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.
July 15 1990
In delving into the nature of reality we previously spoke of the Mind Only School which says that there is no outer phenomena, there is only mind alone. The logics behind that are felt to be that in all phenomena that we look at, any two people that look at the object would see a different object. Some will shade it with their likings, some would shade it with their is-likings, so how can we say that the objects have external reality. They don't. Because in any object we perceive, we always get back what we put there. Our label, our dispositions about that object, and our feelings about that object. So that school says mind is the only reality. In saying that, that school says the mind has true existence, and all outer phenomena does not have true existence.
To become a little more subtle on that subject, you have to say that reality is of two sort of phases. One, there is your mind which is trying to understand it, and secondly, there is what is termed as what reality is. Those two are what you are trying to align. So when you are delving into this subject matter, it is important to identify conscious experience as being the most important thing. But not conscious experience that is projections. Rather, conscious experience that is openness. In doing that one develops a very good tranquillity and inner peace. Because if one doesn't, then one always has projections. Those projections can be quite strong, can completely grip your mind. When you see objects that you like or dislike, because of projections, the mind is immediately filled with that. So how on earth can that mind perceive reality?
There are two phases to this practice. One is that you try to become more conscious of what is external reality as it seems to appear as you investigate it. The other side is that you try to make your mind more supple to be able to get that experience. In Buddhism it is said that you can get that experience of reality. It can be a conscious experience. It's an experience which is termed non dual and is related as not arising on a course level of consciousness but on a subtle level of consciousness. On that subtle level of consciousness there can be a complete non dual experience.
As a practitioner you have to work with yourself in a manner which says how am I formulating each moment of my existence? As I sit here and talk and listen, how am I holding myself? How is my mind holding or conceiving my reality at this moment? You have to take that attitude and beat yourself, make yourself more pliable and subtle that you can understand things. This is because our conceptuality can make our mind very rigid and the more strongly we grasp at anyone thing as being true, we make our mind very tough, very hard. And that makes it very difficult. And if you want to become more realized, more sensitive, all of the higher realizations, the clairvoyant powers and such all require openness of consciousness. If consciousness is opened, then it relates to another person, it can understand that other person very directly by feelings of what is going on. That requires incredible openness without defensive mechanisms and such.
Whether it is just higher consciousness one wants or an in-depth experience into the nature of reality, all of that requires that there be openness in the clearing. And in that clearing that one tries to allow oneself to be as open as possible to what formulations are arising in the mind. In that way, as you are trying to make yourself have an experience which will help one to become more aligned with reality, the openness allows that one's mind can have that experience. And if one doesn't do that, if one has a powerful uptight rigid set of ideas, it is impossible. You are always looking out rather than looking in so to speak. The actual experience, you very conscious experience in this very moment is actually your door to the realization of the true nature of reality.
The point is that you have to identify that reality has to happen within my mind, and if I can't find that as a conscious experience then what is the use of even me trying to pursue it. It has to be in your conscious mind. And all you can really do is align that inner mind with how things are in the outer world. And by that I mean, we don't have to go into great discourses of seeing that all things are interdependent, it is obviously blatant. We have microscopes and such which tell us that things are made up of molecular chains, atoms and such, so I don't need to say much about it. The point is to realize that if all things are interdependent, then means we can take it. Just sitting there, breathing and realizing that the whole physical conscious experience of this moment is interdependent, that makes your mind more supple. And as you alow yourself to be there and by relying on an external object, your bodies participation with the world around you, you completely have to open and say my body is breathing and consuming the air and giving back by-products, relying on the warmth of the room, every molecule of the physical being is communicating with the environment around. You can sit there and allow your mind to soften and go into that.
As you allow your mind to do that, then also try to take your attitude, this mind which is sitting inside of yourself and say this mind-, and not be tight, it's consciousness awareness, consciousness awareness of the sense data of what is occurring in my eyes, sound in the ears, some scent or some feeling of the body consciousness, all these different consciousness, these different senses are picking up conscious data, and there is the mind within me. In that way in Buddhism there is said to be six consciousness, the five physical consciousnesses and mind consciousness. You have to then say the real point of my meditation is to make my mind consciousness become realized in this. Up to this day my mind consciousness has been very extroverted, very unrealized ignorance, always looking to the outer world for causes of happiness, trying to solve things in an external manner. Reality, if it going to be anything that is meaningful has to be an experienced in my mind. They are completely unrelated.
It's like you can own a Cadillac. And then you die. The Cadillac is taken away from you. That is what it would be like if reality was not something which was personally accessible. It means it's some thing which is external. You can loose it. Something can dent it. That is not the sort of reality we want is it?
For your meditation, although we have touched on the aspect that says there is no outer phenomena, there is mind alone, in a more subtle plane in the madhyamika philosophy it says that even the conscious mind itself though has to bend in it's position of being the owner or holder of the experience. That is, mind automatically holds itself as being a separate unrelated entity. That means it is something separate, independent. If we look at things, everything is interconnected. My conscious experience right now totally depends on the world around me, so it doesn't seem plausible to say that mind has the only reality. What I am trying to say is that we have to allow mind to become a participant in the interdependence. And by that to realize that at any moment of consciousness, it is a moment which is produced interdependently. So we allow ourself to merge with the whole interdependent nature of reality around us. So it actually diffused mind only. It makes you realize that actually mind only has to be part of the phenomenal universe too so you don't isolate yourself as independent. Like you are all sitting there. If I said mind's the only reality, then each one of you say what I am experiencing is the only reality. To stop that from being a fixed thing, that one puts too much emphasis in it, you have to soften that. You have to realize that you mind is part of the whole matrix of physical interdependence and mind consciousness is an interdependent phenomena too. So you have to dissolve the sense of mind being some special or lone beholder of reality. It is also a produced phenomena.
The main point is, in meditating, you can say one way intellectually mind creates my reality. As I sit there and listen, how I understand things, how I think about things, is based on how I have created myself to this moment. Then you have to say the phenomenal universe is interdependent and allow yourself to dwell on that for awhile, the full interdependent nature of things. In this way you can open your mind to be more pliable. From there you have to move to mind consciousness itself. And although mind perceives things, creates its own reality, mind also, when it starts to realize that projections are not the true reality, projections are just creations based on predispositions and such, then you can start softening the mind very directly and work at having a much more integrated realization where the mind is actually participating very strongly with that sense of interdependence.
The meditation for this evening is-, although it is said that mind is the creator of reality, it's trying to soften that mind from creating its real sense of egocentricity of self centeredness and realizing mind is a produced phenomena just as all the other produced things, alright?
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