Short notes for WPCS 4th March 2018 Sunday class
- The form and mind goes the way of nature, i.e. they are impermanent and therefore it is empty. If one grasp and cling onto the form and mind, it will lead to suffering. The mundane mind is the mental aspect of the 5 aggregates of form and mind. Feeling changes all the time hence the mind’s fleeting nature.
- All sensual pleasure is a prelude to suffering. Sensual pleasure means pleasure or desire derived from the conditions arising world just like your wealth, title, reputation, loved ones, etc. which are all impermanent.
- The above sentence is true only when one perceives the world with the deluded mundane mind, i.e. with no understanding.
- The above sentence is no longer true if there is understanding because there will be no attachment to the condition world. Understanding will free your mind.
- From Karma point of view, one must understand that our form and mind is subject to karma hence it has its duty towards nature and you can love your loved ones whole heartedly but you must have no attachment towards them.
- Shen Hsiu’s incorrect teaching:
- Dwell with the mind. (By dwelling you make the mundane mind active hence no more silent mind);
- Contemplate stillness. (Implies attachment to the calm state of mind);
- Sit up all the time without lying down. (Not natural and cannot be in a state of relax to develop the daily mindfulness)
The true mind (which is the silent mind in pure awareness) doesn’t dwell. The silent mind is obscured when thought and emotion arise. The conditioned or focus mind in concentration is not free. Mind in Samadhi is free, collected and unwavering.
- Hui Neng’s true teaching:
- Realize the true mind. Work on the true nature, not the body and the mundane mind.
- The true mind does not dwell.
- Not necessary to sit still but be mindful of all actions, movements and anything that arise in the midst of life (daily mindfulness). When you force yourself to sit, it is a conditioned state and there is resistance to the sitting.
The mind dwells when it perceives and when thought focuses on something and input the content of consciousness. However, we need to use the mind to live life, just do not proliferate the arising thoughts. Realise that a lot of the thoughts are unnecessary. Know how to use thoughts with wisdom to arise only the right and wholesome thoughts. Always accord and flow with conditions and act with wisdom following Noble 8-fold path.
- When the mind is calm, it has clarity and it is peaceful and happy. When there is no more mental hindrances, the spiritual faculties of sati will take over and the mind can be in sati to detect the very subtle mind and physical movements.
- Endurance via understanding is non-resistance. Moving to make yourself comfortable is not endurance. Just relax.
- If the mind is silent, nothing will disturb it, not even in the midst of a storm. The mind will not be drawn into any phenomenon. It will not be affected or disturbed by any conditions.
- Factors of enlightenment are: Sati (mindfulness) → Dharmavicaya (Dharma investigation) → Viriya (spiritual zeal) → Piti
- Fantastic meditative experiences and special feelings or sights during meditation should not be mistaken as a sign of progress unless it can give rise to wisdom. Usually it is just nature’s blessings and something to help increase the faith.
Short notes for talk on 1st March 2018
- Today is Chap Goh Meh, the last day of the CNY 2018 celebration. The lunar calendar of the Chinese culture has evolved through careful observation and astronomy. Bro Teoh said, over the last thirty years or so, civilization has evolved and progressed very rapidly. With the understanding of dharma, life can become very meaningful and beautiful. Our present Sasana is also very unique because this is the golden era where the consciousness has evolved beautifully and many cultivators will progress very fast. Bro Teoh mentioned that while surfing the internet recently, he came across a lot of wise people having the ability to share the rather profound teaching of Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching). Nowadays, the consciousness is so developed that people can understand this great teaching. Bro Teoh shared a video on Master Hsu Yun. The Master mentioned that when you meditate, behave like a ‘dead’ person and continue to develop the silent mind. Even when thoughts arise, do not worry but relax and be at ease. This also explains the opening verse of the Heart Sutra: `观自在菩萨 …. When Bodhisattva at ease (Avalokiteshvara) was cultivating the profound prajna paramita, he illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.’ So, the Bodhisattva is always at ease (自在菩萨). Real emptiness is to be awakened to. Technology has given us the opportunity to listen to such profound teachings.
- Bro Teoh emphasized the need to train the mundane mind so that we can use the trained mind state to develop the meditation in the midst of life and be aware every moment, every instant from within. Most human beings are not conscious of life but instead they are constantly lost in thought most of the time via thinking, reacting, planning and worrying about life. Without the dharma, we cannot cope with life. Most people focus and concentrate on what they want to achieve through hard work, striving diligently to be successful. This is the mundane way to develop success. However, the spiritual approach is to train the mind to see things clearly and act via wisdom instead of following what the mind tells us. Acting according to memory is not acting at all because our accumulated memories are either good or bad. When we react to life so often, these habitual tendencies will condition us to be heedless thus hindering the mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace and inner calmness.
- Bro Eric apologized for turning up late for the class. He mentioned that he was very angry during driving leading him to take the wrong way thus arriving late for the class. Bro Teoh make use of Bro Eric’s experience as conditions to share the dharma. When you are angry or unhappy, the evil roots are present, creating conditions for other things to happen. Without clarity and understanding, we will make wrong decisions. The thinking mind reacts very fast bringing about negative mind states that condition negative karma to arise. Anger is a very negative emotion. Bro Eric continued to explain that he had not been listening to the dharma for quite some time. Bro Teoh further explained that the habitual tendencies will arise due to long periods of heedless thinking. This will further condition the mind to `chatter’ and get caught in a cocoon of thoughts. When we are mindful, we are sensitive and aware. So, all these cannot happen. It is important to tell yourself, `I will never allow these ‘evil roots’ to arise no matter what happens.’ Hence, if we are not mindful, the evil roots will take over. We should bear in mind how to apply the following right effort to abandon the wrong thoughts:
- a) Think of the direct opposite wholesome thought (anger is not you but condition-arising);
- b) Think of the consequence of holding on to those wrong thought;
- c) Silent the mind and maintain awareness (this is the meditative approach);
- d) Trace the origination factors and retrospectively reverse it (the wisdom approach);
- e) Finally, if all these fail, then with your teeth clenched and tongue against the palate, abandon the wrong thought (by sheer will-power).
- To prevent such wrong thoughts from arising, we should straighten our views through reflection and contemplation. When we do this, one day, we can awaken to this wisdom and the mind will not behave in the old way anymore. Then, a new way of life takes over. This becomes mindful living because even the slightest movement of the mind can be felt. We must be determined to have this mindfulness to be aware. Then, we can transform from a heedless way to a heedful way of living. Finally, Bro Teoh reminded us to ask questions because it is the fastest way to learn the dharma because it sets the conditions for dharma to unfold. All of life is dharma and nature is our best and greatest teacher. Nature has its own set of nature’s laws so if we know these laws we will know how to live life and we will not get entangled in life.