Equalising Doctor Who & the Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 2)

Continued from
Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 1)
Dissolving generations of enmity between the Doctor and the Daleks with Buddhist wisdom.

The Doctor suffering from Dalek aversion


 We’re in a Fabricated Reality

~ just like Oswin is.
Having discussed the basics of equanimity and equalising the Doctor and the Daleks in part 1, we can explore them further with Oswin.
We met Oswin when she helped to guide the Doctor and companions safely through the Dalek asylum in episode 1 of the new series.

Poor Oswin, she’s an intriguing character. Self admitted ‘slightly sexy genius’, she’s a cyber geek who can be cleverer than the Doctor.
Reclusive even for a geek, she doesn’t leave her shipwrecked cabin. Oswin’s been hiding there, unscathed for a year. She’s hacked into the Dalek’s hive mind. She has a tongue that’s a little too sharp for comfort.

These and other hints lead us to the chilling discovery that Oswin is actually a Dalek herself – something so unacceptable, she won’t even admit it to herself. She’s made up a whole reality to protect herself from the truth. The shipwrecked cabin she’s living in, is in reality, a mental fabrication.

[* video temporarily out of order]
*  The Doctor tells Oswin how she’s dreamed up her own little world to live in
….as do we all.

Our Reality isn’t Real

We’re all in a similar situation, BTW. Well, we haven’t all become Daleks; but the words you’re reading, the screen you’re looking at, the room you’re in – even the body you’re in – it’s all just a mental fabrication. No more real than the text on Oswin’s monitor or the cabin she’s in. It’s all an illusion created by a desperate mind.

OK, so that’s just TV, made in a TV studio. But the analogy is spot on for our situation. Our minds might not be that desperate, and the mental fabrication we’re living in is a result of our karma, rather than a coping mechanism; but it doesn’t exist outside of our minds, anymore than the soufflé Oswin makes exists outside of her mind.

This is profound Dharma. It takes some thinking about. (Many years, if you want to go down the rabbit hole to liberation ;~) But it’s worth some patient consideration anyway, as it can immediately take the sting out of things.


Buddhists call this lack of concrete, unfindable existence ’emptiness’. It’s how things exist. It’s the ultimate nature of reality. Everything comes from the mind, and even that doesn’t exist from it’s own side. Without even knowing it, we dream all this up – the joys, the pain, the everyday routine – none of it’s real.
As the Doctor tells Oswin “It’s a dream Oswin. You dreamed it for yourself.”

It’s not real. None of it is.  It was never really there.

Buddha explained emptiness emptiness using the dream analogy.
Ever noticed how real the dream appears to the dreamer? “In our dream a whole world appears to us, functioning in it’s own way… completely independent of our mind.” (Geshe Kelsang) When actually, the dreamscape is inseparable from the mind that’s dreaming it. Of course it is. But that’s how our waking world exists as well – inseparable from the mind that’s creating it. And it’s nowhere to be found outside of that mind.
Phenomena’s unfindability is its emptiness.” (Gen Samten)

the Equality of Doctor Who & the Daleks

We can see that there is no difference between the Doctor and the Daleks, in that they all want to be happy, and not to suffer (as do we all), and they’re going about it in completely the wrong way. They see each other as hostile, alien species. But showing a pretty young girl who’s been fully converted into a Dalek, shows us how underneath the metal casing and that  bow-tie; the Daleks and the Doctor aren’t so disimilar as they’d like to think.
As the 7th Dalai Lama said, “Whoever I behold, of high position or low… in essence they are all equal. They all experience problems in their lives.”

How many years have  the Doctor and the Daleks been fighting? And just how much do they hate each other? The Doctor says “I’ve tried to stop.” It hasn’t happened so far, but maybe with this understanding it could.

In emptiness there isn’t even a Doctor or any Daleks.

This is the killer shot that completely equalises them.

