Published on April 4th, 2024 | by Madhudvisa dasa


Letter to a Buddhist about his “empty mind” philosophy

We know, however, there is no happiness in the material word. Happiness is experienced in our relationship with Krishna, and our relationship with the other devotees who are also serving Krishna. When we can please Krishna that is real happiness. And that happiness is unending and unlimited. That is real happiness.

Dear Brian

Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I apologize for my bluntness with you over this letter. Please forgive me for that. I am trying to respond to it now for you

Thanks again for your last message.  It’s funny cause we really do agree very much on so much.  I completely agree with what you say about freeing ourselves from the trap of just sensory attatchments.  Just know that I am in complete agreement with that and your expalanation of making our real mission developing spiritually instead of just working for sensory and ego gratification.  Some of the points I made were a bit lost I think by the way you responded, just a little bit but I think that you didn’t understand some of what I was saying.

Yes. It is very important to control our senses.

Otherwise our senses will control us. So we have some practical regulations to control our senses. It is alright to say “it is a good idea.” But how are you going to do it practically? At every moment our senses are pulling at us and the tendency is there to try and satisfy them with so many things like nice food, beautiful sights, sex, etc. And when we are frustrated in our sense gratification, when we can not get what we want to satisfy our senses, then the tendency is to turn to some sort of intoxication to “kill the pain.”


So how to get out of this cycle of desiring sense gratification and frustration when we don’t get it or when it doesn’t live up to our expectations?


Our way is very practical and positive. We try to always keep our senses fully engaged in Krishna consciousness 24 hours a day. We can keep our ears engaged in Krishna consciousness by hearing the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, we can keep our tongue engaged in Krishna consciousness by chanting Hare Krishna and eating Krishna prasadam… We can keep our eyes engaged in Krishna consciousness by seeing the beautiful form of Krishna. We can keep our mind and intelligence engaged in Krishna consciousness by reading the books about Krishna and pondering their meaning…


In this way we can fill our life with Krishna activity and we actually enjoy a higher taste. Something better than material sense gratification. And in this way, automatically we give up the materialistic, hedonistic way of life and develop all the spiritual, godly qualities.


But without this positive, practical program of devotional service in Krishna consciousness it is very difficult, practically impossible, to stop working for sense and ego gratification.


If you study your Buddhist friends carefully and honestly I think you will find that underneath it all they are still working for sense and ego gratification. It may be a little more subtle than the guys dancing in the rave parties in NYC. But the same desire for sense and ego gratification is there.


In Krishna consciousness we replace this desire to satisfy our own senses with the desire to satisfy Krishna’s senses. Instead of working for our own pleasure, we work for Krishna’s pleasure. And because we are all a part and parcel of Krishna, when Krishna is pleased we are automatically pleased. So actually it is not that we go without sense gratification. We cook nice food and offer it to Krishna and after Krishna eats we eat His Prasadam so we enjoy eating nice food. But the food has first been enjoyed by Krishna…


So the real–and only way–to be happy is to make Krishna happy. Because we are all parts and parcels of Krishna and when Krishna is happy all the parts and parcels are also happy. It is like supplying water to the tree. If you supply water to the root of the tree automatically the whole tree, all the branches, leaves, flowers, etc. are automatically satisfied.


So we can be satisfied only if we satisfy Krishna. If we try and satisfy ourselves separately from Krishna that will always end in frustration. We are like one of the leaves on the tree. If we want to nourish that leaf then we can not pour water on the leaf to do that. We have to pour the water on the root of the tree then automatically all the leaves will be nourished. So Krishna is like the root of the entire creation. If we can satisfy Krishna the entire creation can be satisfied. So the best thing we can do for the entire world, the entire creation, is to satisfy Krishna…

Of course God is always there with us in our hearts, I was saying that we just miss that completely cause our mind/senses obscure them, of course, god is there, God is everywhere and there is no where God is not, especially our hearts.  I agree with you on that.-Of course.

