Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Breath, Body, Mind/Thoughts and Feelings: Vipassana


  1. “Removing old conditionings from the mind and training the mind to be more equaimous with every experience is the first step toward enabling one to experience true happiness.”
  2. “Our suffering stems from ignorance. We react because we do not know what we are doing, because we do not know the reality of ourselves.”
  3. “For real happiness, for real lasting stable happiness, one has to make a journey deep within oneself and see that one gets rid of all the unhappiness and misery stored in the deeper levels of the mind.”
  4. “If we can develop the ability to be aware of the present moment, we can use the past as a guide for ordering our actions in the future, so that we may attain our goal.”
  5. “The silence and the continuous meditation on the breath causes the mind to begin to feel physical sensations in the body at a much more subtle level than it has ever felt in the past.”
  6. “A sensation appears, and liking or disliking begins. This fleeting moment, if we are unaware of it, is repeated and intensified into craving and aversion, becoming a strong emotion that eventually overpowers the conscious mind.”
  7. “We become caught up in the emotion, and all our better judgment is swept aside. The result is that we find ourselves engaged in unwholesome speech and action, harming ourselves and others.”
  8. “The observation of the physical sensations without reaction during Vipassana meditation produces a remarkable effect. It causes the old stored-up past conditionings such as anger, hatred, ill-will, passion, etc. to come to the surface of the mind and manifest as sensations. Observation of these sensations without any reaction causes them to pass away, layer after layer. Your mind is then free of many of these old conditionings and can deal with experiences in the life without the color of past experiences.”
  9. “We create misery for ourselves, suffering now and in the future, because of one moment of blind reaction. But if we are aware at the point where the process of reaction begins–that is, if we are aware of the sensation–we can choose not to allow any reaction to occur or to intensify… in those moments the mind is free. Perhaps at first these may be only a few moments in a meditation period, and the rest of the time the mind remains submerged in the old habit of reaction to sensations, the old round of craving, aversion, and misery. But with repeated practice those few brief moments will become seconds, will become minutes, until finally the old habit of reaction is broken, and the mind remains continuously at peace. This is how suffering can be stopped.”
  10. At the time of death, some sensation will arise, and if we are not aware and react with aversion, we will go to lower planes of existence. But a good meditator who remains equanimous to these sensations at the time of death will go to a favourable plane. This is how we make our own future. 
  11. Whatever arises in the mind is called dhamma. A sensation arises on the body with whatever dhamma arises in the mind: this is the law of nature. The mind and the body are interrelated. When a defilement arises in the mind, some sensation will arise in the body. Whatever sensation arises in the body at that time is connected to the defilement in the mind. This is what the Buddha taught. Take the example of anger. When anger arises due to any reason, one understands, "At this moment there is anger in the mind. Now let me observe what sensation has arisen in the body." It does not matter what is the cause of this anger. One is observing sensation and understanding that it is impermanent. No matter what defilement arises, whether lust or egotism or envy or fear or anything else, one does not get overpowered by it. Now that we have learnt this technique, we have learnt the art of living. All that we have to do is to accept, "This defilement has arisen. Let me face this enemy. Let me see what is happening in my body. It is impermanent.
  12.  Sorrow is caused by defilements, not by external events. An external event has occurred, we do not generate a defilement, we do not become miserable. An external event has occurred, we generate a defilement, we become miserable. We are responsible for our misery.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Gems from Umar Suhrawardi's Awari-ful Marif - II

Photo credits: Rupa Abdi

Minimum eating : In reducing the clayey parts (tamas?) - the source of pollution, of darkness, of coarseness - scantiness of food is wholly effective.

Minimum talking: He should ever guard his tongue from talking with people, save of silence, not attainable is the path of safety.

The negation of thoughts: By zikr and by occupation of the heart in contemplation of the divine aspect, he should repel the crowd of thoughts.

Whenever the nafs (ego+mind?)sees the heart inclined to itself and finds its ears void of other sayings, immediately with the heart it cometh into speech and to it by way of remembrance confirms past matters of things spoken, heard, seen, tasted and touched; or gives future news of hope, and keeps engaged the ears of the heart with hearing its own speech rather than hearing the speech of the soul and of God (mindfulness/present moment awareness?).

The perpetuality of deeds: Outwordly and inwardly he should keep himslef arrayed in the garb of devotion. Every moment in a work that is at that time most important and best, he should be engaged. 

According to intention is the reward of deeds. As intention is better than the deed, more full is its reward.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Gems from Umar Suhrawardi's Awari-ful Marif - I

Photo credits: Razi Abdi

Nothing has pure absolute existence but spirit; the material substances are no more than gay pictures presented continually to our minds by the sempiternal artist. We must beware of attachments to such phantoms and attach ourselves exclusively to God, who truly exists in us as we solely exist in Him; that we retain, even in this forlorn state of separation from the Beloved, the idea of heavenly beauty and the remembrance of our primeval vows; that sweet music, gentle breezes, fragrant flowers, perpetually renew the primary idea, refresh our fading memory and melt us with tender affections...

Sufis profess eager desire but with no carnal affection; and circulate the cup but no material goblet. Since in their order, all things are spiritual - all is a mystery within a mystery.

Give thyself to a murshid (spiritual guide) who by his prayers will show thee in dreams the evil parts of thy character (does this refer to the human subconscious where our suppressed fears and desires dwell ?).

....the soul can wander (in dreams?) in the regions of imagination and unite with God.

The true course is to ignore self (ego ?); to be passive that God may work. Then will God's light and grace enter the heart and draw man to truth and unite him with the One. (something akin to remaining in present moment awareness...vipassana ?)

The wine of dying to self drink from thyself, thyself set free.....

At least one a year he should sit in khilvat, so that when for 40 days and night he would have accustomed his nafs:

Khilvat is like unto a smith forge, whereon by the fire of austerity, lust becomes fused, pure of natures, delicate and gleaming like a mirror and beyond thought appears form of the hidden. It involves:

  • minimum eating
  • minimum talking
  • shunning the society of man
  • perseverance in zikr
  • denying thoughts
  • constant contemplation
The above instructions are further elaborated upon in the following post (II). 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Maya of the Mind

"But the mind that creates its surroundings is never free from memories, fears or laments, not only in the past but in the present and the future, because they have arisen from ignorance and greed.

It is from ignorance and greed that the world of delusion is born, and all the vast complexity of c0-ordinating causes and conditions exists within the mind and nowhere else."

- Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai