Gen Lamrimpa: On Emptiness

At the very end of his incredible teaching on emptiness (published as “Realizing Emptiness: Madhayamaka Insight Meditation” translated by B. Alan Wallace, Snow Lion), Ven Gen Lamrimpa makes the point that a flower that appears to an individual’s awareness is dependent on that very sensory awareness. He concludes with a remarkable statement:

If you examine this issue very closely, you are led to the conclusion that the world that appears to you actually does not appear to anyone else. This implies that the world each of us lives in is in fact produced by our own sensory awareness. This has a direct bearing on the issue of pure vision in Buddhism. By the very process of purifying one’s own mind, the appearance of the world is also purified. And as you experience a pure vision of the world, the whole world in which you dwell becomes transformed. In this regard we say that the whole world arises as the result of maturation of the habitual propensities. In this way, the world is like a dream.


2 thoughts on “Gen Lamrimpa: On Emptiness

  1. Another example of this is the rainbow. Quite literally, the rainbow you see can be seen by no one else. A rainbow requires the sun, water droplets (mist) and you, the viewer. The angle between you and the sun is most intense at “an angle of 40–42°”. Color-blind people see fewer colors than the rest of us. (

    “It is also impossible for an observer to manoeuver to see any rainbow from water droplets at any angle other than the customary one (which is 42 degrees from the direction opposite the Sun). Even if an observer sees another observer who seems “under” or “at the end” of a rainbow, the second observer will see a different rainbow further off-yet, at the same angle as seen by the first observer. Thus, a “rainbow” is not a physical object, and cannot be physically approached.”

    Happy Rainbows!


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