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How to Have an at Home Meditation Retreat » Zazen Life Zazen Life.
How to Have an at Home Meditation Retreat
Was your week stressful? Let’s set up your own personal meditation retreat, right where you are.
Create your personal inner sanctum…
We all know the benefits of taking time, but why not spoil yourself and take this resting time a step further to foster a retreat you deserve of. When we visit a retreat, we enter a place of calm and centeredness.
In order or us to take up the task of setting up our own personal meditation retreat, we need to know some things about a retreat frist. A retreat is a place where people go in order escape and find themselves in peaceful state of mind. Why we usually go somewhere else for a retreat because we don’t consider it possible in the current environment.
This means our inner state is directly controlled and influenced by the environment we are in. Therefore, in order to set up your personal meditation retreat, the first step is setting up your inner mental faculties to receiving your current environment as a retreat setting. This starts with, purpose. Understanding your own personal disposition with your environment will give you great insight as to quality of that relationship.
Setting Up the External:
Here are some tips, after you have your mind in check, to get your external environment ready for a at home meditation retreat:
1. Avoid morning caffeine.
Events will be a lot easier on your body if it doesn’t have to struggle with removing the toxins from caffeine.
2. Leave your phone.
Don’t just turn it off or on vibrate. Leave it behind completely. Once you get going, you wont miss it.
3. Do it alone and make it a legitimate ‘me’ event.
This gives your clarity as to what the focus is.
4. Flush out toxins by drinking water and using deep breathing.
This is important in order to keep your physiology in check.
5. Make your environment you own and personal.
If you like the smell of a particular incense or candle, use them.
6. Take this opportunity to improve your ability to concentrate and relax.
Use this time in self education. Learn how you can grow in the next week or month. You have the floor, take advantage of it.
Meditating everyday can be a tough commitment to stick to. With our busy modern lifestyle, we tend to find other things more important. However, what is more important than our own mental and spiritual development? If your schedule is crazy, use a “personal retreat” to hit the mental and spiritual reset button.
How about the weekend? The weekends always have some free time that you can use for meditation. Take a Friday after work to all day Saturday. Don’t leave the house. Plan ahead and acquire what you need in the house for that 24 hour personal retreat.
Things to Acquire:
- Fresh Vegetables
- A Spiritual Book
- Clean Water
- Incense / Candles
- Meditation CD / Music
If you have set aside a 24 hour block of time, acquired the needed things, and have your mental clarity ready, you are ready to embark on your first personal meditational retreat. The key thing to remember is that you are in control of what you do with your time. If you are being studious, you will apply introspection within this 24 hour period in order to understand yourself more fully and completely. The things you may discover during this time may be scary, but I assure you, they are extremely valuable.
Teachings – The Way of Meditation.
Part two: Meditation short teachings
For those interested in a bit more study and advice check out 25 of my all time favorite short teachings from Meditation Masters here at my website The Way of Meditation. Big ♥ & Respect, Chad Foreman
By Sogyal Rinpoche
The first and most basic practice of meditation is to allow the mind to settle into a state of “calm abiding,” where it will find peace and stability, and can rest in the state of non-distraction, which is what meditation really is. When you first begin to meditate, you may use a support: for example, looking at an object or an image of Buddha, or Christ if you are a Christian practitioner; or lightly, mindfully watching the breath, which is common to many spiritual traditions.What is very important, the great Buddhist teachers always advise, is not to fixate while practicing the concentration of calm abiding. That’s why they recommend you place only 25 percent of your attention on mindfulness of the breath. But then, as you may have noticed, mindfulness alone is not enough. While you are supposed to be watching the breath, after a few minutes you may find yourself playing in a football game or starring in your own movie. So another 25 percent should be devoted to a continuous vigilance or watchful awareness, one that oversees and checks whether you are being mindful of the breath. The remaining 50 percent of your attention is left abiding, spaciously. Of course, the exact percentages are not as important as the fact that all three of these elements — mindfulness, vigilance and spaciousness — are present.Gradually, as you are able to rest your mind naturally in a state of non-distraction, you will not need the support of an image or the breath. Even though you are not particularly focusing on anything, there is still some presence of mind, that may be loosely described as a “center of awareness.”This undistracted presence of mind is the best way of integrating your meditation into everyday life, while you are walking or eating or caring for others — whatever the situation. When you bring conscious awareness to your activities, distractions and anxieties will gradually disappear, and your mind will become more peaceful. It will also bring you a certain stability within yourself and a certain confidence with which you can face life and the complexity of the world with composure, ease and humour.Profound Methods For Bringing Forth The Nature Of Mind
Then, on the most profound level, we can say that meditation is using the mind to recognize the mind. Or that it is simply resting in the natural state of your present mind, without manipulating or contriving.
There’s a wonderful saying by the great masters of the past. I remember when I first heard it what a revelation it was, because in these two lines is shown both what the nature of mind is and how to abide by it, which is the practice of meditation on the highest level. In Tibetan it is very beautiful, almost musical:chu ma nyok na dang,sem ma chö na de.
It means roughly, “Water, if you don’t stir it, will become clear; the mind, left unaltered, will find its own natural peace, well-being, happiness and bliss…” What is so incredible about this instruction is its emphasis on naturalness and on allowing our mind simply to be,
unaltered and without changing anything at all.
Yet another profound way of describing meditation is this: allowing yourself to be simply and clearly present in the face of whatever thoughts, sensations or emotions arise. The secret is where exactly your mind is: whether you are lost in the appearances of mind — the thoughts and emotions — or whether you are resting in the essence of mind — in your real nature, in your true being.
Through meditation, when you reach the state of transcendence, you simply rest, as much as you can, in the nature of mind, this most natural state which is without any reference or concept, hope or fear, yet with a quiet but soaring confidence, the deepest form of well-being imaginable. As the cloudlike thoughts and emotions fade away, the sky-like nature of your true being is revealed, and, shining from it, your true nature, like the sun. And just as both light and warmth blaze from the sun, wisdom and loving compassion radiate out from the mind’s innermost nature.
Since you have reached the state of transcendental wisdom, beyond your ego self, it is as if you have reached the summit of the highest mountain, from which you have a view over all, as well as a heartfelt understanding and insight into the needs of others. There comes a great opening of your heart in compassion, infused with a deep and pervasive love. The more we are able to be in the nature of our mind, therefore, the more we will discover our wisdom, immeasurable compassion and infinite capability, and so develop an inner strength that is deeply nourishing.
As we connect with the purity of our inherent nature through meditation practice, what is revealed is our fundamental goodness, our good heart. Kindness, compassion and love simply exude. And the more we integrate the practice mindfully in our lives, the more we will find that not only are we in touch with ourselves, but completely in touch with others. The barrier between ourself and others dissolves. Negativity is defused, there comes a self-forgiveness, and all the harm in us is removed, so that we become truly useful and able to be of service to others.
