultimately findable defining characteristic – even the most minute or subtle one – rendering them existent and giving them their identity as “this” or “that” from their own side, separate from their being a collection or network of many things. What a label conventionally refers to can never be identical with its basis for labeling.

Thus each of the six constituents is merely something that can be labeled dependently. Each can be labeled in relation to a network of causes and circumstances as its basis for labeling, and, as in the case of an individual or a conventional “me,” therefore does not have true, inherent existence established by virtue of an intrinsic, findable self-nature or defining characteristic. Thus Nagarjuna has said in the quotation cited in our text, “None of the constituents is perfectly solid because each is what can be labeled on a collection or network of parts.”

Total Absorption on Voidness Which Is Like Space

The text continues,

When you search and, like that, cannot find even a mere atom of a total absorption, someone totally absorbed, and so on, then cultivate absorbed concentration on space-like (voidness), single pointedly without any wandering.

When we scrutinize closely like this, we cannot find even an atom of an agent who is totally absorbed in concentration, a state or act of total absorption, or an object upon which we are totally absorbed that exists independently – in other words, the existence of which is established by virtue of itself. Because the existence of anything cannot be established in any way other than by simply depending on mental labeling from this side, nothing can have its existence also established by something ultimately findable on its own side too. With the understanding that decisively knows that there is no such thing as independently established existence – existence established without depending simply on mental labeling – we strongly focus our mind very piercingly on just this mere nullification or refutation of what is to be refuted. We totally absorb our mind on voidness, the total absence or nonexistence of independently established existence.

A mind that apprehends voidness does not apprehend it in an affirming manner. There are no such thoughts as “This is the voidness I have ascertained,” or “Now I am meditating on voidness.” There is nothing like this, but just the mere absence of what is to be refuted. Such a mind decisively understands that even though mind gives rise to cognitive objects, making them appear as if truly and inherently existent, and even though mind implies the actual existence of these truly and inherently existent things, yet the existence of such things is not in the slightest bit established by something truly and inherently there at the place where they appear to exist, as it seemed before. Therefore our decisiveness is a clear cutting off of a fantasy and what it conceptually implies, like the cutting of a taut rope. This means that our mind comes to be completely absorbed into a total absence or voidness that is the mere nullification of the object to be refuted – this fantasized, impossible manner of existence.

Dependent arising means the arising of something dependently on factors other than itself. We can understand this on four levels. All phenomena of samsara arise dependently on unawareness. With this meaning, we have the presentation of the twelve factors that dependently arise. From another point of view, all functional, nonstatic phenomena arise dependently on causes and circumstances. On another level, both nonstatic and static phenomena arise – in the sense of “exist” – dependently on parts. The prasangika-madhyamaka school, however, uses dependent arising to mean that the existence of all phenomena – of samsara or nirvana, nonstatic or static – arises, or is established dependently by virtue simply of mental labeling.

At this stage, our understanding of the conventional existence of things is our understanding of dependent arising in the prasangika-madhyamaka usage of the term. Because things are objects the existence of which arises or is established dependently on mental labeling, things conventionally have functions making them usable as what dependently arises as “this” or “that.” Their dependently arising functioning is due to their being things that do exist – their existence arises dependently, established by virtue simply of factors other than themselves, specifically their names. Their functioning and causing benefit or harm is due simply to their having the full characteristics of existing by virtue simply of the fact that they dependently arise. And it is precisely because the existence and identity of things as “this” or “that” are established simply by their arising as such, dependently on mental labeling, that they do not have true, inherent existence.

What is a mind that has voidness as its object? It is a mind that, on the basis of conventionally existing objects, in other words a basis that does exist in the above sense of dependent arising – but without giving rise to an appearance of that basis as its object of focus – completely and cleanly cuts off true, inherent existence, being totally convinced that there is no such thing. What kind of absence or voidness does such a mind have or take as its object? It is merely the nullification of what is to be refuted. Since voidness merely nullifies or negates what is to be refuted, and does not leave over or cast anything else to the mind as an object of cognition, then, out of an affirming or non affirming nullification, voidness is explained as the latter. It is an absence that is a non affirming nullification.

In this sense, voidness is like space, for space, too, is a non-affirming nullification. The space of any physical object is the absence of anything tangible or physically obstructive on the side of that object that would prevent it from existing three-dimensionally. Space is different from voidness, however, in that the object it nullifies – anything tangible or physically obstructive – does exist, whereas what voidness negates – true and inherent existence – is an impossible mode of existence that does not exist at all.

If the mind that has voidness as its object thinks intellectually, “This is ‘noninherent existence.’ I have found ‘noninherent existence.’ This absence that is the nullification of what is to be refuted is ‘voidness,’” this is referred to as “setting voidness out at a distance.” This will not do. The mind that has voidness properly as its object is a decisive piercing of the mere nullification itself. In other words, with the understanding, from the depths of our heart, that things do not exist at all like they appeared a while back, the mind taking voidness as its object completely pierces the sphere of this mere nullification like a spear piercing a target. A mind that does that is totally absorbed on voidness which is like space.

