Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
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.
Jhampa Sept 11,88
First, we have to feel good about ourselves, get more in touch with ourselves. And secondly, we have to be open minded. I mean, we don't evangelize by any means whatsoever, but we look at the world with a kind attitude, with an openness and with "What can I do nice for the people beside me? Or other people that are around. If nothing else, at least I won't be abrasive or rude. If I can I will actually do something kind, generous, helpful or whatever." From working from those two areas, the styles of techniques of practice that we have that really bring that alive for us are all within what is called guru offerings. It's the one practice, a set of prayers, and in those prayers are included all aspects of practice. It's a good practice in that it's very inclusive of all the things that we need to have. And the opening line is: Arising within the sphere of great bliss, I manifest as a guru yidam. From my clear body light and profusion radiates forth throughout the ten directions, blessing all places and beings therein, all becomes most perfectly arrayed with only qualities infinitely pure.
Tonight I want to talk about arising within the sphere of great bliss. In practicing, the emphasis for the last few years of our group has mostly been serenity and peace. Being comfortable with yourself. And there actually is a bliss in that. And in saying bliss, you might say, well I never feel very blissful, but if you have a sense of joy, just a good feeling, that's the start of arisal of bliss within your nervous system, a good feeling. When it says, from within a sphere or bliss I arise.. And so, in doing that, then, that conscious awareness, it's something like you don't have to set it up by saying "I don't have anything like that. I've never experienced blissful nervous energy or blissful energy through my nervous system." Rather you should start off with "When I feel really good, then that I the place where I am arising in great bliss."
I've related it sometimes when you fall in love with someone. And you feel really good, like you fall in love, and it's wonderful, and you see the world through rose colored glasses and such. That is approaching what the sense of the bliss of enlightenment is like in the sense that when you fall in love you have a sense of fulfillment. And in being fulfilled, you feel wonderful. And that is what love is all about. That's why when we fall in love, we are sort of intoxicated. It's because we feel so wonderful. And that person we are falling in love with is very attractive to us. And they mean something for us. And they are kind to us and so we feel very fulfilled, very wonderful.
In being able to meditate and utilize that sort of sense of fulfillment, that sense of goodness, joy and happiness within your heart that can be understood in your process of becoming enlightened, in the sense that falling in love on sort of the mundane level doesn't work. Doesn't make you spiritual. Otherwise we'd all be perfectly enlightened! Because we've all fallen in love a few times and it's not always done the best thing to us. You can sort of say that you relied on an object that could betray you. They say only the buddhas, the fully enlightened beings are non betraying. They never let you down. Whereas ordinary people, even though they might not intend it, will sometimes let us down.
The fulfillment in the sense of joy and happiness that you experience when you have love in your heart is going towards what the expression of enlightenment and bliss is all about. And they relate that enlightenment is bliss. Well how is it? It's not like a mundane energy because as I say, there's that, what do you see in that person you fall in love with? And then what does that mean to you? And a few other questions which are involved in it. Those are things which you naturally have in your mind when you are on a more mundane level.
But if you have what you might term an idealistic love, then someone who is very meaningful in your life, i.e. your not really going to have a relationship with them. It's not very practical. But when you think of them and there is something that moves you inside, that sort of love, ... anyway. The main point is the sense of fulfillment,joy, and happiness which can sometimes can be experienced when we're falling in love. Or very stimulating. Or something that turns us on in a very beautiful way. That sort of energy is the approach of arising from the sphere of great bliss.
And so in your meditation when you do feel joy and happiness, and it's a more lasting one because it's arising from meditation, that is something which you have done within yourself. That is very good energy because it's not betraying. It's self generated. It's very fulfilling for yourself. And so the analogy of falling in love is good but doesn't quite make it. It's not perfect as an analogy. But in realizing your own personal energy and in getting in touch with yourself, when you do feel very good, try to realize it as a fullness, as a sense of fulfillment. And it's like as if you were to be in union with the buddhas, psychic union you can say so to speak. And that good energy is so to speak my relationship with enlightenment. You could say the enlightened beings outside of myself or the enlightened being within myself which is my own enlightenment to come. In that sense then, when you get a really good high, when you feel very wonderful, you feel beautiful, fulfilled and satisfied, that brings about a natural reflection saying this is what my enlightenment is going to be like. It's going to be wonderful. I'm going to be so blissful. I'm going to be a very kind person, sensitive, receptive, compassionate, loving, patient, all of the good things!
When you do get good feelings, they automatically start to come towards meaning more, meaning the fulfillment of enlightenment. The more you can identify that, then the more your practice becomes integrating for yourself. It's good to be able to do that with your guru yoga.