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Clarifying the Natural State of Meditation
By Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
THE ESSENTIAL TRAINING IN NATURAL MEDITATION: Everything is meditation if your naturally aware presence of mind does not wander. To sustain this essence you train to remain fresh, artless and unbound. To be fresh, relax the body deep from within, don’t force your breathing and let the mind remain unconcerned free from worry. To be artless, let your mind be natural without judging or projecting an image. And to be unbound, remain free from acceptance or rejection remaining effortless; leaving the senses open to direct experiences without fear or hope.KEY ANOLOGIES FOR THE NATURAL STATE: Elevate your experience and remain wide open like the sky. Expand your mindfulness and remain pervasive like the earth. Steady your attention and remain unshakable like a mountain. Brighten your awareness and remain shining like a flame. Clear your thought free wakefulness and remain lucid like a crystal.MORE EXAMPLES ABOUT HOW TO REMAIN COMPOSED IN NATURAL MEDITATION: Unobscured like a cloudless sky, remain in a lucid and intangible openness. Unmoving like the ocean free of waves, remain in complete ease, undistracted by thought. Unchanging and brilliant like a flame undisturbed by the wind, remain utterly clear and bright.
Song of Original Mind
By Zen Master Bankei
Unborn and imperishable
Is the original mind
Earth, water, fire and wind
A temporary lodging for the nightAttached to this
Ephemeral burning house
You yourselves light the fire, kindle the flames
In which you’re consumedKeep your mind as it was
When you came into the world
And instantly this very self
Is a living “BuddhaIdeas of What’s good,
All due to
This self of yoursIn winter, a bonfire
But when summertime arrives
What a nuisance it becomes!
And the breezes
You loved in summer
Even before the autumn’s gone
Already have become a bother
Throwing your whole life away
Sacrificed to the thirst for gold
But when you saw your life was through
All your money was no use
Clinging, craving and the like
I don’t have them on my mind
That’s why nowadays I can say
The whole world is truly mine!
Since, after all this floating world
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, go and sing!
Only original mind exists
In the past and in the future too
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, let them go!
the demon mind yourself
When it torments you mercilessly
You’re to blame and no one else
When you do wrong
our mind’s the demon
There’s no hell
To be found outside
Longing for heaven
You make yourself suffer
In a joyful world
You think that good
Means hating what is bad
What’s bad is
The hating mind itself
Fame, wealth, eating and
drinking, sleep and sensual delight –
Once you’ve leaned the Five Desires
Your guide in life
Notions of what one should do
Never existed from the start
Fighting about what’s right, what’s wrong
That’s the doing of the “I”
When your study
Of Buddhism is through
You haven’t anything new
If you think the mind
That attains enlightenment
Is “mine” Your thoughts will wrestle, one with the other
These days I’m not bothering about
Getting enlightenment all the time
And the result is I wake up in the morning feeling fine!
Praying for salvation in the world to come
Praying for your own selfish ends
Is only piling on more and more
Self-centeredness and arrogance
Die — then live
Day and night within the world
Once you’ve done this, then you can
Hold the world right in your hand!
If you search for the Pure Land
Bent upon your own reward
You’ll only find yourself
despised By the Buddha after all!
People have no enemies
None at all right from the start
You create them all yourself
Fighting over right and wrong
Clear are the workings of causeand effect
You become deluded, but don’t know
It’s something that you’ve done yourself
That’s what’s called self-centeredness
Though the years may creep ahead
Mind itself can never age
This mind that’s
Always just the same
When you’ve searched
and found at last
The one who never will grow old
— “I alone!”
The Pure Land
Where one communes at peace
Is here and now, it’s not remote
Millions and millions of leagues away
When someone tosses you a tea bowl
— Catch it!
Catch it nimbly with soft cotton
With the cotton of your skillful mind!
Reflections on Calm Abiding Meditation
by Lama Choedak Rinpoche
My mind has long been lost in search of happiness
Without knowing how transient all things are.
Seeing the unsatisfactoriness of real life experiences
I will not let my mind wander outside.Turning back the forces of harmful habitual inclinations
And holding firmly to the peace and tranquillity within,
I rejoice in the store of joy I have discovered
In the happiness of observing the intrinsic calmness.Let this clear and luminous nature of the mind
Not be overshadowed by my habitual tendencies;
Abiding in the natural calmness of the mind
Let me see all perceptions as nothing but mere reflections.Neither grasping nor rejecting any sensory perceptions,
I shall see them as adventitious ripples and waves
Of the sea of my mind in deep meditiation
And absorb them into the ocean of clear mind.As I focus my mind to sit in the correct meditation posture
Let the physical self express the deep yearning
To experience the calm, still and spacious nature of the mind
And transcend the problems I have with this body.
The incoming breath brings in all the positive things outside me
And permeates the whole nervous system of my body;
Like the rays of the morning sun dispelling the darkness
It soothes the pain and temporary discomfort.
As I retain the breath, let me sustain
The vital energy of wakefulness and alertness
Enabling me to let go and forgive the past
And to enjoy the fresh manifestation of this bare moment.
My outgoing breath releases all feelings
Of tension, anger, stress, anxiety and worry;
Like the masses of dark clouds suddenly disappearing
Let the adventitious circumstances elapse to dawn a new beginning.
Breathing and observing the bare moments of awareness
Without assuming what it will become
May I live every moment with pristine awareness,
Without waiting for an unforeseen future to cultivate it.
Following the wise sages by respecting their words of wisdom
Let me remember skilful ways to apply them in everything
I do, say and think, so that my conduct brings no harm to others
And I do not become a victim of what I do, say and think.
While watching the constant flow of thoughts
Without discriminating between those that are good or bad
Let me neither be overjoyed with my meditation
Nor depressed by my lack of concentration.
Sinking in a withdrawal of the senses
Is relaxation of the conscious self, but not meditation.
Let me not be excited by the slight virtues of concentration
I have just begun to experience.
Holding the rope of mindfulness and the hook of alertness,
May I resolve to tame this mind which is like a wild elephant.
Steadily focusing the mind with a moderate application of antidotes,
May I discover what causes its restlessness.
When I find no sensory objects which are not my own reflection,
All visions and experiences are circumferences of myself.
Like trees and mountains, rivers and the earth
My existence is to give and share what I have with others.
How can I cling to and graps what I have obtained from others?
As soon as I let something go, I create space and experience joy;
As soon as I give things away, I find a joy not found in keeping them.
Learning to cherish others will bring me a happiness that will last.
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Experiencing Silent Wisdom
By Lama Thubten Yeshe
When your sense perception contacts sense objects and you
experience physical pleasure, enjoy that feeling as much as you
can. But if the experience of your sense perception’s contact with the sense
world ties you, if the more you look at the sense world the more difficult
it becomes, instead of getting anxious—“I can’t control this”—it’s better
to close your senses off and silently observe the sense perception itself.
Similarly, if you’re bound by the problems that ideas create, instead of
trying to stop those problems by grasping at some other idea, which is
impossible, silently investigate how ideas cause you trouble.
