The Purpose of Madhyamaka
Svatantrika and Prasangika Madhyamaka both use similar reasonings to bring about the realization of emptiness. In particular, the five great reasonings of Madhyamaka usher forth the realization of the true nature. Emptiness is our meditation. But it is not as if we are trying to make something up or cover up reality with something extra. The true nature of reality is emptiness, and it is this natural state we are connecting with through our meditation. Actually, reconnecting with the true nature is known as “meditation.” Meditation is nothing more than simply relaxing and abiding in the nature as it is, without swinging between extreme views.
The roots of this extremism are grasping and clinging, the true hindrances to our realization of emptiness. So the great Madhyamaka masters used the five great reasonings to break down our grasping tendencies and usher us into the absolute nature of emptiness. Grasping and clinging are obstacles to our realization of the true nature because they do not accord with the way things are, with the natural state. They are hindrances because they take us away from the nature. The five Madhyamaka reasonings will smash down and remove our grasping and conceptual fabrications, illuminating the true nature of both subject and object. In his famous “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life,” Shantideva said, “I do not refute what you see, hear, or think. I refute grasping, which is the cause of suffering.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Opening the Wisdom Door of the Madhyamaka School (pgs 119-120)
Photo of Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche at Padma Samye Ling in 2008.
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