non-practice practice

 

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“The Dharma which I teach

is to practice the non-practice practice

and cultivate non-cultivation.”

Buddha

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full awareness of the body

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I am, once again, finding great satisfaction and pleasure in this practice of the full awareness of breathing. Below are two short excerpts from the Buddha’s discourse.

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“O bhikkhus, the full awareness of breathing, if developed and practiced continuously, will be rewarding and bring great advantages. It will lead to success in practicing the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. If the method of the Four Establishments of Mindfulness is developed and practiced continuously, it will lead to success in the practice of the Seven Factors of Awakening. The Seven Factors of Awakening, if developed and practiced continuously, will give rise to understanding and liberation of the mind.

“What is the way to develop and practice continuously the method of Full Awareness of Breathing so that the practice will be rewarding and offer great benefit?

“It is like this, bhikkhus: the practitioner goes into the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to any deserted place, sits stably in the lotus position, holding his or her body quite straight, and practices like this:

‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’

1. ‘Breathing in a long breath, I know I am breathing in a long breath. Breathing out a long breath, I know I am breathing out a long breath.

2. ‘Breathing in a short breath, I know I am breathing in a short breath. Breathing out a short breath, I know I am breathing out a short breath.

3. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

4. ‘Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

“In what way does one develop and continuously practice the Full Awareness of Breathing, in order to succeed in the practice of the Four Establishments of Mindfulness?

“When the practitioner breathes in or out a long or a short breath, aware of his breath or his whole body, or aware that he is making his whole body calm and at peace, he abides peacefully in the observation of the body in the body, persevering, fully awake, clearly understanding his state, gone beyond all attachment and aversion to this life. These exercises of breathing with Full Awareness belong to the First Establishment of Mindfulness, the body.

from Thich Nhat Hanh’s commentary:

“I wish to say something about the expressions ‘observing the body in the body,’ observing the feelings in the feelings’, and ‘observing the objects of mind in the objects of mind.’ The key to ‘observation meditation’ is that the subject of the observation and the object of the observation not be regarded as two separate things. A scientist might try to separate him or herself from the object he or she is observing and measuring, but students of meditation have to remove the boundary between subject and object. When we observe something, we are that thing. Nonduality is the key word. ‘Observing the body in the body’ means that in the process of observing we do not stand outside of our own body like an independent observer, but we identify with the object being observed.

“This is the only path that can lead us to the penetration and direct experience of reality. In ‘observation meditation,’ the subject and object of meditation are one entity also.

“In order to succeed in the work of observation we must go beyond both attachment and aversion.”

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on the Full Awareness of Breathing

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Plum Village Bell Meditation

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Dear Friends, These are my favorite meditations at present. They are lead by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, zen master, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. These meditations are based on the Buddha’s

Discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing

Thich Nhat Hanh lived for many years in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France. These meditations were recorded there. (Below are Dropbox links to the MP3’s – HERE is the complete SoundCloud playlist.) Continue reading

authority

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Thanks to Nadine Marie for this.

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Do not believe anything because it is said by an authority,

or if it is said to come from angels,

or from Gods, or from an inspired source.

Believe it only if you have explored it in your own heart

and mind and body and found it to be true.

Work out your own path, through diligence.

~Gautama Buddha

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“Authority” comes from “author” –

find out who is the author? 

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thusness

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My Comment:

Some of you may enjoy what has been passed down to us by the ancients, in this case the discourse of the Buddha to a senior monk, Subhuti. Here is a passage from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Zen Keys” in which he explains the meaning of a certain part of the ancient text Vairacchedika-prainaparamita, also known as The Diamond Sutra. Since our consciousness is the content of our consciousness, by allowing new content into our awareness we change our consciousness. Enjoy!

Thich Nhat Hanh in “Zen Keys”:

 

There is no discrimination in reality in itself. But “reality” in the world of concepts is full of discriminations: subject/object, I/Not-I, etc. This is not truly reality but an erroneous image of reality. The origin of this erroneous image is called discrimination or imagination(vikalpa) in the Vijanavada school.

