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.
Nov 11, 1990
When taking refuge there should be some objective in your mind regarding that. The main thing is that it is your own striving for a sense of greater enlightenment and the more you have realization, it is striving for full enlightenment. But certainly if nothing else one can recognize that one has the wish to be happy and free of suffering. In that way one should recognize those qualities within oneself. So realizing that and turning one's mind to the Buddha, who has shown the path, taking refuge in the teachings which are the actual path of what one practices, and taking refuge in the spiritual community which is those people who support one's practice.
To continue on the subject of gaining a better realization of mind. The focus has been utilizing the three analogies. The analogy of being open like space, that mind is deep like an ocean, and solid like a mountain. Open like space is allow your consciousness to be comfortable and to allow whatever thought forms come through it to pass through without clinging to them. The mind like a mountain is to be very solid. And like an ocean is like a deep ocean. Maybe the surface can get very choppy but deeper down movement is slower and deeper. So you want to have a nature of character about yourself which has a deeper quality and now always moved because the wind blows the waves in a particular manner and your personality gets moved right and left and such.
In so many ways a lot of the teachings are trying to develop a conscious awareness of how to deal with reality. In receiving information from the world around me, how can I work with that information in a beneficial way, a way that will be more supportive for me in a positive context? To come back to the analogy of having a mind open like space, there are a few things you should ask yourself. What is my mind like in the sense of when you sit and allow yourself to relax into your meditation, the aspects which we identify being very strong are personal aspects. They dissolve. And you have just a very clear state of conscious awareness. You could almost say if your concentration is clear, that it is pristine awareness. Clear and free. Then at various times thought forms will come through it. But if you observe that pristine awareness, you will find there is no fixed identity for the personality. It is worthwhile delving into what is the nature of my personality. When we are very healthy we have a particular image of ourselves. Then as things change and we grow older or get sick, what you are as a personality changes and has a new set of identifications.
Personality obviously does not have a fixed set of images. As we progress through life we find we have different motivations, different things we come from. When we are younger we work more from our body. When we are middle aged we are more conscious of the effects of our actions, we are more politically or socially aware. And as we grow older, depending on how we lived our life, our personality will shift over into taking a different view of life if we have not done it very well, or a wiser relaxed vision of our life if we feel satisfied and confident about who we are. And maybe we have a bit of wisdom.
If you take the basic state of conscious awareness which is clear, then what creates the different perspective has to do with what is being experienced by the mind. The mind shifts as it understands new things. Mind has a knowingness, an understanding about itself. It does not have a fixed thing, it is very flexible. Granted some people are very fixed but they have a lot of trouble with life. And the more open minded we are, the more flexible and adaptable we are, the more happy we are, the more realized we are.
The issue then is how do we work with ourselves to be happier, how do we make our mind more flexible, more adaptable, more open to different possibilities so we do not have a rigid little vision and therefore end up full of suffering every time something happens. We get angry, upset, depressed, or hostile, with our rigid vision. All sorts of things happen. This means our personality is inflexible or demonstrating it's inflexibility.
So utilizing the technique of to settle, be clear and open like space, allow your consciousness to be very clear. If allow yourself to sit and relax, clarity, and you have a very good meditation, you can taste it, easily. You can have an experience of that mind is really clear! Beautifully clear consciousness, knowingness. And it does not have have an identification of being such and such an age, or that I have this illness, it is just clear awareness.
The two qualities you want to add to that is the depth quality, that you do not have a superficial ego. And the other quality is that you have a mind which is more stable. Those things come about by putting some energy towards your own meditation. And learning how to be more relaxed with information which comes into you. So when things are very exciting, that you can take a deep breath and drop them. It is literally dropping captivating thoughts and such.
The issue is that we are dealing with reality all the time. We are always getting information fed in. What happens is we grasp at certain aspects of it. And that is how we work with that particular experience. Some information comes, we then identify with certain things in that situation, and that is what we hold as our position. Sometimes it is productive and does things for us, and sometimes it is not. Sometimes we are too rigid, angry, or rely on aggressiveness or hostility to make ourselves feel confident. And therefore we create a lot of negativity and unhappiness.
I want to work with the same basic state of awareness. Clear, solid and deep.but I want you to work with it in the sense of trying to realize that a certain thought comes through your mind. Thoughts which are a little more distant to you are sometimes easier to work with. You are sitting there relaxed, suddenly there is screech of brakes and a crash outside! If you drove here you might get upset, your car has been hit! If you walked here, you wouldn't. If it does not apply to you, you can relax.
Certain information comes into the mind and is grasped, processed and dealt with. If you let go of the information, you can relax again. Where as if you are more uptight, you can not. I am using a simplistic idea. The point is the mind is dealing with information and some will deal with it and let go of it. Some will want to get up and discover what is wrong, they will have more trouble dealing with that information, caught up with car on the road, crash.
We want to be of a deeper realized, happier nature of existence. So even if your car was crunched out there, and have the issue of going out and finding out what happened, and then the car can get repaired. Or you could stay here, not worry about it, and go out later and find a note on the car, hopefully! It will be dealt with. You do not have to worry. There are two options. Either you can do something about it. Or you can't. Your mind can stay balanced about it. But throw personal attachment in there, and get uptight, emotional, maybe yell and scream at the person, and get very caught up in this, not dealing from a deep position. Very superficial.
If someone was more confident or stable, they would think they had insurance, they didn't have to worry. Maybe they don't even worry about the car. So their mind is into a different consciousness.
To be more happy we need a deeper sense of being that does not get excited about a few small material changes that happen. We would like to be deeper so we have a more consistent experience of happiness, equanimity, peace. Not caught up with the ups and downs of each day.
Try to work with in your meditation, and a certain set of information comes through, some will be very unimportant and your mind will stay quite relaxed. Another thought will come. Maybe it has more meaning and you mind gets uptight. In meditation time you have an opportunity to utilize and say, no matter what the thought arises, just let it come through me. Thoughts are just little ideas. If you take every thought as being total reality, you end up being rigid. If you allow them to come through and not identify with them, you get a more peace of being. With that, you can deal with things easier.
For your meditation using the three aspects, clarity, depth, stability, try to work more with letting thought come through and not grasping or clinging to it. As soon as you cling to a thought, all of the side sets of things like being uptight, attracted to the thought, the feelings that are generated from that thought, all ties in very strongly. Then you get too much emotional energy involved. So letting the thought go through and learning how to let it go. To be open minded, be like space. Like if a cloud comes into space, it can go white, dark, black, or such a movement. Space doesn't matter. It just sits and is quiet. It let's the cloud do it's thing. So in your meditation allow yourself to be relaxed and when a thought comes into your mind, allow yourself to be relaxed about it. Try to experience a non clinging to the thought.
As you gain experience with this, you will find how to better bring that into day to day life when you are dealing with more emotional issues. You will find how to breathe and allow the different feelings go through without clinging to them. After a few moments then you can settle on the appropriate technique to utilize that.
The technique is for the attainment of your own happiness and fulfillment because it makes you more equal, even keeled, deeper, and having more opportunity for wisdom rather than being superficial. Rather than being terribly excited about anything. So for the meditation deal with openness with a sense of stability and depth to that. Use the analogies. Try to be large, clear, and bigger than the small set of thoughts that you have. Try to utilize your own mind and keep that evenness by thinking about it. It is just a relative situation. Use your own intelligence to keep your equanimity and not cling to it.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
All Rights Reserved