as light as L I F E S T Y L E  ии  M E D I T A T I O N

R  E  S  O  U   R  C  E  S


Buddha Mind - get one, be one.



freeing the turf
to nibbana



face in a jar
ready or not





This item tries to cover the basic principles that apply to meditation - regardless of what kind of meditation or what technique you use.
The field of cultivation is the mind - this is where the work takes place; and very rarely does it not involve quite a bit of work.
The fruits of cultivation are peace and wisdom.
Beyond field and fruit - both of these being subject to the three conditions - lies nibbana, the unconditioned. This is the ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspirations. [see TEACHINGS - NIBBANA]

There is the body and the mind. The body will be looked at under POSTURE.
What to do with the mind? - assuming you see the need to do something

Contemplate the conditioned nature of the mind.
When we are born, as we grow up as children, all through our lives, we are exposed to a wide range of sensory experience. Much of what we are today is the result of that exposure. If, for example, you were plump as a child and your parents and family members didn't like that and were always calling you fatty, and lard face, and lump, and ... all those unkind things - then it is understandable that in later life you might have a 'complex' about your body weight or shape. You may become anorexic? This is probably nothing new to you and is pretty obvious - the psychology principle that is, not the anorexia.
Consider a vessel of water as an analogy of the mind. If you pour red powder into the water then surely the water will turn red. The more powder you pour in the more red the water will become. If you only pour in a little bit of powder then the water will only be changed a little. The water is the mind, the vessel is the body, the vessel opening is the sense door and the powder is sense experience.

What we end up with after a few years of this is a mind that is coloured.
Why do
I speak with this kind of accent? Because those particular coloured sounds were poured in my ears for many years. Very many of our likes and dislikes, our views and our opinions are inherited, absorbed. This is the process of conditioning and much of it takes place when we are quite young. We do change and form semi-independent views but the new is usually relative to the old. There is nothing good or bad about it but it is important to appreciate the relative nature of our conditioned mind. Also to appreciate that this is going on all the time, right now. If you spend time in a peaceful environment this often conditions a peaceful feeling. If you spend time in a violent environment this can condition fear, aversion, anger, etc.

There is a process of association with most situations. You hear a bell, it reminds you of school, which reminds you of homework, which makes you feel unpleasant, when you are unhappy you often eat something: bell rings = you eat. What is vitally important here is to see that we are not just victims of this - we can observe the process. This is the key to freedom.
There is the object of sense (the bell) there is the sense organ (the ear) there is contact between the two = consciousness. Awareness can be present during all of this - we don't have to do the eating bit. This can be difficult as the links in this chain are often so close together it is hard to see them.

Meditation is a way of strengthening our ability to be aware, and to reflect on this process and our relationship with it. A point to consider here is: 'the process and our relationship with it'. This proposes that the process is not me - too big to discuss here [see TEACHINGS - ANATTA]. Nevertheless it is apparent to most that the process can be witnessed to. I can be aware of hearing the bell, aware of the unpleasant feeling as it arises and the inclination to eat. Usually it all happens so quickly that it just melts into the blur that can be our lives and no sense of one thing relating to another is particularly obvious. This brings us to the first stage of meditation - slowing down.

not my desk

one pen

Whatever means you use to slow down is not so important - what matters is that you do. If you can see that wisdom is about understanding the true nature of things then consider how you come to an understanding of anything: by spending time with it, by studying it.
Consider a work desk as an analogy of the mind. If it's anything like mine there is stuff all over the place. You want to know what a ball pen is and how it is put together. If you open it up on the desk you run the risk of not noticing some pieces as you pull it apart and they will get lost or you won't know where they came from. Clear a nice big space on the desk and lay out the pieces as you slowly and carefully take them out of the pen. It is then much easier to examine each piece and see how it relates to all the other pieces.

So too with the mind. Usually it is full of clutter. We need to clear a space. This is done by practicing samatha meditation - by developing some form of concentration technique. Instead of allowing the mind to look here, listen to this, taste that, etc - which is collecting a lot of stuff, clutter - we bring the mind to focus on one (simple) thing.
Once there is a degree of space, of calm in the mind then we can clearly see what is in that space. What we see we can observe, and through that observation we can come to understand, we can have an insight into the nature of that thing; and 'thing' can cover a lot of areas - emotional, perceptual, relational, physical. This is vipassana meditation - the arising of insight.