Posts Tagged ‘Hui Neng’

Sentient beings give rise to buddhas

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Observing the rising and falling of thoughts and the rising and falling of feeling is central to my practice. It has a number of benefits. Firstly, it gives insight into the space between thoughts. I’ve been calling that awareness of late. It strikes me that this is the “essence of mind” that Hui Neng talks about. Secondly, it demonstrates the impermanence of thoughts, points of view and of feelings. And that leads to the fourth point, which is that the whole realm of appearances is unsatisfactory. Fifthly, it develops a kind of spaciousness in one’s psyche.

In a way this post proceeds on from “The second initiation.” Seeing feelings arise, eventually gives the ability to intercept them and examine how that feeling will move into craving, into clinging, into becoming, into birth and into suffering; even if you’re watching it happen in real time. Seeing from your own experience that feelings lead to suffering is a vital key.

Also of interest to this post is how the senses lead to contact and in turn lead to feeling for me is such an exquisite part of the dharma.

“What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (types of consciousness), in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to ‘come’ or to ‘go’, we attain Samadhi of Prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of ‘thoughtlessness’. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.”
Hui Neng

The point of all of this is: if you don’t see the flow of suffering, you won’t know how to stop it. Once you see how it all works for yourself, you want to stop it. Why should you suffer any more? And you want to enter fully into that awareness you’ve discovered.

The technique is that you can be simply aware, you can intercept thoughts and you can intercept feelings. There is lots of room for practice.

“Sentient beings who sow the seeds of enlightenment In the field of causation will reap the fruit of Buddhahood.”

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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.

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Taming the bull

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I guess if I were to have to make a call I’d say that I am taming the bull.  I’m reminded of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approach to body building; everytime the same routine, session in, session out. It’s not about making it interesting, it’s about getting the job done. And I’m reminded of something Gil Fronsdal once said; to paraphrase: that people think my talk was boring is a good thing. After all, what we’re pointing to is interesting not the pointing itself. But it seems we are making finer and finer distinctions until there are no distinctions at all.

So, this taming, seems to be about getting some distance on the mind; the kind of distance where thoughts are seen to be external, which is I guess glimpsing the bull. Perhaps distance should be called spaciousness. Thoughts arise within a much wider space than the thoughts themselves. And because of that distance there is a measure of control, which seems to be no control at all, because when there is control it is really thoughts controlling thoughts. Call this wider space presence. (more…)

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