This flower, for example, which is near the window, is a true flower in its non-discriminated reality. Because we discriminate it is no longer revealed. In its place stands an erroneous image of it. The word “empty” which at first signified the absence of permanent identity, now acquires another meaning: the image created by the concept does not represent any reality, it is imaginary.

The A Which Is Not A Is Truly A

In the Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita we find many expressions given in the form, “The A which is not A is truly A.” Let us take several examples: “Living beings, I say that they are not living beings, this is why they are truly living beings.” “The Buddhist doctrine, I say is not the doctrine of Buddhism, this is why it is truly the Buddhist doctrine.”

What does that signify? It is quite simple. Reality is only reality when it is not grasped conceptually. ‘What we construct through our concepts is not reality. It can also be said, “This flower, which is not a concept, is truly a flower.” Here again is found the rejection of the principle of permanent identity, and a tendency to see things by means of the go-between of conceptualization. The practitioner of the Way must enter into direct contact with reality, without allowing concepts to separate him from this reality. Reality cannot be conceived, nor can it be described in words. Reality is reality; it is thus. This is the significance of the word thusness (tathata).

source: Thich Nhat Hahn, Zen Keys, PDF file p.58

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a magic show

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“If you arrive at understanding the unborn nature of all that is and know that the mind is a magic show, that there is no object, no phenomenon that has real existence, then wherever you are there is purity, and that is Buddha.”

Zen Master Linji

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the unborn nature of all that is

the mind is a magic show

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the ultimate dimension – Thich Nhat Hanh Part II

https://www.flickr.com/photos/speakingoffaith/10033148076

Thich Nhat Hanh Calligraphy

My comments:

This is part two of two. The modern Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh expounds in a concise and everyday manner a basic understanding of Buddha’s teachings. This second part focuses on the second and third of the three Dharma Seals that the Buddha passed on to us: the teaching of no-self and nirvana. Thay gives us simple examples of how to practice these in our daily life. He makes it clear how understanding and practicing these basic teachings of the Buddha gives us a basis for clarity and a way of living with strong ethics. I find this essay so timely for each of us to support us in being part of the new earth that is emerging now. Enjoy part two!

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THE PRACTICE OF LOOKING DEEPLY

No Self

Impermanence is looking at reality from the point of view of time. No self is looking at reality from the point of view of space. They are two sides of reality. No self is a manifestation of impermanence, and impermanence is a manifestation of no self. If things are impermanent, they are without a separate self. If things are without a separate self, they are impermanent.

Impermanence means being transformed at every moment. This is reality. And since there is nothing unchanging, how can there be a permanent self, a separate self? When we say “self,” we mean something that is always itself, unchanging day after day. But nothing is like that. Our body is impermanent, our emotions are impermanent and our perceptions are impermanent. Our anger, our sadness, our love, our hatred and our consciousness are also impermanent. So what permanent thing is there that we can call a self? Continue reading

the ultimate dimension – Thich Nhat Hanh Part I

original calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh:

My comments: This is the first part of two. The modern Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh expounds in a concise and everyday manner a basic understanding of Buddha’s teachings. This first part focuses on the first of the three Dharma Seals that the Buddha passed on to us: the teaching of impermanence. Thay gives us simple examples of how to practice this in our daily life. He makes it clear how understanding and practicing impermanence gives us a basis for clarity and a way of living with strong ethics. I find this essay so timely for each of us to support us in being part of the new earth that is emerging now. Enjoy part one!

THE PRACTICE OF LOOKING DEEPLY

“All authentic practices of the Buddha carry within themselves three essential teachings called the Dharma Seals. These three teachings of the Buddha are impermanence, no self and nirvana. Just as all important legal documents have the mark or signature of a witness, all genuine practices of the Buddha bear the mark of these three teachings.

“If we look into the first Dharma Seal, impermanence, we see that it doesn’t just mean that everything changes. By looking into the nature of things, we can see that nothing remains the same for even two consecutive moments. Because nothing remains unchanged from moment to moment, it therefore has no fixed identity or permanent self. So in the teaching of impermanence we always see the lack of an unchanging self. We call this “no self” It is because things are always transforming and have no self that freedom is possible. Continue reading