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Home > Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism > Level 2: Lam-rim (Graded Stage) Material > Voidness in Terms of Dependent Arising > Session Two: Dependent Arising in Terms of Causality

Voidness in Terms of Dependent Arising

Alexander Berzin
Riga, Latvia, July 2008

Session Two: Dependent Arising in Terms of Causality

Unedited Transcript
Listen to the audio version of this page (0:47 hours)

Are there any questions left over from what we discussed this morning? We were discussing how voidness means absence of impossible ways of existing, or impossible relations of cause and effect, and that it’s the same word as is used in Indian languages for the number zero. And we saw that when we speak of mental activity, which is what we mean by “mind” in Buddhism, it’s individual and subjective and it works by means of making what we call “appearances”: mental holograms. And due to the habits of our confusion, these mental holograms – although there may be one layer of them which are accurate, there’s projection of what is impossible. And when we focus on this mental hologram then, because of the confusion, we believe that it corresponds to reality; and then certain emotions, and destructive behavior, and so on, follow from that belief.
 
And what voidness is negating when it’s saying that there is “no such thing” as something backing or supporting what we’re focusing on. In other words, we seem to be focusing on something that’s actually impossible and there’s nothing backing it up. So it’s not based on anything real; it’s not corresponding to anything real. And when we realize that there’s nothing holding up or supporting our projection, our incorrect projection, then we stop believing in that projection. It’s like popping a balloon. And eventually, the more that we realize that this appearance is complete garbage, then eventually it breaks the habit of the making of that false appearance. So eventually the mind stops churning out this garbage, these projections.
 
So whether we’re talking about a projection of “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m guilty for what happened with my children,” or something more subtle than that – like we were speaking about everything existing as if coated in plastic and separate and self-establishing – the process of getting rid of a basis behind it is the same. There never was a basis behind it. There never was anything holding up these false appearances. Okay? So there are no witches who can change people into frogs. There is no Santa Claus. There is no perfect partner on a white horse out there, waiting for me. And, like a baby, we might cry when our “balloon gets popped” of this fantasy, but that’s life. We’ll get over it.
 
But it’s interesting to see how persistent we are. We don’t want to believe that there’s no such thing as reality corresponding to our fantasy. This partner didn’t turn out to be the prince or princess on the white horse, but the next one will; and if that didn’t work out, well, maybe the next one will. We don’t give up hope for something that’s impossible. So this could be on many levels, of course. “If I just do another hundred thousand prostrations, then I will become enlightened.” “Well, that didn’t work; maybe another hundred thousand will work.” Just doing prostrations isn’t going to bring us enlightenment. You have to do much more than that. And I’m sure we can all think of so many examples that this would apply to. So we shouldn’t just think that voidness is something theoretical dealing with abstract philosophy. So many everyday examples. “If I just have enough money then I will be happy.” “If you just said ‘I love you’ to me enough times, then maybe I’ll feel secure.” So basically we’re talking about understanding what’s impossible.
 
So were there any leftover questions?
 
Question: Here we’re talking just about mental constructs. Based on these wrong mental constructions, we’ve done some kind of bad actions, for example, and then we feel real pain. Isn’t that the proof that basically these mental constructions correspond to some level of truth? Seemingly there are these mental constructions, and we kind of understand that’s kind of wrong, but we have real results; we have real pains.
 
Alex: Well, the mental constructs do exist – we’re not saying that they don’t exist – and our belief in them exists. And so this has an effect. What we’re saying is absent or devoid is that there is a correspondence to these false appearances – that they refer to something real. There’s no referent thing that they refer to. If I think that there are witches who can change people into frogs, the fear that I experience from that is very real. And the horrible actions that I might do to certain women, based on that, is very real. What isn’t real is that there are actual witches who can turn people into frogs. The idea is there. The concept is there. That exists.
 
By the way, I should just point out a Buddhist methodology, which is to use extreme ridiculous examples like witches that can turn people into frogs. Because when we see it with a ridiculous example, then we get the general idea. Then we can apply it to examples that don’t seem so ridiculous to us because we actually believe them. Like there will be the perfect partner. Or, in the realm of causality, if I can just always keep up with the latest fashions then I will get a really good boyfriend or girlfriend; that is the causal relationship there.
 
Any other questions?
 
Question: Okay now we’re turning back to your example with this periscope vision. So is it correct – did I understand it correctly? – if I have a correct understanding of emptiness, that means that I will still see just this small field of vision, but that would be without any kind of wrong mental images. But then, when I become a Buddha, then I will see the whole 360 degree vision.
 
