Posts Tagged ‘dhyana’

Another look at Saturn

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about Saturn lately; probably because I’ve got Saturn transiting through the 12th house. And now it’s working its way towards Venus, which is easily arguably my chart ruler.

Saturn represents structure, boundaries and limitations. Psychologically speaking it represents the ego, not as some central point of I, but as a structure which we have developed to cope with the world around us.

Interestingly, I think as we tread the path Saturn represents self-enforced or self-chosen limitation. In the world of form limitations are a self-evident given. One the one hand, a clear form enables the light to shine through it into the world. And on the other hand a form that we struggle with enables us to confront the delusion in our own minds. And this is I think where the role of sila, or ethical conduct, comes in on the spiritual path.

For this reason, ethical conduct is as much a practise as meditation. In sila we are constructing a new form, which acts as a vehicle of the light, but it is not the light. To quote Bodhidharma: Buddhas do not observe precepts. Buddhas do not break precepts.

To free the mind from all improprieties is the Sila of Mind-essence;
To free the mind from all perturbations is the Dhyana of Mind-essence.
That which neither increases nor decreases is the ‘diamond’ of Mind-essence.
‘Going’ and ‘coming’ are only phases of Samadhi.

The Sutra of Hui Neng

But I think there’s more to it than this. We are simplifying our lives, reducing all of the unnecessary clutter. But we are also expressing our true nature. Meditation is ultimately an act of self-expression in a very concentrated and very limited form, i.e. sitting on a mat. This is what gives this mode of self-expression its power. Sila is like this, but carried out into the world.

In the form that we construct through sila, we see our desires made naked. Yet our very nature is free, so in the same way we choose to liberate ourselves from that very same desire and live moment to moment, just like in the moment to moment awareness of dhyana. All forms are after all impermanent. Coming and going are only phases of samadhi.

So who knows what Saturn will bring, as it continues the transit of the 12th house, but it does seem to be the clearing up of old forms and the preparation of new ones.

Email This Post Email This Post

Sutras of Patanjali – Book III

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

We take the third section from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali today. Part 2 focused on the steps to union. Part 3 focuses on the results of union. The very first three dharana, dhyana and samadhi are the subject/object of zen.

