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 Oct 13 1992
We are dealing with the mahamudra which basically is what is the final position that we can assume regarding our view of the word! That is important. If you look at various traditions, and the technique that is used as various level of endeavor, the tactics are the approach. Well, it can be varied. For example on the initial level of spiritual endeavor, there is basically fear as the motivation. Because they talk of bad rebirths, the results of bad karma, or having a negative attitude and such, and so one is motivated to be as positive as one can to created the causes for happiness both in this and in future lives.
In the middling scope of spiritual practice, again the emphasis is on the investigation of the nature of reality, but again the idea behind it is that we are trying to get the fear, or generating a disinterest in being caught up with cyclic existence. It is sort of to buy out of the system, and the emphasis is in striving to gain a realization of the nature of reality, but there is nothing other than trying to get out of creating further causes for being born and having to suffer and such.
In the greatest scope of spiritual practice, the endeavor does not just base itself on personal liberation, but also in trying to involve other people and trying to gain a realization which allows oneself both the spontaneity of positive expression but the inner realization which gives one more freedom. That level is quite high, it is very intelligent and investigates reality and comes to conclusions, and then tries to adapt or assume the posture of that attitude in regards to the relationship to the world. That is the scenario. We are in that category, what is the nature of reality, and if we investigate it we come to a conclusion which allows us both to interact with the world but to have inner freedom for consciousness.
In all of the previous weeks we have been covering it slow, but it has been working at trying to settle the mind, trying to establish an equilibrium where investigations can be done. So in the commentary, I will read,
"I shall now explain the methods for introducing yourself to the true nature of the mind in accordance with the oral teachings of my root guru who eliminates all darkness of the mind, looking like a saffron robed monk, but in actuality a manifestation of the wisdom of all Buddhas."
I want to do something like this. This is a cushion. Describe it! Soft and all the regular descriptions. I want to catch your mind! In you mind immediately comes the description. That is regular perception. On that regular perception is a mind that is saying "cushion, real cushion". And it adds to that. Quite a bit to that! How do you know?
Take an object of your own which has additives to it, or even an object which has not personal investment in it. Such as the environment. Where the mind has this ideas that comes up. The mind makes a solid thing. And on the basis of that, the mind then formulates or decides this is how I am going to act because of these ideas I have! That is what is termed regular existence or relative existence. It is termed as conventional as in it is the standard convention of how we see things.
What is identified in this investigation is that the labelling, there is nothing wrong with it. The functioning should be appropriate to the label, for example, cushion should be soft! But what is not being appreciated is reality. Like what is the reality of the object. In the most specific point that actually is not recognized, is regarding self. We are intelligent. You all know wrist watch is just a label because the parts are not watch! There is appearance. And some of you might only see that much and be able to say watch because you recognize a portion of it.
The point is, there is appearance. But in reality there is the glass, the face and all the other parts. There is a lot happening. No one can deny the object as a watch, but if we take the parts, we have lost watch. It is no longer there. All you have is parts of watch. You put them back together so you get appearance. The appearance establishes watch. Yet, when one does not think about it, that mind is the one that imbues and adds an extra sense to the reality, which is not really there.
People have trouble with this one. You might say that is Jhampa's watch! And of course, there is no Jhampa there at all. It is just association and such. And some will feel something is taking away from watch! We have sort of made it non watch. But, it is just a watch. A relative watch, it functions as watch, it has a name for watch. But what is not there is a part of your mind which gives it some concrete reality.
What is actually said, what gives it the appearance that it has a name all on it's own. Like this object on it's side has a watch. Like if you listen, it would say, watch! Same thing as with the cushion. It's telling me it is a cushion. But actually it isn't. It functions, it's appropriate, and with a little investigation we say it is a cushion, we can lift it off the carpet, it's not part of the carpet. So we label it. But on it's side it has nowhere where it is cushion. It functioning and then labelled.
