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.
August 26 1990
On theme of trying to realize emptiness, selflessness, I could take the group now into working on external objects which is fun. But the point of the meditation technique requires that initially there be a clear identification of the problem. Geshe Rabten, when he gave me the teaching, spent a lot of time dealing with that. He said if there was a thief in a large house with a lot of people that was stealing things, you have to find the thief. Until you find that person, your problem continues and things go missing.
We have the problem that we continuously misunderstand reality. The reason is we have a long habit pattern to the mistaken apprehension of reality, and we have never identified clearly where the mistakes are made. The first thing we can do to stop the problem is to recognize the thief. In this sense it is the thief that puts our mind in delusion or ignorance. In Buddhism it is said that ignorance is the cause of all problems, exaggerated attachment on objects and strong aversion for objects. Ignorance is the basis of all delusions. The mind, which is the creator of our experience of reality, that mind is the object we have to focus on. On focusing on it, we should look at the main cause, not the secondary branches such as concentrating on patience and such, for although these are the branches of spirituality, they only suppress the basic problem. Until you go to the source, you are never going to solve the problem. Though you attack one part, it will again arise and persist in a different form.
Our practice can do a lot to limit the expression of negativity. But if we do not clearly identify the source, it is impossible to solve the problem. It will just come again and again, and if you do not work on it properly, it comes our in other ways. In spirituality it is easy to end up looking pious but having a lot of quirks and quarks. It is interesting when you meet people with twitches. Sometimes it is physical. I personally think it has a lot to do with something is wrong in some way emotionally, they don't know how to deal with it, so it comes up as a shiver or twitch in the eye.
You have to look at the mind. It is the creator of the problems. If you do not deal with the mind in a very direct way, it will not solve the problems. You can only limit the problem. If you look to the source, the potential for fulfillment is greater. It is totally possible to have fulfillment in one's practice because one is going to the source.
The root, in simplest terms, is that our mind does not realize that the phenomenal universe is totally connected with our knowledge, our observation and labelling of an object. We just believe that objects always exist. By that we allow the object to have a reality, and that we do not understand that our knowledge is what arises and gives a label and asserts or certifies a certain function for the object. With that we create the object. We give it existence. That is what happens. But we never think that way. We think that things exist.
In saying we have to identify a thief, we should look to our mind. Looking at external objects helps us gain an intellectual grasp, but we should look to our mind and it's awareness. How does our consciousness develop this thing so long. Geshe Rabten said you can spend two three months just ascertaining the concept of self existence. In doing that would be the most productive things you can do with yourself because you are becoming very familiar with the misconception, with that object that believes it is an existent thing which actually, it is not.
You must understand there is mind. There are the sense doors, eye, ear, nose tongue and body. And then, the objects of the senses, form, sound, smell, taste, and touch. That is the arena in which you work. In establishing that, you have to look that mind functions through a sense base. The object, the consciousness and the mind. Normally we put that everything is there. But we have to realize that mind turns its awareness to the eye consciousness, eye consciousness cognizes the object, the object then comes back in, and we process it and come up with the label. But where is the object in that?
Within the entity there is no place where the label exists. That is important. The concept that within the object there is no entity, the object definitely functions so it is not non existent, but, where does the label exist? That style of thinking is what you have to put yourself through. You need to take that and deal with self.
As you sit there, something gives rise to sense of self. Whatever. The self becomes, I am being stimulated by some information that is coming in. Within that, I am Jhampa, let's say the house catches on fire. So I run out and put the fire out. That is something which happens and everyone will say Jhampa ran around and put the fire out. But within my conscious experience, Jhampa is the label we feel, and I would say that Jhampa worked very hard to put the fire out! The thing is, where is Jhampa? Where is the Jhampa, like the label? I am sitting here and talking. We would all agree. But, my diaphragm is sucking in air, my lungs are pushing back out so I can talk. There is no Jhampa there. There is information being processed and created and you would say that is getting close to Jhampa. But I had to go to India to get the information. So all my Buddhism isn't Jhampa! This is elimination? So you go back and get and younger and younger Jhampa, and finally get the baby Jhampa, and back into the womb. So what is Jhampa? So the label doesn't really apply because originally there wasn't Jhampa, there was Mark. So where is it happening?
