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 9 1992
The presentation of the Buddhas teachings are aimed at the development of awareness. It is the awareness of the way the world is being experienced that is the whole crux of it. Awareness is said to be pure, and this ties in with the mahamudra teachings. They say look to the immediate moment of awareness because within that is liberation.
In the Sakyapa tradition they use what is called the inseparability of samsara and nirvana which means, the world out there for the deluded mind is cyclic existence or samsara, confusion. But for the liberated mind, the world becomes nirvana or the ultimate experience. So what is said to be the inability to differentiate between samsara and nirvana is not the world, it is the mind which is viewing the world which is the point where liberation is had. On that point is what is called the inseparability of samsara and nirvana.
Coming back to the mahamudra, mahamudra is the development of awareness which gives liberation. And it is focused at a holistic realization in the sense that it is focused at the central point which creates our sense of existence. We are here and we are aware. That awareness is the point where the teachings are aiming you at. Whether you take the teachings of impermanence or move forwards to the perfection of generosity, or enthusiastic or the practice of patience, all those teachings are those which ripen or develop or gives support to the person to be able to develop the awareness in a broader spectrum. Because if you lack merit, then your mind and vision of the world becomes smaller. It is easy to see when someone has not travelled very much. When they meet with new circumstances and are not too open to learning new things, they fall back and become defensive. Racism develops with unfamiliarity with different ethnic groups. The mind has not been able to move into a new position and therefore awareness is holding back or moving into older positions. You could say, the negative mind is controlling and therefore the vision of hostility or invasion of privacy or space or area or community is sensed.
So awareness, a lack of merits for a person's awareness, really means the lack of possibilities, the lack of options, and the person in a sense become more prone to suffering because there is always new things happening in life. When we speak of the general teachings, the general teachings are supportive of developing a broader perspective because they are aimed at merit, at being more positive. A more positive attitude. So the more you apply yourself to the different spiritual exercises such as the development of love and compassion, trying to become more generous, patient, and so on, all are to give our imprints of mind more openness so we can function more adequately in the world around us.
Awareness in it's immediate moment is pure. What happens is, when you move off the immediate moment of awareness, what is there are all the previous imprints which have been accumulated by you as an individual. And they start to kick in. And so when immediate awareness is there, it can be quite blissful, quite serene, and when mind relaxes and opens up, then imprints become more in control. In a sense the more unconscious become or more unaware, then just habit patterns work. And so the less awareness you have, the more you are dominated by previous imprints and the response which you have set up in establishment to new stimulations, so if you have never developed awareness, if someone is critical, immediately you respond with the imprint of defensiveness, and negation, insecurity. Whereas if you are more consciously aware, then suddenly you are more aware of yourself and your environment. You may see the person is unhappy, and in having to deal with the things around them, they maybe lash out at you.
The more we develop awareness, the more we have a little more freedom from previous imprints. It is that awareness which will give us new options for growth, the potential creative areas we can move into. So in being involved with the mahamudra which is the investigation into the nature of reality, if we understand that correctly it is not the investigations of the empirical physical world, it is the investigation of our vision or reflection of that physical world to our mind. Because that is where enlightenment liberation will be had. It is not just that look at the world and see more options in the sense of the ways of manipulating material matter, it is that our mind becomes more open.
In being involved with the meditative practice, you should be able to have a sense of humor about it. The point is that you are consciously aware. That is the emphasis, and what the Buddha aimed at. I don't think he had any interest that he was going to see thousands of people spread across Asia forming some kind of movement, I think his teachings were aimed at trying to make sentient being happier. Trying to give them a real understanding of how to make themselves happy, to adopt the right attitude and such. And finally, the point of real happiness is to make sentient beings have an experience that allows them real internal liberation.
I would like that as we sat here, that we would experience that. That you have focused and centered yourself, relaxed, your mind becomes open, and awareness is there. Sensations arise. Within that, if you allow yourself to become more confident in that clarity of awareness, you will also see imprints function. Maybe today you got stimulated in a particular way. There is an imprint there which is carrying on. Just be aware of those particular thoughts which kick in. All it is is an imprint. You have an image, an imprint, a communication that was generated, and within you then, are all the habits and ways you have identified with yourself which are functioning because of that. When you become more clear minded and concentrated, those will fade away. And if you actually think about it, develop serenity, those actually completely fall away and you become very centered and very focused. And negative stimulations become ineffective, don't affect you any more, so you gain equilibrium, Or that even good things that may have happened are pushed away. Even in that you gain equilibrium so it doesn't intoxicate your mind, so you are too inflated or gleeful with praise.
The point is to put ourself into the ability to have awareness. And that within a moment of awareness there is an incredible amount of freedom. Just awareness as in being aware of levels of physical sensation, various thought that flow through the mind, and the ability to have that awareness not stressful, but relaxed, and that is when you assume a good meditation posture.
The object of that is to gain more open mindedness, generate the ability to have a more positive attitude or confidence, and finally to recognize a more valid way to approach the world versus the habit patterns we have, previous imprints without reflective intelligence there.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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