The Philosophy of Buddhism

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche said that the philosophy of Buddhism is distinguished by four characteristics.  Even if you do not consider yourself a Buddhist you might benefit from contemplating these tenets.  Rinpoche calls them the “the four Seals of Dharma.”  First, all things are impermanent.  Everything is in a state of constant change.  You are most familiar with the aging of your body and the changing of the weather but constant change is a property of spacetime.  There is a theory that spacetime is constructed out of causality.  Whether you see this as good or bad depends upon your perspective but fighting against it, as many do, simply creates needless suffering.  Second, all duality is painful.  Duality is the way you normally perceive reality.  You (the subject) believe you are experiencing something (the object) and do so creating expectations and fears.  You see yourself as separate from what you are experiencing and this always leads to pain.  Even the pleasure you are experiencing at the moment will be the source of your pain at a latter time.  Everything you create is achieved in the face of uncertainty with hope and overcoming fear.  Third, everything is emptiness.  The way things appear is not how they actually are.  Everything is an illusion like a hologram.  This principle gives you the proper understanding for how to relate to the world.  You are deceived if you believe the projections of your mind are real.  Even your mind is not real.  You are awareness which does not change but witnesses the mind-body as it changes.  Fourth, nirvana is beyond extremes.  This means it is beyond our thoughts of good and bad or human conceptualization.  Nirvana can be achieved by removing all obstacles or barriers as you become aware of them.  You must release resistance, control and attachment to your experiences.  Rinpoche, a master of Tibetan Buddhism, said that anyone who practices these concepts is a Buddhist even if he or she doesn’t know it.


Life Coach – Dr. Dean R. McCormick