Studies
in Buddhadharma


"Your position is that, when one perceives
Emptiness as the fact of relativity,
Emptiness of relativity does not preclude
The viability of activity.
Whereas when one perceives the opposite,
Action is impossible in emptiness,
Emptiness is lost during activity ;
One falls into anxiety's abyss."
Tsongkhapa : The Short Essence of True Eloquence.


The spirit of Mañjuśri, the Buddha of Transcendent Wisdom, urges us to relinquish all extreme conceptualizations, embrace the love of wisdom and the method of compassion of the Middle Way. Wisdom-mind is founded on an appreciation of the vast & profound potential of the mind, i.e. our innate capacity to know everything we need to know, i.e. become "perfectly enlightened" ("sambuddha"), transcendently realized ("tathâgata") and "omniscient" ("sarvajña"). But such Buddhahood, awakening, is not an acquisition, there is no motivation involved. No boundaries, measurements, fabrications or planning are at hand. Only when the impossibility of grasping at a subsisting, essential self has been thoroughly realized, can this station of no-station unintentionally & spontaneously arise. Nondual awakening is the formal opposite of ignorance ("avidyâ"), a mind spell-bound or hypnotized by "mâya" (derived from "matr-", "to measure, build, form, lay out or plan", found in words as meter, matrix, material & matter).

A Buddha is of no rank.

Personal liberation ("mokśa") and awakening ("bodhi") call for a fundamental change of mind ("metanoia"), a radical restructuring of our cognitive, affective & actional faculties, a profound transformation of heart, or, as the Lankâvatâra Sûtra wants it : "turning about in the deepest seat of consciousness". In its core, the Buddhadharma affirms the innate, given potential of enlightenment, awakening or "bodhi-mind" to be the ultimate truth. Thus studying, reflecting & meditating on absolute truth by way of personal experience, individual reason & conventional authority, the Buddhadharma may be called a philosophy. But presenting these teachings to actually save us from ignorance, also betrays a religious, emancipatoric intent. Therapeutic, these teachings develop rational, conceptual strategies to justify the itinerary or path-structure of an individual's spiritual process of awakening. Their method is science, but their aim is the nondual mode of cognition. A philosophy with salvic intent ! In Western philosophy, this streak is rather exceptional. We know Pythagoras & Plotinus were able to animate schools, attract followers and initiate a tradition.

The Buddhayâna, the path of the Buddhadharma, is not a religion per se. Can it be called "atheist" if it accepts the world of the gods, as well as the existence of the Supreme Being or God of the monotheisms ? The Buddha's wisdom is nontheist. It does not solicit the gods, nor the Supreme Being. Because it intends to uncover the ultimate nature of phenomena, and identify the sensate & mental phenomena experienced & designated by our cognitive faculty, it may be called a "science of mind" close to epistemology (theory & practice of knowledge), philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, cognitive genesis and neurophilosophy.

The Buddhadharma as a science of mind has philosophical, moral, psychological & soteriological aspects. As a philosophy of life, it helps to understand the meaning of life and the way to overcome the suffering of the world, dissatisfaction & a closed mentality. As a system of ethics, it ends self-cherishing, brings compassion into play and seeks to benefit all sentient beings. As a psychology of the inner life, it studies the aggregates of sensation, volition, affection, cognition & consciousness. These sensate & mental factors allow us to designate our personality, to name this identity called "I", "ego" or "self", deemed to solidly exist at the core of what we call the life of "my" person.

In the "lab of the mind", and this by way of study, reflection & meditation, these mental factors are scutinized. This investigation is based on thoughtful & skillful analytical study, hand in hand with the meditative cultivation of tranquility, a peaceful mind and a good heart. When these are realized, insight into the ultimate nature of phenomena, emptiness, becomes possible. Combined with compassion and its bliss, the bird of awakening flies !


© Wim van den Dungen, Antwerp - 2008 / 2013 - last update : 27 X 2011

Mistakes are due to my own ignorance and not to the Buddhadharma.
May all who encounter the Dharma accumulate compassion & wisdom.
May sentient beings recognize their Buddha-nature and find true peace.