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.
May 20 1990
The principle emphasis in Buddhism is the mind. In the west we think mind as the intellect. To think of your mind as something which...To say that you will become enlightened, the Buddha, is based on your mind. It is not anywhere else. That is your mind. The mind that you have right now. Although it is what we term as a coarse or rough level of consciousness, it is that very mind which is the basis or what will become enlightened.
In the practice in speaking of the noble truth of suffering, what is aimed at is that your mind and it's negative expressions as being the cause of suffering. Your uncontrolled mind in particular. We do not have much opportunity to experience that because we do not do longer sessions of meditation, a week meditation course could identify for you what we term your crazy elephant mind. Because you would sit here and have a hell of a time! At that point you could realize that your mind is not easily controlled. Whereas on a week to week basis we hold our existence together as best we can and feel good about it. But if we ever had to sit down and do some more intensive meditation, I think we would find the mind as quite difficult to control, to be able to do as you wish.
But the emphasis is, for a fully enlightened Being, their mind is fully under their control. For a Buddha there isn't that aspect that the mind, that they cannot control what is happening. The level of their consciousness is so deep that they do not have unconscious things for them to be concerned about. And that is what is important. To appreciate what we have is, take your mind at a deep level beyond the superficial thoughts and emotions that you feel, and going to deep fundamental urges you have, basic instinctual things. And for an enlightened being, they are in control.
In saying in control does not mean that they do not have those thoughts. But it means that the feelings of a fully enlightened being, the consciousness does not grasp at what is arising to the mind. We, however, when feelings come up in ourselves on the basis of physical stimulation or something, we grasp at them. Because we grasp to them and hold to them, they affect us and we become motivated in various ways, positive or negative. We are generally uncontrolled. It is like a wave completely lifts us and carries us forward. We have no control of that at all. We have no damage control of what we are doing to ourselves. We have a strong arisal of anger or resentment or basic ignorance of our fundamental mind and certainly ignorance of the nature of things around us. Because of that ignorance we are swept with the various circumstances we get caught up in.
So in your meditation techniques you are presented with every week, you try to cultivate the awareness that strong reliance on the external world is unreliable and will betray you. We sort of live on that hope that we are not really going to die and therefore can expend time and energy on material ventures which I have in my mind. We feel we have enough time to do that. But it isn't like that. Death gets you at any time you want.
The emphasis is not to make you neurotic, but to become more conscious of yourself and what you are doing. You can do the external activities, but do it consciously. And if you can, try to have a motivation which is greater than self gratification. You are always given techniques which are pointed back to controlling your mind. Being aware of your mind. Cultivation of your mind. To realize your mind. And if you can realize the nature of your mind, then enlightenment is there and then. You don't have to worry about anything else. But because we do not realize our mind or our realization is weak, we continuously get caught up with the outside world and start to shift emphasis to the external involvements and such, shift the emphasis of the reality of the experiences we are having. These are really real ones. I feel that these people don't appreciate me. And we grasp at those emotions and make a lot of negative energy for the people around me.
It is termed afflictive emotions, the translation of what delusions mean. The delusions mean that when you look at reality, you do not see it properly. You see it colored by your karma, your needs and sense and trivial emotions. Because of that you do not see reality properly. You see it in terms of wants and needs and such. For a practitioner of reality, you try to get a grip on your mind and realize that. So you clear away all of what you are projecting all the time so you do not look at others as an object of need, or an object off desire. But you look at reality as pure and pristine. With just awareness.
So when you are involved with your practice, try to put emphasis to the awareness of what is happening. What is motivating the situations. Am I really appreciating the real nature of reality, or am I deluded by what I am involved in.
To help you in a more mundane level of pursuit, of course there is the emphasis on virtuous or being positive about your life, interactions, environment, trying to see the goodness in all things, that has an essential purpose. If you got on enough of a positive attitude, feeling things are good, whatever happens is either a learning experience to help me become more confident and more capable, if you build up that attitude and work on it, you really don't understand your mind, but you start to build a hefty balance on the side of possible realization. Because when you are more positive, your mind is in a clearer position to be able to understand things around. You have a broader perspective. The more negative and narrow minded your are, a negative view of self needs and self cherishing, makes a narrow vision on life. Whereas if you have a positive attitude, it gives you an opportunity to have a easier access to proper realization of the nature of your mind.
If you do not have a good grasp of the nature of reality, there is still much purpose in being positive. It helps fuel you to have good realizations at a time when you are more ripe to realize the nature of your mind. When you do realize the nature of your mind, whatever positive accumulations you have managed to acquire to that point, are then very valid and wonderful because you can be more spontaneous, you don't have to be controlled or tight about yourself because you have a lot of negativity. You are not doing it for base modes and such.
I am trying to give you an overview of your practice to help you understand what you are really driving at. Principally you are trying to realize the nature of your mind. And it is the very mind you have now. It is not some other mind that you have. And that is a very immediate thing. It is not about something next week. Try to make it immediate. And even if you are in this immediate moment caught up in delusion, doesn't matter. If you just feel that right now is the time it puts you in a better position and then you are only going to improve from here. Whereas you keep postponing your practice, at some point you will find that you degenerate quite badly. Then it becomes difficult. You have to make a decision sometime to say, now I am going to start practicing.
For your meditation, try to think of yourself in a full context of your being. That your fundamental nature of your mind is your Buddha nature. Buddha nature is pure from beginningless time. There is no defilement which has to be changed. The nature of the Buddha mind does not have to be changed. What has to be changed is you have to realize how you are distorting reality. Because of an attitude. Because of the way that you think about things. And because of that you are not able to realize your Buddha nature internally nor do you have positive relationships with the world outside because of your various negative karmic traits which you have imprinted on your mind. You distort reality.
Distortion means that when you look at someone, you see them because of your previously habituated imprints, positive or negative. You have distorted all of them. All this is what is termed as ignorance. That has to be realized. And that is the main focus for tonight's meditation. To try to be more conscious of that you are the basis of your practice. It is not something which is beside yourself. The emphasis is realizing the distorting effect of delusions and to become closer to touch base with what it means to try to become more realized and such.
Although I give you fuel for thought for your meditation, it comes down to that you have to sit there and be happy with yourself. To sit here and be conscious. The fuel for your thinking process means, if you sit down and ponder, to allow your mind to fully open and say I am conscious right now. And watch what comes up. What how your mind interacts with the arisal of whatever thought pattern it is. Do I grasp at it quickly and identify it as some form of reality which I need to experience. Or do I allow things just to come through me. In that way, try to create for yourself, that if you do not think about anything, you are just living in reality, which is your mind here and now, and if it gets murky set yourself up to try to realize that. You don't always have to think in your meditations. It is just here and now reality, but if you have trouble being here and now reality, think about it!
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