At certain times, a silent mind is very important, but “silent” does not
mean closed. The silent mind is an alert, awakened mind; a mind seeking
the nature of reality. When problems in the sense world bother you, the
difficulty comes from your sense perception, not from the external objects
you perceive. And when concepts bother you, that also does not come from outside but from your mind’s grasping at concepts.Therefore, in -stead of trying to stop problems emotionally by grasping at new material objects or ideas, check up silently to see what’s happening in your mind. No matter what sort of mental problem you experience, instead of getting nervous and fearful, sit back, relax, and be as silent as possible. In this way you will automatically be able to see reality and understand the root of the problem. When we experience problems, either internal or external, our narrow, unskillful mind only makes them worse. When someone with an itchy skin condition scratches it, he feels some temporary relief and thinks his scratching has made it better. In fact, his scratching has made it worse. We’re like that; we do the same thing, every day of our lives. Instead of trying to stop problems like this, we should relax and rely on our skillful, silent mind. But silent does not mean dark, non-functioning, sluggish or sleepy.~
So now, just close your eyes for ﬁve or ten minutes and take a close look at whatever you consider your biggest problem to be. Shut down your sense
perception as much as you possible can, remain completely silent and with introspective knowledge-wisdom, thoroughly investigate your mind. Where do you hold the idea of “my problem”? Is it in your brain? In your mouth? Your heart? Your stomach? Where is that idea?
If you can’t find the thought of “problem,” don’t intellectualize; simply relax. If miserable thoughts or bad ideas arise in your mind, just watch how they come, how they go. Don’t react emotionally.~
Practising in this way, you can see how the weak, unskillful mind cannot face problems. But your silent mind of skillful wisdom can face any
problem bravely, conquer it and control all your emotional and agitated states of mind.~
Don’t think that what I’m saying is a Buddhist idea, some Tibetan lama’s idea. It can become the actual experience of all living beings throughout the universe. I could give you many words, many ideas in my lecture tonight, but I think it’s more important to share with you the silent experience. That’s
more realistic than any number of words. When you investigate your mind thoroughly, you can see clearly that both miserable and ecstatic thoughts come and go. Moreover, when you investigate penetratingly, they disappear altogether. When you are preoccupied with an experience, you think, “I’ll never forget this experience,” but when you check up skillfully, it automatically disappears. That is the silent wisdom experience. It’s very simple, but don’t just believe me—experience it for yourself. In my experience, a silent lecture is worth more than one with many words and no experience. In the silent mind, you find peace, joy and satisfaction.
Silent inner joy is much more lasting than the enjoyment of eating chocolate and cake. That enjoyment is also just a conception. When you close off your superficial sense perception and investigate your inner nature, you begin to awaken. Why? Because superficial sense perception prevents you from seeing the reality of how discursive thought comes and goes. When you shut down your senses, your mind becomes more conscious and functions better. When your superficial senses are busy, your mind is kind of dark; it’s totally preoccupied by the way your senses are interpreting things. Thus, you can’t see reality. Therefore, when you are tied by ideas and the sense world, instead of stressing out, stop your sense perception and silently watch your mind. Try to be totally awake instead of obsessed with just one atom. Feel totality instead of particulars. You can’t determine for yourself the way things should be. Things change by their very nature. How can you tie down any idea? You can see that you can’t. When you investigate the way you think—“Why do I say this is good? Why do I say this is bad?”—you start to get real answers as to how your mind really works. You can see how most of your ideas are silly but how your mind makes them important. If you check up properly you can see that these ideas are really nothing. By checking like this, you end up with nothingness in your mind. Let your mind dwell in that state of nothingness. It is so peaceful; so joyful. If you can sit every morning with a silent mind for just ten or twenty minutes, you will enjoy it very much. You’ll be able to observe the moment-to-moment movement of your emotions without getting sad. You will also see the outside world and other people differently; you will never see them as hindrances to your life and they will never make you feel insecure. Therefore, beauty comes from the mind.
So, that was the experience of silence. You can discuss what I’ve been saying through your own experience. Observing and investigating your
mind is so simple; very simple. Constantly, wherever you go, at any time, you can experience this energy. It’s always with you. But chocolate isn’t
the peaceful stillness of the silent mind . . .always with you—when you want it, it’s not there and when you don’t feel like it, there it is in front of you.
The joy of the silent experience comes from your own mind. Therefore, joy is always with you. Whenever you need it, it’s always there.
To See the Originally Pure Mind is Meditation
By Arjahn Chah
“About this mind… In truth there is nothing really wrong with it. It is intrinsically pure. Within itself it’s already peaceful. That the mind is not peaceful these days is because it follows moods. The real mind doesn’t have anything to it, it is simply (an aspect of) Nature. It becomes peaceful or agitated because moods deceive it. The untrained mind is stupid. Sense impressions come and trick it into happiness, suffering, gladness and sorrow, but the mind’s true nature is none of those things. That gladness or sadness is not the mind, but only a mood coming to deceive us. The untrained mind gets lost and follows these things, it forgets itself. Then we think that it is we who are upset or at ease or whatever.But really this mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful… really peaceful! Just like a leaf which is still as long as no wind blows. If a wind comes up the leaf flutters. The fluttering is due to the wind — the ‘fluttering’ is due to those sense impressions; the mind follows them. If it doesn’t follow them, it doesn’t ‘flutter.’ If we know fully the true nature of sense impressions we will be unmoved.Our practice is simply to see the Original Mind. So we must train the mind to know those sense impressions, and not get lost in them. To make it peaceful. Just this is the aim of all this difficult practice we put ourselves through.”Follow the Meditation Masters on Facebook
The Way of Great Truth
Respect to the state of great bliss! Concerning what is called Great Truth; All things are your own mind. Seeing objects as external is a mistaken concept; Like a dream, they are empty of concreteness. This mind, as well, is a mere movement of attention. That has no self-nature, being merely a gust of wind. Empty of identity, like space. All things, like space, are equal.When speaking of the ultimate it is not an entity that can be shown, the the mind’s emptiness is itself the state of Great Truth. It is neither something to be corrected nor transformed, but when anyone sees and realizes its nature all that appears and exists is Empty Clarity- the great all-encompassing field of Truth. Naturally and without contriving, allowed simply to be this unimagined field of truth. Letting it be without seeking is the meditation training.But to meditate while seeking is deluded mind. While neither cultivating nor not cultivating how can you be separate and not separate! This is a meditator’s understanding. All good deeds and harmful actions dissolve by simply knowing this nature. Without understanding this, all possible means never bring more than temporary liberation.When understanding this nature, what is there to bind you? While being undistracted from its continuity, there is neither a composed nor an uncomposed state to be cultivated or corrected with a remedy. It is not made out of anything. Experience self-liberated is natural freedom. Thinking self-liberated is great wisdom, non-dual equality is the field of truth.Like the continuous flow of a great river, whatever you do is meaningful, this is the eternal awakened state, the great bliss, leaving no place for conditioned suffering. All things are empty of separate identities. This concept fixed on emptiness has dissolved in itself. Free of concept, holding nothing in mind, is in itself the path of the Awakened.
For the most fortunate ones, I have made these concise words of heartfelt advice.
Through this, may every single conscious being be established in Great Truth.
True meditation has no direction or goal. It is pure wordless surrender, pure silent prayer. All methods aiming at achieving a certain state of mind are limited, impermanent, and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency. True meditation is abidance as primordial awareness.True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not being manipulated or controlled. When you first start to meditate, you notice that attention is often being held captive by focus on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets and tries to control what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.In true meditation all objects (thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, etc.) are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to focus on, manipulate, control, or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself. Primordial awareness is the source in which all objects arise and subside.As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the mind’s compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.As you rest into stillness more profoundly, awareness becomes free of the mind’s compulsive control, contractions, and identifications. Awareness naturally returns to its non-state of absolute unmanifest potential, the silent abyss beyond all knowing.
