Tibet House New Delhi Nalanda Certificate Course NCC1
6th Session Notes /22/06/2022) Wed
Composite phenomena, compounded phenomena, and impermanent are synonymous. Non-composite phenomena, uncompounded, and permanent are same.
I have a book in my hand, a book is there. If it is removed, we may say nothing is there. But we may say absence of book is there. Absence of a book has no substance. Whereas as a presence of book has substance. This is how our conventional looks at the things.
What does not have substance there is nothing to undergo change. So it is not changing. If it is not changing, then it is permanent. A phenomena which is absence of change is a permanent phenomena.
Absence of book does not have substance, it exist from conceptual mind. Book is object and mind is subject. Compounded phenomena are those which have substance. Uncompounded phenomena are those which do not have substance. This is what is meant by composite and non-composite phenomena.
All composite substance changes, a diamond, which is very solid is made of many atom. Inside it keeps on changing. It does not remain same and permanent. Heat is there, so movement is there.
Composite - substance - momentary changes - impermanent
Uncompounded phenomena, an absence of book does exist, but is does not exist substantially. It is not compounded, there is no change. What does not change is not impermanent, it is permanent.
Suatantrika Madhyamika discusses substantial existence and conceptual existence.
The first two seals are done with this. Contaminated composite phenomena, contamination refers to affliction and self grasping ignorance.
The root cause of our suffering is self grasping ignorance, which has to be removed. Arya Nagarjuna has rightly said in Mulamadhyamikakarika:
Through ceasing of karma and affliction, Nirvana is achieved
Karma and affliction arise from (distorted) conceptual thought
These arise from elaboration (of self grasping at true existence)
Elaborations cease by (or into) through emptiness
Ceasing of karma and affliction is Nirvana. Karma and affliction arise from conceptualized inattentive attention, which in turn arises from elaboration of the self grasping ignorance. This ignorance cease through realization of the wisdom of emptiness.
So the root cause of our suffering is self grasping ignorance. We need to address this. For this darkness of ignorance, a light of wisdom has to be introduced. Wisdom is a discerning mind whose apprehension of the object tallies with reality. What is reality? Reality is what Buddha indicated in the 3rd seal, everything is in the nature of emptiness and suffering.
A dream of going to picnic and enjoying, later a typhoon comes and you suffer, and later you wake up and relieved, happiness, suffering, and enlightenment. The first is suffering of change, second is suffering of suffering, and third when you wake up the fear is gone, its enlightenment.
Common thing is the first two is you have no control, lack of control, lack of freedom. This is misery. Therefore, even a pleasant dream has an element of misery. When you wake up, you have control; this is freedom from the contents of the dream, total fearlessness. The moment you wake up, fear is gone. This is transcending sorrow, Nirvana, the fourth seal.
Involuntary push and pull is sorrow, to stop this push and pull, you need to wake up, so that you are beyond sorrow. Transcending sorrow is absolute peace of mind, not affected by the contents of the dream.
Everything comes from subject; it's not from the object. Everything coming from the object is empty nature. The third seal, all phenomena are empty of self, has to be understood from the Pransangika school's concept.
Let us put the Four Noble Truths and Four Seals, in the context of Dependent origination mantra, Om he ye dharma (Tib: rten 'brel snying po):
ཆོས་རྣམས་ཐམས་ཅད་རྒྱུ་ལས་བྱུང་། All phenomena arises from causes
དེ་རྒྱུ་དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པས་གསུངས། The causes are taught by the Tathagathas
རྒྱུ་ལ་འགོག་པ་གང་ཡིན་པ། Cessation of the cause as well
དྲང་སྲོང་ཆེན་པོས་འདི་སྐད་གསུངས། Is taught by the great seers
Om, meaning the dirty body, dirty speech, and dirty mind be transformed to Buddha's body, speech, and mind, i.e. Buddha body free of disease, Buddha's divine speech, and Buddha's mind of perfect knowledge, perfect power, and perfect love.
The Four Noble Truths, the Four Seals, and Dependent origination mantra are linked.
According to the Sautantrika school's understanding of objectivity and subjectivity, they talk about substantiality as opposed to conceptuality imputation. Substantial existence v/s existence by conceptual imputation, substantial existence is objectively and conceptual existence is subjectively. They existed by the imputation of conceptual mind, not in mind.
Through our practice it would be good to have a glimpse of emptiness and Bodhicitta. The practice of Bodhicitta through 2 methods of equalization and exchanging self for others and 7 fold cause and effect method. We need to study and gather wisdom. It's like gathering ingredients and cooking. If you don't cook, you have nothing to eat. If your ingredients are not good, food will not be good. So it is important that your knowledge and understanding of Dharma should be good. When you are hungry and when there is nobody to cook for you, then you have to cook. Here you need good ingredients, like wise in your difficult time Dharma knowledge will definitely come useful.
Note: This is a student's note. Error and omissions are bound to be there. A serious student should study the actual teachings of the teacher, Geshe Dorjee Damdul la, from www.tibethouse.in website. I write these notes to help my understanding and recollections. (Tib:Rang gi yid la nges phyir ngas dhi brtsams).