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
82 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 6 consciousness unfolding as four stages of development called “the four yogas of Mahamudra.” The four yogas are essentially four phases that a yogi pro- gressively goes through when engaging in long-term practice. These stages are one-pointedness, simplicity, equal taste, and non-meditation. One-pointedness is a state of focus in which the mind can stay with some- thing without wavering for a long period of time. Simplicity is a state in which the mind’s tendency to complicate things begins to dissolve naturally. At the stage of equal taste, the highs and lows of meditation, and of life generally, lose their volatility. Non-meditation is a level at which a yogi no longer needs to engage in meditation at all. The state of non-grasping and open relaxation is the yogi’s baseline. In the fruitional schema of Mahamu- dra, it becomes apparent that there is a difference between the practice of non- meditation and its full blossoming. Fully blossoming non-meditation seems to be a developmental achievement, requiring time and a great deal of commitment over the long term. To really experi- ence this blossoming, the mind needs to learn how to focus (one-pointedness) and release the tendency to grasp at the content of the mind (simplicity). The practitioner also needs to develop sta- ble equanimity toward all experiences (equal taste). When the meditator has mastered those skills to the point where it changes their ongoing conscious expe- rience, there is a possibility for authentic non-meditation to blossom. A Paradigm Shift Lately I have been tempted to answer the question “Do you meditate?” with the answer “Yes and no.” Do I sit? Yes. Do I watch my breath? Yes. Do I meditate? I hesitate to answer this question in the affirmative anymore because it is only a part of the picture. This feels sacrilegious. How improper to be a dharma teacher who does not meditate! But this is the truth. I cannot answer “Yes” in good faith, because what the asker means by “meditation” is quite possibly not my main practice. I like to think of practice in other terms, as a kind of homecoming—a way of being present, of being in my body, of being in sacred relationship. At a retreat I attended recently, Tsoknyi Rinpoche shared an old Maha- mudra saying: “Sentient beings are not enlightened because they don’t meditate. Yogis are not enlightened because they do.” In other words, we need meditation to develop concentration, focus, calm, and simplicity. We need it to become more awake. But we do not need it forever. Eventually we must let go of technique and commit to the freedom it represents. Otherwise, like the yogis in the saying, we may interfere with our own enlightenment. In a similar vein, in the Alagaddu- pama Sutta, the Buddha famously com- pares the dharma to a raft. You need the raft of dharma, he says, to get to the other shore of enlightenment. But once there, it makes no sense to carry the boat on dry land. Applying the same logic, meditation stabilizes states of con- centration, relaxation, and ease in our mind. But once there, it may not serve to carry techniques beyond their useful life. But how do we know when it’s time to let go? The answer, the masters say, is found in innate natural awareness. Natural awareness, when we glimpse it, requires a paradigm shift: we must relinquish control and trust in natural awareness to drive the practice, rather than the other way around. At that point, while we may indeed continue to sail the waters and even—Buddha will- ing—reach the other shore, we will dis- cover that we have always been standing on the same old ground. If we can find freshness in our sitting practice, we can reclaim that sense of discovery we began with as practitioners. ➤ continued from page 30 Jakusho Kwong, Abbot Soto Zen Lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi resident training monthly sesshins guest resident practice solo retreats workshops daily meditation rural country setting Genjo-ji 6367 Sonoma Mountain Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404 707.545.8105 firstname.lastname@example.org www.smzc.net SONOMA MOUNTAIN ZEN CENTER