Jackson Peterson writes about Realization and Liberation

Jackson Peterson, teacher of Non-dual Traditions: #Dzogchen, #Advaita, #Zen and #Mahamudra at #Meditation Teacher and Life Coaching, posted on Facebook today something so inspirational I have to share it before I devote some of my day to its contemplation. Find him at: http://www.wayoflight.net/‎

The Five Principles of Realization and Liberation

The first principle is becoming aware of our thoughts and the nature of thought.
“By taking the position of just being an observer of the thoughts and images that come and go, we discover all thoughts are the same: they are temporary appearances that come and go like clouds in the sky. Give no importance to one thought over another.
“If we pay no attention to any thought but remain in the ‘observer’ role, it seems the space of awareness becomes more open and thoughts less demanding of attention. We discover all thoughts are without substance and importance. We could say our thoughts are ’empty,’ like clouds: appearances without any core or entity.

The second principle is recognizing our stories and emotional dramas are structured only from thought, our ’empty’ thoughts.
“In continuing to observe our thoughts, we should notice how they tend to link together in chains of meaning and particular significance. It is this linking together of thoughts that creates our stories, beliefs and emotional dramas in a convincing and powerful way. As a result, we may spend most of our time going from one mini-daydream to another. It is this trance-like state of mind that we need to break up again and again, as often as possible.
“We do that by shifting our attention from thought to the presence of the five senses in immediate now-ness. Just notice your physical environment and the direct sensory experience, free of analysis. Practice this shifting away from mental engagement in thought to noticing your physical environs as often as possible. Hopefully the trance-like habit of living in your thoughts constantly will be broken.
“In this way, we can free ourselves from anxiety and emotional suffering as both are caused by the mind’s stories that are rarely challenged. It is possible to discover that our stories and emotional dramas are as empty as last night’s dreams. In fact, our daydreams and stories are no more real than our dreams at night. We discover our stories are also just as empty as the clouds that group together in the sky in various formations that disperse and disappear in the next moment, leaving no trace.

The third principle is recognizing that one’s sense of self is also only an empty story made of thought. [Self is] a mental construction without an actual identity as an entity that exists independently and with self-determinism.
“Studies have determined that our coherent sense of personal identity doesn’t appear until about the ages between 18 and 24 months. That means, previous to that time, there was no personal ‘me’ story or self-image. That also means the newly appearing sense of ‘me’ is totally the result of thought-stories that the mind constructs about identity. There is no personal self present other than this make-believe ‘me’ story.
“Even science makes clear there is just one unified field of energy as the universe without separate parts. The entire field is interdependent without any breaks or splits in the unity. The sense of being an independent entity. like a ‘personal self,’ is just an illusion and has never existed in fact.
“By observing the ‘me’-thoughts that arise from moment to moment, we can notice the ‘personal me’ is nothing more than a chain of linked thoughts about identity that are supported by memories and imagination. Seeing this directly and clearly, not just intellectually, the emptiness of personal identity becomes obvious to the mind. [A]t [this] point, the illusion ceases. But that cessation will only occur according to the degree of the depth of this self-inquiry.
“If it doesn’t occur, the understanding is too shallow and not convincing enough to the deeper levels of mind grounded in conditioning and habitual ‘selfing.’ In such a case, one should revisit the first and second principles again and establish a deeper state of observation regarding the experience of the ‘me’-thoughts arising and dissolving until it becomes clear that no personal self exists outside of the mind’s belief otherwise.
“When recognition arises, it becomes clear [to the meditator] that the notion of there being a personal self is as empty as a single huge cloud that dominates the sky yet disappears in the next moment without a trace.

The fourth principle is recognizing what exactly is the nature of that which is observing and experiencing the empty nature of thoughts, stories and personal selfhood.
“What is doing the ‘recognizing’? What is this impersonal aware consciousness that perceives and knows? In these recognitions, there seems to be an ever-increasing evolution or revelation of wisdom. As a result, one’s cognitive space seems expansive, open and vividly transparent without a center.
“What exactly is this state of impersonal consciousness? It clearly has a sense of being aware, empty and knowing. Can we be aware of being aware? Is this aware consciousness present in all experience, inseparably so?
“Let’s look directly at this impersonal, aware knowingness: In a well-lighted room, close your eyes. Notice at your eyelids that the light of the room shining on your eyelids creates an inner glow upon your closed, translucent eyelids. You will see an orangey-red color at your eyelids. What is it that is observing this color?
“It will seem as though your aware consciousness occupies a place a few inches behind the eyes and its attention is directed at the eyelids in front. Notice your aware presence as being the place from where you are looking forward at the orangey color. Are you ‘aware’ of the color?
“Now be aware of your awareness just as it is. Does this awareness have any color, shape, substance or dimension of its own? Or is it simply an empty presence of aware knowing?
“Review these last two questions again and again until it becomes clear that ‘you’ are actually this empty, clear and aware knowing. When this is seen clearly, instead of recognizing the emptiness of thoughts and self as the empty nature of the clouds that appear in the sky, the empty nature of the sky itself is recognized: the empty cognitive space in which all appearances appear and disappear.

