using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
spring 2006| 40 |buddhadharma use spices in cooking to make food tasty. The point isn’t the spices themselves, but the food we eat. Practicing samadhi is the same. The Buddha’s teachers, Uddaka and Alara, put heavy emphasis on practicing the jhana and attaining various kinds of powers, like clairvoyance. But if you get that far, it’s hard to undo. Some places teach this deep tranquility, to sit with delight in quietude. The meditators then get intoxicated by their samadhi. If they have sila, they get intoxicated by their sila. If they walk the path, they become intoxi- cated by the path, dazzled by the beauty and wonders they experience, and they don’t reach the real destination. The Buddha said that this is a subtle error. Still, it’s something correct for those on a coarse level. What the Buddha wanted was for us to have an appropriate measure of samadhi, without getting stuck there. After we train in and develop samadhi, then samadhi should develop wisdom. Samadhi that is on the level of samatha – tranquility – is like a rock cov- ering grass. In samadhi that is sure and stable, even when the eyes are opened, wisdom is there. When wisdom has been born, it encompasses and knows (“rules”) all things. The Teacher did not want those refined levels of concentration and ces- sation, because they become a diversion, and the path is forgotten. So what is necessary is not to be attached to sitting or any other particular posture. Samadhi doesn’t reside in having the eyes closed, the eyes open, or in sit- ting, standing, walking, or lying down. Samadhi pervades all postures and activi- ties. Older persons, who often can’t sit very well, can contemplate especially well and practice samadhi easily; they too can develop a lot of wisdom. How is it that they can develop wis- dom? Everything is rousing them. When they open their eyes, they don’t see things as clearly as they used to. Their teeth give them trouble and fall out. Their bod- ies ache most of the time. Just this is a place of study. So, really, meditation is easy for old folks. Meditation is hard for youngsters. Their teeth are strong, so they can enjoy their food. They sleep soundly. Their faculties are intact and the world is fun and exciting to them, so they get deluded in a big way. For the old ones, when they chew on something hard, they’re soon in pain. Right there the devaduta (divine messengers) are talking to them; they’re teaching them every day. When when the old ones open their eyes, their sight is fuzzy. In the morning their backs ache. In the evening their legs hurt. That’s it! This is really an excellent sub- ject to study. Some of you older people will say you can’t meditate. What do you want to meditate on? Who will you learn meditation from? This is seeing the body in the body and sensation in sensation. Are you seeing these or are you running away? Saying you can’t practice because you’re too old is only due to wrong understanding. The question is, are things clear to you? Elderly persons have a lot of thinking, a lot of sensation, a lot of discomfort and pain. Everything appears! If they medi- tate, they can really testify to it. So I say that meditation is easy for old folks. They can do it best. It’s like the way everyone says, “When I’m old, I’ll go to the mon- astery.” If you understand this, it’s true all right. You have to see it within your- self. When you sit, it’s true; when you stand up, it’s true; when you walk, it’s true. Everything is a hassle, everything is presenting obstacles – and everything is teaching you. Isn’t this so? Can you just get up and walk away easily now? When you stand up, it’s “Oy!” Or haven’t you noticed? And it’s “Oy!” when you walk. It’s prodding you. So how can you say it’s difficult to meditate? Where else is there to look? It’s all correct. The devaduta are telling you something. It’s most clear. Sankhara (mind and body) are telling you that they are not stable or permanent, not you or yours. They are telling you this every moment. But we think differently. We don’t think that this is right. We entertain wrong view, and our ideas are far from the truth. Old persons can see imperma- nence, suffering, and lack of self, and give rise to dispassion and disenchant-