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Wednesday, 04 December 2019 00:40

3 Principles and 4 Seals

Transcriptions of two different lectures, given by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche - one in Sydney (1999), and the other in Hong Kong (2013). And in addition there's also a short Aspiration prayer.

Four Seals

Buddhism in a Nutshell - coverBuddhism In a Nutshell
- The Four Seals of Dharma
– by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

The real context of Buddhist meditation - this is referred to as the view, meditation and action - taken together, these constitute quite a skillful way of understanding the path. Even though we may not use such expressions in everyday life, if we think about it, we always act according to a certain view, meditation and action.

So what is the particular view that Buddhists try to get used to? Buddhism is distinguished by four characteristics, or 'seals'. Actually, if all these four seals are found in a path or a philosophy, it doesn't matter whether you call it Buddhist or not. You can call it what you like - the words 'Buddhist' or 'Buddhism' are not important. The point is that if this path contains these four seals, it can be considered the path of the Buddha.

Therefore, these four characteristics are called the "Four Seals of Dharma". They are:

Shakyamuni - life legend

  • All compounded things are impermanent.
  • All emotions are painful. This is something that only Buddhists would talk about. Many religions worship things like love with celebration and songs. Buddhists think, 'This is all suffering'.
  • All phenomena are empty - they are without inherent existence. This is actually the ultimate view of Buddhism - the other three are grounded on this third seal.
  • Nirvana is beyond extremes.

Without these four seals, the Buddhist path would become theistic, religious dogma, and its whole purpose would be lost.
– From the Introduction

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