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.
Jhampa in Nanaimo Oct 17
There are two facets of practice. One is the building up of a framework and the other is the experiential side. These should be developed equally or in a compatible manner. Generally of course, the framework is important because it gives a scheme or a way in which to work with yourself if you understand the evolution of your practice. The more clearly you understand the framework, then the less you have confusion. You then don't have doubt in your mind as to what you are doing with yourself because you understand the process you are involved with. And the expanded version of that process is the graduated path called Lam Rim which takes you through the course of everything I have covered over the last ten months, everything from realizing the highly potential human rebirth to impermanence, to the law of cause and effect to taking refuge, sufferings, etc. There is a long series. That can be condensed down to three principles of the path and as I say, this is the framework which is that things are impermanent, that altruism and all the altruistic or positive viewpoint in the world isn't the most or best advantage for oneself as practitioner, and the ultimate nature of reality. So, that is impermanence, love and compassion and the ultimate nature of reality. Those are the three basic principles.
So in your own practice you should become more familiar with those and realize which area, any one of those areas goes to. And if we really want to talk about, if you want to make more of the statement, the practice falls on two points, love and compassion and the true nature of reality. And then you can go a step further and just say love and compassion is the only expression, the true nature of reality is the only wisdom, or the internal experience of what one needs. And those can be completely compatible. In developing one, the other can be an asset to it. For example. In developing love and compassion, you don't become sloppy and emotional by having wisdom. By developing wisdom, one doesn't become cold because you have love and compassion. So those two fit together very perfectly.
So, that is the intellectual framework. Now the other side of it is our human experience as individuals and we evolve. And of course there can never be any comparison between one person and another because we are all individuals. Being individuals, I can't say that one is highly evolved, and I'm not. Compared to him I am hopeless! or something like that. Because the actuality, spirituality, is yourself and where you stand in regards to yourself, your process, and that is the only sort of comparison you can make. But how can one say that it is a comparison, because they are a judgement. Because if you were at this level and you wish to get to that level, well, that is an improvement. Whether it is high or low on the scale, you cannot measure it. And so in that way, judgmental appraisals of yourself are the worse thing you could possibly ever do.
What you should do, is just be here and now as much as you can because that is where you are. Because you are here and now. And although as human being we always want to be elsewhere, I would love to be enlightened, and all my trivial problems would disappear immediately. But I'm not enlightened, so I have to deal with my trivial problems!!! Anyway all of us have trivial problems and major problems too!
The point is, to really appreciate the here and the now and able to be comfortable with oneself, not be judgmental, and also not to have too much expectations. That we have expectations that I should have indicators or some sort of change or transformation within myself. Transformation is such a slow process if it is to be real! You talk about a great tree! That tree has to grow and form itself, put its roots down. To be a really powerful tree that doesn't get blown over, it really has to do it slowly and put it's roots in well, get established. And then it also has to reach to the sky in a solid positive way and such. So, our human psyche, if we want it to be real and a solid transformation, it has to be in little things. And then we really become a transformed person. But it is a rock solid transformation, it's not wishy-washy. The sad news is that it takes a long time. Maybe the rest of this life and other lifetimes as well.
And even with the tantric practice, or the more subtle ways of practicing, you try to work with your perspective and try to work with your mind, even with those, although you adapt or adopt the new perspective and try to integrate it, you have to be realistic and accept the fact that the basic won't change a lot. Its alright. As said, the shit becomes manure.
So in that regards, I thought I would work over the next few weeks with trying to work on the practical and leave aside completely the framework, or at least only touch on it very lightly. So the most fundamentals about ourself. The real sort of basic fundamentals of ourself, sitting in this room. The fundamentals of that are, one, we have a body and we have a mind. And so we should touch on those two areas and work within what is the reality of those areas.
