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Buddhadharma : Spring 2010
51 spring 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly How to practice “singing Meditation” Khenpo rinpoche has explained that there are different ways you can meditate while singing. First, you can let your mind rest one-pointedly on the sound of the melody while you sing. Doing just that is a way to practice shamatha (calm-abiding) meditation. and if, while doing that, you let your mind rest right within the sound’s true nature, sound- emptiness, that is vipashyana (superior insight) meditation. if you let your mind rest in the recognition that the nature of the sound and your mind perceiving it are undifferentiable, that is the Mahamudra meditation called “meditating with appearances.” you can also focus on the meaning of the words, and in that way practice what is called the “meditation with Ari Goldfield is a Buddhist translator and teacher who has studied and practiced under the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso for the past fifteen years. from Stars of Wisdom. ➤ continued page 84 the focus of the learned ones,” because you are learning something at the same time you are meditating. you are learning the profound words of the dharma and reflecting on their meaning, and so while you meditate your wisdom is increasing. Finally, you can do the Mahamudra practice called “med- itating with the moving mind” by looking directly at the nature of the thoughts that arise while you sing, and relax- ing in their essential nature: clarity-emptiness, luminosity, great bliss. emptiness, like in a dream. The ultimate way to express this is to say that phenomena are self-arisen and self-liberated. It was mentioned that Milarepa remained in a state of equal taste, and I was just wondering how you ever get there, because sensations are so overwhelming. For example, when you eat something you do not like, you can conceptually tell yourself: “Oh, it is not so bad and I should really think of the true nature of things.” But yet you sort of cringe—you have a strong physi- cal response. So can Rinpoche please give some suggestions of what to actually do with unpleasant sense experiences? We must proceed step-by-step. First, we need the view of emp- tiness. All phenomena are empty of essence—they are empty of there being any actual identity to them. We also need the view of equality. In the Noble Sutra of the Ten Grounds, the Buddha taught ten types of equality—ten ways that all phenomena are equal. Three of these are most important: First, in terms of genuine reality, all things are equal in that the true nature of each one of them equally tran- scends any concept about what it might be. Second, also with reference to their genuine nature, all phenomena are equal because they are all originally and perfectly pure—since begin- ningless time the nature of all phenomena is perfect purity. Finally, in terms of apparent reality, the appearances of all phenomena are equal because all appearances are equally like dreams, illusions, and water-moons. Certainty in this view of emptiness and equality is the first thing you need in order to start developing the conduct of equal taste. Even though the term that is used is equal taste, it is not the usual use of the word “taste.” Rather, it is a quality that applies not only to the sense experiences but to all experiences. It means to know that friends and enemies are of the nature of equality, and that happiness and suffering are of the nature of equality. We can understand this more easily if we think of the example of a dream. If you dream and you do not know that you are dreaming, and you eat something that tastes good and then something else that tastes bad, then because you do not know you are dreaming, you think that these experiences are real and very different. Once you know that you are dreaming, however, you know that the appearance of a good taste and a bad one are not real. They are just mere appearances. So you know there is actually no difference between them at all—they are equality. As for the ultimate reality of the dream, it transcends the concepts of existence and nonexistence both. The actual reality of the dream is beyond all concept of what it might be. So initially, we need to gain certainty in this view. We need to analyze in order to understand it and to be free of doubt Wisdom is the basic nature of mind, the basic nature of reality, and all outer appearances are this wisdom’s own energy and play.