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Lions Roar : July 2015
anywhere, anyway, without having to go to dramatic extremes or make shocking statements. If you’re not open or carefree from within, you’ll find you always get bumped up against things. Your life gets so narrow, so tight, so claustrophobic. The point is to be free, not to be crazy. Be carefree and open, and feel free. Train in being free. It is said that when the dharma is not practiced correctly, practice could become a cause for rebirth in the lower realms. We’re supposed to practice in order to become free, to liberate our- selves. But if our practice only makes us more stuck, then what? What if we get stuck in the method? When you take the ferry, the ferry is the method. Once you get to the other shore you leave the ferry behind and go on. There’s no point in dragging the boat back to your house. Nor is it good to stay on the ferry, for twenty-four hours a day, forever. The state of wisdom (rigpa) is not bound by any method. It’s not stuck at all. It’s naturally free. If that’s the case, what’s the point of sitting and making up ideas in meditation? The situa- tion becomes completely claustrophobic—why try to accustom yourself to that? If your hands are very dirty, you wash them with soap. Once you’re finished rubbing the soap, you don’t keep it on your hands. You rinse it off, because you don’t need it any longer. The soap is used to get rid of the dirt. Once the dirt is loosened from your hands, why keep the soap? Likewise, don’t hold on to the method; don’t hold on to the meditation technique. Just let be and relax. This is called non- meditation, undistracted nonmeditation. If you meditate, it’s conceptual. If you get distracted, you’re just a normal person. So, don’t meditate, and don’t get distracted. The next point is don’t harm others, but help others. Liber- ate yourself, and after liberating yourself, help to liberate others. Someone who is really full of himself might think, “I am practic- ing something that is special. Hey, I am really something!” If one has that type of attitude about oneself, really, what is the use? It doesn’t help anyone. Far better to run away and give up practicing. Because if spiritual practice really doesn’t help oneself, why bother? It’s much better to be genuine and real about how things are. Take the truth of impermanence more and more to heart, in a very sincere way. Be more loving, more kind, more compassionate. If you find that this is happening, then the dharma is really taking effect. To have less craving and more contentment—that is the point. It’s quite okay not to be very educated. In fact, to be simple- minded is fine. It’s far preferable to being egotistical. Much better to be simple about oneself and not get into a lot of details about “what is good for me.” It’s all right to get into a lot of details and make a lot of fuss when it comes to being helpful, to helping oth- ers. But if we complicate our own lives and focus too much on ourselves, we forget how to be simple, and we are never happy. How does one know the difference between really progressing in meditation practice, and just looking like it from the outside? First of all, when one’s being is liberated from within through this practice, one knows it personally. That atmosphere or feeling also seeps out in a way and is felt by others. One of the qualities of recognizing emptiness is that the thought “I” or “me” has no longer any basis, and thus it dis- solves. There is no self-identity present. Through recognizing and realizing the empty essence, instead of being selfish and self-centered, one feels very open and free. It feels like every- thing is possible; one could just go anywhere; it is all okay. One is not really fixated or tied down. In short, the bottom line during the meditation state is whether or not your delusion falls to pieces. By letting be in wisdom, the string of thought which ties confusion together is suddenly no lon- ger tying anything together, and it naturally falls apart. When there is no pursuit of past thought and no inviting of future thought, that gap means that the whole delusory process vanishes. The effect of that—the afterglow, you could say—shows itself in the post-meditation. In daily life one has much less craving PHOTOBYHÈLENA.VINK SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 64