Happiness is your True Nature
By Robert Adams
Within you is The Light of a Thousand Suns. Happiness is the Substratum of Your Existence. This is who You are. Happiness is your True Nature. Within you is Unimaginable Beauty. Your True Self is Bright and Shining this Moment. Through the clear Realization of the Truth,
your Real Self will come shining through.Everyone is looking for happiness. Happiness is the Unchanging Truth of your Real Self. You are not the outer images that keep changing. It does not matter what is happening in your life, nothing is more powerful than the Absolute Truth of who You are, an Embodiment of Happiness.Suffering subsides. No matter what your background or religion, Happiness is the Unchanging Reality behind the changing images of your life. Won’t you begin to experience this Reality now? It’s worth it! Beyond our myriad thoughts, desires, fears, is Unalloyed Happiness-Unimaginable Beauty that transforms us in a Moment. You will become radiantly happy for no reason whatsoever.
This World Has No Power Over You-Be Humble Gentle and Strong.Be gentle, humble and strong. The world may appear hard at times but do not let it fool you. It has no power over you at all. Always realize that you are Divinely Protected, Divinely Guided to your Highest Good. You have nothing to fight, fear. Happiness is the Substratum of your Existence. YOU are That. You stand tall in this Awareness. You are no longer pulled this way and that by circumstances and events. You know that this is a temporal word of material change, but You are not a powerless victim. This illusion of being powerless in the face of your life is replaced by an Awareness of an unchanging permanence. A safety in the All Pervasive. The Imperishable Embracing Reality that can never leave you.For there is a Great and Beautiful Reality that remains within the life that you have been given in this world. You can experience this Reality with your conscious mind every moment. We know that this is called Illumination. You are Illumined to your true life. Your real life. You have heard it said ‘this is real life.’ But is it? It is only the limitations of those who have surrendered in what has ‘happened’ to them. Do not allow your life to be reduce to the temporal nature of events and circumstances.
You are receiving everything that you need to learn who you are, in baby steps. Conscious evolution is the process of deliberately feeding yourself Reality in order to progress faster. To rise above being limited to this realm. When you do this, you no longer have to learn from cause and effect, sorrow and elation’s, for your actions originate from Truth.
Beyond all suffering, There is nothing but beauty. There are guaranteed ways to achieve this (awareness). To remain this Reality. Going within, diving into The Presence, Meditation, and more. The important thing is to return to the Source, the experience of complete happiness every single day, to reset yourself. Then, you consciously spread this Reality unto everyone in your life.
Something wonderful and amazing will happen. You will be transformed. Those immersed in emanating pain to others will no longer be attracted to your presence. You will create New Life. You will create the bubble of happiness that supersedes all ‘head knowledge’, all debating, all doubt, fear. For you have tapped into the Source of your own life. And there is nothing but beauty.
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Getting out of your Mind
& Being the Silent Witness
You have to get out of the mind slowly, slowly; you have to learn ways of getting out of it. And that’s what meditation is all about: it is slipping out of the mind. The mind is a mechanism. There is no need to get identified with it. Use it, but remain aloof, remain separate. Know perfectly well that you are a witness. Just as you are a witness of the outside world — the trees, the moon and the people — exactly like that you are a witness to the inside world — the dreams, the imagination, the anger, love, hate, jealousy, possessiveness, and all that. But you are always a witness, and the witness is always clear. The mind is always confusion, the witness is always clear.Become more and more of a witness. Don’t get identified with the mind. It is very close but still it is not you. So there is no point in working on the mind. The whole work now has to be not on the mind but on you. Disconnect yourself from the mind more and more. When anger comes, sit silently and watch it. You are a watcher on the hills and anger is there just like a cloud passing by. There is the hate and there is the jealousy, but you remain aloof; you just see them. Don’t judge them, don’t be against them, because the moment you judge you become entangled. That’s what Jesus means when he says ‘Judge ye not’. That is the secret key to no-mind. Don’t say ‘This is good’, don’t say ‘This is bad’; just don’t say anything. Silently see it, take note of it: anger is there — it is neutral, neither good nor bad. And you will be surprised that it comes, it surrounds you and then it goes away.Once you have learned the knack of it — that you can remain undisturbed and undistracted by the mind stuff that is continuously moving like traffic — you will have clarity. Not only clarity about this particular problem: you will simply have clarity — clarity about your whole life, clarity about everything that you are doing. And out of that clarity is beauty and benediction.
A Method in Sustaining the Nature of Awareness
By Mipham Rinpoche
When sustaining the nature of awareness, the three stages of recognizing, training and attaining stability will gradually occur. First of all, scrutinize the naked and natural face of awareness by means of your master’s oral instructions until you see it free from assumptions. Having resolved it with certainty, it is essential that you simply sustain the nature of just that.It is not enough just to recognize it, you must perfect the training in the following way:You may already have recognized the face of awareness, but unless you rest in just that, conceptual thinking will interrupt it and it will be difficult for awareness to appear nakedly. So, at that point it is essential to rest without accepting or rejecting your thoughts and to continue by repeatedly resting in the state of un-fabricated awareness.When you have practiced this again and again the force of your thought waves weakens while the face of your awareness grows sharper and it becomes easier to sustain. That is the time when you should abide in the meditation state as much as you can and be mindful of remembering the face of awareness during post-meditation. As you grow used to this the strength of your awareness is trained further.At first, when a thought occurs you need not apply a remedy to stop it. By leaving it to itself it is, at some point, naturally freed – just as the knot on a snake becomes untied by itself. When you become more adept, the occurrence of a thought will cause slight turmoil but immediately vanish in itself – just like a drawing on the surface of water. When you train in just that, you gain experience that transcends benefit and harm, at which point thought occurrences cause no problem whatsoever. Thus, you will be free from hope or fear about whether or not thoughts do occur – just like a thief entering an uninhabited house.
By practicing further you perfect the training so that, finally, your conceptual thinking and the all-ground along with its moving force dissolve into un-fabricated Field of Truth. That is the attainment of the natural abode of awareness.
Just as you cannot find any ordinary stones on an island of gold even if you search for them all that appears and exists will be experienced as the realm of Truth. Attaining stability is when everything has become all-encompassing purity.
