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Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to Meditate Efficiently

In order to be able to describe how to meditate in the most efficient manner with the best results, we will need to ask other questions and explore other meanings. So, what is meditation? Since you want to know how, exactly what is it?
Student: It is a method of going internal. It is a method of internalizing experience.
Rinpoche: ok, a method of internalizing experience. However, what if you have just experienced eating a spoiled pizza?
Student: Then you cannot meditate.
Rinpoche: You should not meditate. So there is something missing in your answer. If you were explaining this to a rank beginner, they might ask, “I have just had a terrible day at work. Should I internalize those experiences?”
Student: No, absolutely not.
Rinpoche: Good.
Student: What I was thinking of was not so much internalizing what is outside, but more paying attention to what is inside.
Rinpoche: Alright. Now we have a very different answer. Paying attention to what is inside. However, why would you want to do that? What if you are angry inside?
Student: That I do not know yet.
Rinpoche: Okay, so we will need to explore a few other ideas to understand meditation itself. You know, all of you are meditators, but what meditation is, in itself, seems to have eluded our conscious discrimination up to this point. Let us see. What is meditation?
Student: My first thought was that it is a practice of calming the mind.
Student: For me, in the beginning when I started practicing meditation, it was trying to know the mind and overcome states of mind that were not very helpful to have a healthy life.
Rinpoche: Alright, so there are two parts –part one is knowing the mind and if you are not “like totally grossed out” at that point, then you face the obstacles and try to overcome what you did not like in point one. So, point 2 is to overcome that which is not helpful. Thank you for sharing. What is meditation?
Student: For me, it is also a practice to know deeper who I am, what it means to be a human and what it means to be a human in this world as well as how to realize who you really are.
Student: For me it is just letting the inner process do its thing and getting out of its way. It meditates.
Rinpoche: It meditates. You know if you told that to people in the street, they might wonder about you.
Student: I know. I suppose then, it is a question I really cannot answer.
Rinpoche: I am extrapolating from what you are saying that there must be something inside me, somewhere inside me, that knows how to meditate. Not me meditating, but something connected to me…thank you. What is meditation?
Student: Discipline
Rinpoche: What is meditation? Meditation is discipline of…? a different kind. Do you want to hear my answers?
Number one: Meditation is changing your state of mind.
Number two: Meditation is continuously holding the mind to a pattern so that another state of mind can arise. True? True. Alright. I had more time to think about this, so I am a little ahead of you.
Student: Rinpoche, on that one, I have heard you say that before, but I think it could be confusing to people who have had an obstacle to doing meditation. So, what would be an example of a state of mind that you would continuously hold?
Rinpoche: Wishing to be free would be an example. We are going to be talking about various kinds of meditation, so I cannot really say more than in general. Continuously holding the mind to a pattern so that another state of mind can arise. This is what happens in a structured meditation called a sadhana, where virtuous states of mind that you are holding are applied to consciousness or awareness to effect change, if all goes well.
Number three: Meditation is denying sustenance to the unhappy state so that it tires and goes away.
There are five general styles of meditation
One: Calming the body meditation
Two: Calming the mind meditation
Three: Cogitation meditation
Student: Is that like thinking?
Rinpoche: To me, cogitation is like…you know in a restaurant; if you go back in the restaurant kitchen, you might see huge bowls with electric beaters for making bread or pancake batter. The paddles are going around slowly, roiling the contents of the bowl. To me, that is like cogitation. Is that thinking?
Student: It seems to me that when you think, you move it, you knead it, you turn it around.
Rinpoche: Cogitation to me, is has a connotation more of a deliberate stirring in order to produce some kind of result. Thinking, to me, is more brain centered, like trying to make a connection with two live wires by tying them together while plugged into the wall. You never know what kind of sparks that thinking is going to produce. Because it is not as structured, it is easy to become lost or distracted. Sometimes the very thing we wanted to think about, is also gone and later we have no idea what we were thinking about. Maybe the only effect is remembering that one thought lead to another, and that idea drifted to another idea. Soon, we might be thinking about, who knows, George Bush, or our grocery list. I might offer a distinction because thinking, as it is used by the casual or amateur thinker, is not as careful as cogitation on a subject of importance.
Four: Prayer and chanting meditation
Five: Transformation meditation
These are five very different styles of meditation, so sorry, it was a trick question when I asked, “What is meditation?” This is because as soon as you identified one style of meditation, perhaps you thought, “Well, that completely denies this other style of meditation.”
Much preparation work for gaining correct information for meditation practice is defining exactly what it is that we are supposed to be talking about. Many spiritual subjects are so generalized that there is no way to arrive at conclusions other than, there is no conclusion, for example, what is God. The very things we want to answer, there is no way to answer it satisfactorily because the question is too general.
The correct answer to the question, “What is meditation?” might be, “Excuse me. What kind of meditation are you speaking about? Are you speaking about mind calming? Exactly what branch of meditation do you want us to explore? I have some ideas and answers depending on what you want me to define.”


Wie man auf effiziente Weise meditiert
Um in der Lage zu sein, zu beschreiben, wie man auf effizienteste Weise und mit den besten Ergebnissen meditieren kann, müssen wir zunächst andere Fragen stellen und andere Bedeutungen erforschen. Also, was ist Meditation? Du möchtest wissen, wie man es tut, was ist es also genau?
Schüler: Eine Methode, um nach innen zu gehen. Es ist eine Methode, Erlebtes zu verinnerlichen.
Rinpoche: Ok, eine Methode, um Erlebtes zu verinnerlichen. Was ist aber, wenn Dein letztes Erlebnis der Genuss einer verdorbenen Pizza war?
S: Dann kannst Du nicht meditieren.
R: Du solltest nicht meditieren. Also fehlt bei deiner Antwort noch etwas. Wenn du dies einem absoluten Anfänger erklärtest würde er vielleicht fragen: „Ich habe gerade einen schrecklichen Tag auf der Arbeit gehabt. Sollte ich diese Erlebnisse verinnerlichen?“
S: Auf keinen Fall.
R: Gut.
S: Ich dachte nicht so sehr daran, das zu verinnerlichen, was im Äußeren ist, sondern mehr Aufmerksamkeit auf das zu richten, was sich im Inneren befindet.
R: Aha, dies ist nun eine ganz andere Antwort. Aufmerksamkeit auf das Innere richten. Aber warum würdest du das tun wollen? Was ist, wenn du im Inneren wütend bist?
S: Das weiß ich noch nicht.
R: Ok, wir müssen also noch einige andere Ideen untersuchen, bevor wir die Meditation an sich verstehen. Wisst ihr, ihr seid alle Meditierende, aber was die Meditation an sich ist, scheint unserer bewussten Unterscheidungskraft bis jetzt entgangen zu sein. Was ist Meditation?
S: Mein erster Gedanke war, dass es eine Praxis ist, die den Geist beruhigt.
S: Für mich war es so, als ich anfing mich in Meditation zu üben, versuchte ich, den Geist zu erforschen und Geisteszustände zu überwinden, die nicht förderlich für ein gesundes Leben sind.
R: Gut, also haben wir hier zwei Faktoren – der erste ist, den Geist zu erkennen und wenn du zu diesem Zeitpunkt noch „nicht total angewidert bist“ dann nimmst du es mit deinen Hindernissen auf und versuchst zu überwinden, was dir am ersten Faktor nicht gefallen hat. Also ist der zweite Faktor, das zu überwinden, was nicht hilfreich ist. Danke für deinen Beitrag. Was ist Meditation?
S: Für mich ist es auch eine Praxis, um tiefer zu erfahren, wer ich bin, was es bedeutet ein Mensch zu sein und was es bedeutet, ein Mensch auf dieser Welt zu sein, und auch um zu erkennen, wer du wirklich bist.
S: Für mich ist es einfach dem inneren Prozess seinen Lauf zu lassen und aus dem Weg zu gehen. Es meditiert.
R: Es meditiert. Weißt du, wenn du das Leuten auf der Straße erzähltest, könnten sie sich über dich wundern.
S: Ich weiß. Ich nehme also an, dass dies eine Frage ist, die ich nicht wirklich beantworten kann.
R: Ich schließe aus dem was du sagst, dass irgendwo in mir drin irgendetwas sein muss, das weiß, wie man meditiert. Nicht ich meditiere. Sondern etwas, das mit mir verbunden ist. Danke. Was ist Meditation?
S: Disziplin.
R: Was ist Meditation? Meditation ist die Disziplin …? einer anderen Art. Möchtet ihr meine Antworten hören?
Erstens: Meditation ist deinen Geisteszustand zu verändern.
Zweitens: Meditation ist den Geist fortlaufend auf eine bestimmte Weise einzusetzen, damit ein anderer Geisteszustand entstehen kann. Stimmt’s? Gut, ich hatte mehr Zeit darüber nachzudenken als ihr, also habe ich einen kleinen Vorsprung.
