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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 10 54 call resting meditation. Resting here means we leave it alone. We don’t need to do a lot to it or alter it in any way. Just rest in equipoise within its essence, whatever that is like. Getting Right Down to Meditation There are two parts to the instructions on the resting medita- tion of the kusulu. The first part is the instructions on resolv- ing. The Tibetan word translated here as resolving literally means to climb straight over a pass without making switch- backs back and forth—it means to go directly there. Here it means to go right into samadhi meditation. The second part of the instructions is distinguishing mind from aware- ness. Sometimes we are distracted, and sometimes we are not. When we are distracted, that is mind, and when we are undis- tracted, that is awareness. When we are not distracted, it is very easy to know the nature of the mind. But when we are distracted, we have many different thoughts that prevent us from knowing the mind-essence. This is the aspect of confu- sion. “Distinguishing” means telling these two states apart. For the main practice of the resting meditation of a kusulu, let your mind and body become comfortable, soft, and relaxed. Do not think of anything, and rest naturally. The important point here is that we do not think of anything. Do not think Saying “naked” means there is no covering or anything in the way. We just rest directly in mind as it is without trying to correct it or “re-place” it. We do not worry, “My meditation is bad; I’ve got to make it good.” Khenchen Thrangu rinpoche is a meditation master in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism who has trained many prominent lineage figures, including the Seventeenth Karmapa. he has monasteries in india and nepal, a retreat facility in crestone, colorado, and centers in california and Maine. This teaching is adapted from his new book, Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar, forthcoming from Shambhala publications. about the past and do not think about the future. Do not think of anything at all. You should not do this by tightening or gripping, but instead by being loose, relaxed, and comfortable. Just let yourself rest naturally within this, without thinking. In the analytic meditation of the pandita, there is an examination of where the mind is, what it is like, what color it is, and so forth. But here there is no such examination: let your mind rest loosely and naturally. Just look at whatever feelings arise. Resting the Body and Mind Khenpo Gangshar’s instructions on insight meditation begin with four points on posture: Keep your body straight, refrain from talking, open your mouth slightly, and let the breath flow naturally. The first instruction is to keep your body straight so that the mind will be clear. The second instruction is to refrain from talking. If we talk while meditating, we will have a lot of thoughts. It will be difficult for our minds to rest and be clear, so we refrain from talking. The third instruction is to open your mouth slightly. Don’t close your mouth, but don’t let it gape open either. This means to let your body relax. As the great Machig Labdrön said, “Let the four limbs relax.” This is important for your meditation. The fourth instruction is to let the breath flow normally. If your breath is moving quickly, let it move quickly. If it is moving slowly, let it move slowly. Do not try to make your long breaths into short breaths; do not try to make short breaths into long breaths. Do not hold your breath or do anything else to it. However it is, just let it be, which means not to change it in any way. These four points tell us how to let the body rest. This is taught so that we will be able to clearly recognize the nature of the mind. In addition to these, Khenpo Gangshar also teaches meth- ods for resting the mind: Don’t pursue the past and don’t invite the future. Simply rest naturally in the naked ordinary mind of the immediate present without trying to correct it or “re-place” it. michelemartin