The Purpose Of Meditation. Lama Chimpa

For Mahayana Buddhist, meditation is neither a practice of physical exercise nor for a personl achievement of spiritual superiority. But meditation is the way of acquiring the suprema knowledge of (selflessness), Anitya (impermanent) and Sunyata (unreality : i.e. the illusory nature of all things or existence). The Anatma is discussed in two stages, Pudgala - anatma and Dharma - antma. i.e. soullessness of man and substancelessness of matter. As it is a well known subject that we, the Buddhists do not believe in transmigration of the man who, as believed by the other Metaphysical theories, assumes another body after his death, like one shifting from a house to another one theory of rebirth is; a birth take place under the law of Cause and Effect. For example, a man kindles one lamp from another, but it does not mean that one lamp transmigrates to the other. Similarly, there is rebirth but no transmigration. A matter or anything has nothing that can be called its entity or identity. As every material body is an agglomeration of component parts. And there remains nothing as an identity of the body, when all the parts are separated. Thus, over and above the mere parts there can be nothing real called the Whole. Form the Buddha’s time until now, many thinkers have tried to prove that the “whole” has a reality of its own over and above the mere parts, but none of them so far succeeded. Anitya or impermanence is the nature of everything, accepted by all thinkers. But the Buddhist idea of impermanence has a difference. While the others say that all material objects are impermanent, in the eventual cessation sense the Buddhist thinkers say that everything is momentary Nothing can exist even for two successive moments. Because everything gets a change in every moment. We see a thing remaining for a long time illusion ally. For, we cannot see the change of thing which takes place constantly and it can be seen by the eyes of logic only. How microscopic it may be, a change is to be treated as an alternation. Thus it is a total cessation. A thing cannot be counted as the something after it has taken a different form. Otherwise, you have to call an old man a child or have to say that the charcoal is wood. Sunyata is the main point of Madhyamike philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism. Sunyata or emptiness, i.e. the false or illusory nature of all things or existence. No object in this world is absolute by nature. This is to be understood form the view point of the Satyadvaya (the two truths) Samvrittisatya (the superficial truth) and Paramartha – satya (the sublime truth). An object appears as substantial is ultimately to be found temperamentally false, like reflection of the moon in a pond. The objective of realizing these is not matter of personal satisfaction but it is the way of delivering man kind form ignorance which is the cause of sufferings. That was way the Buddha preached the famous four noble truths. They are: Dukha (misery), Samudaya ( the cause of misery), Nirodha (prevention of misery by removing its cause) and Marga ( the path of salvation, i.e. the way of delivering mankind from misery). In short, all sufferings are caused by ignorance and deliverance from sufferings is possible only by true knowledge. Dukkhameeva pannapemi duddhassaca nirodham. Unlike the other religious, the Buddhism does not teach us to remove our evils by worshipping and offerings but tells us to expand your knowledge and understand the truths, the evils will run away from you. As long as one is bound within the delusional concepts of the universal complex including the condition of his own existence, there is no question of his being able to help the others, he himself will be suffering form various problems. Such a man wants to live even after his death because he id ignorant about the real nature of word where his living itself is conditioned by sufferings. When he realizes the uncertain or indefinite condition of the life and the unrealistic condition of the universe itself, he will find no reason for indulging in sinful deeds in order to accumulate material for his happiness. For understanding these points, a superficial knowledge of Buddhism is not useful but a serious concentration on the whole teachings of the Buddha is very essential. For bringing these facts into a practical field, the control of the mind is the main task. As long as the mind remains wild there is no way of concentrating on any thing. Specially the realization of a serious matter like the current subject, i.e. the metaphysical facts of course needs full contemplation. In this connrction. The Bhavana - karma of the famous logicial kamalasila will give us some idea. The followings are rough translations of two portions of the text which survived in Tibetan and Mongolian translations. Text : 1st. “for the interest of those who following the Mahayana sutra, I shall briefly explain the Bhavana – karma (the order of meditation). Though the Buddha has already explained various aspects of the Samadhi (tin-nedsin-intense contemplation) of the Bodhisatva-line, I shall show the way of understanding the combination of Samathe and Vipasya (shi-gnas-dan-ihag-mthon-absolute inexcitability of mind and the vision of Samadhi. Bhagavana (bcom-ldan-das-the Buddha) said, “thoss who practice Samatha and Vipasya will become free form the Dausthulya-bandhana and Lakasana-ban-dhana (gnas-nan-len-gvi-‘chin-ba dan-mtshan-ma’I chin-ba-dep-ravety and delution) so, those who want to get rid of Avaranas (pa-moral and mental obscurations) must concentrate on Samatha and Vipasya. By the merit of the samatha, one’s mind becomes stablelike a lighted lamp in an airless piace. And by the Vipasya, (on meditating the vipasya), one will have a feeling fully realizing the truth like if the darkness is removed by the sunrise. Here, Bhagavana has mentioned foud objects of contration of a Yogi (mediator). 