Meditation Instruction -How to meditate. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Shambhala

Meditation Instruction -How to meditate. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Shambhala


>>Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche: As the first section of this particular class on, ah, the study of meditation, I would like to give you some basic ideas. Meditation and practice is very confusing; and on the other hand, meditation is a way of life might be better to look at, and the sitting practice of meditation that we’re going to institute at this point is that simplifying, basic psychology, basic problems as it was presented by the Buddha; and simplifying in this case is a question of, ah, no expectations to the technique, that whether this technique is going to liberate you, or going to show you certain particular flashes of excitement, mystical experiences, whatever. I would like to present this particular meditation situation extremely simply, without working on a certain particular metaphysical, philosophical overlay as such; but at the same time I feel that if you could go through this particular training that we are presenting throughout this particular course, I think it would be much better than just purely catching a short glimpse of it. So again, I would like to ask your particular commitment and sit for this particular training program completely as much as you can; otherwise there’s a lot of gaps missing the point and unnecessary confusions which might take place; so please try to stick around if you can and follow this particular instruction. I’m not particularly saying that certain practices that we present are much more enlightening, much more promising than other techniques that might be presented; you might have experienced before. But what I’m saying here is that if you could stick, go along with exertion and patience, and this particular discipline, that you might have a chance to realize yourself; realize yourself; understand yourself. Maybe such understanding may be extremely boring; such understandings maybe you don’t want to do; but nevertheless that is the case that we can’t reject ourselves before we know what we are. So I’m encouraging you to be very brave from that point of view; that please don’t chicken out, as they say, and reject yourself or congratulate yourself for that matter; but try to work with the techniques, traditions, that we presented to you. So at this point I would like to present a very simple technique, which has been developed throughout the tradition of Buddhism, and the tradition that I myself have been trained; the tradition that has been recommended by Lord Buddha himself. I would like to present a very simple case, simple situation; and I want you to try; just simply try. And there will be assistants who have been already trained under my directions who will coach you, so to speak, help you, and work with your practice of meditation. And there will be a certain particular hours when situations will be presented that you can sit either group situations, which would be good, necessary, in some sense. And also particularly it is also important that if you can sit by yourselves at your apartment or homes, whatever you have living situation set-up. And meditation basically according to Buddhism at this point it is the idea of bharvana, which is a Sanskrit word, Bharvana, B H A R V A N A, Bharvana, which means exertion, discipline, which is the basic point. Unless you are not inspired to discipline yourself you’re hopeless. Once you are half-way through discipline yourself trying to give up hope is also hopeless, because you are creating further congestion and further indigestion. So this particular course is very demanding as it’s been presented by the tradition and the lineage; and also I would like to stick with that particular process. If you’re going to stick with us, please do so. You’re welcome. I’m sure that you will understand certain ways, thinkings, skill and the clarity. If you feel you’ve been put off because so much effort and demands being made on you, I’d prefer you to cop out right at the beginning; which is some kind of heroism, I suppose; [laughter] so think about that, seriously; it’s important. I would like to work with this particular course as a very direct course, that I’m working together with the help of my teaching assistants, that you could work with that particular situation and you sit regularly. You follow a particular discipline and a particular experiences, which are by no means dramatic and purely discovering yourself I’m afraid. And I do not promise, on the other hand, at the same time, rather, that you’re not going to see cherubs, gods, heavenly realms, colorful mantras or yantras, none of those. it is very simple, extremely down to earth, to the extent that it’s irritatingly down to earth, and extent, extremely down to earth; so that you could see colors of your own existence. The earth will begin to come back to you; rather than you’re getting messages from the heaven as such. Meditation in Buddhism is extremely severe. What we’re doing here is extremely traditional, non-trippy, if you’ll allow me to use that word. There’s no trips involved, no kicks involved. Absolutely not. [laughter] So