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 : September 2005
The Greatest Hoax of All Forget the Florida swampland, Enron, or that $40 million in an African bank account—the biggest fraud is the one promoted by the Three Lords of Materialism. And as CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE explains, there’s only one way to avoid being taken. MOST OF US, if we examine our actions, would probably agree that we are ruled by one or more of the three lords of materialism. “But,” we might ask, “so what? This is simply a description of the human condition. Yes, we know that our technology cannot shield us from war, crime, illness, economic insecurity, laborious work, old age, and death; nor can our ideologies shield us from doubt, uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation; nor can our therapies protect us from the dissolution of the high states of consciousness that we may temporarily achieve and the disillusionment and anguish that follow. But what else are we to do? The three lords seem too powerful to overthrow, and we don’t know what to replace them with.” The Buddha, troubled by these questions, examined the process by which the three lords rule. He questioned why our minds follow them and whether there is another way. He discovered that the three lords seduce us by creating a fundamental myth: that we are solid beings. But ultimately the myth is false, a huge hoax, a gigantic fraud, and it is the root of our suffering. In order to make this discovery he had to break through very elaborate defenses erected by the three lords to prevent their subjects from discovering the fundamental deception which is the source of their power. We cannot in any way free ourselves from the domination of the three lords unless we too cut through, layer by layer, the elaborate defenses of these lords. The lords’ defenses are created out of the material of our minds. This material of mind is used by the lords in such a way as to maintain the basic myth of solidity. In order to see for ourselves how this process works we must examine our own experience. “But how,” we might ask, “are we to conduct the examination? What method or tool are we to use?” The method that the Buddha discovered is meditation. He discovered that struggling to find answers did not work. It was only when there were gaps in his struggle that insights came to him. He began to realize that there was a sane, awake quality within him which manifested itself only in the absence of struggle. So the practice of meditation involves “letting be.” There have been a number of misconceptions regarding meditation. Some people regard it as a trancelike state of mind. Others think of it in terms of training, in the sense of mental gymnastics. But meditation is neither of these, although it does involve dealing with neurotic states of mind. The neurotic state of mind is not difficult or impossible to deal with. It has energy, speed, and a certain pattern. The practice of meditation involves letting be—trying to go with the pattern, trying to go with the energy and the speed. In this way we learn now to deal with these factors, how to relate with them, not in the sense of causing them to mature in the way we would like, but in the sense of knowing them for what they are and working with their pattern. There is a story regarding the Buddha which recounts how he once gave teaching to a famous sitar player who wanted to study meditation. The musician asked, “Should I control my mind or should I completely let go?” The Buddha answered, “Since you are a great musician, tell me how you would tune the strings of your instrument.” The musician said, “I would make them not too tight and not too loose.” “Likewise,” said the Buddha, “in your meditation practice you should not impose anything too forcefully on your mind, nor should you let it wander.” That is the teaching of letting the mind be in a very open way, of feeling the flow of energy without trying to subdue it and without letting it get out of control, of going with the energy pattern of mind. This is meditation practice. Such practice is necessary generally because our thinking pattern, our conceptualized way of conducting our life in the world, is either too manipulative, imposing itself upon the world, or else runs completely wild and uncontrolled. Therefore, our meditation practice must begin with ego’s outermost layer, the discursive thoughts which continually run through our minds, our mental gossip. The lords use discursive thought as their first line of defense, as the pawns in their effort to deceive us. The more we generate thoughts, the busier we are mentally and the more convinced we are of our existence. So the lords are constantly trying to activate these thoughts, trying to create a constant overlapping of thoughts so that nothing can be seen beyond them. In true meditation there is no ambition to stir up thoughts, nor is there an ambition to suppress them. They are just allowed to occur spontaneously and become an expression of basic sanity. They become the expression of the precision and the clarity of the awakened state of mind. © From The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume 3, edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian (Shambhala Publications, 2004). © 2003 Diana J. Mukpo. Reprinted with permission. SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 61