  1. Concentration is the fixing of the chitta (mind stuff) upon a particular object. This is dharana.
  2. Sustained concentration (dharana) is meditation (dhyana).
  3. When the chitta becomes absorbed in that which is the reality (or idea embodied in the form), and is unaware of separateness or the personal self, this is contemplation or samadhi.
  4. When concentration, meditation and contemplation form one sequential act, then is sanyama achieved.
  5. As a result of sanyama comes the shining forth of the light.
  6. This illumination is gradual; it is developed stage by stage.
  7. These last three means of yoga have a more intimate subjective effect than the previous means.
  8. Even these three, however, are external to the true seedless meditation (or samadhi) which is not based on an object. It is free from the effects of the discriminative nature of the chitta (or mind stuff).
  9. The sequence of mental states is as follows: the mind reacts to that which is seen; then follows the moment of mind control. Then ensues a moment wherein the chitta (mind stuff) responds to both these factors. Finally these pass away, and the perceiving consciousness has full sway.
  10. Through the cultivation of this habit of mind there will eventuate a steadiness of spiritual perception.
  11. The establishing of this habit, and the restraining of the mind from its thought-form-making tendency, re- sults eventually in the constant power to contemplate.
  12. When mind control and the controlling factor are equally balanced, then comes the condition of one-pointedness.
  13. Through this process the aspects of every object are known, their characteristics (or form), their symbolic nature, and their specific use in time-conditions (stage of development) are known and realized.
  14. The characteristics of every object are acquired, manifesting or latent.
  15. The stage of development is responsible for the various modifications of the versatile psychic nature and of the thinking principle.
  16. Through concentrated meditation upon the triple nature of every form, comes the revelation of that which has been and of that which will be.
  17. The Sound (or word), that which it denotes (the object) and the embodied spiritual essence (or idea) are usually confused in the mind of the perceiver. By concentrated meditation on these three aspects comes an (intuitive) comprehension of the sound uttered by all forms of life.
  18. Knowledge of previous incarnations becomes available when the power to see thought-images is acquired.
  19. Through concentrated meditation, the thought images in the minds of other people become apparent.
  20. As, however, the object of those thoughts is not apparent to the perceiver, he sees only the thought and not the object. His meditation excludes the tangible.
  21. By concentrated meditation upon the distinction between form and body, those properties of the body which make it visible to the human eye are negated (or withdrawn) and the yogi can render himself invisible.
  22. Karma (or effects) are of two kinds: immediate karma or future karma. By perfectly concentrated meditation on these, the yogi knows the term of his experience in the three worlds. This knowledge comes also from signs.
  23. Union with others is to be gained through one-pointed meditation upon the three states of feeling-compassion, tenderness and dispassion.
  24. Meditation, one-pointedly centered upon the power of the elephant, will awaken that force or light.
  25. Perfectly concentrated meditation upon the awakened light will produce the consciousness of that which is subtle, hidden or remote.
  26. Through meditation, one-pointedly fixed upon the sun, will come a consciousness (or knowledge) of the seven worlds.
  27. A knowledge of all lunar forms arises through one-pointed meditation upon the moon.
  28. Concentration upon the Pole-Star will give knowledge of the orbits of the planets and the stars.
  29. By concentrated attention upon the center called the solar plexus, comes perfected knowledge as to the condition of the body.
  30. By fixing the attention upon the throat center, the cessation of hunger and thirst will ensue.
  31. By fixing the attention upon the tube or nerve below the throat center, equilibrium is achieved.
  32. Those who have attained self-mastery can be seen and contacted through focusing the light in the head. This power is developed in one-pointed meditation.
  33. All things can be known in the vivid light of the intuition.
  34. Understanding of the mind-consciousness comes from one-pointed meditation upon the heart center.
  35. Experience (of the pairs of opposites) comes from the inability of the soul to distinguish between the personal self and the purusa (or spirit). The objective forms exist for the use (and experience) of the spiritual man. By meditation upon this, arises the intuitive perception of the spiritual nature (the purusa).
  36. As the result of this experience and meditation, the higher hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell are developed, producing intuitional knowledge.
  37. These powers are obstacles to the highest spiritual realization, but serve as magical powers in the objective worlds.
  38. By liberation from the causes of bondage through their weakening and by an understanding of the mode of transference (withdrawal or entrance), the mind stuff (or chitta) can enter another body.
  39. By subjugation of the upward life (the udana) there is liberation from water, the thorny path, and mire, and the power of ascension is gained.
  40. Through subjugation of the samana, the spark becomes the flame.
  41. By the means of one-pointed meditation upon the relationship between the kasha and sound, an organ for spiritual hearing will be developed.
  42. By one-pointed meditation upon the relationship existing between the body and the kasha, ascension out of matter (the three worlds) and power to travel in space is gained.
  43. When that which veils the light is done away with, then comes the state of being called discarnate (or disembodied), freed from the modification of the thinking principle. This is the state of illumination.
  44. One-pointed meditation upon the five forms which every element takes, produces mastery over every element. These five forms are the gross nature, the elemental form, the quality, the pervasiveness and the basic purpose.
  45. Through this mastery, minuteness and the other siddhis (or powers) are attained, likewise bodily perfection and freedom from all hindrances.
  46. Symmetry of form, beauty of color, strength and the compactness of the diamond, constitute bodily perfection.
  47. Mastery over the senses is brought about through concentrated meditation upon their nature, peculiar attributes, egoism, pervasiveness and useful purpose.
  48. As a result of this perfection, there comes rapidity of action like that of mind, perception independent of the organs, and mastery over root substance.
  49. The man who can discriminate between the soul and the spirit achieves supremacy over all conditions and becomes omniscient.
  50. By a passionless attitude towards this attainment and towards all soul-powers, the one who is free from the seeds of bondage, attains the condition of isolated unity.
  51. There should be entire rejection of all allurements from all forms of being, even the celestial, for the recurrence of evil contacts remains possible.
  52. Intuitive knowledge is developed through the use of the discriminative faculty when there is one-pointed concentration upon moments and their continuous succession.
  53. From this intuitive knowledge is born the capacity to distinguish (between all beings) and to cognize their genus, qualities and position in space.
  54. This intuitive knowledge, which is the great Deliverer, is omnipresent and omniscient and includes the past, the present and the future in the Eternal Now.
  55. When the objective forms and the soul have reached a condition of equal purity, then is At-one-ment achieved and liberation results.
Email This Post Email This Post

The Incredible Lightness of Being

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I read somewhere not long ago that a Zen master (it could have been the recent Suzuki) said, and I’m paraphrasing here, to tame the bull give it a wide open field. The bull in this is one’s own mind. Taming is to be engaged in dhyana. But what is a wide open field?

A recent thought of mine is that this is to hold one’s attention to breathing lightly and to open up one’s awareness without discourse. And that was the nature of some of this morning’s meditation. Is this getting close to Zen?

This evening’s metta on the other hand had a much darker quality. Some part of myself coming up for forgiveness.

Email This Post Email This Post