What is Enlightenment/ Nirvana?
& How to Realize it...

“If you spent one-tenth of the time you devoted to distractions like chasing women or making money to spiritual practice, you would be enlightened in a few years!”



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Enlightenment for Gautama [the Buddha] felt as though a prison which had confined him for thousands of lifetimes had broken open. Ignorance had been the jailkeeper. Because of ignorance, his mind had been obscured, just like the moon and stars hidden by the storm clouds. Clouded by endless waves of deluded thoughts, the mind had falsely divided reality into subject and object, self and others, existence and non-existence, birth and death, and from these discriminations arose wrong views—the prisons of feelings, craving, grasping, and becoming. The suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death only made the prison walls thicker. The only thing to do was to seize the jailkeeper and see his true face. The jailkeeper was ignorance. . . . Once the jailkeeper was gone, the jail would disappear and never be rebuilt again.


While on this amazing journey to enlightenment / self realization / awakening / the truth / to experience God, I have picked up a lot of facts that resonate within me, as though I have always known these forces / laws to be working.I am by no means an expert, however I recommend the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni (Awakened One of the Sakya Clan).

This is the journey back to source - back to our true nature. It is simply remembering who we truly are!

Our Ultimate Destiny is to simply be One with
Our Buddha Nature / Christ Consciousness / Goddess Within

Enlightenment is "a direct, dynamic spiritual experience brought about ....through the faculty of intuition....or more simply, 'seeing clearly'." It results in liberation and freedom, the "light" of information and understanding.

Enlightenment is understanding that there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nobody you have to be except exactly who you're being right now. --Neale Donald Walsch

"All this search for a microchip to insert in the human brain to store loads of information and increase memory is ridiculous," Manek, a Shwetambar Jain, says. "We don't even use 10 per cent of it. But once charged, its capacity is increase manifold. In fact, enlightenment in spiritual terms is nothing but 100 per cent use of the brain!"

"Enlightenment is not that there is suddenly no more fear or no more feelings - that would mean to no longer be human. It simply means that we see feelings as they are but we don't react to them". Manuel Schoch

Quotes of Sri Rama:

"The yogi endowed with complete enlightenment, sees through the eye of knowledge the entire universe in his own and regards everything as the Self and nothing else."

"I clearly see that such men are rare who do not become dejected when faced with danger, or overcome by delusion, who do not become proud when their selfish end is attained and who are not perturbed by the glances of women. We can seldom find such men." Sri Ram

"The world is transitory, having not a grain of happiness in it. I do not desire death nor do I covet life; I have no eagerness for kingdom, wealth, enjoyments and desires, for I have relinquished egoism which is the root of all these."

"Neither should you find fault with any one. Control your mind, speech and body, and never be perturbed. Daily do service to your guru with devotion after purifying your body and mind. Do not be slack in doing good actions even for a single day."

"Do not be overjoyed if you get a fortune, neither should you be dejected if you lose it. Your mind should be well balanced."

"But if these good deeds are done with a sense of ego, they only bind you to this world. So to gain knowledge you should work without the least trace of pride."

Above quotes by Sri Rama

"When the senses are well controlled and withdrawn from contact with the objects of the world, then sense perceptions no longer create images in the mind. The mind is then trained in one-pointedness. When the mind no longer recalls thought patterns from the unconscious, a balanced state of mind leads to a higher state of consciousness."

"A perfect state of serenity established in sattva is the highest state of enlightenment. The practice of meditation and non -attachment are two keynotes. A very firm conviction is essential for establishing a definite philosophy in life. Intellect intervenes and blind emotion misguides. Though both are great powers, they should be known first, analyzed, and then directed towards intuition. Intuition is the only source of true knowledge. All this-whatever you see in the world-is unreal because of its constantly changing nature. Reality is hidden beneath all these changes."

Bal Bhagawan (found in 'Living with Himalayan Masters' by Swami Rama)


What is enlightenment?

Coming to understand, coming to realize that you are not the body. you are the light within, not the lamp, but the flame. you are neither body nor mind. Mind belongs to the body, mind is not beyond body, it is part of the body. Minds is also atomic, as body is atomic.

You are neither body nor the mind - then you come to know who you are. And to know who you are is enlightenment.....

Enlightened means you have realized who you are.

Enlightened Beings

You have your own values, and you always look through those values. An enlightened person is totally in a diiferent dimension, where he lives without values, where he lives without any criteria, where he lives without any morality, where he simply lives without the ego. An enlightened person simply lives. He is not manipulating his life, he is a white cloud floating. He has nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. Nothing is good for him and nothing is bad. He does not know any God, he does not know any devil. He knows only life, and life in its totality is beautiful....

An enlightened person always appears like a madman. So the first thing to be understood is don't evaluate an enlightened person thorugh your values - very difficult, because what else can you do. ...

Second thing: an enlighened person behaves from the centerm never from the periphery. You always behave from the periphery, you live on the periphery, the circumference. To you the circumference is the most important thing. You have killed your soul and saved your body. The enlightened person can sacrifice his body, but cannot allow his soul to be lost. He is ready to die - any moment he is ready to die - that's not a problem. But it is not ready to lose his center, the very core of his being.

Enlightened Mind

"Zen says the ordinary mind is the enlightened mind. You don't go anywhere; the ordinary world is paradise. Here and now, everything is there! you need not go anywhere.

For the first time you become aware of the beauty of the world...everything is young and fresh and alive and God is here! if you think your God is somewhere else you are still listening to the mind, because that is the language of the mind: "Somewhere else, somewhere else! Never here!" - and he is always here.

Meditation reveals you the here and now. And then the ordinary mind becomes the most extraodinary. And the ordinary life becomes the supreme, the ultimate. The only difference is of a closed and open mind. When thoughts are there, the clouds are not there and the mind is open. And when the mind is open the old part has fallen, the water has flowed out, the reflection disappears, no water, no moon!"


Above excerpts from
No Water, No moon, Talks on Zen Stories - Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho)

(see section on 'filtering experience' on psychology page)

Lama Yeshe says:

"...we waste time when we participate in self-pity and the fearful "I".

