08 May 2016
This morning’s session outlined that there are two routes to liberation – one of faith and one of contemplating enquiry. The route we are studying during this retreat is the latter. Alan explained that the near enemy (or false facsimile) of Loving Kindness is self-centred attachment. He guided us to look back and examine the multiple manifestations of ourselves that we perceive as we function in a socially engaged world – some we like, others we dislike, sometimes we are virtuous and sometimes not etc. As we deepen our practice we come to know that these are all mere appearances. In modernity, it is sometimes said that we need to have courage to love – because pain is anticipated when the “object” of our love is lost. This is a manifestation of self-centred attachment and implies that love is not sustainable. This is not so with the authentic love experienced in Loving Kindness – it is not “lost” as it is not conditional on the object with which we become attached. We are encouraged to practice and to know ourselves and others as being inherently lovable and worthy of being loved unconditionally and not based on false appearances – seeking something deeper than mere surface appearances on which modern conditional love is based. The authentic love of Loving Kindness cannot be based on attachment to mere appearances as it arises from Buddha nature itself. Developing the ability to drop our self-centred attachments will establish a good foundation for practice and transformation that is not dependent on any religious belief or faith. We can develop this by coming to rest in Awareness of Awareness (our closest approximation that we can attain of resting in the equipoise of shamatha) and from this perspective turn inwards to examine our own way of being present, how “I” appear, How “I” exist (or apprehend “my” self). Alan read a quote from the Buddha that describes Loving Kindness as a characteristic of citta (the brightly shining mind), which is already there waiting to be uncovered. He explained that rigpa is always present – as the sun is present even if the sky is cloudy – and that rigpa shines through the lens of the substrate consciousness to illuminate whatever is perceived. This light is not like a torch light being shone through the lens, it stems from our own indwelling mind of clear light, the ultimate ground, which is non-dual and transcendent. Alan reminded us “Don’t look for the Buddha outside yourself”.
Meditation on Loving Kindness starts at 55:12
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