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 July 7 1992
We are dealing with the mahamudra which is the realization or recognition of the true nature of mind. Just to refresh your mind, it is said that in sorting out dull states of mind from the clear you should begin by taking refuge in developing the like attitude of bodhicitta with a pure virtuous motivation. After you should do the profound meditations of guru yoga after making fervent requests a hundred times or more with intensive faith, you should visualize your guru dissolving into you. This is what we have previously covered.
Essentially we should try to put ourselves into a positive context. Because the nature of this meditation is to recognize the nature of the mind, we shouldn't understand positive context as firing ourselves up as rah rah..., a positive attitude is a state of open mindedness where one is willing to be observant and to try to go beyond one's previous states of awareness, in the sense that often we set up habits. And we live within those habits and feel comfortable there. We don't have to exercise much new awareness. It is said that if one lives in a very unsettled environment and one suffers some stress, actually though, it can be quite stimulating. There is many books out on the joy of stress, where a marginally stressful environment can be stimulating emotionally.
When it says making fervent requests a hundred times with intensive faith, the faith should be one wherein you understand that you are looking at getting a realization of the nature of mind. That it is your own nature that you are realizing, not some nature of mind of some enlightened being, as in someone elses state of consciousness. But that you are trying to gain a high level of realization of your own mind.
Then it says, after these preliminaries, you should formally begin the meditation by concentrating without the slightest mental wandering, single mindedly on an unstructured or undetermined state of mind. This is a state of mind devoid of any preconceptions, doubts, wishes or aspirations for either temporary or ultimate purposes concerning either the future or the past. This does no mean, however, that you should cease all conscious attention as if you were asleep or had fainted. Rather, you should fix your unwavering memory firmly on the task of watching your mind from a distance to see that it remains focused on its object, an unobstructed state of mind. In addition you should keep yourself constantly prepared with mental alertness to sense any mental wondering.
You should then fix your attention on the nature of the mind itself as an impermanent phenomenon that can clearly and validly knows things.
If we use an analogy of this room as our mind consciousness, it is said that we should take one corner or part of our mind and observe the various mental states that are generated. In doing that we allow yourselves to become more conscious of the way our reality is built up. In doing that, it is not that you completely destroy your existence, rather you observe and become familiar with what you have used as a basis for your existence, and of course with that basis, how you activate or motivate yourself into activity.
If we speak of gaining an ultimate realization or a realization which is to be valid and meaningful for ourselves as individuals, that realization has to be aligned or in harmony with the actual nature of the mind. We try to hold reality in a manner which gives us a sense of security and such. Without ever being conscious. It is something which we have never questioned. We might have periodically thought about the nature of life, in our Christian way we have been brought up, we might think God created the world. If we didn't believe that then maybe we looked at the great cosmic mass of space, stars and galaxies around us, and we might have sat there and said, lit's beyond conception. It's unbelievable or incredible! The nature of existence. This observation we might have periodically made!
But we need to very consciously observe our own nature. Because our own nature is the key to being able to understand the nature of the world around us. In doing that, a passive and open state of mind is very important. In most teachings in religious philosophy, being very positive and trying to set oneself up in a positive environment is considered important. But it is actually considered relative to the actual ultimate nature of reality. It is possible to gain realizations without having a great deal of merit. One can gain a realization of the true nature of reality with ones own's perseverance without doing many more virtuous actions. One then attains nirvana. One does not have a developed spirituality, but one can gain spiritual liberation.
In allowing ones mind to become open, we should try to allow one portion of one's mind to observe the parts of the mind as they function. In doing that, and seeing how the mind fabricates its reality, how it then fabricates that reality in regards to others around us, that does not negate or make it non existent. It might show that it is marginally invalid, in the way we sometimes set up reality, we might...if you look at yourself as an individual. What type of character trait do you rely on to give you your sense of being a valid person? Some people do it with their integrity. Others have their sense of humor. Others have sarcasm. There are many things people rely on. They go into that character trait and it helps them certify that is where I am at!
The basis of that, the activity of that, and the on going process, are not completely non existent. They may be based on invalid assumptions, but they are not non existent because they have certain contexts. For example. If someone has paranoia, when they deal with others, they set up an environment where they do not have causes for paranoia. Maybe they never leave their apartment. Or maybe they have their close circle of friends and they go quickly between point a and point b and thereby protect themselves from insecurity. Their personality sets up an environment where they continuously try to position themselves towards a sense of security. If they were to allow themselves to relax and go inside, become a little more broad minded, they might find, they may find some causes for what they are doing. The way their parents brought them up or whatever!
The thing is they should try to develop an ability to see the way their personality functions. Because in seeing that, it gives you more freedom. If you never investigate the nature of your character, how your personality functions, you unconsciously rely on it very strongly as being a valid point of reference. Like this is me. Whereas if we can investigate in a broader perspective, and also move our mind towards mahamudra or the true nature of mind, then we will sort of shift off previous reliance upon character trait, and we will start to become more align with real form of relationship or style or relationship with ourself and the world. Those two should be in harmony. The way the world is, and the way you are inside should actually be in harmony. But we seldom ever investigate that.
