Knowing to trust our deeper insight and instincts – even when it is yet to emerge to top level of consciousness. We each have goals we are not yet aware of or know about as we vibrate as if nothing but a wisp of a cloud. The horizon beaming with an agenda we’ve only started to understand. Often with both fear and courage we cannot yet know as we find that path of purpose. Moving on to a higher place we release past faults and let go. Finding the right vibration, our soul chooses a life that expresses our presence.
In practical terms, I like to think and see things as if I’m “looking over, above, or beyond my present life”. Living beyond the possibilities of the moment life becomes simple…
As if the idea refers to the equanimity that arises from the power of observation – the ability to see beyond what exists in the present without being caught up by what we see. Life as meditation looking down from a thousand feet with a growing detachment. When well developed, such power gives rise to a great sense of peace. Seeing things from a bigger picture with greater understanding and what sometimes seems difficult – patience. I especially like the thought expressed below that teaching is an expression of character. Sometimes easier to write than to live.
The qualities of equanimity are sometimes referred to “all things or what our surroundings are telling us.”
That we are to remain centered in the middle of whatever is happening. This form of balance comes from some inner strength or stability. The strong presence of inner calm, well-being, confidence, vitality, or integrity that keeps us upright, like ballast keeps a ship upright in strong winds. As inner strength develops for example, from the accumulation of mindfulness in the ordinary moments of life, equanimity follows.
I find it is having an institutional memory of our past that stays and becomes us like a benchmark, as if a guide going forward. As we cultivate the qualities of mind that support it, or simply enhancing enough already.
As I conclude this segment following The King of Meditation Sutra addressing the bodhisattva vow, I like to look to parallels of comparative thought. To Plato and Socrates, as well as to Emerson and Lao Tzu. Twenty years ago, I wrote my own personal version of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching that was later published in China in 2006. As I encapsulate, or incorporate all this, I like to refer to Verse 30 of the Tao Te Ching that I wrote in May and June 2000 and later included here on my website.
Verse 30 – Winning when you have no Choice
The Tao teaches us to win with our integrity intact, to let our spiritual fortunes guide the way.
In keeping with your role as remaining at the foremost point of mediation you have come to a few basic tenants. First is an understanding of what it takes to win without using force. That it is better to win, then stop – letting common sense prevail.
Next to win with your humility intact letting everyone take credit for the outcome. Third, to win without being cruel to another, giving them the victory as well. And finally, to win when you have no choice.
Ultimate victory occurring when you appear to prosper but remain poor. Become full yet seem empty. Keep virility at arm’s length thus remaining forever young and allowing death to make no appearances.
The knowing sage ages without growing old.
Flowers and Birds Dujiangyan Waterworks north of Chengdu
(The complete text in both Chinese and English can be found on thekongdanfoundation.com website under the heading of “Books” entitled Taoism and Lao Tzu).
As stated earlier we continue with our conduct as an expression of our motivation. This idea has been the thread of the King of Meditation Sutra we have been following. What is the circle of life, as expressed so well above with the medicine wheel and mandala, but what moves us beyond where we now sit that further defines our presence? Mahayana Buddhism as illustrated by The King of Meditation Sutra, as well as others including both Aristotle and Plato, acknowledging that we are enough from within and how we are to incorporate equanimity that becomes us continues below.
In the footsteps of Bodhisattvas – Chapter 13B Living and upholding the Dharma, a continuing commentary.
Key thoughts: Dedicating ourselves to the practice of the Dharma with enlightenment, virtue, and equanimity.
(1 through 5 were included in the previous entry). Numbers 6 through 16 of Chapter 13 are found below. This concludes my commentary and review of author Phakchok Rinpoche’s book “In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvas – Buddhist Teachings on the essence of Meditation”.
- The Buddha conveys that anyone who upholds The King of Meditation Sutras develops great dignity. Upholding this in our lives is far greater than offering countless gifts. We demonstrate what is taught in the sutra through our actions and the generosity of our efforts in four ways as follows: (Chapter 35 of the King of Meditation Sutra)
- “May I generate the roots of the virtue of generosity in order to obtain the skillful means through which the blessed ones actualized unsurpassable, perfect, and complete awakening”.
- “May I generate the roots of the virtue of generosity so that I may always be accompanied by spiritual teachers who will help me to accomplish unsurpassable, perfect, and complete awakening”.
- “May I generate the roots of the virtue of generosity so that I may acquire wealth that can bring sustenance to the entire world’.
- “May I generate the roots of the virtue of generosity so that I become accomplished in this very life, and so that this body may become source of the two types of benefit. First as I bring beings through the Dharma and second through material aid”.
