So warm hello, on this Monday, beginning of our week. And the theme for this week will be the you Buddha's use of similes for teaching meditation. And it's possible to give very simple basic technical instructions on meditation. But that leaves a lot to be filled in by the meditator. The Buddha did this. He gave very simple instructions for breathing. And some people gloss over this instructions, because they're, it seemed too simple or, or seem kind of, yeah, kind of, besides the point, almost the most basic instructions that he gave in a lot of different times is one nose, when one is having a long inhale, when nose one's having a long inhale, when one is having long exhale, when nose one's having a long exhale. When when is having a short inhale one knows, it's a short inhale, when when I was having a short exhale, one knows this. And so this doesn't really it's not very inspiring or evocative. It doesn't really indicate, you know, the richness and the possibility of meditating in this way. In fact, some people it seems actually maybe even discouraging or uninteresting, uninspiring, and, and doesn't quite come alive. But the and so in a sense, the, that simple instructions is just a stand in, that represents a whole universe, of what can happen in meditation. And it's kind of like a pointer, or it's like a title of a chapter that kind of gives you a sense of what the chapter is about. But you know, the subject, but that doesn't fill in the details. That's what reading the chapter will do. And, and so, meditation is something organic, in a sense, it's something that's holistic, something that can, can or with time, includes all of who we are, is included in the practice of meditation. It's not a simple, you know, certainly it's not a disembodied experience. It's not only about becoming calm and centered, it's about gathering together, all of who we are, and having all of who we are somehow held in a field of attention of awareness. And, and so it's multifaceted. It's been, you know, in a sense, it's all of who we are not just a simple kind of mechanistic attention to how long and short the breathing is. And so to convey, you know, so So when the Buddha gave instructions and meditation, he sometimes would include similes. And the similes are actually part of the instructions, they actually give more life to the instructions, they provide examples, illustrations for how to do the practice, or how to a sense or feeling of what can happen as we do them. They provide kind of a somatic or kinesthetic feeling or sense of what what's going on when we do this, these instructions, what can happen. And so this week, I'd like to talk about the similes for meditation that the Buddha gave, and in particular, we're gonna focus on breathing. And this guided meditation I just did, I felt that I talked quite a bit. And those of you who are experienced meditators and prefer to have silence, I can sympathize with you. And maybe for this week, as we go through this, you would meditate a second time each day in the silence, and MIT. And what I'm trying to do in the, in the teachings here today is to let some part of meditation come more alive and full for you.
So that when you do meditate silently to you with yourself, that that's with you, kind of supporting you and guiding you. And so if I speak a lot with the instructions here, this week, think of Have them as laying the foundation for what you'll do maybe later in the day on your own. And, and to get the full benefit and of what we're talking about. And so the it's kind of fascinating, all the ways that Buddha uses water, it is similar, especially similes for meditation. And sometimes I think water represents awareness. And it's what happens to awareness as we meditate that shifts and changes. And sometimes it seems more that he's using water, it is using water, to represent related things in meditation, not to awareness, and how that works together as part of their richness that we can kind of live into. So one of the so this breathing in and breathing out, and being aware of long and short, the, the metaphor, the simile that I compared it to, in this last sitting, is that of needing flour, and mixing water into flour, and then needing it, massaging it until the water is evenly spread throughout the flower and you make a ball where with the ball, everything all the flowers held together into the one hole. And, and this is, I think, marvelous metaphor for the rhythm and massage of breathing, coming and going, coming and going. And, and if, if that's the kneading, and the awareness is the, as the moisture, then we're moving in developing that moisture of awareness, so it spreads throughout the body. And so, the body gets gathered together, part of meditation and in the Buddhist teaching, is a process of unification of gathering together bringing all of who we are in the same place at the same time. So there's a holistic feeling of being here connected in our lived experience. So, this massaging that goes on, and, and so, he, so, he gives us metaphor of back at his time, not a flower, but of certain kinds of soap powder, that they had in the ancient world. And that they, they would put the soap powder into a metal bowl basin, and, and then sprinkle water into it, and then started needing massaging that, that until the all the flour is saturated with water the whole ball is saturated. So if it may go on with these wonderful words, kind of synonyms. So the moisture pervades, saturates, suffuses, fills the ball of soap powder. So that the water suffuses, pervades, fills, the, the flowers, we're making the dough, the bread dough. And, and this repetition of these words is just kind of delightful. And, you know, in the ancient world, they weren't reading the texts, they were chanting it, and so to, to chant this over and over again, you know, this suffused, pervade, saturate fill, it must have had kind of an embodied kind of reference point, like when you chant it, you know, I just feel that this is what we're doing. And and so the Buddha goes on to says, the same way as the person who's Miss Miss up making this ball of soap powder, that the whole thing is suffused. So in the same way, the whole body is suffused with nuts, no part of the body not touched. So it's clear that you know, it's a really kind of openness to the whole body. And, and the way that this kneading of the flour wide works is a good mettā metaphor is that it's, it's kind of represents the rhythm of breathing, breathing in and breathing out.