I would appreciate if you could work with us. Not that I want to convert you into our particular style and approach necessarily; and not that I want to reject you because you don’t accept our style and approach. It is an open situation, but I think it is worthwhile to apply your exertion and it is necessary. I’m sure you’ll learn something out of this; because that I have learned something out of this myself; and this is not supposed to be a testimonial session particularly; but I’ve felt myself that I have gained wisdom and clarity myself from this; and I’m giving it to you as I’ve learned, as I’ve gone through myself. It’s rather the basic training and discipline that I’ve received myself; the only difference is that you don’t speak Tibetan. The meditation situation involved, according to the Buddha, is three-fold. The one is called, what’s called shamata, S H A M A T A, Sham a ta. And the second process involved is what is called vipashyana, which is V I P A S H Y A N A. Those are the Sanskrit terms that we used. Shamata means “development of mindfulness”, mindfulness, which we’re going to do together at this point, either group situations or individually, and such meaning of mindfulness is up to you. And this particular meditation practice is paying attention to what’s happening, namely, your breath, your ordinary breathing, your breath. Say, for example, when you sit down and try to rest, the first thing you do is you try to regain your breath, because you pay so much attention and maybe sitting down and relaxing, trying to get to a place when you want to relax, you walk toward your place of relaxation. You walk and then you sit. Phew. As we ordinarily say, Phew. [laughter] The breathing plays a very important part in the ordinary, common experience that we experience, natural breathing, natural situation. The first thing we could clutch in terms of relaxation and peace. Shamata means, “development of peace” literally; but peace in this case does not mean that without a war –nothing to do with politics for that matter; and we’re not talking about a particular sense of peace that you should get off with in a, in a, what’s the word, um, psychedelic. That’s the word I suppose I’m looking for: Psychedelic peace or peace that’s been uplifted. We’re not talking about such peace; but what we are talking about in terms of peace in this case is non-action. That is precisely the feeling that we say when we say we sit down, or we have a very heavy time with our friends, heavy time with our parents, heavy time with something rather business, when we sit down and we say, “Phew”, “Hah”. That kind of flop that we are talking about, but I don’t want you to misunderstand this particular thing by saying that you could get that instantly. We have to apply exertion which is avirya in Buddhist terms, patience which is shanti. We have to exert such experience and discipline, and this discipline we’d like you to try in the sitting practice of meditation from tonight onward. I want you to sit. If you have leg problems you could sit on a chair if you like, but if you have, if you have no leg problems, and I’d prefer if you sat on the floor on the cushions provided or bring your own blanket and cushion or whatever. Sit down on the floor. You don’t have to fold cross-legged in, ah, in, ah, lotus posture; that is unnecessary. Just form half-legged, half-crossed, posture. Sit down as you usually sit down, like the Indian, American Indian, version. Just sit down as the American Indian version. Sit, sit on the cushion, but don’t make a big deal about that. Now you’re going to meditate. Just sit down [laughter] and relax, and straighten your back spine and straighten your neck –not to the extreme, but somewhat extreme, somewhat deliberate, as if you’re going to ask your lover, that you’re asking for his or her marriage. “I’m going to ask you: would you like to get married to me?” So that kind of approach— semi relaxed, friendly, seductive, but [laughter], but straight-forward. And then you can fold your hand in meditation posture if you like, or you can put your hand on your knees, which is also known as mind-relaxing posture, which is the same thing; it doesn’t really matter all that much. And then I want you to just feel your breath, the natural breath. If the breath comes from the result of your running to get to the place or something like that, which would be very rough; or if you had a really relaxed time with your body, your breathing remains shallow; but doesn’t really matter; just use existing natural breathing. Then, sit quietly. Listen to your breathing first to begin with. Just to listen to your breathing, just the breathing coming out and in your nostrils. Just listen to it and settle down for a few minutes. And then begin to discipline your state of awareness, state of awareness, state of inquisitiveness. By then you have nothing to do but breathe; so you’re being inquisitive has nothing to do with your breathing at that point. You begin to wonder what can I do with myself and so forth; so that’s okay; but then try to focus everything on your breathing. Listen to your breathing. Feel your breathing completely, properly, as much as you can; but don’t force yourself. Don’t hold yourself too tight, like, um, Englishmen trying to speak to somebody with upper lip; but you’re dealing with your breathing very naturally, just natural breathing. You sat there. You’re about to address your lover. You’re there; so then just go along with your breathing and first step is just follow the breathing, very simply, the out breath particularly. Go along with that and not particularly trying to feel your temperature and your nostrils or breath specially as for a particular, particular situation as such, but breathe out. As you breathe out, you go out with your natural breath very simply, extremely, very simply, naturally, not big a deal. You’re not actually meditating as such; you’re just breathing; you are very simple. You are just breathing. Go out with the breath. At some time, I would recommend you to open your mouth a little bit wide, a little bit open. Don’t hold your tight lips, as if you’re saying the word ‘a’. Just open your mouth a little bit as if you’re saying word ‘a’. Go out with your breath. Your attitude is going out with your breath. Your attention is going out with your breath; and as your breath goes out, it dissolves and the atmosphere, the space around you. Don’t try to follow too far. Just let it be. Then there’s the gap, uncertainty, maybe, and your breath comes in automatically as a physiological function. Your breath comes in as your lung requires; your breath comes in. So at that point don’t try to come back into your lung and body particularly. Just let it be. Let it drop there. Your attention is dropped. Your lung’s coming in. Then another breath coming out, and you’re going out with it again, and your lungs breathing out, there’s a gap; so do that way. Very simple and there’s . . . you don’t have to tighten your body or back particularly except in the sense of, um, simple, the simplicity of that whole thing. So I would like you to work on that particular practice and just to be. There’s another problem which comes up which is the thought process, thinking process in the m… in the midst of those situations, all kinds of thoughts, thoughts of attitude to your life, future plans, conversation with your friends, your parents, your relatives, all kinds of things come through; but let them come through. Let them just come through; don’t try to say that they’re bad or for that matter they are particularly good. Let them come through. Just let them come through; let them come through as simple as you can. Let them just come through; don’t label them; don’t say they’re good or bad. By letting them come through, you begin to find that there’s a sense of, ah, openness that you don’t find them particularly threatening or particularly helpful. They just become the general gossip that you begin to hear through the traffic. If you’ve settled yourself in a, in a, in a city you begin to hear through your window: there goes a motorcycle; there goes a truck; there goes a car; there’s somebody shouting. You begin to find them just, “So what?”. And you begin to become involved with them at the same time at the beginning; but at the end you begin to find just, “So what?”. So similarly traffic of your thoughts and, the verbosity of your mind begin to become just, just basic chatter that goes on in the universe which is okay, which is not okay. So what? Just let them go through, and I think you’re going to make a good job out of this. So that’s the basic technique and practice of meditation. And this is for the first time I have publicly advised people to sit, how to conduct themselves in meditation practice, but I think that this particular interest that you’ve expressed coming to Naropa Institute and you have inspired; you’ve read books and you have studied. That you have thought that you could work with us and with such understanding. Although a lot of you, I haven’t spoken with you personally, but I have some kind of trust in you that you can do it if you work with us. So please try to do that. That’s the basic point. So that is the first session of meditational class, and if you have any problems and discontentment, apprehensions of all kinds that, you’re going to work with my teaching assistants who are, I think, here. Ah, maybe I should introduce them so that you have some understanding of who they are. You should see them. Can you come out on the stage possibly, my teaching assistants? If there’s anybody. Please come along here. Do you know Mora, and Bill Inditch, and David Darwent? I hope I remember everybody’s name. Are you alright, Lila Rich, Tom Rich whatever [indistinct] change first name and Fran Lewis and Kenneth Green or Krishna Green and Eric Holm, [Laughs] Michael Cohen and [indistinct] Robert, ah, Cohen and [indistinct, coughs] Howard More, yeah, and [indistinct] Dana Dudley, and David Rome. So these people are going to work with you. Ah, sorry to be such dramatic, but I think you have to catch some glimpse of them which would be good. Everybody’s going to work with you and the time is set up, and the particular office is set up to work with you. So we could discuss and work with that. At this particular meeting I don’t think we should have any particular questions period. You can ask the students here who work with us. So you can work with them, them. Thank you very much. Thank you.[Clapping]