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Lions Roar : March 2019
rather than going out to buy imported vegetables from elsewhere. We do this by mindfully engaging with the first six consciousnesses and then resting in the spacious meadow of the background alaya consciousness itself. The earliest Buddhist meditation practice instructions suggest beginning with mindfulness of the six senses. Mindfulness of seeing, hear- ing, smelling, tasting, and touching is the first step on the path of the awakened ones. As for the sixth consciousness, through mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions we come to know ourselves intimately. Overall, the neurotic confusion of the eight kinds of dualistic consciousness is based on sloppy imprecision, speedy concepts, and greedy grasping. Mindfulness invites us to slow down and notice the nuances of simple, ordinary activi- ties like walking and breathing. This simplicity is liberating. During meditation practice, we do not dash off to acquire yet another something from out there but rest with bare attention to the details of this moment: “Breathing, breathing, breathing.” There is a quiet dignity and self-respect in this act of appreciating the body and mind we are. When we complete a meditation session and rise from our seat, this mindfulness in action continues: “Listen- ing, listening, listening,” “ Tasting, tasting, tasting,” “Walking, walking, walking.” There is an earthy fullness to this experience of embodied presence. Rather than the frustration of seeking what cannot be found externally, this is the well-being of being. These is also a Mahayana Buddhist meditation instruction to “rest in the alaya.” Here we appreci- ate the inherent richness of basic awareness—not the objects of awareness (which are so fascinating to dualistic consciousness) but the spacious clarity of the background consciousness itself. This has been called “brilliant sanity.” As Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s useful pointer suggests: “That which sees confusion is not itself confused.” The view here is that the confused eight con- sciousnesses are temporarily distorted forms of wisdom. Meditation practice allows the gradual transformation of that confusion into its true form as wisdom—like a snake slowly uncoiling itself. The alchemical metaphor is transmuting lead into gold. Our awareness itself contains all we need to liberate a golden world. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2019 60 PHOTOBYMOTOKITONN