Advice on Meditation

Meditation on the breath is called meditation with an object. After that we need to learn objectless meditation, where mind is free of subject and object, totally free. This meditation is called mahamudra. This means free from the extreme views of nihilism and eternalism. It can be compared to space, but this is only an analogy. Mudra means free from the extremes. Mahamudra is not stuck in one particular place. It is everywhere. It is not religious or spiritual. It is not that you meditate and then have mahamudra realization. We have never been separated from it. It is always within you. Basic mahamudra is the potential within you. It cannot be destroyed. The path of mahamudra is the path of practice. So the mind is free and out of this arises subject and object and all appearances. Seeing the transformed emotions as a buddha is mahamudra.

Mahamudra is free of subject and object. When you maintain a meditation free of this duality, that is mahamudra. Usually we are bound by conceptual thoughts when they arise. But the nature is still there, like the sun behind the clouds. To work with this, we must learn to let thoughts go when they arise. We must not judge thoughts or emotions in mahamudra practice as being good or bad. When we follow the breath, thoughts are not judged in this way. Milarepa said the clouds are a manifestation of the sky and dissolve back into it. Likewise all thoughts appear in the mind and dissolve into it. Everything that occurs in the mind is a manifestation of the mind. They arise through the power of the wind energy, just as waves on the ocean arise from the power of the wind.

Space is free of color and shape. The final nature of space is free of anything. If clouds were a part of space, we could not experience space. Similarly the mind is free of colors and shape. It is free of virtue and non-virtue. It is beyond concept. It is uncontaminated by emotions. So this helps us understand all beings have the same potential. The luminosity of the sun is never diminished by the clouds. Similarly, the nature of the mind is clarity and emptiness. Emptiness means the interdependence of causes and conditions. The true nature of the mind is boundless love and compassion. The potential of the nature of mind is always within us.

Mind and heart are very important. Everything we experience, either happiness or suffering, are about the mind and heart. So mind is very important to protect. Mind becoming calm and peaceful leads to happiness. As long as mind and heart are calm, no matter what challenges we face, we will be peaceful and joyful. We do not want to separate from our families, but due to different causes we must. The only thing we can do is cultivate peace and compassion for ourselves and others.

But we need to investigate what really makes us truly happy. There are many temporary forms of happiness. In a second they can change into pain. It is very important to practice and study in order to be free from destructive emotions. So we are very fortunate to have these meditation practices. It is not enough to practice today and tomorrow. You must maintain the practice every day, month, and year, so you can lead a happy, peaceful, and joyful life. It says in the Buddha's teachings that future lives are more important than this one. So it is very important to train and practice.

Even if your practice is restless. that is the nature of mind, you have to expect that. Both peaceful and restful mind are part of its nature. You need not reject or accept either. This is a very powerful meditation practice. Normally we accept the mind when it is calm and peaceful. And when it is restless we try to reject it. So accepting is desire and attachment. Rejection is aversion. When we do neither, that is ignorance. So meditation is bound to appear to us, anything can appear in the mind. If they are positive and pleasant, we accept it. When the mind is the opposite, restless, and unpleasant feelings arise, we try to reject. So these two are always struggling with each other. We should learn from this and neither reject or accept.

Try to understand how everything arises in the mind. Everything that arises in meditation has the nature of interdependence. Nothing is born. Nothing is stopped. It is the unborn nature. So the nature is interdependent and empty. The mind rests in the nature, beyond accepting and rejecting. Not only mind, everything we experience in the body or outside, are interdependent.

Susquehanna Yoga Center
August 10 2014