Alex: Well, it’s a little bit like that. There are stages for the understanding of voidness. In the beginning – to use the example of the periscope – when we focus through the periscope, then initially we will understand that that’s not really the way that things exist. So what we focus on initially, what we’re trying to totally absorb our concentration on, is that there’s no such thing as reality existing that way. If we just use this simple example. So, at that time, there is no appearance when we focus on “no such thing.”
 
Question: There’s no appearance?
 
Alex: No appearance. Nothing appears.
 
We think that there is chocolate in the house. When we think there’s chocolate in the house, maybe we think of chocolate and so, maybe, a piece of chocolate appears in our thought, and then we look in the house. We look, we look, and we find out, much to our disappointment, there is no chocolate. And we don’t want to believe that, so we look again, just to make sure, and eventually we give up. There is no chocolate. Now when we focus – you close your eyes and you focus – and you think “No. There is no chocolate,” what appears in your mind? All you’re thinking is “There is none.” What appears?
 
Participant: I think chocolate, maybe.
 
Alex: No. Then you’re thinking “there’s chocolate.” You’re thinking, “There is none.”
 
Participant: Just the empty wrapping.
 
Alex: That’s “no chocolate in the wrapping.” Just think, “There is none.” Nothing appears. Nothing. Blank. There is none.
 
Participant: You can’t say that nothing appears.
 
Alex: Now we get into a deep philosophical discussion. Is there a “nothing” which then can appear? That’s actually not such a silly discussion that comes up particularly in the discussion of cause and effect. Can “nothing” turn into “something,” in terms of a result arising? There’s “nothing,” and then that becomes a “something”? And when it ends, does “something” turn into a “nothing”? So it’s not such a silly discussion, actually. And it has many repercussions, actually, in the discussion of abortion, for example: there’s something, I get rid of it, and then it’s a nothing.
 
But we won’t get into this discussion of what does “nothing” look like. But they say it’s like an empty space. The void. Like outer space. These are the analogies that are used. So, initially, what we focus on is “there’s no such thing” in terms of the universe existing just with a line around it, limited to what I see through the periscope. It’s not just that there’s nothing appearing, but there’s understanding together with that: it’s an absence of an impossible way of existing. It’s not an absence of a dinosaur in the room, or like that. If you focus on “no chocolate in the house” and “no dinosaur in the house,” the appearance is the same: just nothing. Our understanding is different; simply, understanding has to go with it. So then, after that, we just totally, totally absorb and focus on “no such thing.” This is the importance – that’s when you do voidness meditation – there’s no such thing. I mean, we’re convinced of it and we have full understanding.
 
So there’s nothing appearing – this focus on “no such thing” – then step back and, subsequent to that, we still just see through the periscope, but it is like an illusion. It’s like an illusion in the sense that it appears as though this is all that exists, but that’s not the way that things really are. So it’s like an illusion. It appears to exist in one way, but it doesn’t actually exist that way. When we speak about understanding that appearances are like an illusion, this is subsequent to the total absorption on “no such thing,” the total absorption on voidness. In other words, when we understand things are like an illusion, that has to be immediately after the absorption on voidness. You get rid of the false appearance; and then when that false appearance recurs, we understand that it’s like an illusion. So the actual term for this is “subsequent attainment” (rjes-thob). Subsequent or after total absorption on voidness, the realization that we obtain is that everything is like an illusion. This term “subsequent attainment” is what’s usually translated as “post-meditation period.” It’s a misleading way of translating it. Post-meditation actually means after the total absorption on voidness. It’s not as though we’ve stopped meditating and we’ve gotten up; although it could be.
 
Okay. So now things still appear to me as in a periscope, but I know that that’s like an illusion. Things don’t really exist like that. It only appears like that because of the limitations of my hardware. I can only see through these two holes in the front of my skull. I can’t see what’s behind my head, for example. So there are physical and mental limitations here.
 
Actually, that brings up just a side comment: that if you – I think they have done experiments like this to project what actually a fly sees through fly eyes, or spider eyes, which have these multi-faceted prisms and all sorts of different angles and stuff; the eye is not smooth like our eye. And so then, of course, the question that we would ask is: “Is one more valid than the other, in terms of seeing?” And then you start to realize in terms of mental holograms and appearances, etc. But so long as we are a limited being, you know, as a sentient being – a limited being, that’s what sentient means; a Buddha’s not a sentient being; but someone with a limited mind, limited body – then we can only have periscope vision. And although we don’t believe in it, that’s what we are limited to. And it is in fact only a Buddha, an omniscient mind of a Buddha, that can perceive the interconnectedness of everything.
 
