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.
Nanaimo Jan 7 1992
We are going to go into the Gelug Kargu Mahamudra. The text of the mahamudra is called the great movement, or, the ultimate folk dance. This means, in looking at the world and being able to enter into perfect union with the world around oneself is the mahamudra, the great symbol. And the mahamudra meditation is the recognition of the dynamic of the universe in being able to try to harmonize with that, so one is part of the movement of the universe so to speak. I am trying to get that organized, but as time is not always the way we want it to be, it will be starting next time.
For this evenings meditation, I would like to have the focus of awareness or recognition of mind. By that, the idea is to be able to focus on the continuity of the stream of awareness that we have. So often we live in the conscious awareness of just the position we have in our particular life at this particular time. Where our mind just thinks of ourself as such and such an age, I have this job, this family life and whom I interact with. So our mind is very caught within that vision of what we are doing with ourselves.
But if we reflect for a moment and think of mind and mind's awareness, mind's awareness is a very dynamic thing in the sense that it changes. If mind was a single thing or a single quality or single nature, having a particular aspect, then, when we were born, there would be no opportunity to change. Or, even you could say that your perspective, the understanding that you had as a teenager would be the one you would have when you were twenty or thirty. And that is not the case. Because, the understanding you had when you were thirteen may be similar is some aspects to what you have when you are thirty, but there is so much more depth of character when we are thirty. We understand things better. We have a better grasp of how we should interact, we have a more developed personality inside. And so, we have changed.
This is an important thing to be conscious of. That mind and mind's awareness is a on going flow of awareness which constantly changes and assumes new positions. New perspective. And it can adjust and take on different attitudes, different feelings about how it looks at the world. And if we bring that into awareness, we loosen a lot of when we grasp at minds awareness, and particular things which we are experiencing. Sometimes we grasp strongly at personal limitations, and we think ourselves incapable of certain activities. We have a clinging in our mind's attitude about our limitations. Or we take on a particular thing about ourselves. Maybe we have this aspect of personality and gravitate and make it the main crux of our being.
And maybe our friends will comment that we seem very limited or uptight, or stagnant. Because, again, our mind clings to a particular thing, and sort of somehow feels it very real or something. Because we do do this, maybe we think of our aging process and it becomes something we get caught up with, sort of dwell on it's aspects, or something, but if we go to a deeper position, we can recognize that mind and mind's awareness is adaptable and mutable and changeable. With that awareness, if we are smart, we can break sometimes, a rut we get into. A particular set of defenses we build around ourselves. In that way, we gain a more enlightened position regarding ourselves, the stream of our own awareness, and of course we can move that into our awareness of the world around us, our possibilities and potentiality.
But being able to do that and gain that position, does require some reflection on mind's awareness. One of the aspects of mind's awareness is, thoughts arise in our mind spontaneously. If we sit and become peaceful and allow our mind stream to become aware, thoughts will suddenly be there. They say it is like bubbles coming from down in water which suddenly burst up and appear. And then, when they have popped, again the water goes again to being very calm and smooth. And if you think of yourself, that at different times you have had different thoughts appear, and some of them can be very strong and vivid, a thought can appear even stimulated by certain causes and circumstances. At that particular moment, this incredible grasping or expression of emotion will happen. And yet, two hours later, it is all smooth again as if it had never happened.
If on has that awareness with it, one can recognize the truth of it. I was completely angry. Or another time, I was completely excited and exhilarated. And yet, at a later date, that experience can be completely forgotten. It could be within you, we could remember it, but it is completely forgotten. And if we say I can remember it, even in the memory it will not be the same as the moment we had the exhilaration. Mind's awareness has capacity to express itself through a particular thought. And then again it goes smooth, like a bubble that disrupts the surface of water for a moment or two, and then pops and is gone.
so when we sit and meditate, we allow ourselves to develop an awareness which allows the consciousness the recognition of this aspect of mind. Then we assume or become a little more enlightened regarding our own existence and the nature of our own mind. So, the meditative object is really just awareness of mind, but it is developing understanding where we have better understanding of our own mind and mind's experiences, the manifestations of mind. This aspect of that thoughts can arise, be in the mind for a few seconds, and then disappear. And the mind again assumes again that clear state, being maybe like a mirror. In a mirror you have different images come before the mirror and appear for some time. It can be very vivid, clear, and close. But then when the image moves away, the mirror again assumes it mere reflective quality.v So also with our mind, if we think of our mind in that way, we can say that at different times, different images appear. Self images, or images about the world around us. And for some time we may grasp at those and hold to them, but if we think about it, we do cease appearing in the mirror of our mind, and then our mind again becomes pure reflective quality until another image comes along.
In the Dzogchen teachings, they comment that in the development of awareness, we should look at the mind in times when it is in movement, times when the mind is still. But we should try to develop an awareness of the peace although there be aspects appearing in the mind, but the background is tranquil.
So for the meditation for this evening, I would like us try to develop what is termed the awareness of the background of the tranquillity. Or you could think of the background as the mirror, the reflective quality of the mirror. One does not dwell on the images in the mirror, one dwells on that aspect of mind which is reflecting the images, so ti is like the background of the mind. It is the background of peace, or whatever. Or if one uses the example like the ocean. The ocean is like the smooth tranquil nature of the ocean. the deeper aspect of the ocean versus the waves which are appearing at different times on the surface. Or you could use the example of space. It is like there are clouds which move through space and assume aspects of being large and black and at other times white and puffy, and so on.
The point is, the fundamental nature of mind is like sky and the clouds and their appearances is like the various thought forms that we move through. So the meditative object is quite simple. We allow just ourselves to be more conscious of the background versus the particular images or bubbles that arise within our mind.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
All Rights Reserved