Looking to Plato’s Theory of Recollection helps to appreciate our underlying knowledge with a sense of continuity and generosity of spirit we have looked to for centuries to develop and create our world. Since knowledge can be used as a tool of power that in many cases can control, systematize, and develop to do good or evil – remaining guided by virtue is key. It is here where the role of the teacher, master or guide is fundamental because as described by Plato, every person has innate knowledge. But it is necessary for someone to be able to remember or recall what they have always possessed internally. That with the right questions and guidance, it is possible to reach the maximum development in knowledge that is considered as intrinsic wisdom. It is here that study opens us to remembrances and determines how we are to take the next step using the innate talents we have always possessed but may have forgotten.
For myself, Eastern philosophy has served as the bridge and the way forward that serves to take both myself and others there. The bodhisattva vow discussed here opens the door to enlightenment, mirroring both the Tao, Chuang Tzu’s pivot and “perfected man”, and our bliss.
- As bodhisattva’s, we are to make four dedications as a part of our practice or after giving generously, 1) To dedicate our merit to learning the methods that lead to realization. 2) Bodhisattvas make the aspiration to have an authentic teacher who will always hold and protect them, who will teach them to practice correctly, and who will guide them along the path. 3) They dedicate and aspire to gain the very practical conditions of correct livelihood and material support that make it easier to practice. 4) The aspiration to give rise to generosity – both of material things and the Dharma. This dedication is to show that the teachings of the Dharma of Shakyamuni Buddha are not in conflict with the world.
Equanimity as a practice in our lives, is a protection from what are called the Eight Worldly Winds: praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain, fame, and disrepute. Becoming attached to or excessively elated with success, praise, fame, or pleasure can be a setup for suffering when the winds of change shift.
For example, success can be wonderful, but if it leads to arrogance, we have more to lose in future challenges. Becoming personally invested in praise can tend toward conceit. Identifying with failure, we may feel incompetent or inadequate. Reacting to pain, we may become discouraged. If we understand or feel that our sense of inner well-being is independent of the Eight Winds, we are more likely to remain on an even keel in their midst.
- The bodhisattva following The King of Meditation Sutra knows that appearances are but illusion and are neither right or wrong, knowing what is eternal and what is not is key. Complete enlightenment is unattainable without bringing everything as an active force of benefit to others with us along the way. Teaching virtue and offering the Dharma means planting seeds for a better world.
- Teaching is a central role of our character. To have others understand the Dharma, you must first live the Dharma yourself as everything is transformed into purity simply reflected by your own persona and actions.
- As relayed in Chapter 14, for those teaching the Dharma, their minds are only stirred by virtue, as they have come to understand and have realized wisdom. They abandon ignorant tendencies and teach the factors of supreme awakening. Merit gained by such activity is unmatched.
- We teach others through our conduct and gain merit accordingly. For many, teaching by those on the bodhisattva path is the best way to retain, understand, uphold, read, recite, transmit, chant, and by teaching this samadhi to others we gain the following four qualities. 1) Our merit cannot be outshone, 2) We are unassailable by opponents, 3) Our wisdom becomes immeasurable, and 4) Our confidence becomes unlimited. Chapter 18.
- The content of our lives is expressed through our compassion that must first recognize the equality of all things. It is through this enlightened Dharma that we gain the end of suffering. The bodhisattva who wishes to achieve unsurpassable, perfect, and complete awakening and wish to liberate all beings from samsara, must listen to this wisdom found in The King of Meditation Sutra. (Chapter 9). When we teach this, we give others the means to be free.
Aristotle criticizes the Theory of Recollection (anamnesis) in his philosophical work, Peri Ideōn, on knowledge. According to Aristotle, knowledge can be acquired by means of experiences in the sensitive world. On the other hand, for Plato, knowledge starts from the intelligible world, the ideas, and not from the sensitive world since this only provides us with the creation of opinion. For Aristotle, knowledge is acquired over time through the experience, something that is not innate. Being his student, Aristotle developed his own theories of his way of thinking. With Aristotle’s Epagoges and study of personal morality, the sensitive experience is the basis of being able to achieve the memory. For him, if one has not lived, one cannot remember what reminiscence would then be. Knowledge is not discovered but perceived for him.
Plato would conclude by saying that philosophy helps to put topics on the table for reflection and searching for truth. From the point of view of personal development Plato proposes knowledge as a pure value that is in each person and that can be awakened through memory, this is being possible through the contact of the objects-copies that we find. Human beings have the power to know and empower themselves with the knowledge to use it in a positive or negative way in the world.
Sharing this knowledge that each person has in empowering knowledge in others is the process of learning and teaching that both Plato and Socrates comments on as a form of success, or merit. For the bodhisattva and sage it is as if looking to complimentary opposites, the yin/yang for the sake of eternity.
This concludes the series here on The Kongdan Foundation website following the teachings of The King of Meditation Sutras among many others found along the Way. Remaining constant yet simply enough.