Why Meditation Is Vital
By Pema Chodron
Although it is embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself. Meditation practice awakens our trust that the wisdom and compassion that we need are already within us. It helps us to know ourselves: our rough parts and our smooth parts, our passion, aggression, ignorance, and wisdom. The reason that people harm other people, the reason that the planet is polluted and people and animals are not doing so well these days is that individuals don’t know or trust or love themselves enough. The technique of sitting meditation calledshamatha-vipashyana (“tranquility-insight”) is like a golden key that helps us to know ourselves.In shamatha-vipashyana meditation, we sit upright with legs crossed and eyes open, hands resting on our thighs. Then we simply become aware of our breath as it goes out. It requires precision to be right there with that breath. On the other hand, it’s extremely relaxed and soft. Saying, “Be right there with the breath as it goes out,” is the same thing as saying, “Be fully present.” Be right here with whatever is going on. Being aware of the breath as it goes out, we may also be aware of other things going on—sounds on the street, the light on the walls. These things capture our attention slightly, but they don’t need to draw us off. We can continue to sit right here, aware of the breath going out.But being with the breath is only part of the technique. These thoughts that run through our minds continually are the other part. We sit here talking to ourselves. The instruction is that when you realize you’ve been thinking you label it “thinking.” When your mind wanders off, you say to yourself, “thinking.” Whether your thoughts are violent or passionate or full of ignorance and denial; whether your thoughts are worried or fearful; whether your thoughts are spiritual thoughts, pleasing thoughts of how well you’re doing, comforting thoughts, uplifting thoughts, whatever they are—without judgment or harshness simply label it all “thinking,” and do that with honesty and gentleness.The touch on the breath is light: only about 25 percent of the awareness is on the breath. You’re not grasping and fixating on it. You’re opening, letting the breath mix with the space of the room, letting your breath just go out into space. Then there’s something like a pause, a gap until the next breath goes out again. While you’re breathing in, there could be some sense of just opening and waiting. It is like pushing the doorbell and waiting for someone to answer. Then you push the doorbell again and wait for someone to answer. Then probably your mind wanders off and you realize you’re thinking again—at this point use the labeling technique.It’s important to be faithful to the technique. If you find that your labeling has a harsh, negative tone to it, as if you were saying, “dammit!,” that you’re giving yourself a hard time, say it again and lighten up. It’s not like trying to shoot down the thoughts as if they were clay pigeons. Instead, be gentle. Use the labeling part of the technique as an opportunity to develop softness and compassion for yourself. Anything that comes up is okay in the arena of meditation. The point is, you can see it honestly and make friends with it. Although it is embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself. It is healing to know all the ways that you’re sneaky, all the ways that you hide out, all the ways that you shut down, deny, close off, criticize people, all your weird little ways. You can know all of that with some sense of humor and kindness. By knowing yourself, you’re coming to know humanness altogether. We are all up against these things. So when you realize that you’re talking to yourself, label it “thinking” and notice your tone of voice. Let it be compassionate and gentle and humorous. Then you’ll be changing old stuck patterns that are shared by the whole human race. Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.
The Power of Now
By Eckhart Tolle
Instead of “watching the thinker,” you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention into the Now. Just become intensely conscious of the present moment. This is a deeply satisfying thing to do. In this way, you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking.
This is the essence of meditation.In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on. Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice:
the degree of peace that you feel within.Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.
However, Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that is is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don’t seek to grasp it with your mind. Don’t try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still. The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way,
but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being.Follow the Meditation Masters on Facebook
Faith in Ultimate Being
By Seng Ts’an
The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When clininging and rejection are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness. Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity. As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness. Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial. To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth. Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source. At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness. The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions. Do not remain in the dualistic state — avoid such pursuits carefully. If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One. When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way. When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist. When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object). Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world. If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion. To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going. Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed. When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness. What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations? If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas. Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself. There is one Truth, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant. To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes. Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking. All dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them. Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.
If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease. If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements. When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached. No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state. Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear. When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality no law or description applies. For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases. Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible. With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing. All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind’s power. Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value. In this world of suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, ‘Not two.’ In this ‘not two’ nothing is separate, nothing is excluded. No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this Truth. And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years. Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes. Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and Non-Being. Don’t waste time with doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this. One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with trusting mind.
Words! The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.
Forest Dwelling Monk’s Essential Advice
By Anonymous Forest Monk
When life begins we are tender and weak, when life ends we are stiff and rigid. All things, the grass, the trees, the animals, in life they are soft and pliant. In death they are dry and brittle; an army that cannot yield will suffer defeat and a tree that cannot bend will break. So the soft and supple are the companions of life and the stiff and unyielding are the companions of death.
Surrender brings perfection, embrace emptiness and the whole universe is yours.The sage becomes nothing and gains everything. Not displaying himself he shines forth, not promoting himself he is distinguished, not claiming reward he gains merit, not seeking glory his glory endures, he does not compete so no-one competes with him. Such a being rides upon the clouds and enters the sun, passing out of this world with ease and into the Eternal. Fear nothing, except the failure to experience your true nature.Speak nothing unless you have lived it first. The gate of heaven is wide open, without a single obstruction before it. I sometimes wonder when I will wake up? Wake up to see that there is truly nothing to fear.
I sometimes wonder whether I am a man dreaming that I am a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man?What can I say that hasn’t already been said? What can I do that hasn’t already been done? The joy is simply in the Being. Not being this or that.
I like watching the sun in the morning. And the moon watches over me at night.Follow the Meditation Masters on Facebook
The Real Secret to Freedom
By Jiddu Krishnamurti
Do you want to know what my secret is?
Release Attachment To Outcomes.A fear that many people have is that if they don’t hold tightly to their goals and dreams and think about them all day long, they won’t accomplish them. Yet it is the very attachment to outcomes, to getting a specific result, that sets the stage for anxiety, the fear that you won’t achieve what you want. As you learn to release the attachment, new creative energies—as well as feelings of courage and confidence—spring forth, and actually move you closer to your objectives.Worrying about the future is one of the main causes of stress in our lives. It is a habit that just perpetuates fear, the uncomfortable feeling that we aren’t enough as we are. It keeps us stuck in the belief that such-and-such must happen if we are going to be happy, and that if it doesn’t, our lives will be miserable.There’s a story about J. Krishnamurti that speaks reams about what it means to be free of this limiting, fear-based pattern of thinking. Every spring he used to give talks in a beautiful oak grove in Ojai, in southern California. He had been speaking there for over sixty years. On this particular occasion when I went to hear him, in the late nineteen-seventies, there must have been close to two thousand people in attendance, sitting on the grass, or in their folding chairs.It was always an extraordinary experience, hearing Krishnamurti in person. Aldous Huxley, who was a friend of Krishnamurti’s, described it as: “Like listening to a discourse of the Buddha—such authority, such intrinsic power.”
Part way through this particular talk, Krishnamurti suddenly paused, leaned forward, and said, almost conspiratorially, “Do you want to know what my secret is?” Almost as though we were one body we sat up, even more alert than we had been, if that was possible. I could see people all around me lean forward, their ears straining and their mouths slowly opening in hushed anticipation.
Krishnamurti rarely ever talked about himself or his own process, and now he was about to give us his secret! He was in many ways a mountaintop teacher—somewhat distant, aloof, seemingly unapproachable, unless you were part of his inner circle. Yet that’s why we came to Ojai every spring, to see if we could find out just what his secret was. We wanted to know how he managed to be so aware and enlightened, while we struggled with conflict and our numerous problems.
There was a silence. Then he said in a soft, almost shy voice, “You see, I don’t mind what happens.”
I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom. It is a timeless spiritual truth: release attachment to outcomes, and—deep inside yourself—you’ll feel good no matter what. You’ll feel good because you are connected to, one with, the energy of the universe, the beauty and power of creation itself. Or, as Krishnamurti himself put it:
‘When you live with this awareness, this sensitivity, life has an astonishing way of taking care of you.
Then there is no problem of security, of what people say or do not say, and that is the beauty of life.’