"As long as we consciously or unconsciously believe that we are impure, the self-pitying imagination will always be present, and we then do self-pitying actions because we are emanating self-pitying vibrations."

"Enlightenment, the total absence of self-pitying imagination, is the universal Truth of all beings - So, let go, be aware, and comprehend this fundamental nature."

Maitreya says

"Whoever, whatever, whenever you are, tread the divine water cleanliness which is detachment. I have not come to teach you anything new. Be honest to yourself, sincere to yourself, and be detached.

This method is so simple, so sweet, it is free from religions, ideologies, politics. It makes one experience who one is. Fulfil your role, yet be free. (Share International, June 1992)

Diamond Buried in the Mud

by Rob Nairn (Kagyu Lineage)

Writers have tried to describe enlightenment. Usually it is described in terms of the qualities that arise in the mind and of the states that fall away. This is the best we can do.

Enlightenment is when all the inherent enlightened qualities manifest and when all the obscurations which prevent our experience of them fall away. So it is not a goal we can strive for. The very act of striving will keep us trapped within the cycle of thinking.

Enlightenent is already there - like a diamond buried in the mud. It is not something we have to go and find an bring home. It is already there. Which is why, in our meditation, in the very beginning, we train ourselves in knowing that we have nothing to strive for. Nowhere to go, nothing new to create. It's all here already. The path of training is simply systematically to remove the obstacles. To free ourselves from the mind poisons. The route to that, inevitably, is mindfulness.

In some schools of Buddhism it is said that enlightenment is not possible except in the time of the Buddha. To me (Rob Nairn), that is a misunderstanding of the Buddha's teaching. Others say enlightenment is not possible now because we are in a dark age. It seems to me that is also a misunderstanding and a perversion of the Buddha's teaching. Nowhere have I read the Buddha saying that that is the case.

If you look at Buddhism within the context of Vajrayana, Tibetan Buddhism, Lamas are quite unequivocal: "Enlightenment is possible in a lifetime." If we really look at that statement, it frees us from the ambitious mentality that say's "I must accumulate credentials." What it is pointing to is that the human mind can, at any moment, experience enlightenment once it has truly understood letting go.

Source: Diamond Mind, A Psychology of Meditation by Rob Nairn - pp104 -105, Highly Recommended along with Mindfulness, In Plain English

Enlightenment is the moment when your understanding of knowledge changes.

When you are enlightened to another level of knowledge you will want to share this new insight with others. Unfortunately you will not be able to teach another way of thinking to people who still think the way you once used to think. These different levels of thought, or spheres of looking through life with new eyes, cannot be taught through teaching, only through inspiration, experience and thought. In order for one to teach enlightenment, one must first relate to and understand ones student's level of thinking, and analyze their various experiences with them. Then let them find their own answers. Further, let the student analyze a similar experience you have had, without giving them your conclusion or point of views. This process should inspire the student to think, analyze and understand with their own mind.
Through this inspired thinking they should by now realize that the answers to their past experience may have changed. If this is the case, they will then have been enlightened to another sphere or level of thinking. Levels, or spheres of thinking, can evolve through
oneself, if one has a quest for a higher and more knowledgeable self.
The further one's spheres evolve, the further one will distance themselves from others of a lower sphere, which does not mean , however, a lower form of human life. If one is content in their sphere of knowledge they will remain in that sphere. If one's sphere of thinking changes he will think in that sphere and also be content. Wherever your sphere of thinking is, you will know no different until you have evolved to another, and then it won't be different, because you are thinking in that sphere. Consequently, what we are is all the same, only on different spheres or levels of thinking. Wherever we presently are we know no higher, but know that we are at a higher level than we were before. Spheres higher and more advanced than that of our own are at that time only theories, speculations or assumptions, but cannot be. We can believe in our theories and they will be true to our own beliefs, but this belief comes from a different state of oneself.
It does not matter whatever level or sphere we have attained we will only know for certain what or who is less advanced than ourselves. People who remained in the sphere that we were in, will not be able to know and truly comprehend our state of mind or level of thinking. They only can assume to know what we are, but will not be able to truly know, as what is above us can not be known until we have been enlightened: but once we have been enlightened we are no longer enlightened, which means that enlightenment is only a moment of realization, a moment to pass from one sphere or level of thinking and understanding to the next. Thus, it is an unending developing process, which enables us to continuously develop our oneself to a greater oneself. Lastly, only you yourself can know in what level or sphere of thinking you are according to all and everything that is around you.


In order to find true answers to life, one must study his body, planet and universe scientifically, philosophically, and spiritually through one's innerself.

SCIENCE - Study of life in a physical sense; an analysation of anatomy: skeletal system, muscles, tendons, organs, genetics etc.

PHILOSOPHY- Systematic reflective thinking on theories of life and the universe, which is used to culture and develop morals to help find belief.

SPIRITUALITY- The awareness and development of energy, which includes one's own life energy, soul or spirit.

INNERSELF- One's individual self; a combination of emotions, knowledge and ideals which create and motivate one's own judgment. It is this combination that allows us not only to feel what happens to ourselves, but also let us feel the effect others have on our collection of experiences. This is what creates our own innerself.


There are two forms of life energy: physical - worldly and spiritual - universal. What our living world is to the universe is that of which our physical being is to our spirit. We know that our body is that of our living world, which makes it worldly energy. Whereas our internal energy, spirit or soul is that of the universe, which limits exceed far beyond our physical worldly comprehension.
Many people do not wish to live their lives based on assumptions and theories which have no scientific proof. We certainly can believe in things which have no such proof, but when science can instill doubts in a person's mind it will cause that person to think, question, analyze and inquire, provided that he/she can do so with a balanced,
clear and open mind. Some people of course do not wish to think and analyze for themselves to find true meaning and belief, instead, they let others think for them and follow them blindly. This, however, does not mean that they do not have belief. It merely means that they cannot without a doubt truly understand their belief, and consequently it will be superficial and not true to them.
If one desires to find true belief, knowledge and answers, he will have to study the philosophies of many philosophers old and new, various religions, science, including genetics and ecology, spirituality and also oneself.
It is the in-depth study of all these combined through one's own morality, that allows a person with a quest for enlightenment to develop, acquire and create their own conclusions, knowledge and belief, which only then can become true to him/herself.


No Mind

The power of the warrior mind is its ability to act from a state of "No Mind", with technique arising effortlessly out of emptiness. As a mirror reflects objects without clinging to the images, the "Warrior Mind" is free to flow from one object to the next without impediment. From this state arises instinctive wisdom, the power that allows ordinary people to perform extraordinary feats.

The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things - The Buddah

The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon.
Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind. - Yagyu Jubei

"The river has no shape, but it takes on the boundaries which it carves out for itself,
so is the mind boundless, until it creates a prison for its own thoughts."

"There is only one journey. Going inside yourself." Rainer Marie Rilke

Sufi Poet Rumi

"Let the water settle; you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your being." --Jelaluddin Rumi

"Out beyond the ideas of right-doing or wrong-doing there is a field - I'll meet you there." --Jelaluddin Rumi

The Infinite Power of the Self

Mother Amma once said,

'Once you are established in the state of no-mind, no one can do anything to you, unless you consciously let them do it. You can allow something to happen or not to happen. Whether it happens or not, you remain a witness - completely untouched and unpeturbed, ever established in the state of supreme detachment.

Suppose someone wants to harm you or even kill you. They cannot lift a finger against you if you do not permit it. As long as your sankalpa (resolve) is there, nothing they do can affect you. They will in some mysterious way always fail. Finally they might reach the conclusion that something, some divine power, is protecting you. But this power is the infinite power of the Self, it is not some power that comes from outside. The source of this power is within you. You become that infinite power.

When you are egoless you are everything. The entire universe is with an enlightened being. Even the animals, trees, mountains and rivers, and the sun and the moon and the stars are on the side of the Self-Realized soul - because in that state you are ego less. When you bow down before all existence, in utter humility, the universe (existence) bows doen to you and serves you. But remember that you can also command them to turn against you, because, either way you are not affected." Awaken Children Volume VII


Zen Story - Nothing but good stuff . . .

The eighth-century Chinese Zen master P'an-shan had his first satori
(enlightenment-glimpse) while walking through a marketplace. He
overheard a customer tell the butcher, "Cut me some of the good stuff"; the
butcher replied, "Hey, take a look -- nothing but good stuff!" This was just
the catalyst P'an-shan needed. He took a look, perhaps, at the ground, the
sky, the people in their bustle of buying and selling . . . and everywhere
he saw nothing but good stuff.

-- Dean Sluyter in "Why the Chicken Crossed the Road and Other Hidden
Enlightenment Teachings from the Buddha to Bebop to Mother Goose"

Some Insights from Maitreya Ishwara

"When your ego dissolves and your soul merges with the fifth body of conciousness, love and bliss, it is called enlightenment .....

...The sixth body of pure awareness is the bridge between existence and the eternal void of the seventh body.

The next dissolution transcends the Being and reveals the full silent awareness of the cosmic body. Finally, even the light of the witness is devoured by its Source, the seventh body of non-Being. This is called nirvana, extinction of the flame, and is the ultimate for humans.

Mahaparanirvana frees the Buddha from his body and soul forever, as all trace of any individuality is burned in the void of non-Being. Hence the nature of the void is only fully known to itself and always remains the mystery."

"Beloveds, when your present circumstances are witnessed from a cosmic perspective, everything is perfect. Allow your horizons to expand a little to include who you really are: the eternal, intelligent awareness of the void. "

Above from "The New Dawn" by Maitreya Ishwara


People the world over are always seeking secret or mystical spiritual techniques, hoping they will provide a short cut to enlightenment. There are no special techniques other than the basic principles revealed here. If you turn to the Chrisitian contemplation practices espoused by St Augustine you'll find cessation and contemplation. If you turn to the Jewish Kabbalah, or the self-remembering techniques of Gurdjeff, or even the practices for moral self-improvement advocated by Benjamin Franklin, you'll find cessation / contemplation practices once again. Most of the spiritual practices are based on the principles of stopping (samadhi) and observation (prajna), so if you really wish to master the road of spiritual cultivation, there's no way you can accomplish this feat without understanding the priciples of cessation and contemplation, and applying these in your spiritual sadhana (practice).

p17 - Twenty Five Doors to Meditation, A Handbook for Entering Samadhi, William Bodri & Lee Shu-Mei

The Three Causal Vehicles

The Six Resultant Vehicles

The Three External Tantras

The Three Internal Tantras

a) Maha Yoga - Father Tantras

b) Anu Yoga Tantra - Mother Tantra

c) Ati Yoga - Great Completion

Source: The Dzogchen, Innermost Essence Preliminary Practice by Jigme Lingpa, Translated by Tarthang Tulku, LTWA

Liberation and Enlightenment
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Benny Liow of the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia's magazine Eastern Horizon talked to Rinpoche on March 7, 1996. This teaching appeared in the July-August, 1996 issue of Mandala, the newsmagazine of the FPMT.

BL: Rinpoche, in Malaysia we have Buddhists from various traditions. Can one learn and practice different traditions?
LZR: Yes, definitely. We can learn from both Theravada and Mahayana. It is really a question of our mental capacity and intelligence to absorb the Dharma. We need to know our motivations—are we seeking enlightenment for ourselves or for the sake of other sentient beings? Having a tradition to follow is important but more important is to learn from qualified teachers—and it doesn't matter whether Theravada or Mahayana.
If the practitioner is merely seeking liberation from samsara for himself, then he needs to learn and practice the meditation which will lead him onto the full path to liberation. But if his aim is to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, then he needs to learn the full path to enlightenment. In this case there are additional meditation practices taught in the Mahayana teachings.

