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 : Summer 2005
summer 2005| 52 |buddhadharma ate, and hold on to is a very unstable, uncertain, undependable, and changing condition in itself. That’s just the way it is. The Buddha pointed to the instability of conditioned phenomena, to their impermanence. This is not just a philosophy that he was expecting us to go along with. We are asked to explore the nature of the conditioned realm in all the dimensions in which we experience it: the phys- ical, the emotional, and the mental. We take that which is aware of the conditioned realm, sati-sam- pajanna, awakened awareness, as our refuge, rather than trying to find or create a condition that will give us a false sense of security. We are not trying to fool ourselves, to create a sense of security through positive thinking. Our refuge is awakening to real- ity, because the unconditioned is reality. Awareness, awakeness, is the gate to the unconditioned. The conditions are whatever they are – strong or weak, pleasant or painful, whatever. “I am an unenlightened person who has to practice meditation hard. I must really work at it, get rid of my defilements, and become an enlight- ened person some time in the future. I hope to attain stream-entry before I die, but if I don’t, I hope that I will be reborn in a better realm.” We go on like that, creating more and more complica- tions. People ask me, “Can I attain stream-entry? Are there any arahants?” because we still think of stream entry and arahantship as a personal quality, don’t we? We look at somebody and say, “That monk over there is an arahant!” We think that per- son is an arahant or stream-enterer. That’s just the way the conditioned mind operates. It can’t help it. It can’t do anything other than that. You can’t trust it. You can’t take refuge in your thoughts or your perceptions. You can only take refuge in awareness. Of course, awareness doesn’t seem like anything, it’s seems like nothing – but it’s every- thing. All the problems are resolved right there. Your conditioned mind thinks, “Awareness is nothing; it doesn’t amount to anything. It’s not worth anything. You couldn’t sell it!” This is the point at which we learn to trust in the ability to awaken, because if we think about it, we’ll start doubting it all the time: “Am I really awake? Am I awake enough? Maybe I need to be asleep longer so that I can be awake later on. Maybe if I keep practicing with ignorance I’ll get so fed up that I’ll give it up.” If you start with ignorance, how could you ever end up with wisdom? That doesn’t make any sense. It’s like hitting your head against a wall – after a while you might give it up if you haven’t damaged your brain. It does feel good when you stop, doesn’t it? Instead of looking at it in that way, trust in the simple act of attention. Then explore and have confidence in your ability to use wisdom. Many of you may think, “Oh, I don’t have any wisdom. I’m nobody. I haven’t had any real insight.” You con- vince yourself you can’t do this. On the personal level, maybe you don’t feel you have anything to offer, but that’s simply another creation. That’s the same as saying, “I am an unenlightened person.” Whatever you think you are – whether the best or the worst – it’s still a creation. Whatever assumptions you have about yourself, no matter how reasonable they might be, they are still a creation in the present. By believing in them, by thinking and holding to them, you’re continually creating yourself as a personality. Awakeness is not a creation. It’s the immanent act of attention in the present. That is why deliberately thinking “I am an unenlightened person” is just a skillful means to notice more carefully and continuously what it’s like to be mindful, to have pure awareness at the same time as you are creating yourself as a person. You get the sense that your self-view is a mental object, something that comes and goes. You can’t sustain “I am an unenlightened person.” How do you sustain that? By thinking it all the time? If you went around saying “I am an unenlightened per- son” all the time, they would send you to a mental hospital. It arises and ceases, but the awareness is sustainable. The awareness is not created, it is not personal, but it is real. We can also recognize the ending. When “I am an unenlightened person who has got to practice meditation in order to become an enlightened per- son some time in the future” stops, there is ringing silence, awareness. Conditions always arise and cease now, in the present. The cessation is now. The ending of the condition is now. The end of the world is now. The end of self is now. The end of suffering is now. You can see the arising, “I am...,” then the ending. And what remains when something has begun and ended is awareness. It’s like this. It’s bright. It’s clear. It’s pure. It’s alive. It’s not like a trance. It’s not dull. It’s not stupid. This is just an encouragement – an “empower- ment,” according to modern jargon. Do it! Go for it! Don’t just hang around on the edges thinking, “I am an unenlightened person who has to prac- tice really hard in order to become an enlightened person,” and then after a while start grumbling, “Oh, I need more time!” and go into the usual plans and plots, views and opinions. If you start with ignorance, you will end up with suffering. Avijjapaccaya saikhara is the term found in the teachings on dependent origination (paniccasa- muppada). Avijja is ignorance, and that conditions (paccaya) the mental formations (saikharas), which then affect everything and you end up with grief, sorrow, despair, and anguish (soka-parideva-duk- kha-domanassupayasa) as a result. I encourage you to start not from avijja, but from awareness (vijja) and wisdom (panna). Be that wisdom itself, rather than a person who isn’t wise trying to become wise. As long as you hold to the Be wisdom itself, rather than a person who isn’t wise trying to become wise. It’s that direct. It’s learning to trust in being the wisdom now, being awake – even though you may feel inadequate, doubtful, or frightened by it. cHArleScoHen,WWW.promulgAtor.com