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 May 12 1992
With the meditative process, the teachings do come from Buddha Shakyamuni. Although enlightenment is within the vision of our mind, as the Buddha said, the sufferings we experience with our body and such are all the creation of our mind in the sense that it is our attitude and the way we approach the world which draws us into circumstances and situations which then create suffering for us. And so if we want to alleviate our suffering, we should look to our mind and gain realizations.
But that does not negate that our body is an integral part of our mind and experience. In the high philosophical systems it is said that ultimate nature of reality is interdependence. And the king of all logics is the logic of interdependence, that all phenomena are interrelated. So if we think about it, we have to realize that our mind and body are related. They are not separated. We cannot say our mind is something unrelated to our body, that we can do what we what. A good example that body and mind are related , is to see people try to live a very strenuous life, intellectual life, or hedonistic life, in that they like a lot of sensual input. If they pursue that, it is the minds attitude or motivation, and definitely that their body ends up ill. They get ill, high blood pressure, strokes, all sorts of different things which are the result of not being in tune with the body. As a meditator, we would like to become in tune with our own personal development, it is important that we look at our body, and question what we can do with it that helps improve the mind?
This is in the teachings of the mahamudra. We have got to the third page where it says, first as a preparation, in order to enter into the gateway of the framework of the Buddhist teachings, "Sitting on a comfortable meditation platform in the seven fold posture, you should rid yourself of defiled thoughts and extraneous mental activity by first practicing the nine breathing."
To bring our body in line to develop good meditation, the easiest way to talk of body and mind is to talk of the three channels. In the pursuit of mahamudra, as a realization of the ultimate nature of reality, it is not just a theoretical basis, there is something to be done on the physical level, which then helps our mind to be able to perceive the validity or to investigate into the ultimate nature of reality. Therefore our body posture is important. In this text it identifies the seven point body posture.
The seven point posture includes seven simple things.
(1) Legs crossed. The zen tradition refers to it as if you can, sit cross legged in the full lotus position because it gives y9u a tripod which is stable and does not fall over very easily.
(2) Spine erect. The back of the spine should be raised. In all the the meditation texts it says have the back of the chair a little higher than than the front.
(3) Hands on the lap with the left hand should be first with the right hand on top the thumbs touching. It is called the mudra of meditation, and in Zen practice it is important for that mudra to be perfectly generated, it is said it is the indication of how well one meditates
(4) The head is a little forward
(5) The eyes should be focussed two feet in the space before you, and the eyes should be down the line of the nose
(6) The jaw should be loose and mouth closed
(7) The tongue to the palate of the roof of the mouth. And it is said that if you then enter into deep meditation, you won't drool!
The eyes can be open or closed. With eyes closed, there is less distraction, but if one is not careful with the "tension" of the mind, you can go to sleep very easily. It is important to recognize the "tension" of the mind. One has to maintain awareness.
The texts refer to the nine point breathing meditation. Mind is to be said to be like a rider that runs on the energy. And the energy runs on channels or pathways in the body. The principal channel runs from the crown of the head down the spine, called the central channel. To the right and left are the two smaller side channels. From there, it is said different branches originate. At the navel, there are sixty four different channels that branch out into thousands of little channels. It is said that the body lives from the abdomen. Kidneys, liver, digestive tract, stomach, all are in that area.
You heart area is said to have eight principal channels which also branch into thousands of little ones. Your throat is said to have sixteen related to breathing, respiration, swallowing and such things. Your crown of the head is said to have thirty two channels. And your anus is said to have sixteen channels. The point is the main pathways, lesser pathways related to as being chakras, which then, it is said, branch into seventy two thousand of pathways when counted up together.
Energy is said to run in these pathways. The energy of one's body. It is scientifically proved that if one brings ones concentration into the hand, one can increase the temperature and blood pressure and such. So we do have an actual flow of energy through our body and by our own concentration we can bring it to different points in the body and, for example, with concentration one can focus healing energy to different points of the body.
Finally, it is said the mind rides upon those like a rider upon a horse. Like a rider going down a road, our mind rides on the energy which travels on the pathways. So if our pathways are not very clear, then the energy is obstructed, and if the energy is obstructed then our mind 's lessened, or it's capacity of clarity is crippled. Therefore in meditation, it is said one should sit straight which takes the kinks out the central channel which is the most important one. The central channel is what one should focus on to be most closely united with.
Taking this posture one should breath natural, deep inhalations with the abdomen with a bellows type of breathing, then one's body becomes calm and ones mind will also become calm. The only thing to add to this is called the nine cycles of breath which is said to clear. One should visualize with one's breath actually bringing the energy and allowing it to flow on these particular energy channels to clear then and allow them to become more sensitive to them.
It is said the right and left side channels come up from the navel on each side of the spine and connect with the right and left nostril. The central channel, although we do not need to visualize starts at the center of the forehead between the brows and runs up to the crown and drops down to the navel area. So in the center of the navel, visualize taking your mind and create a sensitivity or tingling sensation that runs down your body. As you inhale, think of air entering your right nostril, flowing down the right side channel and below the navel, it hooks into the left channel. Do three cycles of breath where you draw the air in the right nostril down to the navel and hook into the left. As you exhale feel the tingle or sensitivity of the energy run up the left side and out the left nostril.
Then reverse the process. Inhale though the left nostril, run down the right side channel and hook into the right below the navel area and up and out through the right nostril.
The last three, plug the left and right side channel into the central channel. Breath in through both nostrils, bring the energy down and when below the navel, it drops into the central channel. When you exhale, you exhale out the central channel. They say out allow the top of the channel to open and all the bad feelings, sluggishness of mind, is just blow out the top of your head.
That is the nine point breathing exercise. With this, you have made some preparation for your body to clear the channels, gain some equilibrium, put yourself in a good physical position, and when you pursue your meditation, you will have a better chance of meditation. It is like doing warm up exercise, from the stretching, you are a little more pliable.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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