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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 22 The seventh consciousness is known as the afflicted consciousness, and its afflic- tion is pride. The Tibetan word for pride means “I am glorious.” This consciousness sits there all day long, saying, “This is ‘me’ and I am real,” imposing that concept on everything that happens. The eighth consciousness is called alaya, “the ground basis of all.” As we experience physical forms, feelings, and perceptions, as we formulate opinions and act on them, we tend to think that our words and actions simply vanish into space. However, all that karma is actually being stored in the eighth consciousness, where it is planted as latent seeds that will ripen moment by moment as causes and conditions allow. If you say some- thing negative about somebody, it doesn’t just vanish into thin air. It is planted in the storehouse of the eighth consciousness. Contemplating the skandhas one by one deepens our understanding of how we fab- ricate a conceptual projection that keeps us trapped in samsara. Through dissecting our habitual assumptions we discover that whatever we see is conditioned by interde- pendence. We think that “me” is made of a body and a mind, but when we look at ourselves more closely, things aren’t exactly what we thought. That moment is the dis- covery of emptiness. What is emptiness empty of? It is empty of our concept. That discovery is the beginning of wisdom and joy because it leads to nonattachment. Contemplation is accurate thinking— thinking that takes us to the right result. When we hear the truth and contemplate what we’ve heard, at some point its mean- ing will penetrate us. In this way, each truth becomes experiential and we can deepen our practice stage by stage. Bring- ing the truth into our experience takes time because it’s not just information, like something we read in the newspaper. Dharma penetrates slowly, but if we are willing to stay with it, it will change us from the inside out. ♦ SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE is the spiritual leader of Shambhala, an international network of Buddhist meditation and retreat cen- ters. He is the author of Turning the Mind into an Ally and Ruling Your World. MAY 18-41.indd 22 MAY 18-41.indd 22 3/6/08 11:17:06 AM 3/6/08 11:17:06 AM