Session 47: Settling the Mind and Avoiding Reification of Appearances and Emotions

B. Alan Wallace, 18 Nov 2010

This can be a challenging practice. In today’s approach, drawing from the teachings of the Buddha to Bahia “In the seen let it just be the seen”, we applied it to the visual field, then the auditory, the tactile and finally to the mental.
The main instruction for this practice is “without distraction and without grasping”. Distraction refers to the tendency to follow a chain of associations. For example, when we see an attribute of an object, like a color, we start superimposing concepts based on memories of past experiences. In this practice we try to see the visual appearances without the association, without the labeling. Just aware of what is presented to our senses; we then apply it to the mind by being aware of mental events.
On the other hand, grasping refers to the tendency of reifying the mind and the five obscurations by thinking for example “my mind is tormenting me” or “my thoughts are so disturbing”. We’re getting caught in the drama, and creating a mini-samsara of the movie that is projected in our minds. In this practice we attend to the movie trying to perceive the emptiness of the audio and visual input.

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