You said that everyone is present already and that is one of the points I disagree with, in Zen/Tantric Buddhism it is understood that we are not present, yes our body is here but our mind is everywhere cause our senses are everywhere.  Let me be more specific with what presence is, real true Presence in the Zen way means Deep identification with the Atman unencumbered by the senses and thoughts just Transadental Being.  When the mind is still the deepest Transadental Bliss infuses us.  All thought is still a concept and mental modification of REALITY (nirvana) so we desire that Consciousness.  The only way to touch the deepest reaches of Nirvana is by a deep stillness.  Forget my novice explanations, I will quote enlightened buddhist master Rama:

No. I like your explanations. But we have talked about this stillness before. You just can not do it. Not in West Hollywood! It is not a very still place.

Krishna gives the same instruction to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita. He tells Arjuna to “make the mind still.” But Arjuna is a fighter, a King, with so many responsibilities. He says to Krishna: “My mind is restless and unsteady, to make my mind still is more difficult than controlling the wind.”  So Arjuna said he could not practice the Hatha Yoga system Krishna was instructing him in. This Hatha Yoga is something like what you are talking about. Making the mind still and seeing God within. But there are so many prerequisites for such a process. I would strongly recommend you read the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and you can see for yourself Krishna instructing Arjuna in this Hatha Yoga and Arjuna’s complete inability to practice it. But at the end of the sixth chapter Krishna tells Arjuna: “And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshipping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” So the idea is one who is always engaged in Krishna’s service is the best yogi. Krishna goes on to instruct Arjuna to fight for Him. And that fighting is, for Arjuna, the best yoga. For it is Krishna’s desire that Arjuna fight, so Arjuna’s service to Krishna is fighting–and that is pleasing to Krishna–so Arjuna is the best yogi.

So it is not actually necessary–nor is it possible–to make the mind void. Rather if we can always engage our mind and our senses, our whole being, in the service of Krishna, then we will be the greatest yogis…

                          Tantric Buddhist Yoga is a pathway a person can follow to enlightenment.

                          Through the tantric practices you  can unite your consciousness with the  eternal bliss and extasy of nirvana and rise above the limited conditions of pleasure and pain, success and failure, happiness and sorrow, that all the countless unenlightened beings in creation are slaves to…….When you draw your happiness each day from the endless awareness of Nirvana you are no longer a slave to fortune.  When pleasant experiences come your way, you can enjoy them.  Bu if pain and misfortune befall you, you can rise above them and remain unaffected.  The bliss and ectasy of nirvana will lift you far above the transient sorrows of both life and death……Above the clouds, the sun is always shining… much the same way, if you derive your happiness from the events that you have in this physical world, and from the emotions and feelings they generate withen your mind, you are a slave to the weather of events.  ……………. RAMA

So, that was buddhist Master Rama describing the process.  He goes on to say………

But Rama is recommending “enjoying” the “pleasant” things in the material world and tolerating the unpleasant. Krishna also says: “The non-permanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” So it is in a way similar to Rama’s thoughts. But Krishna recommends that we become transcendental to both happiness and distress as both happiness and distress are temporary. If we try to tolerate the distress and enjoy the “happiness” as Rama recommends we will not be in a peaceful condition at all. When we are “suffering” we will actually be suffering, waiting for the time the “happiness” will come which we can enjoy.

This is very different from the position of a devotee of Krishna. He sees everything in the material world as temporary, so any attachment to something which is temporary will ultimately cause suffering. So if as Rama suggests we “enjoy” the “happiness” of the material world we will become attached to that “happiness” and because it is temporary, when there is no more “happiness” we will lament for the “happiness” we have lost and hanker for more “happiness” in the future.

So this business of lamenting for things we have lost and hankering for things we do not have is the business of people in material consciousness. And this problem of lamenting and hankering will not be solved by Rama’s advice. His followers will remain lamenting for the happiness they have lost and hankering after more happiness in the future. Because he is instructing that there is happiness in the material world and when that happiness comes they should enjoy it…

We know, however, there is no happiness in the material word. Happiness is experienced in our relationship with Krishna, and our relationship with the other devotees who are also serving Krishna. When we can please Krishna that is real happiness. And that happiness is unending and unlimited. That is real happiness. If one is in this consciousness he may appear to be within the material world but he is completely transcendental to the world. He is not at all affected by the so-called happiness and distress of the material world. He does not “enjoy” in a “happy” situation nor does he “suffer” in a difficult situation.

