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 March 31 1992
For this evening, I am not going to continue with mahamudra, but rather touch bases again with basic meditation and intention." The Buddha said we should always look at the teachings and the world around us and appraise them and come to our own conclusions. It is said that like when someone gives you a piece of gold, it would be foolish to assume it is pure, that one should first test it to validate it's purity, and thereby come to a vivid experience of pure gold. Once you have done your investigations and gained that realization, there is no doubt!
With any of the teachings that one receives regarding meditation and such, the important thing is that one does ones own investigations and takes the teachings merely as advice, and applies it to one's own life and investigates and draw one's own conclusions. The basis of the teachings are really on one's own personal experience, and the teachings in themselves are to be guide lines for our own investigations.
Therefore, one of the most important things is the investigation of our own mind and our own conscious experience. That of course, requires that we meditate and spend some time in self contemplation. To develop that ability, it is necessary to relax and not to cling to the thoughts that flow through us. So in the scheme of the mahamudra, the teachings are aimed towards a point of awareness which allows us to observe and become familiar with the workings of our mind. And on the basis of that awareness, which is observing, that we can draw our conclusions gained from our realizations, approach a more enlightened position for our attitude.
Without giving too much body to the meditation, I would like to say that when you observe your mind, it is said to be like a large pool of water and the various thoughts that we have are like various object which float through the water. There is sediment which settles on the bottom, bubbles which bubble up, and eddies and swirls, whatever is happening. Our mind should be like a small fish which swims to a corner and watches the process of the mind.
In doing so, the important facet is that we do not cling to various emotions. So much of our life is when we have a particular emotion and experience, and we grasp to it so strongly, and feel that it is so real. Then we make decisions, do various activities and such because it seems so real. Yet, the next day, we might feel them so ridiculous! Yet at the time, the mid really believes in itself. It really thinks things are that way and one becomes so consumed with anger or whatever!
The interesting realization is that at the time when you were having all those thoughts, you were really miserable. But at the time it is hard to see how miserable we are! The delusion of anger, resentment, and whatever it is that is bothering you, is creating an incredible amount of suffering for our existence. And if we act on it, right away spontaneously, we can create an incredible amount of damage to our own life! We may find ourself alone and with a great deal of emptiness and all because we got angry. Was it really necessary to be so angry! Not to say that all relationships are like it. Sometimes our marriages or friendships will fall apart and we will go our separate ways.
It is important though, that our mind or attitude has the ability to pause. The point is, if we develop the ability to observe our mind, it is very much part of that that we can start to recognize that anger is based on circumstances. Change them a little, and the anger, resentment whatever, can change! The easiest example I can give is, you interact with someone and they are rude to you! You get hostile. Maybe they even say nasty things to you! And then someone gives you a little information and your view changes! They just had a death in the family! Or are ill! And then suddenly you can accept whatever they said to you! And your mind opens and accepts it with sympathy or whatever! A few little words and ones whole mind can drop all the anger or resentment whatever!
That ability is because we have a realization of the situation as being in reality different from what we had assumed things to be. So if with meditation, we develop awareness, the awareness is to be aware of our mind. Our conscious attitude and such. It is not just me off becoming a space cadet and out of touch with reality! It is more to become aware and conscious of ourselves. And in this sense, for example, to allow different thoughts to go through the mind and not cling to them. And if you yourself have had experience, or just put some energy to it, it is interesting to observe how one or two bits of information can completely color you upset, or angry or whatever, all this incredible emotion. Our mind is not something very independent. Not separate. Our mind is very interdependent, and if we can realize that, we become more humble in recognizing that if we invite into our environment objects we have an inability to handle or cope with, then we are going to get angry with situations. It is going to happen because it is in the realm of influencing us.
Similarly, if we invite things which are special, that is why we have altars or special pictures, when you look at them, it invokes a sense of peace or happiness or harmony. It is a circumstance which brings forth those emotions. So to be a good meditator, it is important to develop awareness which allows ourselves to have the ability to watch different feelings, different ideas and thoughts go through our mind, and not cling to them. Just to recognize that is arising because of circumstances, that emotions arise. Recognizing the points which might stimulate your mind, and then the circumstances which add fuel to it.
It is important to be able to develop the ability to just watch. In the next fifteen minutes of meditations, something will arise. Something which was recently important. So it arises. Then you can see other thoughts moving around it. What are my needs? Emotions, things like that! And just in watching, don't buy into it and you will find they will settle again. Mind will become peaceful again. More relaxed. And that ability will become very important at other times when you are excited, hostile or angry. To be able to sit down and spend a few moments. And with the ability to reflect or remember that one can let thoughts go, you actually will find there is peace of mind.
It is interesting to remember a time when you got angry with someone you spend a lot of time with. And then at a later date when you relaxed and looked back and realized how miserable you were. And how happy you would have made life if you had acted on it. That capacity ito realize that is a wonderful thing. It is an ammunition for you to be able to have a happier life.
So for meditation, it is important to have an awareness which is clear, able to see emotions when they arise and to be able to, if they are negative emotions which make us unhappy, that we do not grasp to them and act them out. We learn how to release or not perpetuate them, termed the cyclic existence in Buddhism. Cyclic means it goes around, around and around. So if you have particular negative feelings and you grasp to them , you reinforce them that they again come around and around. And until one can break the cycle, start a new way of relating to anger and such, they will be repetitive, so we take on a conscious ability to not cling to thoughts as they arise, and thereby develop tranquillity in our mind.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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