Ah, this is a pithy one!
Simply look at your own basic awareness, mind, noting that if you pursue it to the deepest level (which means spending a lot of very still, silent time) there is nothing there.
No color, no shape, no size, no attributes or qualities – just awareness. Sometimes referred to as “pure awareness.” Awareness that has no content. Essentially, we realize that awareness is simply the potential to be aware of some content. So the mind, in itself, without anything else, is nothing.
Pursuing this, eventually we see that the nature of everything is impermanence, emptiness or shunyata – not that it doesn’t exist, but simply that everything is empty of an independent, abiding nature. So it doesn’t exist in and of itself, it only exists in co-existence with everything else.
As I said, pithy. You might have guessed that this is the essential thing you must get before much else in the Buddhist meditation catalog really works for you…
POINT 2A, ULTIMATE BODHICHITTA TRAINING:
In the interest of developing compassion and openness, it’s perhaps best to regard whatever happens as only phantom… “Nothing ever happens. But because nothing happens, everything happens.” I.E. don’t take this so-called ‘reality’ too seriously. Whatever ‘reality’ is, all we can ever know of it is what our mind-system perceives and conceives. Which keeps everything light and open….
Bodhichitta means enlightened heart or mind… ultimate Bodhichitta slogans are those that are concerned with the absolute nature of reality, as opposed to relative, which is the everyday practical stuff.
Before you get too stuck on this one, be sure you go on to #3 and #4…
The Preliminaries means shamatha meditation – basic, formless meditation.
This also includes the idea of the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind (to the path of Enlightenment): 1. the precious opportunity of a human life; 2. impermanence and death; 3. the reality of karma (cause & effect); and 4. the suffering that is samsara – normal life.
Kongtrul, one of the early commentators on these slogans, says: “Take an attitude of devotion to the path of loving-kindness.”