To practice and have realizations on the path to enlightenment involves several levels. Firstly, there is the graduated path of middle capable beings, secondly, the graduated path of higher capable beings and finally the four levels of Mahayana Tantra. Very basic to the Mahayana practice is the development of bodhicitta, which is the door to enlightenment.
However, you can't realize bodhicitta without first realizing the renunciation of samsara. We need of course to realize the graduated path of middle-capable beings, that is, to be free from samsara. The realization is that the nature of samsara is suffering, that there is not one second of pure happiness. In order to have this realization one needs to practice renunciation. This is also found in the Theravada teachings. In order to achieve this realization to be free from samsara, there are again various stages. This comes firstly from realizing the Four Noble Truths. When one practices renunciation, one develops a detached mind to this life and also to future lives in samsara. With this realization that the nature of samsara is suffering, it also becomes the basis to develop compassion.

BL: Rinpoche, in your book The Door to Satisfaction you mention the three levels of happiness—happiness in future lives, liberation from samsara (release from karma and bondage) and enlightenment. Why is liberation from samsara different from enlightenment?
LZR: Too achieve liberation from samsara there are five paths: the path of accumulating merits, the preparatory path, the right seeing path, the path of meditation and the path of no more learning. To be liberated from samsara is to achieve arhatship.
By achieving the right seeing path we remove 112 delusions to do with the desire realm, form realm and formless realm. Then through the path of meditation one removes sixteen obscurations and delusions. With this one attains arhatship. That's nirvana in the sense of having ceased completely all the causes of suffering, karma and delusion.
However, there are still obscurations, but they are very subtle. They obstruct the arhat's mind even though he has tremendous psychic powers. Unlike the Buddha, the arhat is not able to see directly everything at the same time. An arhat does not have an omniscient mind; that's the quality of a buddha, one who has completely destroyed all subtle obscurations.
In Mahayana teachings, wisdom arises when all obscurations are removed, not only gross obscurations but even the subtle ones. The wisdom to remove the subtle obscurations comes through the development of bodhicitta. With this the wisdom realizing emptiness is able to destroy the subtle obscurations. It's like washing cloth. First you wash the black, dirty part. Then there is still some smell and stain left. Even that is washed. Eventually the cloth becomes completely cleaned. It becomes as clear as a mirror. We all have the buddha nature in our mind when the subtle obscurations are removed.

BL: Rinpoche, you mentioned that no matter what action we do, it is extremely important to have the right motivation. Can we interpret this to mean having the right intention?
LZR: Yes, yes.

BL: Rinpoche said that if gambling, for example, is done with pure motivation it will also become pure Dharma. How could an action like gambling which is rooted in delusion and greed be a pure action?
LZR: If you gamble with the intention that with the money you win you want to help refugees, hospitals or poor and starving people, the motivation is compassion to benefit others. If one truly has a pure attitude then the action becomes Dharma.

BL: But wouldn't gambling be an unskillful action, even if one gambles to help others?
LZR: The natural action of gambling is itself clean. If it is done with compassion and the intention is to use the money to benefit others, then it is wisdom. Knowing that it is done with compassion for others it becomes Dharma. There is both compassion and wisdom.

BL: Rinpoche, you mentioned that to practice Dharma we have to constantly think of impermanence and death. Wouldn't this lead one to develop a morbid attitude to life? Isn't this negative?
LZR: Actually, Buddhism is very positive. Bodhicitta makes life unbelievably beneficial. Not only can one achieve the happiness one wishes, one can also cause many others to be happy and help create the cause for enlightenment. That is the beauty of Dharma. With bodhicitta we get great fulfillment and satisfaction in whatever we do, be it our career, doing a retreat and practicing Dharma or spending leisure time with the family. So there is beauty and joy in life. The Buddha's teaching is always positive.
For instance in the lam-rim teachings there is mention of the preciousness of human life. It explains how we can achieve happiness in future lives, liberation from samsara and ultimate enlightenment. Each of these happinesses is more precious than a mountain of diamonds or a whole sky filled with millions of dollars. So we look at this life as precious and wonderful. We then begin to ask how this human birth can give such unbelievable opportunity for us to realize our Buddha nature. All these opportunities create the cause for our happiness and that of numberless other sentient beings. Well, that's the beauty of life.
But we also need to face reality. For instance, if we want to buy gold we need to differentiate the real from the false. If we don't we may end up cheated and regret our actions. Similarly, we need to understand the reality of existence and recognize that impermanence, disease and old age are part of life. The nature of samsara is the reality of life. Rather than ignoring it, it is better to learn about its true nature and be aware of it. This will make us develop the strong inspiration to be free from samsara.

BL: What is the final spiritual goal for Buddhists?
LZR: The final spiritual goal for Buddhists is enlightenment. But firstly we must learn to see attachment and clinging as the main cause of suffering, like a chain which continuously ties us to samsara. Then there will arise a strong renunciation of the suffering realms of samsara. The Dharma practitioner will want to seek lasting happiness and not temporary happiness. This is seeking final liberation from the suffering of samsara. With this realization of samsara we will enter the path to full liberation or enlightenment.
It is also Important for Buddhists to note that the very purpose of our life is to benefit other sentient beings. That is our ultimate spiritual goal in life. We practice meditation so that we can develop ourselves spiritually in order that we can make ourselves useful for other sentient beings. When we develop bodhicitta we cherish this life, take care of it and keep it busy for the benefit of others. Realizing that the nature of life is impermanence and suffering will have incredible benefits; it is the basic meditation that we can use to immediately cut the emotional problems of the mind. When the mind is completely overwhelmed by desires and we don’t get what we want, anger will arise to harm oneself and others, including family, friends and other sentient beings. But by realizing that the reality of life is suffering we begin go see that there is no point to follow our emotional mind. This is the understanding that the reality of life is suffering as explained in the Four Noble Truths.

Fast Methods for Awakening

"There are three potent methods for awakening that have all been proved for thousands of years by many seekers. The most essential is meditation. The essence of meditation is witnessing. It means consciousness is aware of the content of mind, and ultimately of itself, with equanimity. Shiva shares 112 methods of meditation, the common factor to most of them is witnessing. By sitting silently watching the movie of your mind, gaps of silence appear. As you get the knack of resting in the gap, flowers of consciousness start showering until finally enlightenment happens.

Advaita understands that conciousness is all that there is and therefore you are already what you seek. If this is apllied as a moment to moment surrender to What is, as a play of conciousness, rapid growth occurs. If it is just believed it is a trap for the spiritual ego to get stuck in.

The other fast method is enquiry. This ancient technique was popularised by Ramana Maharshi. There are several questions that can be asked including: Who am I? Where do I come from? Who is in? and What is aware of now? The whole point of these questions is to turn consciousness back on itself, in silence. Silent awareness is the only real non-verbal answer to any of these enqiries. Any verbal answer is part of the mind and therfore rejected.

When experienced meditators use these fast methods, results can be dramatic. Satoris are common. When they are taught as belief systems by unskilled teachers to unaware seekers, they are a hindrance to authentic growth in awareness. For people who are trained in authenticity and meditation these two fast methods are safe and extremely helpful. Give them a try.

Inner scientists cannot prove their results objectively, their subjective experience is their laboratory. This subjective knowing from direct experience is enough for the inner scientist. Buddha knows what enlightenment is but cannot prove it objectively. Mysticism and science do share some common ground. They both start with a hypothesis and experiment to verify it."

The New Dawn, Maitreya Ishwara

Don’t be in too much of a hurry to solve all your doubts and problems. As the masters say: “Make haste slowly.” I always tell my students not to have unreasonable expectations, because it takes time for spiritual growth. It takes years to learn Japanese properly or to become a doctor. Can we really expect to have all the answers, let alone become enlightened, in a few weeks?

The spiritual journey is one of continuous learning and purification. When you know this, you become humble. There is a famous Tibetan saying: “Do not mistake understanding for realization, and do not mistake realization for liberation.” And Milarepa said: “Do not entertain hopes for realization, but practice all your life.”

Sogyal Rinpoche

"There is no such thing as an enlightened person for who is it that can become that which already is?

There is simply seeing and not seeing. Seeing does not come about through something gained but rather through an illusion lost.

The re-discovery of what you are has absolutely nothing to do with the person you think you are. No amount of purification, honesty, seriousness, sacrifice, letting go or surrender will persuade oneness to appear.

All ideas that suggest that there is a someone who can choose to become a something are totally irrelevant to awakening. What you are looking for is that which already sees.

Tony Parsons (link below)

"Throughout my early life I felt that there was another possibility, which, once realised, would transform all and everything. One day that possibility became a reality, and it was simple and ordinary, magnificent and revolutionary. It is the open secret that reveals itself in every part of our lives. But realisation does not emerge through our attempts to change our lives, it comes as a direct rediscovery of who it is that lives.

The Open Secret is a singular and radical work which speaks of the fundamental liberation that is absolutely beyond effort, path, process or belief."

Tony Parsons

If all there is is Consciousness, if there is only Consciousness, then why or for what are you still seeking?

If there is only Consciousness then right now you must be that and everything else that appears in and as awareness must also be that, including your sense of separate self if that is how you appear now. Any personal sense of I or 'doership' or ego must be Consciousness. What else could it be?

I, ego, time, thought, separation, - if all there is is Consciousness then is not all of this already Consciousness? Any appearance of mundane, ordinary existence can be no less of Consciousness than any appearance of unconditional love, wholeness, bliss, stillness, silence or anything else, Does anything really need to be transcended, found or let go of?

Why not live in this understanding, no longer requiring that you wait for all the supposed signs of 'enlightenment' to appear?

Nathan Gill
(Link at bottom)


Dzog-Chen, or the great perfection, is the essence of all the spiritual traditions of Tibet. Although it is not a religious or philosophical system, it has been incorporated into Tibetan Buddhism and is considered to be a complete and realistic means of achieving "internal awakening".

The Innermost Essence of the Mind
Discovering the Natural Freedom of the Mind
through the Practice of Dzogchen Rigpa

"Dzogchen is the primordial state, that state of total awakening that is the heart-essence of all the buddhas and all spiritual paths, and the summit of an individual's spiritual evolution. It is the final, ultimate and heart of the teaching of all the buddhas, and brings precise experiences of the awakened state." Sogyal Rinpoche

Profound and tranquil, free from complexity,
Uncompounded luminous clarity,
Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas;
This is the depth of the mind of the buddhas.
In this, there is not a thing to be removed,
Nor anything that needs to be added.
It is merely the immaculate,
Looking naturally at itself.

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

Bodhicitta, the heart of the enlightened mind, is the spirit, source and root of the entire spiritual path. It is, in the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the highest form of altruism and the highest form of courage, the source of all spiritual qualities and the essence of all the teachings of the Buddha. In his 'Guide to the Bodhisattvas' Way of Life', Shantideva wrote:

It is the supreme elixir
That overcomes the sovereignty of death.
It is the inexhaustible treasure
That eliminates poverty in the world.
It is the supreme medicine
That quells the world's disease.
It is the tree that shelters all beings
Wandering and tired on the path of conditioned existence.
It is the universal bridge
That leads to freedom from unhappy states of birth.
It is the dawning moon of the mind
That dispels the torment of disturbing conceptions.
It is the great sun that finally removes
The misty ignorance of the world.

The great Dzogchen master Patrul Rinpoche would explain the entire path of training in bodhicitta with this famous verse:

O sublime, precious bodhicitta,
May it arise in those in whom it has not arisen.
May it never decline where it has arisen,
But go on increasing further and further!


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life


The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit. We should realize openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy. We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.

Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns. When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe.

We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection. We shouldn't make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception. We shouldn't become like a cat watching a mouse. We should realize that the purpose of meditation is not to go "deeply into ourselves" or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration. Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordeal state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity.

All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed - everything is mutually interpenetrating. Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is.

All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves. This is the dance of the five elememts in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness.

We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here. The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are.

There should be no feeling of striving to reach some "amazing goal" or "advanced state." To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing. When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity.

