Our True Nature and What to Do With It

To realize our true nature is not easy. In the Buddha’s case we hear myths about his many lifetimes of struggle, to accumulate positive imprints to his mind, before he finally became the enlightened one. We are in luck though; the Buddha’s teachings give us a guide on how to realize our true nature and that is what this article is about. This article is partly based on teachings given by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in 2009 and those of the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra.

(C) by Teresa Maltez

What the Buddha taught on Emptiness – A Commentary on the Golden Light Sutra

This article is a commentary on the sixth chapter of the Golden Light Sutra. The sutra itself is believed to be very precious and to purify karma upon hearing it. The verses have profound meaning and to understand these in depth a qualified teacher is required. Hence, reading this article is merely the first step towards understanding emptiness.

New readers might refer to Crash Course in Buddhist Emptiness before reading the rest of this article.

Buddha Sense

(C) by Ana Teresa Maltez

The Buddha begins by separating the physical from the mental:

Karma Part 2: How Mind, Samsara & Emptiness relate to Karma

Detail - Chenrezig thangka, Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, crowned by Amitabha, Tibetan Buddhism, Seattle, Washington, USA

Chenresig – (cc) by wonderlane

In “Karma Part 1: What it is not – getting rid of common misconceptions” the myths of karma were dealt with and the process of creating karma was explained. In this article the relation between karma, mind, samsara and emptiness will be explained.

Samsara is created by karma.
It is a projection of karma.
Beings are created by karma.
Karma is their cause and what differentiates them.
– Mahakarunapundarikasutra

Karma Part 1: What it is not – getting rid of common misconceptions

Karma has become a common term in the 21st century but is surrounded by many myths and is generally misunderstood. This article gives you the fundamentals of Karma and how it works. Also read Karma Part 2: Mind, Samsara and the Emptiness of Karma.


What Karma is not

There are numerous misconceptions when it comes to Karma and the most common ones are that Karma is retribution or fate. To believe so is a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the teachings and so Karma is not punishment or retribution as that would imply a punisher and that some actions in themselves are sinful and deserve retribution. This is however a faulty reasoning and is often based on a Christian mindset. Karma is more like gravity: What goes up must come down, meaning that certain actions lead to certain and predictable results.

God is Truth – The role of Brahman in Advaita Vedanta

This article conveys the Advaita Vedanta view of God as truth and is based on Swami Bhaskarananda’s “Journey from Many into One”. Advaita Vedanta means “beyond knowledge” and was taught by the famous yogi adi Shankara and is regarded by many as the highest school of Vedic (hindu) philosophy. The final part includes a Buddhist critique of the view on Brahman presented.

Brahman the all-pervading one

According to vedic thought Brahman is all-pervading and the word Brahman itself is often translated from Sanskrit as “pervading”.  Unlike common believes this does not mean that Brahman presides everywhere or anywhere. Brahman transcends time, space and karma (causation). A metaphor for this would be a lucid dreamer that transcends the dream world, however, Brahman transcends both dreams as well as the dreamer. Generally we experience the world in dualities such as man/woman and light/dark or yin and yang. It is impossible to know light without knowing dark as they are opposites of the same coin. However, Brahman is non-dual and transcends all of these and even transcends the transcending itself as it is merely a philosophical explanation made up for our human minds. Hence Brahman cannot be defined by any adjectives like e.g. cosmic, eternal or supreme.

Achieving the dream state in 30 days – Part 3: Dispelling obstacles of dreaming

According to Natural Liberation by Padmasambhava it is possible to attain the dream state in only 30 days or at most in 2-3 months – at least once – even if one has broken Samayas (tantric wows) by doing Vajrasattva (tib. Dorje Sempa, eng. Diamond Mind) purification mantras.

Here is contained "Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness," this being a Direct Introduction to the State of Intrinsic Awareness, From "The Profound Teaching of Self-Liberation in the Primordial State of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities."

