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Chapter 2: Verses 36-38

Chapter 2: Verses 36-38

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

If we do not strive in contemplating the defects of the truth of suffering,
The genuine aspiration for liberation does not arise in us;
If we do not contemplate the causal process of the origin of suffering,
We will fail to understand how to cut the root of cyclic existence.

So it’s vital to seek true renunciation of disenchantment with existence
And to recognize which factors chain us in the cycle of existence.
I, a yogi, have practiced in this manner;
You, who aspire for liberation, too should do likewise.

Refuting the existence of real pleasure

  • Reasons why seeing a little increase in pleasure does not prove that real pleasure exist
  • There are causes producing real suffering, but there are none producing real pleasure

Questions and answers

  • How both pleasure and suffering depend on causes and conditions
  • How the label “painful” is relative and depends on our mental attitude
  • How we can use the pain to let go of attachment rather than having the pain distract us from practice
  • Difference between selflessness and emptiness of persons and phenomena

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.