The way to seek shunyata
From 1980: The teachings are all about you! by Adele Hulse, Big Love author:
To emphasize the possibility of transforming even negative energy into Tara’s wisdom, Lama pointed out that many of his students had been hippies yet had turned out differently.
The Western hippy movement lasted ten, maybe fifteen years. These hippies tried everything, every pleasure. They tried everything, this, that, politics, drugs, communism. But they reached a certain point where they discovered something and then they become good persons. Very good persons. The things they did were garbage things but then suddenly they turned out to be strong, transformed. So many hippies were creative, extreme extremists. They had a kind of power, super-samsaric power, that created nuclear energy. But when they became practitioners they stopped that super samsara and used that energy to become kind of super Dharma practitioners. Some of my students are just quiet and peaceful and their Dharma practice is slow, very slow. But this is just common sense. The main point is to look subjectively rather than objectively and in that way to recognize that every appearance in our life, every desire thought or hatred thought or ego thought has an inborn non-dual nature. Its nature is clean clear like the ocean. Each one has the character of non-dual blissful wisdom.
Of course when we are dealing with the world we are not strong enough to see non-duality. It is natural for us to see dualistically. But we can make a strong determination within ourselves to recognize the duality that appears to us for what it is. One cannot avoid thinking dualistically; it comes through our habitual perceptions. But inside we can have the determination that this is illusion. This is dualistically appearing illusion. That we can do. That we should do.
Lama Yeshe spoke to his students about their dreams:
Usually we forget our dreams. This is not good. Dream comprehension is very important. Why are we so slow to become enlightened? Because half our life is spent unconscious, asleep. Maybe a quarter is spent eating, unconsciously. In tantra, practically speaking, we can make every important movement of energy become wisdom. It becomes awareness, mindfulness. It is very important to become mindful of our dreams. So before you go to sleep, make strong prayers to Tara to give you inspiration to be mindful of your dreams and to recognize your dream as a dream. This is good enough. Then put your head in Mother Tara’s lap and fall asleep like that. In this way, your sleep becomes more conscious, less unconscious. This is the best way to sleep.
Using every possible example from daily life, Lama continuously strove to bring home the core Buddhist understanding of emptiness to his students.
Perhaps if I explain it in a simpler way: The minute you check up with ego how you feel, how you are, what you think about yourself, you can only think about the previous you. The previous one is (snaps his fingers) gone already. Isn’t it! It is non-existent. The ego is very slow, I tell you. It doesn’t matter how intelligent the ego may be; it is too slow. It thinks that yesterday’s me is somewhere around here still. That’s too late. Even from the relative point of view of time and space it’s unrealistic. In Buddhism when you seek shunyata, in that moment when you are aware, that mindfulness cuts the self-existent appearance, which is totally non-existent. That is the way to seek shunyata. The skill is how to observe the ego’s interpretation.
Whenever there is emotional excitement and the ego manifests, the I-projection strongly arises. That is the moment when you get the chance to recognize it—for example, when you are angry. That is a very important moment.
Remember. Philosophical doctrine is not important. Intellectual religion is not important. That’s why many intellectually religious people—intellectual Buddhists, intellectual Muslims, intellectual Christians—they miss the point. Just making things philosophical doesn’t work. Destroying the intellectual ego and making another one is just sublimating. The main business is our intuitive inborn ego.