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Old 08-08-2009, 09:05 PM   #1
lightgiver
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Smile Stages of the path to Enlightenment

Stages of the path to Enlightenment,the 21 Meditations.

Our Precious human Life,

Meditation 1,from Joyful Path Of good fortune

Making the Most of Our Human Life

When we meditate on the great value and rarity of this precious human life we are doing the analytical meditation that causes us to develop a strong determination not to waste a moment of our human life and to make full use of it by putting Dharma into practice.

When this determination arises clearly in our mind we hold it as our object of placement meditation so that we become more and more accustomed to it.

Although we now have a precious human life with all the freedoms and endowments, we may still find it difficult to practise Dharma purely because we may lack other freedoms such as the time to devote to study and meditation. It is rare to find anyone who has ideal conditions, but the most serious impediment to our spiritual development is our own failure to generate a strong wish to engage in practice.

Je Tsongkhapa said that to develop the wish to take full advantage of this life with all the freedoms and endowments we should meditate on four points:

I need to practise Dharma.
I can practise Dharma.
I must practise Dharma in this life.
I must practise Dharma now.

Before we can develop the wish to practise Dharma we must first recognize the need to practise Dharma. To do this we meditate:

I need to practise Dharma because I want to experience happiness and avoid suffering, and the only perfect method for accomplishing these aims is to practise Dharma. If I do so, I shall eliminate all my own problems and I shall become capable of helping others.

Even though we may understand the need to practise Dharma, we may still think that we are incapable of doing so. To overcome our hesitation and convince ourself that since we have all the necessary conditions we are definitely capable of practising Dharma, we meditate:

I now have a precious human life with all the freedoms and endowments, and I have all the necessary external conditions such as a fully qualified Spiritual Guide. There is no reason why I should be incapable of practising Dharma.

Even though we may understand the need to practise Dharma and may feel capable of doing so, we may still delay, thinking that we shall practise in some future life. To overcome this laziness of procrastination we need to remember that since it will be very difficult for us to gain another precious human life we must practise in this very lifetime.

Even though we may see that we must practise in this very lifetime, we may still feel that our practice can be postponed until our retirement. To overcome our complacency we need to remember that the time of death is most uncertain and so the only time to practise is right now.

In this way we arrive at four strong resolutions:

I will practise Dharma.
I can practise Dharma.
I will practise Dharma in this very lifetime.
I will practise Dharma right now.

These four resolutions are invaluable because they make us generate naturally a spontaneous and continuous wish to take full advantage of our precious human life. This wish is our best Spiritual Guide because it leads us along correct spiritual paths. Without it, no amount of advice or encouragement from others will lead us to practise Dharma.

On one occasion Aryadeva and Ashvaghosa were about to have a debate. Ashvaghosa was standing on the threshold of a room with one foot inside and one foot outside. To test Aryadeva’s wisdom he said ‘Am I going out or coming in?’ Aryadeva replied ‘That depends upon your intention. If you want to go out, you will go out. If you want to come in, you will come in.’ Ashvaghosa could think of nothing to say to this because what Aryadeva had said was perfectly correct.

http://kadampa.org/en/books/joyful-path-of-good-fortune
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:09 PM   #2
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Smile Death and Impermanence

Meditation 2,

Death and impermanence,

9-POINT DEATH MEDITATION

1. Death is certain:
a. There is no escape
b. Life has a limit, each moment brings me closer
c. Death can come in a moment and fully unexpected

2. The time of death is uncertain:
a. My lifespan is uncertain
b. There are many causes for death, few for sustenance of life
c. My body is fragile; even a thorn can kill me with an infection

3. What can help me at the moment of death?
a. Wealth, possessions?
b. Relatives and friends?
c. My own body? Only my positive karma from practising dharma can help!

How Long Is The Life Span?

Life is so fragile, its nature is transitory. It is easy to see how it changes in only one year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute, and second by second. There are sixty-five of the shortest instants in the time it takes to snap my fingers, and even in those short split seconds life is changing.

“Why should I be surprised that life changes so much? That’s natural; let it happen!” To think in this way is very foolish and ignorant because as life is changing so quickly in those very short instants I am becoming older.

Some may say, “That’s natural, I become older; let it happen!” This is another wrong attitude, not caring about becoming old. Others want to deny the impermanent nature of their lives; they do not want to see the true nature of it at all. They try to disguise their appearance in the eyes of others, who also play the same game. This is an absolutely vain attempt, such actions are not of the potential knowledge level of the human mind, and their creation is certainly not the purpose of the human rebirth from the Dharma point of view. No artificial effort can change eighty years into sixteen. Age can never decrease in the view of the truly enlightened mind, which fully realises the samsaric body’s suffering because of its impermanent nature.

These people’s minds have a double illusion: belief in artificial creation (scientific discoveries used to preserve matter and life from ruin and decay) and the wrong conception that a permanent subject-object exists. The first wrong belief causes problems to arise continually. The second wrong idea causes one to become more ignorant, lazy and careless.

There are two levels of impermanence:

1. Gross—changes of matter happening in long periods of time.
2. Subtle—inner changes of mind and invisible changes of matter happening in the shortest part of a second.

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Last edited by lightgiver; 08-08-2009 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:43 PM   #3
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Smile The Danger of a Lower Rebirth

Meditation 3,The Danger of a Lower Rebirth,

Lamrim Meditations: The Danger of a Lower Rebirth

The Danger of a Lower Rebirth

Contemplation: When the oil of a lamp is exhausted the flame goes out because the flame is produced from the oil, but when our body dies our consciousness is not extinguished because consciousness is not produced from the body. When we dies our mind has to leave this present body, which is just a temporary abode, and fins another body, rather like a bird leaving one nest to fly to another. Our mind has no freedom to remain and no choice about where to go. We are blown to the place of our next rebirth by the winds of our karma. If the karma that ripens at our death time is negative, we shall definitely take a lower rebirth. Heavy negative karma causes rebirth in hell, less negative karma causes rebirth as a hungry ghost, and the least negative karma causes rebirth as an animal.

It is very easy to commit heavy negative karma. For example, simply by swatting a mosquito out of anger we create the cause to be reborn in hell. Throughout this and all our countless previous lives we have committed many heavy negative actions by practicing sincere confession, their potentialities remain in our mental continuum, and any one of these negative potentialities could ripen when we die. Bearing in mind, we should ask ourself: 'If I die today, where shall I be tomorrow? It is quite possible that I shall find myself in the animal realm, among the hungry ghosts, or in hell. If someone were to call me a stupid cow today I would find it difficult to bear, but what shall I do if I actually become a cow, a pig or a fish?

Meditation: We contemplate the sufferings of the three lower realms, and danger of being reborn there, until we generate a strong fear of taking rebirth in the lower realms. We then meditate on this feeling of fear for as long as possible.

All meditations and contemplations presented here are extracted from 'The Meditation Handbook' by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (Tharpa Publications)
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:45 PM   #4
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Smile Refuge Practice

Meditation 4,

Lamrim Meditation: Refuge Practice

Refuge Practice

Contemplation: Since all the fears and dangers of samsara, including rebirth in the lower realms, arise our deluded minds, our real refuge is Dharma, the spiritual realizations that directly protect us from delusions. For example, if we gain a realization of death and impermanence this will help us to reduce our attachment to the things of this life. If we have strong awareness of the inevitability of death and the uncertainty of its time we shall naturally value the practice of moral disciple more than the pursuit of transitory sense pleasures, wealth, or power. We shall not be tempted to commit non-virtuous actions such as killing, stealing, or sexual-misconduct, and so we shall not have to experience the unpleasant consequences of such actions. This is how Dharma realizations protect us from suffering. The ultimate Dharma refuge is the realization of emptiness. This permanently eradicates all our delusions and frees us once and for all from suffering.

Whereas Dharma is the actual refuge, Buddha is the source of all refuge. He is the supreme spiritual guide who sustains our Dharma practice by bestowing his blessings. The Sangha are the spiritual friends who support our Dharma practice. They provide conducive conditions, encourage us in our practice, and set a good example for us to follow. Only the Three Jewels have the ability to protect all living beings from all suffering.

Meditation: By thinking in this way we generate a strong convictions that the three jewels are the only true objects of refuge, and we develop deep faith in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. We meditate on this without allowing any doubts to arise.

When we meditate on mental attitude such as faith, we do not merely think about it and focus on it as if it were separate from our mind; rather we transform our mind into a state and hold it single pointedly. We should feel as if our mind has merged with and ocean of faith.