And I'll relate just my own experiences in regards to my own spiritual teachers. They were people who meant a lot to me. I envisioned that they were bodhisattvas or buddhas, that their energy was fulfilling, giving, very kind, compassionate. They had no selfish motivations or whatever. When I thought of them and when I got really happy about that, and the thoughts about them, and meditating upon them and such... Like that person is really very meaningful for me... then that goodness and experience that I had added to my spiritual practice. And that I could use that to becoming more and more integrated in my spirituality, Starting to realize happiness, joy, a sense of love and a love of fulfillment, mean enlightenment. When I think of that person, I get very nice feelings about that. I feel really wonderful inside myself. I think they are very beautiful. A little bit idealistic maybe, but it works for us.
And then we bring that back into ourself in saying "This is what I can come towards, move towards, as I move towards my own enlightenment."
So as you develop, in having a sense of veneration for your spiritual teachers, and having a sense of feeling better happiness and inner fulfillment in your self, and as you manifest your own enlightenment, those all come together to become part of your growth. And so when you really do experience real movements of joy, it becomes a sense of love for the world, and sharing in the world. That's sort of a very rough idea of how to work from a very practical level towards understanding the bliss of enlightenment. And from arising within the sphere of great bliss, meaning, within myself, when I feel wonderful, means that that is my love and compassion for others. And spread it. Make it a very universal thing. And like I say, you can use it in the sense of if you have a very strong sense of faith in your spiritual master, then you can see that they are in your heart. They are sitting at the level of your heart and they are just radiating light and bliss and happiness. And that makes me feel very very good. That means enlightenment for me. They are enlightenment. By having them within my heart, then my energy which goes out to other people is that expression of energy. It's that which helps me become more a bodhisattva, more a kind loving person. And the joy that I experience the fulfillment, joy, happiness I experience, is the expression of my enlightenment. It's my fulfillment in enlightenment, and it's expressed to other people as good energy, happiness, joy.
You can tie together in that way yourself on an ordinary level, your feelings at an ordinary level, and yet what you aspire towards. Like the sense of fulfillment you'd like to have. I mean enlightened beings are perfectly fulfilled. They are very happy and blissful all the time. They don't have ups and downs like we do. So what does that mean? Does that mean that they have their consciousness off in outer space? I don't think so. I think it means that in their heart they have an unbelievable sense of joy, bliss, happiness, freedom, open mindedness. Think about it. Think about, especially in tantracism, they have the buddhas, the enlightened beings are being in union of male and female. So what does that mean? Like what would it mean to be like that? I know what it means. I'm sure that all of you know what it means when you are in love with somebody and you're in union with them. It's a very good feeling and you feel wonderful. So same thing. The enlightened beings obviously feel wonderful. They are very happy. And yet their mind doesn't have selfishness, their mind doesn't bring them down, doesn't have a neurotic mind, their mind feels wonderful and shares that with the world. It turns into their bodhicitta, makes them bodhisattvas. So in relating that back to myself, when I feel good, when I feel wonderful, when I start to have a sense of love in my heart, that is, one, my fulfillment moving toward enlightenment. And secondly, that's the expression of my enlightenment in the sense that I could give good energy to other people.
For the meditation, I would like very much that you relate the enlightened beings in the sense of, an enlightened being is said to be having full love, full compassion, and full deep wisdom, and they are completely immersed in that. That's their consciousness energy. Whether they are a male or a female buddha, they live in a sense of having a divine love for others, divine compassion, and yet fully satisfied. So if you think about it a little bit, think, well what does that mean?
And then think about yourself when you have been happy and been fulfilled. And maybe when you have been open, feeling just really wonderful, think about that a little bit. And try to sort of bridge the gap between, well, I can become enlightened, they say I can. Within me is the seed of enlightenment.
Within me is the divine consciousness of enlightenment which I need to realize. It comes back to last week's talk of, if you look for enlightenment anywhere outside of yourself, you'll never find it. So you have to find it within yourself. So bridging that gap, then enlightened beings sense of fulfillment, love and compassion, that leaves them eternally in bliss and happiness, eternally fulfilled. So how do I start to find that within myself? That then I can start to enact it? Start to realize it for myself? And in doing this then, we are moving into what's termed as vajrayana, the secret path, the tantric path. It's sort of working in the fundamentals and it ties in very well with the first line of the prayer arising from within the sphere of great bliss. What does that mean? When I sit down and say that sentence, it means, in my heart, I do feel wonderful sometimes. And that sense of joy and that sense of freedom, then that is then my great sphere of great bliss. And then I'm going to come from that realm.
So you have a few ways to work with it. First think about enlightened beings. They are fulfilled. So what do we mean? It's that they don't have hangups. And they don't get caught up in neurotic relationships. Well they experience love, what does that mean? How would they have that? That it doesn't bring them down. Then think about sometimes when you have fallen in love and how wonderful you feel. Think of that feeling of fulfillment that you had. And that it really is related to what enlightenment is like. It's very mundane, but that is a sense of bliss, fulfillment, satisfaction, which is equivalent to, -like getting to- approximating enlightenment satisfaction. O.K.?
The point that's trying to be identified is that I can experience great bliss and happiness and joy. And this is the way that I can start to relate to it.
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