And still I am a functioning entity. I still have all the Buddhist information that I accrued and experienced, so you cannot say it is non existent. But where does the sense of self fit into that whole thing. You can label this entity did a bunch of stuff, and still label Jhampa. Does Mark become a non issue because it is now Jhampa? Of course not! Which is the real one? So I hope as I talk you relate this to yourself and think about it. About the label.
In me, there is this sense of self, that I am a very real thing. But when we look into it, we cannot find it. It is not there. There is a sense of self. In looking at it realistically and logically, we would have to say that is not true. Some of you might jump ahead and ask but what about emotions. They are functional things, they are not wrong or bad or something, but the self within the emotion. That is the question. What is the self?
All of this talks about identifying the object. What is the object? It is consciousness. It has to be fluid because sometimes it identifies with the body, and we think I am this or that, and then it identified with the emotions, what I have done. The self fluidly goes from one thing to another without even a second thought about it. So this sense of sense of self is a very fluid thing, it is definitely awareness, but it has not really checked up on the nature of it's reality. All it has done is acted. Because of that it has never been able to understand the existence of itself.
Within this meditation session, and I hope you continue it because a deeper level of happiness is what is at stake. And if you apply yourself there is spiritual enlightenment. So there is something there, and something to be avoided which is the continual creation of suffering and unhappiness, anxiety, frustration. All of the negatives. You have to work with this and get yourself a little inspired, otherwise all we have talked is meaningless. Do spend time on the awareness of the self and try to get a clearer picture on the entity that is identifying yourself in your name. Identify how it is functioning. Have a deeper knowledge saying I am a functioning entity, but not a self existent entity. So when self existent entity comes up, you have to apply to that the light of your better knowledge saying that is not really reality.
We have somehow taken ourselves to be magical, that somehow we are magically an entity. We have to take our deeper knowledge and become more consciousness of it in our functioning and identify that when that self arises strongly, you do not do battle with it, but put the light of awareness to it that says I am an interdependent entity. And there is a terrific thing. Take anger. We get terribly destructive. This intensive energy I am being bugged by something horribly. If you understand interdependence, the nature of reality that all phenomena are interdependent, you can take a breath and understand that you can change this situation. You then have a deeper knowledge that immediately calms you down a little bit. Maybe you are still feeling intensive but at least you know a little. Breath. Breathing is wonderful because it immediately affirms that you are interdependent!
Use it. If you create this knowledge based on experience, it becomes very functional for you, very good for you. And in the long run it will help you penetrate deeper into the nature of reality.
So start to become more conscious. Establish the arena for this. It has to do with mind which we could say exists in the center of the chest. Then there is the sense data being processed by the sense organs, consciousness, and then there are the objects of sense. That is the arena that you work in. So whenever you have sense data come to the sense organs, and you start processing, become more conscious of that. That the object just doesn't just jump out. There is a process which establishes that object and then you interact with it.
How you do it is your business. But start identifying that when the consciousness arises and feels this is blatantly existent, for example the bell, in that moment you have to be conscious and say it is there now. Check it up. Geshe Rabten said that the meditators of this technique are weird to be around. Because suddenly something has triggered them and they want to investigate so they become real quiet!
That is the meditation. To first identify the consciousness that is creating this self existence. And that sense of self existence, to help you clarify it, it makes an object appear clearly from it's own side and seems to not have any relationship with the fact that you have knowledge about it or anything. that is the ignorance. That objects appear from their side to be existent. That is how you identify your ignorance and you apply it to yourself as it arises to the mind.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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