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Buddhadharma : Summer 2007
buddhadharma| 43 |summer 2007 has habits and propensities that can lead to impure thoughts and impure conduct; greed and aversion may still arise. However, one is at least able to see clearly that one’s mind still cannot completely control the arising of vexations. At that point, it becomes very important to practice samadhi. To summarize, in the stages of practice toward enlightenment, we cultivate wisdom through con templation, and when wisdom arises, we practice samadhi to develop freedom and ease of mind. This is the kind of power we want to develop through the four steps to magical powers, not supernatural powers. The Four Steps The first step to magical powers is chandariddhi pada, concentration of desire; the second is virya riddhipada, concentration of exertion or diligence; the third is cittariddhipada, concentration of mind; and the fourth is mimamsariddhipada, concentration of inquiry or investigation. Chanda: Concentration of Desire Chanda is the intense desire to attain the supreme and wondrous dhyana. This intense longing will cause one to prepare one’s mind accordingly and inspire one to practice hard. Translated into Chi nese as “desire,” chanda can have a negative as well as a positive meaning. On the one hand it can mean greed, but as a step to concentrative power chanda also denotes a hope or vow. This vow is essential to overcoming the six obstructions to practice: drowsiness, scattered mind, idleness, lazi ness, forgetfulness (of one’s practice), and wrong view. The will to attain the supreme dhyana is the best antidote to laziness. So when you are practic ing and begin to feel lazy, please give rise to the aspiration to attain the supreme dhyana. To develop the power of chanda, one looks at the mind’s vexations and contemplates their true nature. Do these vexations have enduring exis tence? If you contemplate them deeply, you will see that vexatious thoughts are all indeed illusory. Since they are illusory, why be attached to them? You then realize that you suffer because of your attachments to vexations. So the more we observe the mind and the more we realize that our vexations are illusory, the more we can let them go. In this practice, we remind ourselves that wandering thoughts arise because of our attachments and cause vexations. All of our thoughts, as long as there is attachment, are wandering thoughts. When you see that wander ing thoughts are caused by vexation and also cause more vexation, you therefore see that you should not attach to them and will learn to let them go. Gradually, the wandering thoughts will subside and your mind will become clearer and more stable, thus enabling dhyana. Virya: Concentration of Diligence Concentration of diligence or exertion means one is equipped with a strong vow to attain the supreme dhyana, and, therefore, one diligently applies the method of practice. Virya is diligence in dealing with the wandering thoughts that arise, whether they are thoughts of the past, present, or future. As for the present, thoughts come and go ceaselessly, and when we attach to them, they become wander ing thoughts. However, thoughts of the past and future are also wandering thoughts, since the past is gone and the future is yet to be. All wandering thoughts, whether they relate to the past, the pres ent, or the future, are illusory, so we just let them go. When we are diligent in letting go of thoughts of the past, not giving rise to thoughts of the future, and stopping thoughts in the present, we eventually enter the singleminded state of nonabiding. This corresponds to the line in the Diamond Sutra that says: “Abiding nowhere, give rise to [awakened] mind.” Citta: Concentration of Mind Citta is being mindful of your intent to prac tice. You need to be on guard against laziness, drowsiness, and scattered mind. You need to be aware that these states cause vexation and that they are the reasons we cannot attain liberation. Constantly be aware of their presence, and once aware of them, put them aside right away. Do not struggle with them, as that will make it worse. If you can do this, constantly observing your mind and putting down obstructions, you will be able to attain samadhi, the state of onethought. I have spoken of the need to practice dhyana diligently. But what do we use to practice dhyana? We use the mind of the present moment, keeping the mind on the present moment and only on the present moment. This is the mind that gives rise to dhyana, or wisdom. The mind of ordinary sentient beings is self ish and full of vexation. Nevertheless, it is this same mind that we practice with, and it is the same mind as that of an arhat. However, when we start practicing dhyana, we cannot become pure imme diately; we still have wandering thoughts, impure thoughts, and selfish thoughts. In the beginning, the mind is scattered, but when it is continuously on the method, it is on the path to dhyana. Mimamsa: Concentration of Inquiry Mimamsa consists of having an inquiring or dis criminating mind, ensuring that chanda, virya, and rYanzoghlin