| 11 Aug 2006 @ 20:21, by hgoodgame|
I found this information helpful and hopeful..
(Article reprinted with permission from the author.)
There is something that the Tibetan Buddhists call, "the nature of the mind". The term, when translated into English, is not really very adequate. In order to understand what it means, we need to make distinctions. There is a term for mind that means "thought activity". It is a mind that we spontaneously create whenever we think thoughts or have thoughts. This mind really appears and disappears with every thought we think. It is not a continuous phenomena. It only feels continuous because we are rarely aware of what is going on within us moment to moment. If we were, we would notice small gaps of "no mind" appearing very often. In every 12 second period, there are two second gaps which are easy to discern if you look for them. Within every second, there are microsecond gaps between every thought that we think. What I have noticed is that people are too busy, thinking, thinking, thinking to notice these gaps, too wrapped up in what they are thinking to ever stop themselves from generating and speeding up thoughts, laying them one after another, to notice the gaps between each and every thought. This thinking mind can come completely to an end and when it does we are in satori. We taste the nature of mind and experience enlightenment. We obviously cannot be our thinking mind, because it is not there. It does not exist at all when we are in satori. Then there is another term that means "thought function". This is the capacity to think. If thought is the letters on a page, then the thinking function is like a typewriter that can make those letters appear. When we have satori, our intellectual capacity to think is there, but thinking is not there. It is like a washing machine that has turned off and which can turn on again. Thought activity is like the washing cycle. The nature of the mind is different than both our thought activity and our thought capacity. It is the pure awareness that is behind our thought capacity and our thinking activity. Without this awareness mind, we would literally not be aware of anything at all. From the vantage point of this mind, it is the field of awareness and everything else is content. From the vantage point of this mind, the body is a mental construct formed by synthesizing all our sensations into a unified experience. You could say that the body arises in awareness, rather than us having a self that is inside the body, although the awareness mind is anchored in the heart.
The key to the deepest meditation is to "abide in awareness as awareness", seeing all thought as content, not getting caught up in thought, not dwelling in thought, not resisting thought, not clinging to thought, not to form a self through conceptualization, belief, and defending the things that are included in our constructed self. The same is true for emotion, sensation, and form, and even the subtle movement of attention, alienation, and identification. Many people do miss this basic point of this basic meditation, they see enlightenment as a specific experience, rather than resting in the basis for all experience. The Buddha taught Sariputra to see that "Brahma consciousness" was a transitory state. Even though it was blissful and even had the experience of a kind of oneness within it, it still arose, abided, changed, and dissolved within awareness, just like anger, fear, sadness, love, joy, birth, life, death, bardo, and rebirth, and all the many thousands upon thousands of mental, emotional, and sensation states that we move through each and every day. Many Tibetan teachers talk about "obscurations", things that prevent us from experiencing awareness mind. But nothing can really block us from resting in our unfolding experience in any moment. Nothing can obscure this awareness mind, since it is the pure seeing which we use to see everything that we see. When we are aware that we are the seeing itself, rather than a mythical subject separate from a mythical object, then we are resting in the nature of the mind. If we see a tree, before abiding in the nature of the mind, then we will see a tree after we abide in the nature of mind. If we are happy, then we will still be happy. If we are sad, then we will still be sad. Yet once resting in the nature of the mind, sadness will dissolve like clouds in a morning sunrise and any joy we have will dissolve into a kind of nondual bliss. The word "nondual" here merely being a state without an opposite. The usual joy has pain as an opposite. Bliss is somehting we can have no matter what we are experiencing. We can be in both pain and bliss. We can be in both bliss and joy. Just as we can be aware of anything and still be in awareness, we can be in bliss no matter what we are experiencing, even if it is the depths of sadness. After my satori, a massive suicidal depression came up and lasted for six months. It was like dark thick clouds filling my inner sky. I was no longer willing or able to repress any emotion and my mind starting emptying itself of all its accumulation. The subconscious mind was starting to empty itself in fugen kensho. This process is still going on. Yet even in the depths of the surfacing emotions, I was aware of the sky of mind that contained these emotions. When the emotions disappeared, I was aware of the sky of mind. When more emotions came, I was aware of the sky of mind. It has always been there. It was there before I awoke to it and realized it was me. Enlightenment was like seeing "Waldo". Waldo is always there in every picture in the book and once you find Waldo, then you can ignore the rest of the detail easily. Or Enlightenment is like shifting your attention from noticing your reflection in the mirror to the mirror itself. It is an interesting thing to do, to shuttle between the content of the reflection in the mirror to the reflecting surface. This is how awareness mind is. We spend a lot of time focusing on the content of our awareness, but not on the awareness itself. We can go for many lifetimes and never notice the mirror that reflects every experience and allows us to see literally everything. The main purpose of a Dzogchen master is to point this simple truth out so that you notice it and avoid the temptation to conceptualize and believe you are awareness mind. You can believe you are this mind, but the key is to, in the immediate present moment, to notice this mind, which is the same as noticing your noticing. This cannot be done by conceptualization and mental grasping. We need to see how much we have invested in this process and catch ourselves doing it. Many Zen koans are about noticing this movement of conceptualization and grasping. The solution to all koans is to shift from this process to "seeing".
