||Teoh Tue 200317
(Short notes pdf)
Announcement of class interval due to national Movement Control Order (MCO) starting tomorrow.
The class will be cancelled unless we can go online. We will try it out on the 24 March 2020.
New Book: Heart Sutra Short Notes – 2nd Edition. Some enhancement and improvement were done especially to the table of content and appendixes.
- Page 94 – Review of chart with 4 circles (Buddha Nature > True Mind (Pure Awareness) > Mundane Mind > phenomena world of External Forms) to develop the understanding of creation starting from the Source or Buddha Nature leading to the Pure Awareness, Mundane mind and the phenomena world of consciousness and forms.
- Pages 6 & 7 – Review the 2 aspects to the 5 aggregates of form and mind, and understanding of contents of consciousness.
- The below famous 4 stanzas of the Diamond Sutra:
一 切 有 爲 法, (All are conditioned dharma or phenomena => not a permanent unchanging entity);
如 夢 幻 泡 影, (They are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, and shadows => unreal, empty nature);
如 露 亦 如 電, (Like dew and a lightning flash => impermanent);
應 作 如 是 觀. (One should contemplate them thus => to develop the contemplative wisdom).
Can allow us to develop great wisdom/understanding of the illusionary world of consciousness and form.
- page 243 (Appendix 6A) – Review of pyramid chart in Appendix 6A (Trinity to Understand Cultivation), and 6.1 (A Trained Mind) and 6.2 (An untrained mind).
- Page 244 – Review of Appendix 6.2 (An Untrained Mind), and 6.3 (Training the Mind).
- Pages 246 & 247 – Review of Appendix 6.5 – Important Advice to Meditators, Using the Silent Mind (SammaSati), and the 7 universal mental factors.
Book Reference: The Buddha and His Teachings by Venerable Narada (Chapter 44, page 663 – The Problems of Life).
- According to the Buddha, ‘Inconceivable is the beginning of the first thought of ignorance that condition birth and death’. (So, don’t waste time pondering this, as it is inconceivable).
- Instead ask, “Who are you?” and “When you die, who dies and what dies?”
- The heart sutra mentions – In true emptiness there is no birth, old age, sickness, and death, no one born, no one die, no one attain, no mark of a self, no mark of Dhamma, no mark of life, even the 4 Noble Truth cease to exist; because it is the unconditioned. All these exists only within the conditioned world (Samsara).
- To live life is to exist through So, Existence is Time related and the whole spectrum of Time is made up of the Past, the Present, and the Future.Past is gone – so no longer a reality; Future yet to come – also not a reality, hence, the only reality is the Present moment (the here and the now) and this is the highest in life. But to transcend life one has to transcend even this present moment to realize the cessation of form and mind (Nibbana).
- The present moment (which is the only reality) is the highest in life, where everything arises and passes away.
But this present moment is so transient – the moment you talk about it, it is dead and gone, so how real can existence or life be? See this clearly, especially their impermanent and empty nature of existence.
- Moment to moment life passes by… What are you doing? Are you mindful of the moment?
If you cannot see this, then you are not meditating because you lack awareness/heedfulness. If you can see this, then you are When you are heedful you will come to understand that most heedless beings are too busy heedlessly thinking, planning and worry about life, so much so, they totally missed out on life.
- Silent your mind and ask yourself the above questions. This is a very good way to check your cultivation. Check whether you are ever mindful or not? Check whether your mind is trained?
- To live life, we need to be with the moment (without thought) to experience all the pristine beauty and wonders of life. Within the moment (without thought) there is only an awareness of silence, peace, tranquillity, stillness and clarity. Have you really silent your mind to experience that?
- For example, drinking a cup of Chinese tea with full awareness without thought is zazen (Zen Meditation.) Without thought, there is no fear/worry/anxiety/thinking – your mind is fully conscious (aware, tranquil and still) in pure awareness.
- The moment you label a thing, e.g. microphone, you are no longer seeing the actual thing, no longer observant. You have tuned-off the observation and instead retrieved the concept + image of a microphone from your memory via seeing through that memory’s lens.
- When you really see things as they are with the silent mind, you are just aware and observing, there is no words/labels and no concept. In this way, you will see truth; you will see the actual thing, you see reality.
- Sister Soo Yee added her input via her explanation as follows: – the microphone being made up of many constituent parts and how the meaning of the word/concept “microphone” arise when that final constituent thing can perform a function. That thing also keeps evolving as technology progresses.
- Bro Teoh expanded on Soo Yee’s above explanation by quoting the bullock cart analogy as taught by the Buddha. The Buddha said when you assemble all the parts together, the bullock cart arises already – the reason why he said, it is a condition arising entity, hence When you dismantle the parts, then the so-called bullock cart is no more. This allow us to understand that all things are condition arising entities; without conditions it will cease to be. So, externally, the bullock cart is already not so real. Then how do you know it is a bullock cart? You perceiveit via your seeing consciousness, isn’t it? Through the inverted image that appear in your brain. Externally, it is already not so real because of its condition arising entity, then when you perceive it through that image in your brain (via memory/label/concept), isn’t that even more unreal?
Then why do you still cling and grasp on to it. It is just an image.
- Everything is not so real or what you “think” it is, then when things don’t go our way, why do you still grasp onto them via wanting things your way which is not nature’s way. When you cannot get what you want you suffer and there is pain, misery, sorrow and lamentation.
- As the Buddha’s saying goes: “My son, my wealth, my possessions (all these) only the fools lament, for that very body also don’t belong to him, wherein son and wherein wealth?”
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee)
||Teoh Tue 200310
(Short Notes pdf)
A) Book Reference: Heart Sutra Short Notes – 2nd Edition (8 March 2020)
Announcement of this year’s Cameron Highlands annual Meditation retreat postponement (likely to Jul 2020), after receiving a very nicely and respectfully worded advice from the Sam Poh temple’s ‘Tang Chia’ as to their sangha’s concern regarding the recent spread of covid-19 situation. Out of respect and understanding, Bro Teoh immediately conform and agreed to the postponement, as we are using their way place to hold our retreat.
If we can perceive every situation or event that arise without any negativity of mind states, then we can be at peace to confront them with understanding instead of panicking and allowing the fear, worry and anxiety to affect and at times paralyse us. This can only be done if we have the wisdom to understand the causes and conditions behind, then accord and flow with circumstances and whatever that unfold (arise) after that.
If we can view it with understanding, then it can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Just like in this case, it can enable me to teach the Heart Sutra 2nd edition’s teaching prior to the commencement of the coming annual retreat so that Kalyanamittas can be ready with the understanding of the teaching before they attend the retreat.
B) Book Reference: The Buddha and His Teachings by Narada (Chapter 44 – The Problems of Life, Page 659).
The author suggested the following Self-knowledge inquiries:
- What is this human being all about? Is it really me?
- Who am I? What am I?
- What am I doing on this planet, Earth?I am so insignificant. (The universe is so immense, still expanding with no end in sight; every star is a potential sun like ours)
Bro Teoh shares his experience of such inquiries and searching when he was young (at the age of 17).
Understanding the 1st noble truth’s 8 realities of human life (the realities of life and existence) :
- The reality surrounding birth;
- The reality surrounding aging (growing old with deterioration of physical and mental functions);
- Confronting the reality of sickness (physical and mental) and disease;
- Confrontingthe reality of death;
- Confronting separation from prized possessions and loved ones;
- When we are being with people we dislike;
- When our expectations in life are not met/can’t get what we want in life/things don’t go our way),
- The 5 grasping aggregates of form and mindare dukkha (suffering).
5 daily contemplations:
- This body of mine is of the nature to decay and grow old, for it has not gone beyond old age.
- This body of mine is of the nature to be diseased or get sick, for it has not gone beyond disease.
- This body of mine is of the nature to die, for it has not gone beyond death.
- Our loved ones, wealth, properties and prized possessions will one day separate from us (or us from
- them, when our breathe stops).
- We are all born of our karma, heir to our karma, conditioned and supported by our karma, and we are
- what we are because of our karma. This is the great Law of Karma.
4 broad interrelated elements of the human form (simplified definition):
- Wind element or Vayo(motion/movement)
- Earth element or Pathavi(solidity)
- Water element or Apo (liquid/cohesion)& d. the Fire element or Tejo (heat)
Matter is trapped or unreleased energy (consists of forces which are trapped in a solid state). Einstein’s famous equation on E = mc2 – means “Energy equals (mass) times (c, the speed of light) squared.
Our Mind can be both a constructive and destructive powerful force (double edged tool). If the user of thoughts or the Mundane mind is deluded, then mind will become evil or destructive. On the other hand, if it is wise then mind become wholesome and constructive. Hence the user of thought is most important.
Dhammapada verse 1: Mind is the forerunner of all things. Mind is chief. When mind arise, everything arises. If one speaks, acts and thinks with a wicked/unwholesome mind (that has the 3 evil roots of greed, hatred, and delusion), then suffering will follow one like the wheel that follows the hoof of the cart.
3 conditions are required to sustain life (the karmically conditioned vehicle/tool), 5 aggregates of form & mind:
- A Physical body (rupa or form)
- A Mind / Consciousness (nama)
- The Life force (karmic force) to pump the heart, to give rise to the pulse of life.
We are introduced and subject to all kinds of conditioning as we go through our life experiences (via interaction with the media, society, religions, traditions, educations, races and belief systems etc.) and through these accumulation of memories (of both good and bad) we evolved our views and opinions of things, belief system and conditioning to become what we are. Thus, from an initial single simple rebirth consciousness (with karmic imprint) it evolves over the years of existence to becomes a very complex consciousness with its bundle of memories that moulded the individual.
Origin of human species – via a series of evolution. E.g. tracing the source of a river, there is no source per se, as the entire catchment area provides the water. Like the popularly asked question “What come first? – the chicken or egg come first?”, it is not important because everything is dependent originating, condition arising (nature’s conditions within the conditioned world). As per the Buddha’s teaching, ‘Whatever that arise, there are causes and conditions behind’. So that is the reality and it can never be otherwise. This is wisdom. If you want things your way which is not nature’s way or following nature’s existing conditions, then suffering will follow you when you cannot get what you want.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee)