Paramita of the Month: Meditation

As we begin the month of May, we arrive at the penultimate of the six paramitas: meditation. Here are some texts to contemplate.

Meditation Cushion

The Bodhicharyavatara (excerpt)

Shantideva

After cultivating diligence, set your mind to concentrate,
For those whose minds are slack and wandering
Are caught between the fangs of the affliction.

Verses on Work and Meditation

Khenchen Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
(Songs of Realization)

In this day and age, when people fly in the sky like birds,
In this day and age, when people travel under the ocean like fish,
In this day and age, when people see a variety of empty fomrms,
In this day and age, when people hear a variety of empty sounds,
Meditating while in motion makes Samadhi increase.

Work is meditation’s friend.
Work is meditation’s focal support.
Therefore, while you work,
Relax naturally and uncontrived,
Know that memories are self-liberated.
Know that all thoughts are self-liberated.

Wild Awakening (excerpt)

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

When we close our eyes and meditate, when we look at our mind, it is not simply blank. It is not merely a big black hole. When we look at that mind, it is full of energy – it is a field of energy. This is similar to the experience of modern physicists examining an object under a powerful microscope. Although they do not find any solidly existing atoms, what they see is full of energy. There is a sense of complete or all pervasive luminosity at this point.”

An Introduction to Mahamudra Meditation (excerpt)

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

We basically have two parts to ourselves, one of which is our body and the other our mind. Because we can see and feel our bodies, we tend to think that they are more important. But actually, if you look at your experience closely you’ll see that your mind is, in the end, more important. It has been said that our body is really like a servant who is employed or commanded by our mind, which is like a monarch. When our mind is happy, we experience a well-being that extends to our physical body. When our mind is in a positive state, our physical and verbal actions will automatically be positive as well. When our mind is aware, clear and lucid, our actions will be more effective.

So, working with our mind, making our mind happy, positive and lucid is extremely important. Basically, there s no other way to do this than working with the habits that accrue in our mind. We’re constantly getting used to things, developing habits of doing things which may be positive or negative and the way to work with the mind, with our state of mind, is to cultivate positive and constructive habits and no longer invest in the negative or destructive ones.

The ultimate result in meditation practice is described in our tradition as Buddhahood, or awakening. When we talk about Buddhahood or the Buddha, it sounds like we’re talking about some kind of god. But in fact this is not what it means at all. The word Buddha means to wake up. For example, in the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit word Buddha, there are two syllables. The first syllable, “sang,” means to purify or remove. It means to transcend or let go of all the problems that otherwise afflict one’s mind: sadness, regret, aggression, jealousy, arrogance, ignorance, apathy and so on. The second syllable in Tibetan is “je,” which means to expand or flourish. It means that when you can let go of, or transcend the problems that have afflicted your mind, then all of your innate qualities, which have up to that point  been bound, restricted or held in by those problems, can flourish freely. These are the qualities of wisdom, awareness, compassion, kindness, love and so on.

Now the source of these two aspects of awakening; the removal of defects and the natural flourishing or growth of good qualities, is the practice of meditation.”

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