(cc) by wonderlane

The practice is in three parts:

  1. Daytime practice
  2. Night time practice 
  3. Dispelling obstacles of dreaming (This post)

Dispelling obstacles of dreaming

 For the dream yogi obstacles are fourfold:

  1. Overcoming waking up unwillingly
  2. Overcoming forgetfulness
  3. Overcoming confusion
  4. Overcoming lethargy or laziness

Achieving the dream state in 30 days – Part 2: Nighttime practice

According to Natural Liberation by Padmasambhava it is possible to attain the dream state in only 30 days or at most in 2-3 months – at least once – even if one has broken Samayas (tantric wows) by doing Vajrasattva (tib. Dorje Sempa, eng. Diamond Mind) purification mantras. In this article Shiva Bear has summarized the ancient text into Sadhana form (loosely: meditation guide) for the readers convenience.

Padmasambhava Statue, Nepal

(cc) by wonderlane

The practice is in three parts:

  1. Daytime practice
  2. Night time practice (This post)
  3. Advice on overcoming difficulties

Apprehending the Dream state

Firstly practice at daytime what is covered in part one of this series while apprehending all appearances as illusion. Then, before going to sleep, cultivate proper motivation:

Achieving the dream state in 30 days – Part 1: Daytime practice

According to Natural Liberation by Padmasambhava it is possible to attain the dream state in only 30 days or at most in 2-3 months – at least once – even if one has broken Samayas (tantric wows) by doing Vajrasattva (tib. Dorje Sempa, eng. Diamond Mind) purification mantras. In this article Shiva Bear has summarized the ancient text into Sadhana form (loosely: meditation guide) for the readers convenience.

Padmasambhava - Guru Rimpoche Emanation

Padmasambhava by Maren Yumi

 

The practice is in three parts:

  1. Daytime practice (This post)
  2. Night time practice
  3. Advice on overcoming difficulties

Crash course in Buddhist emptiness

Have you always wondered what the emptiness in Buddhism actually is or have you heard long Dharma talks from teachers and friends without really getting it? Then this article for you.

The logic in this article is twofold:  All appearances exist only in the mind and the mind is in itself non-existent.

All appearances exists only in the mind

Red Flower

Picture by George Thomas

 The Samputa-tantra states:
“All things, external and internal,
Are designated by the mind.
Apart from the mind nothing else exists.”

Gallery from Dr. Alan Wallace in Copenhagen

Before lecture

To gallery:

Teaching the four applications of mindfulness.

Ganesha

God where are thou – The negation of a creator god

DSCN5725

Monks debating, picture by Archer10

In this post Shiva Bear refuges the existence of a creator god using the logic of the Buddha Dharma and by applying contemporary commentary.

“What would you think of a man who claims to be in love with a women but do not know where she lives, how she looks, her name or from what family she has descended?” – The Buddha

Why meditate on the nature of mind – reasons for meditation in the tantras

In this post Shiva Bear investigates the reasons for meditating on the nature of mind by quoting and commenting on the tantras.

#29a Vajradhara Buddha SHANKAR

Vajradhara by Shankar Gallery

The logic in this blog post is tree fold: All of reality purely exists in mind, there are deficiencies arising from not meditating on the true nature of mind and there are in fact benefits of such meditation.

The Vajrapanjara-tantra states:
“Neither ordinary beings nor enlightened ones exist outside of the precious mind”

Buddha Nature – On what basis can it be developed?

by Shiva Bear – A commentary on the Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa (1074-1153 C.E.)

Without cause, no effect – on what basis can Buddhahood exist?

This question is traditionally answered using the metaphor of the seed: Even if a seed (the cause) is planted in the ground it will not grow without the right conditions like water, nutrients in the soil and sunlight and so on. Hence if all beings were permeated by Buddha nature it would not develop without the right conditions. However without a seed no matter the conditions no plant (the effect) can grow.

