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 Unknown spring 93 Mind like an illusion before life is like a dream
The theme we are on is trying to align our minds with reality. There is no other way around it. The intention is to question how we see the world, how do I experience, the world, how do I experience myself, and am I in tune with reality?
That is the question we have been dealing with. That is what we have been delving into. The process of meditation is a process for continuity of experience. It is not like you do your meditation and you get this special thing and then you come out of meditation and other things happen. It is to try to have continuity so it is an integrated lifestyle. And also that it has a spiritual as well as an intellectual approach. It is a reality which has spiritual implications in the sense of delving into what we do not understand. What we would like to try to understand. The meaning of life, and such things.
So that gives us the greater context. The actual situation is that we have a lot of things which break up the stream of our consciousness. For example we would say a meditative persona has a certain amount of inner focus, certain amount of inner awareness. If you have a proper understanding of reality, then when you into yourself, it should be that you touch base with who you are and feel grounded and at one with yourself. What get is the way of that is that we get extroverted or caught up with the world.
To think of an example. You hear of detachment as very important. Yet detachment in itself isn't important. Detachment is a technique which leads you to the attainment of what you want which is freedom or liberty. So the detachment is not the end result, but the process which brings you into realization.
I am certain all of us have our own private little things. Let's say I went into your house and disturbed your thing. And immediately you would get flustered and such. That whole thing! We are completely extroverted! The point is that is an example of our mind completely loosing it's composure. That object whatever, completely takes all our power because suddenly it is exposed and we feel defeated. We have this existence. Our existence is not well integrated. We are not honest with ourselves. There are many things about our self, our inner personal life, for example, which is our secret! We are ashamed or embarrassed about it. Because of those things, we act a certain a way! We are aggressive or have an inferiority complex or a whole variety of things because of all of this extroversion, empowering objects outside of ourselves so we ourselves are divested of power. WE are complete under the power of other things. Principally we are under the power of our own ignorance. Our own mind's inability to withdraw the energy so we have freedom.
Ultimately we want the freedom and liberty of consciousness, that we have blissful existence. That we are happy and have good feelings and no inhibitions. We have a very honest existence with ourself. Moving toward enlightenment is that process.
My point of bringing this us is to say we are extroverted. We have empowered the world around us rather than empowering ourselves. WE have lost our own control or given away responsibility for our existence, therefore we suffer from ignorance, pride, jealousy, envy. All these emotions afflict us because of that. We are proud because something about us is special. We are jealous because someone else has something more special and they get more fame. We are envious because someone has more prosperity than we do and we have to work harder. There is a variety of masses of other delusions. Attachment, aversion and so on. All manifest in us and completely make us loose our composure. Our mind is always extroverts and suffering because of that.
the process of investigating the nature of reality is to try to give us the ability to bring our mind back within with detachment and such. The whole theme has been the investigation of any object. Last time I put the planter in front of us all and said if you allowed your mind to go into it in an intelligent and penetrative manner, and have your mind stop at any point that if finds, the actual essence of plant that we have. And isn't it that as yon mind went out and touched the plant it just kept on going through, because although it touched the leaf, it wasn't the final essence of the plant. And into the stem and so on. But every time the mind touched an object, it would highlight other objects within the interdependent matrix of that plants existence. So you ended up with your mind going straight on through and you ended up with the realization that there was no self existent plant. That the plant was fully integrated with the world around it.
That realization is a relative approach to the ultimate nature of reality. And the implications of that are unbelievable because it means if you applied that and realized that object and then applied it to other objects around you, you can realize the whole of existence, the conditioned phenomenal world is of the nature of interdependence. And within that then, where does your sense of self existence, your sense of independence, your sense of ego, where does it come from? It has no basis.
And that is the ultimate position of Buddhism. Where is that sense of self existence ego-hood you have been identifying with and functioning from, where is it? Because you won't find it. And that not finding it is voidness. It didn't take anything away. It is said that everything happening, the whole plant, nothing was stripped of the plant. But what was stripped was the unconscious projection that plant had a real essence. Whereas plant has an essence. A very interdependent essence. A very beautifully co-existent nature. But it does not have an inherent existence which you can touch and you can say, that is where plant gets it's juice from. That was the whole focus of the previous week's discussion.
Now I want to give two techniques. I am not going to have time tonight for both, so one will wait for next week. The techniques are basically non drug educed techniques. Actually in Hinduism, they have an allowance for smoking dope! Just for spiritual aspirants, not for regular people. But if you are a sadhu you get your little pipe and go OM Shankar and suck on it! And get really ripped. Then of course you go through life feeling very airy fairy and life is wonderful. And that is a technique to loosen up the grasping at existence. To get detachment. If you are ripped enough, hey life is easy and you just flow through it. In India, it's supported. You beg for food. And if your a sadhu, your allowed to smoke dope, it's legal. So the whole existence is supportive of being a freak! Of course you have to be a religious freak. Devoted to Shiva, and in doing that, That is the practice.
