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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
20 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 1 5 directly, without judgment or analysis. Abide in meditation and host the pain identity, pain speech, and pain imagina- tion to its dissolution again and again. Discover the source, the nature of mind, free of ego’s attachments and aversions, and develop confidence in the free and open space of being and the expression that then arises. In order for this path of meditation to be successful, it is necessary to open to the pain you are experiencing and not dismiss it with another thought. You are not free of suffering in saying, I wish I weren’t married to my wife, but I don’t want to cause her pain, so I will stay. In my tradition, that is analogous to trying to clean blood off your hands by washing them with more blood— replacing one suffering thought with a better, more virtuous one. This is not a superior method for the liberation of suffering. Develop some stability in your medi- tation practice by connecting with the stillness of your body, silence of your inner speech, and spaciousness of mind. As you settle and connect with a sense of being and are able to bring your attention back again and again from thinking and fantasy, allowing this mind to rest, you will feel a certain peacefulness. The observer becomes increasingly subtle, often releasing entirely while abiding. Having expe- rienced the spaciousness, awareness, and warmth of your natural mind, you can then reflect on the thought, I wish I weren’t married to my spouse. Inten- tionally bring this to your meditation and notice what happens. Feel any dis- turbance in your body, breath, or imag- ination. Embrace the experience fully, opening to allow the movement of pain. When fully allowed, the expression of pain will exhaust. It is important not to elaborate, analyze, or change any- thing. Just nakedly observe. Discover the truth of cessation. In the freshness of your experience, you will see your life through new eyes. What begins as suffering liberates, and the expression that arises from the openness you expe- rience will transform your life. narayan helen liebenson: W he n a thought occurs repetitively, it is ask- ing to be explored. The specifics of the situation with your spouse merit your care and attention and perhaps the help of some good psychotherapy or counseling as well. The emotional component of this recurring thought needs to be greeted with interest and openheartedness. The Buddha spoke about thinking in two different ways: one is to see into the emptiness of thoughts, and the other is to divide thoughts into the categories of wholesome and unwholesome. Whole- some means that which is whole, leaving nothing out, including yourself. Inten- tions of kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity are wholesome thoughts. Unwholesome means fragmented; intentions of ill will, cruelty, and grasp- ing are unwholesome thoughts. What really makes it wholesome or unwhole- some is not the content so much as the intention that gives rise to the content. A seemingly wholesome thought could be fueled by fear, for example. Neither the content nor the process is dismissed in dharma practice. If we only see thinking as empty, without any awareness of its content, we won’t know our own particular conditioning and will unconsciously act in accor- dance with it. If we only see thinking as solid and substantial, each thought true and believable, we will be endlessly caught in conditioning with no access to unconditioned freedom. In order to embrace both of these dimensions, can you go deeper into the many aspects of this thought that is arising? What is happening in the body when this thought arises? Do you notice the sensations and felt experience? What emotions are associated with this thought? Are there particular times and contexts in which it arises? Instead of being fearful or averse in relationship to this thought, try exploring it to allow understanding to arise. If you are pushing a thought away and trying to believe in its empty nature, you can be sure that a predom- inant thought is being inadvertently RIGPA SOGYAL THE TIBETAN BOOK RINPOCHE OF LIVING AND DYING AUTUMN RETREAT weekend option full retreat Nov27-Dec6 usa.rigpa.org/ventura Nov27-Nov30 Ventura, California at the author of