Insight is not an act of remembrance, the continuation of memory. Insight is like a flash of light. You see with absolute clarity, all the complications, the consequences, the intricacies. Then this very insight is action, complete. In that there are no regrets, no looking back, no sense of being weighed down, no discrimination. This is pure, clear insight - perception without any shadow of doubt. Most of us begin with certainty and as we grow older the certainty changes to uncertainty and we die with uncertainty. But if one begins with uncertainty, doubting, questioning, asking demanding, with real doubt about man's behaviour, about all the religious rituals and their images and their symbols, then out of that doubt comes the clarity of certainty. ~J. Krishnamurti
The Four Noble Truths The Four Noble Truths are key to an understanding of Buddhism and the Buddha's teaching. The first noble truth is suffering, the condition that all living beings experience in various forms. The cause of suffering is craving or selfish desire. However, there is a state which transcends suffering which the Buddha referred to as Nirvana, the third moble truth. The fourth noble truth is the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha's teaching on the way to attain Nirvana.
The First Three Fetters to Find the Path Personality view Attachment to rituals and techniques Doubt You canot figure out how to be aware. You cannot think yourself into awareness. Awareness is right now. It is not a matter of thinking about it, but being aware of thinking about it. How do you stop thinking? Just stop. How do you stop? Just stop. Trusting is relaxing into it, it's just an attentiveness, which is an act of faith, its a trusting - saddha. It gives you perspective on anything you want to do. Ultimately, when we develop these techniques, it ends up that one has to trust in the mindfulness rather than in just "me and my willful efforts". Awareness is right now. It is not a matter of thinking about things, but being aware of thinking about things. MINDFULNESS About Your Body You can look at yourself and not like what you see. You may be disgusted with your body and thin.k of it as loathsome. Asubha means "non-beautiful". Subha is "beautiful". With intuitive awareness - sati-sampajanna - you can find a sense of viraga - dispassion, which is a very cool feeling. It is very pleasant to be dispassionate - it is just a feeling of non-aversion. SATI-SAMPAJANNA opens the way to the experience of viraga - dispassion. Doing the metta - the loving kindness meditation will help you lose critisism. With metta your are not being critical about anything. The loving kindness meditation - metta - will help you lose critisism, which leads to dispassion and non-aversion. It can help you to very skillfully develop a more discriminative awareness of the unpleasant, of the non-beautiful without indulging in being critical, rejecting and being adverse to it. The metta is basically sati-sampajanna. Sati-sampajanna accepts, it includes. Metta is one of those inclusive things, much more intuitive that conceptual. If you try to think of metta as love, as in something you like, it is impossible to sustain metta when you get to things you can't stand, people you hate, etc. Metta is very hard to come to terms with on a conceptual level, almost impossible. But in terms of sati-sampajanna, its accepting, because it includes everying you like and dislike. Metta is not analytical, you do not dwell on why you hate someone, not trying to figure something out -- it includes the whole thing: the feeling, the person and yourself - all in the same moment. Its an embracing, a point that includes and is non-critical. Your are not trying to figure out anything, but just to open and accept, being patient with it Metta, in terms of sati-sampajanna, is accepting because it includes everything you like and dislike. It is not analytical. Its an embracing, a point that includes everything and is non-critical. Be open and accepting and have patience.
Food and Sati-Sampajanna Notice your attitude towards food - the greed, the aversion or the guilt about eating or enjoying good food - include it all. Sati-sampajanna is the only attitude towards food that you need - it means not making eating into any hassle. Greed brings about guilt - then it gets complicated. If you try to rid yourself of greed, pleasure, bad thoughts, etc. - you are trying to kill everything - including yourself. Taking asceticism to the attakilamathanuyoga - the position of annihilation. The opposite extreme - kamasukhallikanuyaog - is "eat, drink and be merry". These are conditions we set up in our minds. Always wanting life to be a party or thinking that any pleasure is wrong is a condition that we create. The samana - monastic - life is right now, its like this. It is opening to what we tend not to notice when we're seeking these two extremes as our goal. Life is like this. Most of our experience is neither one extreme or another - it is like this. Neither/nor, it's that we don't notice if we're primed to the extremes. With beauty, beautiful things - it is better to come from sati-sampajanna rather than from personal attachment, the desire to possess them. This would be seeing beauty through ignorance. When experiencing beauty from sati-sampajanna can just be aware of the beauty as beauty. It includes your tendencies to own it, take it, touch it or fear it: it includes all of that. But when letting go of than, then beauty is joy. If you get too involed with what is in your head, after awhile you don't even notice anything outside. Sati-sampajanna is experiencing life from a center-point, from the still point that includes rather than from the point that excludes. If we want life to be a party, we cannot sustain that delusion. We get depressed and want to annihilate ourselves in some