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Chapter 2: Summary and discussion

Chapter 2: Summary and discussion

Part of a series of teachings on Aryadeva’s 400 Stanzas on the Middle Way given on an annual basis by Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe from 2013-2017.

Motivation from Lama Tsongkhapa’s Concise Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment on taking the essence of our precious human life

This life of leisure is even more precious than a wish-granting jewel;
That I have found such an existence is only this once;
So hard to find yet like a flash of lightning it is easy to vanish;
Contemplating this situation it’s vital to realize that all mundane pursuits
Are like the empty grain husks floating in the winds
And that we must extract the essence of human existence.
I, a yogi, have practiced in this manner;
You, who aspire for liberation, too should do likewise.

Summarizing the purpose of Chapter 2

  • Five aggregates are considered suffering and cyclic existence
  • How reflecting on the faults of cyclic existence helps generate bodhicitta
  • Showing that real pleasure does not exist
  • Conceptions of permanence, cleanness, pleasure etc. are erroneous because all things that arise dependently on causes and conditions are empty of inherent existence

Questions and answers

  • If we meditate deeply on the foulness of the body, how do we avoid being reborn as a form-realm deity?
  • How to cultivate the view of our body as impure while still seeing it as the basis for full awakening?

Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe

Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe was born in 1930 in Lhokha, Central Tibet and became a monk at the age of 13. After completing his studies at Drepung Loseling Monastery in 1969, he was awarded Geshe Lharampa, the highest degree in the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism. He is an emeritus professor at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and an eminent scholar of both Madhyamaka and Indian Buddhist studies. His works include Hindi translations of The Essence of Good Explanation of Definitive and Interpretable Meanings by Lama Tsongkhapa and Kamalasila's commentary on the Rice Seedling Sutra. His own commentary, The Rice Seedling Sutra: Buddha’s Teachings on Dependent Arising, was translated into English by Joshua and Diana Cutler and published by Wisdom Publications. Geshela has facilitated many research works, such as a complete translation of Tsongkhapa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, a major project undertaken by the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in New Jersey where he teaches regularly.