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.
June 17 1990
Tonight it would be nice to focus on our consciousness and the mind as it is the source of everything. The most important facet of your practice is that the subtle level of your mind is your Buddha nature. Often we think enlightenment or a more integrated self I will have is at some point in the future. We do have that forward projection of out thoughts and practice. But reality is, the Buddha nature is right here with you now. It is said to be obscured. For example like a diamond which had mud on it. Or like a mirror that has dust on it. In this way, the diamond is like something that is priceless and is now obscured and not recognized. Or the mirror, if free of dust, it would reflect reality perfectly. However the dust distorts the images, and is related to the emotional afflictions and the types of projections, preconceived ideas we have about reality which are false.
So when you meditate, sometimes we have a very mundane mind churning away on the surface of the coarse level of consciousness. It has these ideas of becoming enlightened some other time. Right now I am too emotional or depressed or too disinterested to really get into myself. And so we have these superficial on the surface ideas. But if we allow ourselves or have the knowledge and the concentration to go to a more subtle level, then we approach the opportunity to gain a more direct realization of our Buddha nature or pure nature of our mind. In that, we can release our mind from the delusions, we can clean the mirror a bit of the dross and dust which has settled onto it.
For this evening I wanted to touch on the point that when you sit to meditate, I could be nasty and say sit right now, but the very mind that you have right now, is the basis of your enlightenment. If you could through very properly relaxing your mind and allowing your strong conceptions about reality to weaken a bit, that your mind could perceive directly, then you could touch enlightenment. But that is difficult. Our ideas are very strong. And even if we penetrated to have a clear experience of consciousness, very quickly our old mind clouds right in again and obscures it again. It is hard to maintain an experience of pure mind because of the intensity of the ideas we have from before, the way that we hold ourselves and our ideas about reality. So it is hard to maintain a realization, if you do have the opportunity to penetrate.
One other thing to be conscious of, is at our level when we meditate, you set up a concept of the subtle level of my consciousness is my Buddha nature, and when I meditate that is what I am agoing to access and such. And you do set up this concept which you then try to .... The concept is close to reality, but it is not real reality. It is still an idea. So what you do is, you do set it up, but then with your awareness, you try to penetrate it, or go beyond it, to what is termed the non conceptual experience. By non conceptual experience, does not mean you do not have a mind that can appraise the experience. It means the mind does not create the image.
Like, I create the idea that all phenomena is interdependent and nothing independently self exists. That is the Buddhists concept of reality. Well I put that image out there. That is concept. And I say, this is the nature of reality. And I can sort of agree and say, yes, that is the way reality is. And I meditate that way. But that is a concept. Rather, you need to penetrative insight. It is the insight which goes beyond the concept and actually experiences non dualistically and without a conceptual image in the way, reality.
So for your meditation, there are two facets. One is just to appreciate that the mind you have as you sit there, with all of it's thoughts and all of what is going on, is the basis of pure mind. It is not to be rejected as something not part of your Buddha nature. It is coarse, and full of preconceived ideas, it has lot's of misunderstandings, but it is still part of the whole consciousness which on a subtle level has pure Buddha mind.
Second thing is to be conscious or aware that you do create an image. And on our level, we definitely always create images when we go into meditation experience. We have an idea. So we sit and that idea is with us. It is not wrong, because that is how work at this point, we have concepts about everything. Even if you take the most profound zen meditation which says be open, even in there, there is a concept, that I must be open or this or that.
So there should be an appreciation that there is always conceptuality which is creating imagery which then we are looking at or our mind is always caught by the concepts we carry. But if you have a concept which is close to reality, it is beneficial. And at one point you will have to take that one step beyond. The step beyond the concept. And it is difficult and hard to understand how it would be. But if you develop yourself and your awareness, concentration and such, it is possible to be able to have a penetrative insight into reality which is not conceptually pointed.
So the meditation for tonight is being with your mind. But be conscious of two things. That although it is coarse level of mind, it is supported by pure nature. And secondly, although you do have a concept, you always have a concept that you are projecting at our present level of existence. That is alright, we should just have a refined concept which is closer and more in tune with reality, and not one which is an exaggerating or misconception about how the world really is.
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