2020-07-12 Dharma Samadhi (5 of 5) Concentration
7:19PM Jul 12, 2020
So I'd like to use this Sunday morning talk to complete the, the series of talks I gave during this week day. Last week at 7am. I gave a series a series of talk about something that the Buddha calls the Dharma Samadhi. And Friday was supposed to be the last talk, but there was a difficulties with the recording and and with the different connections here. So it didn't really happen the way that, I didn't really complete it. So I'll use this time here. And some of you weren't there for those talks. So I'll do also do a little bit of review and introduction. So you can come to the end of this series.
So when I was a college student, I had a bicycle that, everywhere I went to was on the bicycle. But I didn't want to. I didn't like the idea of locking the bicycle. So I didn't want to. I didn't want to lock it. So what I did, knowing that, I purchased a bicycle that I really doubted anybody would ever want to steal. It was old, somewhat in a poor state of health for a bicycle. In fact, I was. If you coasted downhill on this bicycle, the bicycle would come to a stop. There was some internal resistance, I don't remember now what it was. You have to always be pedaling even downhill. Now, the bicycle I have now, that I used today to come down to IMC, is very well tuned. And so coming down a hill, even the slightest hill, it'll roll very nicely. And, and if it's deep enough, I'll pick up speed. So the bicycle when I had in college was poorly tuned, poorly cared for, kind of falling apart. And in fact, during my college time, no one stole it, no one took it. I think maybe once someone took it and went, I don't know 100 yards or something with it.
And so Dharma practice is like this. That if we can be finely tuned, then we'll coast along, we'll roll along and if we're fortunate enough to come to a kind of down slope period, then we'll coast, we'll glide, we'll roll down without needing to put any effort. In fact, you can't stop the flow going downhill, the rolling downhill of a bicycle, unless you put the brakes on and resist or get off or something. And part of what Dharma practice is is getting in tune, getting in harmony, so there's no resistance. And things like greed, hatred and delusion is kind of the, you know, the basic categories of how we resist. But fear and holding back and being distracted and being filled with preoccupations and thoughts. Make life so much more difficult. When we first come to Dharma practice, practice can feel like it's going uphill, going up the mountain or something. But at some point, we cross the pass in the mountains, and it's downhill on the other side. Often in daily life, it's like we're climbing the mountain more like Sisyphus, we always have a boulder or just one bolder after the other and feels like we're going up hill. We don't we can't really get that far.
With Dharma practice, we learn how not to be pushing boulders as we walk uphill. And it is a kind of coming back, making effort initially. But at some point, that effort we have to make is maybe the effort to relax. The effort to open up. The effort effort to get out of the way. And at some point in the practice, there's the gravitational pull of freedom, the gravitational pull of coming in more and more into into harmony and to be attuned. So as we learn to be present in practice, as we learn to engage without resistance, without expectations, without expectations for the future, what we want. When we are able to engage practice without a lot of selfishness or self centeredness or self preoccupation, or self criticism or self, all kinds of things self. Then there's less and less resistance for the engagement, for the flow. And at some point when the pull of freedom and the gravitational pull of freedom gets strong enough, then it's more like we give into that pull. Get out of the way that pull and it's like into the Buddha likened it to going downhill, like water flowing downhill, I don't think they had bicycles back then. And the water just flowing and the water will flow unless it's blocked, like a big boulder or something can stop the water So, but then it using this analogy modern analogy of a bicycle, the bicycle will just roll downhill, just carry us downhill, all the way to the bottom. If there's nothing there resists, there is no resistance in the bike and no obstacles outside.
And so some of us had experience of being in a bike, it can be quite exhilarating and kind of wonderful to be finally over the top and it's rolling down. And that exhilaration, that engagement can feel really good. In fact, every morning there's a little hill on the way down here there's a little bit steep, and I just delight in the little bit of speed that comes and comes down and around this curve I take going down this hill just just makes me so happy and I'm fully there and I'm not, my mind is not anywhere else. It might be slightly dangerous, ever so slightly, and I'm just fully there. I feel the wind. I feel the bicycle. I feel the speed and it just kind of so happy to be on the bike and just rolling down and just be for those few moments, I'm just riding the bike. That's really everything else has kind of gone out of my mind. And it just feels so good to be fully there.
So I'm going on about this because this same kind of experience happens in Dharma practice. And to be caught in the gravitational pull of freedom or to be starting to be close in the neighborhood of the gravitational pull of freedom can be called the Dharma Samadhi. To be engaged or be involved in or be absorbed in or to be pulled in by the hearts, the minds capacity for liberation and freedom. To not be caught by anything not be attached by anything. To let go is not a neutral thing. It doesn't leave us bland. To let go fully releases the resistance we have to life, releases the obstacles to being finely tuned, finely tuned heart, finely tuned mind that really can flow and go nicely with experience for the present.
