Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises:

"Bring your attention away from hallucination to the realities of life, the nature of which is impermanence and death. This frees your mind from delusion and karma so that you can bring an end to the entire round of suffering, the cycle of death and rebirth, and also eradicate even the subtle errors of mind, thereby attaining enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.

Reflect on the above … for a moment.

Now bring your attention to the reality of the ultimate nature of the I, action, object and all other phenomena - emptiness.

All causative phenomena - our life, our body, our mind, our self, our possessions, our relatives and friends, all other people - are changing, not only day by day, minute by minute and second by second, but every tiny moment. They do not last for a fraction of a second. Because they are under the control of causes and conditions, they are in a state of constant decay and can cease at any time. This is the nature of our life.

If we can remain aware of this, we will prevent our mind from coming under the control of the delusions. This is the disturbing emotional mind that hurt other sentient beings, preventing us from transforming our mind and gaining realizations of the path to enlightenment. These delusions stop us from seeing the ultimate nature of reality.

Therefore, First we must stop delusions from manifesting, and then, by actualizing the remedial path, we eradicate the imprints they have left on our mental continuum. By destroying the seeds of delusion, we attain nirvana, ultimate liberation from the six realms of suffering and its cause. This is the benefit of being mindful of impermanence. When we free ourselves of disturbing thoughts, we immediately experience peace and satisfaction. We free ourselves from samsara, and eventually attain enlightenment and then bring enlightenment to all sentient beings.

Meditate on emptiness. This is the actual nature of all phenomena. Think how your I, actions, objects, and in fact all phenomena—everything that is called "such and such" and "this and that" are just names. Names have to come from the mind; they don’t exist from their own side. Names are labels applied by the mind. However, it is not just that phenomena are labeled by the mind - they are merely labeled by the mind. In other words, all phenomena - I, action, object, everything - are merely labeled by the mind, in relation to their base.

Think about this.

How things exist

Now I’m going to elaborate a little on the subject of emptiness. The way in which everything exists is by being merely labeled by the mind. But that does not mean that everything the mind labels actually exists. Even though everything exists by being merely labeled by the mind, which doesn’t mean that if your mind labels something it automatically brings it into existence.

For example, say I cut up a huge pile of newspapers into little pieces and my mind labels each one "a billion dollars"—that doesn’t make each piece of paper worth a billion dollars.

Even though my mind has merely labeled those pieces of paper "a billion dollars," that doesn’t mean each one has become a billion dollars. If it were possible for that to happen, we wouldn’t have to vote in presidential elections. We wouldn’t have to put all that effort into raising funds, campaigning, spending all that money, holding inquiries, to elect the president. All you’d have to do would be to label yourself, "I’m the American president," and you’d become president. If things coming into existence were only up to the mind labeling them, if that’s all it took, then that’s what would happen. Whenever you wanted to be president, all you’d have to do would be to have your mind label yourself president and you’d be president.

A magician could hypnotize you into believing that he’d given you a bag full of money, and you might carry it home, believing you were rich, but later, when you opened it up, there’d be nothing there but cut up pieces of newspaper. That’s one way of showing that it doesn’t exist—for your own mind to discover that it’s not true. Later, when you’re not under the influence of hypnosis, you realize that it was an illusion, that the money you saw didn’t exist. Everything was there for your mind—the appearance of money and your mind labeling it money—but it wasn’t money.

Another way of showing that it does not exist is for other people not to see the money. Because of the illusion created by hypnosis, money appears to your mind, but other people, whose minds are not under the illusion, don’t see it. Therefore, it takes more than appearance and labeling by mind for something to exist.

Dreams are another example of something where your own mind can discover that appearance and labeling by mind are insufficient to bring something into existence. For instance, one night you might have a dream in which you became king, got married in a huge wedding ceremony, lived in a luxurious jeweled palace and had many children. While you are dreaming, the appearance of all this and your mind merely labeling it are both there, but when you wake up you again realize it wasn’t true. You’re not king, there’s no palace, no wealth, no princes and princesses—nothing. You don’t have any of that.

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