The Paramita of Meditation

By Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
The first aspect of meditation is the development of an inner awareness that acquaints one with the mind as it really is, beneath its superficial layer of obscuration. When there is no practice of meditation it is impossible to practice generosity, skilful conduct, forbearance and diligence fully - they cannot become 'perfections' because their very essence, this inner awareness is lacking. In order to get to know our mind as it is, we first practice samatta (Tib. shi-nay) meditation. This makes the mind more tranquil and lets it rest in its own qualities, free from the disturbing presence of recent accumulations. Samatta is developed by cultivating an awareness, a mindfulness of everything that arises. In the meditation session we relax the body, speech and mind and rest naturally and simply in the present state which is by nature free from all the obstacle-delusions of desire, anger, ignorance, jealousy and pride.

The second aspect has two stages: the ordinary stage and the extraordinary stage The ordinary stage concerns the mind that we are developing in our sitting practice. The state which we are trying to cultivate in our beginners' samatta practice is not just a blank, blind stillness and quietude. It is a state wherein there can arise an awareness of the clarity and qualities of mind - these qualities being recognized by mind itself. This is called the ordinary second aspect of meditation. The extraordinary stage of this second aspect covers not only this naturally-clear mind resting within itself and within an understanding of its own clarity, but also the presence of Bodhicitta - Bodhicitta free from the triplistic veil of subject, object and action as separate entities. 'Who is meditating?' 'Meditating upon what?' 'Meditating in which way?' and other such notions and biases are transcended.

The third aspect of meditation concerns practicing the above with completely proper motivation so that the ordinary and extraordinary stages of meditation are supported by, guided by, the motivation to benefit all
beings and accompanied by the great openness of loving-kindness and compassion. The result of such meditation is a Mahayana result. It is the motivation that makes the difference between the meditations of the Hinayana and Mahayana which are otherwise very similar. Impartial calm meditation, rich in awareness of itself and beyond triplicity, and based upon an altruistic motivation - that is full realization. The moment that such realization is achieved there will be spontaneous activity to benefit beings; effortless and all-accomplishing.

The realization that emerges through the Hinayana practice is very similar to that achieved by the Buddha but it does not have the qualities and activity to benefit others. It is an incomplete realization of the ultimate truth; a realization which is very dry-dry of compassion and dry of the full activity of the perfect Buddhas. It is a realization of the ultimate truth - but not 'just as it is'. For this reason whenever we do tranquillity meditation, a visualization or tong.len, we practice it in the following stages:

  • First our mind must be ready to meditate; it must be pacified. (Most of the Hinayana practitioners want to do this too.) This putting the mind into a suitable disposition is usually accomplished by concentrating upon the breathing process, cultivating mindfulness of walking, developing awareness of body sensations and so on. There are objective and non-objective techniques.
  • As a result of the above the mind becomes peaceful - a sort of 'blank-peaceful' to which clarity has to be added. (At this stage, not the innate clarity of mind itself - that can only emerge through realization. Just lucidity.
  • The calmness and clarity are then to be set within a framework of right motivation - the wish to help others. Once this is accomplished the meditation is full meditation. Just blank meditation makes us feel relaxed and comfortable and will free us temporarily from nervousness. There are no results beyond this.
If we do Vajrayana practices, visualizations and so forth, without the enlightening motivation of Bodhicitta, then we are just going through another trip. There will be more benefit from visualizing a deity than
from visualizing a complicated rock but there will never be the full results without Bodhicitta motivation - even though that deity represents the ultimate truth.
The Buddhist principle is to be everybody's friend, not to have any enemy.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Meditation means simple acceptance.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Only the impossible is worth doing.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Whenever we see something which could be done to bring benefit to others, no matter how small, we should do it.
Chamgon Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Freedom is not something you look for outside of yourself. Freedom is within you.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Hasten slowly, you will soon arrive.
Jetsun Milarepa
It doesn’t matter whatever comes, stop judging and it won’t bother you.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Whatever obstacles arise, if you deal with them through kindness without trying to escape then you have real freedom.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
To tame ourselves is the only way we can change and improve the world.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Strive always to be as kind, gentle and caring as possible towards all forms of sentient life.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Every sentient being is equal to the Buddha.
Chamgon Kentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Wherever and whenever we can, we should develop compassion at once.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Reminding ourselves of how others suffer and mentally putting ourselves in their place, will help awaken our compassion.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche