Recipe for Enlightenment (part two)

Before Tibetan teachers came to America, there were Buddhist teachers of other traditions; the Zen tradition, as well as from Sri Lanka, Burma, Viet Nam, and other places, who came to the West to teach. Even one hundred years ago, there were Buddhist teachers who came to America telling people about the nature of peace and goodness. They shared their cultural adaptations of ancient Buddhism and told the story of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment, so the transmission of Buddhism is not something that has just happened recently.

Before Buddhism came to the West, it went from India to China, Japan, Tibet, as well as many other countries. How marvelous, how wonderful that the sayings and teachings of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni were preserved and written and made available in recipe form for 2,500 years. That is a very long time to maintain and preserve a lineage of teachings. Part of the recipe for enlightenment is contained within the preservation and dissemination of the teachings, isn't that so?

Even with the presence of Buddhism in the West, it was often associated with the needs of Oriental immigrants and was unusual for ordinary people to study or practice. When the Tibetan teachers came to the West, there was a convergence of political unfairness perpetrated on Tibet by China, combined with peoples need to have the recipe for enlightenment offered by the Lamas of Tibet. There was something that Western people wanted, and the Tibetan tradition had something that caused people to want not just Buddhism, but they wanted to experience and be part of the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism as a political statement. This also means that the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism very much welcomed non-Orientals as students rather than primarily serving their countrymen in a foreign country.

The descriptions of the enlightened state in the scriptures will definitely make your mouth water to taste enlightenment. Commentary and Buddhist poetry over thousands of years have touched and awakened myriad beings to want to experience and taste the enlightened state. We not only experienced the rare and lovely in the sayings of the Buddha and the direct teachings, but also in the commentaries written by those who were in love with inner development. They preserved the teachings in poetic form, prayers, art, music, chant, sculpture, and dance, which gave energetic, experiential feeling to the words.

Any recipe is comprised of ingredients as well as process. To gain best results we want to examine first the ingredients. Are they in the form that they need to be in for this recipe for enlightenment? Some ingredients for this recipe might need to be processed in other ways before they can be used. Perhaps the vital ingredient first needs to be pickled or marinated before it can be used in combination with other ingredients.

Some recipes call for the ingredient to be melted such as butter. Some might need to be absolutely fresh, whereas others need to be dried, such as chilies; or soaked, such as beans. Some ingredients even need to be ground up and become unrecognizable from their original form, such as wheat or cornmeal.

Like that, the meditator needs to have special states of mind prepared by using other kinds of meditations. One of these is cogitation meditation that takes a subject statement such as “I rejoice in the good deeds of others.” You then bring in examples from your own life, your experiences, and experiences of others without straying from the subject. This is done until the mind changes into a new valuation regarding that concept.

These various states of mind need to be prepared in other meditations so that you can recall them in order to use them in the main meditation. These are meditations comprised of all sidebars like reading a newspaper or magazine article, these are the sidebars of meditation but is not actually part of the main meditation. In doing careful cogitation meditation there is thinking regarding a particular issue by making this a subject of its own meditation time. That means there is an enfoldment of prepared ideas applied toward the main meditation rather than thinking about these during transformative meditation time, the main meditation time. The enfoldment of a completed cogitation ingredient allows the perfume to come forth in meditation.

The ordinary thinking is to have an idea, then you follow that to another idea, then link it out here and out there until you are no longer actually meditating on a particular issue, but just following your train of thought. This is not correct. It might not seem possible to do it another way because you think that you know what you think. You are right there with your own mind. Your mind and you are in continuous connection. The correct method however, is to unfold or unpack how you actually believe an issue to exist. You are ruminating in order to uncover what you actually think in order to change it to a more careful view.

This is very careful work and it must be done without fear. You want to understand what you think about a particular issue, for example karma; cause, and effect. “What do I know about cause and effect? What are the issues surrounding my understanding of cause and effect?” Like that, you begin to discover either how much you know or how little you know about a subject that is supposed to be part of your meditation already so that other states of clarity can arise based on your realizations.

This thinking strongly will facilitate the breakdown of strange logic held energetically and causing you suffering. This kind of rumination or cogitation should not be done by pushing or creating pressure on the mind. It is a gentle, genuine wish to understand what it is that you are actually thinking. Should you push, you might make your mind afraid, and then it is going to run and hide, and it is never going to tell you what it thinks. To be continued….

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