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.
Sept 3 1991
I want to come back to fundamental awareness which is the basis of the whole practice. All of the teachings we have gotten are aimed at helping one move towards a state of consciousness which has clarity, and develops and understanding of wisdom. To understand how one is moving in one's own conscious realms. Into one's attitude, one's thought patterns, what is happening, what one is creating for oneself. And to give oneself a way to have insight which helps release the intoxication which sometimes comes about because we have a particular viewpoint. We have a particular view and we think that is a very real view. Then we can become intoxicated or totally influenced by that thought pattern or concepts we have. The point is, if we move into a deeper meditative position, we should be moving into that which is authentic, very real conscious position, one which is not artificial. Many of our delusions are based on artificial ideas about reality, about what other people are into projections. Therefore we limit our capacity to have compassion, to see the situation clearly, to be able to act in a natural way where we have a natural sense of love, empathy or compassion or help flow through us.
The teachings are all aimed at trying to move us into a position where we have detachment from various thoughts, feelings, and such which go through us so we have better understanding. It is not that we have no feelings any more, or that we no understanding or something where we are in a state of stupor, it is not that at all. Rather, we have more freedom from just feelings, projections and such which go through us. And then we can be more picky about how we allow our mind to set itself up to have it's perspective, it's attitude established. We become more careful in establishing a better attitude.
This comes from conscious experience, not from philosophy. Philosophy helps one move towards that position. That the actuality is that one has conscious understand, conscious experiential awareness.
For the meditation I want us to come back to that essential awareness, that we allow ourselves to sit, and when we sit to follow our breathing, allowing our mind to settle and relax, the internal dialogue to slow. And then we try to allow our mind to move into a state where our consciousness is open, that we do not cling to whatever thought pattern is moving within us right now. We often think I am me and I am meditating, ideas. We have a conceptuality which holds to that. If you develop openness, you try to allow yourself to be bigger than that. And by that I mean, when you sit there to meditate, you will find your consciousness will grab onto the fact that I am of such and such a person, or it will hold to a feeling about itself. Or this image is what I identify with a lot. When you are very ignorant or unconscious, you will move into that pattern and feel comfortable about it. And it will make you either happy or unhappy depending on how adaptable your attitude is that you have assumed. But if you become more meditative, you try to make your mind deeper, larger, more open minded, and in that you will find that consciousness, when it is very tight and unaware, will cling to certain things about what you think you are.
With deeper concentration you will find those are things which you do for a sense of security, but they are not always very valid. Sometimes we cling to the concept of who we are. Like I am. This will be based on the idea that I am a very capable, in control person. But, maybe we have to realize that as we get older and such, we loose some of our faculties, some of our capacity, our abilities. And I am maybe moving us ten years ahead of yourself right now. But if you think about it, you will realize that you do change as the years go by and you are not as capable or intellectually as sharp as you were, you don't have such insights as you did when you were younger and were more agile and more pensive about life.
So obviously the position that your personality takes, when it moves to a later date, will have to adapt. So you see, the position of being capable or such is not really a valid position. So for meditation you want to try to learn how to not cling, grasp to particular concepts you have about yourself, and I do not mean like intellectual philosophical concepts, just basic concepts of me and I am sitting here in this room and I am bored or unhappy or excited, or whatever. It is to try to realize that a lot of that is based on a superficial level of consciousness which is just grasping onto particular things which are there which make it feel very secure or stable. So with meditation we try to move to a deeper position which frees you from being caught up with little personality traits, into where you have more openness and flexibility, if you are actually working with awareness.
Really, I am talking about, you sit in meditation, in an upright posture, breathe and allow yourself to relax. You try to allow your internal dialogue to slow down with the awareness of breathing. And in doing that, you just observe your mind. In that observation, try to become conscious of, as you sit there you have an idea of who I am right now. It will be there because that is the way we are. But as you sit there and just have awareness, try to be able to see how that concept is right now. Try to be able to sense it. And become conscious of it and as soon as you become conscious of it, you have got to a broader position than what it is. In that way, it helps you free up a little. It becomes a little more open minded and having more capacity is to be consciously aware. Not to buy into particular attitudes or concepts or perspective we sometimes generate as being very real positions to be in.
So sit there, try to become more centered, and then just observe and try to be more conscious of your personality and what is the basis of it, such as age, sex, stature, intellectual capacity, and so on. In doing that, you are becoming bigger than that idea you have about yourself. That concept about self alright. It is awareness, awareness which is observant. And in being observant, try to allow yourself to become more settled, more relaxed, not so hyper and up in your head. More deeper. And it is mere observation. And in that, you will develop those three qualities I like to go back to. Clarity, openness, depth and stability.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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