2020-07-13: Be, See, Free, We (1 of 10) Doors of Liberation
2:56PM Jul 13, 2020
For this week, we'll do seven days of this 7am morning sitting and go through Saturday and Sunday as well. Because this weekend, starting Thursday evening, I'm teaching a retreat. And so just fold into 7am sitting into the retreat, the retreat into this sitting.
So that there's a kind of a multi faceted theme for this week. And so I'll introduce it this way that the meditation practice that we do, the core of it is called insight meditation. And that's a translation of Vipassana insight is a translation. And Vipassana means to see clearly or to see with emphasis. And in the ancient texts, vipassana is not a meditation practice, but rather it's a result of meditation practice, in the form of insight. As we develop and cultivate meditation, then at some point, there is a revelation that happens. I use the word revelation because we don't have to we don't have the sense that we're probing or doing the analysis, which is just seeing what's there and allowing what's there to show itself in a deep way.
And there are three insights. And those are deep insight into impermanence or inconstancy, a deep insight into suffering, a deep insight into to not to self. So that's kind of the one kind of one piece of a larger process of practice. And the idea is to get there to have these deep insights. To get to those insights. meditation practice is to cultivate ourselves, to develop ourselves in meditation in such a way that we can have those insights. And so we don't do the insights, the insights just happened as we are well stable, focused and clear.
And so how do we cultivate ourselves? Well, maybe a little bit paradoxically, we cultivate the opposite of the three characteristics. We cultivate and we cultivate stability and stillness so that we can see impermanence and change and inconstancy really well. We cultivate happiness and well being, as we talked about last week, so that we can have the capacity to really have deep insight, a capacity to really be able to look at suffering, be with suffering, in a very deep way without it being a negative experience. And then a we cultivate, something that can be called an English like self confidence, efficacy and the sense of strong confidence, self confidence, that allows us to see what is called not self.
So this what we cultivate. Now why do we cultivate these days and why we cultivate these to have the insight And why do we cultivate the insights? We have the insights in order to bring the mind to a place or to a time where the mind has no fixations. It's not fixating on wanting something or resisting anything or fixating on desires, aversions, fixated on delusions and ideas and fears. And often the mind is fixated, it's kind of focused or about something and really is stuck there, wants that or is that in ways that we don't really begin to see until we start calming and settling the mind deeper and deeper and deeper. Then at some point, we'll notice that that the mind keeps being preoccupied. There's a tension, a momentum, a holding pattern in the mind. And some of this is really almost below the level of thinking and the very kind of attachment or fixation to being alive or being a self or even even things like being safe. Or having opinions or holding on to stories. And there's nothing necessarily wrong with those things. But there's no freedom with a mind fixated.
So the purpose of seeing these deep insights into inconstancy, suffering and not self is so the mind can release its fixations. And to do that very deeply, brings the mind to something that that Buddhist tradition calls the three doors of liberation. And those three doors are, and those are the doors that lead to the mind letting go on and deep way, letting go of its deepest fixations. So liberation. Awakening. And those three doors are the doors. And there's a little bit I'll explain this, the doors of the signless, the door of the wishless, and the door of emptiness.
So the signless is the door, where we no longer fixate on any of the projections we have on reality around us. And certainly the more abstract or complicated projections we have about people and bias and prejudice and judgments we have, but also the simplest projections, even the projection on something like a door, that it's a door or a chair, that it's a chair in the way it's the chairs function in our society. It's a completely appropriate and some degree accurate idea that we apply to this piece of furniture that we call a chair. But if you brought that to people, you know, 50,000 years ago on this planet, those people wouldn't maybe wouldn't know it was a chair, they wouldn't be unsure of what what it was maybe they thought they thought it was a stepping stool to get up to the fruit in the tree. They wouldn't occur to them maybe that it was a chair. But we see it that way. So there's a very, very even the simplest forms of attributing concepts to things can be a fixation. And so when the mind is no longer projecting anything that's called the signless. And they get the mind to the point where it's relaxed and still enough, open enough, safe enough, peaceful enough, that it's not making any projections on anything at all, then something can release. And there's something about seeing inconstancy, impermanence, that we realize that the more we see things constantly changing, the more we see they don't fit. The projections don't quite work. And so the projecting mind can finally release or relax.
The wishless is when we experience suffering. We see that the unsatisfactory nature, the the degree of stress or tension that somehow inherent in so many things, even the smallest movement of the mind, surprisingly, and to really see that and see that from a place of happiness, but to really see it. Then the ways in which we get fixated on the pursuit of happiness, or fixated on our suffering, releases. And then something very deep can let go. And then to really see something about how things are not self, the not self characteristic of phenomena. And I'll talk more about that later. But that is the, I think it's fair to underpin most people understand how much fixation human beings have on themselves, on self. To starts have a lot of self confidence to cultivate that, so that there's enough self confidence one can begin to let go of the fixation on self. And when that is the mind stops that fixation for some people, that's the door, they stepped through for deeper liberation.
And so that's liberation. So there's what we cultivate. There's what we see. And there's a doors to freedom. And then that's followed, but then how do we live in the world. And in each of these three doors can open to a different benefit for living and a good wonderful way in the world. But for now, I want to say that there are these. So there's four different kind of steps in this larger process. And that can be summarized in a little ditty, little kind of saying. First, you be. Then you see. Next, you free. Finally, you are we. So first you be, you become someone who's stable, has sense of well being and confidence. First you be. Then you see. You see the three insights of inconstancy, suffering and not self. Then you free. You step through the doors of liberation, the mind settles very deeply. The doors of signless, wishless, and emptiness. And then your we. Then this solid barrier, solid walls between self and other dissolve. And the concern and care and love for the whole world becomes much more natural and part of an expression of that freedom that comes. Because how could there be freedom without that freedom opening us up to care about the world around us.
So, that's the kind of overarching overview of what some of what will happen this week. And then I will. And some of this will happen at the retreat. And I'll arrange to have those talks also posted together with the series. So that those of you who don't have easy, easy access to the whole thing, or some of these retreat talks will happen not during the 7am sitting. And so if you want the whole package, it'll be easily accessible for you in other ways, and I'll talk more about that later.
So I hope that this is nice for you and, and these first days of this week, I will talk mostly about the three doors of liberation. So in a sense, we're starting with the advanced teaching, as the background, as the direction we're going in practice and then for the retreat, I'm going to talk about the cultivation that being, what we develop and the insights So, someone asked a question, signless or sightless. Signless. No signs. So no projections of concepts, ideas, is what the signless is.
So I look forward to continuing this theme over the next days. Thank you.