using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : July 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 57 how to relax within it. Our first glimpse is likely to show us that our mind often wanders aimlessly about, and there’s little orga- nization to our thinking. It’s like a house with junk piled up everywhere. So, what do we need to do first? We need to bring a sense of order and clarity to our mind. By being more mindful of our thought process, our awareness naturally becomes sharper, more precise, and more discriminating. Once we’ve created some mental space, we can begin to glimpse mind’s nature and the play of its creative energy. Gradually, we can further let go of the thoughts, labels, and judgments that keep our mind moving, unsettled, and tense. We can begin to relax, expand, and inhabit a new dimension of presence and openness. There are two main types of meditation in the Mahamudra tradition: Mahamudra shamatha, or resting in the nature of mind, and Mahamudra vipashyana, or clear seeing. The focus of our attention is the mind itself, as opposed to anything external. If you have a background of sitting meditation and are familiar with that practice, then learning to rest in the nature of mind can be very simple, easy, and straightforward. What does it mean to rest in the nature of mind, and how do we do it? We may think that to meditate, we have to concentrate, we have to focus on something. The actual meditation of Maha- mudra is not really about that. It’s more about knowing how to rest our mind and let it relax in its own state. That can be tricky, because on one hand we need to be mindful and stay present, and on the other, we need to let go of any stress and just relax. So the best practice is the middle way, finding a balance between nondistraction and relaxation. In the beginning, that may feel artificial, but if we keep doing it, it becomes effortless. It’s like when we start learning how to drive a car. It’s very stressful when we first get behind the wheel. Our eyes are glued to the road. We’re holding onto the steering wheel so tightly we can feel the tension in our shoulders. At first it’s an intense, scary experience, but the more we learn about driving, the more we relax. In the same way, Mahamudra meditation can feel unnatural and stressful at first. We may be worried that we have too many thoughts and are not relaxed enough, or that our focus is not in the right place. But relaxation will come naturally if we keep doing it. That’s the key thing—to keep doing it. Then the experi- ence of space, awareness, and relaxation will come naturally. Meditation: Mahamudra First, take your seat on a cushion or chair in an upright and relaxed position. Take a moment to feel the cushion, the posture of your body, the attitude of the mind, and the movement of the breath. Sit quietly for several minutes, gently letting go of your thoughts until you feel a sense of calmness. Next, bring awareness to the eyes and look directly into the space in front. Then simply relax at ease and rest in the present moment, in nowness. On one hand, there’s a sense of focusing on the space, but on the other, there’s no particular spot to focus on. The gaze is like space itself, wide and spacious. Whatever comes up in the present, whether it’s a thought, emotion, or perception, try to meet it without judgment or comment. Rest the mind in that very experience, whether you regard it as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. There’s no need to change or improve it or look for a better place to rest. Rest the mind where it is and just as it is. In Mahamudra meditation, it isn’t sufficient just to recognize the presence of thoughts and emotions; we need to recognize their true nature and rest within that experience. So from time to time in meditation, reflect on the three basic characteristics of mind: emptiness, clarity, and awareness. The emptiness of the mind is something we can “see,” so to speak. When we look at the mind, it’s like infinite space. It has no limit. It has no material form, color, or shape. There is nothing we can touch. That space, that openness, is the empty nature of our mind. When contemplating mind’s emptiness, experience the spa- cious, insubstantial, nonmaterial quality of mind, of thoughts and emotions, and leave the mind in a state of ease and total openness. ➢ page 90 Vajradhara, primordial buddha of the Mahamudra tradition. Nepal, 15th c. PHOTO©RUBINMUSEUMOFART/ARTRESOURCE,NY