Our society has a wonderful way of constantly stimulating and it should show you the illusory nature of the way ordinary people function. In the sense that if you look at people who rely strongly on their physical appearance, their hair, dress, their car and possessions and such, if you start to become more conscious, someone walking into the room are such a strong statement of exactly what is really important for them. If a very wealthy self attained person walks in the room, we don't see them for the reality of who they are, rather we see them for the overly rich person. I am not so rich. Oh they are very self assured! Oh they are ambitious and sharp minded in how they put the world together! We sort of feel a little inferior, maybe resentful. Whatever emotions we have. They are manifesting their image.
You look at them. Now when you look at them, do you look at them and recognize what their mind state is creating, or do you look at them and immediately close and reflect back on yourself, and say, I don't know what that person likes! Watch your mind next time you see someone! Because, most of us, we look at someone and we relate where they are on the material scale, and we have some conscious awareness of where we on the material scale, and we sort of look at a comparison. So we have completely missed the actual statement being made is to that persons mind. Sort of put these image making things upon themselves to give themself a sense of who they are. It is interesting. If you can not be affected by being in comparison with someone, but rather looking at who they are, you can have some very interesting realizations about people set themselves up. People who have to dress up to show that they are very attractive. Or that they have a good figure. Both male and female! When you become conscious and look at them, you can see that they putting a lot of reliance on those attributes which then makes them feel that they are a very good person. And its a dangerous thing. If they were to loose that, they would have to reshuffle their whole makeup to find another basis which would give them some sense of security. In looking at how people set themselves up, it is not that they are wrong! It is just that maybe they are not looking to where they would have more of a real reality. Like they have not recognized where their own source of real reliance should be placed.
Now for a Buddhist, the point of real reliance is the point of Buddha nature. The true nature of our being. And it is not really the Buddha nature, just the true nature of being. If you can start to recognize that and start to allow yourself to get into that, then whether you dress beautifully or enhance your physical attributes to show off, it does not matter any more, if you have it you do, if you don't you don't. It seems to be karma in a sense. But you are shifting yourself over into a more appropriate object of reliance. And that is what the whole process is! Finding a more real object of reliance which then gives us a more real basis to come from. And if you understand that, and then look at the various teachings, the teachings on love and compassion, the teachings on equanimity and patience. Some say this will make you holy, but rather they are assets to help you become more close to your nature. But they are not the real sort of source of your nature. Your nature is a pure nature. It is not tainted.
In Buddhism it says, the Buddha nature has to neutral. Because if it were good, how could you ever have any negativity? How could you ever manifest negativity if your innate nature is good? Or if your innate nature had original sin, then how could you ever be pure? It would be impossible because your initial nature is impure, so how could you obtain purity? So in the investigations into the ultimate nature of your mind, it has to be completely neutral or else there would be no point in your endeavors in trying to become more realized!
So the motivation for the realization really is your own suffering. In that, if you would like to be more aligned with what is more real, that inquiry is the source of the motivation into what is the nature of reality. Your motivation is an inquiry into the nature of reality. The observation process, the process you do to obtain that, is to try to establish as open minded an attitude as you can. And you do that by taking one part of the mind which is your awareness and placing it in a corner, and starting to become familiar with the way you fabricate your existence and also your existence and relationship with the world around you. They can be separated quite a bit. The way you identify about yourself, and then the way that causes you to act the way you do in regards to relationship.
So becoming more conscious of that, and then also, there is the observance of the actual nature of the mind itself, which is what you are trying to move towards. For example, they use, if the room had various cloud formations, and this is our mind, our character is like the different types of cloud formations which are moving through. As we are young we have a very vibrant cloud formation. As we become more middle aged, it becomes more mature and solid. As we become older and decrepit, then it becomes more frail and brittle. But that merely is the play of the clouds. The nature of mind is said to be like the space the clouds are in. Although the cloud formations are there, the nature of the mind is not affected. Space, which is the nature of the mind, remains unaffected. It allows the various manifestations to happen, but it is not connected to the various manifestations. Space is the nature in the sense that it is neutral. Whether there are thunder heads or beautiful clouds, it is immaterial to the actual nature of the space which is just there allowing the manifestation.
So it is said, when you move towards a realization of the ultimate nature of mind, it should be similar to space in that it does not obstruct the various functions and formations of character traits or whatever. And so from that point of view, you do not invalidate or say that your personality is non existent, it is existent. It has causes and circumstances which created it. But it may be invalid in what it is assumed to be its point of reliance.
It is a little more complicated meditation for this evening. The main object is that you try to allow yourself to become more open minded to observe the workings of the mind, like a small fish is the corner of the great tank, you have that point of awareness which then observes the various manifestations of the cloud forms without clinging to them. So that is the style of meditation you do. You are trying to realize going beyond clinging or getting caught by the various formations, to try to gain a realization of the more innate nature which is said to be unobstructed, pure, and just a state of knowingness.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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