Passive Awareness

In awareness there is no becoming, there is no end to be gained. There is silent observation without choice and condemnation, from which there comes understanding. In this process when thought and feeling unfold themselves, which is only possible when there is neither acquisition nor acceptance, then there comes an extensional awareness, all the hidden layers and their significance are revealed. This awareness reveals that creative emptiness which cannot be imagined or formulated. This extensional awareness and the creative emptiness are a total process and are not different stages. When you silently observe a problem without condemnation, justification, there comes passive awareness. In this passive awareness, the problem is understood and dissolved. In awareness there is heightened sensitivity, in which there is the highest form of negative thinking. When the mind is formulating, producing, there can be no creation. It is only when the mind is still and empty, when it is not creating a problem, in that alert passivity there is creation. Creation can only take place in negation, which is not the opposite of the positive. Being nothing is not the antithesis of being something. A problem comes into being only when there is a search for result. When the search for result ceases, then only is there no problem. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Let a Thought Flower

Awareness is that state of mind which takes in everything -the crows flying across the sky, the flowers on the trees, the people sitting in front, the colors they are wearing- being extensively aware which needs watching, observing, taking in the shape of the leaf, the shape of the trunk, the shape of the head of another, what he is doing. To be extensively aware and from there acting, that is to be aware of the totality of one’s own being. To have a mere sectional capacity, a fragmentation of capacity or capacity fragmented, and to pursue that capacity and derive experience through that capacity which is limited—that makes the quality of the mind mediocre, limited, narrow. But an awareness of the totality of one’s own being, understood through the awareness of every thought and every feeling, and never limiting it, letting every thought and every feeling flower, and therefore being aware—that is entirely different from action or concentration that is merely capacity and therefore limited.To let a thought flower or a feeling flower requires attention,not concentration. I mean by the flowering of a thought giving freedom to it to see what happens, what is taking place in your thought, in your feeling. Anything that flowers must have freedom, must have light; it cannot be restricted. You cannot put any value on it, you cannot say, “That is right, that is wrong; this should be, and that should not be”, thereby, you limit the flowering of thought. And it can only flower in this awareness. Therefore, if you go into it very deeply, you will find that this flowering of thought is the ending of thought. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Lama manifests Manjushri

From  1977: The more meditation, the more happy! by Adele Hulse, Big Love author: One English businessman found Rinpoche’s demanding teaching style excruciating. “My marriage was collapsing, I had nowhere to live, I had never sat cross-legged in my life, everything hurt and here’s this monk in front of us stuttering and coughing his way through two […]

Awareness Cannot Be Disciplined

If awareness is practiced, made into a habit, then it becomes tedious and painful. Awareness cannot be disciplined. That which is practiced is no longer awareness, for in practice is implied the creation of habit, the exertion of effort and will. Effort is distortion. There is not only the awareness of the outer -of the flight of birds, of shadows, of the restless sea, the trees and the wind, the beggar and the luxurious cars that pass by- but also there is the awareness of the psychological process, the inward tension and conflict. You do not condemn a bird in flight; you observe it, you see the beauty of it. But, when you consider your own inward strife, you condemn it or justify it. You are incapable of observing this inward conflict without choice or justification.To be aware of your thought and feeling without identification and denial is not tedious and painful, but in search of a result, an end to be gained, conflict is increased and the tedium of strife begins. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Seeing the Whole

How do you look at a tree? Do you see the whole of the tree? If you don’t see it as a whole, you don’t see the tree at all. You may pass it by and say, ‘There is a tree, how nice it is!’ or say, “It is a mango tree,” or “I do not know what those trees are; they may be tamarind trees.” But when you stand and look -I am talking actually, factually- you never see the totality of it; and if you don’t see the totality of the tree, you do not see the tree. In the same way is awareness. If you don’t see the operations of your mind totally in that sense -as you see the tree-you are not aware. The tree is made up of the roots, the trunk, the branches, the big ones and the little ones and the very delicate one that goes up there; and the leaf, the dead leaf, the withered leaf and the green leaf, the leaf that is eaten, the leaf that is ugly, the leaf that is dropping, the fruit, the flower;all that you see as a whole when you see the tree. In the same way, in that state of seeing the operations of your mind, in that state of awareness, there is your sense of condemnation, approval, denial, struggle, futility, the despair, the hope, the frustration; awareness covers all that, not just one part. So, are you aware of your mind in that very simple sense, as seeing a whole picture, not one corner of the picture and saying, “Who painted that picture?” – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life