This seems simple, but your mind functions in a contrary way. Your mind works backwards from that. Your mind feels that the cushion is saying it is a cushion. you walk outside and it's raining, it is telling you it is rain! It becomes like there is rain that is reality out there. The rain is actually a product of circumstances, the humidity, the condensation, and such. In a drop of water there is no rain drop! But we will step outside as say it is raining! All this investment goes into it.
You have to catch yourself when you are being really unconscious as to what you are doing to something. And it happens particularly when you put some special quality to it. Like a type of car that you like! At that point it stands out so vividly and real, and yet with any common sense there is no real name there, there is just a label, but the mind imbues a lot.
You have to intelligently recognize the functioning of your own being and whether it is valid with the emotions which are generated, the feelings and thoughts that are generated, or whether it is inappropriate, the type of concept you feel about yourself, whether it is appropriate or not. And it has incredible ramifications regarding your relationships to the world. But without thinking about it, you feel identified with your name, if there are any honors or special things which are put on your name, or any slight to yourself, like something bad being said, there is a lot of anxiety being created and such.
A lot of that is an indication that you are apprehending yourself inappropriately. And it does not negate your existence, it is just that you are misapprehending yourself as an entity.
"The same state is previous settling of your mind in single pointed concentration, you should like a small fish swimming through clear undisturbed water, examine with very fine conscious the nature of self identity, just who it is who is meditating. The protector Nagarjuna said, an individual person is not the solid matter of his body, nor a liquid, the warmth, nor the gaseous matter. He is not the space in his body, nor is he the consciousness. If an individual is not any of these, then the kind of person other than this who does exist, is merely the label of the person on the sixth sensory spheres!"
This leads to a series of very interesting investigations. If we started looking through my body, there is nowhere we are going to find Jhampa or any sort of special personality there to identify with the person. If the blood type is right they could chop off this leg and give it to someone else! Body parts can be traded and therefore are interchangeable! Obviously the sense of self we have and feel is not part of the body. It is not ingrained and set in the body. Even the location of the self within the brain cannot be found scientifically which validates the Buddhist position which states we are fully interdependent phenomena.
This is not easy to understand because we have a long term habitual pattern with conceiving of ourselves in a way which is not appropriate. Therefore at this time, we should start becoming more conscious of ourselves as an experiencing entity. And in regards to that, slowly work at realigning how we conceive or identify ourselves because it is a fundamental issue. Whether the Buddhas exist in heaven or not is immaterial. Same with past or future lives. What is the reality of your experience, that is something that is real and can be investigated.
Nagarjuna and other scholars did not have the technology to investigate the nature of phenomena yet through observation they came to the conclusion that the conditioned phenomena universe was a network of interdependence. And that on no level was there independence to be found. Now we know that even cellular structure is interdependent, and even in finer levels, always there is relationship and that is the basis of investigation into reality. If you were to investigate yourself, you would not be able to find an independent self existence, that which can self label itself. Can identify itself and have an integrity which is not mutable.
The meaning is, if you investigate reality, you should come down to a final point where you can say this is the final object, there is no division below this. Because, this then is the basis upon which one's reality is properly established. So investigation of the nature of your existence on the physical level,and in delving into that, you will find yourself fully interdependent. Then, it is necessary is to appraise that understanding in as how you grasp yourself as an individual entity. That investigation is where you will have to recognize where your mind in it's common sense is making a mistake.
At the beginning I brought up cushion. At that moment your mind imbued cushion with something which is not there. And your appreciation of it is not with any depth. That mind is the mind that makes all your problems. But without any investigation we do not see it so them we become uptight, emotional, and so on. Whereas, if we have some appreciation, I guarantee that our hyper emotions would not be generated. I mean, you are not going to not generate emotions. And it is also you are not negating yourself as an experiencing entity, it is just that you have to readjust your appraisal of yourself as an entity. That is the real crux of it.
As it is said, with the clear pool of your consciousness, allow a little fish of intelligent investigation basically swim through and investigate the nature of your being. In that way, it is easy to do it as in regards to a watch. Nowhere does watch exist as more than a label. That understanding is the basis upon which you can do your meditation on yourself!
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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