1. Avikalpa-vimba, 2. Savikalpa-vimba, 3. Bhavanta, 4. Laksya. By Samtha, one concentrates on images like that Buddha but since does not realize the actual meaning (yan-dag-pa’I don), so it is called Avikalpa And the meditator concentrates only on images so it is called prativimba. At the stage of Vipasya, the meditator has to depend on Prativimba for realizing the actual meaning. So it is called Savikalpa (having the scope of realization. On realization the nature of the image in his vision, the meditator becomes able to understand the reality of everything Like one sees the deficiency on his face when he looks at his reflection in a mirror. The meditator will realiz the Bhavanta (dons-po’i-mtha’-anti-substan-tialism) when he understands the essence of Bhavanta-Laksana (dnos-po’I mtha’i-mtshan-nyid-character of anti-substentislism). So, the Bhavanata is the object of the meditation. Then (from this stage) stage by atage, the maditator will go on reali-zing the objects on which he concen-trates one after the other, if he has taken some alchemic compound. Thus he will become completely free of obscuration and achieve the goal which is the Buddha jnana (sena-rgyas-kyi-ye-ses-absolute enlighten-ment).” Then in another paragraph, the procedure of a proper meditation, has been given. A rough translation ofg it follows: Now, at the time of meditation, first of all the Yogi should complete the necessary works including the toilet duty. Go to a quiet and pleasantn place with determination to work for the final freedom of all living being. For doing, one must have boundless compassion in his heart for all living being. Bow down to Buddhas and Bodhisatvas residing in tendirections. Make offerings, in whatever way he can afford, to the images of Buddhas and Bodhisatvas which may or may not be placed in front of him. investigate his own faults and appreciate the others virtue. Then he should sit on a soft and comfortable seat in the pesture of Bhataraka Vaironchana which is a cross legged one. Keep the eyes neither closed nor too wide open looking at the point of the nose. Keep the body straight, maintaining the memory perfect. Keep the shoulders in some level and maintain the body nither high nor low in a straight forward manner.the nose should be kept in the straight line of the navel. The teeth and lips also should be in a normal positions. The tongue in the level of the upper teeth. Should not take noisy, violent and wild breathing. Anyway, the breathing must be soft and natural. Now, the Yogi will perform Samatha concentrating on an image like that of thetathagata which either he has seen or heard about. He should imagine that the tathagata in his gold like saffron robes, gloriously with his Laksanas and Anuvyanjanas (the special physical perfections of Buddha) preaching the doctrine to the followers in various methods for the interest of the entire living world. If the meditator continues to concentrate on this he will get full interest in the object of his concentration and become free of disturbances. As long as he is not seeing the image clearly if it is really there infront of him, he must go on meditating. Once he will see the image of Tathagata coming and going. And that is the sign of success, so now start meditating on Vipasya. Now he should think like this : In reality, there is no question of the Tathagath’s image coming and going, even its existence in sitting posture is not realistic. Like the essencelessness in “me” and “mine” everything is easenceless like the image coming and going. Thus, there is nothing which is real. If he goes on thinking this he will succeed.” I have selected these two portions form my article and left the remaining untouched for several reasons. Firstly, the whols text of Bhavana-karma is quit large and my need is limited. Secondly, these two paragraphs practically contained the essence of the whole text. And the remaining can be called the detailed part of these two. Moreover, the remaining is mainly dealing with the profound philosophicl side of the writing. Therefore, t thought, translation of the whole text will not only swell the article but also it will be too heavy for both the “listeners and the speaker”! Anyhow, this Bhavana-karma of Kamalasila is a very interesting work. One interested in it may see “mdo X X X 7. 22a, 3-45a, 8” of Tokyo-Kyoto edition of the Tibeten Tanjur (bstan-gyur) of course, not only this but there is a number of interesting works on meditation in Tibeten translations which are lying untouched. As no many modern Tibetol-ogists are seen working on this every important subject, so, I would like to suggest the scholars who are in the field of Tibetology to take such a work for their future research.