Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The 7 Factors of Awakening (4)

Listen deeply to the following Dharma talk on The 7 Factors of Awakening by Thay Phap Dang.
The followings are excerpts from the podcast.

(from  54:45) 
The sixth factor of enlightenment is concentration. Concentration goes along with mindfulness, samadhi. We all need concentration. All schools of meditation come to play of concentration. No concentration, no enlightenment. Whether you belong to zen school or belong to the school of tantric, all need concentration, samadhi. Samadhi is equivelent to Samatha which means that your mind comes to rest and your mind comes to concentrate, focus. Your mind comes to the body. You don't fix your mind but you get a feeling that is always resting, that is always there for you. 

So, the continuity of mindfulness is actually concentration. So, the spectrum of mindfulness is actually concentration of the mind. The longer mindfulness you have, the longer concentration you have. And your mind comes to tranquility all day long. Quietness and tranquility. We need quietness because we are so active in the end. 

So, we need concentration in order to see our mind. Because most of the time we are controlled by the seed in our mind. It (seed) actually tells us what to do. We have no control. Like when you are lonely, "I need somebody to talk". ... Actually we are manipulated by our own mind. That's why the Buddha said, "You are riding by the horse but your own mind, you, actually have no sovereignty.

So, concentration helps us to have concentrated sovereignty of it, freedom, liberation. We see what is happening here. We see the thought before it becomes energy. We see the emotion before it becomes a strong emotion. We see the attachment before we send our energy. Sometimes attachment is so strong and we send our energy out. "I like you. Don't you see me beautiful?" It goes like that. 

(from  1:00:38)
The last one (the seventh factor of enlightenment) is equanimity. This is very important. Equanimity means letting go. ... This factor is so important to be free and to be enlightened. Because most of the time we attach, we hold. Underneath, we want to hold more, grasp more. We want everything belongs to us. So, letting go. 

But the deep down is the fear from attachment. You are afraid of losing them. You are afraid that one day you have to let them go. But you will have to go. One day you have to die. So, the final liberation is actually to let go, to let go of attachment (things belong to myself). Even this body has to let go. And actually when we look deeply, we see this body is the process of birth and death. You are always constantly dying and constantly being born. And this is the law of impermanence

There is nothing called you in that moment because you change all the time. People don't have this practice, so they don't see this process of everlasting changing. So, they are afraid of dying. They are afraid of being sick. They are afraid of departure from the loved one one day. You are like that, or your loved one is like that. 

So, that's life. That's why we need to devote our time into this practice of enlightenment, enlightenment of every step we make. If in each step we don't have enlightenment (no joy, no tranquility), something is wrong. We are wasting our time. Some monks and nuns, or lay practitioners, we don't fulfill our aspiration. We don't continue the career of the Buddha and the teacher. It's so sad to put them down. 

So, the practice is throughout the day. It's not just when you come to the meditation hall. We said training the horse within. So, don't let the horse ride you. You control the horse. In zen, they say that you ride the buffalo, (you should) not allow the buffalo ride you. Actually there must be another animal, a monkey. I said that my consciousness was a monkey. The buffalo is just the alaya consciousness. The seeds, the totality of our behavior, of our mind, so that is called the buffalo. And usually it's very dark because of the negative energy

But the one who lives, who controls our life, is the monkey, the monkey who fabricates our life, who creates things in our life, who brings us hell or heaven, who brings us love or hate. So, the monkey is the one who is very intelligent. We need to pay attention to him. So, shine the light of mindfulness on the monkey. Make the monkey sit quiet. Tame the horse to be calm and relaxed. And that is our practice. 

You don't need to look for the true nature of the beginner's term of purity or whatever. Who cares about that? You don't need even to look for the Buddha outside. You don't need to get enlightenment at the end of the vow. You can get enlightenment in every step you make. 


(My commentary)
I understand that equanimity is the most difficult factor of enlightenment. That's because equanimity means non-discrimination, non-separation, non-duality, inclusiveness, the wholeness, or unconditional love and compassion. So, other 6 factors of enlightenment are means or tools to attain the 7th factor as the fruit

Non-thinking for 24 hours a day is essential for the full enlightenment. So, the extinction of all notions is essential for that. We must throw away all notions to stop thinking completely. And for that we need to understand the ultimate truth of emptiness, or interbeing through insight. In other words, we have to understand that all notions made up by ego are wrong because all notions cause separation, discrimination, or the duality

When we attain the insight, we are fully enlightened and can stop thinking completely. So, there will be no more separation, discrimination, or the duality. And no afflictions such as fear and anger will arise anymore. Therefore, sufferings will be eliminated completely. Or, I should say that there will be no notion of sufferings made up by human ego. All animals, plants and minerals enjoy living like that. Only most humans are the living dead (corpse) except for little children.


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