We should realize that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.

Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think "I am meditating." Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become "peaceful." If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation.

If we have "interesting experiences" either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to reexperience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.

All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future. They are experienced in timelessness. The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity.

We should learn to see everyday life as mandala - the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.

In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future - our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?

We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.

The Four Faults:

Why is it that people should find it so difficult even to conceive the depth and glory of the nature of mind? Why does it seem to many such an outlandish and improbable idea?

The teachings speak of four faults, which prevent us from realizing the nature of mind right now

1. The nature of minds is too close to be recognized. Just as we are unable to see our own face, mind finds it difficult to look into it's own nature.

2. It is too profound for us to fathom. We have no idea how deep it could be; if we did, we would have already, ta a certain extent, realized it.

3. It is too easy for us to believe. In reality all, we need do is simply to rest in the naked, pure awareness of the nature of mind, which is always present.

4. It is too wonderful for us to accomadate, The sheer immensity of it is too vast to fit into our narrow way of thinking. We just can't believe it. Nor can we possibly imagine that enlightenment is the real nature of our minds

The essence of meditation practice in Dzogchen is encapsualted by these four points:


In Buddhism we establish whether a teacher is authentic by whether or not the guidance he or she is giving accords with the teachings of the Buddha. It cannot be stressed too often that it is truth of the teaching which is all-important, and never the personality of the teacher. This is why Buddha reminded us in the "Four reliances":

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality;
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words;
Rely on the real meaning, not just the provisional one;
rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordianry, judgmental mind.

So it is important to remember that the true teacher, as we shall see, is the spokesman of the truth: its compassionate "wisdom display." All the buddhas, masters, and prophets, in fact are the emanation of this truth, appearing in countless skillful, compassionate guises in order to guide us through their teachin, back to our true nature. At first then, more important than finding the teacher is through making a connection with the truth of the teaching, for it is through making a connection with the truth of the teaching that you will discover your living connection with a master.

1. The BASE - The primordial State or Base (Xi) of every individual

2. The PATH - Lam

3. Realization or The FRUIT (Drasbu)

Source: The Crystal and the Way of Light -Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen, The Teachings of Namkhai Norbu

Thoughts Create Reality

Be master OF mind rather than mastered BY mind - Zen Saying

Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought.
In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master;
He does but sleep; wake Him.
Self -control is strength;
Right thought is Mastery;
Calmness is power.

James Allen

"The all is mind: The universe is mental." Hermes - Thoth

"All is Ati" -Yogacara

We need to cultivate our mind like a soil. We need fertile soil for seeds to spring. We need air in the soil. Likewise our minds need regular training and airing.

'Our minds need to be air conditioned' Ammachi

"The river has no shape, but it takes on the boundaries which it carves out for itself,
so is the mind boundless, until it creates a prison for its own thoughts."

Dr. Wayne Dyer writes that "all of our behavior results from the
thoughts that preceded it...so the thing to work on is not your
behavior but the thing that caused your behavior, your

All that we are is a result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. The Buddha

I believe that if you think abaout disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience. -Eddie Rickenbacker

Think you can, think you can't, either way you'll be right. Henry Ford

Our best friends and our worst enemies are our thoughts. A thought can do us as more good that a doctor or banker ir a faithful friend. It can also do us more harm than a brick. Dr Frank Crane.

A man's life is what his thoughts make it. - Marcus Aurelius

A man is literally what he thinks.- James Lane Allen

A man is what he thinks all day long. - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Our destiny cahnges with our thoughts; we shall become what we wish to become, do what we wish to do, when our habitual thoughts correspond with our desires.- Orison Swett Marden

If you think it's going to rain, it will. Clint Eastwood.

More Observations & Notes:

Freedom is not being stuck on any point of view - knowing that every thing is changing, transient - watching the dance of life, but not being attached to the outcome of it! Involved but detached.

With an inner knowing of 'Just sitting', 'just walking',

There is still pleasure and pain however the Buddha is not effected by the duality! Buddha has a calm still point -the eye of the cyclone.

You can experience temporary enlightenment / samadhi / realization - this is experienced as bliss / inspiration / profound realization / moment of clarity / etc. However this does n't last long - it takes time to be fully enlightened 100% of the time.

In order to be fully conscious moment to moment, at peace and centered, one needs to unlearn a lot a self progamming - subconscious, desires, ego, -ve habits, motivations, attitudes.

Thus one needs to develop prajna wisdom. One needs to learn about the self and and then release self.

Inner discipline is to be constantly aware, gathering energy and comes from having a strong interest in your essence.

Enlightened beings know the true nature of themselves. They know the transparency of themselves. They are 'Self-less', all they care about is helping others. They have realized that we are all interconnected. We are all One, as well as being simulatenously individuals and unique.

Buddha mentions that compassion and ALTURISTIC INTENTION are important key to enlightenment. Compassion is the highest form of love.

In fact we need to look at

When we enquire into Who am I? we can see clearly our true nature.

why do we want to change something? are we not happy? or are we looking to strengthen our ego with knowledge.

Obstacles to Enlightenment:

"What is the cause of happiness? What is the cause of misery? These are important questions in Buddhist teachings. Buddha pointed out that the very source of all our troubles is wrong perception, or wrong ideation. We are always holding some kind of "I," some sort of egocentric thought or attitude. Everything we do is based on this wrong conception of the nature of the self. From this wrong grasping, this attachment to an "I," comes all self-centered thought and the thought cherishing oneself over others. This is the basis on which rest all the worldly thoughts and which creates samsara. The problems of all sentient beings start from this point. This thought, this ignorance creates all attachment to the "I." From "me" comes "mine"—my property, body, mind, family, friends; my house, country, work and so forth. From attachment arises anger at or hatred for the things that threaten the objects of attachment. In Buddhism we call these three—ignorance, attachment and aversion, or anger—the three poisons. They are the real poisons. They are the real causes of our problems. They are the real enemy. We usually look outside for our enemies, but Buddhist yogis realize that there is no enemy outside. The enemy is inside. Once one removes ignorance, attachment and aversion the inner enemy has been vanquished. Pure consciousness remains. Ignorance is replaced by correct understanding. There is no longer any mistake in one's perception. The delusions are gone.
Ignorance, hatred and attachment, together with their branches such as conceit, jealousy, envy and so forth are very strong forces. Once they arise they quickly dominate the mind. Then we fall under the power of the inner enemy and no longer have control or freedom. These inner enemies even cause us to fight with and harm the people we love; they can even cause someone to kill their own parents, children and so forth.

