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.

Sentiment and Emotion Breed Cruelty

One can see that neither emotion nor sentiment has any place at all where love is concerned. Sentimentality and emotion are merely reactions of like or dislike. I like you and I get terribly enthusiastic about you;I like this place, oh, it is lovely and all the rest, which implies that I don’t like the other and so on. Thus sentiment and emotion breed cruelty. Have you ever looked at it? Identification with the rag called the national flag is an emotional and sentimental factor and for that factor you are willing to kill another -and that is called the love of your country, love of the neighbor, etc. One can see that where sentiment and emotion come in, love is not. It is emotion and sentiment that breed the cruelty of like and dislike. And one can see also that where there is jealousy, there is no love, obviously. I am envious of you because you have a better position, better job, better house, you look nicer, more intelligent, more awake and I am jealous of you. I don’t in fact say I am jealous of you, but I compete with you, which is a form of jealousy, envy. So envy and jealousy are not love and I wipe them out; I don’t go on talking about how to wipe them out and in the meantime continue to be envious;I actually wipe them out as the rain washes the dust of many days off a leaf, I just wash them away. – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Intellect vs. Intelligence

Training the intellect does not result in intelligence. Rather, intelligence comes into being when one acts in perfect harmony, both intellectually and emotionally. There is a vast distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is merely thought functioning independently of emotion. When intellect, irrespective of emotion, is trained in any particular direction, one may have great intellect, but one does not have intelligence, because in intelligence there is the inherent capacity to feel as well as to reason; in intelligence both capacities are equally present, intensely and harmoniously.If you bring your emotions into business, you say, business cannot be well managed or be honest. So you divide your mind into compartments: in one compartment you keep your religious interest, in another your emotions, in a third your business interest which has nothing to do with your intellectual and emotional life. Your business mind treats life merely as a means of getting money in order to live. So this chaotic existence, this division of your life continues. If you really used your intelligence in business, that is, if your emotions and your thought were acting harmoniously, your business might fail. It probably would. And you will probably let it fail when you really feel the absurdity, the cruelty, and the exploitation that is involved in this way of living.Until you really approach all of life with your intelligence, instead of merely with your intellect, no system in the world will save man from the ceaseless toil for bread. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Freeing Intelligence

The very first thing to do, if I may suggest it, is to find out why you are thinking in a certain way, and why you are feeling in a certain manner. Don’t try to alter it, don’t try to analyze your thoughts and your emotions; but become conscious of why you are thinking in a particular groove and from what motive you act. Although you can discover the motive through analysis, although you may find out something through analysis, it will not be real; it will be real only when you are intensely aware at the moment of the functioning of your thought and emotion; then you will see their extraordinary subtlety, their fine delicacy. So long as you have a “must” and a “must not,” in this compulsion you will never discover that swift wandering of thought and emotion. And I am sure you have been brought up in the school of “must” and “must not” and hence you have destroyed thought and feeling. You have been bound and crippled by systems, methods, by your teachers. So leave all those “must” and “must nots.” This does not mean that there shall be licentiousness, but become aware of a mind that is ever saying, “I must,” and “I must not.” Then as a flower blossoms forth of a morning, so intelligence happens, is there, functioning, creating comprehension. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

What Role Has Emotion in Life?

How do emotions come into being? Very simple. They come into being through stimuli, through the nerves. You put a pin into me, I jump; you flatter me and I am delighted; you insult me and I don’t like it. Through our senses emotions come into being. And most of us function through our emotion of pleasure; obviously, sir. You like to be recognized as a Hindu. Then you belong to a group, to a community, to a tradition, however old; and you like that, with the Gita, the Upanishads and the old traditions mountain high. And the Muslim likes his and so on. Our emotions have come into being through stimuli, through environment, and so on. It is fairly obvious.What role has emotion in life? Is emotion life? You understand? Is pleasure love? Is desire love? If emotion is love, there is something that changes all the time. Right? Don’t you know all that?So one has to realize that emotions, sentiment, enthusiasm, the feeling of being good, and all that, have nothing whatsoever to do with real affection, compassion. All sentiment, emotions have to do with thought and therefore lead to pleasure and pain. Love has no pain, no sorrow, because it is not the outcome of pleasure or desire. – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Hearing, Thinking, and Meditating

[From the Seven-Line Supplication to Guru Rinpoche, Instructions, Part 2 of 2 by Bardor Tulku Rinpoche. Translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.]

Training in dharma consists of hearing, thinking, and meditating. We start with hearing, and sometimes unfortunately we stop there. When we hear teachings from a lama, we may be very inspired. We may think, “This lama is a great siddha. This dharma is very profound; I’m very fortunate to receive it. This is fantastic.” And then we might just go to sleep and forget about the whole thing.