I'm sitting in a chair in my living room gazing at the view through 3 windows. Often I offer the beauty of that scene to the Buddhas, but today I am focusing on how things exist, contemplating how "the things I normally see or perceive do not exist." They do exist, but not the way they seem to (as solid entities that have nothing to do with me) but ultimately as appearances, like dreams. Having trim around each window makes a kind of frame to the picture of blue skies, treetops, birds, roofs and chimneys.
When I walk my dog, I sometimes try to feel as though I'm walking in my mind - that it extends beyond my head or my body, so that I can consider how my mind is related to what I see. In some ways, walking outside in the neighborhood has the same appearances - I see a lot of the same stuff - as what I see sitting in my living room. But when I'm inside, looking through the "picture frame" view, it reminds me that it's like art, created by someone - that is, me.
P.S. I am not qualified to teach on this profound subject, the true nature of things, or emptiness. In fact, this whole blog is largely about my experiences of trying to understand various Buddhist teachings, not to be taken as teachings.
If you want an excellent, correct explanation of emptiness, there's a FREE ebook called Modern Buddhism that you can download from
to your computer, as a PDF, or in a format for Apple iOS, iPod, Kindle, Nook, etc. (scroll down to see all the options and instructions on how to use them).
The book covers all of Buddha's teachings, presented for us living in contemporary society; for emptiness read the section called "Training in Ultimate Bodhichitta."
In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."