By Shakyamuni Buddha
The great Awakening Being Avalokiteshvara was practicing deep meditation on the Perfection of Wisdom, and clearly saw that all five human constituents are without self, therefore alleviating suffering and distress. Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form; form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form; sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness are also like this.Sha-riputra, all things are essentially empty– not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure; without loss, without gain. Therefore in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness;no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind, no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, or object of thought; no seeing and so on to no thinking, no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance, and so on to no old age and death, and also no ending of old age and death; no anguish, cause of anguish, cessation, path; no wisdom and no attainment.Since there is nothing to attain, Awakeing Beings live by Perfect Wisdom, with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance and therefore no fear; far beyond delusive thinking, right here is Total Peace. All Enlightened Beings of past, present, and future live by Perfect Wisdom. Therefore know that Perfect Wisdom is the great sacred mantra, the great lucid mantra, the unsurpassed mantra, the supreme mantra, which completely removes all anguish.This is the actual truth, not mere convention. Therefore the Perfect Wisdom mantra was proclaimed:
~ Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi sva-ha-! ~(going, going, going all the way, gone to the other side, let it be)
Eternity found in the palm of your hand
By Thich Nhat Hahn
If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. To be born means that something which did not exist comes into existence. But the day we are “born” is not our beginning. It is a day of continuation. But that hould not make us less happy when we celebrate our “Happy Continuation Day.”Since we are never born, how can we cease to be? This is what the Heart Sutra reveals to us. When we have a tangible experience of non-birth and non-death, we know ourselves beyond duality. The meditation on “no separate self” is one way to pass through the gate of birth and death.Your hand proves that you have never been born and you will never die. The thread of life has never been interrupted from time without beginning until now. Previous generations, all the way back to single-celled beings, are present in your hand at this moment. You can observe and experience this. Your hand is always available as a subject for meditation.
Six Diamond Verses
for Natural Enlightenment
~ Dzogchen tradition
All apparent phenomena manifest as diversity yet this diversity is non-dual.Of all the multiplicity of individual things that exist,
none can be confined in a limited concept.Staying free from the trap of any attempt to say ‘it’s like this’, or ‘like that’, it becomes clear that all manifested forms are aspects of the infinite formless.And, indivisible from it, are self-perfected.Seeing that everything is self-perfected from the very beginning, the disease of striving for any achievement is surrendered.
And just remaining in the natural state as it is, the presence of non-dual contemplation continuously spontaneously arises.
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Simple Meditation Instructions for Awakening
By Sri Nisagardatta
When I met my Guru, he told me: “You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am’, find your real Self.” I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence.
And what a difference it made, and how soon!My teacher told me to hold on to the sense ‘I am’ tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching.
All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly.This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am — unbound. I simply followed (my teacher’s) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being ‘I am’, and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the ‘I am’ in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared — myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me.
Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.
Instructions on Sitting Meditation (Zazen)
by Zen Master Dogen
The Way is basically perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization? The Dharma-vehicle is free and untrammelled. What need is there for concentrated effort? Indeed, the whole body is far beyond the world’s dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from one, right where one is. What is the use of going off here and there to practice?And yet, if there is the slightest discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven from earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the Mind is lost in confusion. Suppose one gains pride of understanding and inflates one’s own enlightenment, glimpsing the wisdom that runs through all things, attaining the Way and clarifying the Mind, raising an aspiration to escalade the very sky. One is making the initial, partial excursions about the frontiers but is still somewhat deficient in the vital Way of total emancipation.Need I mention the Buddha, who was possessed of inborn knowledge? The influence of his six years of upright sitting is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma’s transmission of the mind-seal?–the fame of his nine years of wall-sitting is celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can we today dispense with negotiation of the Way?You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.For sanzen (zazen), a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Sanzen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.
At the site of your regular sitting, spread out thick matting and place a cushion above it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, you first place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, you simply press your left foot against your right thigh. You should have your robes and belt loosely bound and arranged in order. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left palm (facing upwards) on your right palm, thumb-tips touching. Thus sit upright in correct bodily posture, neither inclining to the left nor to the right, neither leaning forward nor backward. Be sure your ears are on a plane with your shoulders and your nose in line with your navel. Place your tongue against the front roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips both shut.
Your eyes should always remain open, and you should breathe gently through your nose.
Once you have adjusted your posture, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, rock your body right and left and settle into a steady, immobile sitting position. Think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This in itself is the essential art of zazen.
The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.
When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both unenlightenment and enlightenment, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the strength (of zazen).
In addition, the bringing about of enlightenment by the opportunity provided by a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and the effecting of realization with the aid of a hossu, a fist, a staff, or a shout, cannot be fully understood by discriminative thinking. Indeed, it cannot be fully known by the practicing or realizing of supernatural powers, either. It must be deportment beyond hearing and seeing–is it not a principle that is prior to knowledge and perceptions?
This being the case, intelligence or lack of it does not matter: between the dull and the sharp-witted there is no distinction. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is negotiating the Way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward (in practice) is a matter of everydayness.
In general, this world, and other worlds as well, both in India and China, equally hold the Buddha-seal, and over all prevails the character of this school, which is simply devotion to sitting, total engagement in immobile sitting. Although it is said that there are as many minds as there are persons, still they all negotiate the way solely in zazen. Why leave behind the seat that exists in your home and go aimlessly off to the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep, you go astray from the Way directly before you.
You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the Buddha-Way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from the flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning–emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.
Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon. Devote your energies to a way that directly indicates the absolute. Revere the person of complete attainment who is beyond all human agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the buddhas; succeed to the legitimate lineage of the ancestors’ samadhi. Constantly perform in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store will open of itself, and you will use it at will.
Knowledge of the Absolute Self
By Adi Shankara
I am composing the Atma-Bodha, this treatise of the Knowledge of the Asolute Self, for those who have purified themselves by austerities and are peaceful in heart and calm, who are free from cravings and are desirous of liberation. Just as the fire is the direct cause for cooking, so without Knowledge no emancipation can be had. Compared with all other forms of discipline Knowledge of the Self is the one direct means for liberation. Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance. Knowledge does verily destroy ignorance as light destroys deep darkness.Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance. Knowledge does verily destroy ignorance as light destroys deep darkness. The Soul appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed the Self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals itself by itself: like the Sun when the clouds pass away.The world which is full of attachments, aversions, etc., is like a dream. It appears to be real, as long as it continues but appears to be unreal when one is awake (i.e., when true wisdom dawns). The Jagat appears to be true so long as the Absolute Being; the substratum, the basis of all this creation, is not realised. It is like the illusion of silver in the mother-of pearl. Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything. All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum which is the Eternal All-pervading Being, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence; just as the different ornaments are all made out of the same gold.The All-pervading Being appears to be diverse on account of its association with various relative conditionings which are different from each other. Space becomes one on the destruction of these limiting adjuncts: So also the Omnipresent Truth appears to be diverse on account of Its association with the various relations. Because of Its association with different conditions such ideas as caste, colour and position are super-imposed upon the pure consciousness as flavour, colour, etc., are super-imposed on water.Realise that to be Absolute Being which is Non-dual, Indivisible, One and Blissful and which is indicated in Vedanta as the Immutable Substratum, realised after the negation of all tangible objects. All objects are pervaded by Absolute Being. All actions are possible because of the Absolute: therefore It permeates everything as butter permeates milk.