If we simplify things very much then: with our ordinary minds, it can only make things appear as if they had lines around them, separating one thing from another, like things encapsulated in plastic. Like this example that I used of differentiating the top of this person’s head from the shirt of the person behind them. So, with our limited minds, it can only make things appear as if they had lines around them. And when we focus on voidness, we would focus on, “There are no such things as these lines. This is ridiculous. Things don’t exist with lines around them.” So, with our limited minds, limited bodies, we can only focus on “no such thing as these lines” or “if we have appearances, they have lines around them.” You can’t focus on both at the same time. Lines and no lines can’t appear at the same time, so we have to alternate between the two. When the lines appear, we know that this is ridiculous; it’s not referring to anything real. That’s the best we can do here. And it’s only the omniscient mind of a Buddha, which is not limited by this type of limited body and limited mind that we have, that can make things appear with no lines. So makes things appear with no lines. So, at the same time as appearing without lines, can understand, “no such thing as lines.”
 
So this is why, when we speak about first noble truth – the truth of suffering, true suffering – then we speak of three types of suffering: Suffering of pain and unhappiness; sometimes just called the suffering of suffering. Then the suffering or problem of change. That’s referring to our ordinary happiness. The problem with it is that it doesn’t last, it’s never satisfying; we never have enough. And when it ends, we have no idea what’s going to come next, so there’s no security, no certainty about it. And what initially gives us happiness – like being out in the sun – the more that we get, eventually it gives us unhappiness: we want to get out of the sun. But the third type of suffering is what’s called the “all-pervasive affecting suffering.” It’s “all-pervasive,” so it pervades the first two types of suffering, every moment of our experience with its ups and downs of unhappiness and ordinary unstable fleeting happiness. These two go up and down, happiness and unhappiness. And this type of suffering is “affecting”; it affects them.
 
So what are we talking about? We’re talking about getting and having an uncontrollably recurring limited body and mind. That’s uncontrollably recurring rebirth: samsara. It’s on the basis of this limited hardware that we experience the ups and downs of life. And we experience that on the basis of… This limited hardware produces limited types of appearances, false appearances. We believe in them. It causes us to have all sorts of disturbing emotions. We act on the basis of that, and that brings this unhappiness or fleeting happiness. So we have to get rid of this uncontrollably recurring basis. That’s really the focus of the Buddhist practice.
 
Even animals want to avoid the suffering of pain, so it’s nothing special. And many world religions aim to get rid of our ordinary unsatisfying type of worldly happiness by striving to go to heaven. So there’s nothing special about that either. So what’s special about Buddhism is aiming to get rid of this uncontrollably recurring basis, our so called “tainted aggregates” (body and mind). They’re tainted with confusion or ignorance or unawareness, however you want to describe that. They come on the basis of that, they’re mixed with that, and they produce more.
 
These questions are useful because it brings up further type of explanation, so that our explanation isn’t so linear, but we get different pieces of the picture from different angles. That’s very helpful because the way that we understand things is partially through linear explanations, but partially also through putting different pieces together, and both ways of learning are helpful. And, as I have emphasized, we need to work very hard to try to understand this stuff, put it together, apply it to our lives, analyze.
 
Now we were talking about three different levels of dependent arising. And when we talk about nonstatic phenomena – things that change, whether they last forever and are constantly changing, or they last for a short time – these things are affected by causes and conditions. So “dependent arising.” Dependently arise. “Arise” doesn’t just mean the first moment; arise is – each moment in the continuity of something is arising. And it is arising dependently on causes and conditions. It’s important to understand that we’re not just talking about what creates something, but whatever we are analyzing here is changing moment to moment – let’s say somebody’s mental state or somebody’s problem, or whatever – it’s changing from moment to moment, and each moment is arising on the basis of or dependent on various causes and conditions.
 