Such a mind understands madhyamaka, the middle way from which the two extremes have been eliminated. What are the two extremes? They are the extreme of true, inherent existence and the extreme of total nonexistence. When our mind stays within the sphere of the mere nullification of the object to be refuted, decisively understanding that things actually do not exist at all in the manner in which they had appeared to exist, that very mind of understanding eliminates the extreme of true, inherent existence. Furthermore, when we understand that the objects upon which we affirm the absence of true, inherent existence arise and exist as what they are dependently, by virtue simply of mental labeling – in other words, when we understand that their existence is established and proven relative to conditions and factors other than themselves – we realize that their dependently arising existence eliminates their total nonexistence.

In short, because things exist as “this” or “that” relative to conditions and factors, they have no way to exist independently as what they are. Understanding this exactly eliminates both extremes – existence or nonexistence. Furthermore, when our understanding that all objects are noninherently existent induces conviction that all things can only exist and have the ability to function as “this” or “that” by virtue simply of conditions and factors, our understanding has also eliminated the two extremes.

Voidness of Mind Itself

The text continues,

Furthermore, while in a state of total absorption, (scrutinize your) mind. Not established as any form of physical phenomenon, it is a nonobstructive utter bareness that gives rise to the cognitive dawning and projection of a wide variety of things – a continuum of unhindered (unceasing) clarity and awareness, engaging (with objects) without discontinuity. It appears not to depend (on anything else). But as for the conceptually implied object of the mind that grasps (for it to exist as it appears), our guardian, Shantideva, has said, “What are called a ‘continuum’ and a ‘group,’ such as a rosary, an army, and the like, are falsely (existent as findable wholes).” By means of scriptural authority and lines of reasoning (such as this), totally absorb on the lack of existence established as things appear.

Now we take mind specifically as our topic for scrutiny and use the same reasons as before to establish its being devoid of true, inherent existence. The quote by Shantideva that “such things as a continuum or collection are not as they seem” means that what is called “mind” is, in general, simply what can be labeled dependently on the collection or network of a continuity of former and later moments of cognition. Thus we continue our shamata meditation in which our mind is serenely stilled and settled on its own conventional nature as before. But, in addition, if we scrutinize – in the context of this quotation – the abiding, deepest nature of mind itself as mere clarity and awareness, we see that its existence is established by virtue simply of the fact that it can be mentally labeled dependently upon a collection and network of many parts. Except for that, its existence is not established by anything else. This is the specific meditation on voidness with mind as the basis for that voidness.

Understanding Voidness in Terms of Dependent Arising

The text continues,

In short, as has been said from the precious lips of my spiritual mentor, Sanggyay-yeshey, omniscient in the true sense, “When, no matter what has cognitively dawned, you are fully aware of it as (having its existence established merely by its being) what can be cognitively held by a conceptual thought, the deepest sphere of reality is dawning without need to rely on anything else. To immerse your awareness in the state of (this) dawning and totally absorb single-pointedly, oh, my goodness!”

In everyday life, our mind gives rise to an appearance of so many things – mountains, fences and pastures, houses, towns and so on, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile or bodily sensations, and mental objects or events When we have gained an understanding of voidness to some extent, according to our capacity – in other words, when we have gained some understanding of existence established by virtue of dependent arising, namely existence arising by virtue simply of depending on what can be mentally labeled by names – then no matter what our mind gives rise to an appearance of right now, we think how it exists as what it is simply relative to conditions and factors. It exists as what it is by virtue simply of mental labeling – by virtue simply of the conventions or labels that can label it as “this” or “that.” It exists relative to conditions and factors other than itself. As it exists simply as what can be apprehended as a cognitive object by conceptual thought, then anything mind gives rise to an appearance of as its object of cognition exists simply as what can be labeled by a conceptual thought that labels or ascribes a name to it. It exists simply as what can be apprehended as an object of cognition by the conceptual thought that can conceive of it.

We are now aware of the noninherent existence of everything our mind gives rise to an appearance of, including our mind itself. We are aware of the deepest nature of these things, namely that, because their existence is established by virtue simply of conceptual thought, everything is devoid of all impossible ways of existing, such as independent existence established by virtue of an inherent, findable self-nature or defining characteristic. When we are completely certain of this, we scrutinize the nature of this devoid nature or the deepest truth itself. We look closely to see if there is such a thing as a devoid nature that is immune from being itself devoid of existing inherently. Is there a devoid nature, existing truly and inherently on the side of either itself or the basis of the object having it as its nature, that establishes its own existence without simply depending on what can be mentally labeled? Can there be such a thing as a devoid nature that exists through its own power, by virtue of itself, without being dependent upon, or without existing simply as something we can be led to understand through a line of reasoning such as “all things are devoid of inherent existence because they and their identity do not inherently exist as one or many”?