They’re all just mental fabrications, dreamed up by their respective minds. There’s no basis for hatred in the space of emptiness – and that’s what’s so blissful about it. Even just a glimmer of this wisdom in a mind darkened by anger can lighten it.
(more to come on this...)
The characters here are fictional – but it doesn’t take too much thinking about to equate it with situations we’re familiar with.
It’s not the easiest truth to get your head around, but so worth it. It’s ‘profound’ because it’s subtle and hard to understand. But as you do, everything rapidly changes for the better.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso quotes from old hardcopies of Heart of Wisdom and Joyful Path of Good Fortune
Copyright of Dr. Who video owned by the BBC, reproduced for educational purposes.

See also:
Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 1)
Meditations on emptiness from Vide Kadampa
Discussion on emptiness from Luna Kadampa
Luna’s current article A Temple for this place and time  (as above) reads well with this one

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Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 1)


The Doctor suffering from Dalek aversion


Equanimity a balanced mind free from strong attachment and aversion, based on the ignorance of not knowing how things are.
This blissfully peaceful mind unfortunately doesn’t come naturally. It takes practice to see our way through deluded minds like attachment and aversion, which are distinctly lacking in happiness or peace. These states of mind are based on the ignorance of not knowing the truth of how thing really are. They cause us to grasp at some people and things, and reject others, causing all manner of problems.

Equanimity on the other hand, is a feel-good mind. It comes from holding others with a gentle, tender regard (Geshe Chekhawa). As we practice this, it naturally develops into what Shantideva describes as seeing “all beings equally with the eye of compassion.

That’s rather than the angry mind viewing others with the wish to vaporise them. That doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t matter how many planets the Daleks destroy, or how many people they re-format – it’ll never make them happy.

¸   . •   *   ¨

As Shantideva says, “selfish desires are a bottomless pit.”

Equalising the Doctor and the Daleks

The understanding that we all want to be happy and free from suffering, leads to understanding the equality of self and others – that there really is no difference between any of us – we all want to be happy and free from suffering. Even the Daleks and the Doctor – they’re just going about it the wrong way. As long as they remain alien to each other, there’s little hope.

I love the Doctor to bits. He’s been one of my heroes since I was a kid. But this is his 11th regeneration, and he’s still suffering in similar ways to us humans on earth. How many remembered lifetimes does it take to work out that brilliant as he is, his methods just don’t work? Each time he saves the Universe, or just the Earth from annihilation from one heinous threat, another one comes along. There has to be another way, doesn’t there?
The problems just keep on coming.

You don’t have to be a fan of the Doctor to know he’s got history with the the Daleks . They’ve got generations of enmity between them.
It’s understandable really – The Daleks are “a powerful race bent on universal conquest and domination, utterly without pity, compassion or remorse.” (Wikipedia) And the Doctor caused the mutual genocide of both the Daleks, as well as his own race of Time-Lords.
Doesn’t seem like much there’s much room for finding common ground there.

But this is science fiction, set in space!
There’s lots of room for improvement in space.

The potential for these peaceful, powerful minds is found in Asylum of the Daleks.
(nb. ** 1st episode SPOILERS. I’ve not got a T.V, so I’m only just catching up with the new series myself)

Briefly, having been kidnapped by the Daleks and forced to help them; the Doctor and his companions are helped to navigate through the Dalek asylum by a ‘slightly sexy genius’ called Oswin. She’s immediately likeable, pretty, brave and perky. She’s trapped in a shipwrecked cabin and surrounded by Daleks. She’s only got a dictaphone and the Daleks’ hive mind that she’s hacked into for company.
Not best.
As Oswin says, she’s “keen to move on.


The Doctor and Rory feel affinity for Owin and don’t want her to suffer. These are the loving minds loving minds of compassion that Buddhism promotes, and the ones that will bring us peace and happiness. They’re the ones to work on.
Definitely preferable to vaporising people.

Continued in Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 2)
Meditations on
Equanimity  from Daily Lamrim on Equalising Self and Others and Equanimity
Asylum of the Daleks ep 1, series 7 on BBC1 iPlayer
(so it’s good for the UK until 6th Oct, not sure about anywhere else)
Shantideva quotes from Meaningful to Behold, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

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