We were using the example of my child’s anorexia. Well, what is anorexia? It’s not just one moment. It doesn’t just arise, and there it is. It’s a whole mode of behavior. The child is alive and experiencing twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and each moment is going to be different in the child’s experience. And we’re just looking at it through one variable, through the category “anorexia.” Or “bulimia.” Bulimia is a little bit easier example because it involves what we call “binge eating” and then vomiting, or even just eating ordinarily and then vomiting at the end. So each moment of course is affected by causes and conditions. So the example that we were using was the parent feeling that “it’s all my fault.” And we have to understand that – although we wouldn’t use voidness, technically, here – that it is impossible that that is how this situation has arisen, and how it is continuing to arise each moment, based on just me as the guilty one that caused it. Because when we believe that, of course it makes us very, very unhappy; very miserable. We feel what we call “guilt.” And it will probably lead us to handling the situation very poorly.
 
So we can ask: How has this situation arisen and what is sustaining it? Has the situation arisen from no situation at all? So it’s just fate. It happened by chance; bad luck. A punishment from God. What is the cause? So from no cause, or from an inappropriate cause that we can do nothing about. These things don’t make very much sense because usually it leads to the question, “Why me?” which of course is involved with a very false idea of how we exist. “Me. I’m so special.” “Why should it happen to me?” etc. So we’re making a big deal out of “me.”
 
So then we say – if we have studied Buddhism a little bit – well, it’s the karma of the child. The child, from who knows what, but some destructive behavior in the past that somehow was related to this, and the habit of some disturbing emotions, disturbing attitudes about low self-esteem. And what’s involved here with anorexia and bulimia are control issues. You want to be totally in control. You want to be perfect, but you’re not perfect. Very low self-esteem, etc. So all of these are involved in the causal connection. The situation has arisen dependently on that, and is sustained dependently on all these karmic factors on the side of the child. True.
 
But then the question is: Are these the only causal factors that are there? Well, no, they’re not. And it certainly isn’t, “Well, my child deserved that and so shut up and accept it,” and I have to shut up and accept it. This certainly is not a correct understanding of karma. But certain situations have arisen in the past of the mental continuum of this person who in this lifetime is my child, and all of that has arisen dependently on so many other causal things that happened in that lifetime and previous lifetimes, and so on. So we have one side of the causal process. And there are certain things on the side of the person who is experiencing karmic results that causes the karmic tendencies, and habits and so on, to ripen. That’s discussed in the twelve links of dependent arising. This isn’t really the appropriate place to go into that, but there’s a whole very complex mechanism of what causes karmic tendencies etc. to ripen, in terms of our mistaken attitudes.
 
But what’s relevant here in our discussion is the conditions. You need conditions, external conditions – not just internal conditions, but external conditions – to give the environment within which something karmic will ripen. So here’s where the discussion of my role as the parent comes in.
 
Now the relationship between how causes and conditions meet each other is quite subtle; quite difficult to understand. I’ll give you a simple example of a wrong analysis. Let’s say I have the karma to be hit by a car. Is it my karma that has therefore caused you to drive your car on the road at just that time where you will hit me? Is it? No. But we could imagine that; could falsely believe that. So it’s not that my karma has created those conditions or circumstances.
 
I couldn’t have been hit by a car if somebody didn’t come along driving a car and hit me, obviously. So there are all sorts of karmic reasons and conditions – whether we want to explain it in terms of karma, or more broadly – of why somebody is driving a car: They had to go to the store. They had to whatever. And they couldn’t have driven the car if there wasn’t petrol available, and if there weren’t gas stations. I mean, there are so many things that driving a car is dependent on. So here’s where the difficulty comes, in trying to understand the mechanism. I have the karma to be hit by a car driven by you. You have the karma to hit me with your car. But how do those two connect? Well, it’s not just dependent on these two karmas. There are many, many other factors which have been involved: that I bought the car, that I needed to go to the store, that there was a road that was built. I mean, all these sort of things are also involved in the causal connection here.
 
“If I hadn’t married my partner, then I wouldn’t have given birth to this child, and the child would not be bulimic.” I mean, this is crazy thinking. Isn’t it? There are children that have a genetic proclivity toward being alcoholic. So you could say, “Well, my partner was alcoholic. Well, if I didn’t marry this alcoholic person then I wouldn’t have given birth to a child that had the genes to be alcoholic. And so it’s all my fault that I married this person. I married the wrong person.” These are the misconceptions that arise here.
 
But there are many, many causes and conditions that are affecting things, and that doesn’t mean that I am not in some way responsible and added some conditions perhaps; but not all of them. “I gave birth to this child. Well, if I didn’t give birth to this child, the child wouldn’t have the problem. Or I wouldn’t have the problem of having to deal with a child like that.” This mental continuum who was born as my child would be born as somebody else’s child. And if they had the karma to be born as my child – if not this lifetime, another lifetime – well, maybe they would have been born to somebody else and they would have experienced that bulimic syndrome or the alcoholic syndrome or whatever, and I would have been finished with it, in terms of my karma, to have that type of child; and so maybe I would have a different child or maybe I would overcome that karma.
 
