Am I dreaming?
There is something very dreamlike about online study. Here I am attending school in Nepal, yet I am in the USA. I am sitting with class mates in a class and also not. Then there also arises the question whether I am listening live or am I listening to a conversation long ago, as in a recording – how can I really tell?
This unusual study experience is surely supported and enhanced by the subject of my study: One of my classes is taught by Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling’s monastery’s Khenpo: Here we are analyzing one of the greatest Madhyamaka treatises, called the Entry into the Middle Way, by Candrakīrti.
The Khenpo encouraged us to engage the text as an analytical meditation that we then can extend into all of our life.
For me, Madhyamaka analysis is giving me one very helpful piece of advice: keep questioning what is truly real and what is not – throughout day and night! One reason for this exercise is: if I can fully see that nothing in my experience is established as an independent, truly existent entity, then I will lessen my grasping to these things. And once I lessen my grasping, all of my suffering of “hope and fear” or “name and gain” will lessen, too.
Like right now: this computer very much can be seen as a dependent-arising. It has parts, it can easily break and thus lose its function. What about the content of our screens? Are they truly established? I have come to doubt it. The computer images are such a limited presentation of people and events. The images transform according to conditions, but also the people they represent change. We can’t be found as being just our body or just our mind…there seems to be so many dependent factors to make a person!
And within my inability to grasp anything, I come to appreciate the teachings on the dream-like nature of experience. I find myself being able to let go of my stories, assumptions and ideas much more easily. I have so much gratitude for this study opportunity!
~Kerstin Shoho Kuebast