Our body, of course is a functioning entity. It has it's blood pressure, it's equilibrium, it's hormonal secretions and everything. And that, just on a basic level, just to harmonize that, the easiest way is to be aware of the breathing. If we are aware of the breathing, and there is different points for breathing, those of you who have been around for awhile, may be familiar with them. Anyway, the breath is what relaxes the body. It also relaxes the mind but allows the body to become more harmonious. And, it can help the equalizing and stabilizing it. They say in the Tibetan or Asian medical tradition, it balances the humors. You have heat, fluid, air and space elements in the body and those have to be balanced to have good health. And the natural way to do that is to be aware of the breathing. To allow the body to be comfortable and not be excited and such.
The fundamental of body is good posture and awareness of breathing. And by awareness of breathing, generally I always teach breathing with the abdomen because it centers you and brings you down, it takes you out of your intellect and allows you to become more relaxed. For these particular meditations we are going to move it up to the nostrils, up to the nose, and I want you to be more conscious of the flow of the air through the nose. And if you can, maybe try to find one area on the lip or edge of the nostril that you can center on. You will find it is a whole different feeling than if you do it with your abdomen. I would like you to do it for this evening anyway.
As for mind, the natural state of mind, to talk philosophically, if we go back to what is basic, for mind is: we have lots of previous experiences and things which intrude on us. For example, as I sit here, and I look at Herman and Teri's carpet, I have my previous imprints and thoughts about the stain upon the carpet... things like that. Thinking she must have had some good parties here! That is sort of previous knowledge. I don't want to deal with that part of it. We all have our own sort of baggage which we brought to this particular moment. Nor can we really look to the future because the future is yet to happen. But the basic fundamental of right now is, as I say, this moment of conscious awareness will produce the next conscious moment of awareness. And so in that, I think there is a wealth of knowledge, or a wealth of information and experience that can be gained. Just to realize that each moment of consciousness helps give birth to the next moment of consciousness.
You can see. If you start to try to relax, that consciousness gives birth to a more relaxed state of being. And from that level if you say let's relax a little, of course you get, almost you could say, a spontaneous interruption to that, some thought and it goes ***** and you get hyper about it and the you sort of relax, but the point mostly is, for each moment of consciousness gives birth to the next moment of consciousness. And they say as for long any one moment of consciousness exists, in the Buddhist Abidharma texts, it says, it's on the scale of one ten thousands of a second is considered a moment of consciousness. And so that at any one second, has ten thousand moments of consciousness. There are all sorts of details to get into..I don't want to go into that...
There is primary consciousness. It is said to be mind consciousness. Secondary consciousness are sense data, eye, ear, nose tongue and body, consciousness, and also the various mental attitudes and states you have. So a virtuous mind is a particular secondary mind. A non virtuous mind is a particular secondary mind. So there is primary consciousness, and secondary consciousness. What we are dealing with when we speak of the moments of consciousness, alright, you have to sort of allow yourself to have that so that there is depth to that. Not just sort of like a little wire that goes blip blip. has electric sparks on it. That's my moment of consciousness! I can't answer overly deeply, but if you take consciousness, like a thick cable with many wires in it, and some are more core wires and some are more secondary wires, add focus on the breathing, allow yourself to become more relaxed and more centered, the more superficial secondary consciousness will fall away. Unless there is something more of import to you and then maybe they don't fall away too fast. But try to be just more conscious of that at this moment of consciousness gives birth to the next moment of birth of consciousness and so on, and in that way, just allow that to be the main information in your consciousness. Just sort of be aware of yourself and focus on your breathing.
The meditation will be about twenty minutes. Do a long time just being focused on the breathing. Then allow yourself just to relax a little and be open, non judgmental, and not too caught up, but just allow the various thoughts to come and go. To be there. And to allow, just to say, each moment of consciousness gives birth to the next birth of consciousness. Try to allow the mind to create further moments of an on-going process of openness and such. And then, if you are lucky, you will get experiences in just seeing how the mind can maybe open, and then you will have a thought, then it will close up. And all it is is just thoughts!
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
All Rights Reserved