(10. gladden M.)
The tenth is to gladden, is to give a chance to some wholesome mental formations to arise. In the text, it is said that to be the practice of gladdening the mind. The classical Chinese, 心悦 (to gladden: 悦, the mental formations: 心). This (9th excercise) is 心覚 (to recognize: 覚, the mental formations: 心). We have the good mental formations in us. Before the mental formation manifests, it is in us in the form of seed. Every one of us has a seed of anger inside. But when the seed of anger hasn't manifested as the energy, so we can smile and we can have a good time. But that doesn't mean that the seed of anger is not in us. And when it has not manifested, it is there in the depth of our mind as a seed. "bija", that is a Sanscrit word, and in Chinese you have the word: "種子". So, all the 51 mental formations have the seeds in our consciousness, in our store consciousness. And every time unwholesome seed, it is watered like the seed of fear and anger, it manifests as a mental formation and makes us suffer. So, the practitioner knows how not to water the unwholesome seed. The practitioner knows how to touch the good seeds so that they have more chance to manifest.
Because in Buddhism, we speak of consciousness as having at least two layers. The upper layer is called the Mind Consciousness and the lower layer is called the Store Consciousness. And all these mental formations, before they manifest up in the level of Mind Consciousness, they stay down here (Store Consciousness) in the form of seeds. So, if you live in a bad environment, the bad seeds have more chance to come up as mental formations. That is why it is very important that we choose a kind of environment that will not turn on bad seeds in us.
When you come to a retreat like this, this is a good environment because this environment helps the good seeds in us to be touched and manifest as wholesome mental formations. Mindfulness is a wholesome mental formation. Concentration is a wholesome mental formation. Lovingkindness is a good one. Compassion is another good one. Forgiveness is another good one. Non-discrimination is a good one. So, we should put ourselves in a kind of environment that helps turn on these (wholesome) seeds.
And that requires some skillfulness from the part (side) of practitioner. So, we organize an environment for us, for our friends, for our family to live so that the landscape of Mind Consciousness is always landscape of joy and happiness. And that is why we do not water the negative seeds. The good practice is to water the good seeds so that they have a chance to come up here (Mind Consciousness). And that is a practice called "Right Diligence".
The other day, we spoke of "The Noble Eightfold Path" but we did not have a chance to speak about "Right Diligence". "Right Diligence" is that. Not to water the negative seeds, not to give them a chance to manifest. When you read newspapers, when you watch television, when you have a conversation, these things may touch our anger, fear and sorrow and despair. So, we live in such a way, we organize our life in such a way that do not give these seeds, these negative seeds a chance to come up as a mental formation.
And then good things in us, we have to organize so that they have plenty of chances to come up here (Mind Consciousness). And that is true diligence. That is a good practice that can bring happiness very quickly to us and to our friends, to our family. So, the tenth exercise is to gladden the mind. That means to help the good seeds down here (Store Consciousness) to have plenty of chances to come up.
(11. Concentrating M.F.)
(12. Liberate M.F.)
And the eleventh exercise is to nourish concentration. Concentration of the mind. And the twelfth is to liberate the mind. Suppose a seed of fear, of anger has come up. Instead of trying to suppress it or ignore it, the practitioner knows how to recognize it. And in the realm of the feelings, the practitioner knows how to calm it down. But now the practitioner knows how to go further, not only to calm it down but to know how to look deeply and how to transform it. And the way is to concentrate on that and look deeply into that. And we know that mindfulness will bring about concentration. And when mindfulness and concentration are powerful, we will have a breakthrough. And we will have the insight. Mindfulness, concentration and insight are three kinds of energies generated by the Yogis that have the power to liberate.
Yesterday we spoke about three kinds of practice of concentration but there are many kinds of practice of concentration in Buddhism. And yesterday we spoke about the three doors of liberation. Emptiness, Signlessness (formlessness) and Aimlessness, that is the three kinds of concentration that can be found in every school of Buddhism.
Selective watering is "Right Diligence". If we can recognize each mental formation and each seed, we can select the seeds we should water to (touch). In order to know what is going on inside us, we need to be mindful. In other words, awareness must revive. So, the 1st and 2nd exercises are essential as the foundation for the further mindful actions. The key is to stop thinking.
Thay said, "Mindfulness, concentration and insight are three kinds of energies generated by the Yogis that have the power to liberate." I know Master Tempu Nakamura, a Japanese Yogi, introduced 「心身統一法」 (The method to unite the body and the mind) about 100 years ago in Japan after his Yoga training in India. And I feel that 「心身統一法」 is very similar to the Buddha's mindfulness. 「心身統一法」 and mindfulness may be the same thing.
Consciousness and Mental Formations