Annual India Tours
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.
Nanaimo Feb 16 93
Two weeks ago I re-initiated some of the teaching process because in some ways, there has been some misunderstandings so I thought it very important to clarify that. Last week I introduced it along the lines that the teachings of the ultimate nature of reality are in two areas, called the development of the two wisdoms, mundane or relative wisdom, or ultimate wisdom.
The mundane nature of reality does not contradict the ultimate nature, but the mundane aspect is the recognition of the functioning of nature.To delve into that is to try to understand or gain an appreciation of how things function in a way that is becoming aware of the various interplay of things. Within that, one can gain a stepping stone to gain an experience of the ultimate nature of reality. To differentiate the two, you work on the relative plane of existence to set up an image or an understanding of the ultimate nature of reality in that the ultimate nature is inarticulate as an experience. It is like trying to explain the taste of sugar. To try to describe to another the taste of sugar, is like to trying to describe the ultimate level of existence. That side we will talk about in two weeks time.
To continue on the relative nature of reality, because the more we understand that the better or easier it is to understand the ultimate. Last week I brought leggo blocks. And when you investigate the nature of something, for example, the nature of yourself, the most fundamental question is, who am I, what am I? We often question the meaning of life. A very basic question for someone who is trying to understand what is happening around them.
In investigating that, for a Buddhist, the objective is not to find things that are not there, but to become more conscious of what is there and the function or nature of those objects. So I put down the leggo blocks and asked you as an experiencing entity, are those leggo blocks. And we broke them into the various pieces that we would like to identify. And it is like taking a pie. You can cut it into quarters, eights, or however you cut it, it is still pie and all you nave done is identify the pieces or sections. But it still as a whole makes up a pie. Similarly, if you take the personality, we can designate certain areas, such as form, feelings, perceptions, thinking process and the consciousness aspect, those five parts are like the chunks of leggo blocks I put together. And when you investigate those parts, it is not that you are looking for something that is not there, rather it is coming to know what is there! And in doing that, you can come to recognize what maybe you assumed was there, was not there at any time.
As a conscious experiencing person, you are a functioning conscious entity. But when as a Buddhist, you investigate your nature, become settled, become meditative, go within your being and try to investigate it, it is not to try to go to voidness, such as when we talk of sunyata, then you have completely missed the mark if you expect to go inside and find some vacuity or some sort of experience which is never experienced before. Like there is a little place over here and you can go there and all sorts of weird things happen. It is not like that at all. It is in fact, the exact opposite. That when you observe, and become contemplating about yourself, it is merely the process of recognizing the five segments which we said were the whole. As I say, however you divide the pie, you do not negate any aspect of what you are experiencing, it is rather becoming conscious of it and the interplay. That brings us to the point we covered up to last week.
Now I want to talk about ramifications. You might say, this is very interesting, but what does it have to do with me? With my relationship with others, with my relationship with the world? My relationship to myself? Actually this investigation has an incredible thing in that you will shift from the way you presently view the world to a much more authentic vision. In shifting, it is the way you appreciate reality or the things you are experiencing that is going to make how you change. It is not, like I say, that God made the world in seven days, and you go yes, and believe humbly. It is not like laying on a truism. Rather, it is a process of observation, conscious observation, and recognizing what those observations mean as in the implications.
When you start to recognize the implications, you actually then have a shift in conscious awareness as how you interrelate with the world, people, and yourself. That shift then is the enlightened process. That is the way you actually become enlightened. The way that happens is by observing the nature of yourself, for example.
The problem that exists is in the way we see the world. We as a conscious experiencing entity are looking at the object such as this flower and saying flower, self existent flower. There is a flower there that is giving me the message flower. It is telling me flower. And also, there is a strong sense that flower has it's own nature. For example, if I took a seed and planted it, when the right circumstances came together, warmth, water, soil and spring, the sprout develops. We have to say that there is a real sprout there! And it will grow and finally flower. It did not do anything else, it became a flower! That mind which recognizes all of that, is recognizes the parts that arise in the process of the plants growth. For example there is the seed. Planted it will grow, and very strongly comes the "Sprout". Our mind really holds to that! Our belief that it is an independent sprout, that mind set, all those ways of thinking, are actually our ignorance. It is our mind with no depth to it, just superficial looking.
