2022-12-26 Ready to Change (1 of 5) Ready, Receptive, Available
6:51PM Jan 1, 2023
Welcome to this beginning of the week. This week days week is between these two holidays. We have kind of a liminal, limbo or alternative kind of week for many people. And we have a new theme.
Last week the topic was the four right efforts where the emphasis is to let go of the unwholesome and develop the wholesome. For this week I wanted to talk about five wholesome states that can be cultivated, developed and appreciated in our lives. It is not the common wholesome states that this early Buddhist tradition is most associated with.
Often the Buddha would begin his dharma talk to lay people especially on the topic of generosity. Generosity is often a preeminent, wholesome state in our tradition. He might also talk about states of ethical integrity, wholesome integrity. There might be meditative joy, happiness, and tranquility. in a variety of things that are fairly well known in our tradition. And but for this week, I want to do something which is not so emphasized, though hardly at all, that the Buddha put a particular emphasis on an importance of, as wholesome states, to be developed or cultivated or to be evoked in preparation, for real insight to really be able to see deeply into the nature of our hearts, our minds our lives. And, and so, these five wholesome states are, to be are a readiness of mind, a malleability of mind, a mind free of hindrances, a, a, I think they, a, I forget the fourth moment, the fifth is a bright mind or a confident mind. So ready, receptive, forgive hindrances. The right moment, maybe some of you remember the fourth but we'll we'll get to it, somehow it slipped my mind. And so these are five states, that the Buddha would evoke in people in preparation for giving the deepest dharma he has the deepest teachings he had. And so he would give a dharma talk to to prepare people for deep teachings, and prepare and these are the five ways in which he prepared their minds. So the first is, the word is Carla Ka, L, L, A. And it's it's usually translated as a ready mind or readiness of mind. It's a mind that's receptive, that is available that's prepared in order to receive something really significant to be. And, and so one of the functions of meditation is in fact to cultivate this readiness of mind. The Zen masters is Suzuki Roshi, the founder of San Francisco Zen Center, in his books, and my beginner's mind, his definition of mindfulness was, is, in fact, a readiness of mind. And to be ready and available to attend to whatever might be coming up next. The next thing that arrives in the present moment, if we're distracted, if we're already retro, retro spective thinking like thinking back at what just happened, then we're not there for the next moment, the next moment. And, and this art of being able to let go of what just happened. enough not to think about it too. I want it to really be fresh and available. Ready for the next moment, is a phenomenal gift. When many people feel like they're obligated to review and think about and criticize and comment and be weighed down by what happened in the past, even if it's just a few moments before. And this readiness, it's always available always open for the next thing, the next thing is, is a mind which is prepared a mind which is receptive is available to be changed. And this is one of the aspects of readiness of mind is to be ready and available to be changed. There's some idea that a real dialogue with other people, if you have a conversation, that it's a dialogue, a dialogue is only possible if each person is willing to be changed. If we're stubborn or resistant, and kind of, in a dialogue or in, you know, some kind of serious conversation with someone, and we're not willing to change, there's not possible possibility of dialogue. Dialogue, in this kind of definition is one where maybe each person is changed by the conversation, they learn something new, they see something new, they understand something in a new way or so the same thing with meditation, are you available to be changed. And now, I don't think that's such an easy thing to be, because of the intensity in which many of us will be involved in our concerns are beliefs or attitudes that we have. And so we're holding on to it or resisting something or we're hunkered down or tight or frozen in time, even sometimes. And so, part of meditation practice, and in time of the Buddha, as part of a dharma talk, was to engage people in such a way, engage yourself in such a way that something softens and opens and relax, and you kind of finally arrive here. Turning Point in meditation practice is arrival, when you really feel I'm here, I've arrived, I'm in the present moment. Of course you are, you're always are. But the mind the attention to thoughts are not. And so in a sense, the life energy is going someplace else. And when you're conscious, conscious life alive, at attention, settles here, on this moment, then we've arrived. And that's the beginning of being available, or being ready kind of receptivity. And the so part of understanding this is to understand that it's important, it's valuable, appreciate the role and play. So this kind of readiness, here, and understanding what gets in the way of it. And so each of us probably has the top tunes the top, maybe three concerns, ways of being in the mind, that prevent us from being ready. It might be that we have chronic anxiety about what's happening and needing to plan. And so the planning is to get ready. But it's not being ready for whatever's here, that kind of willingness to almost not know not assert not to project onto life, because we're anxious or we want another top one might be wanting pleasure wanting good things wanting to light and wanting is not a bad thing, in and of itself. But it can. If it's too intense or too and caught up in it, then we're not available or not present for what's actually here. The Art of Having desire is having desire with such a light touch that it doesn't blind us to here and now. And then there's also the top kind of what interferes with maybe your readiness is some preoccupation about the past. Emotional preoccupation, maybe resentment, maybe the light or some kind of reviewing and some kind of trying to figure out or so anyway, so there's a possibility but what are the what are the top three ways in which your mind operates then interferes with your mind being ready, your mind being present in a way that doesn't overlay your preoccupations, your projections, your, your knowing your belief that you know what's happening, your belief that in your opinions about what's happening. A readiness is a willingness to put those opinions aside, as if we can see and hear and know it as if everything is new. And then a certain way they are.
And if we don't see in this way that everything is new, then there's a way in which we limit the possibilities for our own transformation, our own way of being changed, which is part of the purpose of cultivating this readiness of mind. Because the ultimate purpose the Buddha gave for this was to give deep teachings in order to awaken people in order to what he called opening the dharma, I said, so. The so a wholesome state to be cultivated, we begin by appreciating it, there's value of it, the value of having a readiness and availability. And then to evoke it or recognize it in ourselves, and let it expand, let it grow. Let it push against the edges of what gets in the way of that. So you really see the what interferes with it. And and then, experiment with what it's like to live in this world, ready, available, receptive with a kind of not knowing mind, meaning that you know, the mind doesn't assert or insist that it knows everything. It's available. So this is a wonderful, wholesome state of mind that supports wholesome life supports a wise life supports a compassionate life supports the ongoing development of this practice that we do. And, and it's one of five states that the Buddha emphasized and we'll go through the next four, and maybe all in in preparation for the coming year. Maybe we're getting ready for for 2023. So thank you very much, and I appreciate this chance to be with you all