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15182Re: [Meditation Society of America] Re: Meditation Advice

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  • Marc Moss
    Jan 24, 2007

      Yes, yes Dan, that is correct. But here's something interesting:
      The Buddha, who attained total enlightenment and omniscience no longer experiences suffering (per the definition of enlightenment: the total removal of the mental affliction obstacles in their entirety upon individual analysis [and this has a lot to do with the direct perception of emptiness FIRST]) so, why doesn't the Buddha suffer when he sees the war in Iraq? Remember, Mara's armies threw spears and shot arrows at the Buddha, and His perceptions prevented him from seeing suffering, and they turned into flower petals and showered down upon him. But, if he can see the war in Iraq, or a hungry and homeless child, why does he NOT feel suffering?
      The law of karma, which is a spiritual or psychological law, forces us to experience the perceptions that we have when we have them from some past cause. Karma is said to be obvious or "not hidden", somewhat "hidden", and extremely hidden. Only the omniscient mind of a Buddha can see the final category. Even a Buddha's own mind is STILL being forced by these laws, though at that level we don't necessarily call it karma. A Buddha understands these laws and works in harmony with them to bring about a paradise.
      Now, I am not an authority, to that I agree. I have only received some beautiful teachings to the path to which I have devoted my life. The Buddha asked us to test his teachings for ourselves and come to realizations personally. I am pleased to know that what the Siddhas and Pandits throughout the centuries have found is precisely what the Buddha told them they would find. Nagarjuna expanded the teachings of emptiness in such a profound and beautiful way...followed by the edification of his students.
      The bottomline is, this path HAS GOT to work - otherwise, it's of no benefit. Our study of emptiness, our application of our wisdom from it in our daily lives, and our meditation upon it should relieve and remove suffering. Just having an intellectual understanding of a version of it that helps us deal with misfortunes and turn "lemons into lemonade" may be of benefit, but doesn't help us reach the highest happiness because it's not teaching us enough about how to CREATE or happiness. This is how tantra works. We learn how to put the right causes into motion and how to prevent our ignorant mind from creating the wrong causes.
      Tantra works when the sutric understandings have been developed fully, and in most cases, they automatically bring tantric results. I mean, if we remove ALL of the deluded and ignorant views and mental obscurations on the sutric path, we have achieved the goal. The tantric path intensifies our practice to make what could take thousands and thousands of lifetimes into the possibility of one lifetime...even as quickly as three years. When we look at some of the great pandits and yogis throughout the centuries, we find edification of Lord Buddha's teachings, from their experience. So, it is in this that I would have to say that sometimes scriptural references lend a hand for those of us who have yet to understand intuitively these teachings. But, it is without a doubt that when you hear what someone else has taught, it should logically and reasonably work. Do the math when you read it, does it lead to that goal, not just of the absence of suffering but to the accumulation of the highest joy!
      Milarepa was the last BRAND NEW enlightened being in Tibet (according to my lama). All the other teachers, rinpoches, and tulkus have been emanations from a previously enlightened being. Milarepa is rare. BUT, the number of beings who have seen emptiness directly is much higher. It can be very problematic for our practice if we criticize those things that seem a bit far fetched...so it is at this that we turn to either scriptural or personal authority elsewhere or just table the information until you have developed more understanding and can return to it later.
      Aryadeva teaches in his 400 Verses that everything that appears is of one taste, that even samsara and nirvana are the same in the "taste of emptiness". I find that this illustrates the distance between the Dharmakaya and the appearances that we experience in our lives and perceptions; they are all expressions of the Dharmakaya. The paradise of a Buddha is an expression of the Dharmakaya; the perceptions of an ordinary human are expressions of the Dharmakaya; the sufferings of those in the Hell Realms are expressions of the Dharmakaya. Our ignorant mind leads us farther from the Dharmakaya purity; it is in a direct perception of emptiness that the clear Dharmakaya is made available, experienced.
      In the way we have all heard in every school of buddhism, all things are empty. Now, how that is expressed is different from school to school. There is, though, no Buddhist school that says that all things are just the mind. The Cittamatra (Mind Only) does not take its name from the view of phenomena, for they do view that there exists a disparity between perceiver and perceived. Even in the Lower Madhyamika explanations, we see that there is still a perception that some "stuff" appears before us, but that TOO implies a disparity. There is no separate stuff from consciousness. What appears before you is appearing to be appearing BEFORE you, but nothing appears out there without all the heaps and other conditions arising first. There is no findable quality to things without the consciousness. This is giving me a headache. It is soooo difficult putting this into words, so I'll try another of my famous analogies:
      Your experiences are much like a SPHERE, you are the nucleus. The subatomic particles in the nucleus are feelings, discrimination, consciousness, physical body; as these move about, they create bonds to other "spheres" and for a while, the bond is complete. You are part of a "molecule" now that is between you and a friend, you and the room, you and the computer, you and _________. But, there is no single YOU to be found. Remove that bond and you have your atom. Look into the atom at particles, and you find that none of them can exist independently outside that atom. When you come down to the final particle, it TOO cannot exist independently. You are left with a big fat ZERO of independently existing particles...and those particles could be broken down to smaller parts as well down to a zero. They are interdependent and flowing. Much like true atoms and the subatomic world, viewed through quantum physics we see that the smallest particles act as energy AND as matter. It must be energy first.
      Becoming enlightened is just about making better molecules and removing the bonds that create lesser molecules. Is that right? Is that analogy working? I don't know. Think about it. It's just poetic license.
      Emptiness is an adjective. It is a characteristic of phenomena. That's all. When you look at a big blue recliner, you see that it's big! You see that it's blue! You can observe other adjectives like if it's soft or hard, if it's reclinable or not, if it's wide in the seat...and so on. Now, is it self-powered? Permanent? Independent? These are observable adjectives. Though you cannot SEE them, you can understand them and experience them even out of meditation. We meditate on these qualities to really drive them home. These aren't too difficult for any practitioner.
      Now, for the final adjective: does that chair have the ability to exist out there on its own through its own unique identity? Or is it's smallest findable quality simply names and terms (or thoughts). There's an adjective for you! The Buddha taught that things have a self nature to some, but later taught that things have no self nature. Why would he do that? It has been taught that the Buddha did this for various dispositions of learning for disciples, but he did it to develop the idea of what self nature would be! We have to have a meditation object, something we can wrap our minds around and hold on to long enough to have a direct experience with the "truth". If we have an idea of what a self-existing or inherently existent thing is, we can have a better understanding of how phenomena do not fit that description, they are "empty", a negative, of that adjective!! Put your mind on the absence of that "thing" in any meditative object, and it becomes very powerful. Put your mind on the absence (emptiness) of that adjective of the SELF, and it becomes the most powerful view you can have for your meditation, it is the one that works!
      Hope this helps in any small or great way to be of benefit to you so that you may be of benefit to all!!
      Sonam Tsering

      As long as space remains, as long as living beings remain, until then - may I too remain to dispel the sufferings of the world. - Master Shantideva

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