So, in any case, with something that has already arisen, there’s no point in trying to analyze blame, especially when we have false ideas of how causality works. The point is that: now here’s the situation; how do we deal with it? Because it’s dependently arising, so each moment is also dependently arising. So how can I help to not provide the conditions for the situation to continue? Well, obviously, if I have an alcoholic child, you don’t keep beer in the refrigerator and vodka in the liquor cabinet. And you never let the child be home alone if the child is bulimic; because you’re there, so the child can’t just go and eat a whole box of chocolate or a whole box of candy and make themselves sick and go throw up. You don’t even buy the stuff, so it’s not in the house. So, in that way, we try to not offer the conditions that could perpetuate the problem. But whether the child continues to be bulimic or not is not totally dependent on whether or not we’re home all the time and police what the child eats and that they don’t go to the bathroom and throw up after their meal. But we know if a child really wants to do something, no matter how much the parent tries to control, the child will figure out some way to do it, especially if it’s a teenager.
 
So, again, we have this false idea – It’s not just a false idea of causality here. There’s a deeper misunderstanding that’s involved, which is that there’s a “me” who could somehow control the whole situation that was the underlying problem with the bulimic teenager. That she could be in control of what she looked like. And I want to be in control of what goes in my body, what comes out of my body. And so, like this, somehow make myself good enough to be loved and accepted by the other teenagers, or whatever it is.
 
Question: Anorexia?
 
Alex: Anorexia or bulimia. Bulimia is the same thing. You throw up in order to remain thin; but instead of always starving yourself, you have such attachment to food that you also binge eat first and then throw up. So it’s two variants of the eating disorder. It’s a very common type of problem among teenagers, especially exacerbated by these very thin models and so on – which, in some places, they’re trying to control: this isn’t the image of beauty for teenage girls.
 
So there’s a “me” that can be in control of everything, of what I look like, and I’m going to control my body and I’m going to control everything. And there’s the parent who thinks that somehow he or she can control everything. That there’s this solid “me” that can control, determine what’s going to happen. So it’s a misplaced understanding of how I exist, the “me” exists, plus a misunderstanding of cause and effect. So whatever understanding we can have of this to deconstruct the situation, it will help.
 
So what do we understand then when we understand this level of dependent arising, in terms of voidness or absence of something that’s impossible. We understand that a situation has arisen and is sustained by a million different causes and conditions: not just me, but the kids at school, the fashion magazines – so many things are influencing the situation. And it’s not that I am totally not part of this causal connection – it’s not that it’s completely my responsibility. You could have the thought, “Well, okay, I could contribute a little bit,” but then we could start to feel guilty: “I didn’t do enough.” Well, we have to have a realistic idea of what could we do. And we could contribute a little bit. Like, for instance, being home when our child is home from school, so the child won’t binge eat when nobody else is in the house. We can contribute a little bit. And by not doing enough, in the sense that I’m not rescheduling myself so that somebody’s home – we could change that, sure. But what’s happened in the past is past; that’s history. There’s no point in blaming ourselves or feeling guilty. So we can only change how we act in the future, and that can only be on the basis of what’s realistic.
 
So this is directly related to our understanding of what it would be like to be a Buddha. If we become a Buddha, does that mean that then we’re going to be in control of everything that happens to others? Well, we have infinite compassion equally for everyone; not just my own child who has this problem, but for everybody. And what the advantage that a Buddha has is a Buddha is aware of all the unbelievable number of factors that have contributed to this situation – let’s say of this bulimic child – all the causes and conditions going back, with no beginning. And a Buddha knows that, of the many, many possible things that a Buddha could do to help in this situation, what would be the consequences of each particular thing that a Buddha could do, so that a Buddha could choose what would be the most skillful thing to do to help. This obviously is very important for being able to know what’s the best way to help. But still, what happens to this child is going to arise dependently on the million other causes and conditions, not on just what a Buddha does.
 
