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.
right after unknown 2
Nanaimo unknown Spring 93
The theme of the teachings we are involved with could be called aligning ourselves with reality. The classes have go through different phases. We looked at the relative side and tried to identify with the interdependent nature of phenomena. This is such a full area to try to become more conscious of. We are now moving out of winter, so we don't so much smoke out of chimneys, and we are sitting here thinking we are individual and separate, but rather we should bring our consciousness to be aware of the whole atmosphere. That we are actually in a medium. The atmosphere is totally within and through us. So aligning ourselves to reality is allowing our understanding to start to become more participant in that type of awareness.
A Buddhist approach is as things are is a theme it. Tayata. So it is important to expand our consciousness into being more of a participant of the reality around us. One of the themes I spoke of was that there was no real empty space between us all. It is actually full of different mediums. Right now we have quite a transparent medium, air. Water which is a thicker medium, there is more there in between. The issue is we are fully interdependent and immersed in mediums or atmosphere and fully participant and living within that! That awareness helps our mind become more conscious of our interdependence which can have an affect on us in the way we deal with the world.
From there we tried to talk about how to help our stop being so grasping at things as being separate. The technique was to have the mind soften in the way it sees things. Two weeks ago I put some mirrors up. The example I used was going to a restaurant and seeing mirrors which make it appear very huge. And when one looked in the mirror, one saw an image with people, then the mind realized it was only reflective people. With that recognition, the mind does not grasp at them as being real. For example, if that person was your lover, when you saw that person and realized it was real, you would relax all of your projections. Or if it were an enemy, you might get uptight, and then realizing they were not there, you would also relax. The point is, when you recognize one is the image, your mind withdraws its projections. That withdrawal is what we need to try to do with reality all the time. We need to recognize that we do project, and then work on the withdrawal of that so we have what we term the pure reflection of all objects. So we see things really and truly as they are, not painted by our projections. Because we do project, and then act out all our delusions on them!
The pint is to help our mind move away from projection and illusion to a more authentic state of being, seeing the world as a pure reflection, or not elaborating on reality, allowing things to be clean and pure.
This week I wanted to do one which is more powerful and difficult but it is worthwhile. I have used the example on occasion, but I want to cover them again because there is new people, and of course for the others it is good to refresh your mind.
Buddha in talking of reality said the world is like an illusion, like an image in a mirror, like a reflection of the moon in the lake, and like a dream. These are the examples he gave in talking about how one should see the world. It is not that the world is illusion, but the world is LIKE. The emphasis is to realize that we should not project a false reality on objects. But rather we should recognize the real reality, the true nature of objects. As I said, the independent nature of phenomena actually invokes incredible change in consciousness for ourselves as individuals. We do not then isolate things and then heavily project on one isolated facet. We have a more holistic vision of everything. Any person we see is recognized as being the product of a variety of things. Although they may stand in front of us with anger or whatever, we have to recognize they are the product of different inputs. Then we can see them with compassion. We can also understand that we can put new energy into them. Compassion, understanding, knowledge, whatever it is and possibly change them a little bit. Not immediately, but that is a potential. Because all phenomena are interdependent. That is, can be influenced, and changed, are in the impermanent process.
One more tool for your tool chest of dealing with reality is the awareness of life as like a dream. To help do that, the actual teaching is the one on lucid dreaming, becoming aware of the dream in the dream state. So this evening I want to give the two principle techniques to be able to do that. And the emphasis on that is that in the dream, you have experiences. But in the dream, within the dream, if you saw elephants crossing your lawn, whatever imagery you have, when you wake up you realize there are no elephants! To have all those elephants in your bedroom would be impossible! They are therefore an illusion and your mind immediately lets go of the fear of having elephants in your bedroom!
The point is your mind releases itself from the fear you may have had. Although you may have after effects of feeling distraught, you understand it was a dream and immediately discount grasping at those things. You don't hold them as truly existent. Again that ability to disengage the mind from heavy projection is the crux of trying to gain a better alignment to reality.
One technique is to become more a participant in dreams. In the Tibetan tradition, the technique is relying on two things. One, strong intention, and secondly, a particular meditation technique. To become more a participant in dreams, we should start to engage our dreams and start to become conscious of our dreams. Our dreams are, from the Buddhist side, the projections of our own conscious mind. So the images arising in the dream are from a variety of sources. Either things we have had to deal with during the day, or things which have been in our life, or stronger imprints coming from previous lifetimes. Whatever the case, the are imprints in our mind! So when images arise in the dream, at that arisal time, if we recognize that they are our own creation and projections in an animated form, that key gives us an incredible ability to understand ourselves better and also more importantly the opportunity to take hold of our own personal reality. To be able to actually engage it more! And in that way, when we wake up in the morning, become more participant in our reality that we create in our day to day moments!
For example, if you become more conscious of yourself in your own personal development, lets say you have particular characters in your dreams, as you become more conscious of them and their personifications, and aspects of yourself, then you are starting to recognize your projection and it is starting to become very articulate in that particular image that arises on various occasions. With that recognition, when you move into day to day activity, you become more conscious of possible that delusion or energy functioning. And you can recognize the overlap. The overlap from your conscious attitude in daily activity to it's appearance in your dreams as a particular personified character.
The technique helps you. Especially if you can become a lucid dreamer, then the technique is extremely helpful because then you really can crete the images in your dream at that point. You really can change the realities in your dream. In the Tibetan texts it identifies clearly that first you recognize the dream as a dream, having done that you start to take control of the dream aspects. You start to change bad ones to good ones. And finally you start to create the reality that you would like to experience in your dream such a visiting teachers, getting teachings, receiving special informations that you would like to have for your daily activity. Those are possible things that you can acquire in your dreams from becoming a lucid dreamer.