He is completely transcendental. He is always enjoying great bliss on the transcendental platform serving Krishna.

Enlightenment is the perfect awareness of life without any mental modification.  It is transparent existance:  to experience enlightenment, to merge your mind with the essence of the cosmos, Is to become ecstasy without beginning or end……….Your personality identifies itself with your physical body:  It believes that it came into existanse at the time of your physical birth, and it will cease to exist at the time of your physical death…. You have another body that is made up of eterenal Light that cannot be born and cannot die!…..Sit in meditation until your mind becomes empty..without thought and the winds of counciousness will blow visions of radiant worlds of light before your inner eyes.

The words are very nice. But, as I have said, it is not possible for you, in West Hollywood, to sit in meditation and make your mind empty. Also it is not possible to keep your mind empty. As soon as you stop meditation there will be so much nonsense back there to fill up your mind. So there is no practical application to Rama’s advice. Have you ever meet anyone with an “empty mind?” It is not possible. The nature of life is activity, and if one is active one’s mind will not be empty. It is not natural to be inactive or to have an empty mind. Even if one can for a few minutes empty his mind and keep himself inactive it is an unnatural position and can not be maintained for any length of time.

There are actually real yogis who practice this hatha yoga meditation in India and they can get some wonderful results from it. But it has to be practiced in a secluded, sacred place away from materialistic persons and away from all the distractions of Hollywood… And it is a full-time job, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a lifetime… You can not do it in 10 minutes a day, this is just a cheating process.

Now this state that he describes is real true Presence.  That is what is being here NOW.  But this cannot be understood very well by the mind, that is why this meditation is so important.  I know you disagree and quote all the problems with meditation but if put into practice you will understand that in addition to chanting (I think chanting is GREAT too!)it brings us to that Enlightened state.  Why?  Because YOU CANT GET THERE WITH THE MIND, THE MIND NEEDS TO BE TRANSENDED!  That means all mental concepts–ALL!!  It is being in the heart of the universe!!!!! 

You misunderstand chanting. Chanting is not done with the mind. Chanting is done with the tongue and HEARD with the ear. This Hare Krishna mantra is not an ordinary sound vibration of the material world. It is descending from the spiritual world. It is Krishna in the form, incarnation, of transcendental sound. It has nothing to do with the mind. In fact, in this age, the chanting of there Hare Krishna maha mantra is the only way to actually control the mind. It transfers the consciousness way beyond this material world to the transcendental world. But this has to be experienced. Otherwise you can not understand what it is. And you can not experience the power of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra without following the proper process. So one has to agree to chant the mantra and follow the regulative principles and engage in serving Krishna under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master. And in this way one can taste the transcendental bliss of real spiritual life…

Of course this is a more impersonal philosophy that I know you reject.  I respect that, all I can say is that it works for me and can be employed even in KC.  Although it requires finding time for complete silence, not just only chanting–both is better.  I know you’re going to say that it is very, hard to meditate in this age and I completely agree.  It is a fact that Rama also tells people.  That is why it is important nevertheless to have a good technique and meditate regularly with an Enlightened one or at least be very focused when alone.  But success in meditation can be achieved for sure, it just requires a lot of discipline, more than hundreds of years ago, due to all the restlessness of the earth.

Chanting is also powerful.  I agree that it has a cosmic power to it–no question.  This is something that must be experienced and I cannot really “make” you understand, that would be impossible.  Just like you always insist people must chant to have their hearts purified, how they must just try it, that is the same way all this works.

I also know you will say that it is impossible to silence thoughts.  yes and no.  Of course throughout the whole day it is impossible, but for periods of meditation it is very possible.  There are millions of people that can attest to that!  No mystery there at all.   When you can be still for even 10 min.  You purify yourself with Ananda.  It must be experienced to fully understand it.

