Afflictive views

22 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.

  • Absolutist view and nihilistic view
  • Eternal self or no continuum
  • Middle way free from two extremes
  • How the view holding wrong views as supreme affects our mind
  • Four distorted conceptions and first three afflictive views
  • View holding bad rules and practices as supreme
  • Engaging in actions not leading to spiritual progress
  • Wrong views denying the existence of something that exists
  • Cause and effect, liberation or awakening, three jewels
  • Three types of nihilistic views to avoid

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 22: Afflictive Views (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Where do you see the afflictive view of extremes taught in the world today?
  2. Why is the nihilistic view the worst of the two extremes?
  3. Did you experience periods in your life where you tended more towards nihilistic views and other times towards absolutist views? How did that affect your life: your thoughts, choices, and interactions with others?
  4. What are some examples of views of rules and practices that you see in the world today? Have you held any of these?
  5. Wrong views can lead us to negate the Three Jewels, karma and so forth. How have you seen this in your own life and in the world? How do these views diminish our intelligence?
  6. How do wrong views cut the root of virtue? What is an example from your own experience?
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.