2020-07-06 Dharma Samadhi (1 of 5) Inspiration in the Dharma
3:00PM Jul 6, 2020
So if you make the effort to climb up the ladder, up a slide, and then you allow yourself to slide down, you're in a certain way, making your own effort to get to the top, but then you're allowing gravity to slide you, pull you down in a delightful way. And yesterday I watched some kids in a waterslide and just delightfully kind of coming down and smashing into the water. Very nice. If you make a paper airplane, you have to maybe fold the paper just right and know what to do. But then when you throw the paper airplane, it's not just up to you how you throw it. It's also up to the air that holds you up, holds the paper airplane up. And that air is what allows the paper airplane to fly. And if you have a, if you want to grow a garden, maybe you want to grow tomatoes. You have to plant the seed and maybe make a lot of conditions in the soil fertile and keep it watered. But the whole thing depends on having the sun, having light come and we create, we do offer our part to care for the plant. But we also allow for the the sun to do its work, and allows the plant to grow. If you plant the plant in the shade, it doesn't go so well.
So this cooperation of our effort in something that's not our effort, that allows something to unfold and happen, also occurs in Dharma practice in the meditation practice and more deeply in Dharma practice, which is much more practice in our whole life. That we have to do our effort. We have to do what we need to do climb the ladder or plant the seed and nurture the seed. We have to kind of, you know, fly out in the sense, and then something is there to catch us, something's there to hold us or to grow us or support us, like the sunlight. And it's a magic moment or maybe a special moment in practice in like meditation practice when you feel that there's something other than your own effort, now that's been activated. And it's really supporting you and helping you and guiding you along.
I don't know if this best analogy, but when I was younger and used to run, I found that no matter how much I was in shape, the first little piece of the running maybe the first fifth, sometimes 50 feet, 100 feet. I kind of didn't want to and it was kind of like work I had to override certain kind of feelings, ideas. That no, this is too much. And then I would get into a groove with the running and it felt like the running was running me. It felt like there was some you know, it's almost like, you know, it's a lot of energy expended to run, but it's to kind of effortless feeling that there wasn't just my own mind, my own, usually myself as the agent applying myself and make myself run. There was something kicked in. And running kind of just seemed to arise out of my body in a kind of effortless way. And but I had to start I had to do that beginning and for something else to come along and pick me up.
So the same thing happens in Dharma practice, we have to do our part of it. And, but if we only focus on it's me, myself, and mine, I'm the agent, it's up to me. Am I doing well enough? I have to do more. I'm not doing it right. Look how great I am. All this I has a role. We have to make some effort, but it can be overdone. And if we only think it's about personal effort, then we miss the way in which we're supported by something, there's something else comes along to support and move move us. And I like to think of it that this is not some, you know, supernatural thing. But rather, it's the natural like running the natural functioning capacity of our whole psychophysical ecosystem, that the whole inner being our whole mind and body as a system as a whole, is so much more than whatever we associate with ourselves as the agent and or the victim or the experiencer of something. We are, we're a large cooperative, and we have to do we as the agent, we as the experiencer have to do our contribute to our part in the cooperative, but then the cooperative, you have to allow the rest of the cooperative to do its work. And so part of our practice at some point is to make room for allow for this kind of Dharma process to move through us.
And one of the things that's called sometimes or associated with is Dharma joy, to allow certain kinds of Dharma joy to arise. The Buddha calls it Dharma Samadhi. There's many Samadhi, many concentration states that are emphasized in this Buddhist tradition. But there's one term called Dharma Samadhi. And this, the Dharma Samadhi. Is has to do with having five qualities, five things are activated or were maybe somewhat engaged in, absorbed in or are kind of flowing through us in a way that kind of like there were. were activated through us and we're kind of being carried by them. Somebody has something to do almost like the carried by something as much as by being absorbed in something.
So the Dharma Samadhi is gladness, rapture, tranquility, happiness and concentration. And by the end of the week, if not the end of today, you'll have memorized I hope these five things. So, gladness, joy, tranquility, happiness and concentration. I tend to call these gladness pentad, it's there's five. And these five, as a sequence, certainly as a list, but as a sequence appear over and over again in the Buddhist teachings. When the Dharma kicks in, when there's a appreciation of something called the Dharma, this inner process this inner cooperative process begins to well up, and we're carried by something, we're carried by these five. And what's kind of inspiring is the way in which they flow into each other. And the Buddha talks, presents these as if they're natural processes. And, and that as there's momentum in the practice, one leads to the next.