After meditating on our faith in the Three Jewels for a short time, we imagine that in front of us is the living Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas like a full moon surrounded by stars. We generate a strong conviction that all these holy beings are actually present before us and focus on them for a while. Fearing rebirth in the lower realms and having deep faith in the Three Jewels, we generate a strong determination to build the foundation of the Dharma Jewel within our mind by relying upon the Buddha Jewel within our mind by relying upon the Buddha Jewel and the Sangha Jewel. With this motivation we make the following request:

All Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and holy beings.
Please protect me and all living beings
From the various sufferings, fears and dangers of samsara.
Please bestow your blessings upon our body and mind.

We recite this refuge prayer many times with deep faith in the Three Jewels.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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Smile Actions and their effects(karma)

Meditation 5

Actions and their effects,

Karma

Extracted from Transform Your Life by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

The law of karma is a special instance of the law of cause and effect, according to which all our actions of body, speech, and mind are causes and all our experiences are their effects.

The law of karma explains why each individual has a unique mental disposition, a unique physical appearance, and unique experiences. These are the various effects of the countless actions that each individual has performed in the past. We cannot find any two people who have created exactly the same history of actions throughout their past lives, and so we cannot find two people with identical states of mind, identical experiences, and identical physical appearances.

Each person has a different individual karma. Some people enjoy good health while others are constantly ill. Some people are very beautiful while others are very ugly. Some people have a happy disposition that is easily pleased while others have a sour disposition and are rarely delighted by anything. Some people easily understand the meaning of spiritual teachings while others find them difficult and obscure.

Karma means ‘action’, and refers to the actions of our body, speech, and mind. Every action we perform leaves an imprint, or potentiality, on our very subtle mind, and each imprint eventually gives rise to its own effect.

Our mind is like a field, and performing actions is like sowing seeds in that field. Virtuous actions sow seeds of future happiness, and non-virtuous actions sow seeds of future suffering. The seeds we have sown in the past remain dormant until the conditions necessary for their germination come together. In some cases this can be many lifetimes after the original action was performed.

It is because of our karma or actions that we are born in this impure, contaminated world and experience so many difficulties and problems. Our actions are impure because our mind is contaminated by the inner poison of self-grasping. This is the fundamental reason why we experience suffering.

Suffering is created by our own actions or karma – it is not given to us as a punishment. We suffer because we have accumulated many non-virtuous actions in our previous lives. The source of these non-virtuous actions are our own delusions such as anger, attachment, and self-grasping ignorance.

Once we have purified our mind of self-grasping and all other delusions, all our actions will naturally be pure. As a result of our pure actions or pure karma, everything we experience will be pure. We shall abide in a pure world, with a pure body, enjoying pure enjoyments and surrounded by pure beings. There will no longer be the slightest trace of suffering, impurity, or problems. This is how to find true happiness from within our mind.

To find out more about karma, see the book Joyful Path of Good Fortune.

http://kadampa.org/en/reference/karma/

More to come later.

Last edited by lightgiver; 08-08-2009 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:02 AM   #6
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Funny cause I am just reading 'Awakening the Buddha within - Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World'.

Very worthwhile.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:50 PM   #7
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Smile 6. Developing renunciation for samsara

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
Funny cause I am just reading 'Awakening the Buddha within - Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World'.

Very worthwhile.
Nice,

6. Developing renunciation for samsara,

To understand Renunciation you must first to know what Samsara is. Samsara is the Sanskrit term for wheel. Just as a wheel goes around and around, and has no beginning and no end, Samsara depicts the endless cycle of existence. As long as you return to Samsara again and again you will continue to experience suffering. Therefore, you need to break free from Samsara in order to find freedom from suffering. So, in Tibetan Buddhism, Renunciation means knowing that the nature of Samsara is suffering and with this realization giving rise to the desire to be free from suffering.

Renunciation is difficult for most Westerners because they do not recognize that Samsara is suffering. But if you really think about it closely and analyze it you will see the truth in this idea.

For instance, when you buy something new you are very excited about the purchase, like a computer, for example. However, sooner or later something will happen. Perhaps a new version of the computer becomes available and yours is now outdated, or you get a scratch on the screen or spill your soda on the keypad. Then you will become very angry and upset or at least withdrawn and disappointed. This is the nature of impermanence and change. The suffering of Samsara occurs because of changes like this. So you must remember that Samsara will not bring lasting happiness. You should try to cultivate the desire to be free from Samsara.

According to Buddhism, these two concepts, Bodhicitta and Renunciation, are very important for beginners to understand and apply.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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Smile 7. Developing equanimity

7. Developing equanimity


Equanimity

adapted from a talk by Gil Fronsdal, May 29th, 2004

Equanimity is one of the most sublime emotions of Buddhist practice. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as "abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will."

The English word "equanimity" translates two separate Pali words used by the Buddha. Each represents a different aspect of equanimity.

The most common Pali word translated as "equanimity" is upekkha, meaning "to look over." It refers to the equanimity that arises from the power of observation, the ability to see without being caught by what we see. When well-developed, such power gives rise to a great sense of peace.

Upekkha can also refer to the ease that comes from seeing a bigger picture. Colloquially, in India the word was sometimes used to mean "to see with patience." We might understand this as "seeing with understanding." For example, when we know not to take offensive words personally, we are less likely to react to what was said. Instead, we remain at ease or equanimous. This form of equanimity is sometimes compared to grandmotherly love. The grandmother clearly loves her grandchildren but, thanks to her experience with her own children, is less likely to be caught up in the drama of her grandchildren's lives.

The second word often translated as equanimity is tatramajjhattata, a compound made of simple Pali words. Tatra, meaning "there," sometimes refers to "all these things." Majjha means "middle," and tata means "to stand or to pose." Put together, the word becomes "to stand in the middle of all this." As a form of equanimity, "being in the middle" refers to balance, to remaining centered in the middle of whatever is happening. This balance comes from inner strength or stability. The strong presence of inner calm, well-being, confidence, vitality, or integrity can keep us upright, like a ballast keeps a ship upright in strong winds. As inner strength develops, equanimity follows.

Equanimity is a protection from the "eight worldly winds": praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain, fame and disrepute. Becoming attached to or excessively elated with success, praise, fame or pleasure can be a set-up for suffering when the winds of life change direction. For example, success can be wonderful, but if it leads to arrogance, we have more to lose in future challenges. Becoming personally invested in praise can tend toward conceit. Identifying with failure, we may feel incompetent or inadequate. Reacting to pain, we may become discouraged. If we understand or feel that our sense of inner well-being is independent of the eight winds, we are more likely to remain on an even keel in their midst.

One approach to developing equanimity is to cultivate the qualities of mind that support it. Seven mental qualities support the development of equanimity.

The first is virtue or integrity. When we live and act with integrity, we feel confident about our actions and words, which results in the equanimity of blamelessness. The ancient Buddhist texts speak of being able to go into any assembly of people and feel blameless.

The second support for equanimity is the sense of assurance that comes from faith. While any kind of faith can provide equanimity, faith grounded in wisdom is especially powerful. The Pali word for faith, saddha, is also translated as conviction or confidence. If we have confidence, for example, in our ability to engage in a spiritual practice, then we are more likely to meet its challenges with equanimity.

The third support is a well-developed mind. Much as we might develop physical strength, balance, and stability of the body in a gym, so too can we develop strength, balance and stability of the mind. This is done through practices that cultivate calm, concentration and mindfulness. When the mind is calm, we are less likely to be blown about by the worldly winds.

The fourth support is a sense of well-being. We do not need to leave well-being to chance. In Buddhism, it is considered appropriate and helpful to cultivate and enhance our well-being. We often overlook the well-being that is easily available in daily life. Even taking time to enjoy one's tea or the sunset can be a training in well-being.

The fifth support for equanimity is understanding or wisdom. Wisdom is an important factor in learning to have an accepting awareness, to be present for whatever is happening without the mind or heart contracting or resisting. Wisdom can teach us to separate people's actions from who they are. We can agree or disagree with their actions, but remain balanced in our relationship with them. We can also understand that our own thoughts and impulses are the result of impersonal conditions. By not taking them so personally, we are more likely to stay at ease with their arising.

Another way wisdom supports equanimity is in understanding that people are responsible for their own decisions, which helps us to find equanimity in the face of other people's suffering. We can wish the best for them, but we avoid being buffeted by a false sense of responsibility for their well-being.

One of the most powerful ways to use wisdom to facilitate equanimity is to be mindful of when equanimity is absent. Honest awareness of what makes us imbalanced helps us to learn how to find balance.

