• beginning investigating and uncovering the views we have and what effects they have
  • what do we believe about life? How are wee looking at it?

Exploring one’s views

  • right view as the beginning and culmination of the path
  • 4 noble truths
    • is there suffering? Where is the grasping? Is it possible to relax it?
    • what am I putting in in the present moment that’s adding to the suffering?
      • suffering needs inputs in the present to manifest
      • idea of negative emotions bubbling up from the past (can be useful), can we question it?
  • what brings freedom/happiness/nourishment (Part of right view in long term)
    • do I know what leads to happiness?
    • happiness in the moment may not be possible, but it can be a long term agenda, cultivating the qualities that have happiness as their fruit (generosity, calmness, renunciation etc…)
  • Sila as foundation for happiness
    • taking care of how we are with other people
    • the path makes us more sensitive to how we act
    • we develop sensitivity to sila
  • right view in the moment
    • we tend to prioritize fixing the external issues (very important but gives sense of hassle)
      • notion of “how can I see this (difficult moment) differently” takes the back stage
    • how can I see this in a way that it moves towards freedom?
      • how can I practice with this?
      • 3 characteristics
    • when there's suffering, it means that we're looking wrongly
      • Joseph Goldstein: “When there’s suffering, that tweaks my interest”
        • I need to look at something differently

no attachment to views

  • how much argument and wars come from having different views
  • basic teaching: don’t get attached to views
    • can’t put one view over another?
    • is ultimate reality a big pink fish named Barbara?
      • maybe not all views are completely equal

can we have “no view”?

  • other teaching: right view is no view
    • appealing, very simple, feels nice
    • but there is always a view going on
    • are we really interested in truth or just in feeling “nice”?
    • most of the times we are not aware of our view
      • self view can be strong
      • life is suffering
    • what views have we absorbed from the (modern secular) culture?
      • have we replaced religion with meaningless, nihilistic views?
      • we have a view all the time
        • adding “me and mine” to all experiences
        • any kind of self view is a builder of experience
        • seeing emotions as coming up from the past

”nothing to do” view

  • other view/teaching: nothing to do, nowhere to go, just be with what is, letting go (beautiful, true teaching but only part of the path)

    • can lead to stop practicing
    • on hearing that most people come back to me here
    • capacity to let go is supported by the beautiful qualities we cultivate
    • being vs. doing duality is not ultimately real
      • we are building reality with even the subtlest view
  • some people say: “I don’t meditate, relationships/parenting/music/dancing/art etc…is my path”

    • those are beautiful practices and sometimes the sense of self may disappear
    • but do they bring the realization that all is empty?
    • but Dharma practice does have an agenda the realization of emptiness
      • it is not just about being in the moment or losing oneself
      • can what I’m taking to be practice take me to that insight?

Careful to drop all concepts

  • the buddha did say that realizing emptiness is to let go of all views
    • we might be tempted by the simple conclusion to drop all concepts
    • if we ditch concepts too early, we end up with all the default concepts (me, you, mine, world, thing, thought, emotion, time)
    • the genius of the Buddha was to suggest a few concepts that lead to freedom and beyond all concepts (snake eating its own tail, wood burning itself, need to reach the shore before letting go of the raft)
      • 4 noble truths

Emptiness and Ways of Looking

  • Ontology as the views and beliefs we have on what is real and not real (dreams vs. waking reality)

    • whether we philosophize or not we always have an ontology
  • ways of looking = in any moment how are we relating to something

    • all the ideas, concepts, assumptions, reactions, tendencies, beliefs, likes, dislikes, kinds of attention together make up the way of looking
    • we have the possibility to explore that consciously and extend the range of our ways of looking
    • different ways of looking have different amounts of clinging and fabrication
  • It’s impossible to rest from ways of looking

    • anything we sense at all is always experienced through a way of looking (even if we’re not deliberately playing with one)

Ontology and conceptions of reality in dharma practice


  • Ontology is anything but abstract and really fundamental for practice
    • What happens in our lives once we decide that X is real and Y isn’t