And it's Dharma Samadhi. And the Buddha describes this in five ways. And the sequence, the flow down there down the hillside. And it is said that these five mental states or qualities of being flow one into the next. And as we let go and allow this pool of freedom to kind of pull us more and more fully. And the first is, and again that translations of these words are little bit optional. And I offered the words that I use the words I tend to use. But you might not like some of these words or they might not work for you. And you're more than welcome to find a related word that does work for you. Because it's what's works for you, as you can feel the pull of gravity that's important. You don't have to, you know, fit yourself into someone else's words or models. But you do want to let go into that wonderful pool of freedom that allows these beautiful qualities to unfold one after the other.
So the first one is called pāmojja in Pali, and I translated as gladness. And for the Buddha it clearly arises when there's an when, by what we have faith in, inspiration by, some deep appreciation, or when we have when we don't just to understand the Dharma, but we have the feeling for the Dharma. We don't just understand liberation, the goal of practice, we have a feeling for it and the Buddha used the word that could mean that some people translate as being inspired by the Dharma. But the dictionary says this word veda like vedana can also be to have a feeling, feel for the Dharma, feel for the goal, feel for liberation. And to have get a feel for what it's about and be inspired by it is yes, this is great that I'm so glad. I'm so inspired. I'm so delighted. I'm so appreciate the practice, the possibility, what this is about, That there's an inspiration, there's gladness that arises.
And so it's a little bit evaluative. It's understanding something and appreciating it to being inspired. But if we don't get caught up in it, then want more in the field of desires and expectations and too much zeal to practice. But are we willing to give ourselves, relax and open up even more. Then, at some point that engagement with the breathing, engage in it, with practice really being here. It's no longer the joy, the happiness that arises is not evaluative. It's not for a reason, like we're inspired by something, but rather it starts to be coming, a certain kind of joy, or some people call the rapture or some people call even ecstasy, but kind of a joy or delight. That doesn't come for a reason. Exactly. But comes because it's the joy of engagement. The enjoy of participation, the enjoy of applying ourselves. So you know, I could appreciate having a bike and get to ride the bike and happy that I got to go ride my bike, but then when I'm really into riding the bike and just really feels like yesterday, I was biking along a long flat stretch of road. And I was going kind of fast, faster for me than usual. But I was just so happy to be able to do this, that I had, I don't always have the physical health to be able to bike this way. And so to have that ability at this time, just felt so good and so nice. And it was not, so I both appreciated it, but I just like the work, I like the body engaged with, the engagement with it, brought me some joy.
And what's nice about this, we learn this in practice, we learn this is that how we engage, is it can be a source of joy. And sometimes we can be doing something that when we evaluate it, we don't like it. We don't want to do it. We resist it or something. But it's possible to give ourselves over to the activity and in the how, independent of whether we like it or not, just doing it can feel a delight and joy. It's the how we are worth what we engage in, that gives birth into what's called pīti in Pali, joy. When it's strong, it's gonna be it'll be a thrill, a strong delight. Some people call it a rapture that arises. So this can happen in meditation. So first there can be a sit down to meditate. There can be all this gladness and inspiration, delight in a happy feeling for the I know what this is about. This is so good. And then to give ourselves over to the goodness of this, to the practice of it, even with something as simple as with being with the breathing. It could just be such a delight to just be doing this, to start being fine tuned with no resistance, to just be with breathing, no judgments, Am I breathing just right? I need to breathe better, the person, my neighbor who does meditation certainly must be breathing better than I'm breathing, my breathing is never quite right. All that is not being tuned. Fine tuned is to let go of the resistance and just allow the breathing to be what it is. And that how a being letting go and surrendering into the breathing is where this kind of joy can arise. Then, as we keep doing like when I was biking yesterday, I bike long enough and I felt that gladness of riding a bike. I felt that joy of just engaging and riding the bike. But it was long enough that after a while, the joy became quieter. And I just kind of grew very holistic feeling of just biking. And I kind of started feeling tranquil and more peaceful, rather than the kind of the rush that I had in it when I was going kind of fast, I still continue to go fast but to start to be a quieting a settling in for this settling in for the long haul. And this sense of tranquility started to arise in my body kind of a whole thing kind of quiet and just being there fully and not thinking about it too much, not thinking we're trying to go.
And so the Buddha talked about that that has this pull of gravity of freedom. As we get out of the way, there's a deeper relaxation that happens, a deeper contentment, a deep sense of satisfaction. That's deeper and more sublime than it is a thrill or delight or joy just to be engaged. And then as, as that tranquility kind of settles in, then it's possible for this gravitational pull of freedom to open up into a kind of a deep sublime happiness, a peaceful happiness. Some people like really like the word deep contentment, a tranquil happiness. It's often experienced physically. So it's kind of suffusion through the body, through the muscles of just well being just everything. Sometimes it felt to me like a healing kind of flow through the body. And that just feels this healing happiness or well being there. And again, it comes from a quieting and opening, free flow, and kind of allowing the Dharma to move through us allowing this feeling of freedom that can exist to feeling for freedom. Help us get out of the way even more and be more and more fine tuned and like a bicycle. That's completely fine tuned, everything is in harmony, all the gears are oiled and it just kind of it just everything goes kind of smoothly, gliding along.
