Last week I introduced the subject of beginning-less mind
as being the basis of realizations because if one thinks of mind, the immediate
moment of consciousness, there is certain implications of when one starts to understand
mind and conscious experience. Because the immediate moment of consciousness that
we have, how is it there? What is created in the immediate moment of consciousness?
And what will be the on going modes of consciousness? Certainly we can see that
our state of existence this moment is based on a stream of conscious awareness.
It is not that we sort of suddenly understand things or do not understand things.
Rather, our stream of mind is developed by the experiences it has. And so as we
grow in experience, then the stream of continuity of our mind becomes greater
in any way that we are developing whether it is in developing a very neurotic
ego, or a very well established ego, or a more enlightened consciousness, however
we want to understand it.
In Buddhism it is said that mind is beginning-less
and endless because if it were anything else, then there would be other implications.
If one has a beginning-less mind with no primal creator consciousness or primal
creator being, then there is sort of an onward flow. There is no need to ask the
question, what is the original why? Why did the universe start and such things?
As for endless mind, that is important because if mind came to an end, we would
be talking of extinction of the mind. The death of mind. And although we will
refer to the relative mind and it's understanding as coming to a point where it
will cease, ultimate mind, referring to the very subtle level of mind which is
ongoing, that will not cease. That is an on going process. And that is only accessible
t9o very deep concentration with correct understanding.
For a Buddhist anyway,
beginning-less and endless mind are an important premise because they help establish
a context. Although it is difficult to blatantly confront and establish beginning-less
or endless mind, it is something that if you develop powerful concentration, you
can actually experience. And certainly in the immediate moment of consciousness,
one is more capable to gain a realization of the nature of consciousness as being
a flow of mind moments. And although the flow of mind moments is spontaneous and
sometimes unpredictable, still there is an ongoing flow. In that way, for example
when we go to bed tonight, we will wake up tomorrow morning and have a continuity
of whom we are. It is not that the mind moments are unrelated to the previous
one. It is said that the previous mind moment creates the present mind moment.
The present mind moment creates the next mind moment. And there are many factors
in that such as the sensory input, emotional input of the individual and such
things which create each mind moment, and then cause it to change as the next
mind moment comes into existence.
The next subject I want to move into is one
I don't want to move into! It is termed the precious human rebirth. If one is
intelligent, precious human rebirth is a terrific asset. If one is not intelligent
with oneself, one will make oneself very unhappy and very neurotic. I think that
of all the meditative things that one can do to oneself, precious human rebirth
is one of the best ways to make oneself neurotic. I can sincerely say that.
watching western people, not all of course, but many western people get teachings
on the precious human rebirth and very often they become quite unhappy. Why I
say that, is because it establishes that your rebirth is very precious. That right
now you are in a very powerful point. You are born as a human, you have great
and wonderful capacity, far beyond the other creatures on this planet, if you
look at the animals around you, obviously humans are far superior to the level
of animals. And regarding other types of existence which are maybe more hypothetical
as in angelic beings or God realms and such. There are reasons for why the human
rebirth is seen as more beneficial due to the experiences that we have available
to us in this realm.
So it is very good to appreciate that we have a very wonderful
opportunity. The teachings tend to, I think, if they are not appreciated properly,
one can make oneself unhappy because one thinks of one as wasting one's precious
human rebirth. That is why I don't like this meditation a lot, but it is one that
goes in with this series of talks. In introducing it this way, I hope that you
will understand and appreciate it for the benefits that it can do for you, and
also be more conscious of the disadvantages of meditating on it overly too much!
you think of the rebirth that you have as a human being, you have incredible opportunity.
Being that we have so much more knowledge of the world around us now, really your
existence is absolutely extra-ordinary and wonderful right now. If you think of
yourself, and we will take right here and right now, we are in Vancouver Island,
Canada, and the opportunity we have. We have unlimited opportunity. Almost anything
we want to do on the side of being lawful, is permissible. We can cut our hair
anyway we want! We can wear the clothes we want to! We can seek the type of employment
we want to! If that employment is not available we can create a job that gives
us the employment we want! We can pursue any variety of objects and opportunities.
often we do not think of it that way. We just get up in the morning, lackadaisical,
and we sort of say we will have to do something. So for those of us who are working,
we go off and do our job. We think if we had payday last Friday, we think in two
weeks from now is another payday and I can spend more money in such a way that
I would like to and do the things I think are important. We really have a functional
existence. But we do not have a quality of existence. In that way we really waste
the incredible jewel like existence that we have.
