Thursday, October 21, 2004

Never Absolutely So ...

I have been thinking a lot this last few days about how pretty much any statement you make about approaches to Dharma can be contradicted. I was reflecting on Al's post the other day:
Seated meditation is the arena in which the meditator practices his own fundamental skills. The game the meditator is playing is the experience of his own life, and the instrument upon which he plays is his own sensory apparatus. Even the most seasoned meditator continues to practice seated meditation, because it tunes and sharpens the basic mental skills he needs for his particular game. We must never forget, however, that seated meditation itself is not the game. It's the practice. The game in which those basic skills are to be applied is the rest of one's experiential existence. Meditation that is not applied to daily living is sterile and limited.
and thinking "though that may be just so for Al, actually for me, that's not actually how it is. Seated meditation *is* the game, just as much as 'post meditation' *is* the game. It's all the game, and none of it is practice". Practice could imply somewhere you go to try to get it right, then turn it on when it's really important .... in life itself. Or it could imply that there is a significant difference between meditation and post-meditation, and that one is somewhere where you really do it, and the other is where you try to carry it over. Or a whole bunch of other things which aren't really how it is ... all of them too-hard dualisms.

But for me, at this time, it's all a seamless whole ... there isn't really much difference between meditating and post-meditation time .... sure, in one I am following a particular sadhana, a particular set of visualisations and recitations in sequence, but essentially the way I view mind, how I relate to what appears, and how I *am* is the same.

But this is not to say that I think Al is wrong! Far from it. Just that perspectives on Dharma practice so much relates to what is right for you at the time, and it's so hard to generalise too much beyond that. What is right for me now may not be right next week, or even the next moment! Let alone be right for someone else.

For me, the concept of *practice* seems a bit iffy, if you know what I mean. Life just is, and Dharma is the way I see it, relate to it, and experience it. For someone else, it's vital to have a sense of practice, in order to get to grips with how their life is, and initiate the types of forces and motivations which they wish to bring to bear and cultivate.

And Al didn't say this was right for everyone always either ... he talked of himself, and how it is now.

If only more people in the world would realise how relative their views are .... how much more tolerance of difference their might be .... and peace in the world.

Just a view!


Al said...

I like the idea that for each person it changes - even from day to day. For me the idea of "practice" is very appealing at this time. Even though I feel at this time my "post meditation game" is as close to my "seated practice" as it ever has been. For me seated meditation is so rarified. May be it's just because there aren't a hundred people asking for your attention - just a hundred thoughts :)

Chodpa said...

a hundred people asking for attention are .... ?

a hundred arisings in mind ....

a hundred thoughts are .... ?

a hundred arisings in mind .... !


but yes, on another level, I know exactly what you mean :-)

Meredith said...

Dear Chodpa,
I enjoy your musings on meditation / practice/ life. What a precious jewel meditation is: during, and after. When we bring the attributes we notice in meditation to our everyday, every moment, the present is infused with a kind of peace, a calmness, and clarity. I sense this is how you *are*.


Chodpa said...

Thank you Meredith for your kind comment :-)

Is there anything more wonderful that an sense that others share the expansive vision that the spiritual life opens up? It's all so utterly intangible, yet how precious indeed is the sense that somehow others walk at our sides!