So it’s very important to understand that in terms of what happens to us, and what happens to others, things arise dependently on causes and conditions and we cannot be totally in control. But also we are, to a certain extent, responsible; we have to take responsibility. The balance between these is very important, the two understandings. Okay? Whether we’re talking about a failed relationship, whether we’re talking about losing our job, whether we’re talking about how we do in school, how we deal in our office – whatever we’re talking about, things arise dependently. And although things might appear to us to exist in some weird way, like “I should be in control,” “It’s all my fault,” etc., it’s not backed up by anything in reality.
 
So what we have to do is not only think about this, and try to understand it, and try to become convinced that what we’ve been discussing is correct – not just that – but when a difficult situation arises in which we are projecting this misconception concerning causality and the role of “me” in the whole process, to recognize it – “Aha! I’m projecting something which is ridiculous” – and then “pop the balloon” of our fantasy.
 
“This friend rejected me. It’s all my fault,” or “It’s all their fault. They’re such a terrible person.” You have to pop that balloon. Because the situation arose dependently on so many things: the other person was very busy, the other person had family crises, or a health problem, or a technical problem – their telephone broke or their computer broke – or whatever. There are so many things that could affect the situation, not just “I was a terrible person. I did something wrong,” or this other person was so terrible. So when we pop that balloon of our fear, fantasy, and so on, we calm down. We let out all the air from the balloon, as it were. It’s going “Ahhhhhhhhhh” – you know, like that – and it allows us to approach the situation in a much more relaxed type of way. So if it’s a friend that seemed to have rejected us, ask: “Are you angry with me? If I did anything that offended you, I’m sorry.” Or just “What’s happening that you haven’t contacted me?” And find out what are the other factors and so on that are involved.
 
I think of the example of parents with grown-up children, live away from home, and the children don’t call often enough, don’t come to see the parents often enough. And the parents get very upset with their children: “Why don’t they call?” And we expect this. “It’s Mother’s Day and they didn’t call. Why didn’t they call?” They’re very angry. My mother was a very, very wise woman. She died some years ago. She didn’t have any Buddhist training, but had great wisdom. And she would say very simply, “If you want to hear from your children, you call them. Don’t wait for them to call you. You’re just going to get frustrated and angry. You want to speak to them, call. You know the telephone number, call.”
 
Again, it’s an understanding of causality. If it is beyond us to be able to cause our children to call us every week, why bother? There are other ways of handling the situation if we want to have communication with our children. So, again, dependent arising in terms of what’s possible, what’s not possible. What role can we play? What role is beyond what we can play? Same thing with the anorexic or bulimic child, or any situation that we’re in. We try – even though we’re not Buddhas and we don’t know what is the best thing to do – we try our best, with a realistic understanding of what role we can play. If the child continues to suffer – sure, it’s sad, but we don’t have the magic ability to just come up with the magic solution and make everything better. That’s a balloon we have to pop. Okay, let’s take a moment to digest that.
 
[silence]
 
Okay. And remember here we’re speaking not just in terms of how we can affect what happens with somebody else, really. Obviously we’re also speaking about how we can affect what happens to us in our lives. We don’t live in a vacuum, encapsulated in plastic, and not affected are affected by other people or our environment or the weather or everything that is happening around. We are. So we have to take that into consideration in terms of what’s possible, what’s not possible. Age factor is there. So many factors that affect what happens to us and what we can do.
 
Okay. Any questions?
 
Question: I’m not sure whether I have it correctly, but anyway: What then is the relationship between dependent arising – if we are thinking about this 360 degree vision – and this emptiness or zero?
 
Alex: What is the relation between the 360 degree vision and past, present, future, etc., and voidness? We have dependent arising. Everything is dependent on everything else. We have a projection, on top of that, that things exist just in isolated little pieces, establishing themselves independently of everything else around them. And what’s absent is that those projections are referring to anything real. If we put this in very concrete terms, what appears – I mean, when we talk about this 360 degrees – is what’s possible, and what is also there is not impossible; an absence of impossible.
 
For instance – now the analogy isn’t exact, but let me use this, in any case – I see a dog. Now the dog appears to me. Now what I also know, when I see a dog, is “not a cat.” So “dog” is what is reality. “Not a cat” is true, but it’s absent; there’s an absence here. Not a cat. So they go together. I mean we can understand the two of them: “Dog, not a cat.” So, similarly, “360 degrees, not just 20 degrees.” So, although the analogy isn’t exact, it’s a way of approaching the understanding here. Possible; not what’s not possible.
 
This is perhaps a good place to end, and we will continue tomorrow. So we end with a dedication. We think whatever positive force, whatever understanding has come from this, may it act as a cause to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all.