Because of that kind of mind, we have the belief in ourself exactly as we have the belief in that plant. We believe then that we are existent, therefore we grasp to ourselves, and because of that, of course we like the things which make us feel good and therefore cling to those and try to draw them around. Anything that gets in the way of that we get angry about or defensive, and then we retaliate. This is all based on the assumption that that is a very real solid sprout coming out of the ground, and there is a very real seed and then plant manifesting. And that is how we consciously experience.
When you investigate the nature of yourself, you are not looking for something which is not there. You are just becoming very conscious of the way you are experiencing, like how I sit, how I am having sensations and feelings. The valid things which are arising in your experience. Valid in the sense of sensations and such of how you are experiencing. Even actually, your emotional states. You are becoming conscious of them, how they are, what is their nature, their flux and flow as they interact.
I wanted to take this, because it is easier to use something eternal. This seed, all of your are going to say that this is going to be a flower. The strength of that, the karmic force, or the energy that, the genetic energy of that flower seed is that it is going to grow a sprout. You can see it grow and finally become a flower. And it is so real! The point is though, I am going to ask you, at any point, that seed, sprout that will come and finally the flower, at any point they can be actually changed. It is not that you can make it change into something different, you can't make a canterbury bell become a daisy, but the flow of the genetic energy is actually on a karmic sort of path it is going to take. With the right conditions it would start to grow. But actually, the entity of the seed has been fully interrelating with the world around it. Although the karmic force to produce the seed is going to be very strong, we can change it. If we withhold the water it would wither and die! If we added growth hormones it would grow stronger! And so on.
So though you can say that there is a strong stream of genetic karmic force which is going to produce the plant, it is always capable of being influenced. Within that, y0u do not have a truly existent or really existent flower, you have a dynamic interplay immutable, changeable flower. For example, this canterbury bell, if it were in rich soil, it may have been thicker! twice as large, twice as healthy! But being in the soil it was, it grew only to this size. It responded exactly to the supports it had around it. So we have a very interdependent produced flower right here.
We did not take anything away from it. We did not add anything to it, we just observed the process that produced it and recognized the dynamics that made it come to that state. That validation of that is exactly what you do with yourself. That you, as you sit to meditate, the body structure you have, the personality you have, the type of personality, nervous, aggressive or so forth, all that is part of what created you, it is not that you are self existent Bob, Teri, or whoever, you grew to the structure that you have. At some point you might have been bigger or stronger if you had a different upbringing, or weaker, or your personality might have been a little different. The point is, when you think of yourself as an individual, you think, I am a me and this is how I feel! but you never appreciate that actually you are a product of a variety of things coming together. And if you did appreciate that, I think you would change the way you live your life.
You would maybe have a different appreciative interplay. An appreciation of the dynamics of who and what you are. A recognition that you are a self existent so and so. That actually, your appreciation of your self is changed. You have not taken away anything from yourself, but just become appreciative of the dynamic of your existence. And that is the wisdom of the relative nature of reality.
That is the point I want us to meditate on tonight. That process is important that it has a development or evolution to it. For this evenings meditation, when you sit, I want you to use the plant in front us. you are not taking away anything, nor adding something, you are just appreciating the thing that produced that plant. The soil, moisture and such. All of the dynamics, and that it is changeable in that if it dried out it would die. So there is no static self existent plant there. Just a plant which is totally the expression of interdependence of the environment around it. And ourselves as individuals, it is important to recognize our interplay dynamic. And it is done by observation, just being yourself. It is the most natural thing you can do. Just to be observant of yourself. Not to take away or add to yourself, if you sit here and have negative thoughts, it is because you have become accustomed to having negative styles of thoughts. You have had that sort of thing saying it is alright to have negative thoughts. Or you may be having positive thoughts. Well, that is part of the dynamic that brought you to this moment! So you cannot take away anything of what you are, just become appreciative that at this moment you are an expression of the dynamics of the interplay. A whole variety of things have brought you to this level of physical stature, level of emotional feelings, intellectual understandings, perceptive awareness and conscious energy.
So for our meditation, it can be defined as the appreciation of the relative nature of the phenomenal universe, or relative nature of reality. And in sitting there, it is allowing yourself to appreciate the dynamic of who you are as you sit there. If you sit there and you get bored in ten seconds, it is because your mind is rigid and uptight. Rather, you have to allow yourself to appreciate the dynamic of being as you sit to meditate.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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