So if you ask how it that
so? I think my existence is alright but I am sure that others in the world can
do the same? Or in any other kind of country? If you start thinking about it,
it is not that way. Take Russia. There is a huge country, how free are those people
to do what they want to do? They are not! They are underneath a very powerful
government, poverty, if you know a bit about what goes on in Russia, food is scarce,
things that we have in ample quantity here, they have in no quantity. Go to China.
Rely a little on what Glen Mullin told me. He said you can walk in a store and
whole shelves will be bare. And you will have pigs hooves and snouts for what
you could buy in the way of meat. And even the most simple commodity, tea, salt
or something, will not be there. And this isn't the outward lying parts of China.
if you were to think of your rebirth that you have right now and start comparing
it to those places, take Africa. Incredible poverty, famine, and civil war, what
you would be experiencing right now. All of those things you are free from. So
it is said that the precious human rebirth is a rebirth which is free from many
fettered states of tied existence of difficult positions.
In that way, even
further, right now you can say that sitting in this room and studying Buddhism,
for the longest time in Tibet, if more than three people came together to discuss
religion, they were thrown in prison! It was possibly subversive to the government
and you were thrown in prison. The whole China was basically anti religious. And
the same in Russia. So if you had spiritual feelings, you could go in your closet
and offer prayers, but let's say you did not have the teachings. Because you were
born in 1955, 1960, you were young, your grandparents maybe have all been killed,
whatever, your parents were not too sure of the teachings, bibles are not readily
available because they were burned by the state. You cannot even study the sort
of religion which was quite prevalent in the country.
So if you think of it,
the opportunity you have in this existence is absolutely spectacular compared
to other existences. Let's say you go to a third world country. You might not
even be able to find a book. And if the book of some philosophy or religion were
in existence, it might be in a temple. Then again, people in the temple will not
let you look at it because you might hurt it and damage it. And then, you might
not even be able to read and write to know what it says in there.
In that way
if you reflect on the states of existence which do exist in the world, and then
you reflect what you do have the ability and the capacity and the opportunity
to do, your existence starts to become unbelievable precious. It is like you can
suddenly realize, maybe you thought you had brass rings and jewelry on you. And
with a little bit of investigation, you suddenly discover that brass is a high
commodity. It is almost the level of gold. And then you go wow, I never saw it
before! But I have actually high quality ornaments on me. Or clothing or whatever
it might be!
Without comparison, we might never appreciate the terrific existence
you have. And that is what the precious human rebirth is. It is a set of meditations
where you reflect on the opportunity that you do have versus the opportunities
that maybe others do not have. And if you reflect on it, you will come to a powerful
conclusion that actually you have a lot of opportunity. I think really you could
say you have unlimited, no holds barred, opportunity in Canada anyway! It is something
to become more conscious of and then you can take more advantage of it. Then you
can utilize it for attaining higher goals, goals which are more meaningful.
example, take the basic things which are part of existence of any creature. They
are basically to find food, consume food, find a mate and then procreate the species.
Animals do those. Bugs do those. So that is a really common thing. You cannot
claim that as being a higher principle of life. So if you question the opportunities
of human existence, what goals can be striven for, you might come up with, I can
strive to be very wealthy! Influential! You could strive to become a great politician
who works hard to bring righteousness in the world and what is wonderful! That
is a possibility. Or you could strive to become wealthy, a lot of money and influence
and do lots of wonderful things.
These are things which are possible and animals
do not do that as well! Certainly you cannot look at animals and what they have
gathered, although certain animals will stake out a domain and defend it. But
when we move to the human realm, certain humans can gain a great deal of material
wealth. But if we look at the quality of person, we can say that often the pursuit
of high material goals does not create a very nice person. It can create a very
ambitious person, a nasty person. A person who is not very pleasant to be around.
And so if we reflect openly and say, would we like to be around a highly ambitious
person, always looking for where they can make a buck, we might say we do not
enjoy their company. Again as I say, having a precious human rebirth and utilizing
it, does not mean that then we would use it in the way of obtaining great material
Then lets swing over into a more non material thing as in inner development
which is what the Buddhist path is aimed at. Inner development is development
of awareness, the qualities such as generosity, morality, patience, higher meditative
states and the realization of the nature of the mind, and wisdom which is the
understandings which are generated based upon meditation, which are seen as the
qualities of wisdom which are developed. These are more meaningful. They are more
meaningful, to take a very pragmatic out in the world thing, they are meaningful
because psychologists and psychiatrists are in the area marginally. They are looking
at mental health. And there is definitely a lot of money being made by them, so
there is something to be made on mental health! So there is some value placed
there by we as human beings!
