In Buddhism, the Mahayana path is undertaken in stages: first, renunciation of the worldly pleasures and experiences that ultimately lead to suffering; second, cultivation of compassion and bodhicitta, the aspiration to awaken all sentient beings; third, knowledge, experience and realization of emptiness. Emptiness is the essence of Buddhist doctrine – the definitive teaching of the Buddha that completes the path to liberation.
The concept of emptiness can be difficult to comprehend because it negates the inherent existence of a self in person and in phenomena. Ordinary people have since beginningless time believed that the self exists, moreover, that all sentient beings, the world outside, etc. exist. This strong sense of self is firmly entrenched in us and hard to change. The key to fully apprehending and realizing emptiness is repetitive hearing, contemplation and practice. In the two major schools of Buddhism, Madhyamaka (Middle Way) and Yogacara (Mind Only), the basis for establishing the view of emptiness is logic; there are many methods of reasoning that help us uncover the true nature of reality. When we transform our way of thinking, we begin to sever not only our attachment to self but also afflictive hindrances like desire, anger and all cognitive hindrances which have bound us to the cycle of life and death in samsara.
The Logic of Emptiness is a compilation of many lectures given by Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro Rinpoche. The principal methods of reasoning that underlie emptiness are examined; the actual practice of emptiness is then explained. Included in the text are also Mipham Rinpoche’s advice to beginners and his pith instructions on observing the mind. People who are familiar with Khenrinpoche’s style will recognize the same sense of urgency and purpose in his teachings. As always, he brings great clarity to a difficult topic and explains the profound in simple terms so that it is readily understood.
We are most grateful to Rinpoche for making this book possible and for his guidance during the course of the translation. A special thanks also to Thinley Chodron for her very helpful suggestions in bringing the book to publication.
It is our sincere hope that all who read this English edition gain insight into the true nature of reality and, with this understanding, find genuine happiness and peace of mind.
Lorraine Wu Chen