Taming the Mind, 3 Kinds of Laziness, 9 Stages of Shamatha
Freedom from 3 kinds of laziness.
To be able to tame the mind, to let your sitting be free from all the obscurations of many lifetimes, all the obstacles of own habitual patterns. All the instructions are relevant, but further refining one’s sitting meditation by eliminating obstacles of many lifetimes, habitual patterns. Watch out for 3 traces of laziness.
Laziness of discouragement.
[This is] where one is discouraged by one’s own situations such as health problems. Many of you suffer from health issues; you begin to think you are limited due to these. Meditators must immediately know this discouragement is another form of laziness. “Turning mind to the Dharma” means engaging in dharma must be kept intact. Whatever you are doing for health problems- treatments, etc. stands good on its own. Dharma stands good on its own. Health is health. Dharma is dharma. Even if lying flat on ground with tubes everywhere in bed, you can still be working with silence, stillness and non-thought. It is a question of priorities. That issue is made much worse. Illness could be greatest factor to be made into…
Being too busy to practice has nothing to do with Dharma at all. You could be with the view of dharma despite not having a single second to spare. If you allow that which you are busy with to distance you from Dharma, it is a form of laziness. There are two kinds of mind: one for dharma, one for business. You are starving one, and feeding the other. When you look at the busyness, if you transform it into a sense of how samsara can drown you, a sense that it completely overshadows basic mindfulness, it has become the most authentic meditation. Dharma is not a particular recitation, not a particular posture, but is creating an authentic awakened state than any amount of …
Taking the busyness and allowing the busyness to awaken you to the busyness of samsara. See “I can be limitlessly mad because this is how limitless busy mind can be. “ See how easily seductions of karmic influences arise, then take all that could be cause of laziness and use to recognize your own mind. When you don’t do it, you allow different reasons, such as health preoccupations, especially in America. That closely followed by weather. (Laughter) That allows you to breed that laziness. It is important to look at – health, money, responsibilities, and business- all those reasons that become cause of discouragement in year. Today, look in self to see traces of discouragement. “I am not able to practice because…” List them.
How many are really causes of impediment, or did you just allow it to be so? Here is your excuse to not train you mind be able to really — the best meditation is one able to see ‘here is the molding that happens.’ How much of the harboring and nourishing is happening in oneself?
So much concentration has gone into not getting to the crucial point and justifying the hindrances.
Laziness of attachment to negative actions.
Attachment to one’s self, to one’s business, to one’s friends, to one’s self-worth, to the samsaric occupations, having a house, having a car, having another mortgage, all these things that you allow to keep you going: the attachment keeps you feeling alive and neurotic. That is laziness. Business is becoming business. Laziness is about doing what you should not be doing. Even what appears good to benefiting other sentient beings. This is for some of you here, and those not here that will listen to the tapes (Laughter). You give yourself reasons to not sit in shamatha, not sit in silence, not sit in stillness, and non-thought because…. ‘You are so needed; you have so much responsibility, your career, your work.’ A meditator needs to look and see how many are really for others and how many are just an excuse, [that really you are] so very afraid to meet your mind.
In meditation, you begin to realize the insignificance of your own identity. There is nothing to do, nothing to say, nothing to keep, nothing to get, nothing to obtain. And we are clever enough to know that is true, but are afraid to meet it. So [we come up with] juicy reasons why not to sit still without a single clever thought. That fear causes laziness. Traditionally, the translation is “ignorance”, but the English word “laziness” is much more accurate. Laziness is one of main factors that strong attachment, attachment to attachment, attachment to desire, and becomes reason to maintain not meditating. Strong attachment to negative attachment. Rue and resentment to see thought, arguments you have to win: all these aggressions, such as being the best sibling in your families. It wasn’t a mistake for your parents to give birth to you. (Laughter) The little bits of aggression to yourself, bits of aggression to the world- subtle aggression to prove a point, a distraction as a meditator. See how much of that proving to yourself, to the world, a sense of aggression in one’s self. Responding to that takes you away from path of practice. [You say] “May my mind turn to the dharma,” And [yet] it doesn’t every day because you are trying to fulfill negative attachment.
In the same way, distraction, mindlessness. One more year of doing the same things again and again, sleep, agitation, excitement- unsatiated attachment – to desire, unsatiated attachment to ignorance, and unsatiated attachment to attachment, unsatiated attachment to jealousy …unsatiated attachment to having a samsaric identity. So much of a Precious human birth is turned to maintaining this identity. A meditator should look and be free of…
Laziness of indifferences
- Impermanence – No one reflects on impermanence and speaks about it as much as a Buddhist meditator. (Laughter) One knows about impermanence. But how much of that knowing is today reflected in your hope and fear, praise and blame, gain and loss, happiness and suffering? Can you sit in meditation without hope and fear, without praise or blame, without gain and loss, without searching for happiness or unhappiness? Every time an impediment to meditation comes, can you simply reflect on impermanence and let that dissolve? Are you truly able to reflect on impermanence or not? If knowing intellectually, yet resting in meditation there isn’t, you will always be planning ahead: planning for the next month, planning for the next day, planning for the next year, planning for when you retire, planning for when are alone, planning for when you are not alone. [But] all the planning, all the strategy is nothing but laziness. In same way is the laziness of indifference in the form of not reflecting on karma.
