Talking to the Buddha
|Golden Buddha (adrianjevans/flickr.com)|
- *Alara Kalama was one of the ascetic Siddhartha's teachers before his enlightenment at which time he became the Buddha, the "Awakened One." He taught the Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) how to attain the seventh meditative absorption known as the "sphere of nothingness" but could not show him the path to nirvana and final (permanent) liberation.
"Marvelous it is, venerable sir! Most wonderful it is, O venerable sir, the state of serenity in which abide those who have gone forth from the world [become ascetic renouncing the life of an ordinary layperson].
"It came about, venerable sir, that a great number of carts, 500, passed by him one by one. Then, venerable sir, a man following behind the carts approached him and said: 'Sir, did you see a great number of carts that passed?' Alara Kalama answered: 'I did not see them, brother.'
To learn the doctrine, the Dharma, means three stages:
- the development of tranquillity or serenity by concentration,
- the development of wisdom or insight by mindfulness.
Serenity is the concentrated, unshaken, peaceful, and therefore undefiled temporary state of mind, whereas insight (vipassanā) is the intuitive penetration of the truth, directly knowing-and-seeing the
- impersonal (tilakkhana)
Serenity, which is the result of concentration (coherence, collectedness, bringing together) of mind, according to Sankhepavannana (Commentary to Abhidhammattha-sangaha), bestows a threefold blessing:
- favorable rebirth
- happy present life
- purity of mind which is the supporting condition of insight.
The Path of Purification (Vis.M. III-XI) gives full directions on how to attain full concentration and the meditative absorptions... More
|"Thunder bolts and lightning are very, very frightening" explains Freddie Mercury (Z).|
|Sitting in comfortable pose, seeing nimitta (vivid image) at point of concentration.|
37. "Now what do you think, Puck? What is more difficult to do, more difficult to meet with -- a person, who while conscious and awake, should not see a great number of carts, even 500, that passes one after another nor hear their noise, or that one conscious and awake, in the midst of a heavy rain, with thunder rolling and crashing and lightning flashing, should neither see it nor hear the noise?"
"'No, brother, I was not sleeping.' 'Then, venerable sir, you were conscious?' 'I was, brother.' That man continued: 'Then, venerable sir, while conscious and awake, in the midst of a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing, you neither saw it nor heard the noise?' And I answered him: 'I did not, brother.'
"Venerable sir, it is as if one were to set upright what had been overthrown, or to reveal what had been hidden, or to show the path to one who had gone astray, or to light a lamp in the darkness so that those having eyes might see -- even so has the Blessed One set forth the Dharma in many ways.
"And so, O venerable sir, I go for guidance to the Blessed One, to the Dharma, and to the Sangha. May the Blessed One accept me as a disciple, one who has gone for guidance until the end of life."
|The Buddha walks on (dreamstime.com)|
These, Ananda, are the two occasions on which the skin of the Wayfarer appears exceedingly clear and radiant.