Finding joy with just who we are…
What can conscious thought be, but confidence with attention that later becomes our intention. As our intention permeates the vibrations of our eternal presence. Mindfulness is about understanding who we are and moving to our highest aspirations of endeavor and destiny. When you walk in mindfulness, you are in touch with all the wonders of life within you and around you as if all life is a miracle. This is the best way to practice, with the appearance of nonpractice. You don’t make any effort, you don’t struggle, you just enjoy walking, but it’s very deep.
“My practice,” the Buddha said, “is the nonpractice, the attainment of nonattainment.” In what the Taoists and Lao Tzu, would call wu wei. As if walking beyond the present moment to both what is known and unknown. Finding joy just the same.
Unconcerned with what final destinations look like. In faith of the unknown we proceed with assurances beyond a practice defined in physical and religious terms. To what I like to call “as if living your life beyond the beyond”. Coming to terms with who we are is essential first. Using wise thinking and counsel from our mentors to decide how to handle life’s events, as you cannot limit yourself to continuously being unaware.
Consciousness may never arise – or simply appear as a spark as the universe demonstrates its own presence through the nature of things. Awareness always entails the ability to gain confidence and knowing what one knows reflecting divine order and to act accordingly. As the Bodhisattva vow permeates our actions and world.
When we speak of mindfulness we infer “conscious thought”, what some may say is known as “having an institutional memory” of past events that help to guide us or assist in taking us there. It becomes the starting point for our imagination combining real and unknown based on what then becomes possible. To what some may refer to as “moving with or in faith”. This ability forms the basis for what we take to be the most direct indication of awareness of where nothing begins or ends. To a continuum we seek that defines both us and all things. The answer always lies in understanding contradictions of life’s true nature.
When we observe the absence of this knowledge involved in our decisions, we conclude a decision was based on unconscious knowledge. As something we believe to either be true or not true outside or external to ourselves, even to what is thought to be known, but yet is unknown. We sometimes direct our attention and thought towards assessing the contents of our experience. The resulting consciousness involves a re-representation of consciousness in which one interprets, describes, or otherwise characterizes the state of one’s mind in the present. If mind connotates spirit or one’s soul, from where does conscious thought derive and this awareness lead?
Karmic wheel at the Sera Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet. The bhāvacakra is a symbolic representation of samsara (or cyclic existence). It is found on the outside walls of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Indo-Tibetan region to help people understand Buddhist teachings. (I took this picture in October 2018 while in Lhasa).
In studying Zen, and the role of both the sage and Bodhisattvas, why is the above discussion important to an understanding of what is consciousness, but the continuation of spirit, our eternal essence or presence? Timeless and constant we travel through the universe with our entry defined only by “how and where do we go from here”. What is our ultimate role and where does this understanding, and path take us? We go forward as a pivot. As a commentary of what we know that is important in showing the way for both our own enfoldment and others. Putting things in our own words. What is important must pass through us as we put into context what it means through us. We capture a word, phrase, or sentence as if we have just been waiting for its arrival. Taking nothing for granted until it goes through you to see if it fits your own intrinsic innate eternal nature. What is the circle of life, but what moves us beyond where we now sit that further defines our presence?
Mahayana Buddhism as illustrated by The King of Meditation Sutra, Lao Tzu, and others below in Chapter Eight, is representative of the continuing eternal journey we all take together. The chapter is divided as with previous chapters into 8A and 8B. Chapter 8 includes numbers 1 through 15. Chapter 8B that follows will include numbers 16 through 30.
In the footsteps of Bodhisattvas – 8A Gaining confidence as our conduct must exhibit motivation as our aspirations align with the teachings we choose to emulate and follow.
Key thought: To gain the confidence to live your life correctly and courageously as the teachings of the Buddha and Lao and Chuang Tzu dictate.
- Remaining empty with discipline to be filled only with compassion as we endeavor to be free.
- Chapter 7 of the Sutra tells us to release all anger and to meet others with compassion. With this we begin to learn patience that gives us the confidence to practice correctly. It is as if the Sutra is telling us “If someone is taking you where you want to go, just pick up your feet.”
- Our conduct must be an offspring of our motivation endowed with compassion and free from clinging to old ideas that inhibit us on the path to freedom. As we ask ourselves, does our meditation and our aspirations align with the teaching of the Buddha and Lao Tzu?
- Our study should be on-going. Our practice is how we live, not just that found on a cushion. Always open to learning something new from the old ways others lived and what they followed that inspired them to become their highest endeavor. We gain inspiration through their vigor, their patience, and the purity of their motivation. Also, to acknowledge that they too were not perfect. As they strived to move beyond their own human imperfections.
- Within the transformative process we are to forgo sentimentality for the present, as if understanding the demeaner of antiquity. As we in turn acknowledge our past. To something the sage and shaman, and we, have always known. Recalling that both the Tao and Buddhism teach that desire brings both ingenuity and error and with emotions come difficulties.
Embracing virtue, the essentials found in the Tao, protects what is called our life destiny as we are to maintain an unagitated heart/mind in our relationships with others. (page 195 of The Way of Complete Perfection).
- This view is essential in recognizing associations we have gained over eons of time as relationships that further our eternal growth and development. That we are not alone in nurturing our endeavors as we are to assist in facilitating the growth of others. Over time this ability to eliminate thoughts of self-interest, as promulgated by Buddhism and other paths have shown thinking and acting only with us in mind, is not the proper path we are here to follow. With this, in practice of samadhi, our presence focuses on meditation and conduct that are interrelated with our view, compassion, and patience.
- Focusing on emptiness allows us to be in constant readiness to take the next step to awakening that brings us back to compassion and patience. Remaining empty to be made full again with thoughts and actions of merit our agenda. It seems like the only commonality among people and things found in nature begins with compassion, finding our bliss and knowing with correct understanding what takes us there.
- Compassion in Buddhism means everything should be found on the same equal footing. Again, all things found in nature just want to be happy and maintain their place and role in the overall scheme of things. It is this that brings forth the intrinsic sameness found in all things when we have the patience to recognize this truism. Just as our teachers are those who convey and transmit the Dharma, i.e., the intrinsic virtue that connects all to the cosmos.
- Finding ourselves on this path leads us to ask what is our next step? Chapter 18 of the Sutra conveys that we must perceive all buddhas and bodhisattvas as our teachers. Also, those who bring or deliver these teachings of the Dharma as our teachers as well. With experience as a teacher, I know that to prepare to teach, you must thoroughly know your subject. As the starting point, we must acknowledge and become comfortable with the equality found in the world of impermanence. That all things change to become something else. It’s not complicated, we only make it so due to ego and who we think we are that in all reality is simply illusion.
Without attaining the true transmission of the utmost Tao, what is most important will become empty and fleeting and you will lose what is real. If you are only concerned about craving and delusion and do not wake up, you will float and drown in the dream of ephemeral life. Reincarnation will not have a fixed limit. How then can you become free of life and death? Get rid of this and ardently seek out a great person, whose sincerity is extended, whose counsel is penetrating, and whose discernment is liberating.
As soon as one awakens, one returns to the fundamental. One directly leaps beyond the realm of formlessness. Orient yourself towards the great Tao and engage in cultivation. Internally preserve spirit and nourish qi. Externally mix with the ordinary and join with the dust. This is residing in the world while being beyond the world. Then you may join the assemblies of immortals and buddhas (page 216). For myself, it’s returning home to be with dragons once again. When what was thought to be unknown is nothing more than what you have always known but forgotten.
- Acknowledgement and recollection of our own nature keeps us grounded in the pervasiveness of wisdom, or what should be considered as the transcendence of the cosmos. It is who we are before illusion comes forth to greet us in the mundane world. The ground and path we tread is both pure and illusory. Understanding this purity is what brings us to calmness and patience.
- It is to this point of inquiry that most people find challenging because it requires us to make a choice. Seeing everything, all phenomena as limitless, we can begin to see selflessness that contains no afflictions is what leads us to emptiness. It is this concept that the Buddha Siddhartha addresses so well and why additional study is so important in attaining the freedom of patience. It is in the patience gained through meditation we learn freedom and come to truly know ourselves.
- It is the complete purity of everything that is the basis of supreme patience. Mahayana Buddhism teaches us that it is in our meditation we learn that the object of meditation is ungraspable and at the same time limitless. From here when we go forth in a post-meditative state, we can see everything as an illusion. As attachment lessens and our wisdom increases, we find patience.
- Clearing our mind to get to this point is difficult. It is why a commitment to a Buddhist practice over time becomes essential. The idea of renunciation and relinquishing those things that keep us from awakening become foremost in our mind and actions. What is it we are to give up, or even wish to achieve in following the correct path… to be free of attachment and suffering?
- We begin by taking small steps. Sitting meditation practice requires patience. In our actions stop anger and assess where it comes from. Be peaceful, letting silence be our guide. Most things past by us without our input… just let things flow by as they simply take care of themselves. Commit to virtuous deeds as we accumulate the merit that contribute to our growth and awareness. Find what makes you happy and unobtrusive to others and go there. Take the goodness intended by the teachings of the Buddha as your guidepost into your heart. Reduce pride and ego and let go of anger towards non-Buddhist views.
- We continue by practicing the patience of listening to the teachings as we incorporate them into our thoughts and wisdom. Our focus becomes our conduct and our ability to train in meditation. As our insight continues with reflection. This begins with listening and releasing ego that will dispel doubts as to our intended direction and ultimate liberation.
Chapter 8B that follows will include numbers 16 through 30.