On this episode of Awakening Now, Lama Surya Das discusses the tenants of emptiness and detachment in the Buddhist tradition.
Dzogchen (Opening) – Surya Das talks about the meaning of the Dzogchen tradition. He discusses the role of mindfulness practice in Dzogchen.
Śūnyatā (12:00) – One of the essential tenants of Buddhist practice is Śūnyatā, emptiness. Surya Das explores questions of identity, awareness and what emptiness means in Buddhist practice.
“Emptiness of self, it doesn’t mean there is no self in the relative sense. In the bigger sense there is no separate anything really. It is very difficult to find anything separate. How could we observe it if it is so separate? Thus there is the notion of interconnectedness, of being interwoven, of cause and effect.”
To further explore emptiness, check out this episode of the Heart Wisdom podcast.
Breaking Attachments (23:25) – Surya Das answers questions from his live audience. He discusses perspective and addresses the concepts of absolutism and relativism in Buddhist practice.
“It is very real whether you kiss or kick your child on the way out the door to school. We can all understand that there is a real difference there. But, what we are talking about here is breaking our attachments to our opinions and judgments.”
Joseph Goldstein explores ways in which we can work with awareness without identifying with it on this episode of Insight Hour.
Everything Matters (32:35) – When we talk about no-self and breaking attachments It can be easy to fall into a nihilistic perspective as if nothing matters. Surya Das reminds us that the opposite is true, and explores the proper way to look at detachment.
“There is the thinking that materialism is everything and then there is nihilism, nothing matters, that’s the opposite ditch. The middle way has a lot of lanes, but there are these ditches of materialism and nihilism on either side to be avoided. It is not that you don’t matter, everyone matters equally.”
Awareness and Concentration (45:00) – If concentration is not an element of Dzogchen practice, then how do we increase awareness?
“Remember that this is more like a natural meditation, undoing the habit of overdoing. So instead of first trying to develop concentration and then jumping into a more insightful quality of awareness, we are just starting right from the beginning with the innate awakefulness that is present.”