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 6th 1993
We are still on the theme of mahamudra or the realization of the mind. The general theme of the teachings are in the category that if we look at actions of body or speech, they only happen when motivated by the impulse within our mind arises. And then the body or speech respond. In that way, it is very much a main theme for Buddhism, the importance to realize the nature of mind which is the source of all the varieties of experiences we have, how we experience existence.
It is special because if you want to go anywhere, it is within you and I think it is a wonderful feature of Buddhism. That self realization does not require anything other than to be aware and conscious. In fact, there is wonderful zen koan which shows the ideas of the priest pointing to the moon. The idea is, that one looks not to just the hand, but to the moon for realization in the sense of don't get hung up on the technique or how it is being pointed out, but rather for the actual object itself. In that way, the realization of one's own mind is the principal thing, not the technique or how the hand was held, whatever! In that way we should always aim at the appreciation the mind as the most important thing.
Even if we go back to Buddhas time, the Buddha was a wonderful person who had high felicity, wealth and prosperity. Yet when he looked at the world he became conscious of the suffering and with that realization he sought out an answer. Within the first two years of leaving his home and family and putting on the robes and shaving his head, within his wandering he sought out qualified teachers. The first teacher he had taught him concentration meditation. With those teachings he meditated and attained high level dhyanni or absorbition. His mind transcended his body and went into the various absorptions of high realm concentrations. Having gained those experiences, he asked his teachers he questioned the meaning of all the concentration. The teacher said that was it! The Buddha said that was interesting but to comeback to day to day life, it does not answer any problems! So Buddha left and went on!
His next teacher gave him teachings in philosophy. With the concentration he had already acquired he then investigated the nature of reality. But again there was questions he had which were not answered with the particular teacher. So then he went on his own and went to Bodhgaya and did aesthetic practices and developed more perfect concentration and gained complete control over his physical body, starved it to death but still remained alive and such. He spent six years doing that. We can maybe spend ten minutes meditating! But he put himself into it for six years.
In that he investigated the nature of mind and applied himself strenuously for those six years and came to the realization that depriving the body had no particular benefit. Then he started eating again, and with his sense of physical well being back, he sat under the bodhi tree on full moon night. It is said that although many things arose to try to afflict him, many demons came to afflict him, he had the realization of love and compassion with which he subdued the demons and gained the realization of the nature of mind. With that he was a fully enlightened Buddha and started his teachings.
The point is that the activities that one is involved with, although they are supportive of trying to move toward realization, the point is to gain realization of the mind. To try to crack the nut of one's being and gain inner realization. In the teachings after the Buddha became enlightened, in the teachings called turning of the first wheel at Sarnath, Deer park. The second turning was at Rajgeer on top of a mountain called Vultures peak. That is where he taught the perfection of wisdom sutras which are specifically aimed at gaining wisdom, the realizations of the nature of reality. Within that is the long prajna paramita and the short, and then the heart sutra. The longest is termed the eighty thousand verses, the middle length one is eight thousand verses, and the short one is the Heart Sutra.
Regarding the heart sutra, it opens with the sentence, The Bodhisattva of compassion, from the depths of prajna wisdom, saw the emptiness of all five skandas and suffered the bonds, the cause of suffering. Then form appears as only emptiness, emptiness is only form, form is no other than emptiness and emptiness no other than form.
Just that one sentence is all I wanted to do. When one investigates the nature of the mind, which is the most important realization which you try to strive for, because it allows us to be free. It stops the cause which gives suffering. In that, why we want the realization is because we do suffer. We do have misunderstanding. We have ignorance in our mind. Because of that we have delusions, because of delusions we make ourselves miserable. We make other people miserable, we make ourselves miserable, and a lot of confusion, bad karma is created. So it is important, if you go back, deluded actions being being created therefore deluded attitude, wrong attitude, wrong thoughts coming from the misunderstanding of the mind. So the realization of the mind is very important.
In regards to that, if we investigate the nature of mind, and we think that the Buddha said that form is only emptiness, so that means that myself in some way is not supposed to be there. That is wrong! That is a misunderstanding of the nature of reality. As a meditator, when I introduced it I said, the unique feature of Buddhism is that everything that you need is just here and being consciously aware. You do not have to go outside or away from yourself. You just have to settle yourself and become consciously aware. And in doing that, it is not that we take the personality and say the personality does not exist. That is not the issue at all. Rather, it is that we become conscious of how is our personality? What is the structure of our personality? Not are the manifestations of our personality, if we talk of like having certain character. Some of us have a good character, some have a whining character, an angry character, an attached character, all these different things. This is not the issue. The issue is the structure, the nature of personality. That is the important issue, to gain that realization.
For that, it is important because if we do not gain that understanding, then there is no reason for what we are doing. If the personality were a set thing, and we were properly understanding it, if our nature was an easily understandable thing, then that would be it. This is a clock and that is it. There is no more to understand about it. There is nothing more profound. We got it. But the situation is, that maybe it is that we don't understand really what the object is. Or if we look at ourselves, we don't really understand what we really are, how we are. Sort of how we exist. If we don't understand that, then maybe we are making mistakes in the way we ascertain the world. And then maybe we can can have an understanding of why we create suffering for ourselves. That is an important set of thoughts togo through. As to why we have the experiences we have. Why should we investigate the nature of ourselves?
For this evening, I only wanted to introduce the subject of the meditative mind is not one which is going for some kind of experience, such as that of taking a hot car and driving very fast, you can have an experience. That is not the style one wants to do with ones meditation. For example one can do things with one's minds consciousness energy, to have certain experiences. That is not a fruitful move to make. Rather, it is just to allow oneself to settle and to be observant of the structure of ones mind. And in allowing oneself to be conscious of that it is not that there is something there which is going to disappear. Like when you sit down to meditate, you will sit there and when you close your eyes you will have a sense of yourself. It will have whatever gender of sex that you are. You will have that. You will have a certain appreciation of your age, your stature, maybe some attribute or quality, your character analysis, whatever. All of that is not being negated.
The important thing is the basic expression of your mind as you sit there is purely exactly what it is. The issue is, to allow yourself to be more conscious of it, how it is. Most simply said is, maybe there is this sense of a particular style of self that is being experienced or felt, but you can ask yourself is it consistently manifest in that particular way that I hold it to be. To allow yourself to settle and become conscious is just allowing your mind to appreciate that the conscious sense of self that we have, how is it. So then at any moment, as how am I feeling about myself right now. you havn't negated anything, havn't said that something is non existent, something is void or empty. All you are questioning is how you are experiencing right now? Try to identify the main delineators of it. And then you can allow yourself to say it seems alright. Then after a few moments, allow yourself just observation of your own conscious energy to reappraise it and see if it has changed. It's a little different reality being experienced.
That process, even gaining a little doubt about how your sense of self is, is the key to realization! Because as soon as you begin doubting, like when you become angry! You have no doubts! Your pissed off. And this is not right! At that moment you do not doubt who you are or where you are coming from. You have a very clearly in your mind this issue. That situation. And they do not jibe! I'm pissed off. Mind sets up those dynamics. Take attachment, anger, a variety of objects. At that moment there is no doubt as to how you are grasping yourself. If you start gaining realization, a little inner experience, you actually start to loose that sense of deluded solidity. You start to doubt that this is really authentic! Like for example, a strong head space when you are angry, actually isn't as authentic as you normally believe it is!
Before anyone told you about internal investigation, you might have felt that you could get self righteously angry and it was perfectly alright. But when found out a lot of people didn't like you, you found that you became quite arrogant, and a few other things, then maybe you found you were not so happy any more1 n Then you begin to see that things were not working out the way you figured it would. So then actually you then began to doubt if this were the right thing to do! Just by the repercussions of it.
Well the issue I want, because we are going to go for a deeper level of experience, is in allowing yourself to experience the various shifting of senses and feeling you have about yourself. And that is the point. To allow yourself to experience, just consciously watching the shifting without identifying with them. Then you can maybe start to doubt how the sense of self really is. And if you can gain that sense of doubt, even an atom of it, then you can start to have what is called the breaking out of the unconscious grasping of self as being truly existent!
The first thing is to find something which breaks up the grasping which then creates all sorts of thoughts and projections which then normally then tie in delusion, then brings about deluded expression, which then brings about suffering. The issue here, is that we do have problems. We do experience suffering. So if that is the case, then lets look at the issue.
The first step is to be observant, consciously aware, and to start appreciating that maybe our sense of self is maybe actually different from the way we always think about it. Maybe there are alternatives. That alternative can e experienced as the sense of doubt as to your old previous head space about yourself, your previous grasping to yourself. And maybe further investigation about as to the real nature of my reality. That is what Buddha did. He investigated the nature of his being. he spent six years doing it. Non stop. And he finally gained enlightenment. So certainly for ourself, for an hour a day or what we can apply for ourselves, the time we put forth is very worthwhile. Because it is in the root of gaining of realizations, in the channel of trying to gain realizations.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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