A Step by step guided meditation on the profound Mahayana text of Bodhicharyavatara by Patrul Rinpoche called “The Sun of Brilliant Clarity”
Elaborate explanations of Paramitas
Fifth Paramita: Meditative concentration/Samadhi
- Becomes paramita of meditation because it abandons those factors that are not conductive to concentration
- Paramita of meditation becomes one is working with those objects that stabilizes shamatha.
1. Abandons those factors that are not conductive to concentration. Patrul Rinpoche says, “abandoning the factors means to give up mundane concern such as habitual preoccupations.” “Dog chasing a tail” Samadhi arises when one give up busyness. Give up the thought of being afraid to be alone. Give up the sense that you can’t enjoy quietude. Anything that impedes quietude and silence is an impediment. Patrul Rinpoche says “to train in contentment. A true meditator who can really enhance shamatha can build shamatha on contentment.” Contentment is built on present moment.
Abandoning the factors of discursive thoughts. Even in a conducive place of practice, if mind pursues mundane possessions and thoughts, shamatha is completely destroyed. If in a conducive place of practice one doesn’t destroy craving, shamatha will never arise.
2. How to cultivate Shamatha
Object of Samadhi-
A. equalizing self and others.
B. exchanging self and others.
a. Equalizing self and others Where this equalizing self and others is weak, bodhichitta will be weak.
In the 8th chapter, the 97th verse is of particular significance to meditators.
Why should one guard against my future pain Which does no harm to this, my present me?”
Everything we do is to safeguard the future me. Shantideva says at this moment, this doesn’t affect you at all. The past is gone, the future we don’t know, the present always changing. So what are we grasping to so strong?
“Everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering”.
Why should I be the one to think of others?
Why should I work for others? Why shouldn’t you?
Verse 99 – the pain felt in my foot is not my hand, so why I should help others?
Hand can rub foot because part of own body. Sentient beings are interconnected. There is a shared basis of connection itself that is basis on which one is responsible for others. If someone is having the pain, then based on interdependency, it is your responsibility to remove that pain, and give happiness to sentient beings.
Patrul Rinpoche says, “Prior to going into contemplating, train the mind to in post-meditation practice to truly understand sameness of self and others.”
“Ninje” is developed. ‘’Compassion’ is the translation usually. But the Tibetan term literally means “it leaves a footprint in your heart.’” It leaves sense of ‘what can I do for the others?’ that makes you recall the need for happiness in all sentient beings. Ninje is “my concentration, my heart beats for others.”
“All the joy the world contains has come from wishing happiness for others. All the misery in the word has come from wishing happiness for myself”
“Happiness, fulfillment, these I give away.
Patrul Rinpoche says “It is true; joy comes from wishing happiness for others. But everyone pursues happiness for self. May I not fall into this pit of this ignorance…”
Preliminary Meditations to Shamatha
- Visualize oneself as the other who is lower or inferior to you
- Visualize yourself and the other as equals in every regard
- Visualize the other very high and accomplished and the other yourself as very unaccomplished
In first, feel power of envy. In the second, feel power of rivalry. In the third, feel power of pride.
Verse 56 of chapter 10-
The pain and suffering of all sentient beings, may it ripen in me, and may the virtuous qualities of bodhisattvas…”
Shamatha is being able to rest without being entangled in emotion. Meditation or shamatha doesn’t get entered into by self, but gets entered into by bodhichitta. This contemplation gives the shamatha the right direction.
Sixth Paramita: Wisdom
Wisdom in meditation is that which realizes the empty nature of all phenomena. Wisdom in post-meditation practice is the recognition that all experiences are like an illusion.
That knowledge becomes wisdom the moment mind becomes more relaxed, not taking things as seriously, not taking things as solid. In English you have an expression, “go with the flow”. You make sense of what is flowing, and let it flow.
Untightening your grip over things. That is where knowledge of meditation has been able to manifest as wisdom in ones’ meditation. Realizing all phenomena to be empty. In post-meditation practice, (you see the) natural nature of things as they truly are, and can relate to things almost like a dream.
Working in meditation and post-meditation practice.
How do we know we have realized wisdom? Applying the above two – “seeing emptiness and seeing everything as a magical illusion” and then building selflessness. Patrul Rinpoche says “Every learning, contemplation, examinatuion leads to the truth of selflessness. Wisdom is selflessness. Wherever there is a strengthened selflessness, paramita of wisdom arises. Recognizing selflessness of self, and phenomena.”
In meditation and post-meditation practice, work with contemplation of selflessness of individual and phenomena.
Rest in meditation, and question, “Who do you call the self? Are the knees? The toes? The thighs? The limbs? The senses? The skin? The bones? The organs? Cells? Molecules? Sinews and nerves?” Search again and again until realizing selflessness to be there and the designation of “self” can only be given when all the things gathered together are the self. Beyond all the factors, there is no self. So, question: Why WOULD one live their whole life as if there was a self when one realizes the selflessness of the individual?
Also, work with practicing the absence of self in phenomena through four contemplations, also known as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
The Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
What is the nature of body? Mindfulness of body
- Is what we call ‘body’ the same as or different from the assembly of its parts?
- Where does the body originate?
- Where does it remain?
- Where does it go in the end?
What is the nature of feelings? Mindfulness of Feelings
- Are all feelings the same or different each time?
- Do feelings originate independently?
- Are mind and feelings the same or not?
- Observe arising, manifesting, and dissolving of feelings. Find the answer, “where do feelings arise from? What is the nature of a feeling when it manifests, and where do feelings dissolve?”
What is the nature of mind? Mindfulness of mind
- Are what we call “mind” made up of the 6 consciousness or is it separate of it?
- Investigate likes, dislikes, happiness, sadness, attachment, aversion and see whether they are the same or different.
- When not labeled, what is the nature of mind?
- Is mind permanent or impermanent?
What is the nature of phenomena? Mindfulness of phenomena
- What is the nature of perception?
- What is the nature of formation?
- Is phenomena conditioned or unconditioned?
- What is interdependency? Are phenomena interdependent or not?
Interestingly, there is no mention of the 4th part, fruition. Patrul Rinpoche says “if you have these answers to these 4 foundations of mindfulness, Fruition is there.”
Wisdom is never wisdom until it is able to manifest as selflessness. Selflessness is just a synonym for bodhichitta.
In short, of all that has been said in the past few days, Above all, be kind.
End of Teaching.