Q: Is kindness and the consideration of other individuals a natural response to the awareness of your own condition?
NN: If we use kindness and awareness as symbols for form and emptiness, then kindness can never be different from awareness. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form – kindness is awareness, awareness is kindness.
Q: So you could start from kindness and realise awareness.
NN: Yes – in a sense it is easier to start from kindness, as we all have a sense of what is kind. Our ability to be aware of the clarity of our view, and to see directly into what is needed in a situation is not so guaranteed.
Q: I wanted to ask about the idea of a hero or warrior not holding back or having doubts. The part for me where there is doubt – is that I’d be arrogant to think that I was always right.
NN: I do not think that is what is being suggested. ‘Continuing without doubt’ refers to the confidence of recognising direct introduction to rigpa. It concerns being in that space so totally that you are not watching yourself being there, or assessing the nature of that space against previous experience.
The fearlessness and hopelessness of the warrior is confidence in motivation, honour, and integrity. Our motivation is inevitably mixed. We are dualistic beings, so our motivation is dualistic. But if we do the kind deed and notice that part of the motivation was to feel good about ourselves, that is honest and open. But the point about arrogance is a good one – you can’t go dragging old ladies across the road unless they want to go! [Laughter]
Q: What if your action affects other people in ways that you aren’t aware of?
NN: You can only do your best. Situations and motivations are always going to be mixed – so simply keep kindness uppermost in your mind and… just do your best.