Buy anyway there are many things that don't work well. They say that smoking dope actually plugs up the nerve channels in the body so you don't want to do that because the nerve channels are what help you gain realization. It is the channels upon which your mind energy runs, so if you plug them up, your mind gets plugged up too! So that is one strike against why it is not good to get stoned all the time. And also of course, you are crating dependency upon something to be able to attain a higher state of consciousness. What we want to say is a more realized state of consciousness.
A more realistic one is to try to utilize a technique which is powerful to your mind. There are two of which one is being able to see the world like an illusion. The second one is to see the world like a dream. For tonight I would like to talk on the world as like an illusion. Two weeks I will do it as the world is like a dream. In both there is a definite technique.
The most important thing in what I've said, in why I am taking this really long route is because this isn't to be seen as just a mind game. The reality is that we are already playing mind games and we are making ourselves, depressed and all sorts of things because of the way we have already unconsciously assumed things were like this and that. That existence is real. I am real. By misapprehending ourselves and other things we have made ourselves quite crazy. So that is the reality and the technique we are going to rely on is one to help us loosen up the bonds that we have set ourself in.
The world as like illusion. The world is not illusion. That is something which is important. We do not strip reality of it's fabric. There is relative existence and it has a very real existence. It has a productive nature. But it is a co dependent existence. It is not independently self existent. It is interdependent. Similarly we are too! So let's get our mind into how does our mind start to become more in tune with being interdependent. Being part of the whole process.
Well, that is done through detachment. Through learning how to withdraw projections. How do you with draw the energy that you normally invest in something. Like when you see something, like this is my watch! I have to admit that right now of course I am the enlightened meditator who is giving this wonderful discourse! But if someone came in here and smashed my watch, I would get quite excited. I would say, be calm Jhampa, everyone is watching! But this watch was meaningful to me! I am being serious! I would freak out!
The point is, we all have clinging. So what is the technique to help us become more detached, gain a little more space that puts us more in tune with that interdependent nature where we don't feel too threatened, where we feel supported of developing all the qualities of what are entailed in realizing interdependence. Such as empathy, love and compassion, wisdom, there is a whole gambit of wisdom to be realized from realizing interdependence. Empathy, love and compassion are natural emotional responses.
What helps catch our mind is, Buddha said existence, samsara is like an illusion. Or, like an image in a mirror. I don't know if this will work, but I will try! The best one, take Rounis restaurant. If you go in Rounis, they have created a nice illusion of a really big restaurant. One whole wall is glass. Mirror. So when you go in there, the room looks very big. That is the best thing! But I had to have something which is really practical.
If I had a door frame and put a mirror in it, most of you would look and think there is another room there! I don't know if any of you can get that. That maybe you can make a hole in the wall and there are a bunch of people sitting in there! The problem is, if you get your reflection back, it doesn't work. But this is something to help you get a really strong feeling about it. The best thing is, sure maybe you have experience to go into a restaurant where they have the mirrors on one wall which is the easiest ploy by a restaurant to make it look spacious. And you sit there, without being too critical, you can glance around and think the room is more spacious than it is. And your mind then will suddenly realize it is an illusion. That is not the real place. And you try to take back the projection. Suddenly it is taken back! But that is not the issue is that you have to take your mind into seeing the world as if it were a reflection in the mirror.
It is not the the world is non existent like the image in the mirror, it is that the world is like an image in a mirror where you withdraw the projection. That is the point. The reason you do it is for all the previous reasons I have explained in building up to this! Right now I don't know if the mirror is in the right place for you to get this impression. But we are going to do meditation now.
The focus of the meditation is reality. And that when we sit and have a quiet blissful feeling, that we loose that so quickly when we come out of our meditation. The reason is, we grasp and cling to the external reality. Our projections are so strong that it is just there! And we have no way to easily withdraw the projection because we believe so strongly with no investigation, that that is there really! That that is independent self existence there.
To help us try to develop the ability to withdraw projections, tonight's meditation is merely an introduction to helping you by one technique, to withdraw. If you can get the technique down in your mind, it can be interesting. In your mind, bring to mind like sitting in a restaurant and believing there are people thirty or forty feet over there. And then you recognize this as an illusion. Suddenly the mind realizes it is not real! And that letting go is the emotion you want regarding reality generally . Because if you can do it with right understanding, with the understanding of why you have let go, because, that person over there that looks like my enemy is not independently self existent. they are an interdependent phenomena. So when my supervisor walks in the room, and criticises you, when those emotions kick in, normally you get defensive or aggressive or feel incompetent. Whatever. A whole sloe of emotions which are completely out of reality. They are all based on me being truly existent, any action as truly existent1 Everything becomes to real!
So you have to realize that they are just a phenomena which is interdependent. You can completely divest or strip away the clinging that this is being anything that is truly existent that makes you emotional and neurotic. Strip it away so you can relax and feel comfortable. You still might defend your project. You still might do a few things, but you are not going to do it from a neurotic position, but from one that it just another multitude of things within this world of interdependence. It is a suitable object.
For you as individuals, I hope you can delve into this. There are positive realizations. Such things as self esteem, well being, health, mental health. All of these are intricately involved in it because the mind is moving into reality realism compared to living in a world of projections and false realities!
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