using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : March 2018
an infinite proliferation of parts, smaller and smaller, clouds of them. (This is true of thoughts and feelings as well as physical objects.) If you look closely enough and truly enough at any- thing, it disappears into a cloud, and the cloud disappears into a cloud. All is void. There is no final substantial something any- where. The only thing real is connection: void touching void. This simple but profound teaching is delightful. As a way of thinking and understanding it is peerless, impossible to confute because it proposes nothing and denies nothing. Appearances remain valid as appearances, and there is no reality beyond appearances, other than the emptiness of the very appearances. So there is nothing to argue for or against! In being empty, everything is free of argument. Lighter than air. They say that wisdom (the faculty that cognizes emptiness) and compassion are like the wings of a great bird. Holding both in balance against the wafting winds allows you to float, enjoying the day. Really, though, the two wings are one wing. Where you can appreciate the flavor of emptiness on the tongue you know immediately (without medi- ation) that love is the only way, and that everything is love and nothing but love. What a pleasant thing to hold in mind! All problems, all joys, all living, and all dying—it’s love. Traditionally, emptiness refers to the fact that phenomena have no “intrin- sic existence.” This means not that phenomena don’t exist, but that they don’t exist as we think they do, as free- standing, independent, solidly real enti- ties.Thisisastrueofusasitisofthe world around us: everything is contingent, not solid, ceasing the moment it arises, moment after moment. Everything is like space, real in its own way, and absolutely necessary, but not something you could put your finger on. We, of course, don’t know this. We are, according to the emptiness pundits of Buddhism, deeply ignorant of the one thing we should not be ignorant of: the real nature of our- selves and the world we live in. “Ignorance,” unfortunately, doesn’t mean we don’t know. It would be better if we didn’t know. Ignorance means we know something very firmly, but it is the wrong thing. We know that things are solid and independent and intrinsically existent, but they actually are not. So ignorance is not not-knowing; ignorance is a form of knowing, but it is a mis-knowing. And spiritual practice is the process of coming to see our mis-knowledge and letting it go: to begin to experience, accept, and live the truth about how we and the world actually are. When we begin to understand and to live in this way, there is a great decrease in the fear and dread, so common in human experience, caused by the huge gap between our expectations and the way things actually are. This mis-knowledge is not mere doctrinal incorrectness; it really matters to our lives. In Buddhism, suffering means suffering of the mind, suffering that comes from the way we take things. Physical suffering is not preventable. If there is illness or injury, there will be pain, and even the Buddha suffered pain. But pain is not suffering. Mostly what we call suffering is suffering of the mind. It is afflictive emotion—anger, fear, regret, greed, violence, and so on. When we exercise these emotions, no matter how justified they may feel, we cause suffering in ourselves, and that suffering has a way of spreading out all around us. But what’s the root of these afflictive emotions? How do they arise in the first place? They arise out of clinging—clinging to the self and to our opinions and to all that is external to us that we identify with. We take all of this as intrinsically existing, and so are naturally—spontaneously and convincingly—upset when any of it is threatened. But the truth is that nothing can be threat- ened, because it doesn’t exist in the way we think it does. Free of intrinsic existence, everything is free of all threat. When we really know this, through and through, down to the bottom of our souls, then the afflictive emotions don’t arise. Instead there is peace and there is affection, even in tough situ- ations. There is no sense of fearing or hating or desiring what is intrinsically nonexistent, empty. Someday you may or may not have a powerful experience of seeing directly, immediately, and powerfully that indeed things are empty, that they are like smoke or mist, like space, like the blue sky, like the movie, the dream: free and non-different from yourself. This would be lovely and it is certainly possible. But even if you don’t have an experience like that, you continue to study and learn and experience; you apply the teachings of emptiness, of selflessness, of love and compassion, to your daily experience and to your relationships; and you see the results of LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2018 68