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.
Duncan Jan 20, 91
The most important thing for you in being involved in the meditation and process of if you are working for spiritual realizations or realizations of a better head space, is that you have tools and you understand what those tools are for. Each one of you should look at your own life situation and ask why you are involved with what you are doing. And if you do that you have some reason of why are you here? You should have some reason, whatever. And in that then also we present techniques and such to utilize. And then it is important to know why you have those techniques and what they are used for. Otherwise the time is not being spent very well. The benefits that you could receive are not being received, and in many ways you could be deluding yourself and there is no point in delusion. Delusion is the whole point of what we are trying to avoid. Delusion makes suffering for us. Delusion makes unhappiness. So we obviously don't want to buy into more delusion, we would like to buy into more realization, more clear mindedness, more quality of being.
And certainly that is the emphasis of the teachings, to not be concerned with the quantity that your being can amass, we could talk about materialism and such, but rather the quality of your being. That is the important thing! And by quality it means, inner quality. That you have a compassionate nature, a more quiet nature, a more realized nature. That you become more in control of your own existence. And from there then if you have any capacity, you can move out and try to help other people. And so having clarity of inner mind, this certainly helps to work with the world and other people.
Each one of you can go through your own mind and realize what you are doing with yourselves, then that is very important. Because then you will be able to understand and have clarity of motivation. And it doesn't have to be that you have the highest motivation, we always talk about bodhicitta, that of working for the benefit of all sentient beings! That motivation is very high. And it sometimes is incomprehensible. But if you work from a very real set of emotions which you have within yourself, then you can find actually a place to be altruistic and to have bodhicitta. But that will only come when you realize your own sufferings, your own frustrations, and you realize your own unhappiness. And when you realize them, and when you do something about getting out of them, at that point then you have the real ground for developing bodhicitta.
The main point for this evening is to come back to the fundamental. That is, do you understand the techniques as in what they should do for you? Because we talk about all these different things, death and impermanence which is a terrific asset for your spiritual practice because it gives you perfect clarity as for what you would like to do with yourself. Because you are born you are going to die. And when death comes, what sort of death would you like to experience? In that question there is terrific wealth for a spiritual practitioner. In that question there is also terrific clarity of mind. Because you can start to understand and think about yourself. You could ask what you are doing with yourself, is the existence that I am experiencing right now productive of the type of person I would like to become, or am I living in delusion, or am I living on illusion about things? And if you appraise yourself in that way, you become a more real beautiful and authentic person.
The point in asking why we understand the technique? It is to put us in a better head space, in a more realized position. And so it is important that we understand the techniques and their meaning and usefulness. If we do not, then we amass a lot of spiritual information which is never applied. It is very good information for conversations and such, whatever, you can carry on a lot of spiritual discoursing. But it does not mean that you apply it! So you always have to realize do I apply what I know?
Ask yourself, when you have a problem, what do you do about it? Do I avoid the issue, do I try to go to sleep a long time? Do I go out and go shopping? Ask yourself that the next time a problem comes up. Ask yourself what you do about the problem? Do I look for an inner solution or do I try to distract myself long enough until the problem is not there any more? And then I do not need to worry about the problem. That is what we do with a problem. We try to abide our time because we know if we wait long enough then the problem will change and we will not have to worry about it.
The important thing is to watch the next time a problem comes to you, catch yourself and ask yourself what am I doing about this? Am I doing anything in the sense of utilizing the techniques, that which help me be a clear minded person? Or am I trying to avoid the situation so that I basically stay in that position of delusion which does not help me solve the problems and work through the issues and such.
To recognize you are making use of the information that you are gathering. If you touch base with yourself and sincerely would like to improve your position, then you have a very real practice and a lot of wonderful things can come from that because your whole practice is very authentic. So it important to touch base with who you are, what you are doing with yourself, and not with something which is separated and non related to yourself. You can waste your time in spirituality as much as you can waste your time in anything else! So it is worth while to spend time thinking about am I really working for something which is helping me. And there is always the bottom line, there is me! Although that is selfish, you can work with yourself to become a better person and therefore is not selfish, it is actually beneficial.
For this evening, I would like the meditation to mostly be that you delve into yourselves and touch base with why you like to meditate. And then think of the techniques that you have. For example death and impermanence. The law of cause and effect. For some of you who are more educated, maybe you will know more detail on the subject matters, for those of you who have not had that many teachings, the basic ideals, impermanence is a very strong principle. Also the law of cause and effect is that you will become as you act. The principle of selflessness, love and compassion, are the most effective ways in trying to transform yourself. And then there is the ultimate nature of reality which is also very effective.
Those four subjects are terrifically special. When you have a problem, can you draw on any of those four techniques? Think about it for awhile. They are real basic in Buddhism. They are the basis of spirituality in almost all traditions. If you are a realist, and try to be a very real person in the world, even in that sense those principles can be understood in a real manner.
As you go into your meditations, if you have clarity of being, then you should be able to focus in on your basic meditative experience, which is the generation of the state of consciousness which is clear, open and stable.
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