Real Spritual life is not something that “millions of people” have experienced or “can attest to.” Most people are not really interested in real spiritual life at all. It is a very rare soul who is truely interested. Most are interested in happiness in the material world and they use this meditation as some sort of “stress-control” to help them “cope” in the material world. They have absolutely no intention of dedicating their life to it. No. Their life is dedicated to something else. You, for example. Your life is dedicate to becoming a great actor, to meeting a nice person you can share your life with, to “acheiving something” in the world, etc. And you think this meditation may help you achieve your goals. However, a real devotee of Krishna, has serving Krishna, pleasing Krishna, as the ONLY purpose in his life. Nothing else is important to him and everything he does is motivated by one reason only: how to please Krishna and how to please his spiritual master. That IS his life. He has no other life… He is a real transcendentalist, and he can have some taste of what it is to actually be completely transcendental to everything, both “happiness” and “distress” in this world…

So no, people are not at all Present in the real here and now.  Just a superfical, ego state is what most of us live in.

I hope this has been helpful.  I would be curious to see what your views are on this, although this is something that can’t be debated without personal experience on your part but we can still talk about it a bit.


Real spiritual life is not something one can achieve in 10 minutes a day. One has to dedicate his whole life, his whole energy, his whole being to it. That is why there are not many real spiritual people. “Such a great soul is very rare.” But it is best to become one of those rare souls for they are the only happy ones. Your current “spiritual” path will not lead you to the real eternal transcendental bliss our souls are hankering after. Real pleasure comes from relationships with others. And the relationships we have with others in this material world are simply perverted reflections of the real transcendental relationships we have with Krishna and His devotees in the spiritual world… So without that spiritual, personal relationship you will never find the bliss you are looking for and will always end up looking for it in this temporary world… And that will always end in frustration…

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Madhudvisa dasa

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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

8 Responses to Letter to a Buddhist about his “empty mind” philosophy

  1. TG says:

    I came across this website through some general surfing.
    I believe there are infinite paths to reach god realization, and it’s very presumptuous to say that the Buddist is entrenched in the material world because they don’t explicitly meditate on Krishna. One path to God is looking at god through one particular lens, and attesting that there is only one path is an egoistic statement because it attests that you can only view god through one lens. So while I respect the hare krishna philosophy, and I myself have been visiting isckon temples for a long time, I disagree that this is the only method out there, and also that it’s the right method for all people.

    Like Ishan Das mentioned, one of their concepts is that the world is continuously changing and life is continuously changing, and as an evolved soul you need to gracefully accept both the good and the bads in your life. While you are free to enjoy the good you should not be super affected by the bad because this too shall pass. They don’t suggest that we enjoy happiness in the material world, but they also do not say enjoyment is a bad thing. Let us all be honest – being a Krishna devotee, can you attest to never having enjoyed a moment of good food at a restaurant, a good movie or a good evening with your friends? I wouldn’t believe it if you said you didn’t. Enjoying something good, does not mean lamenting for it later, at all. I think you’ve misinterpreted the OP over there.

    In order to be a good Bhakta you need practice. It does not happen overnight. Likewise to be an effective yogi (meditator ) you need practice too. Bhakti is a form of yoga like Hatha/ Pranayama are forms of yoga. It is completely possible to focus in meditation for even 15 minutes a day. As you do it continuously, it will become a part of your being, and your state of mind. I’ve been practicing meditation for the last 15 years, and I can say that even though my life changes, things change, and the world around me is far from “peaceful”, I feel peacefulness in my heart and I can leverage that to look at things differently. That does not mean I do not believe in god. I am a practising hindu, I don’t belong to the Krishna movement, and I believe there is no one way which will work for every single person. Considering another’s path to the god within him as inferior to yours is inflating your false ego.

    I also disagree with another of your statements:
    “Their life is dedicated to something else. You, for example. Your life is dedicate to becoming a great actor, to meeting a nice person you can share your life with, to “acheiving something” in the world, etc. And you think this meditation may help you achieve your goals. However, a real devotee of Krishna, has serving Krishna, pleasing Krishna, as the ONLY purpose in his life. Nothing else is important to him and everything he does is motivated by one reason only: how to please Krishna and how to please his spiritual master. ”

