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Buddhism A Method of Mind Training

17/01/201103:12(Xem: 2656)
Buddhism A Method of Mind Training


duc-phat-thien-dinh
Buddhism

A Method of Mind Training

 

Leonard Bullen

 

Buddhist Publication Society
Bodhi Leaves BL 42

 

--o0o--

When you hear something about Buddhism in the daily news you usually think of it having a background of huge idols and yellow-robed monks, with a thick atmosphere of incense fumes. You never feel that there is anything in it for you, except, maybe, an exotic spectacle.

But is that all there is in Buddhism? Do the news photographers take pictures of the real Buddhism? Do the glossy magazines show you the fundamentals, or only the externals?

Let us see, then, what Buddhism really is, Buddhism as it was originally expounded and as it still exists underneath the external trappings and trimmings.

Although generally regarded as a religion, Buddhism is basically a method of cultivating the mind. It is true that, with its monastic tradition and its emphasis on ethical factors, it possesses many of the surface characteristics that Westerners associate with religion. However, it is not theistic, since it affirms that the universe is governed by impersonal laws and not by any creator-god; it has no use for prayer, for the Buddha was a teacher and not a god; and it regards devotion not as a religious obligation but as a means of expressing gratitude to its founder and as a means of self-development. Thus it is not a religion at all from these points of view.

Again, Buddhism knows faith only in the sense of confidence in the way recommended by the Buddha. A Buddhist is not expected to have faith or to believe in anything merely because the Buddha said it, or because it is written in the ancient books, or because it has been handed down by tradition, or because others believe it. He may, of course, agree with himself to take the Buddha-doctrine as a working hypothesis and to have confidence in it; but he is not expected to accept anything unless his reason accepts it. This does not mean that everything can be demonstrated rationally, for many points lie beyond the scope of the intellect and can be cognized only by the development of higher faculties. But the fact remains that there is no need for blind acceptance of anything in the Buddha-doctrine.

Buddhism is a way of life based on the training of the mind. Its one ultimate aim is to show the way to complete liberation from suffering by the attainment of the Unconditioned, a state beyond the range of the normal untrained mind. Its immediate aim is to strike at the roots of suffering in everyday life.

All human activity is directed, either immediately or remotely, towards the attainment of happiness in some form or other; or, to express the same thing in negative terms, all human activity is directed towards liberation from some kind of unsatisfactoriness or dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction, then, can be regarded as the starting point in human activity, with happiness as its ultimate goal.

Dissatisfaction, the starting point in human activity, is also the starting point in Buddhism; and this point is expressed in the formula of the Four Basic Statements, which set out the fact of dissatisfaction, its cause, its cure, and the method of its cure.

The First Basic Statement can be stated thus:

Dissatisfaction is Inescapable in En-self-ed Life

In its original meaning, the word which is here rendered as "dissatisfaction" and which is often translated as "suffering" embraces the meanings not only of pain, sorrow, and displeasure, but also of everything that is unsatisfactory, ranging from acute physical pain and severe mental anguish to slight tiredness, boredom, or mild disapp

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12/01/2011(Xem: 2416)
There are seven basic steps: 1. Start out with three or seven long in-&-out breaths, thinking bud- with the in-breath, and dho with the out. Keep the meditation syllable as long as the breath. 2. Be clearly aware of each in-&-out breath. 3. Observe the breath as it goes in & out, noticing whether it's comfortable or uncomfortable, broad or narrow, obstructed or free-flowing, fast or slow, short or long, warm or cool. If the breath doesn't feel comfortable, change it until it does. For instance, if breathing in long & out long is uncomfortable, try breathing in short & out short. As soon as you find that your breathing feels comfortable, let this comfortable breath sensation spread to the different parts of the body.
12/01/2011(Xem: 2652)
Unshakable deliverance of the mind is the highest goal in the Buddha's doctrine. Here, deliverance means: the freeing of the mind from all limitations, fetters, and bonds that tie it to the Wheel of Suffering, to the Circle of Rebirth. It means: the cleansing of the mind of all defilements that mar its purity; the removing of all obstacles that bar its progress from the mundane(lokiya) to the supramundane consciousness (lokuttara-citta), that is, to Arahatship.
11/01/2011(Xem: 2677)
The people are members of the Sangha of the Rio Grande Valley, a band of diverse people who meet, not always regularly, to meditate and discuss Eastern thought. Their common thread is Zen meditation and the pursuit of mindfulness. Mindfulness, the shift of focus to the present, is the path to a more peaceful living, members of the group say.
10/01/2011(Xem: 2567)
I am quite pleased to follow Rev. Thich Tam Tue after his beautiful lecture last Sunday on Amitabha Buddha. It seems so odd that Pure Land and Zen should be reconciled, since their philosophic basis and their view on life vary so much. But in China, Korea and Vietnam, these two schools did come to form a syncretic, holistic view of Buddhism. And this is the topic that I have chosen to speak on today.
08/01/2011(Xem: 3447)
All those who have come to practice Vipassana Meditation want to gain Insight very quickly. Those who have not experienced any Insight yet would like to gain Insight very quickly. Those who have experienced some Insights would like to gain further Insights very quickly. Everyone wants to gain Insights very quickly. To reach these goals, one must first listen very attentively and closely to the "Basic Exercises on Vipassana Meditation" so that one will remember each and every word of the instruction thoroughly when you practice. One must read and study them diligently. Only then will one be able to reach the goal.
07/01/2011(Xem: 2606)
I would like to say a few words in introduction about the practice of meditation. Many people throughout the world, in the West as well as the East, are very interested in meditating. They are attracted to this practice and express great interest in it. Yet, of all the many people who engage in meditation, only a few really understand its purpose.
06/01/2011(Xem: 2674)
“Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. Just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.” In my last column I discussed why mindfulness is essential to spiritual practice, for no matter what spiritual tradition we follow, we must have a mind that is able to stay in the present moment if our understanding and experience is to deepen. Now I would like to talk about some aspects of the actual mindfulness practice.
05/01/2011(Xem: 2673)
An ancient maxim found in the Dhammapada sums up the practice of the Buddha's teaching in three simple guidelines to training: to abstain from all evil, to cultivate good, and to purify one's mind. These three principles form a graded sequence of steps progressing from the outward and preparatory to the inward and essential . Each step leads naturally into the one that follows it, and the culmination of the three in purification of mind makes it plain that the heart of Buddhist practice is to be found here.
05/01/2011(Xem: 3227)
In general terms, Right Concentration means establishing the mind rightly. On one level, this can apply to all the factors of the path. You have to start out by setting the mind on Right View. In other words, you use your discernment to gather together all the Dhamma you've heard. Then when you set the mind on Right Resolve, that's also a way of establishing it rightly.
05/01/2011(Xem: 2644)
For the beginning meditator I believe it would be helpful to establish an order in the various steps taken in meditation. First, then, it would be wise to establish a place of quiet to which one may retire daily and not be interrupted in his endeavors. Then wash carefully face, hands and feet. Better yet, if time permits, take a cleansing shower and put on loose, comfortable clothes.
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Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường,
nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.

May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland,
Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below,
may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma,
the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

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