The fifth principle is recognizing the inseparable relationship between one’s empty, aware ‘seeing’ and the five senses.
“One can’t find awareness separate from one’s sensory perceptions. There isn’t first a sensory perception and then an awareness of it. The five senses are this ‘knowing awareness’ seeming to be split up into five separate sensory components.
“These sensory capacities are not limited to the physical five senses. ‘Knowing awareness’ can perceive independently of the five physical senses with no limitations regarding time and space.
“Merging our attention fully with the five senses instead of with the mental phenomena of thoughts, stories and beliefs in personal identity, reveals a state of total ‘nowness’ beyond thought and mind. A limitless vista of knowing transparency and Clear Light reveals itself to be our true nature, beyond any descriptions or assumptions of mind. In merging our attention totally with the five senses, the luminous nature of appearances reveals the empty vividness of our Aware and Knowing Space.

“If one incorporates and integrates these five principles into one’s daily practice, in my opinion, no other methods or practices should be considered necessary.”

I appreciate Jackson Peterson’s clarity and analysis enormously. I do take exception to his final paragraph, however: only someone who already had spent many years with at least one if not more other practices could attain this clarity and be able to meditate successfully with these 5 principles. Therefore, it is specious and disingenuous, in my opinion, to recommend to people who may be beginners or who are probably less experienced than he that doing these meditations is all they would ever need. Not so.

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Compete, much? “Jealous Gods Realm” section of my #Buddhist #Retreat

Out of the “God Realm” into the “Jealous Gods Realm” for this next portion of my at-home #Tibetan #Vajrayana #Nyingma #Dzogchen #Buddhist #meditation/#contemplation #retreat. Week 3 of about 20 weeks.

The basic practice during these “Realms” weeks is to contemplate enough to “get inside the experience” of each of the Realm’s beings as if I am one, to recognize and inspire compassion in me for their suffering. Then, when I meditate on these experiences, I pray to alleviate their suffering, to purify their and my karma for rebirth in that realm.

I went to online teachings for inspiration so that I can share excerpts here. Check this out for a great explanation of the trials and tribulations of being a Jealous God, from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo (link below):

“[Jealous Gods are filled with]…competitiveness, egocentricity, and jealousy….[J]ealous gods do nothing all day long but … compete with one another….[T]hey are constantly waging war with one another….

“There is actually a terrible and immense suffering that comes with the jealous god realm. Even though you know you are powerful, you are powerful in an odd way… like the person who has built a fortress, an impenetrable fortress, and nothing can come in….[B]ut everybody knows you really can’t build an impenetrable fortress… [b]ecause death can come in, sickness can come in….Their kind of suffering is like that.

“…[They know] that the other gods are just as powerful and can come in…so they are jealously guarding their safety….[which] only increases the jealous god’s need to go out and attack the other guy, compete with the other guy, and get on top of the other guy. Their experience is warlike…. You win, you lose, you win, you lose….That is the experience of the jealous gods. They love to dominate others. That’s their habit.

“In the realm of the jealous gods, they are so concerned with their own safety and jealously guarding their safety, as well as competing with others for that safety, that they have not one moment with which to practice #Dharma. Dharma would be to them the same as if you were to, say, talk to a warrior type that was schooled only in being a warrior.

“Okay, back to Star Trek, whaddya say? Let’s say you talk to a Klingon, like Warf, and you say to Warf, ‘Yo, Warfy-baby, here’s what we need to do. Instead of you being a warrior with all your stuff on’ (you know, he wears all this stuff and looks pretty powerful) ‘why don’t you sit down and meditate gently, like a little girl? Why don’t you sit down and meditate very quietly, and in that way you can be very strong.’ What would Warf say about that? Warf would say, ‘Pleeease!’ Warf wouldn’t have time to hear about this.