So as a meditator, there are two things which you try to work with as a lucid dreamer. The first is termed by intention. And in intention in your daily activities, there is a prayer that you should offer. Whether it is to the Buddha or something to which you can turn your energies towards, and just identify that I would like to become lucid and aware in my dreams. I would like to gain that ability to be aware. I would like to awaken and become conscious in my dreaming. And by offering that prayer, and specifically in the evening when you go to sleep, you do build a strong intention to actually gain awareness of your dream in the dream time.
The second aspect is actually meditative focus. They say that one should at the level of one's throat, concentrate. To give some anatomy of this, in the Tibetan tradition there is said to be two centers for conscious energy. When we are awake, there is on at the level of the heart, and second at the level of the forehead. For example when we are right here, we say that one energy from the lower part of our body goes up to our heart, the second energy which resides in the heart comes up to the forehead. As we start to become sleepy, the energy drops. When you enter sleep, the energy will drop to the throat and to the abdomen. And when you enter deep sleep, the one from the throat moves to the heart, the the one in the abdomen will drop to the genitals. At that point, that would be the most relaxing time and generate your energy. When you enter into the dream time, the energy from the heart moves to your throat, and the genital area moves back into your abdomen.
It is said that in dream time, a certain amount of your consciousness resides in your throat area. And when you wake up during the night, both energies would rise back up to your forehead and heart. One comment for men for example, it is said when you are in deep sleep you may get an erection and that is the indication of conscious energy as having shifted down to the genitals. It has nothing to do with our sexuality, it is just that the energy of our body shifts and moves to that area.
As a meditator then, when you go to sleep at night, it says you should upon assuming a virtuous posture such as lying on your right side, if you want, it is said you can close your right nostril with your right finger, though that gets uncomfortable, so its easier if you sort of lie there, it is said that is the position of the Buddha passing in parinirvana. So lying on the right side, and right hand by your face, left hand on top of your body. In that position then, you should should concentrate at the level of your throat and have a strong red light appear there. You can visualize various syllables there if you want, but I think that makes it complicated and not really necessary. So if nothing else, just concentrating at the throat, putting your energy there and just having a red alight and focusing upon that and trying to dwell in that. You will go to sleep. If you are very good, you can actually go into sleep with full consciousness. So most of us go unconscious.
So when you go to sleep your consciousness will fall down to your heart, the other part will go down to your genitals. Then as you sleep, when you arise out of deep sleep and into the dream time, then when the consciousness rises back to your throat, it is said if you have meditated with some clarity, that time having spent concentrating the energy allows you a certain ability to awaken in your dreams and become conscious of your dreams as a lucid dream experience.
The fact of a lucid dream is that it is not like an ordinary dream. It has to have the quality of being as real as right now. Like all of us sitting in the room. And this amount of reality is the reality of a lucid dream. And that is the criteria. aBut there is no half way. It is not like that you are in a dream watching the images, you have to be a full participant and if you grabbed John's foot, like that you could if you wanted to. That is the ability that you have in lucid dreams so don't foot yourself into thinking you are having a lucid dream when you are not. You have to have the ability that you could grab his foot, or you could say, I am lucid dreaming right now and I can go down the stairs and go into the room. And you could get up and do so. Or you could fly or whatever you want to do, because it is your own dream.
So it is important that you understand that. The lucid dream has that quality of lucidity or vividness and it is not a half cooked thing. You are fully conscious in that dream and you are conscious that it is a dream! That is the other thing! That you have the ability to change things as you wish. Or try, it is not always easy tho change things even if you try!
That is the standard meditative technique for doing it.
The second .........his technique is not so much a meditative one, but one which you could term reality chess. As you are going with your daily activity, every so often just quietly to yourself, sort of focused and aware, is to say, is this a dram! Is this a dream! When you are in your office sitting there, then you put your hand on your chest and ask if this is a dream! Or go to a door and try to walk through the door. Of course you cannot do it, but you try! That is the trick . because if you can do that ten or fifteen times during the day, and you have to focus yourself at that point and question what is happening. In doing that, then you enter in a state of consciousness which is saying lets experience this as if this was a dream. So you put yourself in this set up!
What will happen is, one of the times, you will actually come into your dream state. And entering into that, you will say that, and discover that you are in the dream. You will walk to the door and put your hand in it. Most likely you will wake up because you will be so freaked out! But it is something that happens. And it is not far away from each of you as individuals. It is just a matter of turning your focusing on yourself. In one of the classes I was given at Malaspina college. One lady had a lucid experience. It was like a testimonial.
The material I am going to do right now and in the meditation technique is useful because all of us are going to go to bed tonight. We do not know how many more we will have in our life. So it is something that you have opportunity to access, and the technique is not too far away from us, it is just a matter of trying to remember to do that. And I can promise if you do it, and especially if you have some enthusiasm, if from there you can move into having a little experience once in awhile, however often we can generate that experience, that will be an incredible asset for you being able to appreciate how we create our reality.
In that regard we will have more confidence in assuming responsibility for what you are going to do to reality around you. So you will not loose control when someone makes you angry. You will have a better grasp on things. Sure there are some people who can make you angry, but your ability to control how you experience the anger. your ability to control your own conscious experience of that, that would be drastically altered. And your ability to have confidence in how you experience thing will be the real key thing that will happen for you. And that, as I say, brings you in line with recognizing the whole world is interdependent. That your whole body is fully participant of the environment, the atmosphere around you. Within that, you have altered or started to alter your conscious participation in the world..And in that then, you have less delusion and more causes for being happy, fulfilled, or even possibly become enlightened which is the objective of the meditation.
I wanted to break into different little sections in giving you classes on how to align oneself to reality. How to move away from deluded position where we don't have the ability to be in a reality context. Rather we are in the context of delusion.
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