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.
Oct 1 1991
I like to come back to basics. The most basic is our own individual experience. As individuals it is important that we appreciate the experiences we have and that we try to utilize them in a positive way. Sometimes it is easy to be caught up in some philosophy or ideal which projects one to the future or some possible goal that one would like to have. Whereas the reality is in the immediate moment. And realizations, experiences, and such are all in the moment. In immediate moment where one is conscious and aware exactly of what is happening here and now.
With that thought and theme, That is what I would like our meditation involved in mostly because we often aspire towards a goal or some focus for ourselves. But in doing that we sometimes become more caught up with more of what we aspire towards and not deal well with the moment. And all we are in maybe ways is the product of our actions. It is from the view that we have of the world, and then the way we make our actions go as each day goes by that creates the type of person we are. Therefore it is crucial that we have a good appreciation of what we do with our body, speech and mind. A clear recognition of those activities because we might live in an ideal saying yes, I would like to be something beautiful and together, whatever it is, that is the ideal. But if we look at our day to day activity,, we might find we are far from reaching that goal. We have a lot of space between our ideal and our daily activity.
And certainly in the most simplistic things, just being a positive person where we look at ourselves and sort of say I would like to be good, I would like to be positive and bring good things into the world around me, in doing that, those things count on day to day activity. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in negativity, we then have a lot of space between what we idealize and what we actually do with ourselves. In this regards, it is important to have consciousness of our daily activity and that we enjoy who we are and try to work with who we are right here and now. It is funny. Like compassion, is a wonderful thing. Compassion is a terrific ideal we can respond to, we think it is a nice thing, but compassion which is sensitivity for another, can be almost immediately expressed in any situation. Just opening the door for someone, to be kind, that is an expression of compassion. If someone is hungry or thirsty, you offer a drink. And these are real expressions of compassion which is helping someone. So we might have an ideal inside, but the day to day activity might we non existent.
We should try in each moment of our life to cultivate those things. It is incredible, but there is this little flash of awareness which says, oh, I can be compassionate right now. Or I can do something right now. To recognize the opportunity right now. The activities of compassion in the here and now are a direct manifestation of compassion and motivated from an awareness of need, therefore they are direct expression of your ideal in a very immediate way, not postponed to the future for some some grand act of compassion, love, spirituality.
That is one way of talking about activities. Also there is the activities of our speech. We should remember than when we are with others we have an opportunity for our speech to be positive, to generate goodness in another. Something which will bring changes in another person. It is more effective. If someone is stressed, rather than say this person is stressed, ask what I can do for the other person. And this completely changes the thing. Maybe it takes the stress off that person. Or, maybe it helps them work it through. For you as an individual, it puts you in a positive position. And that is the most important thing. Who are you and what are you doing? If we look at others with criticism, we will see a thousand things to criticise. But in the Buddhist perspective, we have an energy, an energy of body which is expressing compassion, we have incredible power through our speech. And if we become conscious which is unpleasant, I am not saying we should paint the world pink and say everything is wonderful, but because we have power in our speech and power to affect things, maybe we should look at what can I add which is positive to this, turn it better, bring about resolution. All criticism does is bring about more negativity to something which is already negative. That is the second level of working in an immediate way with one's own immediate karma. And it is important. If we think of the world and what we want to become, the way you become something, is by acting here and now. Now by projecting into the future.
The third thing is the level of mind. It is fine to have ideals of spiritual goals, but real spirituality is in the immediate moment, not in the thoughts or philosophy we carry. It is in the person and how we work with ourselves as individuals.
So in those three levels we should try to bring harmony with ourselves. And integration to ourselves. That our actions of body are kind, our speech invoking positive qualities around us. Communication is influence and changes things. If we can control our conversation a little and say things in a positive or inspiring way, things are changed. And in regards to our own mind, we should not have an ideal unrelated to activities of body and speech, but we should always make that when we sit, just sitting in a room, that we have some consciousness of my existence as being of benefit for sentient beings, so we have a good vibe about ourself. And when an opportunity comes, we can immediately act if we can with kindness and consideration.
We have then taken our philosophy and made it very real. And that happens because of conscious awareness. So for this evening, the meditation is on conscious awareness aside from the philosophizing which can go on. It comes down to being with yourself and being positive, happy, having good feelings. My body sitting here, may it be useful, compassionate and kind with others. May my speech be beautiful, bring good feelings for others and may I give up being critical. And finally may my mind be close to being able to manifest those qualities if an opportunity should arise.
The bottom line is we become a very positive person, a together person, a person who has a close position between the ideal and the actuality. It is not that we become a paragon of virtue, but at least we are applying ourself at whatever level we are at to being a better quality person.
So it comes down to immediate moment conscious awareness, trying to develop an awareness of here and now, and simplistically said, being happy with being here and now. Just being able to be comfortable. And in that mind have the aspiration to keep a positive frame of reference.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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