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.

Reaction breeds sorrow

So action which is born of reaction breeds sorrow. Most of our thoughts are the result of the past, of time. A mind that is not built on the past, that has totally understood this whole process of reaction, can act every minute totally, completely, wholly.Please do listen. What I am going to say will probably be rather difficult. So, listen as though you are far away. I am going to talk about something which you will come to, if you have gone through all this sweetly, with pleasure. When you have gone through the whole process of action born of reaction, and denied it with enchantment, with joy -not with pain- then you will see that you will come naturally, easily, to a state of mind that is the very essence of beauty. – Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. XIII,143,Action

Thinking is a process of time

What do we mean by idea? Surely idea is the process of thought, is it not? Idea is a process of mentation, of thinking; and thinking is always a reaction either of the conscious or of the unconscious. Thinking is a process of verbalization which is the result of memory, thinking is a process of time. So when action is based on the process of thinking, such action must inevitably be conditioned, isolated. Idea must oppose idea, idea must be dominated by idea. There is a gap then between action and idea. What we are trying to find out is whether it is possible for action to be without idea. We see how idea separates people. As I have already explained, knowledge and belief are essentially separating qualities. Beliefs never bind people; they always separate people; when action is based on belief or an idea or an ideal, such action must inevitably be isolated, fragmented. Is it possible to act without the process of thought, thought being a process of time, a process of calculation, a process of self-protection, a process of belief, denial, condemnation, justification? Surely, it must have occurred to you as it has to me, whether action is at all possible without idea. I see, as well as you see, that when I have an idea and I base my action on that idea, it must create opposition; idea must meet idea and must inevitably create suppression, opposition. I do not know if I am making myself clear. To me this is really a very important point. If you can understand that, not by the mind or sentimentally but intimately, I feel we shall have transcended all our difficulties. Our difficulties are of ideas, not of action. It is not what we should do, which is merely an idea; what is important is acting. Is action possible without the process of calculation, which is the result of self-protection, of memory, of relationship -personal, individual, collective, and so on? I say it is possible. You can experiment with it when you are here. – Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. VI,260,Action

Lama is so very proud of you!

From  1978: Mahayana, Mahayana, Mahayana! by Adele Hulse, Big Love author: Lama Yeshe had expressed a desire for an American university “experewence” on many occasions. In the spring of 1978, Jan Willis was able to fulfill Lama’s wish. She arranged for him to teach a course on Tibetan Buddhism at the University of California’s Oakes College […]

An action which is without choice does not breed conflict

The computer is going to take charge of all the drudgery of man, in the office and also politically; it is going to do all the work for human beings in the factories. And so man will have a great deal of leisure. That is a fact. You may not see it in the immediate, but it is there, coming. There is a tremendous wave, and you are going to have a choice to make: what you will do with your time.We said ‘choice’ -to choose between various forms of amusement, entertainment; in which is included all the religious phenomena- temples, Mass, reading scriptures. All these are forms of entertainment! Please don’t laugh; what we are talking about is much too serious. You have no time to laugh when the house is burning. Only we refuse to think of what is actually taking place. And you are going to have the choice, this or that? And when choice is involved, there is always conflict. That is, when you have two ways of action, that choice merely produces more conflict. But if you saw very clearly within yourself, as a human being belonging to the whole world, not just to one petty, little country in some little geographical division, or class division, or Brahmin, or non-Brahmin, and all the rest of it -if you saw this issue clearly, then there would be no choice. Therefore an action which is without choice does not breed conflict. – Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. XVI,9,Action

Decision creates a contradiction

So what we are trying to do is to feel out the totality of action. There is no action without the background of thought, is there? And thought is always choice. Don’t just accept this. Please examine it, feel your way into it. Thought is the process of choosing. Without thought you cannot choose. The moment you choose, there is a decision, and that decision creates its own opposite – good and bad, violence and nonviolence. The man who pursues nonviolence through decision creates a contradiction in himself. Thought is essentially born of choice; I choose to think in a certain way. I examine communism, socialism, Buddhism; I reason logically and decide to think this or that. Such thought is based on memory, on my conditioning, on my pleasure, on my likes and dislikes, and any action born of such thought will inevitably create contradiction in myself and therefore in the world; it will produce sorrow, misery, not only for me but for others as well. – Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. XI,164,Action