Dalai Lama Quote from Snow Lion Publications

Snow Lion Publications

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

One day, when a very learned scholar or geshe and I were discussing the fact that the self is an elusive phenomenon, that it is unfindable in either body or mind, he remarked: ‘If the self did not exist at all, in a sense that would make things very simple. There would be no experience of suffering and pain, because there would be no subject to undergo such experiences. However, that is not the case. Regardless of whether we can actually find it or not, there is an individual being who undergoes the experience of pain and pleasure, who is the subject of experiences, who perceives things and so on. Based on our own experience we do know that there is something–whatever we may call it–that makes it possible for us to undergo these experiences. We have something called discernment or the ability to perceive things.’

In fact, when we examine the experience of suffering, although some sufferings are at the sensory or bodily level, such as physical pain, even the very experience of pain is intimately connected with consciousness or mind and therefore is part of our mental world. This is what distinguishes sentient beings from other biological organisms, such as plants, trees and so on. Sentient beings have a subjective dimension, which we may choose to call experience, consciousness or the mental world.

….One thing we can understand, both through scientific analysis and also from our own personal experience or perception, is that whatever experiences we have now are consequences of preceding conditions. Nothing comes into being without a cause. Just as everything in the material world must have a cause or condition that gives rise to it, so must all experiences in the mental world also have causes and conditions.(p.74)

–from Lighting the Way by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

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