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Dependent arising

Dependent arising

The text turns to training the mind on the stages of the path of advanced level practitioners. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • Prayer to Kwan Yin in remembrance of the victims of the Siberian mall fire
  • Explanation of the reasoning of dependent arising
  • What emptiness is dependent on
  • Understanding nirvana in relationship to cause and effect
  • The fear comes directly before an inferential realization of emptiness

130 Gomchen Lamrim: Dependent Arising (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Consider the point that the designated object and the basis of designation are not the same. Identify an object in your environment, then identify its basis of designation. Spend some time with this exercise both on and off the cushion.
  2. Similarly, think about what your body is, what your mind is. What is the basis of designation for you? What is the body and mind composed of? What is it exactly that makes those things you? Really spend some time looking at how the basis of designation (your body and mind) is not the same as the designated object (you).
  3. Why can’t permanent phenomena like space, nirvana, and emptiness exist inherently? Spend some time going through a variety of implications if they did exist independent from everything else. Upon what are each of these (space, nirvana, and emptiness) dependent?
  4. What is the difference in the terms “come into being” and “produced” in the context of this teaching? How it is that true cessations “come into being,” but are not produced?
  5. What are the three types of cause and effect? To which type of phenomena (permanent or impermanent) do they apply and why?
  6. Venerable Chodron said that a correct understanding of emptiness and a complete one are not the same thing. Why is it that the analysis of emptiness doesn’t give us the complete realization? What part does dependent arising play in the complete realization of emptiness?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.