way. Weather includes beautiful days, rainy days and HOT days. Suffering is caused by aversion - I don't like this, I don't want life to be like this. The body-sweeping practice, you can pay attention to neutral sensation. At first it is difficult to find neutral senstions because you don't pay attention to them. Its easy to notice the extremes of pleasure and pain - noticing the little details of sensation such as your lips. If your lips are chapped, you notice. If you are getting pleasure from your lips, you notice. But when there is neither pleasure or pain, there is still sensation, but it is neutral. So, you are allowing neutrality to be conscious. By paying attention to neutral things, you are allowing neutrality to be conscious. Consciousness is like a mirror, a mirror reflects - it doesn't just reflect the beautiful or the ugly. It reflects everything that is in front of it. But to awaken to the way it is, you are not looking at the obvious, but recognising the sublety behind the extrems of beauty and ugliness. When you're seeking happiness and trying to get away from pain and misery, you are caught in always trying to get something or hold on to something. When you see life as it is, it can bring out the good qualities in others. Identity Is any person or any condition absolutely right or absolutely wrong? Can right or wrong, good or bad be absolute? When you dissect it, look at it in terms of sati-sampajanna, the way it is now, there is nothing to it. But this is how we can get ourselves completely caught up in illusions. We'll sacrifice our life for an illusion, to try to protect our identities, our ideas, our territories. It is just an illusion we created, a convention, to believe that, say, the land belongs to anyone, yet we will commit atrocious acts over territory. Its an illusion, a convention.
We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
In the Buddha's teaching, the Sutra collection and the Vinaya collecti
on comprise two kinds of Dharma. The Sutras are the collection of the Buddha's discourses given over a forty-year period in the Ganges valley, in India, nearly 2,6000 years ago, and they are concerned with the nature of mind and experience and the reality of the suffering, unsatisfactoriness, and the frustration of conditioned existence. The Vinaya is the collection that sets forth the discipline of body and speech that bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (Buddhist monks and nuns) must practice. This monastic code of discipline is undertaken upon ordination, when one formally leaves home life, and Vinaya of this sort is primarily the concern of the Sangha (monastic body). An expanded version of this Buddhist training is the Bodhisattva ordination, wherein one undertakes the practice of the fundamental bodhisattva Dharma of body and mind. This Bodhisattva Dharma encompasses many levels and degrees of practice, both worldly and transcendental, and it is truly wondrous and inconceivable. Many people are familiar with the term "Bodhisattva", but the genuine meaning of the term could stand some clarification. The average person perhaps considers images made of clay, wood or gold or portraits and paintings of saintly personalities to be some manner of substitute Bodhisattva. Indeed, through Asian national customs and traditions, we have come to associate religious statuary of this sort with the term "Bodhisattva". Needless to say, this is incorrect. We should understand that there are Buddha rupas portraying a higher degree of practice than Bodhisattva and also images of lesser sages, patriarchs, and even demons with bodies of oxen and serpents. These images should not be indiscriminately lumped together under the designation "Bodhisattva". Actually, men and women cannot look like the representations of Bodhisattva that artists have created. However, we are human beings with mind, and if we vow to practice Bodhisattva behavior, then we can gradually become Bodhisattvas. The Sanskrit term "Bodhisattva" is composed of two words: /Bodhi/, which means enlightenment or awakening; and /sattva/, which means being. The designation "Bodhisattva" originally meant a living being who had developed or had determined to hold the Bodhicitta. /Citta/ is a Sanskrit work that means mind or heart; in the East, the two words "heart " and "mind" are synonymous. To search with the great perseverance for the Supreme Bodhi and to develop a compassionate heart in order to effect the liberation of all sentient beings from their states of conditioned suffering -- such is the authentic meaning of the life and path of one who has taken the Bodhisattva vows. Therefore, if we can resolve determinedly to develop the Bodhicitta, to search above for the Tao of the Buddha and seek the below to convert all sentient being to the right path -- not simply in theory but in genuine practice -- then we are practicing real Bodhisattva Dharma. Only one who urges all beings to strive upward and penetrate the region of the great enlightenment can validly be recognized as and be called _a_ bodhisattva. Thus, it should be clear that images of clay or gold are not the real thing; and only those who have determined the Bodhicitta are genuine Bodhisattvas. To initiate the Tao of the Bodhisattva, one need not already stand in the highest regions of sanctity. By the same token, when we observe our own natures closely, we see that pure-mind realms are not so very far away. Starting from our worldly state, we march, step by step, toward the highest, holiest region and create purity and freedom. Staring from the shallow and progressing to the deep, we transform inferior into superior beauty. Beginning as worldlings with the bodhicitta, we eventually shall enter the blessed stage of the final Diamond Heart. This is the condition of the superlatively enlightened Bodhisattva. Most people who have