The sixth support is insight, a deep seeing into the nature of things as they are. One of the primary insights is the nature of impermanence. In the deepest forms of this insight, we see that things change so quickly that we can't hold onto anything, and eventually the mind lets go of clinging. Letting go brings equanimity; the greater the letting go, the deeper the equanimity.

The final support is freedom, which comes as we begin to let go of our reactive tendencies. We can get a taste of what this means by noticing areas in which we were once reactive but are no longer. For example, some issues that upset us when we were teenagers prompt no reaction at all now that we are adults. In Buddhist practice, we work to expand the range of life experiences in which we are free.

These two forms of equanimity, the one that comes from the power of observation, and the one that comes from inner balance, come together in mindfulness practice. As mindfulness becomes stronger, so does our equanimity. We see with greater independence and freedom. And, at the same time, equanimity becomes an inner strength that keeps us balanced in middle of all that is.

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Old 09-08-2009, 05:02 PM   #9
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Smile Recognizing all living beings are our mother

8. Recognizing that all living beings are our mothers,

When we have received the blessing empowerment of Buddha Vajrapani we have received the instructions on training in common paths and training in uncommon paths, and we have received special blessings.To make these instructions effective we need to engage in the practice of the yoga of Buddha Vajrapani self-generation sadhana.

First we should know who Vajrapani is. Vajrapani is an emanation of Buddha Vajradhara whose function is to destroy the delusions of living beings by bestowing special power upon their body and mind. Delusions are our real enemies, and are called ‘inner obstructing demons’.

Vajrapani means ‘Vajra Holder’. ‘Vajra’ usually refers to a Tantric ritual object, but this is not the real vajra; it is only symbolic of the real vajra. The real vajra is the union of great bliss and emptiness – a mind of spontaneous great bliss realizing emptiness directly. This realization is the very essence of Secret Mantra or Vajrayana. ‘Vajrapani’ therefore means that he is the holder of Secret Mantra, the lineage holder of Buddha’s Tantric teachings.

Following a request made by Bodhisattva Vajrapani, Buddha taught the Tantra called Manjushri Name Tantra to a large assembly of his Bodhisattva disciples. At the beginning of this teaching Buddha said to Bodhisattva Vajrapani, ‘Vajrapani, this is the time to show your power.’ On hearing these words Bodhisattva Vajrapani stood up and showed the assembly of Bodhisattvas a vajra, which he held in his right hand and then
placed on the ground.

Buddha then asked the other Bodhisattvas if any one of them had enough power to pick this vajra up. Bodhisattva Manjushri – the most powerful of the Bodhisattvas – tried, but found it impossible to lift the vajra, even though he applied great effort. Turning to Buddha in surprise Bodhisattva Manjushri said, ‘I cannot move this vajra. Why is this?’ Buddha replied, ‘This shows the power of Bodhisattva Vajrapani. He has the power to destroy delusions, the enemies of living beings, by bestowing the realization of the actual vajra, the union of great bliss and emptiness.’

Normally we point to other people and say, ‘They are my enemies’, but this is a mistake. Living beings cannot be our enemies; they are our mothers. We must understand this. Since it is impossible to find a beginning to our mental continuum, it follows that we have taken countless rebirths in the past and, as we have had countless rebirths, we must have had countless mothers. Where are all of these mothers now? They are all the living beings alive today.

It is incorrect to say that our mothers of former lives are no longer our mothers just because a long time has passed since they actually cared for us. If our present mother were to die today, would she cease to be our mother? No, we would still regard her as our mother and pray for her future lives. The same is true of all our previous mothers – they died, yet they remain our mothers. It is only because of the changes in our external appearance that we do not recognize each other.

As Shantideva says, delusions such as the ignorance of selfgrasping have no arms or legs because they do not possess form. They have no intelligence or skill, and they do not understand anything because they are types of ignorance. Nevertheless they have made all living beings their slaves. These inner obstructing demons have remained within our mind since beginningless time; they have never been separate from us. Day and night they harm us at their pleasure and we patiently endure their harm without anger. How shameful! This is completely wrong. If we are patient towards our enemies, the delusions, our suffering and problems become worse. So instead of being patient we should develop anger towards these enemies, which means we should develop the strong wish to harm and destroy them.

Anger towards our enemies, the delusions, is not real anger but is a type of wisdom. This wisdom makes us determined to harm and destroy our delusions. The ancient Kadampa practitioners used to say, ‘I have only two activities: to benefit living beings as much as I can, and to harm my own delusions as much as I can.’ We should follow their example.

In Training the Mind in Seven Points Geshe Chekhawa says, ‘Gather all blame into one.’ This means that whenever we experience problems, suffering or difficulties we should blame our self-grasping ignorance, a mind that mistakenly believes the self or I that we normally see actually exists. We should recognize that all our problems are the result of our nonvirtuous actions, which were created by our self-grasping ignorance. Thus, the creator of all our problems and sufferings is self-grasping ignorance. Without self-grasping ignorance there would be no basis for us to experience problems and suffering. Understanding this we should make the strong determination to recognize, reduce and finally abandon completely our self grasping ignorance


To be able to recognize clearly, reduce and completely abandon our self-grasping ignorance we need to receive powerful blessings from enlightened beings. Without receiving the powerful blessings of enlightened beings we are powerless to accomplish this by ourself. Having received the blessing empowerment of Buddha Vajrapani, we then need to put the instructions that we received during the empowerment into practice by engaging in the practice of the yoga of Buddha Vajrapani self-generation sadhana. By doing this we can accomplish our final goal, the supreme happiness of full en light enment
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:05 PM   #10
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Smile Remembering the kindness of living beings

9 Remembering the kindness of all mother sentient beings

If all beings have been our mother then how are we to recollect their kindness? Our present mother carried us in her womb for nine months. Whether sitting, walking, eating or even sleeping she was ever mindful of our presence. Her only thought was of our welfare and she regarded us a precious gem. Even though our birth may have caused her intense pain she still thought solely of our welfare and happiness.
As an infant we were little more than a helpless caterpillar, not knowing what was beneficial or harmful. Our mother cared for us and fed us her milk. When we were afraid she warmed us with the heat of her body and cuddled and comforted us in loving arms. She even wore soft clothing so as not to harm our sensitive skin.

Wherever she went she took us with her. She washed and bathed us and cleaned the dirt from our nose. While playing with us she would sing sweet sounds and repeat our name with special tenderness. She protected us continually from the dangers of fire and accident; in fact, if it were not for her constant care we would not be alive now. All that we have and enjoy is through the kindness of our mother. She rejoiced in our happiness and shared in our sorrow. Worrying about our slightest discomfort, she would have willingly surrendered even her own life in order that we might live. She taught us how to walk and talk, read and write, and underwent many hardships in order to give us a good education and the very best of whatever she possessed.

Looking upon her child with tenderness, a mother cherishes it-from conception until death-with great devotion and unconditional love. Bringing to mind the limitless kindness of our present mother makes us realize the infinite loving care we have received from time without beginning from all the countless mothers who have nurtured us. How kind these sentient beings have all been!

Repaying this kindness

Merely to remember the kindness of all mother sentient beings is not enough. Only the most callous and ungrateful would fail to see that it is our duty and responsibility to repay this kindness. This we can do by bestowing on others material gifts, pleasures or enjoyments and other temporal benefits. However, the supreme repayment for the infinite kindness we have received is to lead all beings to the unsurpassed happiness of full awakening.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:10 PM   #11
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Smile Equalizing-self-and-others

10 ,equalizing-self-and-others,

Visualization of Three Persons

First, we visualize three persons: a totally nasty and unpleasant person whom we dislike or whom we consider our enemy, a very dearly cherished loved one or friend, and a stranger or someone in between toward whom we have neither of these feelings. We visualize all three of them together.

What kind of attitude ordinarily arises when we subsequently focus on each in turn? A feeling of unpleasantness, uneasiness, and repulsion arises with respect to the person we dislike. A feeling of attraction and attachment arises toward the dearly cherished friend. A feeling of indifference, wanting neither to help nor to harm, arises toward the one who is neither, since we find the stranger neither attractive nor repulsive.
Stopping Repulsion from Someone We Dislike

[For ease of discussion in English, suppose all three people we visualize are women.]

First, we work with the person we dislike, the one whom we might even consider an enemy.

