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 June 08 1993
The teachings say it is important to differentiate where where one should place one's sincerity or faith, ones reliance, and where one shouldn't. In the teachings it is presented as, between a person who is a teacher, a charismatic person, and the teachings, it is important that we don't rely on the teachings just because of a charismatic presentation. But rather, in the presentation of the teachings, we look to the teachings and not to the teacher in the sense of feeling quite drawn to something because of the influence of the presenter of teachings. But when we do that we should always say , if wanted to be involved with this because of personality, that is not a skillful thing to do. I could be let down on that. So I should really have faith to what is being said. That is the teachings. So it is said, then when one approaches the teaching, one should not approach them on being attracted to the personality of the teacher, but rather to be attracted to the content the teachings themselves, the dharma in this sense.
Secondly if we look at the dharma there are two styles of teachings. The teachings which are interpretative, and then the definitive teachings. Interpretive teachings are where the Buddha taught according to a particular audience or particular time. For example you can find that the Buddha taught a hundred and thirty five sutras. Well, he taught more but it is contained in a one hundred and thirty five quite lengthy volumes. They all start off with thus I have heard....and then the scenario of the place, the audience and such. Having done that, then it presents the teaching.
So there is a large volume of teachings the Buddha gave. And in giving those, one should always remember that the Buddha did not teach because he wanted to talk on this subject or that one, he always taught according to the needs of the audience. As the mind of an enlightened being is very receptive, he discerned the need of the audience. So for that reason, if the audience was intellectual and interested in the penetrative insight into the nature of reality, the Buddha would present the teachings in accordance. So there were many teachings on different levels. In that way it is said that the teachings on the relative nature of reality are generally speaking interpretive. Meaning, if they don't point to ultimate nature of reality, then are then relative as in accordance with the situation and circumstances of the audience to which they were presented.
So will you find that the Buddha would prescribe a particular type of activity. And it is said that he presented the self as self existent. There is an internal soul. The reason he taught that was that the audience that he was teaching at that time were unsuitable to receive the teachings on selflessness. The audience was very uptight or rigid. So the Buddhas teachings were proportionate to the capacity of the audience.
So it says if we move our faith or our sense of reliance to the teachings, we should be intelligent. In all of the various teachings of the Buddha, there are things which will appear to be contradictory. But if one looks at them from the side of the audience to which they were presented, then the contradiction is rather minor. And if one comes down to investigating what the Buddha said, one could see it was based on the relative situation and is a prescription or precepts developing relative truth. Relative truth is just what is happening in the relative world. For example presenting the practice or generosity, morality, all of these are practices on the relative level of truth, because they are relative interactions and such. Although they would be supportive of higher realizations, they themselves are not essential or very necessary.
If it is the definitive teaching, that is where it says if we look at the teachings and try to differentiate between those which were of an interpretive nature and based on circumstance, and those which are definitive, i.e they are exactly on the nature of reality... because the teachings on the nature of reality, there is no need for any interpretation required, they are explicit.
Those are always aimed at the ultimate nature of reality. So if try to seek out a message from the Buddha, we should move our reliance to those teachings which are very clear, a very direct statement. And as for the other ones, they are always worthwhile to be aware of, but we should be aware of their nature in regards to the audience.
The final area of where we look at where we should have reliance, they say between the consciousness and what is termed as wisdom consciousness. Between those two, we should not just place our faith on just consciousness or conscious attitude, but rather try to put our faith into wisdom consciousness or what is actually termed experiential consciousness. And the difference between those is that consciousness is defined as a sense of being on a relative level intellectualizing or something. That is seen to be not reliable because the nature of my mind on a relative plane, doesn't fluctuate. It is not a reliable source of experience although you can draw from our experiences and gain understandings, the states of minds, states of emotions, its the feeling we have, are in a continuous flux and flow and in various ebbs of intensity. Therefore if we were to put our reliance upon those, we would not be very stable. Whereas if we can put our reliance to what is termed a transcendental wisdom, a wisdom consciousness is defined as that state of being of mind which has been able to penetrate into the nature of reality. And so there will be levels of realization, but the actual state of consciousness which is generated is called the path of seeing. And the path of seeing is direct on the intellectual perception of the true nature of reality.
