Saturday, July 28, 2012

Whatever arises

whatever arises in my experience, thoughts or emotions, pleasant or unpleasant -- 

whatever appears in the world, objects and phenomena of any kind --

may its arising serve to free all beings from struggle and confusion

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Awareness and compassion undermine self-centeredness

Suffering is created by the self-cherishing that inevitably follows self-grasping. Self-cherishing is undermined by kindness and compassion for others. Self-grasping is undermined by directly seeing that self is a construction empty of permanence, solidity, and satisfaction. 

Before, during, and after

Before a habit-pattern arises in experience, we can practice forming the intention not to be take over by it.

After the experience, we can remember that the experience was just an experience, and reflect on whether we were able to maintain our intention in the face of it.

But during the experience itself, we have an opportunity to look deeply into the nature of the experience itself, to see its true nature.

Being able to be present and intentional in the experience is stability (shamatha). Looking deeply to see the true nature of what arises results in insight (vipashyana).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Boundless Attitudes

Metta (lovingkindness) = friendly kindness that wishes self and others well.

Karuna (compassion) = the trembling heart that responds to pain and suffering.

Mudita (sympathetic joy) = appreciating the good in the world, enjoying others' happiness and success.

Upeksha (equanimity) = balance and clarity in the midst of experience. 

The four immeasurables are alternately aspirations, intentions, attitudes, and feelings. 

They do not depend on outer circumstances nor on one's inner state. 

They lead to insight -- to knowing how things are. 

They lead to the ability to be present and responsive. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shamatha Vipashyana Mahamudra

Shamatha (calm abiding) is the capacity to abide in vividly clear experience without reacting (fighting, fleeing, or freezing). This non-reactive capacity comes from focusing on a chosen object, or from resting in the experience of the chosen object. Classic objects are the breath, body sensation, a physical object, a mental image, or the totality of experience. There is no shamatha separate from stable abiding in vivid experience as it arises. 

Vipashyana (clear seeing or insight) is “looking” (non-conceptually examining and sensing) experience to know its actual nature: not permanent, not separate, not self, not satisfying. The result is knowing directly that every internal experience and external object is “empty” of any imagined characteristics. There is no insight or thing that is “emptiness” separate from knowing the nature of experience as it arises.

Shamatha calms habits of emotional turmoil and struggle -- the habit-patterns are interrupted temporarily. Shamatha is necessary for insight. 

Vipashyana cuts the confusion at the root of turmoil and struggle. Vipashyana is necessary for freedom. 

If we can't be non-reactive in experience, we need shamatha. 

If confusion and struggle still arise, we need vipashyana. 

Mahamudra is the effortless union of shamatha (calm abiding) and vipashyana (knowing).