And this sense of contentment and happiness and well being where there's very little resistance anymore and we're allowing something to open and to allow yourself to really be here in the moment with this experience. This is what opens to concentration. So this Dharma Samadhi for the Buddha is also called sometimes the gladness, pentad five qualities, gladness, joy, tranquility, happiness and concentration and concentration. Rather than thinking of it as a laser focus of the mind, think of it is everything, all of who we are now is working in harmony. All the parts of the bicycle are all tuned, all well adjusted, and are all helping the bicycle just flow and work together. The gears switch easily, there's no resistance in the wheels, the brakes just have no resistance in them. My previous bicycle had something funny with the brakes and it just kind of flows and flows and flows.
And so concentration, samadhi, is a real coming at a home, a real settling, where there is virtually no resistance or maybe no resistance anymore to just being centered and present here or being really absorbed in what we're doing. So with Riding the bicycle absorbed in just just biking and just doing everything else gets quiet and peaceful in this all we're doing a whole activity, mind, body, heart are just involved in pedaling with the bike. With meditation practice, all of who we are is just here in the present moment, this experience now, there isn't mind is no tendency to wander off into thoughts, past and future. It just really here.
And so in our feelings and emotions, our motivations and intentions, everything is gathered. Everything Is working in tune together to be here and nice. It's not something that we are engineering to happen or pushing to happen. Because pushing is another form of resistance, wanting too much and being greedy and have an expectation. It's just more resistance for the Dharma bicycle. And so to open and to keep opening and letting go, and then allowing this unification, this non resistance to happen, non distractibility to happen, of concentration is not for its own sake. For the Buddha, the sake of this place of being really settled, focused, present fully, engaged in the present moment in some way, with a mind that's tranquil and peaceful, a body that's at ease, feeling good, is not for its own sake. It's not just to have more pleasure and niceness and good experience. But rather, it's for the purpose of really being able to see things as they are. And this is really the overall purpose of Buddhist practice, to always be honest with what's happening to always see it as it is. To have the ability to clear our perceptions of the projections that we have, the bias we have, the delusions we have, the expectations, we have the judgments we have, all the things we overlay on top of ourselves or meditation or experience, our friends or strangers, the world to really simplify, simplify and have less and less quieter mind, less and less projections on to the world. To find a place to see ourselves, others, the world without projections, without filters, to see clearly for what they are. And this for the purpose of liberation is what is most liberating to do so.
And that'll be a little bit the theme kind of for this next week, 7am sittings is what is it that we see clearly and how is it liberating? But it's also true for our life in the world, our ability to see clearly what's happening in the world is really important. Our ability to use meditation practice, not to just sit and sit and sit in some deep state of Samadhi. Not to sit in some deep state of well being and happiness for our own sake, but to do so, so that the projections and the delusions of the mind have settled away so that we can see others without our projections without our bias. So we can be a witness to what's happening in this country and other countries, so that we can be helpful in support for the world rather than horrified or rather than caught in our horror, caught in our resistance or our anger and all that. To be able to live in the world without any animosity. Because animosity is resistance. Animosity is a barrier to seeing clearly. And then we want to use our ability to see clearly, to see clearly, to open our eyes to what's happening in the world around us. So that the heart, our good hearts can respond so that we can live in this world with a heart that wants to help and support this world. Not because we're obligated, not because we have to. That it's the gravitational pull of liberation. That's what liberation wants of us, that's what liberation is opening us to, that's where liberation goes, is to the care and wealth caring and, and loving and supporting everyone in the world. Without liberation, opening to the liberation of all beings being concerned and wishing to do that, it's not really liberation for ourselves. Because there's resistance then there's barriers then this movement to be without resistance means that we're as equally interested in the liberation of others as we are in the liberation of ourselves.
So let your Dharma bicycle be well tuned. Practice regularly. Meditate every day perhaps. So that you kind of keep yourself in tune. You to slowly let go the resistance, slowly discover how to engage and be present, really be here. And I hope that with time you'll start discovering not only meditation, but in many activities in daily life this pattern that the Buddha describes, it's called Dharma Samadhi, can come into play and support you and guide you and lead you to wonderful ways of being in the world and seeing the world. The Dharma Samadhi, of gladness, of joy, of tranquility, of happiness, and concentration.
So, thank you so much for listening and I wish you much luck, gladness and joy, tranquility, happiness and concentration. Thank you