The following are notes made from comments given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama prior to a Buddha Shakyamuni Initiation at UCLA on Sunday, June 8, 1997:
Time always moves forward. When we attach ourselves to a linear perception of time, the present (which comes and goes in an instant) becomes almost untenable. On the other hand, we consider our past and future as being almost tangible. We tend to project qualities of desirability or repulsiveness on things. We don't recognize the true reality and validity of our memories or our thoughts about the future. The past and future are just memories or constructs in our mind.
This is not to say that past and future do not exist. But our memories of the past and anticipation of the future are relative to each other and dependent upon many factors. All things and events can only be posited relative to other things and events. Again, this is not to say that things and events do not exist, but that they do not exist in the way we normally think about them.
When we think deeply about the nature of reality and how we perceive it, we begin to understand that our experience of the nature of reality is...ignorance. This ignorance binds our mind into a state of confusion and we need to see this true nature of reality with "naked eyes." We need to see its essence.
We share this ordinary or conventional way of being in the world with other sentient beings. But there is a way of getting out of this cycle. When we realize this, we experience both a sense of frustration and a sense of possibility. We become reluctant to participate in the cycle of ignorance and we sense the possibility of gaining our freedom. This generates within us a sense of compassion for others and a wish for all other beings to be free.
When our experience of compassion deepens and strengthens, our conviction about the true nature of reality will strengthen and deepen. We see beyond. The real possibility of liberation inspires our action. Our compassion expands. So this increasing compassion leads to an increasing understanding of emptiness. Understanding and compassion reinforce each other. An increased understanding of emptiness will increase compassion and increase our appreciation of the conventional and ultimate natures of reality. Appreciation of the conventional and ultimate natures of reality are the "two wings of a swan," with which one may fly toward the ultimate enlightenment of Buddhahood.
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