- Karma – Karma is created. If you forget this, there will be no effort to cut the bridge to negativities. You don’t have time to correct the mind, to correct negativities of 5 poisons. You are lazy towards them, not really understanding karma correctly. If one were to think of impermanence and karma correctly, would be similar to what Milarepa did.
- Suffering – Suffering comes from not understanding impermanence and karma. Milarepa grew up with anger and resentment. He studied sorcery, learned magical powers, and created a natural destruction that brought the house down and killed many many people. At that moment, he realized there could be a whole village alive, and then the next moment they could all die. And the consequences? He would die too, with nothing left but the karma of killing. This scared him so much, he abandoned all else to become the Milarepa we know today.
In his whole bio, what he says was his greatest motivator is that the understanding of impermanence and karma brought about a sense of urgency. That rarely strikes our mind. We think instead, “How we can I reverse the process of impermanence?” (Laughter) Maybe buy more vitamins, or check out new products on the internet. (Much more laughter)
On one hand, taking care of yourself is good. But if exaggerated, if the mind is not there, then fear of death doesn’t inspire greater discipline to dharma; instead, we try to avert impermanence, we try to avert the change you are afraid of. When the mind is indifferent to impermanence, karma is indifferent.
It is the same with suffering. Just as I suffered for 10 years, I will suffer more. It clouds the mind to think “I have more time.” You Think things will continue consistently the way they have. Therefore, freeing oneself, looking into oneself, examining – None of this will benefit until you examine in oneself. Today could be the day of your own Enlightenment, in this moment – only what obstructs are these impediments. This laziness, this discouragement of involvement in situations, laziness of strong attachment to negatives, laziness of indifference to impermanence, karma, suffering.
Gampopa says, “One who eliminates these three is naturally inclined to dharma. Mind turns to dharma as soon as the 3 lazinesses are decreased and then eliminated.”
“Grant your blessings so dharma progresses along path” Ensure mind that has turned to the dharma- all your minds- all the difficulties you are gone thorugh to be here. Supplicate to Buddhas and bodhisattvas- may mind walk path of teachings. Gampopa said “where the dharma progresses along the path, and every day shows signs of progression, it can only happen when mind is untainted by faults and root downfalls.”
Vows and Precepts
So, one must be adorned with the 8 pratimoska vows, the 18 root and 46 branch bodhisattva vows, and the 5 Buddha family samayas. Walking the path- not only is my mind turning to the dharma, but mind is walking the path. This only happens when one is cultivating ethics of body, speech and mind. 8 precepts, 18 root vows of bodhisattva path and 5 samayas of Vajrayana path. When one is untainted by faults and root downfalls, engaging in 37 bodhisattva practices and practices 5 paths, is walking the path. “Must never underestimate the strong ties we have to habitual patterns. “
We cultivate the vows and samaya of the 3 yanas is to not — Not rules and regulations, but instead are support for one’s own mindfulness and wakefulness. They are for your own protection, to really keep a watch on all the habitual patterns that constantly create impediment to own realization. Strong negative karma patterns… maintaining of precepts, vows and samayas. Takes mind along path. “So dharma may clarify confusion.”
Recalling this line, sit in meditation [protected by precepts and vows]. Now, not walking blindly, but clarification, as Gampopa says, “works in accordance with embodying view of 3 yanas.” Those engaging in Hinayana – May the confusion be clarified in ways it may be identified and recognized as negativities. A Hinayana meditator is always clear about what are physical negative actions. Keeps clear watch- killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, 4 negative actions of speech, and 3 of mind: covetedness, harmful intention, and forgetting cause and effect/ wrong view. As Hinayana meditator, clearly conscious of these doesn’t indulge them. Gampopa – “recognizing negatives defeats self grasping by eliminating 10 unvirtuous actions from one’s body, speech and mind,” are just patterns of self cherishing. The self is lazy.
For dharma to clarify confusion is to not be confused regarding positive and negative actions. If meditator is Hinayana capacity, then simply abstain from those confusions. In same way, is meditation is Mahayana view holder, not only eliminates negative actions, but also recognizes positive qualities. Be able to save lives, to give selflessly to others, to keep ethical conduct, to see good of others… silence, mind is generous, flexible, kind to others, cultivate awareness, helping other sentient beings, intrinsic able to find happiness resting in silence, stillness, non-thought.
