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.
Feb 4 1990
We have been working with awareness and knowledge of what it means in the breathing process. And just how much you are dissolved into the world around you, part of the world around you. To try to make your mind as open or as conscious of that as possible. It seems that we have very rigid ideas, concepts and thoughts. And we really don't appreciate it so much. We might say Jhampa is right and of course I know that, but what we really have to do is to take that, take the ramifications of that, and apply it's meaning to our ideas of life, experiences and such things.
If you are intelligent and you go into it, you actually should go to quite profound levels in the sense that, to think that each pore of your body is communicating with the other pores. They are all inter-related and interacting. And that interaction does not stop at the surface of the skin. It goes right out into the world. By allowing your mind to go into the idea that you are part of the world, you would literally be able to dissolve and not end up with a sense of self existence because you would find that you are completely part of the world around you. We are talking on a physical level.
In doing that you have that balance which says "I am completely not independently self existent." You have a very definite and clear concept of I am interdependent. Nagarjuna, one of the great scholar saints in India, and one which propagated the middle path philosophy said that the king of reasons for the ultimate nature of reality is the balance between interdependence and sunyata or voidness. It means if you understand interdependence you understand the voidness or emptiness, which means emptiness of independent self existence.
So try to allow yourself to go into that reality that you are interdependent. You could with your mind, with your awareness of consciousness, completely dissolve every aspect of yourself into interdependence. For example, to take a piece of paper. If you put a drop of ink in the middle of the paper and it makes a splot, you could say it was independent, it was separate. It doesn't pervade everything. But what you have to do then is to investigate. Reality is, if you start to go deeper, then you would actually find that color was completely pervasive through the paper. This is a bad example. But lets say I tore a hole in the paper. Underneath is the red carpet. When I put it down the paper has the appearance of independence. Maybe this little hole of red there looks independent. But with wisdom, and looking deeper, take away the very thin appearance of things, the paper, and you find that everything is red.
Like that, if you take any one part of your physical body and ask how that part of the body exists, you would say it exists in dependence on the other parts around it. Of course you would say that's obvious. Then the whole body. And then you ask how does that exist? It exists because it is nurtured by food and the various things that cultivate and sustain it, the blood, and so on. And you start going deeper. And like I say, you would dissolve if you try to identify one part. You can dissolve that completely into that it is part of everything else around it.
Now it's nature is not that this is everything around it, but it is dissolved into the nature of oneness with every thing around it. It is not standing independently existent. You have to be subtle and catch that the thing is, my thumb is appearing separate. It appears as a singular entity. It looks a little different from everyone else's thumb. But when you look at the nature of the thumb and ask if it is self existent, it would dissolve. And actually it would end up that I couldn't find it. Where I look for the edge of my thumb's existence, I won't find it. As far as I go, I will find things interconnected with it. There are isotopes on the other side of this universe which are going to go through my thumb. They are interacting with it. I cannot find a place where my thumb is not interconnected with the rest of the universe.
And you sit there and agree. My whole body is that actually. My whole body is dissolved. And you try to take your little ego and you soften it up with that type of realization. So that is the whole technique that we are working with, to try to work in a very direct real manner with yourself, with your mind. To soften it and make it more receptive as to my body is part of the world around me. Then, you have to take that and apply it to your mind. Because we do have two distinct things. There is body. Paul could maybe chop off his arm and have it sewn on my arm. So our bodies are not unique to us alone. We can swap parts. Hearts, livers, kidneys, things like that. Then there is the mind, your emotions, your intellect and those sorts of things. You have to think about it and ask how is my mind? My body I can dissolve that into the nature of reality, find that it disappears, it's independence disappears into the nature of reality. So how does my mind exist?
If you think about it you have to say that mind is dependent on all the experiences that is has had up to this moment. Because I cannot all of a sudden be a nuclear physicist. I don't have that experience. Your mind is the product of that which has gone into it, what appears blatant from this lifetime. For example, my mother, father, sister, wife, kids, all of these things, have produced the Jhampa of this particular moment. I am not sure that is necessary to go into previous lifetimes. But you can say there are certain inclinations and feelings which I have that certainly rebirth does give a nice quality to that.
When you think about it, you already have a deep appreciation of the physical body as interconnected and interdependent. When you go to your mind, and the very strong feelings that we have, we do have very strong feelings. If one of your children or someone you are dear to do something, watch your emotions. There is incredible emotional fervor there. You can't say that that disappears when the body dies. That all that is gone. There is an incredible amount of emotion, feelings and thoughts and things there.
On the scale of interdependence it can be plausible that there is a previous lifetime's continuity coming to this lifetime and can go to the future lifetime. But again you have to ask, is that independently existent? Is that stream of consciousness that I have right now, my consciousness which is going along changing as it gets new experiences, expanding or contracting or whatever it is doing, is that independent or is it interdependent? When you start to investigate that, you will have to say, if I have an experience, it penetrates, invades my mind, or gets into my mind. So it changes my mind. Must be my mind is interdependent too! So you go and try to make that more consciously part of your existence. And so as you sit there and you breathe, take your sense of self, the sense of me or however you want to term it, and, it feels very independent. Like I feel I am me. But you have to realize that this me is actually wide open and lots of things get into it and affect it, change it. I am fully interdependent. So you try to make your ego, your personality or sense of self-hood, try to make it be more conscious that it is a relatable phenomena.
To get that experience as a more conscious and everyday experience is not easy. Maybe some of you might thing, easy, I understand that. But you really have to really see how your actions are. How you interact with others. So often we feel very independent and separate. We don't appreciate that we are interconnected and being influenced all the time and such. So try to take your ego and sense of self and make it more connected. Try to make yourself more realized that that is the way you are. And it doesn't mean that all of a sudden you become open to all these influences and that vibrations affect you that didn't affect you before or something, to be neurotic and say all of a sudden I am so sensitive. You have been sensitive from day one. It's just that you never appreciated it before.
So you try to make yourself more conscious of the fact that you are an interdependent phenomena of a physical level and also on an emotional being level. To phrase it in a different manner, you could say you actually not self existent or that you are void of self existence. And then you start to get into the experience of complete openness. Like that there is this movement of energy, my body's energy, my mind's energy, and try to make it a conscious experience. If you can do that, you have the wisdom side of your Buddhist practice.
After that, the only other thing is to be more conscious of love and compassion. And I have dealt with that at different times. How important love and compassion are. If you have a sense of true love and compassion or pure love and compassion, not attachment love, and compassion, then you have the method, the way that you act, which is kindness, consideration. However you have been able to realize it, then you try to express it. So you have those two facets. Wisdom, which is I am interdependent, love and compassion which assists your interdependence because you can appreciate my love, my good feelings that I have, will change the world because I am part of the world. Emotionally I am part of the world. Physically I am part of the world. So you have two very interconnected things which are not really separate. You separate them to make them clear for your own mind. That is the style of practice that we have been working at, to gain a more profound appreciation of that.
Next week I would like to start to go into meditations of Tara. But in doing that I want you to utilize everything that I have talked about up to this point for really understanding and appreciating the meditations on Tara. So that you allow yourself to be affected by what Tara means. When you meditate on Tara, that you appreciate that there is an inter-connection and you are being affected by Tara and what that means. To have a depth experience with Tara.
This evening's meditation is mostly to go through all of this, try to make it clear in your mind, you should have some clarity about it. I hope you gain some greater depth in your own personal experience of yourself and that it becomes more fulfilling for you at some point.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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