1. We let the feeling of finding her unpleasant and repulsive arise. When it has arisen clearly,
2. We notice that a further feeling arises, namely that it would be nice if something bad happened to her, or if she experienced something she did not want to happen.
3. We then examine the reasons for these bad feelings and wishes to arise. Usually we discover that it is because she hurt us, did us some harm, or did or said something nasty to us or to our friends. That is why we want something bad to happen to her or for her not to get what she wants.
4. Now, we think about that reason for wanting something bad to happen to this woman we dislike so much and we check to see if it really is a good reason. We consider as follows:

* In past lives, this so-called enemy has been my mother and father many times, as well as my relative and friend. She has helped me very much, uncountable times.
* In this life, it is not certain what will happen. She can become of great help and a good friend later in this life. Such things are very possible.
* In any case, she and I will have infinite future lives and it is completely certain that she will at some time be my mother or father. As such, she will help me a great deal, and I shall have to place all my hopes on her. Therefore, in the past, present, and future, since she has, is, and will help me in countless ways, she is ultimately a good friend. This is decided for sure. Because of that if, for some small reason such as she hurt me a little in this life, I consider her an enemy and wish her ill, that will not do at all.
5. We think of some examples. For instance, suppose a bank official or some wealthy person with the power to give me a lot of money and who had the desire and intention to do so, and had done so a little bit in the past, were to lose his temper and become angry one day and slap me in the face. If I were to become angry and hold on to my rage, it might cause him to lose his intention to give me any more money. There would even be the danger that he would change his mind and decide to give the money to someone else. On the other hand, if I were to bear the slap, keep my eyes down, and my mouth shut, he would become even more pleased with me later that I did not become upset. Maybe, he might even want to give me more than he originally intended. If, however, I were to become angry and make a big scene, then it would be like the Tibetan saying, "You have food in your mouth and your tongue kicks it out."
6. Therefore, I have to consider the long run with this person I dislike, and the same is true with respect to all limited beings. Their help to me in the long run is a hundred percent certain. Therefore, it is totally inappropriate for me to hold on to my anger for some slight, trivial harm that anyone might do.
7. Next, we consider how a scorpion, wild animal, or ghost, at the slightest poke or provocation immediately strikes back. Then, considering ourselves, we see how improper it is to act like such creatures. In this way, we defuse our anger. We need to think that no matter what harm this person does to me, I shall not lose my temper and become angry, otherwise I am no better than a wild animal or a scorpion.
8. In conclusion, we put all of this in the form of a syllogism of logic. I shall stop getting angry at others for the reason that they have done me some harm, because

* in past lives, they have been my parents;
* later in this life, there is no certainty that they will not become my dearest friends;
* in the future, they will at some time or other be reborn as my parents and help me a great deal, so in the three times they have been helpful to me;
* and if I get angry in return, then I am no better than a wild animal. Therefore, I shall stop getting angry for the small harm they may do to me in this life.


http://kadampa.org/en/news/article/e...elf-and-others

Last edited by lightgiver; 09-08-2009 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:51 PM   #12
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Smile The disadvantages of self-cherishing

11, The disadvantages of self-cherishing,

The Disadvantages of Self-Cherishing

In Namkapel’s text, the line from Togmey-zangpo’s edition of Geshe Chaykawa’s text, “Banish one thing as (bearing) all blame,” is moved here and the disadvantages of self-cherishing are given as commentary to the line. Pabongka follows this order.

In regard to exchanging our attitudes about self and others, the text explains how all our problems and difficulties come from cherishing ourselves, while all our benefits and happiness come from cherishing others. The fact that shravakas and pratyekabuddhas are not capable of achieving the highest spiritual level, the highest spiritual goal, is due to their self-cherishing. So, from there on down, the blame for every disadvantage, every drawback that can be experienced can be placed on the self-cherishing attitude: in other words, selfishness. Very often, when people are unhappy, they want to point an accusing finger at others: “I am unhappy because this other person has done this or that.” In fact, all our unhappiness comes from self-centeredness, by which we consider ourselves so big and important that we point the finger at others as responsible for our unhappiness. In truth, all our problems and unhappiness come from the destructive impulses that arise from our own minds – in other words, karma and the disturbing attitudes.

We have two things here: the self-cherishing attitude and grasping for a truly existent self. If we gained an understanding of reality – that there is no such thing as a truly established identity – then we would get rid of both the grasping for a truly existent self and also self- cherishing. Here, we are making a distinction, saying that the problem comes from self-cherishing. But in fact, we have to think about these two together: self-cherishing and grasping for a truly established, truly existent self.

The disadvantages of self-cherishing, or the selfish attitude, are discussed in various parts of Engaging in Bodhisattva Behaviour. Referring to both self-cherishing and grasping for a truly established self, Shantideva says, “Whatever violence there is in the world, and as much fear and suffering as there is, all of it arises from grasping at a self: so what use is that terrible demon to me?” Elsewhere in the text, Shantideva points out that our self-cherishing comes from our own minds and the unawareness in it of grasping for a truly existent “me.” This is our real enemy. He writes, “These longtime, continuing enemies like this are the sole causes for masses of harm to increase ever more. How can I be joyful and not terrified in samsara, if I set a secure place (for them) in my heart?”

In other words, we think strongly “me, me, me,” and then we think “I have to become happy; I have to get rid of my problems. Forget about everybody else. It doesn’t matter what I do with others in order to gain my own happiness.” It is under the sway of this ignorance that we exploit others and do whatever we can just to get happiness. All complications and troubles and problems that come about from this type of behaviour can be traced to this self-cherishing attitude and grasping for truly established existence.

The Buddha and we are the same from the point of view that our mental continuum have existed from beginning less time. But what has the Buddha accomplished in that time? Having rid himself of his self-cherishing attitude, based on his concern for others, he has been able to achieve enlightenment, whereas we are still completely involved in being selfish and so we are still miserable and full of troubles and problems. The cause for this difference, since both the Buddha and we have been going on for the same amount of time, is the factor of whether or not we have a self-cherishing attitude, whether or not we are selfish and grasp for ourselves. So this ties in very well with the disadvantages of samsara. All of the uncontrollably recurring problems of samsara stem from this same root. Whenever we have coveted all the various splendors of samsara, it has also arisen from selfishness, and we’ve fooled and deceived ourselves.

It is the self-grasping and the self-cherishing attitudes that give us the courage to go to war, and do all such kinds of things for our own benefit. Then, if anything goes wrong, we put the blame on our own gurus, or on our parents and so on. We need to apply that same courage to overcoming our self-cherishing attitude.

These quotes in the text are all saying, basically, that all harm comes from self-cherishing. If we were to point the finger at whoever is responsible for all the bad things that come to us, we would have to point it at our own selfishness, our self-cherishing attitude. Therefore, now is the time to rid ourselves of self-cherishing, our real enemy. As Shantideva writes, “That time before was different, when I was being ruined by you. But (now) I see you; so where can you go? I’m going to knock all the arrogance out of you. Throw away, now, any hope, ‘I still have my own self-interest.’ I’ve sold you to others, so don’t think of your weariness; I’ve offered your energies (to them). If, because of not caring, I don’t hand you over to limited beings, then, for sure, you’ll hand me over to the guards of the joyless realms. I’ve been handed over, like that, many times by you and long tormented; but now, recalling those grudges, I shall smash you, you creature of self-interest.” All the faults of selfishness are discussed very thoroughly in Engaging in Bodhisattva Behaviour and also in An Offering Ceremony to the Spiritual Masters, The Guru Puja (Bla-ma mchod-pa, Lama chopa).
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:54 PM   #13
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Smile The advantages of cherishing others

12,The advantages of cherishing others,

When we think that others are important, and that their happiness and freedom are important, we are cherishing others. If we cherish others, we will naturally perform actions that will cause them to be happy. This will make our daily life peaceful, happy, harmonious, and meaningful. We can begin this practice with our family, friends, and those who surround us, and then gradually extend this to all living beings without exception. In this way, we will show the best example of pure Dharma practice.

In Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Shantideva says:

All the happiness there is in this world
Arises from wishing others to be happy.

If we think carefully, we will realize that all our present and future happiness depends on our cherishing others—on our wanting others to be happy. In our past lives, because we cherished others, we practised moral discipline, such as refraining from killing or harming others and abandoning stealing from them. Sometimes, out of fondness for them, we practised giving and patience. As a result of these positive actions, we have now obtained this precious human life. In addition, because sometimes in the past we helped others and gave them protection, we ourself now receive help and enjoy pleasant conditions.