S: Rinpoche, ich habe dich letzeres schon früher sagen hören, aber ich glaube es könnte für Leute, die Hindernisse für die Meditation besitzen, verwirrend klingen. Was wäre also ein Beispiel für einen Geisteszustand, den man fortlaufend einsetzt?
R: Sich wünschen, frei zu sein, wäre ein Beispiel. Wir werden über verschiedene Arten der Meditation sprechen, ich kann also nur etwas ganz allgemeines dazu sagen. Den Geist fortlaufend auf eine bestimmte Weise einsetzen, damit ein anderer Geisteszustand entstehen kann. Dies geschieht in einer strukturierten Meditation, die man Sadhana nennt, wo heilsame Geisteszustände, die man festhält, ins Bewusstsein gerufen werden um, wenn alles gut geht, Veränderung zu erzielen.
Drittens: Meditation versagt dem unglücklichen Zustand Nahrung, so dass er ermüdet und verschwindet.
Es gibt fünf allgemeine Meditationsstile
Erstens: Die Meditation, um den Körper zu beruhigen
Zweitens: Die Meditation, um den Geist zu beruhigen
Drittens: Die Meditation des Nachsinnens
S: Ist das dasselbe wie Denken?
R: Für mich ist Nachsinnen wie.... weißt du im Restaurant – wenn du nach hinten in die Küche gehst, siehst du vielleicht riesige Schüsseln mit Mixgeräten, um Brot oder Pfannkuchenteig zu machen. Die Mixstäbe wandern langsam im Kreis und kneten den Inhalt der Schüssel. Für mich ist das Nachsinnen. Ist das Denken?
S: Mir scheint, dass wenn man denkt, man etwas bewegt, knetet und umdreht.
R: Nachsinnen hat für mich mehr die Nebenbedeutung eines vorsätzlichen Rührens, um ein gewisses Ergebnis zu erhalten. Denken ist für mich mehr ein Gehirnvorgang, als ob man versucht durch Zusammenknoten zwei heiße Drähte zu verbinden, während sie in der Wand eingesteckt sind. Man weiß nie, welche Art von Funken diese Art von Denken produzieren wird. Weil es nicht so strukturiert ist, verliert man sich schnell oder wird abgelenkt. Manchmal ist genau das worüber wir nachdenken wollten auch verschwunden und wir haben später keine Ahnung mehr, an was wir gedacht haben. Vielleicht ist der einzige Effekt davon, dass man sich erinnert, dass ein Gedanke zum anderen geführt hat, und diese Idee zu jener Idee hinführte. Bald denken wir vielleicht an wer weiß was, George Bush oder unseren Einkaufszettel. Ich würde diese Unterscheidung vorschlagen, da das Denken, wie es vom gelegentlichen oder Amateurdenker angewandt wird, nicht so sorgsam ist wie das Nachsinnen über ein wichtiges Thema.
Viertens: Meditation mit Gebet und Chanten
Fünftens: Die transformierende Meditation
Dies sind fünf sehr verschiedene Meditationsstile, tut mir leid, es war eine Fangfrage als ich fragte: Was ist Meditation? Denn vielleicht habt ihr, sobald ihr einen Meditationsstil identifiziert hattet, gedacht ‚Nun, das schließt diesen anderen Meditationsstil ja völlig aus.‘ Es gibt viel vorbereitende Arbeit zur Sammlung korrekter Information über Meditationspraktiken, die definiert, von was wir genau sprechen sollten. Viele spirituelle Themen sind so verallgemeinert, dass die einzige Schlußfolgerung ist, dass es keine Schlußfolgerung geben kann, - z. B. die Frage ‚Was ist Gott?‘ Es gibt keine Möglichkeit, genau das zu beantworten, auf das wir antworten möchten, weil die Frage zu allgemein ist.
Die korrekte Antwort auf die Frage ‚Was ist Meditation?‘ könnte sein ‚Entschuldigung, welche Art von Meditation meinen sie? Sprechen sie davon, den Geist zu beruhigen? Genau welchen Zweig der Meditation sollen wir untersuchen? Ich habe einige Einfälle und Antworten dazu, je nachdem, was ich definieren soll.“ -DGR -

