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The Lamp of Wisdom: Verses on the Stages of Meditating on Selflessness
To the unequalled Teacher, the perfect Buddha,
To the Lord of perfect wisdom, the noble Manjushri, and all the others—
To the holders of definitive meaning’s lineage, I prostrate.
Here I will briefly explain the stages of meditating on selflessness. (1)
The five aggregates are not the individual’s self:
There is no self that is the same as the aggregates
And there is no self that exists apart from the aggregates.
The self does not possess the five aggregates.
The aggregates do not rely on the self and the self does not rely on the aggregates. (2)
All phenomena outside and inside have no essence
Because they transcend the extremes of one and many,
Because they do not arise from any of the four extremes,
And because they are merely dependently arisen, dependently existent appearances—
See them to be like dreams, watermoons, and rainbows. (3)
As for the reason of not being one or many:
In what is perceived, partless particles do not exist
And indivisible moments of consciousness do not exist.
Therefore, since one does not exist, how could many?
Phenomena are empty of self-nature, like watermoons. (4)
As for the reason that things do not arise from themselves:
If they did, arising would be both meaningless and endless.
As for the reason that things do not arise from other:
If they did, causes and non-causes would be equivalent.
As for the reason that things do not arise from both self and other:
Both the reasons just expressed take care of that one!
The notion that things arise without cause is incredibly wrong,
For if they did, they would either always exist or never exist
And all effort in the world would be in vain. (5)
Since samsara and nirvana exist dependently,
Since entity and nonentity exist dependently,
And since existence, nonexistence, and so forth exist dependently,
All phenomena are appearance-emptiness undifferentiable, like watermoons. (6)
Why is it necessary to meditate on the individual’s selflessness?
Because the root of samsara is clinging to self,
And apart from its remedy, selflessness,
You will not find a single thing that can oppose it. (7)
And why meditate on phenomena’s selflessness?
Clinging to things as being real, clinging to characteristics,
Dualistic appearances, and so forth—all the obscurations to omniscience—
Are conquered by their opponent, phenomena’s selflessness. (8)
If you meditate on the two types of selflessness like that
But do not mix in the compassionate mind of bodhichitta,
It is not the Mahayana path.
So cause your relative bodhichitta to increase like the waxing moon! (9)
All this virtue that effort has accumulated,
If not dedicated to perfect enlightenment,
Will be destroyed by anger and so forth.
So seal this virtue with non-referential dedication again and again. (10)
Aspiration prayers follow the dedication:
“To benefit all sentient beings, including my enemies,
May I be born as animals, people, gods, demi-gods, and in other realms too—
In all sorts of bodies may I tame beings,” I pray. (11)
By the power of completely perfecting the two accumulations in this way,
May all beings be filled with love for one another,
May they enjoy peaceful prosperity without strife,
And by this may auspiciousness light up the whole universe! (12)
Composed extemporaneously at Kagyu Thubten Chöling, Wappingers Falls, New York, October 18, 1998, by the one only called “Khenpo”, Tsultrim Gyamtso.Translated by Ari Goldfield. Translation copyright 2012, Ari Goldfield.