Realise that the Absolute which is neither subtle nor gross: neither short nor long: without birth or change: without form, qualities, colour and name. That by the light of which the luminous, orbs like the Sun and the Moon are illuminated, but which is not illumined by their light, realise that to be Absolute Being. Pervading the entire universe outwardly and inwardly the Supreme Being shines of Itself like the fire that permeates a red-hot iron-ball and glows by itself.
The Absolute Being is none other than this, the universe. There exists nothing that is not Absolute Being. If any object other than the Absolute appears to exist, it is unreal like the mirage. All that is perceived, or heard, is Absolute Being and nothing else. Attaining the knowledge of the One Reality, one sees the Universe as the non-dual Being, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute.
Pure Consciousness is ever present everywhere, yet It is perceived by the eye-of-wisdom alone: but one whose vision is obscured by ignorance he does not see It; as the blind do not see the resplendent Sun. The Meditator free from impurities, being heated in the fire of knowledge kindled by learning and so on, shines of itself like gold. Pure consciousness the Sun of Knowledge that rises in the sky of the heart, destroys the darkness of the ignorance, pervades and sustains all and shines and makes everything to shine.
He who renouncing all activities, who is free of all the limitations of time, space and direction, worships his own pure consciousness which is present everywhere, which is the destroyer of heat and cold, which is Bliss-Eternal and stainless, becomes All-knowing and All-pervading and attains thereafter Immortality.
Naturally Perfect Meditation
By Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche
Everything is naturally perfect just as it is.All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment.With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.The everyday practice of Meditation is just everyday life itself.Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some ‘amazing goal’ or ‘advanced state.’ To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind.
We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons – we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing. When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity.
We should realize that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of the mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.
Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is.Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think ‘I am meditating’.Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become ‘peaceful’. If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation.
If we have ‘interesting experiences’ either during or after meditation we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of Mind. All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future. They are experienced in timelessness. The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity.
We should learn to see everyday life as mandala – the luminous fringes of experience, which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being.
Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us. In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future – our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground? We should free ourselves from our present memories and preconceptions of meditation.
Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory of hollow rhetoric. Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is – Enlightenment.
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The Zen Teaching on the Transmission of Mind
By Huang Po
Meditation-Practice (From Blofeld’s introduction to his rendering of The Zen Teaching of Huang Po on the Transmission of Mind):The book tells us very little about the practice of what, for want of a better translation, is often called meditation or contemplation. Unfortunately both these words are misleading as they imply some object of meditation or of contemplation; and, if objectlessness be stipulated, then they may well be taken to lead to a blank or sleeplike trance, which is not at all the goal of Zen. Huang Po seems to have assumed that his audience knew something about the practice – as most keen Buddhists do, of course. He gives few instructions as to how to “meditate,” but he does tell us what to avoid. If, conceiving of the phenomenal world as illusion, we try to shut it out, we make a false distinction between the “real” and the “unreal.” So we must not shut anything out, but try to reach the point where all distinctions are seen to be void, where nothing is seen as desirable or undesirable, existing or not existing. Yet this does not mean that we should make our minds blank, for then we should be no better than blocks of wood or lumps of stone; moreover, if we remained in this state, we should not be able to deal with the circumstances of daily life or be capable of observing the Zen precept” “When hungry, eat.” Rather, we must cultivate dispassion, realizing that none of the attractive or unattractive attributes of things have any absolute existence.Enlightenment, when it comes, will come in a flash. There can be no gradual, no partial, Enlightenment. The highly trained and zealous adept may be said to have prepared himself for Enlightenment, but by no means can he be regarded as partially Enlightened – just as a drop of water may get hotter and hotter and then, suddenly, boil; at no stage is it partly boiling, and, until the very moment of boiling, no qualitative change has occurred. In effect, however, we may go through three stages – two of non-Enlightenment and one of Enlightenment. To the great majority of people, the moon is the moon and the trees are the trees. The next stage (not really higher than the first) is to perceive that moon and trees are not at all what they seem to be, since “all is the One Mind.” When this stage is achieved, we have the concept of a vast uniformity in which all distinctions are void; and, to some adepts, this concept may come as an actual perception, as “real” to them as the moon and the trees before. It is said that, when Enlightenment really comes, the moon is again very much the moon and the trees exactly trees; but with a difference, for the Enlightened man is capable of perceiving both unity and multiplicity without the least contradiction between them!Conceptual Thinking:
To make use of your minds to think conceptually is to leave the substance [of Mind, Buddha] and attach yourselves to form.The Mind is no mind of conceptual thought, and it is completely detached from form…. There are those who, upon hearing this teaching, rid themselves of conceptual thought in a flash…. But whether they transcend conceptual thought by a longer or shorter way, the result is a state of BEING: there is no practicing and no action of realizing. That there is nothing which can be attained is not idle talk; it is the truth.
If you would spend all your time – walking, standing, sitting or lying down – learning to halt the concept-forming activities of your own mind, you could be sure of ultimately attaining the goal.
…If you students of the Way seek to progress through seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing, when you are deprived of your perceptions, your ways to Mind will be cut off and you will find nowhere to enter.
Do not keep them nor abandon them nor dwell in them nor cleave to them. Above, below and around you, all is spontaneously existing, for there is nowhere which is outside Buddha-Mind.
Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained.
This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind…. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun….
Ordinary people look to their surroundings, while followers of the Way look to Mind, but the true Dharma is to forget them both. The former is easy enough, the latter very difficult. Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma.
So you students of the Way should immediately refrain from all conceptual thought. Let a tacit understanding be all! Any mental processes must lead to error. There is just a transmission of Mind with Mind.
The Place of Precious Things:
That which is called the Place of Precious Things is the real Mind, the original Buddha-Essence, the treasure of our own real Nature…. Where is the Place of Precious Things? It is a place to which no directions can be given…. All we can say is that it is close by.
The Ignorant Seeker:
Many people are afraid to empty their minds lest they may plunge into the Void. They do not know that their own Mind is the void. The ignorant [seekers] eschew phenomena but not thought; the wise [seekers] eschew thought but not phenomena.
If an ordinary man, when he is about to die, could only see the five elements of his consciousness as void; the four physical elements as not constituting an ‘I’; the real Mind as formless and neither coming nor going; his nature as something neither commencing at his birth nor perishing at his death, but as whole and motionless in its very depths; his Mind and environmental objects as one – if he could really accomplish this, he would receive Enlightenment in a flash. He would no longer be entangled by the Triple World; he would be a World-Transcendor.
The Supreme Way:
…To awaken suddenly to the fact that your own Mind is the Buddha, that there is nothing to be attained or a single action to be performed – this is the Supreme Way….
CRAZY WISDOM OF AN IDIOT
WHO WEARS MUD AND FEATHERS FOR CLOTHING
by Dudjom Lingpa
So I had the idea to put on some beautiful clothes made out of silk and brocade and go out and meet some people, but when I looked around I couldn’t find any. So I applied mud on my body for clothes, and for ornaments I stuck sticks and feathers in it. Then, thinking that these were the finest ornaments, I said, ‘I have something stupid to tell people regarding putting mud and feathers on for clothing. So hark! Listen to this foolish meditation of mud and feathers. Listen, observe and laugh.Some meditators value good thoughts and try to block bad thoughts. This is like a dog which has come into your house, stolen some food, then escaped outside, so you close up all the doors and windows and grope in the dark.Some meditators, after compulsive ideation has dissolved, send an antidote after it which is like sending a hunting dog after a fox which has already escaped.Some meditators practice by looking at their thoughts from afar, like an old shepherd viewing his herds of cows and sheep over a flat plain, but if you are a garuda flying away from your nest, it’s too much to throw out the corpses of 21,000 mice in a single day.Some meditators regard thoughts like a flash of lightening, and awareness like clear light, considering the nonduality of appearance and awareness to be the genuine path.