So if we were to look where we should put reliance, we should put reliance to the non intellectual direct perception of the nature of reality. It is not easy or a simplistic understanding, but with a little guiding of ourselves, we will be able to differentiate what is reliable regarding ourself and what one pursues, and what is a temporal support. For example the various intellectual understandings you have will change as you become more wise, as you develop your understanding.
Just go back. At one time the world was flat! And at that people were adamant the world was flat and would die on the basis of that. Ships would mutiny if the captain took them too far out because the world was flat and they would fall off the earth! At that time, it seemed the correct understanding, at a later time the earth as round concept was adopted. So even at this point we might have some understanding of the nature of reality but we should not assume that our understanding is definitive or final or wisdom consciousness. Until we have direct non intellectual perception.
The nature of the talk over the last two years has been gained from that. And although it is a relative support, all of the focus of what the teachings, all things with the mirrors, the world as a refection in a mirror, the world as like a dream from the last night, and such things like that, all of those were assistants or to help move our mind to a more realized position or a position more in harmony with the nature of reality. If you can, you should try to incorporate what you have come to understand regarding the nature of your existence into the very way that you appreciate the world. And although it will not be a direction perception, or a non intellectual perception of reality, it will be moving you in that direction. They say in the teachings that to gain a path of seeing, or to gain that direct non intellectual perception, what one does is one sets up a conceptual idea of reality. And that conceptual idea, so to speak, as one becomes more realized, will become in a sense more thinner and thinner in that the way we view world will start to, as it approaches reality, become very close to reality.
But there still is an intellect sort of having... think of it this way. The tress are outside. And when the trees move in the breeze, we might really start to recognize that actually there is no movement. Because the whole environment is moving and where could you say that there is non movement versus movement. You might say there is various degrees of velocity out there, but really there is no fixed point saying this point is moving at this speed versus that speed over there! The really tall picture is everything is in motion. So that being the case, that statement sort of says there is no movement. In the sense that where would non movement be! You have to have non movement to establish movement. When there is only movement, non movement is not a perceivable thing other than it is intellectual projection.
Coming back to what I was saying, to approach an ultimate realization, ones conceptual projection becomes more transparent as for example, you were to look at a tree moving in the breeze. You might have an idea there saying, this tree is fully interdependent with the atmosphere around it, but still there is the projection of that idea. And it is in harmony with the nature of the reality of tree. But it is not a direct perception. It is still intellectual overlay on what is the true nature of reality. But when you gain the path of seeing, that intellectual haze or veil is no longer there. One directly and non conceptually perceives the nature of reality. That is termed the path of seeing. And that is termed the wisdom consciousness. That consciousness is reliable.
Having had that perception once, again and again as you approach it, although your appreciation of it on an intellectual basis will expand, that perception will remain essentially what is termed stark or naked in that there is no elaborations on that. It is a pure perception. There is no other area that one needs to realize. It is the final perception. In other words it is the ultimate reality.
The teachings we have been pursuing is that, that we try to move our mind again and again towards that position where our concept of the world around us becomes more in harmony or in oneness with the way things really are. So for example, when we started this meeting we talked about things are impermanent and things can get moved around. There is something to be said that maybe if we move the furniture in our house around, we would certainly be much more acceptant if one day the walls of our house fell down because we would be in tune with yes, things are impermanent. Things can move around!
More importantly, is we should try to four ourselves as individuals, try to continually integrate the idea that our body is totally interdependent with the atmosphere around it. The more you can see the complete communion between your body and the environment, the less you will grasp at yourself as being self existent. Independently existent. The more you do that, the more you become as an experiential person in harmony with reality. For example, if you get into an accident, you may be a little upset, but not half as much as you would be if you grasped at reality as real, like a hard rock! Reality isn't that way. If you move your conscious position towards that interdependence, it is then fully acceptable that your car gets broken. The condition, the causes, the interdependence of the whole phenomena is expressing the situation as not reliable. It is a car crash! So we are much more accepting of things.
That moves us away from strong delusions thereby moving us away from suffering. And of course, no one wants to suffer. So essentially that in a nut shell is the nature of the whole teachings we have covered over the last year. So we are going to move away from this! But, I wanted to touch base once more on it because it is very meaningful and is a definitive and final teaching. There is no need for any interpretation required on that teaching. For those with a sharp mind, the realizations which are crucial to become more enlightened are in that teaching itself.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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