“Neither would any warrior who was trained to think of being strong and protecting one’s turf, and only thought like that. Neither could a person like that ever think that meditation or Dharma practice or anything like that is strength… so they will push that away, not having time for it…. They simply don’t have the instinct and they will not practice Dharma. They just will not practice Dharma. They’re too busy.”

Since I’ve already established that this practice inspires intense identification with the beings of the realm being contemplated, I plan to invoke silence as much as possible when interacting with others to avoid getting into fights!

Wish me luck! No, CHEER ME ON! I WANT TO WIN! LIBERATION FOR ALL!

http://www.tibetanbuddhistaltar.org/the-realm-of-the-jealous-gods/

#Tibetan #Buddhism: “God Realm” characterized/plagued by lethargic pleasure.

My teacher, the amazing Lama Padma Drimed Norbu, gave me this caution just before our interview/his teaching ended last month: “You may experience some of the same things each realm experiences as you #contemplate and #meditate intensively on each realm.” I blithely nodded, thanked him, went on my merry way.

Why is the teacher always right? Are we so predictable? Are these practices so powerful, so thoroughly reliable that they affect everyone pretty much the same way? Guess so, if I’m any example.

Started my home #retreat, as some of you know, two weeks ago. My first topic, as you may also know, for #contemplation and #meditation, is the “God Realm.” Went OK for the first few days. Then, I began to feel, oh, I don’t know, LETHARGIC. That is not my normal state.

I have been increasingly focused on the wonderfulness of my life. Food: I’ve gained 5# in these 2 weeks, despite walking over an hour and swimming 45 minutes almost every day, usually BOTH, which is the wrong direction for me to be going! Sleep: I LOVE my bed, my pillow, my blankets, snuggling into it (yawn yawn yawn). Sex: not having any, but very intensely wish I were. Weather: sunny, rainy, overcast, windy all make me so happy! Into music, movies, TV shows, internet games, so many ways to have pleasure and lose track of time.

I’m realizing these last few days that I’m veering into overly indulgent, almost successfully talking myself out of “working too hard,” “meditating so much,” “getting up so early” daily. My counts (I have to attain 100,000 repetitions of the mantra before I move on to the next Realm) have been slower and lower each day.

I am usually ferociously self-disciplined; some have termed my commitment and maintenance of my practice, my work, whatever I choose to do, scary. What is going on?

Ahhhh. Ohhhh. God Realm karma manifests as indulgence, lethargy, pleasure-seeking, “I’ll deal with everything tomorrow” attitudes.

Damn Damn Damn. CAUGHT. Hoisted on my own petard. So obvious. Why did it take me over a week to figure it out???

Lethargic mentally as well?

THIS ENDS NOW. Still have 30K to go, but I’m getting those mantras and meditations done this weekend. NO EXCUSES. Got to move into the next realm ASAP.

Wish me luck. No, wish me ENERGY and COMMITMENT. I have too much LUCK!

BTW: next realm involves being suffused with jealousy, dissatisfaction, arrogance and insufferable selfishness, overlaid with incredible power and status. Guess who’s going to be the life of every party for a week or more?

“The #Death #Illusion”

Best quote (from Conclusion) from this important, lengthy instruction and explanation of the illusory nature of self and death: “The appreciation that everything reflects everything else, is the undoing of the belief in inherent separateness and along with it, conflict and fear. Under these conditions, the heart opens. There is the recognition that even the autumn leaf is not fundamentally different from the spring leaf. The autumn leaf is life, in a borderless, impermanent flux of causal continuance. It never was itself, and so the appearance of its ultimate death is an illusion.”

Emptiness Teachings

 

INTRODUCTION

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Humans tend to regard themselves as supreme by nature, in contrast to what is viewed as a primitive world.  We live with a sense of divinity, assumed to distinguish us from everything else.  People commonly assume that they are at least subtly God-like, marked by what is called consciousness.  A dividing wall is imagined to separate mind from matter, the animate from the inanimate.  Consciousness is our divine self, and death, a fall into lowly materiality.
~
The inseparable interrelatedness of people to everything else generally goes unacknowledged.  The world is provides us with things, but we are not of it, hence the extensive environmental disregard.  This dualism also requires that we either accept eternal selfhood or be doomed to oblivion, death, as a descent into a senseless abyss.

~
While the notion of human privilege appears to be an advantage, it is our affliction, resulting…

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“‘Who’ or ‘what’ is watching” my “inner brain movie show?”: #inspiration from #Buddhist #Psychology

Today I’m inspired by this post, from which I quote. I hope you’ll go read it all, contemplate then meditate on it, enjoy and share it.

“‘[W]ho’ or ‘what’ is watching that inner brain movie show? …[I]t turns out that the one watching the ‘outer world’ is also part of the inner show. The brain configures a self or seeming ‘person’ as the observer. The illusion of there being a self or person inside the body as the body is generated from memories, body images, conditioning and subconscious drives. This ‘person’ is constructed exactly in the same manner as who we seem to be in our dreams at night: a projection of memories, conditioning and other subconscious material.”

“There is no person or ‘me’ beside the imaginary one generated by the brain. The whole idea or concept of a person or a ‘me’ is also just a concoction of that same brain. Understanding this clearly is seeing the real meaning of “emptiness of self.'”

from Jackson Peterson, “Teacher of Non-dual Traditions: Dzogchen, Advaita, Zen and Mahamudra at Meditation Teacher and Life Coaching”
a posting on the “Buddhist Psychology” group’s page on Facebook that he entitled: “Deconstructing our World and Sense of Personal Self”

#Meditation with #Contemplation on Dying without Regret

What will you do today to be able to end your life at the uncertain time of your death with as little regret as possible? Comment here! I am doing meditation practice intensively for many months as part of my life-without-regret plan.

Yesterday during my second day of walking meditation on living in the God Realm, I walked through my neighborhood, Cherryland, CA, an unincorporated part of Hayward, in a new direction, on streets I haven’t walked, before. There was a wide variety of landscaping, from untended dirt to blooming plants, especially very large, standing roses, and dwellings (ranging from assisted living, apartments, and tinier cottages than mine to what I’m sure was a mansion when it was built in the early 1900s). Such a haphazard continuum of land use and conditions of the habitations gave me ideas for all the Realms’ meditations to come.

This week, I am focusing on the God Realm, so I lingered in front of the beautiful fountains and shrubbery, adored two little front-yards’ ponds and then went to sit in the neighborhood park on this beautiful fall day. The feeling of the sun, the peacefulness, the sweet-smelling breezes, the cloudless skies, complete freedom, all at 70 degrees combined to give me a perfection moment.

A girl about 4 was playing with “Papi” (Grandfather). Papi had a large bubble wand and jar of bubble mixture. Their game involved his dipping the wand and waving it to let the bubbles flow toward her in the light breeze. His granddaughter would leap, run, stretch high, crouch and kick to get the bubbles within her reach to pop them.

She buzzed around the playground, laughing and calling out, “Papi! Papi!” with joy each time she popped a rainbow bubble. He laughed with her delight and kept sending them to her. At one point, his enthusiasm and the breeze conspired to put them ahead of her, coming too fast and out of her reach. Out of breath, she went over to him, stomped her foot, put her hands at her hips (in her best imitation of her mom?) and said, “Papi! Wait for me to come to you!”

“Oh, yes, of course, mi Princesa!” he replied, bowing, and did as she asked. Satisfied, she resumed her annihilating spree with vigor.

Life in the God Realm is just like that: everything is beautiful, within reach, delightful, fun and able to be changed at our command. As Gods/Goddesses, we live impossibly long lives, replete with splendor and abundance of all that we could possibly desire.

Yet, those lives, as any, are actually just rainbow bubbles, able to be burst at any time by another’s actions, or the breezes, or by striking an object, or just coming to the ends of our bubble existences: POP and life is over, Royal or not.

Then, unlike a bubble, which seems to be free of self-reflection, we know we just died. Gods/Goddesses have an inordinately lengthy time, to match our long lives, to contemplate our lives and deaths as we die; that’s part of our existence. Royals have long, self-recriminating death throes that go on and on, all the way until we land in our next incarnation, which happens to be in the Hell Realms. What a way to go.

All our self-castigations are for naught: no matter how many ways we imagine we could have done things differently, at death, it’s too late. Regrets are useless as we die.

Buddhist teachers often say that the best humans can hope for, especially the ones who do not have the teachings and practice of dharma in their lives, is to die without regret. How many of us could die today and die without regret, dharma practitioners or not?

Something to aim for: dying without regret. And, since we do not know the time, manner or date of our death, start NOW on that course.

What will you do today to be able to end your life at the uncertain time of your death with as little regret as possible? Comment here!