If we sincerely practice cherishing others, we will experience many benefits in this and future lives. The immediate effect will be that many of our problems, such as those that arise from anger, jealousy, and selfish behaviour, will ­disappear, and our mind will become calm and peaceful. Since we will act in considerate ways, we will please others and not become involved in quarrels or disputes. If we cherish others, we will be concerned to help rather than to harm them, so we will naturally avoid negative actions. Instead, we will practice positive actions, such as love, patience, and generosity, and thus create the cause to gain a precious human life in the future.

If we make cherishing others our main practice, we will gradually develop very special minds of great compassion and bodhichitta, and as a result, we will eventually come to enjoy the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment.

MEDITATION

As the preparatory practice, we recite Prayers for Meditation while concentrating on the meaning. Then we engage in the following contemplation:

The precious mind that cherishes all living beings protects both myself and others from suffering, brings happiness, and fulfills our wishes.

Having repeatedly contemplated this point, we make the strong determination: “I must always cherish all living beings.” This determination is the object of our meditation. We then hold this without forgetting it; our mind should remain on this determination single-pointedly for as long as possible. If we lose the object of our meditation, we renew it by immediately remembering our determination or by repeating the contemplation.

At the end of the meditation session, we dedicate the virtues accumulated from this meditation practice toward our realization of cherishing others and the attainment of enlightenment for the happiness of all living beings.

During the meditation break, we never forget our determination and always put it into practice. We should always keep in mind the great advantages of cherishing others, and continually improve our consideration, respect, and love for them.

Last edited by lightgiver; 10-08-2009 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:07 PM   #14
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Smile Exchanging self with others

13. Exchanging self with others,

Exchanging Self with Others

Since cherishing myself is the door to all faults
And cherishing mother beings is the foundation of all good qualities,
I seek your blessings to take as my essential practice
The yoga of exchanging self with others.

These two verses summarize the actual practice of exchanging self with others. Buddhas have attained enlightenment by abandoning self-cherishing and cherishing only others, and so they are able to work continuously for others. Samsaric beings on the other hand are like children because they are concerned only with their own welfare, and as a result they remain trapped within samsara. Since beginningless time we have taken countless rebirths in samsara because of our self-cherishing, but the Buddhas have given up self-cherishing and attained enlightenment. The only difference between us and them is that we cling to self-cherishing whereas they have abandoned it.
Buddhas have not always been Buddhas. At one time they were just like us, but they took on the responsibility of working for others and freed themselves from samsara whereas we remain trapped by our self-concern. As Shantideva says:

But what need is there to say more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.
Just look at the difference between them!

At one time a Yogi called Drugpa Kunleg went to Lhasa to pay homage to a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Upon arriv-ing in front of the statue he prostrated to it, exclaiming:

O Buddha, to begin with you and I were exactly the same,
But later you attained Buddhahood through the force of your effort,Whereas due to my laziness I remain in samsara;
So now I must prostrate to you.

Again and again we need to contemplate how selfcherishing is the door to all faults, and generate a determination to abandon it; and again and again we need to contemplate how cherishing others is the source of all good qualities, and generate a determination to practise it. By meditating on these two determinations for a long time and carrying them in our heart throughout the meditation break, we will naturally come to cherish others more than ourself.

http://kadampa.org/en/news/article/e...lf-with-others
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:12 PM   #15
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Smile Great compassion

14. Great compassion,


GREAT COMPASSION

The first in a series of teachings on developing Compassion and Love, given by Venerable Thupten Rinpoche at the Dhargyey Buddhist Centre, Dunedin, on 15 March 1997. It was translated from the Tibetan by Losang Dawa.
© Copyright Dhargyey Buddhist Centre.

Just as when you do gardening or farming it is very important to prepare the ground and have all the other conditions for a rich crop -- heat, water and manure etc -- in the same way it is important to prepare the ground for meditation.
We recite prayers at the beginning of any practice as a way of preparing the ground for later growth. If we then meditate on the chosen object of meditation we will have fulfilled the two prerequisites for development: first, the preparation of the field, which was done by praying to deities and doing the seven-part merit-gathering practices; second, by meditating on the actual topic of meditation. Through this we can hope to gain some realization, some fruit. The two, prayers and meditation, must go hand-in-hand. When they go hand-in-hand an effect will inevitably come about. If one of them is missing the result will not come about.
Meditation is not just for relaxation or having a good time. If someone just wants to have a good time there are many activities more entertaining than meditation. Meditation has a more important role: bringing about a change in one's mind that will bring lasting peace. This morning's meditation will be one that is good for our minds.
In previous Sunday meditation classes I have spoken about the need to shape our minds, to improve the quality of the mind and heighten awareness and so on. Good heart is not something that just religious people should have and that non-believers can do without. This is not at all the case. Anyone who wants to be happy, wants to be peaceful and to do well, must have kind-heartedness, good heart. Since we need good heart in order to have peace, if we want peace must make an effort in developing kind-heartedness.
There are two ways of developing kind-heartedness. The first way is self-analysis. One analyses oneself by watching the way one behaves and the way one thinks. In this way one can bring about a very strong sense of self-discipline. I've told you a fair bit about this kind of analysis in previous talks.
This morning I'll talk about the second method, which is a meditational method. With this, one meditates on something by which one can hope to improve one's way of thinking. In other words, to bring about good heart, kind-heartedness.
In developing good heart we must first understand the importance of compassion and try to develop great compassion. This is definitely easier said than done. It is very easy to talk about compassion and the need to develop compassion and the benefits of compassion. But to make one's mind, one's heart, compassion itself, is quite difficult. Nevertheless we must try. It would be quite wrong not to try and develop compassion just because it is difficult. If you do not try at all, nothing will be achieved.

