The purpose of this meditation is to realise the lack of inherent existence of the things that normally appear to us, and then to meditate on this emptiness in light of the kindness of others.

I began with breathing meditation, calm my body and mind by watching my breath and counting my in and out breaths until I got to 18, then starting again. After a while I attained a very light and tranquil feeling.

I then began the main meditation, and some words came back to me from the contemplation given by Geshe Kelsang in The New Meditation Handbook (see the left sidebar). He says that when we dream of an elephant, we can see it, touch it, smell it – experience it. But when we wake we realise that the elephant was in our dream. We don’t look to see if we can find the elephant in our room because we understand that it was merely an appearance to our mind and has no existence separate from our mind. The elephant was a projection of our dreaming mind.

I thought about this and how, despite appearances, the things I see in my dreams are almost completely insubstantial, being an appearance and nothing more. Although they are actually mere projections, when I am dreaming I do not understand this, and in my dream I react to them as if they were real.

I then thought about my waking world. Although the things I normally see seem to be very substantial too, through the force of pure unflinching logic I can see that they lack this substance they appear to possess. They appear to have ‘body’ and their own existence separate from my mind.In fact, the things I normally see are wafer thin – mere projections of my waking mind. They have no separate true existence.

I thought deeply on this point, and it seemed to me in meditation that the object I normally see (and also my feeling and bodily sensations) reduced to mere two dimensional images projected onto diaphanous silky sheets wafting in emptiness. I tried to relate to them in this appearance, and I felt a great peace and tranquillity arise. I perceive objects, but I do not see them as inherently existent. I see them as mere appearances completely lacking inherent existence.

I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then wondered what this means in light of the kindness of others.

This way of thinking and understanding the nature of reality is something that I could never have come up with on my own. In my pre-dharma days did ponder about ‘what makes a chair a chair’ and so on, but I never had the intellectual toolkit necessary to begin to understand the nature of reality. I only have my current limited understanding through the great kindness of others: the gurus who have whispered this lineage down the centuries, and the kindness of my own teacher who is telling me these instructions and trying hard to create the conditions where I can understand them. This made me understand how fortunate I am and how kind others are, and I incorporated this into my view of the things I normally see. I felt the dame peace and tranquillity as before, but mixed with appreciation for the kindness of others who have let me experience this feeling. I remained with this for the rest of the meditation.


May all living beings see the wafer-thin nature of reality, and through this understanding cut the root of all their delusions, quickly becoming enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain my view that all the things I normally see are wafer thin projections from my mind. If they seem unpleasant, it is because my mind is impure. In this way I will maintain a pure view of all phenomena.

Meditation 9/20