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Lions Roar : September 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2010 47 insight meditation turns the mind away from delusion, our confused notions about ourselves, others, and our world. it turns the mind toward the reality of things as they truly are. The classic meta- phor is that insight allows us to see that what we perceive to be a dangerous snake is actually a harm- less rope. equally important—considering the im- mense number of challenges currently facing life on our planet—insight allows us to see that what we have complacently assumed to be a rope is actu- ally a snake urgently demanding engaged action. according to the Tibetan meditation master jamgon kongtrul the Great, insight meditation helps us understand, in a series of progressive steps, the truths of egolessness, emptiness, and great joy. These experiences on the path of medi- tation depend on our motivation for engaging in practice. it has been said that the greatest single factor determining the success of our meditation is motivation, or right intention. if we approach the practice of meditation as a way to calm down from a stressful week, then that will be the result: a tem- porary reduction of stress. if we approach practice as a means of freeing ourselves from the confining mental imprisonment traditionally called samsara, then vipashyana meditation will lead to personal liberation from a fixed notion of self. if our prac- tice is inspired by the compassionate intention to be of service and alleviate the suffering of others, the union of shamatha and vipashyana can lead to complete enlightenment and the ensuing buddha- activity benefitting others. in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, this fruition of shamatha and vipashyana is practiced as mahamudra and maha ati medita- tion, the full recognition of mind’s original nature. The fruition of this meditative path that bal- ances stability and insight is compassionate ac- tion. The Buddha’s original eight-fold path of right speech, right livelihood, and so forth, is actually a description of a complete way of life, not just a religious practice. we join right mindfulness with awareness as part of a total awakening—not just a private sense of “my spiritual life,” but a globally responsive panoramic awareness. we see the results of walking the path of meditation in the peaceful- ness and bravery we manifest in everyday life. ♦ The famed yogi and poet milarepa, a founder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. PaiNTiNGBysheraBPalDeNBeru,courTesyofmichaelemaTThews