    How do you know that they are interested only in the material world? The whole fact that Buddhists understand that change is permanent, everything else is temporary, and developing attachment to temporary phenomena isn’t the way to happiness, shows that their goals are not in this material world. Their goals are beyond this material world. They aim to reach a state of consciousness where they are not affected by these temporary changes.
    All of us born in this material world have material goals – good job to make a living, good partner, etc. How many Krishna devotees do you know living in the city, refuse to strive for their material goals? I wouldn’t believe it if you said that they didn’t care. We all do, irrespective of our state in this world and our religious affiliation.
    *the “unchanging” goal might be different: realizing Krishna for the HareKrishnas, realizing a state of consciousness which is evolved and unaffected by change for the Buddhists
    * the method might be different: Zen meditation for the buddhists, chanting for the HareKrishnas.
    * reaching an evolved state of consciousness will take you to Krishna even if you do not explicitly chant for Krishna. Krishna gives Bhakti as one of the more attainable paths, definitely not the only legitimate path. And different people call Krishna by different names: Allah, Shiva, God, to name a few.

    In my mind, both are legitimate paths to transcending this material world, and to everyone, the optimal path might be different. Considering Vaishnavism superior to Buddhism is to me, an ego inflation and unnecessary. To evolve spiritually, we should accept commonalities with other people rather than point out differences and tell them that they are wrong or less better.

    • Aditya says:

      Hare Krishna,

      Whatever you are speaking is due to ignorance. First of all we all want to enjoy something because it is the nature of soul. We are all parts and parcels of Krishna so we also have a natural tendency to enjoy but when we come in contact with this material body we forget our real nature. Our eternal duty is to serve Krishna and by doing that we will automatically become happy. Just like you don’t water the leaves individually, we water the roots and leaves automatically gets nourished. As far as Hatha Yoga is concerned all are aimed towards Vishnu(Krishna). So, in this kali yuga the only method is chanting holy names of God nothing else. Harer nama harer nama harer nama kevalam kalau nasti eva nasti eva gatir anyatha. So, I request you to leave the meditation and all you are doing and chant holy names of Lord: Hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare, Hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. Please read Bhagwad gita you can buy it from Krishna store. All your doubts and misconceptions will be cleared.

      Aditya Singh

  2. Divine says:

    I would just want to ask 3 questions
    1.Sometimes our parents make us eat bread. So are we violating the four regulative principles as bread contains yeast.
    2. While offering fruits to Srila Prabhupada, the fruitflies attack the fruits even before we offer it to Srila Prabhupada and sometimes even ants. We do not like this, so is there any way to avoid this( as our house is already quite clean.)

    3. While distributing Beyond Birth and Death, do you show people picture of the yogi,universe etc or do you say that it is about the startling journey of the soul through different bodies. Or do you tell something else? Please tell me keeping specifically this book in mind.

    Eagerly waiting a reply.Sorry for disturbing you

    Hare Krishna. AGTSP

    • Hare Krishna Divine

      Yeast is not really breaking the four regulative principles. But it is not good for the health. We should avoid yeast as far as possible. But the real point is we can only accept Krishna prasadam, that means foods cooked by a devotee and offered with love to Krishna. So why not just make some chapatis yourself and offer them to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna?

      With the fruits ideally it is of course best to find fruit that has not been attacked by ants or fruit-flies. So as far as possible we should select the fruit that is as perfect and undamaged as possible. But if it is not available that part you can cut off and offer the untouched part. There will always be some imperfection in our attempts to serve Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. That is the nature of the material world. Of course we should try to make it as perfect as possible. But in the material world there will be imperfections. So all these imperfections will be adjusted, corrected, if we constantly chant Hare Krishna. Actually that is the most important part of our worship. The constant chanting of Hare Krishna.

      As far as distributing Beyond Birth and Death the point is to convince the people to buy it. So you can experiment telling people different things and work out what is the most successful thing to say, the things that when you say them more people buy the books. You could talk to them about the souls mysterious journey after death and let them know that this small book unlocks the secrets of the Bhagavad-gita. It describes reincarnation and the science of karma.

      You know. You just have to read Beyond Birth and Death yourself and come up with something that when you tell the people it will encourage them to read it.

