Learn meditation techniques to relax and improve your own thought processes.

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Pravin Kumar
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Post by Pravin Kumar » Sun May 12, 2019 11:12 am

Two Simple Meditations - From 'The Simplicity of Awakening'.

I would like to discuss two modern, popular and powerful approaches to investigation of the Absolute Reality based on Advaita and Tibetan Buddhism which evolved completely independently and yet have striking similarities. The first of these is a simple meditation practice based on self-enquiry a technique championed by the Advaitist sage Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950). The basic approach is to sit quietly and using the inquiry 'Who am I?' to discover that which is deeper than body or mind, the source of all existence. When perfected the Who am I? inquiry reveals that there is no separate individual self but only something that can be described as 'pure radiant awareness'. This is defined by Sankara in the Vivekachudamani as the self-effulgent witness of all about which Ramana said "effortless, choiceless awareness is your real state". Here is the meditation practice, revealed to a follower of this school (me), stemming directly from self-inquiry:

If you sit quietly you can easily notice that:
There is effortless awareness of every thought.
There is effortless awareness of every sound.
There is effortless awareness of every sight.
There is effortless awareness of every taste.
There is effortless awareness of every smell.
There is effortless awareness of every feeling.
There is effortless awareness of every touch.

This awareness encompasses every mind/body experience, for they appear in it.
Deeper than thoughts (mind) and sensory experiences (body) you are this awareness.
This awareness is effortless and choiceless as it requires no effort and it is choicelessly present.
This awareness is omnipresent. If you investigate you will find that it is (and has been) always present wherever you are. Even during sleep there is awareness of dreams, and of the quality of that sleep.
This awareness is absolutely still as it is aware of the slightest movement of body/mind.
This awareness is utterly silent as it is aware of the smallest sound, the slightest thought.
This awareness is absolutely radiant for it illuminates everything that appears in it.
Every mind/body experience arises in this awareness, exists in this awareness and subsides back into this awareness.
At the deepest level you are this pure, radiant, still, silent, boundless, changeless awareness.

As this awareness there is nothing to achieve, for how can you achieve what you already are?
As this awareness there is nothing to find, for how can you find what you cannot lose?
As this awareness there is nothing to desire, long for or get, for how can you get what you already have?

The second is another very simple meditation practice from the Dzogchen school of Tibetan Buddhism. Sogyal Rinpoche, the author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is from this lineage and he has been teaching, in the West, since 1974. About meditation he said: "The purpose of meditation is to awaken in us the sky-like nature of mind, and to introduce us to that which we really are, our unchanging pure awareness, which underlies the whole of life and death." Here is the practice, from a follower of this school, that was posted on the internet:

Dzogchen awareness practice
Get comfortable and let mind and body really relax - no need to sit in any strict meditation position - relaxed in a comfy chair is fine.
Locate awareness in space and then put attention on the breath flowing in and out quite naturally.
After a few minutes, cease to focus on any particular object and practice choiceless awareness, simply observing whatever objects arise and pass in Awareness. Notice the following about each object:
It is impermanent
It has no existence apart from Awareness, Itself.
Being a form of Awareness, it is transparent to it.

1. Without fixing attention on anything, just consider:
Is there awareness of sights? Is there awareness of sounds? Is there awareness of sensations? Is there awareness of thoughts? Is there awareness of feelings? Tastes? Etc.
This very Awareness which is right here now, IS that eternal, self luminous Reality that you have been striving to realize all along. Since this Awareness is already here, your striving is unnecessary.

2. Abandon all concepts about experience and simply observe.
See how appearances arise in Awareness. Since whatever appears is already present, how can it be avoided?
See how appearances pass in Awareness. Since whatever has passed is no longer present, how can it be grasped?
See how everything appears in Awareness without the least obstruction.
Since nothing obstructs appearances, there are no obstacles to be removed.
See how everything passes in Awareness without the least hindrance.
Since everything is self-liberating, there is nothing to be set free.
Relax into this effortless contemplation of how things actually are.

3. Without making any adjustments, continue to observe:
Although you say, forms arise in Awareness, can you really separate
Awareness from its forms? Is not Awareness like an ocean and forms its waves?
Because Awareness and forms are ultimately inseparable, duality never existed. How then can it be transcended?
Although you say, I am aware of such and such object, can you truly distinguish between yourself and the object? Where does self end and object begin?
Because subject and object are, in reality, indistinguishable, delusion never originated. How then can it be dispelled?

4. Look! Reality is staring you in the face:
You say you cannot eliminate your self but there is no self to eliminate.
You say you have not attained Enlightenment but there is not the slightest thing to attain.
You say, I am ignorant of my true identity but how can this be? What else is there besides this infinite, eternal, non dual field of Awareness-and-form which is already present, right here and
now....and now...and now.....

Therefore, surrender all desire for attainment and just be what you are, Awareness, Itself!

So comparing the two we can see that they both agree that our natural effortless awareness of thoughts and sensations is that eternal self-luminous reality in which forms arise, exist and subside, and that in essence we are that awareness. They both agree that there is nothing to attain, i.e. all striving is unnecessary; also that there is nothing to desire, grasp or get. There is also agreement that this effortless awareness is here and now. So all that ultimately exists is this Pure, radiant, omnipresent field, of effortless choiceless awareness in which everything arises, appears to exist, and subsides without ever any separation or duality. Thus here we have two schools one of which posits Atman and the other Anatta (through sunyata) arriving at almost exactly the same conclusion without any collusion!

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