Path of Transformation» Meditation

The Absence of Self: What to Do When Fear Arises?


Phakchok Rinpoche recently held a question and answer session with students of the Rigpa Shedra in Nepal. In this excerpt, Rinpoche responded to a student’s question about how to deal with fear or uncomfortableness when investigating the ego.

Rinpoche responded that the investigation of ego and selflessness belongs to the sixth paramita, the perfection of wisdom. But if we have not practiced the first five paramitas in depth, we may have more difficulty with this sixth. We need to accumulate merit before wisdom will manifest easily. First, we practice generosity without wishing for something, with no expectations. We practice discipline with no regrets. And we practice patience with no holding on to anything.

When we investigate the self, and we have a sense of fear, we ask where that feeling is coming from. The fear itself is a very nice display of ego. Fear comes from the sense of “I” or “me”. We keep checking for the origin. But when we don’t find it, we then simply rest in non-focused meditation, or meditation without a reference point. Rinpoche notes that this is the unity of shamata and vipashyana. There is no place to rest; the instruction is to simply let be in the state of not finding. Don’t find, don’t search. Let be—rest.

Practice more accumulation of merit, Rinpoche advises. Mandala offerings, sang offerings, and guru yoga are all very important.

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