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 2016
30 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 6 Just as meditation carries the implication of rep- etition, the term “non-meditation” carries the impli- cation that every time we sit we are not repeating the same thing again and again. We are observing something totally new in every moment. Every time you sit down, there is an encouragement to consider this meditation session as your very first. Simply by reframing our practice as non-repetition, we can acquaint ourselves with the uniqueness of each meditation session. In Mahamudra meditation, the present moment of awareness becomes our meditation “object.” Instead of doing something, we practice dropping effort and just resting in the here and now. If we are really in the present moment, a sense of adventure will often spontaneously arise, because anything can happen. There is an unpredictable unfold- ing of experience—feelings, perceptions, sounds, thoughts—as we ride the wave of now. The past cannot be found anywhere. The future is also a fiction. This moment is indeed the only moment that has ever happened. In the practice of non-meditation, when you sit down it is the first and only time you have ever practiced. In the Maha- mudra tradition, we find the term soma, which means “fresh,” and it refers to the truth of the newness of our present experience. If we can find freshness in our sitting practice, it remains dynamic, adventurous, and joyful. We can reclaim that sense of discovery and excitement that we began with as practitioners. What About Meditation? With all this talk of non-meditation, you might wonder if there is room for a practice of medita- tion in this alternate universe. The answer is most definitely yes. If we can step out of the construct of meditation, enter the present moment of experience with deep acceptance, and dwell in the territory of natural awareness, that is excellent. But can we stay there? Most of us cannot remain in the open ocean for long without needing a life raft. Shamatha and vipassana practices serve as a life raft, allowing us to develop focus and relaxation that we can bring to open awareness. In Mahamudra, distraction does not mean stray- ing from focus on an object. Distraction means straying from the relaxed, non-conceptual freshness of our present experience. When we get enmeshed in the past or future, we are distracted. When we grasp, we are distracted. Being undistracted in Mahamudra practice is a very subtle skill, much harder to master than the non-distraction of conventional shamatha. Fortunately, shamatha can strengthen the muscle of mindfulness, focus, and relaxation, helping us recognize what it means to be distracted and what it means to be focused before we work on the subtle art of staying grounded in wakeful presence. What this means in daily practice is that focused shamatha is frequently used within a session as a kind of “tune-up” for the mind’s attention. After focusing on the breath for a while, we then open up to a panoramic awareness of our present experi- ence. From there, with more powerful attention, we can begin to explore the subtleties of innate natural awareness. In this way, on the heels of focused med- itation, we can often stay in non-meditation with more focus and stability, and for a longer duration. In Mahamudra training, this alternation con- tinues for a long time. Therefore, while non- meditation is classified as the main practice in the Mahamudra tradition, meditation is an important supportive practice. We might say that meditation and non-meditation need each other. Non-Meditation as Fruition This mutual reliance of meditation and non-medi- tation is reflected in descriptions of the fruition of Mahamudra practice, which is often expressed as a gradual refinement of (oppoSitE) tiGers-stock.deviantart.com The aspiration to attain inner peace may seem perfectly natural, but there is a subtle kind of violence and deep misunderstanding in the notion that we are not sufficient as we are. ➤ continued page 82