The aspiration ‘clarify confusion” isn’t waiting for them to dissolve selves but rather working with own mind, may path walking on – engaging in practice – looking at positive qualities, – cultivate 6 paramitas of generosity, ethics, patience, diligence, samadhi and wisdom, and the 4 Immeasurables of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity. Not keeping them in books, but allowing them to adorn the mind truly clarifies confusion.
Allowing oneself to be deeply aware of true nature of self and phenomena. We think there is a self. Where is the self? Here is the moment: your mind needs to clarify confusion of still holding onto self. You still think there is a self to be afraid, a self to be anxious, and a self to do this, a self to do that. Because of these, maintaining laziness. Search more – “what is self? Does it have color, shape, form, identity?” You say it doesn’t, and then who is still hopeful, fearful, refusing to be pacified?
Reflect on what is true nature. Confusion on its own will not accept defeat. You need to let go of that confusion. Whether belief in self of self, of self of phenomena. Hold on to a certain name and give attributes to that name and think it is that. Beyond mind’s own perception of things, what is the nature of anything”? Consistently search this until the thinking there is self and other doesn’t arise. When own hope and fear, praise and blame, gain and loss, happiness and suffering are able to be assimilated into flavor of emptiness, and then mind turns into dharma and walks the path.
This is what you should be doing.
“You are simply turning mind to dharma, “knowing confusion, and eliminate confusion in accordance to 3 yanas. Then work with 4th aspiration, “…that confusion may down as wisdom.”
Gampopa- may one be without fault of mistaken view and abide in that… without elaboration.”
May without the fault/ flaw of being persuaded by mistaken view and abide ….”
Allow each confusion to be free from…
When hope and fear arises, allowing fear to be free of own grasping and indulgence, the fear itself reveals its own true nature of emptiness. Fear by its own self – looking for hope and fear on the land, search every blade of grass, every leaf, can never find, other than in your own sense of a self to grasp to. As you sit in silence, sit still, rest in non-thought- non entertaining, not indulging anything in sphere of own mind- self liberation of own thoughts and perception occurs. Where it is free of non-elaborations.
Be able to understand- Mahakasyapa and Buddha antidote- started tradition of shamatha.
Mahakasyapa and Buddha’s flower
Mahakasyapa was struck by the teachings and followed Buddha. Buddha realized he needed a successor. He looked at his heart sons. Began to look to see who would be the best to continue. It is said the Buddha one day, during a retreat, he came to the teachings with a beautiful lotus. He usually brought nothing. The followers waiting for Buddha to talk. It is said he didn’t teach at all, just sat twirling flower. If I don’t speak, you become fidgety. (Laughter) 1000 people waiting for him to speak, he didn’t. They wondered what was happening. Mahakasyapa laughed and smiled. Buddha then said, “Whatever has been said in words, I have given you all. What can’t be given with words, I have given to Mahakasyapa. Everyone can continue to learn, study, contemplate. But your own nature of mind, I can’t say.”
Buddha handed Mahakasyapa the flower. What we call dharma, we call practice, we call path, we call sitting is laughable, being serious about being Buddhist is a big joke, protocol is fooling ourselves. Being called a Buddhist is an impediment.
Mahakasyapa knew it. Even the pretentions of being a meditator – when all the layers fall apart, you meet your natural mind. It needs no structure, no formats, and no words. It is being able to come to that point. You have to walk the path. What is being communicated with words is what not to do. What you should be doing is what was transmitted to Mahakasyapa.
Every shamatha tradition follows this. “Today, you are going to sit in silence and try to encourage the mind to sit.”
9 Stages of Shamatha
- Placement – allow mind to take on any instruction you have received in how to rest mind- breath, object, syllables- whatever. Progress to
- Prolonged placement – Continuously resting, not just resting on focus, but on fresh moment before the though arises. When can do this, progress to
- Definite resting – resting becomes more and more able to understand Buddha’s transmission to Mahakasyapa: no recalling, less form oriented, more and more natural- complete natural abide. Progress into
- Closely resting – remind not to modify. Modify is common meditation. Truly resting in transmission to Mahakasyapa, truly resting without modified state. Preparation that goes into resting defeats resting, many of you have a form that is stuck. Some of you are supposed to be long-time meditators. For you, plonking down is what you should do. (laughter) closely resting
Basic shamatha is working with these 4 –
Subsequent to these is:
- Recalling the teachings when mind starts to fidget. Say “resting in something not able to verbally say.” Should be doing something that can’t be verbally expressed.
- Pacification– allowing taming of mind to be refreshed with knowledge of teachings.
- Even resting
- One-pointedness– knowing that there is not much difference between 1st and 8th stage of shamatha. What happens in between simply enhances and refines. If the 1st step is not dissimilar, don’t need to entertain self with 2-6.
- Even resting – is the point I will continue with this year.
(Continued in Talk 2)