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Buddhadharma : Win 2012
42 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 2 continue, these distinctions fade. You are aware of events around you, but they do not leave traces. You no longer feel that the environment is out there and you are in here. The environ- ment poses no opposition or burden. It just is. If you are sitting, then the environment is you, sitting. If you have left your seat and are walk- ing about, then the environment is still you, in all of your actions. This experience, the second stage of silent illumination, is called the oneness of self and others. Can you still hear sounds? Yes. Can you get up to have a drink of water or urinate? Of course. Is there mentation? Yes. You have thoughts as you need them to respond to the world, but they are not self-referential. Compassion naturally arises when it is needed; it has nothing to do with emotion. There is an intimacy with everything around you that is beyond words and descrip- tions. When you urinate, the body, urine, and toilet are not separate. Indeed, you all have a wonderful dialogue! In this stage, you see clearly what needs to be done. You see how to respond, but without any reference point or opposition. If you hear a bird, you are a bird. When you interact with a person, your mind is not stirred. You see things as one; they are part of you, and you are part of them. It’s not that you think, “They are part of me and I’m really big! I include the whole world!” Nor is it that you dissolve into the external environ- ment, not knowing who you are anymore. It is just that the sense of self-reference is diminished and the burdens of normal vexations have tem- porarily vanished. There are progressively deeper states of this second stage. When you enter a state in which the environment is you sitting, the environment may become infinite and boundless, bringing about a state of oneness with the universe. The whole world is your body sitting there. Time passes quickly and space is limitless. You are not caught up in the particulars of the environ- ment. There is just openness of mind, clarity, and a sense of the infinite. This is not yet the realiza- tion of no-self; it is the experience of great self. At this point, three subtler experiences may occur, all related to the sense of great self. The Getting to know and learning to relax your body can free you from habitual tendencies and negative emotions. You may notice that when wandering thoughts arise, some parts of your body tense up. The same is true for deep-seated emotions, which are lodged in particular places of the body. Often, people live their lives in such a way that their bodies and minds are split; they do one thing with their bodies while their minds are elsewhere. Practicing this first stage helps body and mind be more unified. When you are wakeful and clear in each moment and not caught up with wandering thoughts, they subside of their own accord. They subside because your discriminating mind, which is tied to self-grasping, lessens. Your discrimi- nating mind lessens because you’re aware of the totality of the body as you are sitting. Without wandering thoughts, you are not grasping at this and that, nor attracted to or repulsed by particu- lar sensations. The concentration developed in the first stage of silent illumination is not a one- pointed focus of mind but an open, natural, and clear presence. It is concentration accompanied by wisdom. Unified Mind When your discriminating mind diminishes, your narrow sense of self diminishes as well. Your field of awareness—which is at first the totality of the body—naturally opens up to include the external environment. Inside and outside become one. In the beginning, you may still notice that a sound is coming from a certain direction or that your mind follows distinct events within the envi- ronment, such as someone moving. But as you Your field of awareness natur ally opens up to include the external environment. You no longer feel that the environment is out there and you are in here. If you are sitting, then the environment is you, sitting.