“These are the difficult practices of mindfulness, of expulsion and of ‘interrupting the flow.’
As for the first of these, the difficult practice of mindfulness, it is necessary to recognize afflictive emotions as soon as they arise and it is hard, at first, to remain sufficiently aware to be able to do this. However, when negative emotions arise, we should identify them as anger, desire or stupidity. Even when emotions have been recognized, it is not easy to drive them out with the antidote. If, for instance, an uncontrollably strong emotion comes over us, so that we feel helplessly in its power, we should nevertheless confront it and question it. Where are its weapons? Where are its muscles? Where is its great army and its political strength? We will see that emotions are just insubstantial thoughts, by nature empty: they come from nowhere, they go nowhere, they remain nowhere. When we are able to repel our defiled emotions, there comes the difficult practice of ‘interrupting the flow.’ This means that, on the basis of the antidote described, defiled emotions are eliminated just like a bird flying through the air: no trace is left behind. These are practices in which we should really strive.”—Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
“The Buddha said that we should completely subdue our minds. Whatever we do, for good or ill, it is our mind that is the true agent. In the very depths of our being, we all desire one thing: we want to be happy. We don’t want to suffer. But because of this - this wanting - the three defilements of craving, aversion, and ignorance arise, and suffering is what we get. It is because of these defilements that we accumulate actions that prevent us from escaping from Samsara. So it is important right from the start to see the difference between a good motivation and an evil one. Our own mindfulness should be our teacher. We must examine what is positive and what is negative with mindfulness. If positive thoughts arise, we should go along with them. If nonvirtuous thoughts arise, we should put a stop to them. A virtuous mind is the source of happiness. An unvirtuous mind is the source of pain.”—Dudjom Rinpoche
“A person who is liberated, who has freed his or her mind of all mental afflictions, still experiences physical suffering. The difference between us and an arhat, a person who has freed the mind from mental affliction, is that an arhat doesn’t identify with pain. Arhats experience physical pain vividly but don’t grasp onto it; they can take action to avoid or alleviate pain, but whether they do so or not, the physical pain doesn’t come inside. What an arhat does not experience is mental suffering. A buddha, one who is perfectly spiritually awakened, has gone a further step. A buddha has no mental suffering of his or her own, but is vividly and non-dually aware of the suffering of others.
Superficially, the arhat who is free from mental suffering can seem to us who lack this realization as numb and detached, in a state of existential anesthesia. A buddha, one who is fully awakened, presents the paradox of being free from suffering and also non-dually present with other people’s joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. A buddha taps into immutable bliss, the ultimate ground state of awareness beyond the dichotomy of stimulus-driven pain and pleasure. The mind of a buddha has been purified of all obscuration and from its own nature there naturally arises immutable bliss, like a spring welling up from the earth. With the unveiling of the buddha-nature of unconditioned bliss, there is also a complete erosion of an absolute demarcation between self and other. The barrier is gone. This is why buddhas are vividly and non-dually aware of the suffering of others, their hopes and fears, the whole situation, and at the same time are not disengaged from the purity and bliss of their own awareness. The mind of a buddha doesn’t block out anything and nothing is inhibited, and this is why the awareness of an awakened being is frequently described as “unimaginable.”—B. Alan Wallace
“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”—Hermann Hesse
We cannot get rid of suffering by saying, “I will not suffer.” We cannot eliminate attachment by saying, “I will not be attached to anything,” nor eliminate aggression by saying, “I will never become angry.” Yet, we do want to get rid of suffering and the disturbing emotions that are the immediate cause of suffering.
The Buddha taught that to eliminate these states, which are really the results of the primary confusion of our belief in a personal self, we must get rid of the fundamental cause.
But we cannot simply say, “I will not believe in the personal self.” The only way to eliminate suffering is to actually recognize the experience of a self as a misconception, which we do by proving directly to ourselves that there is no such personal self. We must actually realise this. Once we do, then automatically the misconception of a self and our fixation on that “self” will disappear.
Only by directly experiencing selflessness can we end the process of confused projection. This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or egolessness (emptiness).
However, to meditate on egolessness, we must undertake a process that begins with a conceptual understanding of egolessness; then, based on that understanding, there can be meditation, and finally realization.
“You can think of the nature of mind like a mirror, with five different powers or “wisdoms.” Its openness and vastness is the “wisdom of all-encompassing space,” the womb of compassion. Its capacity to reflect in precise detail whatever comes before it is the “mirrorlike wisdom.” Its fundamental lack of any bias toward any impression is the “equalizing wisdom.” Its ability to distinguish clearly, without confusing in any way the various different phenomena that arise, is the “wisdom of discernment.” And its potential of having everything already accomplished, perfected, and spontaneously present is the “all-accomplishing wisdom.”—Sogyal Rinpoche