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Buddhist Fashion

There is such a thing called performance art. I heard of one Japanese lady, a very famous performance artist who comes onto the stage with a big ball, like a snowball. She is actually wearing a snowball made of old rags covering her from the neck down to her bottom. As she shrieks, moans, and moves around the stage, layer by layer, she takes off one bit of rag that she is wearing and hangs it on a stick that she is carrying. As the performance goes on, leaping and shouting, eventually, this lady is wearing no clothes at all! She only has a big bunch of fabric hanging on this stick over her shoulder. What she does then is run up and down the aisle shouting at people and throwing branches and leaves on them.

In one way, this is a very interesting method of expressing creativity. However, there are many expressions of creativity. Luckily, we do not have to approve of how people paint or sing. It does not require our permission. However, sometimes change for its own sake can produce some pretty strange effects.

Like that, some creative people seek to remain on the crest of change for its own sake, to be at the forefront as the sophisticated model for others to follow their methods. In Santa Rosa, there was a street corner vendor selling black velvet paintings. I drove by one day and said, "Oh, those are so beautiful." Someone told me, "Oh Rinpoche, you do not like those." I said, "Why not? I like them. I am looking at them, and I like them." I was told clearly that if you lived in 1960, it was okay to like black velvet paintings, and millions of people bought them and loved them, but now it is the present, and you are not supposed to like them anymore. I said, "But they are still beautiful." It does not matter. It is old. It is old and it is tacky. For myself, the stress of maintaining forward fashion, contemporary, changing all of the time according to the creative whims of others is painful. Even if you do not have boredom, they want you to have it, so you follow the new fashion. Your society has built this into you, this desire. Are you bored with the four-year-old shirt you are wearing? You are? It is not worn out but you are bored with it perhaps?

There are many who seek spiritual process for this reason. Perhaps there is even someone reading this who is seeking spiritual process because they think it would be a fun change, and not so boring like other things.

These are both immature views of change, and both of these immature views can be alive in you right now. Both of those can be alive in you. You might be suffering from boredom and wish to participate in ancient wisdom practices to create new pathways for strategy. Actually, this is the description of a spiritual seeker, is it not?

However, if we cannot emerge from that state and develop a mature view, we cannot even begin to work on meaningful change. All we do is we remain, stuck in dissatisfaction with who we are. To be a spiritual seeker is to be someone to be forever dissatisfied. We must move away from being a spiritual seeker and begin the actual work!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Buddhist Mental Nudists

I saw a story in Newsweek about nudist colonies. Now, I do not advocate a special Buddhist nudist colony. However, the article in the magazine said this is the natural way of being and it is much better, very open and healthy . This article made me think of being a mental nudist, a Buddhist mental nudist. In the privacy of our own thoughts, we would be healthier if we did not have pretensions with our self. A mental nudist would feel constricted with ideas of, “This is what I am like, this is what I am not like, I have to always act this way, I have to be this,” We could drop pretensions and enter inside to where our more real identity is waiting.

In the privacy of our own space, we have choices that are not available in daily life. The pressures of office and the judgments that need to be made are like a teacher standing among seven-year-olds screaming and vying for attention. If the teacher could slow down and watch the children jumping slowly, to see what is actually happening, we might also slow down to be able to see our daily life and the pressures we experience in a new way.


You might lose sight of the fact that career and business life rents your mental faculties; they are paying you money to do things. Others pay rent on you and your life force and give you money so that you can use that money for other things you want and need. Aside from ideas you might hold about loving your job or not, you are paid to perform a function. If you identify so much with your job that you cannot stop renting your mind for free after business hours and switch over to your own personal life it never seems like you have rest at all!

Even returning home after work, we have habits at home. You have a certain way you like to eat, as well as strong likes and dislikes in food choices. Some people even have the new kind of electric bed that needs to be told how soft or hard to be. From the first moment you get up in the morning until bedtime again, you are making decisions, choosing and making judgments on a seeming endless array of subjects.

The whole day passes like this, either for your own comfort in your house or for your job. You are running, “Yes no yes no yes no yes no. This I like, I one I hate.” Those things have to be done. Even what does not concern us is made into objects of our judgment. Do I like the color of that car passing me on the road? Yes? No? Am I happy with the array of clouds to open sky today? Is there too much sun? Too little?

This is not our natural way of being. It is not actually what is happening. Human life was not like this in the earliest times. Beings lived by internally participating in an external exhibition of behaviors that had something to do with them. When alone, they retired into an inner world, their inner being. They were substantially satisfied in them self. Those who had an even greater awareness participated not just in their own personal being, but participated in a vaster process of which this world they lived in was only a small part.