Once you have done this and learned to abide in your nature of mind as awareness in awareness, then the key is to value this abiding. We can easily get lost in more experiences. We are used to indulging in sense experience and getting lost in whatever is arising. When we forget who we are, then we experience sorrow, anger, and fear, and we get lost in these emotions too. We are constantly reacting to everything with clinging, identification, alienation, and resistance. We are labelling everything by good cling to, bad resist, not me push away, me hold on to. In this drunken state, we crash into all kinds of things and create all kinds of karma, more and more sorrow to experience, until we learn to rest in our nature of mind and let life unfold. When I have guided people into this natural state behind all other states, what I find is that people think, "Is that all there is?" People expect enlightenment to be about some big cosmic oneness, some fireworks and blue whizzies, with thousands upon thousands of bodhisattvas and dakinis saying welcome home, with om vibrating in the background with the celestial choir, or some kind of multidimensional shift where time and space seem like toys, or where Dogen Zenji is stating that time has twelve legs and three elbows. But the enligthenment that really matters, which is not merely just another paranormal experience to get lost in, another transitory content no matter how fantastic the ride is or the 3D or 4D or 5D or 6D or 7D or 8D or 9D or 10D movie show is, is about abiding in awareness as awareness so that you are grounded in all dimensions instantly. Because we have been samsara alcoholics addicted to every kind of pleasurable sensation and secretly driven by sorrow to attach to whatever feels happy to us and then feeling sorrow as its transitoriness morphs our security clinging into something that causes us sorrow or reveals the sorrow which was always there. The fourth component of all experience is what the Buddha called, "unsatisfyingness" or "dukkha" (sorrow). Some people think that Buddha was very pessimistic to say that everything we experience is ultimately unsatisfying. But it is true and is not about being pessimistic or merely realistic or merely cynical. It is not really about the content of our experience, but it is about our clinging and grasping turning everything we experience into something that it can never really be for us. If we could temporarily enjoy an experience and let it go when it was done, we would find everything in life enhances our bliss, enriches our life, and everything would feel rewarding. But we try to cling to some experience, make it into a solid thing, and try to make the solid thing last forever. It is an unrealistic expectation. It is also unnecessary. Since our true nature is blissful and can enjoy itself as transitory creation unfolds forever and reflects back what we have always been.
If we abide in awareness in awareness, it seems that we walk in an ordinary human body in an ordinary human world, yet some subtle miraculous shift has happened. It is a miracle to directly experience this life. When you are in awareness, everything is little transparent. You can feel everything arising with you, abiding with you, changing with you, and dissolving with you, and then being reborn with you. But we are tempted to judge the state with our mind and try to push for another state of consciousness, and then another, and then another, never really resting in the present moment, never really being truly here and new with the miracle that is happening. Many people get really excited by the future visions of sci fi movies, yet what we have now is a sci fi movie for those who have lived before us. Padmasambhava predicted that Tibet would be invaded and the dharma would come to the land of the Red Man when "metal birds fly across the sky". This is, of course, a very good quick description of an airplane, but it was so far beyond what the early Tibetans could imagine that he did not bother to give more detail. He merely gave enough so that they would remember his words and know he was talking about that. We are moving way past metal bird flying across the sky to creating metal ships that can sail across the stars. We have made minature suns to generate electricity for our cities and our cities generate so much light that they can be seen from outer space. If we are not present right here and right now, then we will miss this as things get even better and more miraculous. And yet even all these things is not a miraculous as resting in the awareness of everything as it arises. Although it seems to be a small shift, it is a big one. Why? Everything is interdependant on everything else. We are all connected together, always affecting each other, like ripples in a pool bouncing off of everything and coming back and bouncing again. When one person rests in their true nature, then thoughts flow differently, emotions flow differently, sensations flow differently, and even bodies flow differently. Bodies move beyond aging and death, sensations merge with bliss, emotions transmute into love, thoughts transmute into wisdom and awareness transmutes into presence, and then presence merges with oneness, and oneness returns to the primal void, the womb of origination, and everything is reborn, and nirvana becomes samsara and samsara becomes nirvana. We carry each other towards this kind of realization whenever we rest in who and what we are. When we are beyond all our habitual and repetitive thoughts, then a dullness lifts from life, and everything seems new. Then everything we do brings peace on Earth. This is why Dogen Zenji said, "In drinking a cup of green tea, I stopped the war."