Certainly inner development is important, recognized
by certain schools of medicine and such, but it is even more so for one's personal
self because in having inner development, it is something which gives you inner
satisfaction. It gives you quality of being. One of the more important things
it gives you is fulfillment! It gives you the possibility of being a happy person
with quality existence in being generous, kind hearted, and things like that.
are goals which are more appropriate. If we delve into things which would be suitable
for having a precious existence or opportunity, in investigating them, we would
come to the conclusion that higher inner development obviously has greater worth
and value than just high material development. You might question is it? High
material development is wonderful. But is it? Take the Roman Empire. It was at
times highly wonderful! They had aqueducts, wonderful agricultural developments,
roads which still exist to this day. There was a terrific development of material
finesse by the Roman Empire which we can see. And yet at a later date, the Huns
came in and obliterated it. It is mostly gone now other than the remaining ancient
relics. So as humans we might say there was something wonderful in material development.
You should not put your eggs in that basket for the simple reason it is of a temporal
basis and can be destroyed at a later time. And many of the great cultures of
the past have disappeared totally. Maybe we do not know even about some them because
they have been so totally devastated.
So to put an emphasis for our existence
for material development is maybe limiting and therefore maybe as not appropriate.
Coming back, we do have terrific opportunity. For most of us we have good health
or at least adequate health. we have wonderful things around us like abundance
of material needs, educational needs and such. All of those needs. And so with
this existence, and with the added aspect of the opportunity to pursue various
educational things, philosophy, different points of view, all of these are allowed
on our country. We have a terrifically powerful existence right now. The example
the teachers in India gave is, it is like if you had a row boat and one day you
came to an island and you got off the boat and walked around the island. And on
the island were scattered diamonds and jewels and incredible wealth and yet you
just wandered through and thought it was wonderful. And then you got back in your
boat and rowed away. You just rowed away from the Lotto 649. If you had shoveled
it into your boat, you could have rowed away with a boat full of jewels!
point is, those jewels are things which you can take with you. They are the inner
development and qualities. Wonderful things. Think of the people that you know
which have quality, like a radiance of love around them. Or deep wisdom, highly
developed inner mind of wisdom from meditation. People which have those qualities
which maybe leave us in awe or maybe we are very attracted by. Very charismatic
things! Those are inner developments, things which we see in the quality of the
person. They are the inner jewels!
And so now that we have an existence which
has placed us on a jewel island, if we have that existence and start to recognize
the jewel existence we have, we can take wonderful opportunity to that and apply
energy to it. And pursue it. And maybe acquire some of those jewels. So that is
what perfect human rebirth is. It is starting to recognize the existence we have
and making our mind swing over to the side which says I would like to take advantage
of my existence.
Do you understand how neurotic you could get with that sort
of meditation? You could really go nuts! You could leave your wife and kids, and
really go nuts! This meditation does hassle people. That is why it is valuable,
but one has to have a grain of salt with it to temper it, otherwise one can be
For this evening I would like us to go into meditation. I would like
to offer that the best balancing act for that meditation is to reflect that the
immediate moment of awareness is where the opportunity to gain the jewels is.
It is not in thinking that you should go somewhere or be somewhere else. It is
in the immediate here and now. In doing that you have a lot of fuel for really
being in the here and now. Developing love and compassion here and now. It is
for the immediate moment of conscious existence, not for some projected future
moment which that meditation can maybe make one think of. Make one always project
away from the immediate moment. If nothing else, to develop conscious awareness
that one has a very precious existence, and in becoming conscious of that, sort
of feeling or realizing you have assets that you have never accessed prior to
this. With that realization then, maybe just dwelling in the immediate moment
where all of that wealth is potentially found.
This is fuel for meditation
in the sense that it fuels one to maybe develop stronger interest in the immediate
conscious awareness that you have. With that in mind, for mediation, the mind
is an asset, a small part of our total set of being, and in that way it is good
to have stimulation, some set of tenets or point which help us turn ourselves
to experiencing integration, realization, enlightenment, however we want to term
it. So with that, use your mind to help you move towards that. But as you move
towards it, also know how to stop thinking about it and just be in the here and
now. To use your mind to stimulate yourself, when you feel the stimulation, then
to drop it and allow the stimulation to become an experiential state of being
versus a lot of thoughts.