Meditation Doesn’t Make Us Oblivious
Meditation is being aware all the time.
Some people believe that meditation means being oblivious – being unaware of what is going on around them. Maybe there are traditions were one becomes totally absorbed, but that isn’t Dharma.
Real Dharma is daily life. Meditation is the practice of the stillness of consciousness within emptiness: this manifests as compassion, where we care about everything we do and say.This is meditation reflected in our conduct in daily life, so the Dharma is practical. If we rely just on theory, change will not occur.
Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche said:
“Our conventional thought patterns
increase bondage to samsara,
aid liberation from samsara.”
That sounds like a wild, crazy statement, but it ‘s true. Samsara is the Sanskrit word for the vicious cycle of human existence in which we currently live. We seek happiness in temporary phenomena and this search for happiness is transient in that whatever we seek is impermanent, and so we go up and down. One could say that samara is our expectations that are never fulfilled.
But desire is also very precise and discerning, and is therefore a wisdom. The very recognition of samsaric phenomena in emptiness is the liberation we seek.
‘One-taste’ is remaining balanced.
Our view is not a matter of becoming oblivious to the difference between rough and smooth: we don’t become comfortably numb. It’s more that, although we have tactile consciousness and a mind to interpret that, we don’t merely react. We have equal taste due to pure perception.
There is no need to eliminate or reject the object that produces that sensory experience. The object itself is innocent; it is our reactions that are the problem. If we can’t remain balanced, we will make things worse for ourselves.
We can carry sensory pleasure on the path, without abandoning it. This doesn’t mean grabbing every experience in an excuse for indulgence: if we have a pleasant sensation, and can’t separate that from the contriving mind which is grasping at it, we will become more and more involved.
Recognise that the sensation is pleasant or unpleasant before letting the mind grasp. Understand the nature of what is going on; only then is there no problem with having the experience.
In the state of one taste, how is it possible to generate compassion?
Compassion is based on our ability to understand the pleasure and pain that others experience: those distinctions are the basis for understanding compassion.
Compassion is not being oblivious to others’ suffering. What we do about that suffering is up to our individual skill. Even though we may not be well educated, we still have a good heart – an open heart and an open mind.
Meditation is being aware all the time,
so that compassion is aware all the time.