To develop true compassion, first we must know that suffering is real, and that sufferings hurt ...
We know we need to develop compassion, and we can if we want to. Now I will tell you how we can set about developing compassion.
At the moment it is difficult indeed for us to develop what is called Great Compassion. Great Compassion is an attitude wanting to free all sentient beings throughout space from whatever plight they are in. So first we need to work on developing a semblance of great compassion.
For this we need to focus our mind on a being -- a person or an animal -- undergoing agonizing suffering. We need to direct our attention to such a being.
Say we relate this point to animals. If you know of cattle or sheep being taken to the abattoirs, you can imagine how the animals feel going to a place where they will definitely be killed. Then you can imagine how the animals feel when they get there and see their fellows being killed: the terror is clear on their faces. Image such a situation and contemplate it.
It is quite possible that you might think, 'I really wonder whether the animals themselves know about it and care about it!' Thinking this you will begin to have less concern for and empathy with them. If that happens, imagine you are a sheep or cow at the abattoirs. Think, 'If I were a sheep or a cow about to be killed in a cruel and painful way, how would I feel? Would I be indifferent? Would I feel no pain?' Put yourself in the situation of the animal about to be killed. Imagine what great pain you would have when the knife falls on your neck, or they tear open your chest and take your heart out. Feel what great pain you would experience. Then, when you're half conscious, feel your skin being ripped off and your limbs being chopped into pieces. Would you ever be able to stand such pain?
If you visualize such an experience as if you were undergoing it, there is no difference between the pain you undergo and the pain the animal undergoes. The only difference is that as a human you might be able to articulate the experience whereas the sheep cannot.
As you visualize such a scene and feel the suffering and the terror of the sheep or the cow, you will feel, 'How can anyone dare cause such pain to another being?' A sense of compassion will involuntarily arise in your mind.
Another way to develop compassion through meditation is to imagine yourself as a person who is sentenced to be executed. In New Zealand people are not executed. It's a civilized society. But in other countries there is still execution by hanging and so on. What if you happened to be a person being taken to the gallows? Imagine that your life is about to end in this dreadful way. Contemplate the pain and terror. If you do this, even at the level of visualization you will feel so terrified that you cannot help standing up from your seat. This is another way of developing empathy and then compassion.
The next way of developing compassion is to imagine that someone you truly care for is experiencing great suffering or a great crisis in life. Maybe they're ill, or caught up in litigation. When you imagine this person in a suffering, miserable situation, then because of the love you have for them you will feel deeply touched by their suffering. You will not be able to help being moved by their plight. This will bring about compassion for them.
Imagine that one of your dearest friends has been caught by the law and taken to the gallows. You see your friend stumbling along in handcuffs. How would you feel? You couldn't help feeling terribly sad and distraught, because of your love for the person.
Now, in the same way that you cannot help being touched and moved when you put yourself in another person's miserable situation; in the same way that you cannot help feeling empathy and sadness when you visualize a very dear friend undergoing a terrible experience, if you can now shift this kind of empathy to a wider circle of animals or people -- beings literally undergoing the kind of suffering you have visualized -- it can be a great help.
In the initial stage, when you do these three visualizations -- putting yourself in another being's situation, imagining a very close friend undergoing great misery, and visualizing a third person undergoing such a situation -- your sense of empathy will obviously be much greater for a friend undergoing a terrible experience than for a neutral person, a non-friend, undergoing the same experience.
However although your empathy and concern is greater for one than for the other, for both beings themselves the experience is the same. Both experience exactly the same degree of misery and fear.
In all these contexts what is important is that we know that sufferings hurt. 'Suffering' is not just a word or an idea: suffering actually hurts people. So what we are doing is acknowledging that there are sufferings, and that sufferings are painful.
This is why the Buddha, when he gave his first teaching, began with the statement that there are sufferings. He began his teachings with the acknowledgement of suffering. If we can accept the reality of suffering and that sufferings are painful, we will see that we must be very careful in our actions. If we speak harshly to somebody, or beat somebody up, or kill an animal (not to mention a human), these actions cause suffering and any being with the ordinary aggregates from previous lifetimes will experience these sufferings as painful. If somebody were to speak harshly to us, or beat us up, or murder we would undoubtedly experience a great deal of pain. Therefore we should take this as a lesson. We should have the realization: If I speak harshly to others, injure them or kill them I will cause them a great deal of harm and pain. And this realization should motivate us to abstain from the actions that cause others suffering.
The many sufferings that beings in the world today experience are caused by people who have no concern, no sense of awareness, that the suffering they inflict on others would also hurt them. They are unaware because they have not put themselves in the situation of their victims. As a result of this, people in the world keep on inflicting great suffering on one another.
Initially it is important to realize one's own sufferings and difficulties, aches and pains and so on, and how one doesn't like to experience any bit of these. Realizing that sufferings are painful and undesirable when you yourself experience them will help you appreciate the suffering of others. Then you will find it very easy to empathize with them. This sense of empathy will generate a wish in you that they be free from their suffering, because you know the magnitude of pain the sufferings bring about. This will lead your mind to develop compassion.
Meditation: For this morning, I want you to recollect a terrible experience you have seen somebody suffer. If you have been fortunate enough not to witness such a terrible thing, then try to visualize somebody undergoing ghastly suffering and pain. Then feel, 'What if I happened to be that person, that animal. Would I be able to bear the suffering?' When you realize you would not being able to bear the suffering, relate this feeling to the person you are visualizing, and try to bring about an experience of compassion in your heart.
It is possible that there are people who are thinking, 'Gosh, I haven't seen anyone suffering so badly, so what should I visualize?' You must have watched TV shows and movies that had murder scenes and so on. Take that as a real experience that the victim is undergoing and visualize that. Although you know that it is dramatized and not real, say to yourself, 'What if that was reality? An actual occurrence not to the actor but to me?' Then you could have a great deal of fear for the suffering and relate that to what others are experiencing.
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:52 PM   #16
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Smile Wishing love

16. Wishing love,


The object of mettā meditation is loving kindness (love without attachment). Traditionally, the practice begins with the meditator cultivating loving kindness towards themselves, then their loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all sentient beings. Commonly, it can be used as a greeting or closing to a letter or note.

Buddhists believe that those who cultivate mettā will be at ease because they see no need to harbour ill will or hostility. Buddhist teachers may even recommend meditation on mettā as an antidote to insomnia and nightmares. It is generally felt that those around a mettā-full person will feel more comfortable and happy too. Radiating mettā is thought to contribute to a world of love, peace and happiness.

Mettā meditation is considered a good way to calm down a distraught mind by people who consider it to be an antidote to anger. According to them, someone who has cultivated mettā will not be easily angered and can quickly subdue anger that arises, being more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally. Recent neurological studies have shown that compassion meditation can increase one's capabilities for empathy by changing activity in brain areas such as the temporal parietal juncture and the insula, and increase the subject's ability to understand the mental and emotional states of others as well as deal more effectively with external stressors.

Mettā meditation: the practice of loving-kindness

Mettā signifies friendship and non-violence as well as "a strong wish for the happiness of others", but also less obvious or direct qualities such as showing patience, receptivity, and appreciation. Though it refers to many seemingly disparate ideas, Mettā is in fact a very specific form of love – a caring for another independent of all self-interest – and thus is likened to one's love for one's child or parent. Understandably, this energy is often difficult to describe in words; however, in the practice of Mettā meditation, one recites specific words and phrases in order to evoke this "boundless warm-hearted feeling." The strength of this feeling is not limited to or by family, religion, or social class. Indeed, Mettā is a tool that permits one's generosity and kindness to be applied to all beings and, as a consequence, one finds true happiness in another person's happiness, no matter who the individual is.

Contemporary metta practice is often based on a method traditionally associated with the 5th c. CE Pali exegetical text, the Visuddhimagga. The full instructions for the theory and practice of mettā bhāvanā is available in the Visuddhimagga ("The path to purity"), Chapter IX, of the Buddhist scriptures.

The six stages of mettā bhāvanā meditation which are most commonly found involve cultivating loving-kindness towards:

1. Yourself
2. A good friend
3. A 'neutral' person
4. A difficult person
5. All four
6. and then gradually the entire Universe

For 2 avoid choosing someone to whom you feel sexually attracted, or that is much younger or much older than yourself, or who is dead. For #3 choose someone that you might come in contact with every day, but who does not give rise to strong positive nor strong negative emotions. For #4 traditionally choose "an enemy", but avoid choosing a person who has just wrecked your life, unless you are very well grounded in awareness. For #5 treat them as equals, equally deserving of loving-kindness.

Even as a mother
protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish
all living beings.
—Suttanipata 1.8
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:00 PM   #17
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Smile Giving

17. Giving,

Dāna (Pali, Sanskrit: दान dāna) is a Sanskrit and Pali term meaning "generosity" or "giving". In Buddhism, it also refers to the practice of cultivating generosity. Ultimately, the practice culminates in one of the Perfections (paramitas): the Perfection of Giving (dana-paramita). This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.

Dāna as a formal religious act is directed specifically to a monastic or spiritually-developed person. In Buddhist thought, it has the effect of purifying and transforming the mind of the giver.

Generosity developed through giving leads to being reborn in happy states and material wealth. Alternatively, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty.

The exquisite paradox in Buddhism is that the more we give - and the more we give without seeking something in return - the wealthier (in the broadest sense of the word) we will become. By giving we destroy those acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering.

Bodhisattva and the Art of Giving

The quality of giving is believed to be one of the virtues perfected over numerous lifetimes by Shakyamuni Buddha in his bodhisattva phase, before the final culmination into Nirvana, after he had purified obscurations and released attachment. This is symbolized by the sacrifice of his own body when he has nothing else to offer an unexpected guest in the Jataka folktale entitled 'Shasha Jataka' . Shakyamuni Buddha is born as a rabbit, and unable to present any other food to a Brahmin come home, roasted himself in a fire. A similar message is given by the story of King Shibi in the Jataka Mala, who having given away all his wealth, was still moved enough by small insects hovering around him, and inflicted several wounds on his body to feed the mosquitoes. In another narrative from the same text, the bodhisattva throws himself in front of a hungry tigress, who, otherwise, was on the verge of consuming her own cubs. This is however not the only instance of the Buddha-To-Be sacrificing his physical body partly or fully and numerous tales abound in Buddhist Canonical literature illustrating this theme.

In the ancient Samadhiraja-Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha's principal disciple Ananda asks how a bodhisattva can cheerfully suffer the loss of his limbs etc and not feel any pain when he mutilates himself for the good of others.

Shakyamuni Buddha explained that intense compassion for humankind and the love of Bodhi (spiritual awakening), sustain and inspire a bodhisattva towards heroism, just as worldly people are inclined to enjoy sensual pleasures even when their bodies are burning with fever.

The Buddha taught that when we give to others, we give without expectation of reward. We give without attaching to either the gift or the recipient. We practice giving to release greed and self-clinging.

May all beings be happy and secure, may their hearts be wholesome! Whatever living beings there be; feeble or strong, stout or medium, short or tall, without exception; seen or unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born and those who are yet to be born, may all beings be happy! Let none deceive another, not despise any person whatsoever in any place. Let him not wish any harm on another out of anger or ill will. Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so let him cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.

