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.

37 Practices of Bodhisattvas

37 Practices of Bodhisattvas, by Togmey Zhangpo, is a well known and cherished mind training text. Repeatedly reciting and thinking about these verses can give someone a framework for training the mind into thinking a particular way, and then using that to alter our behavior in relation to ourselves and others.

Reciting as a Daily Practice

Yangsi Rinpoche once noted that a young incarnate lama had made it his daily practice to recite and reflect on these verses. This young lama seemed often very happy, but what he noticed was that when he didn’t recite the verses, he felt that something was off.

Attachment Is Self-Deception

We are the things we possess, we are that to which we are attached. Attachment has no nobility. Attachment to knowledge is not different from any other gratifying addiction. Attachment is self-absorption, whether at the lowest or at the highest level. Attachment is self-deception, it is an escape from the hollowness of the self. The things to which we are attached, property, people, ideas, become all-important, for without the many things which fill its emptiness, the self is not. The fear of not being makes for possession; and fear breeds illusion, the bondage to conclusions. Conclusions, material or ideational, prevent the fruition of intelligence, the freedom in which alone reality can come into being; and without this freedom, cunning is taken for intelligence. The ways of cunning are always complex and destructive. It is this self-protective cunning that makes for attachment; and when attachment causes pain, it is this same cunning that seeks detachment and finds pleasure in the pride and vanity of renunciation. The understanding of the ways of cunning, the ways of the self, is the beginning of intelligence. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Face the Fact and See What Happens

We have all had the experience of tremendous loneliness, where books, religion, everything is gone and we are tremendously, inwardly, lonely, empty. Most of us can’t face that emptiness, that loneliness, and we run away from it. Dependence is one of the things we run to, depend on, because we can’t stand being alone with ourselves. We must have the radio or books or talking, incessant chatter about this and that, about art and culture. So we come to that point when we know there is this extraordinary sense of self-isolation. We may have a very good job, work furiously, write books, but inwardly there is this tremendous vacuum. We want to fill that and dependence is one of the ways. We use dependence, amusement, church work, religions, drink, women, a dozen things to fill it up, cover it up. If we see that it is absolutely futile to try to cover it up, completely futile, not verbally, not with conviction and therefore agreement and determination, but if we see the total absurdity of it , then we are faced with a fact. It is not a question of how to be free from dependence; that’s not a fact; that’s only a reaction to a fact. Why don’t I face the fact and see what happens?The problem now arises of the observer and the observed. The observer says, “I am empty; I don’t like it” and runs away from it. The observer says, “I am different from the emptiness.” But the observer is the emptiness; it is not emptiness seen by an observer. The observer is the observed. There is a tremendous revolution in thinking, in feeling, when that takes place. – Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

To Be Alone

To be alone, which is not a philosophy of loneliness, is obviously to be in a state of revolution against the whole setup of society;not only this society, but the communist society, the fascist, every form of society as organized brutality, organized power. And that means an extraordinary perception of the effects of power. Sir, have you noticed those soldiers rehearsing? They are not human beings any more, they are machines, they are your sons and my sons, standing there in the sun. This is happening here, in America, in Russia, and everywhere;not only at the governmental level, but also at the monastic level, belonging to monasteries, to orders, to groups who employ astonishing power. And it is only the mind which does not belong that can be alone. And aloneness is not something to be cultivated. You see this? When you see all this, you are out, and no governor or president is going to invite you to dinner. Out of that aloneness there is humility. It is this aloneness that knows love;not power. The ambitious man, religious or ordinary, will never know what love is. So, if one sees all this, then one has this quality of total living and therefore total action. This comes through self-knowledge. – Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

The Discourse of Girimananda

The Discourse of GirimanandaThe Discourse of Girimananda is a section from the Anguttara Nikaya part of the the Pali Canon. It addresses the monk Girimananda and explains 10 different types of meditation practice, the  Dasa Sagna- Ten perceptive observations. These instructions are important since they are are spoken directly from the Buddha. The ten practices in headlines are:

the perception of impermanence
the perception of non-self
the perception of the unattractive
the perception of danger
the perception of giving up
the perception of dispassion
the perception of cessation
the perception of non-delight in the whole world
the perception of impermanence in all processes
mindfulness while breathing