This meditation takes us through six different wrong views of the world around us and, one by one, establishes that these views cannot be true; that what these views profess is, in fact, impossible. By this we arrive at the six flavors of emptiness. However, according to the highest school of Buddhism, only the last one is really emptiness. Each of these wrong views is a view we hold constantly in our daily lives, and each step of eliminating them gets us closer to a pure understanding of emptiness itself.
Six Wrong Views and Their Antidotes
1. Wrong view: Things stay the same for a while.
Antidote: Things are constantly changing every second.
2. Wrong view: I own this; I control its fate.
Antidote: Absolutely nothing in the present moment is in my control.
3. Wrong view: I am at the mercy of things randomly happening to me.
Antidote: One past deed caused both the object, and myself who perceives it at that moment.
4. Wrong view: Things are exactly how I see them, and no other way.
Antidote: I am imposing judgments on things; they could be different.
5. Wrong view: Things are coming from their own side completely.
Antidote: Things come half from their own side, and half from my
6. Wrong view: There is some part of the object that comes from its own side.
Antidote: It is all only my projection.
Mahamudra: Applying the Six Flavors of Emptiness to Your Own Mind
This meditation takes these same previous six wrong views and their
antidotes and applies them to a new object: one’s own mind. There are many
different features of the mind – discrimination, raw awareness, etc. – but it is advised for this meditation to focus on the mental function of feeling.
Feelings are easy to access, and they also tend to cause us a lot of trouble when we see them as self-existent, leading us to do bad things in order to avoid what we dislike and attain what we like.
Six Wrong Views and Their Antidotes, Applied to Mental Feelings
1. Wrong view: I will feel this same way for a while.
Antidote: My feelings are constantly shifting, moment to moment.
2. Wrong view: I control how I feel.
Antidote: I have no control of my feelings in the present moment.
3. Wrong view: I am at the mercy of my random feelings.
Antidote: One of my past actions caused both this feeling, and myself perceiving it.
4. Wrong view: This feeling is definitely good or bad.
Antidote: I am imposing a judgment on the feeling that is not inherently part of that feeling, and could be different.
5. Wrong view: Outside forces are completely responsible for how I feel.
Antidote: Outside forces, combined with my perceptions, compose how I feel.
6. Wrong view: There is some outside factor affecting how I feel.
Antidote: How I feel is entirely a projection.
Example of a Mahamudra Meditation
1. I think this feeling of unhappiness will last for a while. But really, the rise and fall of a moment of emotion is just like the rising and fading sounds of a plane passing overhead – it comes and goes quickly, and even in the space of its short existence it is constantly changing by degrees, from softer to louder to softer, etc.
2. I think I can control my feelings. Actually the thoughts and feelings come into my mind completely unbidden – I never invited this unhappiness to come and disturb my mind.
3. I feel like I’m being bombarded by this random feeling of unhappiness. But to be sure, nothing is random. I have been brought to this moment, and the feeling of unhappiness has been brought to this moment, by the same karma—the fact that in the past I caused someone else to be unhappy. I am fully responsible.4. I think this feeling of unhappiness is really lousy! But does it really have an inherent badness about it? I could look at this feeling of unhappiness as a great motivation for me to practice even harder, so I can get out of this stupid cycle of pain and then bring others out of it. Then I’d have to say that the unhappiness is a good thing.
5. I am sure my feeling of unhappiness relies entirely on things outside of me: the bad weather, lack of sleep, the start of a cold. I think if those things were different, I’d be happy. But really, come on, then we could all just work on manipulating our outside situations so we’d always be perfectly happy. We could all move to Florida or something. That doesn’t work. Even if everything outside goes perfectly, there are still unhappy feelings left. That part must be coming from inside of me. So outside circumstances can only play a part in how I feel, and my own mind provides the rest.
6. These outside circumstances must play some part in how I am feeling, right? It really seems like when I get a nice surprise gift from someone, I feel happier than if the gift never came. But there are times when I’m so sad nothing can make me feel better. And times when I’m so happy nothing can faze me. These feelings actually have nothing to do with any outside circumstances that I thought were affecting them. It is all a projection forced on me by my past actions. And that means that if I plant the right seeds now, I can create a future of total joy every moment of the day.