Monday, February 10, 2014

ASK MAYA: Meditation vs. Absorption? (Part 2)

Maya, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Kelly Y., Wisdom Quarterly  ASK MAYA (See PART 1)
Enlightenment is not an ancient dream but a modern reality (
Part 2: Enlightenment
Note that the "point" of meditation is not meditation itself. Nor is it absorption.
The Buddha was interested in virtue, but not virtue for virtue's sake. He was interested in virtue because he realized that it led to concentration (a calm, collected heart/mind).

He was not interested in concentration for concentration's sake. Nor was it all the marvels a calm, collected, concentrated mind/heart is capable of. The point of virtue is that it is the basis for concentration. The point of concentration is that it is the basis for WISDOM.

Enlightenment (bodhi) sees nirvana. (SC)
What is the heart/mind's greatest potential? Enlightenment. And here is how to arrive at it:

1. What is the problem? Suffering is the problem. 2. What is the cause? Ignorance (which causes and conditions craving). 3. What is the solution? Nirvana. 4. What is the path to nirvana? It is the path to enlightenment. The first glimpse of nirvana is the first stage of enlightenment: stream entry.
Modern tree sitter Amanda Senseman (PD)
If one meditates, one might become absorbed. If one gains the first absorption, one will notice that it is too close to the ordinary distracted state we live in. Seeing this defect, one can move to the second absorption, which is better but still flawed.

Noticing the flaw in the second absorption, one can move to the third...fourth [...eighth]. From the fourth, full of equanimity and one-pointedness of attention, it is very easy to come out and turn the mind/heart to the unique teachings of the Buddha: special mindfulness practices (such as Dependent Origination) to see things as they truly are. How?

Everything that is of a nature to arise is of a nature to fall.
Under the original Bodhi tree (BG)
If one emerges from the fourth absorption -- the heart temporarily pure, the mind crystal clear -- and turns to insight meditation practices, wisdom can arise.
This arising does not happen by accident, without causes and conditions. It all begins with an intention to meditate, followed by effort, then effortlessness, then the absorptions (at least the first), then emerging and turning to the unique practices the Buddha taught. This, indeed, is the way outlined in general by the Buddha as the Noble Eightfold Path.

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