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Overcoming the four distorted conceptions

09 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, the third volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Second attribute: The aggregates are unsatisfactory by nature
  • Third attribute: The aggregates are empty
  • How the aggregates being empty counters the distortion of the body being attractive
  • Fourth attribute: The aggregates are selfless
  • Two ways to look at the fourth distorted conception
  • One nature versus different natures

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 09: Overcoming the four distorted conceptions (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Consider things that you think bring you “happiness.” The Buddha says these things are in the nature of dukkha. Examine this.
  2. How might letting go of your attachment to these things, releasing unrealistic expectations and distancing yourself from the useless pursuit of samsaric pleasure, allow you to direct your energy toward what brings real and lasting happiness?
  3. What is the appropriate conclusion after meditating on impermanence? What is the Buddha trying to steer our mind towards?
  4. Seeing the body as foul can be difficult for us. What buttons does this push for you? How is this a necessary step in spiritual practice? What are we trying to overcome?
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.