When we examine these points, it dawns on us – through the power of our understanding existence by virtue simply of conditions – that devoid nature, or deepest truth, is itself devoid of true, inherent existence. As Sanggyay-yeshey has said, “the deepest sphere of reality is dawning” – the voidness of voidness – “without need to rely on anything else.”

When we understand existence by virtue simply of mental labeling, or dependently arising existence – in other words, when we understand that whatever things mind gives rise to an appearance of, even voidness itself, cannot exist without being something that simply arises dependently, relative to conditions and factors other than itself, specifically names – then, as the quotation continues, “While this is dawning, to immerse your awareness in it and totally absorb, my goodness!’” When, without need to rely on anything other than the fact that everything arises dependently on mental labeling, we understand there is no such thing as true, inherent existence – even with respect to voidness itself – we immerse our awareness in the sphere of our understanding of this deepest sphere of reality.

Then we reason from another point of view. Conventional or relative things lack true, inherent existence because it is not a fraud that mind dependently gives rise to appearances of them. This second angle on dependent arising causes our mind to become even further immersed in the deepest, ultimate nature – the total absence of true, inherent existence.

In summary, when our understanding becomes advanced of the unimpeded arising of dependently arising mere appearance, we see voidness in terms of dependent arising. We look at everything that arises in our mind. Relying on the reason that all appearances of things dependently arise, we understand that nothing arises as what it is, with its identity established by virtue of itself. Nothing exists as what it is, without depending simply on factors other than itself. In other words, when the mind that apprehends the dependently arising appearance of things makes something appear as its object of cognition, it understands that what this is merely an appearance of – be it an appearance of “this” or “that” – arises dependently, by virtue simply of mental labeling. This realization induces conviction in the understanding or meaning of its nonexistence as something existing as what it is through its own power, independently of anything else. Thus as the root text quotes, “To immerse your awareness in the state of (this) dawning and totally absorb single-pointedly, oh, my goodness!”

When we do this, then the more our mind gives rise to the appearance of things, the more strongly our conviction is induced that whatever they are appearances of are devoid of true, inherent existence. That being so, as we say, quoting Tsongkhapa ‘s The Three Principal Aspects of the Path, “Appearance eliminates the extreme of true, inherent existence and voidness eliminates the extreme of total nonexistence.” Because things are devoid of true, inherent existence, mind gives rise to an appearance of them as “this” or “that” relative to circumstances, arising dependently on factors other than themselves, namely mental labeling. Thus understanding this line of reasoning effectively induces conviction in both existence and identity established by virtue simply of circumstances. Furthermore, conviction in existence and identity established by virtue simply of circumstances, induced in this way, invokes reciprocal conviction in the total absence of true, inherent existence and true, inherent identity. Appearance does not impede voidness and voidness does not impede appearance.

Some people think that because things appear, they could not possibly be devoid of true, inherent existence; and if things were devoid of true, inherent existence, they could not possibly be able to function. But their conclusions are the opposite of what is actually the case. When we understand correctly, then the strength of our understanding of things being devoid of inherent existence, far from annulling, exceptionally induces conviction in the reasonability of their functioning. And the fact that our mind gives rise to various appearances of things performing functions that wax and wane, start and stop, far from annulling, exceptionally induces conviction in their voidness of true, inherent existence. It seems as though this is what Sanggyay-yeshey meant in saying, “my goodness!”

The text continues,

Similarly, the hallowed (fatherly Padampa Sanggyay) has said, “Within a state of voidness, the lance of awareness is to be twirled around. A correct view (of reality) is not a tangible obstruction, O people of Dingri.” All such statements come to the same intended point.

No matter what arises now in our mind, we understand, simply because of the fact of its appearing as “this” or “that”, that it exists as such by virtue simply of circumstances. Thus no matter how many appearances our mind produces, they induce conviction in their voidness. In other words, whatever our mind makes appear, the fact that its cognitive appearance as “this” or “that” is something that dependently arises, and the fact that it is unmistakably appearing, grant credibility to its lack of true, inherent existence. When this happens, then, while remaining focused on the sphere of voidness, we have the lance of our awareness of noninherent existence twirl around. A correct view is not a tangible obstruction that can be impeded. It applies to everything.

This has been the actual meditation on the correct view, with total absorption on voidness which is like space.

Dedication

The text continues,

At the conclusion (of your meditation), dedicate whatever ennobling, positive force has accrued from meditating on mahamudra, the great seal of reality, as well as your ocean like network of constructive actions of the three times, toward great peerless enlightenment.

It is important to dedicate very strongly whatever positive force or merit we have accrued from this mahamudra meditation toward our peerless enlightenment. We must not let it become a cause for something inferior, or something just lost in a moment.