From the Metta Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1.8

http://kadampa.org/en/meditation/giving/
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:11 PM   #18
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Smile Bodhichitta

18. Bodhichitta,

Fundamental teachings
Antidotes to not understanding how to achieve Enlightenment: Bodhicitta
(from In Search of the Stainless Ambrosia, Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Jewel Treasury of Advice and Transformation of Suffering)
by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche

It is not enough to wish others loving-kindness and compassion; we must have methods for effecting this attitude. These methods are known as absolute bodhicitta and relative bodhicitta. Absolute bodhicitta is a special insight into the pervading nature of emptiness - mind which is clear, profound, indestructible, and free from elaboration and afflictive emotions. In Vajrayana system, this realization is known as Mahamudra. Mahamudra is a vast and complex subject, so one needs great purification and dedication to understand and, especially, to realize it. Mahamudra dispels all confusion and clear the mind, like the sky free from all clouds, and lets us see it as it is. Relative bodhicitta consists of both the desire to reach Enlightenment for others, which is called aspiration bodhicitta, as well as taking the practical steps necessary to do it, which is called the action bodhicitta.

The supreme mind of bodhicitta is like an unspoiled seed.
Without it, it is impossible to achieve perfect Enlightenment.
Therefore, cherish the cultivation of the mind of Mahayana.
This is my heart's advice.
(from the Jewel Treasury of Advice)

Aspiration bodhicitta

Having aspiration bodhicitta is that one eagerly wishes to achieve Enlightenment (or the search for the pure wisdom of the Buddha) for the benefit of all sentient beings without discrimination. Wherever there are beings, there are afflicting emotions and karma, and where these exist, there are different levels of suffering. So we must cultivate the determination to free all beings from these sufferings.

There are four conditions for cultivating the mind of bodhicitta:

1. One should see the spiritual master as the Buddha himself : Visualize in front of you a jewelled throne supporting a lotus, sun and moon discs upon which seated the varja master in the state of Buddha hood. He is surrounded by the lineage lamas, and countless Buddhas, Bodhisattva s, yidams, and Dharma protectors. Meditate that all are complete forms of wisdom and compassion.
2. One should take refuge in the Mahayana way : Take refuge in the Mahayana way means that one should take refuge until Enlightenment is achieved.
3. One should practice the four immeasurable attitudes : They are loving-kindness, compassion, joy for others' peace and happiness and great equanimity.

Loving-kindness is the desire that all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. The more you long for the happiness of all the beings, the more you feel no separation between them and yourself. All your body, speech and mind will form a field of loving-kindness towards all sentient beings. That means that when you act, you act sincerely. When you talk, you will use gentle words and speak the truth. When you think of others, you think of how of they might have happiness and peace. Thus all actions can be transformed into peace, into Dharma.

Loving-kindness is like a warrior victorious in battle.
In an instant, it annihilates all the hordes of maras without exception.
Meditate on all beings as your parents.
This is my heart's advice.
(from the Jewel Treasury of Advice)

Compassion is the desire to free others from suffering and the causes of suffering. Compassion is the mind free from hatred. Flooded by afflictive emotions, beings create the cause of suffering. With the causes of suffering, there will surely be the results of suffering. Look at such causes and the immense sufferings as a result. Develop the compassionate wish that all beings as limitless as space be free from suffering and achieve Enlightenment, the ultimate peace.

Supreme compassion is like a skilful mother nurturing her child.
Abandoning comfort, it engages in the benefit of others.
Therefore, generate the courage of the altruistic thought.
This is my heart's advice.
(from the Jewel Treasury of Advice)

Joy means to rejoice at others' peace and happiness and hope that they will increase. Pride, envy, jealousy are the real enemies of love and compassion, since they blind us to others' good qualities. Rejoicing at others' happiness is the antidote to those obscuration s.

Equanimity means feeling neither hatred for enemies nor attachment to loved ones, but instead, feeling love and compassion for all beings equally. See all sentient beings as your parents, children, relatives, and friends who each bring us the opportunity for Enlightenment.

4. One should make offerings to accumulate merits and wisdom, do purification practice and rejoice in others' virtues. One should request that the wheel of teachings be turned, and that the master not enter nirvana until all beings are enlightened. One should dedicate all the merit of virtue.

Offer all your possessions and those of others. The best offering is one's root virtue and meditation practice, including the arising and completion processes.

Concerning purification practices, purify of motivation is most important. We must also purify all non-virtuous actions which have arisen from afflicting emotions such as the five heavy negative karmas. The method of purification exists through four powers: remorse, the practice of the antidote, the avoidance of evil, and reliance.

a) Remorse means thinking of how one has uselessly created negative karma, of how it has engendered suffering, and of the importance of separating oneself from non-virtue. For example, if you eat poison unintentionally, you immediately feel the need to cleanse yourself of it by any means. In the same way, we must at all costs rid ourselves of negative karma.

b) The practice of the antidote includes such meditation practices as compassion, wisdom, visualization and recitation of mantras, and especially the practice of Mahamudra.
c) The avoidance of evil means understanding that as negative action will bring immense suffering, one must absolutely avoid it.

d) The power of reliance includes taking refuge, cultivating bodhicitta and taking empowerments.

Even to practice one of these powers will help purify negative karma, so if one practices them all, one will definitely purify all negative karma. Vajrasattva meditation is one of the best methods of purification.

Rejoicing in others' virtues is the antidote to jealousy. Rejoice in the Buddha's activities, which have established beings in the Enlightenment state, as well as rejoice in the virtuous actions of all others.

By dedicating the merit, we bring together all virtues and great qualities of ourselves and others, and of the Buddhas of the Three Times, hoping that by this power all sentient beings will be freed of suffering and achieve complete Enlightenment.

The beneficial results of cultivating the aspiration path are

- Entering into the Bodhisattva family, one receives the Bodhisattva training that cuts the root of non-virtuous action.
- The seed of Enlightenment is planted within oneself.
- One achieves limitless merit and wisdom.
- One pleases all the Buddhas.
- One benefits all beings.
- One quickly achieves complete Enlightenment.

The practice of the aspiration path includes

? Not abandoning any sentient beings
? Recollecting the beneficial effects of bodhicitta
? Meditating that bodhicitta is the seed of Enlightenment, the wish-fulfilling gem, and the shelter in which all can seek safely.

To develop the strength of bodhicitta, one should

- Practice the two accumulations (merit and wisdom).
- Practice the bodhicitta attitude constantly through loving-kindness and compassion.
- Repeat the bodhisattva vow at least once a day.
- Recollect the discipline.
- Avoid the four negative actions and develop the four positive actions. The four negative actions are: lying to a spiritual master or other realized beings, causing regret or doubt in others' virtuous actions unnecessarily, abusing other bodhisattvas and deceiving other beings for one's own profit. The four positive actions are not lying to master or to other realized beings even at the risk of one's own life, establishing all sentient beings in virtuous Mahayana behavior, seeing all the bodhisattvas as the Buddha and making known their good qualities everywhere and selflessly benefiting all beings with pure motivation.

Aspiration bodhicitta is like a traveller setting out on a journey.
Before long, he will arrive at Buddhahood.
Therefore, make a pure aspiration.
This is my heart's advice.
(from the Jewel Treasury of Advice)

The action bodhicitta

The action path is reached through the study and practice of the six paramitas. The word paramita comes from param, beyond the seashore, and ita, arrival across the ocean of samsara, and means the perfection of wisdom. It also implies achieving the state of Buddha hood and the method to do so. The six paramitas are: generosity, moral ethics, patience, perseverance, concentration and wisdom.

The bodhicitta of activity is like a well-built channel.
Through that, one can - without care - perfect the two accumulations.
Merit will continually arise.
This is my heart's advice.
(from the Jewel Treasury of Advice)
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:29 PM   #19
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Smile Tranquil abiding

19. Tranquil abiding,

Meditation

The Foundational Practice Of Tranquillity Meditation
The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Excerpted from the transcript of "Tranquility And Insight Meditation

Of the aspects of meditation, the one that is usually practiced first is tranquillity. This can be seen in the fact that all different approaches to Buddhism (all the various vehicles) begin their instruction in meditation with an explanation of methods of resting the mind, which is the practice of tranquillity. This is the way that meditation has been presented in the Buddhist tradition, since its original presentation by the Buddha himself. Tranquillity is not simply a preliminary practice--something that is done as a beginner and then discarded. It is an essential element of all meditation practice. Therefore it must be present in the beginning, throughout the path, and in the end as well. It is not simply the first meditation, one could also say it is also the last, and the most important, the most constant.