confidence in the Buddhadharma and consider themselves Buddhists do not vow the develop the bodhicitta. Thus, they remain mere worldlings if they do not choose to add to themselves to dimension of Bodhisattva mind. Genuine Buddhists who have determined the Bodhicitta are as rare as the feathers of a phoenix or the horn of a unicorn. Another kind of Buddhist are those who, after encountering the Buddhadharma, imagines the accomplishment of Buddhahood to be so lofty as to be virtually unreachable. Because of their inadequate self- confidence, such people fail to realize the real goal and cannot complete the Buddha Tao. They grasp the expedient teaching which was revealed gradually by the Buddha -- i.e., wholesome karma in this world and the subsequent reward of heavenly bliss. Learning this very shallow dharma, they wish only to satisfy their desire for bliss and blessings in the present life. They can be said to have learned some Buddhadharma, but they are still quite far, in reality, from any genuine, profound understanding of teaching. In short, they are merely grasping expedient teaching as absolute truth. Buddha was the censure this kind of understanding as /ichchantika/ or the state of being unable to make spiritual progress. Yet another kind of Buddhist is the sort who is personally aware of the suffering of birth and death and so learns the void dharma of the Middle-Way beyond the two extremes of "is" and "is not". Always grasping the extremes of "is" and "is not", and then one can enter the stage of void samadhi. Even though this is considered a superior position and can lead to the practice of Mahayana, it is, however, not the Bodhisattva Tao leading to the Supreme Buddha Fruit. Thus, this approach was censured by the Bodhisattva Dharma, whether high or samadhi. The practice of Bodhisattva Dharma, whether high or low, worldly or transcendental, starts from the human level and proceeds until the complete Tao of Bodhi is won. This characterizes that practice that goes all the way through from top to bottom, and it require nothing apart from determining the Bodhicitta and vowing to act as a Bodhisattva. This development is analogous, by way of example, to a person beginning kinder-garten and proceeding until he eventually reaches the research institute and earns his doctoral degree; at all stages of his academic career he is called a student. Similarly, in developing Bodhisattva practice, one begins by vowing to determine the Bodhicitta and progresses to the Final-Diamond-Heart stage. The beginning one approaches the Buddha Fruit. All stages are termed Bodhisattva, and practice is an ongoing matter. The Bodhisattva stage immediately preceding the Buddha Fruit is termed the Final Diamond Heart. Though it is not easy to carry through, by not letting go of Bodhisattva Mind even for one instant, one will gradually complete the work and achieve the goal. The practice of this Bodhisattva Dharma is easily initiated by accepting the Three Refuges of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Because it is feared that a person might stray onto wrong paths, one, after accepting the Three Refuges, is encouraged to determine to hold the Four Great Vows. These are:(1) Sentient beings without number I vow to enlighten; (2) Vexations without number I vow to eradicate; (3) limitless approaches to Dharma I vow to master; (4) Supreme Bodhi I vow to achieve. The purpose of taking the Three Refuges is to enable people to disentangle themselves from erroneous views; the Four Great Vows are used to teach people to hold to no desire for the bliss of men and devas and the void samadhi of Dviyana (the two yanas of Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas). This path can be termed the direct road of the Bodhisattva Tao that leads one to the Supreme Bodhi. After accepting the Three Refuges and thus inaugurating the Bodhisattva-Dharma training, it is very important for one to practice everywhere, continually turning the wheel of the Dharma and aiding all sentient beings. Relative to this view, the /Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutta/ says: "The Bodhimandala (place of spiritual practice) of the Bodhisattva is everywhere."
Intuitive Awareness - Sati-sampajanna by Ajahn Sumedho
Intuitive Awareness - sati-sampajanna, which means clear comprehension We may have a clear definition of something, but that is not the same as clear comprehension. Sati-sampajanna includes fogginess, confusion, uncertainty and insecurity. It is a clear comprehension of what confusion is, what insecurity is and recognizing that they are like this. It is easier to be told what to do, given a method. But we never get to the root of the cause, which is "I am this person that needs something in order to become enlightened." If you stick to method, you may never question or see beyond the ignorant perceptions of yourself. It is much more skillful to really question, really look into these perceptions you have of yourself. The personality view - sakkaya-ditthi with the silabbatparamasa, which is the attachment to rituals and techniques and vicikiccha, which is doubt are the first three fetters that hide the path and keep us from seeing the way of non-suffering.
The Diamond Sutra The Diamond Sutra takes the from of a dialogue between Sakyamuni Buddha and the disciple Subhuti. In it the Buddha expounds the notion that that the self and the world around us are ultimately illusory: 'The appearance of self is actually no appearance. The appearance of others, the appearance of living beings and the appearance of a life are actually not appearances'. The world that we think is real is no more than 'a dream, an illusion, a bubble or a shadow.'
"When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experience and the experiencer. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind." ~J. Krishnamurti