Some meditators believe the genuine path is as soon as a thought arises, recognizing the thought and thinker as nondual.
These practices are good for beginners, but if you continue to meditate this way, it’s like compounding delusion upon delusion. If you practice this way, and achieve joy, clarity and non-conceptuality, and an inflated sense of having ascended to some high tower from which you look down on others with a haughty attitude, like sitting in the saddle of a fine horse, or posing on a high throne as some lamas do, how can you ever hope to ascend from the depths of samsara? It’s like lifting a big stone out of the bottom of the ocean. Grasping still occurs and liberation is out of the question.
When you engage in the path, if you focus single pointedly on an object, and forcefully block thoughts, more thoughts will arise, and you will become miserable, sick and mad. But if you are like a shepherd looking at thoughts from afar, then everything that arises will be seen with clarity, the mind is identified as awareness, and what is seen is understood as movement. In this stable experience, joy, clarity and non-conceptuality will arise. When you fuse stillness, movement and awareness, thoughts will be self-knowing, self-illuminating. What is crucial is not to lose your ground in terms of clear awareness free of hope and fear, negation and affirmation.
When I was young, I heard people say that meditation was a fine path to spiritual awakening. Giving this careful thought, I believed this path was something you could see, feel and hear, and so I thought if these old monks can do it, why can’t I? So I went to a remote area, sat in solitude, and waited for three days for meditation to arise. On the third day I got pooped and fell asleep. I had a dream of a white child who asked me, ‘What are you doing here?’ I replied, ‘I’m waiting to see meditation.’ The child closed his eyes and sang the following song:
‘Hey, hey! You blind boy who wishes to enter the genuine path, listen! The body is like a paper bag carried away by the wind; the speech is like the sound of wind in a tube; the mind is the creator of both samsara and nirvana. Among these three, mind is foremost. You will wait a long time to see meditation.’ Then I woke up.
A few days later I had another dream of a yogin who called himself Orgyen Padma Vajra, who placed a vase on my head and said, ‘Investigate first the origin of the mind, second its location, and third its destination.’ Then he dissolved into me.
Another night I dreamed of a red yogin who called himself Orgyen Speech Vajra who said, “Thoughts are called movement; that which understands them is called awareness; and remaining in that understanding is called stillness. Never be separate from these three.’ Then he dissolved into me.
Three years later a young woman appeared in a dream. She placed 13 white mustard seeds on the surface of a clear mirror, then held it at my heart and sang this song:
‘Ema! Child of clear light, your own mind is the ground of all of samsara and nirvana. Its origin is empty, its location is empty, its departure is empty. It is spontaneously present in great emptiness. Your mind is a mirror that transcends causes and conditions. Like a mirror, it gives rise to various reflections, but its essential nature is unchanging. Distinguish between mind and awareness. They have the same ground, but they are not the same. The mind is what becomes deluded in samsara; awareness recognizes the nature of existence. Identify ground awareness. Child of wisdom awareness, this is the secret treasure of the dakinis.’ Then she dissolved into me, and my body, speech and mind were pervaded with bliss.
Applying myself to identifying luminous awareness, at times I had the sense that appearances, and that which recognizes appearances were nondual. Sometimes this experience appeared outside. Sometimes this experience appeared inside. Sometimes nondual appearance and awareness went out to the object then vanished. I knew these experiences were due to grasping to the ground as an object. At other times, grasping onto phenomena naturally dissolved when I relaxed into the all-pervasive, originally pure ground. Then the creative displays arose naturally and dissolved in a state free from antidote.
A mind devoid of activities, free from hope and fear, is reality itself, which can be likened to the sun rising in a clear sky. This is spontaneously present awareness, the dharmakaya. The essential nature of the ground is that all self-arising appearances naturally release themselves. The ground and appearance is nondual, like the sun and its rays. Mind grasps to phenomena; awareness doesn’t. Appearances, which are the creative display of the expansive ground of awareness, naturally dissolve in the primordial womb like waves in the ocean.
Later, in a dream, I saw Orgyen Dorje Trolod in an expanse of flame and light, and he was chanting a song of Hung:
‘Hung hung. Do you understand that the cord that holds you to samsara is the duality of subject and object? Do you understand that joy and sorrow, your environment and companions, are manifestations of light and dark, devoid of true existence like a dream? Although space is free of periphery or center, it doesn’t go beyond the expanse of awareness. Space is none other than the expanse of awareness itself. Supplicating the demon above you grasp to the buddha; supplicating the demon below you grasp to delusive appearances. These are both products of reification. Do you understand that all appearances are natural projections of thoughts? Do you understand that samsara and nirvana are nondual displays within the ground expanse of the absolute nature? Do you understand that dynamic energy is naturally released into the all-pervasive nature without meditation? All grasping is devoid of substance. Subject and object are one taste. Myself and emanations of myself are primordially one with the mother’s womb of the great expanse.’ Then Orgyen Dorje Trolod dissolved into me.
Samsara and nirvana are co-arising, but these are one, not two. It is very important to understand that the nature of being is the great perfection of samsara and nirvana. Don’t be satisfied with just the empty aspect of the view, but have the all-embracing dzogchen view. Good and bad are expressions of your own nature. The five buddhafields are the creative expression of the expanse of primordial wisdom. The compassionate buddha appears spontaneously, without effort.
Heh, heh! The originally pure absolute nature is free from the extreme of dualistic grasping. The palace of pure light is the display of pure presence. From the nondual realm of bliss and emptiness pure awareness beings arise as the face of natural being. From this effortless place, I naturally encountered these beings and received these quintessential instructions from the treasury of the expanse of reality itself.
Heh, heh! The essential nature free from extremes is the primordial ground, originally pure. Don’t look for any buddha apart from this. All fictitious appearances are perfected in the expanse of your own natural awareness. This is the meaning of the Great Perfection.
In the unchanging field of all-pervasive bliss and emptiness arising as the expanse, the sun of clear light neither rises nor sets. In the fortress of fearlessness, in the palace of spontaneous presence seated on the immutable throne, never disengaged from skillful means and wisdom, I, a useless old man, have held my own ground as an embodiment of reality itself, arising as Dorje Trolod, standing on the corpse of mental afflictions.
My path is the essential nature. I am not bound by reified practices. I have a way of practice without meditation or propitiation. This way is all-pervasive, free from extremes, holding one’s ground without antidote or structure. It is unmixed with intellectual analysis, and without focus. Whatever comes up, let it go. Here is a practice free from activity which transcends good and bad, hope and fear. Awakening to suffering and peace as being the expanse of reality, I have cut from my heart the darkness of ignorance. Mental afflictions are dispelled in total openness, in clear, empty wisdom awareness, the womb of non-objectivity.
These verses are the foolish dharma of an idiot who wears mud and feathers for clothing.