Friday, October 1, 2010

How We Became Enlightened

Blogé Vérité -- instructions on how two friends ended Samsara
"For one who knows, for one who sees is the destruction of the taints [obstacles to enlightenment], I declare: not for one who does not know, not for one who does not see" -- the Buddha (The All Taints Sutra, M.I.i.2).

Okay, you're a precocious, clever, sharp, bright American.
"A wise person can soon enter upon this Dharma," the Buddha frequently said.
Let's take it back a step:
Before we start, we have to sharpen our sharpener:

The mind (a synonym for the heart) is a laser.
Attention focuses it.
It does its own magic.
And, goodness, that magic is not something we could dream up!

We don't need our own will; we have higher orders --
developing "higher mind" via the eight jhanas.
So first let's purify the mind by collecting it, stabilizing it, calming and appeasing it.

That's what Samatha (tranquility) meditation is.
Vipassana (insight) follows.

Swim in a bath of serenity, joy, ecstasy, and bliss --
not excitement, not racing and spacing.
Take that joy and treat it like water on soap powder,
pervading every part, every cell, every particle of your body,
very moist and completely saturated.

Hold it in.
Don't let it spill out.
That's where you're not ready.
You're eager, and I love it, but we will not get there by eagerness.
We pace ourselves.

First joy (serenity and a pure heart).
Then equanimity (impartiality and all-accepting).
Then insight (knowing and seeing).

We're going to go anti-diversity this time.
Clear the mind, like an Etch-a-Sketch.
First we strengthen the laser (and our backs) then we explore amazing mental and material diversity.

First comes Step 1.
Step 1, and there's no Step 2. There's Step 1. Do Step 1.

Inhale. Exhale. Let go. (Three times).
Bring the attention under the nose, above the lip.
That's the place you know the breath.
Eyes closed. See the breath.
You're observing it like it is someone elses.
Watch the breathing that happens.
You aren't breathing: Breath is breathing you.
Let go.
Don't think.

Whenever the mind wanders, bring it back to the same spot.
Imagine putting a kid in a boring box.
At first it doesn't like it (because it says "It's boring!")
Then it calms down.
How long does it take to calm down?

That depends on how much you trust that this is the way.
These instructions work.
They lead to enlightenment.

We're on a road.
We're not just doing
Follow the road. Follow the road.
Everything has a reason.
Everything has a place.

And this is not about thinking.
There's nothing to decide.
There's nothing to ponder.
There's a breath to watch while not thinking.

Stay awake.
Keep getting calmer and calmer.
If you lie down, when you get calm you'll fall asleep.
We're not trying to sleep.
We're being lucidly awake, but so calm it's better than sleep.
You'll get more rest this way.

Drink more water; eat less food.
Keep bringing attention back with happiness every time it drifts off:
1,000 times, 1,000,000 times -- as soon as you know it has slipped off, bring it back.
Bring it back gently until it stays right at that spot.

Mindfulness is just presence of mind, unembelished awareness, remembering what one is doing at the present moment.
There is something seen when, with closed eyes, one is "looking" at the breath.

Listen to these instructions because you've decided to listen,
not for any other reason.
Then you're going to SEE.
Seeing is believing.
First you trust, then you try, then you see.

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