      Book distribution has a few steps:

      • First you have to stop them. If they are walking down the street then they are not going to buy a book from you. You have to stop them. So asking them a question is a very good way to stop them. We often say “Are you from Mumbai or out of town?” It doesn’t really matter what you ask them but the point is to ask them something then they stop and think about it and answer. So they have stopped and that is the point. So whatever answer they give to the question it does not matter. You just say: “Amazing, fantastic, wonderful.” You know. Just like they have answered the question correctly and they have won the competition and it is all very exciting. So by this time they are very interested in hearing what you want to say.
      • Then you have to get the book in their hands. Often if you just hand the book to them they will grab it from you. If they don’t you can say “Where’s your hand?” and when they show you their hand you put the book in their hands. They are more likely to buy the book if they have it in their hands.
      • Then you can help them turn the pages to the pages you want to show them and say something short. Not that you get into a very long preaching thing. The idea is that Srila Prabhupada will preach to him. We just have to get him to purchase Srila Prabhupada’s book and convince him it is a wonderful book and get a donation from him so he feels obliged to read it. If he gives some donation for the book he will feel “I have paid money for this book, I have to get my money’s worth so I have to read it.”
      • Then you have to ask for a contribution to help with the printing cost. You can say something like “We just ask if you can leave a contribution to help with the printing cost.” And as they go for the money you can give them some idea of what you are expecting them to give. You can say “The books cost us about xxx to print.”
      • So it is four steps: Stop them, get the book in their hands, short talk about the book just so they think it is a wonderful book and they want to read it and then ask them for a contribution to help with the printing cost. That’s it really. And the more you do it the more you will understand what is the best thing to say. It is different for different people and the more you distribute the books the better you will get at it.

        Krishna will help you, Srila Prabhupada will help you. If you just surrender and go out on book distribution in a helpless mood, that “I am useless, I am completely dependent on your mercy.” Then Krishna and Srila Prabhupada will help you and put the right words in your mouth and it will go on very well.

        Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

        Madhudvisa dasa

  3. sandeep says:

    Happy janmashtami is a great festival for hindus. Happy shri krishna janmashtami.

  4. Ishan das says:

    Hare Krishna!

    Regarding the concept of “emptiness”. It is not exactly as you have expressed it in your reply to Brian. It is not about making the mind blank.

    In the Buddhist cosmology, they are not concerned with the spiritual energy, neither of the individual soul nor the Supreme Lord. They are only concerned with the material nature, including the mind.

    As vaishnavas we see Krishna as the cause of all causes, the cause behind everything. And in more specific terms, we envision the Supersoul, Paramatma, as the real doer and mover of the vast ocean of the material energy. As Paramatma, Krishna is in all and through all. And we are seated in this body like one on a machine that is moved by the Lord in the heart.

    But the Budhist conception of causality is different. It is in some ways comical, because for them there is no source of emanation. the material elements simply exist. They take it no further than that. And as they exist, they interact. So there is cause and effect. Every effect becomes another cause, and everything is inter-related, so the great network of “causes and conditions” is infinite. However, because they are concerned with only with the material energies, all of the forms that exist are accepted as temporal. Everything is simply an ocean of causes and conditions in constant flux. (Now, I do not buy into their philosophy, but there is some overlap).

    And because, they say, everything is temporal, a result of the ongoing ocean of causes and conditions, action and reaction (and for them, that is all there is) therefore nothing that exists has, what they term “a self-inherent existence”. It is only a manifestation that is the result of other causes and conditions. Therefore, they continue, it is DEVOID of self-inherent existence. Or, VOID of self-inherent existence. This is their meaning of VOID. It means, in essence, that there is only the flux of the material energies …….. so do not be attached to any of it. Because it is impermanent, and in that sense does not exist at all. All that exists is change. We can buy into that. That is why we focus on that which does have self-inherent existence, that which is uncaused, and that which is the cause of all causes, i.e., Krishna.

    So when they meditate on the VOID, in fact they are meditating on the concept that everything is in flux and there is nothing to grasp onto. Material forms, sensations, thoughts, all appear and disappear, and they have no God to reach out for. So they meditate on the temporal nature of everything they experience.They watch, within the mind, how thoughts, feelings, sensations “arise” and pass away. They do this as a practice. And by doing so, they gradually begin to experience a detachment from it all. And it works. it is a practice. And in a way it is a kind of sense control, because they are practicing not to pursue the thoughts, feelings and desires that arise. The detachment that develops is concomitant with a feeling of great stillness. My personal belief is that it is a form of brahman realization, but they do not call it as such because they do not believe in brahman.

