47 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.

  • Applying twelve links to our own life
  • Response to question about virtue and nonvirtue
  • Reflection for formative action
  • Causal consciousness, carries polluted karmic seed for a rebirth
  • What carries karmic seeds according to different tenet systems
  • Meditative equipoise on emptiness and seeds of polluted karma
  • Foundation or storehouse consciousness
  • Mere I and mental consciousness
  • Resultant consciousness, first moment of next life

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 47: Consciuosness (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Review the types of formative actions from the previous week’s teaching, explaining them in your own words. Trace the process of their arising from ignorance to the action and make examples from your life. As you go through the day, be aware that your actions that are complete with all four branches are creating causes for your future lives. How does this awareness change how you think and what you do?
  2. What kind of consciousness is the third link of dependent arising referring to? Is that consciousness positive, negative, or neutral and why?
  3. When addressing what carries karma from one life to the next, how does the assertion of a mere “I” by the Prasangika school differ from the other Buddhist schools?
  4. What carries karmic seeds? Explain it in your own words.
  5. Why does contemplating the first two links increase our renunciation of saṃsāra and motivate us to live ethically?
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.