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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
44 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 3 a precise, indepth Hinayana journey, starting with shamatha meditation and the practice of mindfulness, then moving through the more analytical teachings of the four noble truths and twelve links of dependent origination (nidanas), and on to other classical Buddhist concepts, such as the six realms of existence, presenting them as six psychological states. Nontheism and Individual Salvation Once we discover our suffering, originated from egoclinging and avidya, the important point is to tame the mind and its neurosis. The path here is called Individual Salvation, and as Trungpa explains, it begins with the “desire to develop peace or tranquility within, and to prevent actions that may be harmful to others.” If we’re to learn the lessons of the Hinayana and get at the most essential meaning of the Buddha’s teachings, we “need to let go of theism,” says Trungpa. The concept of nontheism, originally seen in a work of George Holyoake in 1852, is one of the vital themes in Trungpa’s teachings. He explains that the Buddhist practices involved here are nontheistic “because you don’t have to rely on any aids. Nobody is going to jolt you, except for your own mind.” Going further on the Buddhist path by taking refuge in the Buddha, dharma, and sangha is itself another way of letting go of theism. It’s an acknowledgement of an undertaking, an expression of personal responsibility, not dependence. As Trungpa explains, “Buddha’s statement that you have to be intelligent about what you are doing and about your com mitment to spirituality automatically brings up the notion of nontheism.” While the spiritual goal of theism seems to be reaching the highest possibility of the world’s loftiest ideals, such as becoming godly or reuniting with a supreme deity, the approach of nontheism is simply trying to relate with ourselves. There’s not a lot of distance to travel. It’s based totally on personal experience geared toward fully realizing egolessness. Shila, Samadhi, and Prajna In accord with the threeyana approach, Trungpa presents the main body of the Hinayana practice with the triad of shila, samadhi, and prajna. “That which cools off neurotic heat,” shila, commonly translated as discipline or ethics, is a practice that makes your being and your mind onepointed, achieving a level of deco rum. It’s a way, Trungpa explains, “to keep your precision, to keep your sense of dignity, your sense of head and shoul ders—to maintain your being altogether.” Through engaging in shila, “we follow the Buddha’s example so that our state of mind becomes workable.” With the ground of shila, samadhi, or meditation, becomes a way of touching a deeper state of our mind through the meditation practices of shamatha, or peaceful abiding, and vipashyana, or higher awareness. Trungpa instructs that “unless we are willing to commit ourselves to shamatha prac tice, there is no way out of illbirth or distortion. So shamatha is very important.” You may think you’ve experienced real boredom many times in your life and wish always to avoid it. But real bore dom, the genuine thing, is another matter. Trungpa calls it “cool boredom,” and it’s what you experience in meditation. This simple and refreshing expression of your wellbeing plays an extremely important role as “the barometer” of your accomplishment in meditation. It’s what you experience when you sit observing the natural rhythm of your breath, over and over. Unless you’re able to sit efficiently, remaining pres ent with your experience, “you will not get properly bored,” says Trungpa, and therefore “you will not be in tune with the power of the practice.” Meditation practice is not only about developing your powers of concentration. It’s also about developing sympa thy for yourself. You can finally enjoy being you, Trungpa explains, without having “to borrow anything or bring any foreign influences into your life.” The only thing you need is the genuine experience of your own mind. Shamatha alone isn’t sufficient to cut through ego, how ever. It needs to be joined with vipashyana—higher aware ness, or superior seeing. It’s the insight that comes from direct meditative experience or contemplative analysis. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is vipashyana meditation on emptiness, which brings about the realization of egolessness. Once our mind is processed by shamatha, discriminating awareness, or prajna, begins to arise. Also known as tran scendent knowledge, prajna becomes the quintessential ele ment of practice that directly cuts through ego. Without the understanding of egolessness, there is no Buddhist path and there is no cessation of suffering, or nirvana. In order to connect with Western mind and experience, Chögyam Trungpa redefined and reshaped terminologies to give fresh connotations to existing English words, signaling the very beginnings of a truly Western Buddhism. FROMTHECOLLECTIONOFSHAMBHALAARCHIVES