And so here, we take this as part of the instructions, that is not just being aware of the long and the short, but it's, it's taking the whatever length of the breathing or length to breed that breathing is and entering into it as if it's a massage. It's as if we're supposed to get into the rhythm of it, and kind of ride the rhythm and miss and kind of let the awareness kind of gently not forcefully, not with expectations, gently, softly kind of kind of open. have a wider and wider field of awareness in the body. And so we might start with awareness at a particular point. Some people are aware of the breathing and the nostrils, some people in the middle of the chest, some people in the belly, and really stay with that be with that. And then as we doing it, gently, kind of a sense that that sense of awareness, that opening to the body kind of begins to spread and spread and spread. And, and then we're saturating the body with awareness. Technically, when the Buddha gives us instructions is not only awareness, but it's a certain kind of satisfaction, delight, joy, that comes when we can give our attention over to the meditation, rather than giving the attention to distractions, to preoccupations. And in its ability to appreciate attention to value it and devalue attention, which is not compromised, by being pulled into the strong preoccupations who might have, it's also spreading that the light, that joy with the awareness or feeling that satisfaction of, of awareness, freed from distractions, even if it's just for one exhale, feeling the goodness of that the joy of that the satisfaction of on compromised awareness for a few moments, that that satisfaction is what we're spreading with the awareness through the body. So there's a lightness, there's a joy, there's a pleasure, that of some kind that goes along with the breathing. Maybe it's a subtle pleasure and but it's his pleasure of attention that's not to compromised are held hostage or something. Another metaphor that the Buddha uses for water that has a very different reference for the moisture is is taking to back in the ancient world they didn't have matches the way we'd have or blighters or to light fires, they would take fire sticks and rub the fire sticks together. And if you rub in long enough, they get hot and the spark and gets created the and, but if the fire sticks, even if one of them is saturated with water in his moist, the Fire won't get lit. And so here are the water the this soggy stick the soggy log that is the mind saturated with preoccupations with the hindrances with desires sensual desires, and ill will and rigidity and stuckness restlessness and all kinds of things were the that grab the awareness and when we're saturated with that, the Fire won't light up. But so as we empty ourselves as attention is not caught in those things. And getting kind of and then awareness is kind of drier and can light up in the ancient world I think a fire that we realize even a small one like a candle was much more associated with making light than it is for us because we have lots of light and electricity most of us and but in the ancient world, the fires one were former other was oil lamp a candle fire was how things were lit up. So so the so to light up with awareness, which is not compromised by distractions to light up the body. Not necessarily put it on fire, but to light it up and spread the awareness through the body.
So these are the similes that buddho uses. And I think for many years, I ignored the similes because I don't know I just thought they were just kind of cute or something. But they're actually part of the instructions, they fill in the details and certain kind of way and with the similes the imaginary our imagination is is employed for the purposes of meditation. And so maybe for this next day, you could try meditating and engage your imagination with the similes and see if having those I met the similes kind of present in your imagination but uh that can give you a richer, deeper sense of to get you connected and involved in your meditation, maybe even absorbed in your meditation as you free your awareness from preoccupations where you get all soggy, and there's no light, nothing lights up to this lighting up of attention that moves and fills the body. So, that's I'll talk more about similes and imagination as we go through the week and different similes that Buddha gave and I'm hoping this will kind of give you a richer sense of what's possible in your meditation. So thank you