Nov 15, 2017
“Meditation is a lie. When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don’t see the innate perfection of the present moment.” ~Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
“For the next few months I continued to visit my father every day, and he taught me more about the Great Perfection. Often times we wouldn’t talk at all as we sat together. My father (Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche) would simply sit in front of the large window and gaze off into the sky as I sat quietly by his side and tried to meditate.
I desperately wanted his approval, so I always did my best imitation of what I thought a good meditator should do. I sat bolt upright and tried to make it look like I was absorbed in some deep experience, while in actuality I was just repeating a mantra in my mind and trying not to get lost in thought.
Occasionally, I would open my eyes and peek up at my father, hoping that he had noticed my good meditation posture and ability to sit still for so long.
One day, as we sat together in silence, I glanced up at him in the middle of my meditation and was surprised to find him gazing down at me. “Are you meditating, son?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” I said proudly, filled with joy that he had finally noticed. My answer seemed to amuse him greatly. He paused for a few moments and then said gently, “Don’t meditate.”
My pride vanished. For months, I’d been doing my best to copy all the other meditators who came to be with my father. I learned some short prayers, sat in the right posture, and tried hard to still my turbulent mind. “I thought I was supposed to meditate,” I said with a shaky voice.
“Meditation is a lie,” he said. “When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don’t see the innate perfection of the present moment.”
Pointing out through the window, he continued, “Look out into the blue sky. Pure awareness is like space, boundless and open. It’s always here. You don’t have to make it up. All you have to do is rest in that.”
For a moment, all of my hopes and expectations about meditation dropped away and I experienced a glimpse of timeless awareness.
A few minutes later he continued, “Once you’ve recognized awareness, there’s nothing to do. You don’t have to meditate or try to change your mind in any way.”
“If there’s nothing to do,” I asked, “Does that mean that we don’t have to practice?”
“Although there’s nothing to do, you do need to familiarise yourself with this recognition. You also need to cultivate bodhichitta and devotion, and always seal your practice by dedicating the merit so that all beings may recognize their own true nature too.
The reason we still need to practice is that at first we only have an understanding of the mind’s true nature. By familiarizing ourselves with this understanding again and again, however, it eventually transforms into direct experience.
Yet even then we still need to practice. Experience is unstable, so if we don’t continue to familiarise ourselves with pure awareness we can lose sight of it and get caught up in our thoughts and emotions again.
On the other hand, if we are diligent in practice, this experience will transform into a realisation that can never be lost. This is the path of the Great Perfection.”
With these words, he stopped talking and we both continued to rest in pure awareness, gazing off into the deep blue sky above the Kathmandu Valley.”
No View is Right View, by Ajahn Sumedho
July 20, 2018
We can have this sense of non-discrimination; we can allow everything to be what it is at this moment, like the Bodhisattva listening to the sounds of the universe. You can have this attitude of letting go, of relaxing, of non-attachment, of nothing to do, of nothing to attain, of nothing to become. And yet you can be alert, awake, attentive, receptive. We can be aware of external things — the sounds or the temperature, what passes in front of our eyes, odours, sensations — at the same time being aware of what is happening inside — maybe our reaction to that fire alarm or whatever it was that went off a few moments ago. Maybe you think that the traffic passing outside is too noisy. Being aware of reactions to conditions gives us this huge space to be aware, both of the way things impinge on our body and mind, and our emotional reactions to them — liking, disliking, wanting, not wanting, approving, disapproving. Our position now is being this awareness itself, rather than trying to control the situation according to what we like, just allowing everything to be the way it is, being this knowing, this infinity, this pure conscious, non-personal reality.
I am pointing to, say, infinity or that which is immeasurable, and I feel this is very important. So much vipassana (insight) that is taught is a kind of obsession around impermanence. People that are doing vipassana courses are told to contemplate impermanence (anicca) which is good instruction, certainly, but (this is just my impression, anyway) they are so busy noting impermanence, they don’t notice the very noting itself, the awareness itself. It’s like following instruction to notice that all conditions are impermanent. You get the idea, and then you think thoughts are impermanent, sounds are impermanent, body obviously, seasons, times of day and night, subtle movements — it gets into subtleties of just emotional states or subtle feelings in the body, energetic experiences — but it is that which is aware, this awareness itself, which is the path. It’s as simple as that! Awareness, mindfulness, is the gate or door to the deathless, and the deathless has no boundary, it is infinite, it isn’t subject to birth and death like conditions are.
Attentiveness is the path to true life; Indifference is the path to death. The attentive do not die; The indifferent are as if they are dead already.
– Buddhaquoted in the book “The Buddha Speaks: A book of guidance from Buddhist scriptures”
If we are spiritual practitioners we feel contempt for samsaric situations; we are not seriously or deeply interested in them. This does not mean that we feel disgust for or reject everything. In our life, all is relative. In our life, not everything is how it should be, nonetheless we continue to live. We accept and integrate the various circumstances of life. This is part of our awareness. To accept everything with awareness is different from being completely attached. Some people have an exaggerated liking for this or that: this is attachment. However, it does not mean that if you are a good practitioner you cannot have likings. You can like and enjoy with awareness.
In the samsaric condition, we possess five or six senses, and with the senses we enjoy contact with objects. When we see an object, a flower for example, we may like it. We observe its beauty and smell its fragrance. We enjoy looking and smelling. To enjoy with awareness means to know the real nature of the object and not become attached to it. In this way, we enjoy without having negative consequences. If we are not aware, we become distracted with our liking for the flower; we want to possess the flower and attempt to have it. Thus, attachment increases, releasing all other emotions, with the ensuing negative karma.
In brief, if one is aware and undistracted the enjoyment of the senses does not pose any problem. If one is distracted, enjoyment always bears negative consequences, even if things appear joyful and gratifying. For that reason, the teaching says that all is illusion. When we see a nice object and we become attached, we resemble a moth which, attracted by a flame at night, flies into it, burns, and dies.
– Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
from the book “Longchenpa’s Advice from the Heart”
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche on the web:
Just Dharma Quotes
“For a few moments, be aware of your potential for change. Whatever your present situation is, evolution and transformation are always possible. At the least, you can change your way of seeing things and then, gradually, your way of being as well.”
~ Matthieu Ricard
“One day a man of the people said to Zen Master Ikkyu: “Master, will you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom?” Ikkyu immediately took his brush and wrote the word “Attention.” “Is that all?” asked the man. “Will you not add something more?” Ikkyu then wrote twice running: “Attention. Attention.” “Well,” remarked the man rather irritably, “I really don’t see much depth or subtlety in what you have just written.” Then Ikkyu wrote the same word three times running: “Attention. Attention. Attention.” Half angered, the man demanded: “What does that word ‘Attention’ mean anyway?” And Ikkyu answered gently: “Attention means attention.
― Roshi P. Kapleau, The Three Pillars of Zen