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.

Study reveals that Vajrayana meditation techniques associated with Tibetan Buddhism can enhance brain performance

Contrary to popular belief, not all meditation techniques produce similar effects of body and mind. Indeed, a recent study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has demonstrated for the first time that different types of Buddhist meditation – namely the Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation – elicit qualitatively different influences on human physiology and behaviour, producing arousal and relaxation responses respectively.

In particular, the NUS research team found that Vajrayana meditation, which is associated with Tibetan Buddhism, can lead to enhancements in cognitive performance.

A Thing of the Mind

What we call our love is a thing of the mind. Look at yourselves, sirs and ladies, and you will see that what I am saying is obviously true; otherwise, our lives, our marriage, our relationships, would be entirely different, we would have a new society. We bind ourselves to another, not through fusion, but through contract, which is called love, marriage. Love does not fuse, adjust;it is neither personal nor impersonal, it is a state of being. The man who desires to fuse with something greater, to unite himself with another, is avoiding misery, confusion; but the mind is still in separation, which is disintegration. Love knows neither fusion nor diffusion, it is nether personal nor impersonal, it is a state of being which the mind cannot find; it can describe it, give it a term, a name, but the word, the description, is not love. It is only when the mind is quiet that it shall know love, and that state of quietness is not a thing to be cultivated. – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Love Is Not a Duty

When there is love, there is no duty. When you love your wife, you share everything with her-your property, your trouble, your anxiety, your joy. You do not dominate. You are not the man and she the woman to be used and thrown aside, a sort of breeding machine to carry on your name. When there is love, the word duty disappears. It is the man with no love in his heart who talks of rights and duties, and in this country duties and rights have taken the place of love. Regulations have become more important than the warmth of affection. When there is love, the problem is simple; when there is no love, the problem becomes complex. When a man loves his wife and his children, he can never possibly think in terms of duty and rights. Sirs, examine your own hearts and minds. I know you laugh it off,that is one of the tricks of the thoughtless, to laugh at something and push it aside. Your wife does not share your responsibility, your wife does not share your property, she does not have the half of everything that you have because you consider the woman less than yourself, something to be kept and to be used sexually at your convenience when your appetite demands it. So you have invented the words rights and duty; and when the woman rebels, you throw at her these words. It is a static society, a deteriorating society, that talks of duty and rights. If you really examine your hearts and minds, you will find that you have no love. – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

As Long As We Possess, We Shall Never Love

We know love as sensation, do we not? When we say we love, we know jealousy, we know fear, we know anxiety. When you say you love someone, all that is implied: envy, the desire to possess, the desire to own, to dominate, the fear of loss, and so on. All this we call love, and we do not know love without fear, without envy, without possession; we merely verbalize that state of love which is without fear, we call it impersonal, pure, divine, or God knows what else; but the fact is that we are jealous, we are dominating, possessive. We shall know that state of love only when jealousy, envy, possessiveness, domination, come to an end; and as long as we possess, we shall never love. . . . When do you think about the person whom you love? You think about her when she is gone, when she is away, when she has left you. . . . So, you miss the person whom you say you love only when you are disturbed, when you are in suffering; and as long as you possess that person, you do not have to think about that person, because in possession there is no disturbance. . . .Thinking comes when you are disturbed and you are bound to be disturbed as long as your thinking is what you call love. Surely, love is not a thing of the mind; and because the things of the mind have filled our hearts, we have no love. The things of the mind are jealousy, envy, ambition, the desire to be somebody, to achieve success. These things of the mind fill your hearts, and then you say you love; but how can you love when you have all these confusing elements in you? When there is smoke, how can there be a pure flame? – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

What Do You Mean by Love?

Love is the unknowable. It can be realized only when the known is understood and transcended. Only when the mind is free of the known, then only there will be love. So, we must approach love negatively, not positively.What is love to most of us? With us, when we love, in it there is possessiveness, dominance, or subservience. From this possession arises jealously and fear of loss, and we legalize this possessive instinct. From possessiveness arise jealousy and the innumerable conflicts with which each one is familiar. Possessiveness, then, is not love. Nor is love sentimental. To be sentimental, to be emotional, excludes love.Sensitivity and emotions are merely sensations.. . . Love alone can transform insanity, confusion, and strife. No system, no theory of the left or of the right can bring peace and happiness to man. Where there is love, there is no possessiveness, no envy; there is mercy and compassion, not in theory, but actually for your wife and for your children, for your neighbor and for your servant. . . . Love alone can bring about mercy and beauty, order and peace. There is love with its blessing when “you” cease to be. – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life