Thursday, May 17, 2018

LA Buddhist nun: Meditation's an Oasis (video)

Sayalay Aloka Nyani (Thabarwa Nature Center), Dhr. Seven, Ananda M., Wisdom Quarterly
On almsround in the San Gabriel Valley
Meditation is essential for a life of "right understanding," right-view (samma-ditthi), on the Noble Eightfold Path. Knowing the truth is essential.

Who we are, what we do, or where we live is not nearly as important compared to our understanding.

So more than study, which is very beneficial, we benefit by PRACTICE of the Path for the truth.

Imagine a distant land, an OASIS in nature. It would never do to only study maps, ask others about their travels, or reason out geographical features from a high vantage point. These things, as helpful as they might be, could hardly get us there.

Sillier still is the idea that setting off in any direction -- without study or guidance from someone who knows by first hand experience -- is going to get us to the place me mean to go. We're likely to end up very lost.

Sayalay from Virginia to Burma to California
When the Buddha outlined the Path to Enlightenment into eight general factors, we can see a great logic to it.

Right-view (to understand) and right-action (to practice) lead to right-meditation (coherent states of mind and mindfulness or samadhi and sati), which perfects right-view.

Often the Path is divided in three parts:
  1. virtue (the precepts)
  2. purifying concentration (coherence)
  3. wisdom (right-view).
Can a baby know the way to enlightenment?
Our right-behavior is key, and for our action to be "right" it must be guided by correct understanding, right-view, knowledge, and wisdom.
A meditator needs to use mindfulness (present-time awareness free of grasping, clinging, rejecting, resenting, or misunderstanding) of experience to calmly observe.

By nonclinging (giving, letting go, detaching) to every experience of mind and body, mentality and materiality, psychology and physicality, we become free and can begin to see thing as they really are. The Buddha then explained the systematic Fourfold Setting Up of Mindfulness to see:
  1. body
  2. feeling
  3. mind
  4. mind-objects.
What is there to see? There are three characteristics of all things that, by seeing, frees us.

In this way we can use this life in the "right" way, in a very beneficial way, free of attachment to what is ultimately (1) impermanent (passing), (2) disappointing (woeful, unable to satisfy or fulfill), and (3) impersonal (not at all what it seems).

When we practice in the "right" way -- in accordance with right-view or right-understanding -- the heart/mind naturally knows, and sees, and enjoys experience without grasping, clinging, and attachment. We no longer get stuck.

Whether we can do or not do, we just know and experience free of the Three Poisons (the roots): attachment, aversion, delusion about experience.

Just keep practicing and doing good deeds continuously. What is "good"? Actions (karma) motivated by nongreed, nonhatred, nondelusion (the three good roots), things that neither harm oneself nor others, this is "good."

This is the most important thing to do in spite of The Eight Worldly Conditions:
  1. gain
  2. loss
  3. honor
  4. disgrace
  5. praise
  6. blame
  7. pleasure
  8. pain.
A better way to live
Embodying  Perfect Wisdom
All of these eight are just "created truths" (our consensual- or social-reality). We can experience created truths without attachment or aversion or confusion.

If we understand in this way, we live carefree, without worries about our lives or whatever things happen. It is very relaxing.

We need not pursue pleasures, distractions, and happinesses. We can do necessary things, like merit and meditation instead. This will solve all kinds of problems.

And even if it does not seem to, or if it appears to be too hard, we can surely practice in this way slowly for the duration of "meditation" session by session.

What if rather than chasing after "happiness," we simply abandon three expressions of karma (mental, verbal, physical) that chases, rejects, or gets confused about experience?
Dharma Meditation Initiative - Disclosure Project - UCLA MARC - Punx

No comments: