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.
Duncan Nov 28 1992
It is always nice to touch base with the essential points.
Buddha Shakyamuni was born in a royal family, brought up in a rich environment, protected by his father, married at eighteen, possessed lots of lovers, and continued in this life style until the age of twenty six when he gave it all up. He left the palace, cut his hair, put on rags and went wandering through the plains of India. He studied meditation with one teacher where he learned to sit properly, concentrate, and gain deep absorption. From another teacher he gained philosophy. Still he was dissatisfied. The teacher, I guess had some dogma in regards to even presentation, but he couldn't quite give the details as to why, which was not satisfactory to Sidhartha.
He left that teacher and did a six year process of ascetic practices such as fasting and basic observation of the mind. Having fasted and starved himself to the point of death, he then decided that was not the root to enlightenment. He then began to eat food again. Shortly after that he did become enlightened.
The main point for giving that story is that Buddha did just observe the mind. In observing the mind, he started to cultivate and investigate the nature of being. What is the nature of being? What is the nature of the world around? What is the nature of myself? In this way with observation, clarity of the mind without confusion or drowsiness or intoxication, but rather with a mind to gain a perception of reality, the Buddha gained enlightenment and then presented the teachings.
For ourselves as individuals, when we work with ourselves, is to to that and investigate our own experience. That is where it is all happening. That is very important. It is not that you are part of a group, or that you do something, it is that you gain an inner understanding of yourself and a clarity, and basically, a one-ment. That you get closer to what is real.
In doing that, there are a couple things you can do to aid you. One is to observe the world, how it develops. Rather than focusing on relationships, people and personalities, look at the physical world and be conscious of it's evolution. In that, we can easily see that from various causes and circumstances things come forth and manifest. For instance, taking a plant. In observing a flower, it is not that just the bulb is there to create daffodil, there has to be the soil, moisture, air, light, warmth. There has to be the processes whereby the plant grows to produce the beautiful flower. There has to be the process of propagation, to produce more bulbs.
However in the process of observing, one realizes the Buddha must have been very intelligent. He did not just sit down and notice the presence of the flower. For the enlightenment mind there is the awareness of the incredible mixing. You cannot put the various elements here and there and somehow it just grows. It has to be all put together. The bulb by itself can not produce the flower in the absence of the other essential factors. There is the whole evolution or process needed to produce the flower. There is a participation of all the various elements in the production of the flower.
So when we observe our mind, we should not just sit there without observing that same quality about ourself. Our personality, the sense of self that one identifies, is not there independent. It is actually the product of many different things, the influences of our parents, our relationships to others, how we feel about ourselves and our body, regardless of height, weight, or age which helps us formulate out personality. All of the many different factors are the supporting matrix. You cannot take away all of that and find a self, because there would be nothing there. There might be some aspect of awareness or energy, but that energy couldn't express itself until it was mixed with the other parts of what composes you, the individual you will become and such.
So in the process of investigation, sitting down and gaining a certain composure and allowing yourself to relax, you should allow awareness to be conscious to the incredible larger volume that is the production of you. That is very important because it helps you appreciate a greater sense of being. So often we put so much emphasis on me, I, mine, my decisions, the job I'm at, the people I interact with. To those things we put incredible emphasis, those very finite sorts of things. But when we look at the particular little finite objects, it will establish it's position by means such as today, there is a pimple on my nose and I am feeling embarrassed, so my personality walks around sheepishly trying to hide the pimple on the nose!
Obviously that is not you. In this sense, the personality will change the whole structure on the basis of the blemish on the side of the nose. That sorts of things are not us! Not person! All the things that go into that physical aspect, to identify the self and hold to it so strongly, is very silly! There is so much more to it than that.
So when we meditate, part of the process is to allow awareness to become much more encompassing. In that way, whether you have a pimple on your nose, if there are causes for blemish, the blemish will come. But if you have a little more enlightened approach to yourself, you can appreciate I have an impurity in my blood, whatever, so I have a pimple, no big deal! So the personality can relax.
The point is, in being aware, so often we put so much emphasis to the personality we have, to the pimples we have, to our financial position, to our possessions and such. Those are the things we sometimes cling to. And it is such a limited vision and understanding of ourself.
So just as Buddha sat and observed reality and then gained enlightenment, and I often that people think, Buddhas enlightened, and became very spaced out, and walked around very cool. He wasn't, he was omniscient. He had a wonderful quality. He could heal people. He could fly! He performed miracles where he could levitate and do miraculous things! He could manifest things out of nothingness. He made a tree appear for one king! So it is not like enlightenment is dry or just sort of like a very clear head space. It has wonderful quality and power, love, and lots of good energy there. So when you think of enlightenment, do not think of it as sterile. The enlightenment the Buddha received was based on his getting in tune with reality from which he gained all realizations.
For ourselves as individuals, there is the whole process of conscious awareness that you can get in tune with which really gives us a terrific key to being much more relaxed and comfortable with who we are. Maybe we have some nasty sides, maybe we get emotional or excited. But that is alright, that is not the total self. It is rather unskillful aspects of ourself. The point is to try to generate an awareness which allows us that capacity to be more whole. And it is not artificial, it is just reality, being in touch with reality, having good feelings that make us more happy.
Last week we touched on beginningless time, which I like because it is the Buddhist approach to how the outer world is and how it is formed. But it is difficult to prove. I could not graphically present it. I could give some things which give good thoughts for speculation, but difficult to prove. Past lives, future lives, difficult to point and say how it happens. Aside from that, and in the process of just becoming more in tune with reality, certainly we utilize immediate perceptions, awareness, feelings, sensitivity. And using that is how we get in touch. How we access that beginningless mind.
For this evenings meditation, in settling ourselves, there are a few areas we can think of. The problem is that we often feel we are too separate. Like I am here, you are over there. And we are all separate. A real sense of separateness. And in that, we have a big mistake within that awareness, because it is not that I am you and you are me, or something! Not something silly like the new age stuff we are all one, that is very difficult to validate. Rather, if you start with your body and see how it is part of the room in the aspects of the heat and warmth of the body participates with my body. Just as with the flower. The warmth and sunlight draws forth the stem and flower. So also do I participate with the warmth. It makes my skin feel comfortable and happy. If I turned the thermostat off, we would all be shivering with cold. So obviously we are in relationship. We are part of the world. Part of the warmth, the humidity and so on.
So if you start to let your consciousness relax and become aware of the reality of your body sitting in this room, you already have an awareness that you are a participant in the whole environment of this room. In that way, all of us are part of this. We are swimming in the same atmosphere. We are part of the world around us. And if you realize that is the reality, one you might freak out and wear gauze on your face all the time, but if you are a little more relaxed about the things, you realize it has been like that from day one, and you are still alive so it cannot be that bad! So you just relax and become more in touch with reality.
Also with our mind. Our mind is that way also. Although the subtle levels of mind are not easily assessable or understandable to us right now, our mind is also a product of what has happened to it. So if we are unhappy about how we are experiencing reality right now, we have hassles, we can recognize that maybe we are in a difficult environment. A lot os stress in our environment. Or maybe there is particular issues which bother us. Then in being aware of physical disorders, you may actually experience depression or emotional problems that are caused from internal illnesses which you are aware or unaware.
All of what I am talking about is so important is so important, just being part of the world. And so important in the process of enlightenment because that is how enlightenment happens. It is becoming a conscious aware person. Aware of what? Aware of the reality.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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