Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Sept 17 1991
For this evening I wanted to deal with the basic of meditation as personal awareness and awareness of one's own state of being. It is important that when one enters situation in day to day activities that one has clarity of one's own personal being. At least the awareness or thought of where one would like to come from as the state of awareness we have is the indicator of our state of being. To try to develop an open level of consciousness in being observant and clear, not being too calculated prejudiced or overly discriminating in an intellectual manner regarding the experiences one is having. So there has to be an open state of mind, a state of mind which is not grasping too strongly.
The mind that grasps strongly is one which clings or making demands from particular sort of ideals it might have. You want to think about your consciousness when it is sitting there inside your body, is formed or motivated by your mind. But it has the capacity to be observant without the intellectual part of it dominating. So the pursuit of meditation has various objectives, principally conscious experience is crucial to the development of our spirituality. Just the assumption of philosophy or ideas does not mean anything good is happening. You are possibly becoming more educated spiritually, but it does not mean that you are working with yourself effectively.
It is important for yourselves as individuals, for sometimes we have the idea that we would like to become more spiritually educated, and that is really not that beneficial and I would recommend that although you might pursue that, the real point is how comfortable you can be just to sit here and now. Just be a person in touch with yourself, having good feelings, and be familiar with that position. Spiritual education is beneficial to help you to establish what I said, to be a more integrated person.
With that being the objective, the meditation we are going to do for now is the cultivation of awareness and trying to gain a conscious experience which allows ourself to see that the intellectual formulation of ideas is not so crucial or dominate in conscious participation of life. It colors everything you experience, it throws in all the commentary as to what we experience, but that does not mean that it is right, and we find that easy to validate because we have wrong ideas about things. Or prejudiced ideas about things. Sometimes it takes strong things to break our concept or idea.
If we understand that intellectually, that is good. But when you meditate, the most important thing is that when you sit that you allow yourself to be conscious awareness. You have five doors of conscious awareness, five tactile sensations with body, eye, ear, nose, and tongue input. Those five doors of conscious experience are just that. They allow information to come into your mind. Mind sits at the center of your chest at your heart, and that is known as the seat of mind. So mind then receives that information.
There are many ways to approach meditative experience or equilibrium, but in this sense I would like to move you towards to have to try to work towards an experience of conscious awareness within the framework of saying, you have five doors of conscious awareness and the sixth, which is the mind which is appraising and viewing all of these things. We are going to take our mind and allow it to become a little more observant and not immediately color something. And this is something we do, it is spontaneous for us. It is not bad, but it is to gain more depth to our conscious experience, to put a quality of depth to it, which maybe we have not developed in the past. And it helps us increase or grow a little bit further in our own personal evolution to break up strong sense of self independent existence. So we become more open minded, less prone to prejudice into rigidity of ideas. That is the sense of the objective, to be more open minded.
To do that you have to have the mind break up it's rigidity. The meditation technique is to take ourself and say alright, my mind which is processing the various information which Jhampa is saying, is going to be inside. And it is going to start realizing that there is sense data which is coming to my eyes, nose tongue and body. In one way we could say that is reality of this moment. The statement of the bank account or the condition of the house are non realities in the sense that they are things which we become very concerned and caught up with but in reality, we are sitting here and now and we do not have our bank account, we are not in our bank, we are not in our house. We are here. And we should not allow ourselves to fantasize to those areas. We should just try to be in the moment.
With that being the case, being in the immediate moment, then allow yourself to experience I am having eye ear, nose, tongue, and body sense data. I am experiencing something. And just allow your mind to try to be passive while you are observing that. While observing that, you can immediately see this personality kick in and say I have ideas about this and that. And you can say, it is just an experience. And so you allow your mind to become more open to different objects, that things are just experiences, we don't need to immediately color them with personal prejudice. And with a little personal investigation, we can experience and realize that often our own personal concepts are prejudice we might carry. It might not be as valid as we would like to believe.
If I am a chauvinistic pig, I might one day realize that being chauvinistic pig is not the only way that the world exists, there are a lot of other options in existence. So I move out of being so closed minded and chauvinistic. I am sure each one of you have your own experiences where maybe you have realized that a particular position you held is not as valid as you feel it was. As soon as you realize that, you can appreciate some of the validity of this meditation technique.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
All Rights Reserved