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 March 15 1992
We are on, Vanish the one to blame for everything, meditate on the kindness of all beings.
The effectiveness of your own meditations are really important to be based on your own experiences. If you do not base it on your own experience, the fuel for your own progress will not be very strong. It is easy to reflect on the teachings and on the teacher, and say this is interesting and true, and of course a good teacher can inspire well, but what they inspire, really is drawn from your own experience.
In regards to the process of what we are involved with, the basis of the practice is ourself. We should always recognize it. Although we have inspiration and faith and such, it is looking at our own mind and recognizing our mind, feelings and such are important. The teachings are the structure that goes around us. The scaffold around the body. And within that is yourself in the sense of what your personal experiences are. And so, from within the recognition of your own emotions, your own feelings, then you try to move with your practice. So you have two things. The structure of the scaffolding to give you some framework, and then you have your own feelings and such which motivate as you unfold. By using both together intelligently, then your practice becomes effective for yourself.
Often when we are striving to change ourselves, to gain better realizations or experiences, we can sometimes become fanatical. What I mean, is sort of thinking that happiness out there. If I just make the dharma a little more in my life, I will become better and such things like that. It is important. We have to have motivation. There is no doubt about that. But if we do not recognize the entity that we are, then we don't work with the entity of what we are, and we then can become fanatical in the sense that we become become very dharma-ized, where we identify very much with the cause, but we don't touch base with where we are really coming from. Therefore it is important that we always try to teachings within this sense of trying to balance between the recognition of what is inspirational. To talk of the Buddhas, the great spiritual beings and such, can be very uplifting, especially when you think of the ones who were highly evolved, gained great realizations. Some of the great saints and such. And they had such beautiful clarity on reality. When they made statements about reality or the nature of life, and in doing so were very clear.
One of the Lamas of Tibet said, the work of cyclic existence is like an old person's beard. The more you cut it the more it grows. In the sense that work in the world will never really end. Although you might shave again and again, for an old man, still the beard will come again and again. So like that that there is always work.
The inspiration we take from the teachings is very good. It is always good to have a light that shines upon the reality of our own being. Maybe gives us some clarity of where our shortness is, or where we need to be inspired whatever. The point is, we have to work from our own base. And we have to be able to draw on our own feelings. Because if you do that, then your motivation, maybe to get up in the morning, or to spend an extra five minutes in meditation, or to be a daily meditator will be there. Because you have very real things which are important to you.
In this way when we talk about to recognize the one which is truly to be blamed, banish the one which is truly the object which makes problems, to do that we should recognize first, the emotion we really want to be happy. In doing that, it is just the recognition of the "need". We do have need. An energy inside which says, I need to be loved. I need to this or that. This energy is very strong.
Now sometimes it is unconscious and therefore we tend to be pushed by our needs and then act out. Act out in the sense that if I buy this, I will be happy. And that is not invalid. If we are cold, and we don't have enough blankets, it is a need. So we go out and buy a blanket. That is common sense. But there is also a recognition of what is appropriate and what is beyond appropriate. So for ourselves as individuals, when we talk about our practice and that we are trying to do something about ourselves, in that, there can be what can be what is termed "basic" recognition. But then there also has to recognition of when our needs are pushing us, and we are grasping things which are not really going to resolve the problem.
An easy way to say that is, whether we live here or move elsewhere, we take our baggage with us. So if we have problems here and move to escape, circumstances may be good for awhile but we never really resolve the problem. So when you come into meditation or the Buddhist path, the emphasis is to be conscious and to recognize how you do things. So often we are unconscious as to what is happening in our lives. We set up things and then set it up that the external world has to change. And we really don't recognize that things within ourselves has to be adapted, and to recognize it.
The Buddha was wonderful. He taught that the nature of samsara was suffering. If we recognize that, The Buddha said the world was not a bowl of cherries. There is a lot of stuff out there which is difficult. And then he said, this isn't just causeless. We often think there is no reason why things don't work out! Really there is! So the emphasis is put to not looking outside, but within our selves. And that is the basis of these whole teachings. The emphasis is to become conscious of ourselves and to be able to take that into the path.
The teachings we are involved with is called taking bad circumstances and making them the path. In that regards we have to become conscious of ourselves and learn how to take our basic situation and make it meaningful for ourselves. If we don't, then it is like saying the grass is greener on the other hill, and we continuously go from one hill to another thinking the grass better.
So, the objective is to banish the one which is to blame for everything. Really it requires first the recognition that we want to be happy. And although there is some need to have an interrelated ness. There are circumstances which allow for certain sort of comfort. But if we put all of our emphasis there we are missing the mark as to what would be the real cause for happiness. And what would be the real place of how to work in the world. And that is within our mind. The Buddha said the world is suffering. All that meets must part, all the rises must fall, all that is born must die, and all that is gathered will be scattered. These are some of the comments the Buddha said. So the nature of cyclic existence is unpredictable changes.
So if we think we want to be happy, then we should not think that if we change the external circumstances, if I get out of this situation, that if I do this or that, it will be better and wonderful. That is not the best situation. Rather we need to be conscious of our own mind. The way we set things up and such. With that conscious awareness as time passes we do maintenance on bad attitude and can recognize we are already creating that attitude. So often it comes down to we do not have a lot of consciousness. So we think a few little thoughts. A few days later more. These thoughts the build up energy. Then suddenly we think we have to buy a new car! And that will resolve all my problems! So we have initial suffering. We buy the car, then the payments and such create additional suffering. Yet we always think this one more object will make things better!
Therefore we have to be conscious of our mind and what we are doing with ourselves. In that we will have a key with being effective with ourselves. That has to come from personal experience. For us a individuals, we will recognize the object which is to blame for everything after a little bit of time, it is important that we first recognize the energies of our mind, the energies of our being, and recognize how we work in trying to remedy our problems. By learning how we set things up, we can get a grip on it.
Being conscious versus being unconscious is this. When you are unconscious all the energy is sort of behind you and you are being pushed. And when you go in directions you do not want to go to, you don't understand why. It is because you are unconscious and you have set things up sometimes and it pushes that way because we are not aware. So when you are conscious, it refers to the energy is still there. You still might find yourself going in a direction you really don't want to move toward. But being conscious, you can be more involved. It is not like you are being pushed any more. Maybe you are on top. The example that works well is like having a team of horses. The reins. Maybe the horses are out of control a lot of the time, which they are. Our mind is very uncontrolled. It is the nature of being a sentient being. But if we have the reins in front of us, then we can say, if we are going to go in this route, we can at least go in the least damaging way! And if I can I will slowly bring them back to the straight and narrow. In that way, it is mostly trying to recognize with conscious awareness. In that, the dynamic we should recognize is the incredible wish we have to be happy. And we are always faced with problems. So with those things, experiencing things as we would not like them to be, we start looking for solutions. And it is within that then, if you put your light of conscious awareness, that you will have the better possibility of being happy.
That is the main objective of this evenings meditation. Try to bring focus to the things you already understand, and make them more stable. We should try to be developing our own inner realization of ourselves. That which gives clarity to the understanding of ourselves. To say, these things are important to me and I recognize them. And so when you do the meditation, I set a bit of a tone. I set your gears in motion. You need to take that and be conscious, bring yourself into your clarity about what is important, and hopefully it is within the realm of what is valid and appropriate in the creation of happiness. That it is not validating a faulty vision of the world. Rather that you try to bring yourself to clarity of conscious experience which makes you more stable, more clear minded, more beneficial for the world!
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