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.
Nov 28, 1989
Fir this evening, what I wanted to touch on is the aspect of, going back to the classes prior to Halloween, integrating finding one's practice, and what I wanted to work with is the idea of the meaning of something. For example, when you don't know something, and you look at it, or even if you don't know a person, you look at them and you don't have any idea, you don't have any experience or such. It works more with people in a stronger emotional sense, but, it also works with inanimate objects. For example medicine. Initially you might come into a drug store and you look at all the medications, they are sort of interesting but you have no experience. Maybe that is the key word. You mind. What I really want to touch on is your mind and the quality of you mind in the sense of when you look at something, and you don't know the object, you are sort of like superficial mind. But if you go in and you have very intensive stomach acid, and then you walk along and you try two or three medications, and as your mind touches the Rolaids, Peptobismol, then you can say say, this one worked but I didn't enjoy it. The other is stronger... So what has happened is, you have taken an object and with experience of interacting with that object, your mind has depth. It's a silly example but it works because as you look at three or four products for an upset stomach, if you have had experience and exposure, your mind has greater depth.
Depth comes from knowledge and experience. So when we speak of the meditative process, the important thing we are trying to do is to have depth and experience. That is what makes the meditative experience wonderful and maybe really alive is because we are talking about personal depth. Personal knowledge. And so I think when once one person finds that, it is like finding the gold mine. It is an incredible wealth. And when it is something that is liberating for yourself, when you touch it and it liberates you, gives you a sense of bliss or openness, or revelation, it is really a mother lode of incredible happiness. So when we speak of the process that we are involved with, that is the quality that we want to have within ourself. What we want to start to become conscious of.
Although a great deal of the classes work with the non image manner, if we think of it, image carries meaning. That a picture says a thousand words is common knowledge. In that way, visualization practice, although we havn't done it for quite awhile, we used to do a a lot of Tara and Buddha meditations, I am becoming conscious of the fact though that images carry incredible meaning. It's not important to sit down and say please visualize the Buddha having such and such an aura and like this, but rather as to go to the image as having this meaning, like a bottle of Peptobismol has a given experience, so you know, that bottle of peptobismol is what I want. I know what I am after. I have a depth to my being. It's not just sort of an image.
So that is the concept of what we are working with. The objective is the depth to our own personal being. And the ultimate depth is enlightenment, being fully realized. We are going to work with trying to appreciate what it means and then at finding more depth for our own personal vision of the Buddha. that finding of depth has to rely on your own personal experience. Your experience is going to fill the Buddha, make it a real being for you. In some ways the Buddha is difficult because we don't have the actual person here. In many ways, it's similar to J.C. but certainly the Buddha must have been an unbelievable person. Look how big Buddhism spread. And there is this one guy who was thirty six when he got it together and got enlightened, from then until in the seventies, he walked around India, giving his message, and changed the whole of Asia. At one point, from Afghanistan and Persia, all the way to Bali and those countries, were all Buddhists. China, Korea and Japan. The guy must had had incredible charisma.
We are not that lucky. We don't see him. Now, in some ways we have teachers, the point though is lets look at someone. Let's say there is someone who you know who wanders into your life and you get to know them as so and so. Then at another time you have some particular experience or situation, let's say you have a very aggressive or angry situation like someone runs into your car. Some kind of trauma. And all of a sudden this person shows up and very comfortable and easily moves in and organizes and calms everyone down and controls the anger and hostility. And you have that exposure to that character and person. What has happened is, you have gotten depth exposure with that person. i.e. something more powerful, meaningful, something more real. So at a later date, you are in the mall and something goes wrong, and you are about to get upset, and maybe you see that person. Immediately you think, calm, cold, cool and collected. It brings meaning to you and you think let's try this!
What I am saying is, that person invoked something in you. Because, they meaningfully carried it in themselves. And that meaningfully carrying it, did something to you, it affected you in a positive way. The thing is you being, you mind became deeper in regards to that subject matter by having the exposure and appreciation. For example, sorting our a very difficult and a traumatic situation. And maybe it was done very sincerely and authentically by this other person. Maybe they comforted you a bit in that time of need. Like I say, every time that person appears to you, you just see them in the street, your mind brings back that memory or that knowledge. Or even more than just the intellectual knowledge. It is the experience knowledge that brings something into you.
That is what I am talking about. That feeling that comes into you when you look at that person and you have a depth feeling. A feeling that is based from experience, exposure, knowledge, and it meant something for you. It is not superficial.
