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 29 1990
We have been working on how to change our conscious perspective of the world and the principle emphasis is trying to generate love and also trying to change our mind to being more in harmony with having a greater sense of empathy, love and compassion with other people. That is beneficial but you should always remember that there is the aspect of self realization. Although it would be more beneficial for you to become a more loving kind person, there would be a lot of wonderful benefits from that both personally and in personal interactions. And also just your sense of fulfillment in the world around you. But it also important to touch base with what is personally integrating and enlightening for yourself.
The objective is this part is two fold. Personal realization and also a more productive and more fulfilling way of relating to the world around you. Regarding personal realization, the emphasis is that the various emotions, the various feelings we have, if they were based on actuality, that is a self, then becoming distraught, angry, being inspired or caught up with something successful and being totally overjoyed, those sorts of emotions would be very valid because there is a self which is an actuality. But the problem is, although we have a sense of self, if we search for that self, it is not findable.
And so if you look at what happens yourself, you have various emotions, they are based on a sense of me. I am being hinged upon. Things are not working the way my concept of reality would like them to. Therefore I get upset or such things. So we have emotions. Those emotions generate suffering for us. We become unhappy, despondent, depressed. Even of we experience great joy in some success we have, at a later date we experience unhappiness from that because all of a sudden there are problems involved in it. Although it is success, maybe we win a lot of money, a promotion we wanted, the house or property we wanted. All of a sudden we find within there are actually other problems. So it is not that we just luck out and only get wonderful things. Almost everything we are involved with in the worldly sense has it's problems. So that is the first Noble Truth of Suffering that the Buddha spoke of. That although cyclic existence can have highs, it also has lows. All those different states are caught up or stained by the nature of being a suffering. So even joy is merely a fluctuation in a previous state of flatness or suffering. Because of release of suffering, we get joyful and think that it is wonderful. Really we have only had a minor fluctuation in the basic nature that things are inherently with suffering.
The objective of your meditation for you as an individual is to investigate or realize your nature. In realizing it, you try to basically defuse intensive negative emotions. You don't allow them to surface and come up. You do not sort of validate them or intensify them because of a belief in a self as being independently existent. So we are really talking about you have to touch base with your conscious mind, your conscious energy, the way you formulate your ideas about yourself. If you do that well, you will come to a realization that the self is not a permanent independent entity. Sometimes it feels like it. Rather, the self is an image based on emotions and feelings which are changeable so obviously the self is an impermanent entity. Then again, the self although it feels like a very real thing, if we delve into it deeper, you will realize that actually there is not a basis for that. In that way you loosen your mind up a bit. You don't allow yourself to identify with the conceptions of independent self existence. You have to come to recognize it. It is very important.
And in that you can enter into deeper states of consciousness. Within those are experiences of joy and bliss. When you do that, you actually untie more and more the knot of grasping at self existence. Alright? It is not that you negate yourself. You don't say I am a non existent entity. But you start to realize that personality is an image. The image is based on various emotions which we held to be real or based on some reality. When we start to delve into ourselves, we start to understand that we are a more dynamic vibrant being. The real core of our being isn't something fixed and permanent. So that realization is very important. That realization is very crucial in untying emotions which make us unhappy and suffer!
So your objective is to realize your real nature. Via that, untie the suffering that is created from various emotions which are based on delusions you project into world around you. That is personally fulfilling. It means when you see something, you do not feel this incredible sense of my God! What is that person doing to something which is so real to me! Maybe you believe in Canada as this wonderfully tight country. Wonderfully together and then Quebec is splitting. You get all emotional about it! That is based on the idea that there is some permanent entity to Canada, some set idea about Canada. And that is actually a delusion. Canada is a fluctuating thing. Two hundred and fifty years ago there way no Canada. In the future maybe there will be no Canada again. So why get caught up with a the imagery of your idea of what Canada should be. That is suffering. That is what the meditational objective is.
So that is personally liberating, If you take it to the finest level of consciousness it is enlightening. But if we start to be more conscious and more intelligent, we are part of the world, we are definitely in the world, and the flow of all of the meditation techniques we have gone through is trying to soften our mind's attitude about our interactions with others, to try to bring us into a more harmonious relationship with others, and even beyond us, to bring us into a productive relationship with others.
In this regard, we have been going through a serial process. In the last few weeks has been dealing with the disadvantages of having a conscious attitude which grasps to self and to self needs. We have spend three sessions on how if you have self needs, although you might be able to fulfill them, it is not that satisfying. Although you might have attained the position or money that you wanted life, and all those things which sort of appears to be wonderful. In one way it is not fulfilling because inevitably you will have to loose all of those things. Things are impermanent. Though you grasp to a position at some point you will be demoted or fired or step down because you can not do the work any more. So if you had that as the pinnacle or goal of your life, at one point it will be the cause of depression and unhappiness for you. Money. Again if that is what you have strove for, at some point you will have to suffer the anxiety of the interest rate going high, maybe being taxed out of existence, and then you will have the suffering of having to die and seeing your money go to maybe people that you don't like.
Again if you have those sorts of ideals, then there is inherent suffering in there. The last lecture we gave was the benefits of cherishing others. If you think of it, having self-cherishing will not be a fulfilling for you as it could be. It has limitations on it. It is basically inherently caught up with suffering. And the stronger you have self-cherishing, you can really say proportionate to that you have suffering. Because your self-cherishing means my idea about reality, I cling to my way I want reality to be. All those ideas create suffering because reality never matches our image. Unless we have a very broad mind and are not cherishing toward our ideas about things. Self-cherishing is fraught with suffering.
Let's move over to the other side. Being involved with others, actually cherishing others is a place of unbelievable happiness and joy. Just the most fundamental one, love. Love definitely needs another sentient being. Because of a relationship with another you get to have all the joys of falling in love and such. Although it has sufferings, you can say that the joy of being in love with someone before all of the little garbage of our personality gets in the way, it is wonderful. Then there is the relationship with others, let's take position. Really you can not have fulfillment or success if it is not in reliance on others. Let's say you get the wonderful position you wanted in life, being the manager or director or something. Your positions is totally dependant on the relationship with other people. If there were not others there, you couldn't have that position. So you should realize if you are successful in some personal objective, it really has it's total basis on other people. And therefore it would be more realistic to appreciate other people more than appreciating your wonderful skills for getting that position! Maybe you are wonderful, but it takes other people to recognize it and give you the position. It takes other people to even have that position. So really other people and your involvement are so instrumental in being fulfilled and successful. So start realizing that and not look at your own self-cherishing and your own intensive aspirations as being the cause of fulfillment. It won't be as fulfilling as it would be if you were more conscious that others created that opportunity for success.
In money, if you become successful, the greatest joy is sharing with other people. Being able to take other people out and give them a good time. Being able to invite them to some wonderful environment which you have been able to create because of your wealth. Again you should start to see, my success and my real fulfillment has to rely with other people. Even gaining the money, most likely you relied on other people! If you are a business man you relied on other people buying your good and such. Other people are a much more important facet of fulfillment and success. So start to become more conscious of that.
Last week we talked a little of cherishing others. What is really means is being open. Cherishing others sounds like clinging. It is not that. It means being open and warm to other sentient beings. Because really, other sentient beings are the source of all the joys we have as human beings on a relative level. All the possibilities of fulfillment. Everything. It comes from relationship with other people. And if you look at just yourself you won't have as many causes of happiness as you can have with other sentient beings. The point is to move one's mind over to start cognizing that other sentient beings even in the most mundane levels of fulfillment even in worldly ways, are the cause, are the support and are the emotional sense of fulfillment for you. In that way start to change the mind saying other sentient beings are the cause of my happiness and such. Start to shift your attitude.
That obviously starts to create greater harmony. Think of it. You have a couple people here. You have one person that is selfish and ambitious. You have another who is warm, generous and kind. Who are you going to like? You are obviously going to like that person and you are going to find that they are liked by a lot of people. You might admire someone who is ambitious, but when it comes down to the crunch you might find that they only work for themselves. And if they can stab you in the back to get above you, they will do it! Though they might be marginally admirable, if you really look at the detail, if they don't have kindness, you won't have much cause to like them for long!
So kindness is a wonderful thing. We respect people with kindness. Kindness means liking other people so it is something we should start to be conscious of. Kindness, caring, and such things are very crucial for real happiness on the mundane level. If you move to a higher level, a more spiritual level, then really that is such a great cause for spiritual fulfillment. Spiritual fulfillment internally is that you have realized nirvana. That you have realized your nature. If you can really find the core of your nature, there is unbelievable fulfillment because that is your nature. It is not what someone else has said about you, it is not someone else that labels that there is this great creature up in heaven or something. It is your conscious mind finding it's own reality. And that reality should be real. In that there should be experiences which indicate fulfillment real fulfillment. Not a created image. Like you create this image of what it should be and then you find it. That is deluding yourself. Should be you can have a conscious at-one-ment with that. That then is personal nirvana.
Having attained that then, if you all of a sudden disjointed from the rest of the world, it would not be that fulfilling. If from that liberating sense that you are going to experience total nirvana, you then come back out in the world and because you have a free open attitude, you can interact with people without clinging or grasping, you can be kind and such things, you have a much higher opportunity to real bliss and happiness by interacting with others in a positive way. Having good experiences, good relationships. And if you start to delve into it, your existence is solely based on kindness and relationship with others. Your bodily existence is based on the kindness of your mother and father. Your ongoing life is based on kindness of having had relationships with people who have been able to educate you in school and such things. People who have helped you form good quality characteristics. As we grew up, we had many types of friends. But really the friendships that we can value are the people that interacted with us and helped show us, maybe good sportsmanship. Conscientiousness. Things like that. That comes because someone has exposed you to it. We have all met someone who was a really nice person. And we really like that person. And we actually tried to emulate them. Be like them. That is because we had the opportunity to be with them. So that is the kindness of that person.
Then as you grow older. Worldly fulfillment comes in regards to relationship with others. Being able to love, have love, share love, share physical companionship with someone. It needs another person in your life. That is really that person's kindness that they will condescend to live with you. So it is important to be kind to another person or else they won't want to live with you!
Emotional fulfillment requires that there be another person in your life so you can have a sense of love and caring for that other person. The other levels of fulfillment which are success in a job, being able to feel good about yourself, all those things come with relationship with other people. In that way start to recognize that life is like that. And for a spiritual practioner, really if you look at it, the point of spiritual practice on a...let's say you are a really intensive spiritual practioner, you really want to give up the world and become a mendicant and meditate in the mountains, that will depend solely on the capacity of other people to respect you for that and to give charity and donations so you can live in seclusion and be able to practice on the high path. I am not saying that all of us are suited to that. Some people are! So if you have those aspirations really you have to look at it and say, my success at that will be because other people will support me at that. So for a high level spiritual practioner, it has to be that they are supported by other people. So other people are kind. And that person should recognize it.
Then taking a spiritual practioner. Someone who has ideals in being able to become enlightened and such, all of the practices you do are in reliance on other sentient beings. Like generosity requires that you can give charity, not just material charity but that of love and protection and so on, all of those requires another sentient being. Morality. The definition of morality is not to harm other sentient beings, not to cause harm. It requires other sentient beings. Patience of course, having difficult sentient beings is a blessing because it gives you an opportunity to be patient. Even an obnoxious person is a kindness because that person allows you to practice the stability of mind which is required for patience and such. So even they are kind. Enthusiasm. That requires you to be inspired but you can draw on other peoples hard work as an inspiration for your enthusiasm. So again, higher level of enthusiasm requires other people. Meditation requires someone kind enough to teach you about it. Higher wisdom. You can realize it well or even realize it independently but one, you want a teacher, and two, then other people can help you become more profoundly realized in it.
So all of the practices of a spiritual practioner depend on other people too. So you look at it really in a broad minded open sense you are going to have to say, reality is, I am fully dependant on other people. I require other people's interactions for mundane happiness, fulfillment happiness, success, love companionship, all of the things which I might consider important really are on relationship with other people. So it is obvious I should put more emphasis to being kind to others than to my own selfish little needs.
You can almost say it is the ultimate selfishness to start to realize that you really need to love and be kind to others. But it is not. Because it is the realization of that fulfillment makes you more kinder and nicer so actually it is a wonderful selfishness in that sense, to cherish other sentient beings.
The main point for this evening to to move your mind into that final phase of really starting to consciously cognize that other sentient beings are totally instrumental in your life. And that kindness to them is one of the best ways of achieving all levels of fulfillment and success. And instead of that, if you rely on your self cherishing, it marginally might give you some happiness, but real happiness comes from interactions with others. It will be necessary to realize that self cherishing may bring me marginal happiness but if I want an in depth sense of fulfillment, if I am part of the world and would like to experience an in depth sense of fulfillment, I will have to interact with others. And so I should put more emphasis to be kind and cherish others then I do to my own little selfish needs.
For this evenings meditation the, there are two facets. You can actually just do quietude meditation in trying to center. In that sense you are trying to touch base with your own inner nature. In that there is fulfillment, something which is good for you. It helps you untie your delusions and the heavy duty emotions. Secondly part is to realize as I do interact in the world, if I have a choice between an attitude of selfishness or an attitude of kindness and caring, really the selfish attitude doesn't pay off very well. A kind caring attitude pays of a thousand fold. In that way try to change your mind a bit, alright?
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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