From where do such acts come?

They come from the inner enemies, from attachment, anger and ignorance. All conflicts, from those between members of a family to international wars, arise from these negative thoughts.
Shantideva said, "There is one cause of all problems." This is the ignorance which mistakes the actual nature of the self. All sentient beings are similar in that they are all overpowered by this ego-grasping ignorance. On the other hand, each one of us is capable of engaging in the yogic practices that refine the mind to the point that it is able to see directly the way things exist. One can then see the true nature of the self and all phenomena. The workings of the illusory world no longer occur. When ignorance is gone, mistaken action will not occur. When actions are done without mistake, the various sufferings will not arise. The forces of karma are not engaged. Karma, the actions of the body, speech and mind of sentient beings, together with the seeds they leave on the mind, are brought under control. The causes of these actions—ignorance, attachment and hatred—are destroyed, thus the actions that arise from them cease.

excerpt from: Method, Wisdom and the Three Paths by Geshe Lhundrub Sopa

The Root delusions

From Vasubhandu's Treasury of Metaphysics

The six subtle and extensive delusions
Of [samsaric] existence are:
Attachment, anger, pride
ignorance, wrong views, and doubt

That is there are six root delusions

Anger - highly disturbed aspect of mind that arises when we see something unpleasant - enemies, and so forth

Attachment - attachment to ego / self / others / things causes suffering (see attachment page)

Pride - is your inflated opinion of yourslef and can manifest in relation to some good or bad object: your power, wealth, good qualities, family, wisdom, pure ethics - even your pleasant voice or physical prowess

Ignorance - not knowing, not seeing, not understanding, being unclear, and so forth. Ignorance is like blindness - not seeing the nature or mode of existence of something. Ignorance is the root of all delusions.

Doubt - directed towards the four truths, the Three Jewels, cause and effect

Deluded Views - there are 5

The Causes of Delusion

Their Foundation
Their Object
Unrealistic Thinking

The Drawbacks of the Delusions

From An Ornament to the Sutras

Delusions destroy you,
Destroy sentient beings,
And destroy your ethics.
You hold your equals as inferiors.
Guardians and teachers criticize you,
And you don't heed opponents.
You will be born in conducive states.
Your acquisitions and non-acquisitions
Will decline, and you will have great suffering

Above extract from 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand ' by Kyabje Pabonka Rinpoche

"Lust at the sight of a young woman springs from ignorance and delusion. Reason points out inwardly time and again, that bodies are only the combination of flesh, blood and fat." Sri Sankara

see page on delusions

More on Obstacles

Main obstacles are: attachment or thirst/ craving (lower desire), aversion or hatred & ignorance or delusion

any attachment to ego craving (self centredness, selfish grasping / thirst), thoughts, body, feelings etc. are a hindrance.

Ignorance - there are two main types - inborn ignorance & culturally aquired ignorance

The root ignorance is the misconception of self. All suffering is due to the self-cherishing mind.

Mind poisons obscure our pure innate,unborn nature: ignorance, lustful thoughts, greed (selfish craving), hatred / ill will, anger and more....(DESIRE, HATRED, JEALOUSY)

see page on delusions & traps of the ego



OSHO: The Book of Secrets -

"85 - think nothing"

"Thinking no thing will limited-self unlimit"

"That's what I was saying. If there is no object to your attention, you are nowhere; or you are everywhere, you are free. You have become freedom. This second sutra says: Thinking no thing - or thinking nothing - will self unlimit."

"If you are not thinking you are unlimited. Thinking gives you limit, and there are many types of limit."



Conscious thought, at least the way we usually do it, is the manifestation of ego, the you that you usually think that you are. Conscious thought is tightly connected with self-concept. The self-concept or ego is nothing more than a set of reactions and mental images which are artificially pasted to the flowing process of pure awareness.

"A meditator keeps his mind open every second. He is constantly investigating life, inspecting his own experience, viewing existence in a detached and inquisitive way. Thus he is constantly open to truth in any form, from any source, and at any time. This is the state of mind you need for Liberation. It is said that one may attain enlightenment at any moment if the mind is kept in a state of meditative readiness. The tiniest, most ordinary perception can be the stimulus: a view of the moon, the cry of a bird, the sound of the wind in the trees. it's not so important what is perceived as the way in which you attend to that perception. The state of open readiness is essential. It could happen to you right now if you are ready. The tactile sensation of this book in your fingers could be the cue. the sound of these words in your head might be enough. You could attain enlightenment right now, if you are ready._

You find nothing. In all that collection of mental hardware in this endless stream of ever-shifting experience all you can find is innumerable impersonal processes which have been caused and conditioned by previous processes. There is no static self to be found; it is all process. You find thoughts but no thinker, you find emotions and desires, but nobody doing them. The house itself is empty. There is nobody home. Your whole view of self changes at this point. You begin to look upon yourself as if you were a newspaper photograph. When viewed with the naked eyes, the photograph you see is a definite image. When viewed through a magnifying glass, it all breaks down into an intricate configuration of dots.

Similarly, under the penetrating gaze of mindfulness, the feeling of self, an 'I' or 'being' anything, loses its solidity and dissolves. There comes a point in insight meditation where the three characteristics of existence--impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and selflessness-- come rushing home with concept-searing force. You vividly experience the impermanence of life, the suffering nature of human existence, and the truth of no self. You experience these things so graphically that you suddenly awake to the utter futility of craving, grasping and resistance. In the clarity and purity of this profound moment, our consciousness is transformed. The entity of self evaporates. All that is left is an infinity of interrelated non-personal phenomena which are conditioned and ever changing. Craving is extinguished and a great burden is lifted. There remains only an effortless flow, without a trace of resistance or tension. There remains only peace, and blessed Nibbana, the uncreated, is realized. "

Abridged from 'Mindfulness in Plain English' By the Venerable Henepola Gunaratana

read more of this article

Meditation a major key

By becoming aware of our mind, body & speech we become aware of how we act out in everyday situations.

Even while trying to meditate we quickly learn that we are restless, agitated, grasping, craving, unsatisfied, anxious -ie. not at peace. 'We are human being's, human thinking's or human doing's'

We realise that most of the time we are worrying about the past or future and not living, present fully aware. We also become aware of our programming, unconscious and motivations.

We realise that we create our own reality, how we perceive life depends on our attitudes, belief, sense of self.

We realize that life operates accoding to laws of life eg. Karma (action)

We realise, as Buddha did, that suffering is caused by attachment to ego craving - the more we desire, the more pain we experience!

We realise that everything is a paradox. All paradoxes eventually reconcile in the state of meditation- eg. 'The Pathless Path' or the 'Wayless Way'

We realize that everything in relative cyclic existence operates in cycles & duality and has a polarity - opposite eg. Yin / Yang, Good / Evil, Day & Night, Good & Evil, male & female

The more pleasure we experience, the more pain will follow. So be detached, but involved.

We realize that all situations and relationships mirror internal relationships.

The most important person is the one you are with in the moment, now.

You can be free now!!
Just be there for a while!!

Quotes from Manuel Schoch

Enlightenment and daily life seem almost like a contradiction - how is it possible to have stillness in the midst of the chaotic activity of modern day life?

Like a tornado or whirlpool, it is not possible to have activity without a point of stillness. The challenge is to find the balance in being able to surf between the different worlds of body, mind, feelings and spirituality and not get stuck on any particular level. We all know and can easily relate to the buzz and activity of modern day life and lose the relationship to this centre or anchor that is equally a part of our nature and being. It is losing this balance, especially the relationship to that stillness (absence of fear and hence no reaction), which creates a lot of the tension and unhappiness that many people experience in modern day life.

"Enlightenment is not that there is suddenly no more fear or no more feelings - that would mean to no longer be human. It simply means that we see feelings as they are but we don't react to them".

Manuel Schoch

"Lazy Person's Guide to Enlightenment"

by Thaddeus Golas.

Since the book is out of print and difficult to obtain, I thought you would enjoy the summary below: The Lazy Person's Guide to Enlightenment [Golas] (from Sathya Mailing list)

Thank you, brothers and sisters, for letting my consciousness be in this place.

The Graduated Path to Liberation
A guide to developing the mind
by Geshe Rabten Rinpoche






I am by no means an expert, however I recommend the teachings of the Buddha (Awakened One).

Read Twenty-Five Doors to Meditation : A Handbook for Entering Samadhi William Bodri, Lee Shu-Mei (UK / US) as a good reference guide - full of tips, techniques and truth.

Also read books on Zen -spontaneous realization.

related sites:

related reading:

A guide to the basic steps of enlightenment, demonstrating how to practise morality, meditation and wisdom. His Holiness, The Dalai Lama provides guidance on mental calm, altruism and compassion, refraining from harm and focusing the mind, together with his more general teachings and wisdom.
(January 2002) Pocket Books; ISBN: 0743427084 (Europe /


The Path of Emancipation: Talks from a 21-Day Mindfulness Retreat
~Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh Parallax Press Paperback - 1 June, 2000 (.co.uk) (.com

"Each of us is a river"--twenty one days in Vermont., June 14, 2001
Reviewer: G. Merritt (see more about me) from Phoenix, Arizona
In May 1998, Thich Nhat Hanh led a three-week mindfulness retreat in Burlington, Vermont, at which he delivered dharma teachings on the "Sixteen Ways of Breathing" from THE DISCOURSE ON THE AWARENESS OF BREATHING. This 279-page book is the transcribed record of that retreat, including three question-and-answer sessions. Thay offers lessons here on cultivating "the seeds of mindfulness, enlightenment, understanding, joy and loving kindness" (p. 97).

It is no surprise that Buddhist scholar, Robert Thurman, calls Thich Nhat Hanh "one of the greatest teachers of our time." This book provides easy-to-read instructions on "how to light the lamp of mindfulness and shine it on each moment, each act of the day. You do everything in the light of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the presence of God, is the energy of the Buddha within us, the element of holiness within us" (p. 41). Anyone can practice mindfulness. "You don't need to be a Buddhist," Thay says; "you don't need to be a Dharma teacher" (p. 43). Mindfulness is "deep looking" and "living deeply" (p. 66). Like the sun, when it touches something, it brings about transformation (p. 109). For instance, it allows us to discover everything in the cosmos in a flower: "the sunshine, a cloud, the earth, time, space, everything . . . except . . . a separate existence, a separate self" (p. 172).

Through mindfulness, we walk "the path of emancipation:" "We are free from birth and death. Our true nature is no-birth and no-death. We realize the ground of our being by looking deeply and touching reality deeply. This is the only way to dissipate our fears. If we have this deep insight, we will be liberated from our anguish and fear of being and nonbeing. The Buddha said that all fears and cravings are born from ignorance. Through knowledge and insight, we gain emancipation. We cannot have insight if we don't practice looking deeply. Looking deeply is the practice of meditation" (pp. 208-9). I have read more than a half dozen of Thich Nhat Hanh's books, and I will be adding this one to my list of favorites: BEING PEACE (1988), LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST (1995), THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULNESS (1996), and GOING HOME: JESUS AND BUDDHA AS BROTHERS (1999).



related pages:

How do I find clarity & peace of Mind?

Power of Mind

What is the Meaning of Life?

Ancient Traditions

Balancing Exercises

Spiritual Mastery

For Contemplation -Why do we suffer? Who is it that suffers? Understanding Emotions


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