    So when they talk of VOID, they do not mean that there is nothing, no substance. For them, VOID simply means impermanance of all manifestation. So their idea is don’t try to “grasp” at anything, any thought, feeling, or desire, because it will pass. Don’t grasp and don’t fight against – just let it all go. And they practice like that. and they arrive at this level of impersonal realization which call by different names. And they refer to the sense of detachment as”insite”. They have the insite that all is transient, DEVOID OF SELF-INHERENT EXISTENCE, or VOID. So it goes nowhere. Because for them there is nowhere to go. So like Srila Prabhupada says of the mayavadis they turn to “good works”. That becomes their focus. To become good people. Because the impersonal realization is not sufficient for the soul, on the one hand and they have no idea of a spiritual life of variegatedness. Even they have visions of deities, but …… they consider these visions also as devoid of inheent exisitence. Just like there are mayavadis who do Deity worship to achieve brahman realization. They do the puja, with that objective in mind, and Krishna gives them that experience. And then they stop doing the puja because they believe that God or brahman has no form, or if He had a form as an avatar, that form was material. It is all craziness. So much hard work all to avoid a personal relationship with God, with Krishna. They recognize the problem of material life, but they refuse to turn to Krishna, so they have to work so hard at understanding that the material nature is VOID. Actually it is not VOID, because even though it is temporal, Krishna is behind every movement of the material creation. But they cannot see like. Srila Prabhupada says the Budhism and mayavadi philosophy is the same idea in a different language.

    So that, Prabhu, is what they mean by VOID. Just in case you have another conversation with a VOIDIST. They don’t mean there is nothing there. They just mean it is all in flux, so don’t pursue it, don’t bother to resist it. it will all pass. but they cannot get out of the material world, because they reject the concept of God.

    Hare Krishna! How fortunate we are! With every step we are moving forward , only forward. While they are “treading water” in the VOID.
    Most of them either teach or turn to good works.

    Ishan das

    • rmanandhar01 . says:

      That is all fine my dear friend but do you even know anything about meditation? The main problem with Buddhism today is that it lacks a firm belief in God. Negligence has its unfortunate costs.

      The way to look at this is also the sheer size – perhaps back in the earlier times when Buddhism was there – there were very ‘few’ people. However, over time, a huge growth has reduced its original preachings – ppl start to care less. Lets look at the Buddhist precepts and see how many ppl today actually follow all of them??? the practice has slumbered – many even choose to eat meat (violation of the basic laws)

      The Amitabha Buddha sutra speaks of the ‘celestial Amitabha Buddha’ and recommends chanting the name of the Amitabha Buddha (Om Amitabha Hri) What Im trying to get across here is that the unity of all religions was lost ages ago. 🙁

      Hare Krsna is a great movement because it is based on the Vedic path. From what I have heard here Madhudvisa Dasa is right in saying that even Hare Krsna as an organisation has started to slowly loose its roots – there is less practice amongst devotees (and most of everything is rooted with one’s diligence – practice – if there is no practice, there is no spiritual gain… plain & simple.. works like Maths really) One of the reasons I see this is because of the greater size today & lacking authoritarian speaker/guru such as the great ACB SP.

      But presuming that meditation is not useful is not a wise & bold statement. Meditation is, has and always will be the way because it is the truest, most natural state of mind of the human to reach the highest depths of spiritual realization. All great realized masters are meditation masters (true “yogis”, siddhis, etc). But in this present dark age, people struggle to perform such sacrifices therefore it is recommended to chant the name of God.

      I speak of the greatness of the ancient art of meditation because I am able to stand for myself of its vast spiritual benefits (yes, there are various methods of meditation out there too but any is still useful – devotional /mantra meditation seems to be most effective) And yep, I have benefited greatly through meditative practices.

      I have started doing chanting of Hare Krsna, reading SP’s books and have found them very valuable really in developing my bhakti. they’re beautiful texts

      Something that I could recommend is –

      the goal is to develop the “spiritual heart” by slowly eradicating one’s desires (material desires) and building/developing love. The highest form of love is the love developed for God (known as prema). It is similar to what the Gopis had for Krsna. But this love is also similar what St Francis of Assisi had for Jesus. But it is not easy to develop such ‘love….’



  5. eddie viray says:


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