The purpose of this meditation is to recognise that all form lacks inherent existence because form is a dependent related phenomena dependent upon causes, and then to see what this means in the light of our refuge practice.
I began the meditation by reminding myself of the way in which I unthinkingly relate to phenomena such as form. I naturally view all objects as being single entities, separate from everything else and existing independently from them. This view says that form such as cars, houses and people all exist independently from all other phenomena. I spent a while trying to get a picture of how I normally see objects – as single things existing independently from everything around them. With this view I can sort of ‘latch onto’ them and start to become attached or angry with them.
The antithesis of this view is the view that all forms depend completely on their causes.
I thought about how we can become very attached to, say, a park. We can wander in its woods, gaze at its flowers and even paddle in its ponds. We can find ourselves saying things like ‘I love this park’ and ‘I want to stay here forever’. We treat the park as a single object and develop attachment to it. But how does the park really exist?
The Park is not a single entity at all, but a collection of many separate objects such as ponds, benches and plants. Each plant in the park is constantly changing. Each tree is in a constant state of change whereby the tree of yesterday plus the sun, moisture and soil have all combined to create the tree of today. Every single plant is constantly changing. Instead of being a single, unchanging entity, the park is really a boiling maelstrom of change – but it doesn’t appear so – it appears solid and unchanging when we look at it – how strange!
I thought about how the park changes, and despite appearances there is nothing to really ‘latch onto’ because the thing we try to grasp is gone in an instant, to be replaced by something else – at the same time very similar and also completely different. It makes no sense to become attached to ‘The Park’, but we can still appreciate the park of the moment. We can still live in the moment and experience delight at its appearance while recognising that the appearance is really just for the moment. It seemed a much purer way of enjoying the park.
With the recognition that all form depends on its causes and is changing moment by moment, it becomes impossible to be attached to form, because it does not endure. To become attached to form means to become attached to a memory of a transitory appearance, and no wise person would allow themselves to become angry or attached to such a thing.
I rolled these thoughts around in my mind and felt a very clear and pure feeling of freedom – able to view all form as mere transitory appearances with no real solidity to them. I stayed with this feeling for a while.
I then thought about what this feeling means in the light of my refuge practice. To go for refuge to the Three Jewels means to turn to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for protection from the sufferings of samsara. The correct view of emptiness is Buddha’s most profound Dharma – emptiness is a sacred object truth. By turning to the Three Jewels I will be able to understand this sacred object truth and free myself of all delusions – how wonderful. I stayed with this feeling of joy and emptiness for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings understand the significance of dependent related form, and thereby attain the path of no more learning for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to look at form and see its causes, and recognise that all form is depended related with its causes, and empty of inherent existence.