Like Pierre Trudeau. None of us have had any interaction with him personally, so there is someone we have knowledge about, but no experience, at least in direct way, so when we see him and say oh wow, but we don't have too much depth there. So we have superficial knowledge, you understand. What I am really trying to talk about is your being and how you feel. And how to start appreciating what that means in trying to become a more meditative and enlightened person.
All of that, taken into the context of the visualization or thinking about the Buddha, is to draw upon, to work within the concept of this being, the Buddha, is fully enlightened and to try to relate. For example, you take a person who handles a very emotional situation very well, and realize that that is the part of a quality of what an enlightened being embodies.
Be simple about it. When you have a positive experience with someone, realize that that is the quality that an enlightened being would have. In that way you add depth to the being of the Buddha.
I will speak personally and say that I'm sure the Buddha understands perfectly how to handle an adolescent. Whether it is just giving space, and not making comments and creating anger, or it is having the right perception to know when it is just the right time to say something that affects the adolescent's mind, that actually turns him into a good adult and becomes a productive person or such, for me, when I think of enlightenment, and maybe when I am getting hostile and angry, is to all of a sudden reflect and say he, the Buddha will always accept a person I right now don't want to accept. The Buddha will always accept them and work with them in a positive light.
There is something very powerful there for me. And it slows me down a lot from getting upset, negative, angry, etc. The same thing for yourself. Try to find that which is meaningful for yourself. Have that. Appreciate that. That which says there is an area within me which responds with the depth tone. It is really something which touches me, moves me, it is part of me. It is experience. It is not just knowledge, a wonderful idea, which doesn't mean too much.
In that way try to create more powerful feeling or depth to you appreciation of enlightenment, and your appreciation of the vision. The imagery of the Buddha, meditatively sitting like that means that the mind is always in equipoise, cross legged means being well grounded, whatever. The dot between thee yes means that the wisdom eye is open. That is the imagery. But it has a depth behind it, meaning behind it. When you look at the image, when you think of the Buddha, you can actually visualize quality there. You can visualize what enlightenment means. You can have some depth to it.
One of the most powerful things is to start understanding people. And so when you are around other people, let's say there is someone and they have a need and they start acting out their need. But they act it out in the opposite way of what you would expect them to do. For example, let's say the one of not getting enough attention, and they would like attention. So rather than going up to someone and saying I want your attention, they turn around and do something negative because that gets your attention.
For the enlightened being, their mind understands that. They can sense that in the person, they can hear it in the voice, when the person starts to act in a particular way, they know intuitively and know this person has this need. They can hear it in the deeper part of the person and it is something which comes because they have an enlightened mind, a deeper mind, they understand emotions and all sorts of things. So. Like I say, when you visualize the Buddha, visualize there is depth there. And depth has many qualities. For you it will have different qualities as you grow. As you get into different phases your life, you will have different things which will be meaningful for you. In that way, bring those qualities into the enlightened being because they are the ones which are meaningful for you at that time so it will make it meaningful meditation for you to visualize the Buddha.
And so for example, maybe understanding people, understanding where they are coming from and such things, we don't have that knowledge but we can appreciate that some people are more aware, can have that knowledge. And certainly the enlightened being by definition has that so as you visualize put that into your mind, have that as part of what you venerate in visualizing the Buddha. And the real meaning is that which you are trying to awaken within yourself. A deeper being, more aware, more sensitive. More of a realized being which is the meaning of enlightenment. Realization. Having knowledge which has become experiential and which has turned into wisdom.
That is what I wanted to deal with tonight. Starting to when you are meditating, or maybe not meditating, but you are just sitting there and you have a picture of the Buddha, or a picture of something, and it is holy, that when you look at it you can invoke those things into the vision or what you are really doing is into your mind, invoke the qualities and depth and have some appreciation of that.
I would like us to do a visual meditation to some extent, if you can, but to try to work with that. And you can go back to the simplistic idea. A bottle of peptobismol. If you have ever had a stomach upset and have taken two or three different things, you will know that this one works for me. So when you see that object, it will have more meaning for you. Depth for you. Because there is experience in regards to the relationship of that object. So what we are talking about in visualization is realizing that that object has depth and meaning. And where it will be meaningful for you is where you have experience. Otherwise it won't have meaning. I could say the Buddha is wonderful. But that has nothing for you. When you find why enlightenment is wonderful, then it is there.
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