According to Jamgon Lodro Thaye, the stages or aspects of the practice of tranquillity, and the meaning of tranquillity meditation can be found as indicated etymologically in both the Tibetan and Sanskrit terms for this practice. The Tibetan term is shiné, and the Sanskrit is shamatha. In the case of the Tibetan, the first syllable, shi, and in the case of the Sanskrit, the first two syllables, shama, refer to "peace" or "pacification." The meaning of peace or pacification in this context is that normally our mind is like a whirlwind of agitation. The agitation is the agitation of thought. Our thoughts are principally an obsessive concern with past, conceptualization about the present, and especially an obsessive concern with the future. This means that usually our mind is not experiencing the present moment at all. We are usually miles ahead of our selves. As long as this process continues, our mind never comes to rest, and we can never experience any state of pliability or happiness. As long as this continues, we never really appreciate the present moment, because we are always looking forward, constantly imagining future experiences. What we are doing at any given moment as long as we are under the sway of this process is preparing for the future. When we get to the future that we are preparing for, we are preparing for another future. We never reap the fruits of our own constant obsessive preparation. So the first syllable shi, or shama in Sanskrit, refers to the pacification of this thought--the slowing or cooling down of this whirlwind of thought, which is conceptualization about the past, the present and the future. It consists of the mind falling naturally or gliding to rest in an experience of nowness or the present moment.

The second syllable of the Tibetan is né, which means "to abide or remain." In Sanskrit, this is the equivalent of the final syllable of shamatha, tha. When the mind has come to rest in that way, through the pacification of the thoughts of the three times, it then abides in that state of rest unwaveringly. The mind and the tranquillity of that mind become mixed inseparable. So in fact the aspects of tranquillity and the essence of tranquillity can both be seen from the etymology of the terms which are used to describe it.

However meditation does not consist only of tranquillity. The other aspect is insight, which in Tibetan is called lhatong. The term lhatong literally means "superior seeing." This can be interpreted as a superior manner of seeing, and also seeing that which is the essential nature. Its nature is a lucidity, a clarity of mind, based on the foregoing tranquillity, that enables one to determine the characteristics and ultimate nature of all things unmistakenly--without confusion or mix-up of any kind. Fundamentally it consists of a recognition of the abiding or basic nature of everything, in an unmistaken manner. For this reason, insight meditation is referred to as superior seeing or superior vision, lhatong.

The way these two aspects of meditation are practice is that one begins with the practice of tranquillity; on the basis of that, it becomes possible to practice insight or lhatong. Through one's practice of insight being based on and carried on in the midst of tranquillity, one eventually ends up practising a unification of tranquillity and insight. The unification leads to a very clear and direct experience of the nature of all things. This brings one very close to what is called the absolute truth.

In fact all Buddhist meditation practice is contained in these two, tranquillity and insight. All of the different varieties of practice of the vehicle of causal characteristics (or of the sutras), and of the secret mantra (or vajrayana) are all simply varieties of tranquillity and insight. Any Buddhist meditation practice is either a tranquillity practice or an insight practice. This was said by the Buddha himself, in the discourse or sutra which is referred to as The Sutra Which Is a Definitive Explanation of the Buddha's Thought. He said that all of the meditation that I have taught is merely for these two purposes: for the development of tranquillity and the development of insight.

Tranquillity is practised first, and then, following that, insight. The reason for this is that without the pacification of mental agitation (which is what tranquillity meditation consists of), the clarity of insight meditation cannot be generated with any stability or intensity. This is explained in the Treasury of Knowledge with an example. The example is the difference between a butter lamp or a candle which is sheltered from the wind, and one which is being buffeted by the wind. If a candle is outside, without any kind of glass cover or casing, and the wind is blowing, then either the candle will be blown out altogether, or if it remains lit, the flame will be small, and it will be moving around so much that it doesn't cast any stable light, and does not generate any stable illumination. You cannot really use it to see anything because it is moving too much. Another example is that if a body of water contains silt, and it is stirred up, the silt obscures the limpidity of the water itself. The water is not transparent. If the water is not agitated and the silt is allowed to sink to the bottom, then as it does the water becomes more transparent and more limpid. In the same way, if insight is practised without a stable practice of tranquillity, then a stable clarity of insight is impossible. On the other hand, if one cultivates the practice of insight on the basis and in the context of a stable practice of tranquillity, then the candle flame of one's insight is protected by the glass casing of one's tranquillity. No matter how much the wind blows, the candle flame is unaffected because it is sheltered from the wind. It is by means of this combination or integration of tranquillity and insight that a stable wisdom of insight is generated, which will enable one to perform extensive benefits not only for oneself, but for others as well.

The Practice of Tranquillity

To begin with the practice of tranquillity, one first has to investigate the causes of the development of a stable tranquillity. The first or the main cause to be cultivated at the beginning is the abandonment of conditions which are not conducive to the state of tranquillity. Fundamentally there are two types of such conditions. There are external sources of distraction, which is excessive activity, and internal distractions, which is excessive thought. Beginners have to begin with eliminating the external distraction or external forces of distraction. These consist of unnecessary activities, but principally of an improper place of practice. If one attempts to practice in a place where there is a great deal of distraction, a great deal of things which draw one away from tranquillity meditation, then it is very difficult or impossible to cultivate this. So it is important in the beginning of one's practice to create an environment for the practice that is solitary and pleasant. It should be particularly a place where there is no danger; where one does not develop anxiety out of fear of robbers or wild animals or some sort of pestilential disease. It is inappropriate as a beginner to be unrealistic about this, and to say, "I am just like the siddhas of the past. I can practice anywhere. I can go into a graveyard, I can go anywhere where there are thieves and robbers and wild animals and horrible diseases and anything. I'll just be there and it doesn't matter--it's all the same anyway." It is unrealistic, and it will not lead to any stable tranquillity.

If one practices in an environment conducive to the development of stable tranquillity, then it will become possible to transcend the internal unconducive conditions, or internal obstacles, as well. Later on in the text, there is an extensive discussion of what these obstacles consist of. However, the next topic dealt with is actually how one goes about practising tranquillity. At this point one assumes that one has created a suitable environment, and that one has the intention to practice and develop tranquillity.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:18 PM   #20
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Smile Superior seeing

20,Superior Seeing,

Training the mind in superior seeing

"Become familiar with looking at your own mind",

"Just as water is transparent when it is not disturbed, rest without contrivance. Like the sun unobstructed by clouds, let the six sense consciousnesses rest in their own state without impeding them".

-- Je Gampopa

2 types of superior seeing' objects:

3 reasons for meditations on emptiness (Sunyata):

Scheme of meditating on emptiness (Sunyata):

Progressive stages of meditations on emptiness (Sunyata) (according to some Kagyu and Nyingma schools):

The Sevenfold Reasoning on the Selflessness by Chandrakirti:

4 kinds of emptiness (Sunyata):

16 kinds of emptiness (Sunyata):

Purification of the mind:

http://new.music.yahoo.com/geshe-kel...ing--183865831

The person who has become superior: A person who has generated a real Dharma Jewel within his continuum, a direct realization of the emptiness of inherent existence; a person who has permanently liberated himself from the conditions of rebirth in the three lower realms; a person who is capable of liberating other beings from the lower realms, having gained the status of a true Sangha Jewel-a person with such qualities is a superior being.

There are two types of superior beings: superior beings of the Lower Vehicle, who mainly emphasize the accomplishment of their own welfare, and superior beings of the Great Vehicle, who mainly emphasize the accomplishment of the welfare of others. Amongst the former there are also two types: Hearer Superiors and Solitary Realizer Superior Beings. In the Greater Vehicle these are also two types : Bodhisattva Superiors and Buddha Superiors. Of the four, these last two are pre-eminent. Of all, the Buddha Superior is the supreme and ultimate object of refuge, having completely abandoned all that needs to be abandoned and achieved all the qualities that need to be achieved. It is this that is called the Buddha Jewel. It is superior not only to ordinary beings, but also to all other superior beings. Thus, it is the Supreme Superior.

Buddhas do not wash away sins with water,
Nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands,
Neither do they transplant their own realization into others.
Teaching the truth of suchness(emptiness) they liberate (others).

If one misconceives emptiness,
Persons with little wisdom will be ruined.
Just as a person who mishandles a snake
Or is unskilled with mantras will suffer.

http://www.quietmountain.org/links/t...s/chenrezi.htm

Bliss Emptiness and Bodhichitta:

http://www.homeoint.org/morrell/budd...odhichitta.htm

Last edited by lightgiver; 12-08-2009 at 05:26 PM.
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