So, whatever gladness is, gladness when it becomes has momentum in it, this being carried by it, it can lead to joy, the arising of joy, when there's the arising of mental joy, then there can be a drink or there can arise following this week, at tranquilizing a calming of the body, as the body becomes calm, there can follow the arising of happiness, sukkha. And as the mind as the body is with this arising of happiness, then what can Follow in the wake of that is is concentration.
So, those are the five and then remarkably built on these five in the same kind of sense of a flow a natural flow that one thing gives rise to the next there is talks about, then there can be seeing things as they are, then there can be a dramatic real insight into this world. And so the idea that, or there can be a deeper and deeper levels of concentration, and the suttas we see these five qualities leading to either deep deeper states of concentration, or deep states of insight. So, it can seem like someone new to meditation like how do you access these five wonderful qualities? It isn't so much we access them as as we start getting settled and working through the hindrances, at some point we can only open up to and allow some kind of deeper thing to occur. And those deeper things often arise in the wake of something else. We're inspired by something, something Wow, this is fantastic. And so there's a whole series of things that the Buddha talks about that can create this kind of catalyst for gladness and joy. There is being free of the hindrances.
Finally, having a mind that's not out of control, the mind is not caught up and chasing after desires and aversions and thoughts. But there's a subtleness and a peacefulness that we've kind of reclaimed our mind from our distractions and the feeling Wow, this is so good to not be distracted, to be able to be here. And to really appreciate that and feel the joy of it. Not everyone is able to do that because the mind is always sometimes the mind is always looking ahead, what's wrong and this can't be quite right or it's going to be better than the other. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and an inability to just settle back and appreciate the goodness of this moment. So being free of the hindrances. Another thing is being living a life of ethical, a good ethical conduct that be inspired by our goodness, our virtue, that's a real cat can be a catalyst for joy. If we allow ourselves permission to feel the goodness of our own virtue, the goodness that we haven't killed anyone today or stolen from someone or done broken any of the precepts.
Some people are so ready to you know, we're guilty before we're tried. We're all guilty for you know, I'm just basically wrong. And we don't allow ourselves to feel a certain kind of joy while I I went through the day today and didn't kill anyone. steal from anyone or light anyone or hurt anyone with my sexuality. The Buddha encouraged people to really feel that the light or joy, also the joy, the inspiration of the Dharma. Integrate inspiration of the goal of practice the purpose of practice can be inspiring. It can be inspiring the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, knowing other practitioners can be inspire us. And it could also be the inspiration in the Dharma itself. These are all things that Buddha talks about, that are inspirations. And the word for inspiration that that Bhikkhu Bodhi translates as inspiration is, is the Pali word is veda, v e d a. And it can mean just to know but it can also mean to feel and at some point, we have a feel for the Dharma, we have a feel for what liberation is or freedom is. And as we start getting a feel for what this is about, when we know it, certainly knowing it and reading about it can be inspiring. But to really start feeling it in ourselves very personal, and getting a feel for it, and experience of it, ah, that can be inspiring. So, the inspiration that gives rise to joy and gladness, and then to have that strong enough with enough clarity or the channel's open or a willingness to kind of experience it, then can set in motion, this going down the Dharma slide, or being carried by the Dharma air or the wind, or being ready to be receptive to the Dharma light, because there's no more shadow over But the light begins to shine to kind of let something inside to grow and evolve. It's a remarkable process, this cooperative practice that we're involved in where we offer ourselves to the practice, and the practice then cooperates and offers itself to us.
And so this is kind of the introduction. And then we will kind of go through these five, maybe tomorrow, do gladness and joy and talk about the difference and go through these five over these next days. And, and then, and then we will. And then the end of the week, on Friday, we can do a, you know, this 7am morning community meeting on zoom. And I'll talk more about it later. But just know that on Friday at 7:45, California time. At the end, we'll Switch over to a zoom meeting, and be able to be in discussion a little bit and answer questions and give us a chance to kind of have breakout groups to meet each other a little bit.
So thank you. And, and I hope that you consider today and talk about with friends and others and, and, and give time to really what inspires you. Where's the inspiration do you have in the Dharma? And how does the Dharma really what did you know what feeling for the Dharma do you have? And, and even if your life is a challenge today, there's a lot of reasons to be, you know, a lot of challenges people live in these days. I don't want to be little that those challenges and say just be joyful. Perhaps, even because of those challenges. There can be something that inspires you in the midst of it. That gives you courage that gives you inspiration to practice in the middle of the difficult You have made the Dharma be with you. May you experience Dharma Samadhi. Thank you