The Daily Cushion

📜 DIGHA NIKAYA 3

“Each Person Has Different Readiness to Hear the Dhamma” by Brad Hunter

☀️ “… when the Buddha knew that Pokkharasāti’s mind was ready, pliable, rid of hindrances, joyful, and confident he explained the special teaching of the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path.

☀️ Just as a clean cloth rid of stains would properly absorb dye, in that very seat the stainless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma arose in the brahmin Pokkharasāti: “Everything that has a beginning has an end.”

9. Pokkharasāti Declares Himself a Lay Follower

☀️ Then Pokkharasāti saw, attained, understood, and fathomed the Dhamma. He went beyond doubt, got rid of indecision, and became self-assured and independent of others regarding the Teacher’s instructions. He said to the Buddha, “Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent!

☀️ As if he were righting the overturned, or revealing the hidden, or pointing out the path to the lost, or lighting a lamp in the dark so people with good eyes can see what’s there, just so has Master Gotama made the Teaching clear in many ways. Together with my children, wives, retinue, and ministers, I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the teaching, and to the mendicant Saṅgha.

☀️From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”

https://suttacentral.net/dn3/en/sujato

FOUR TEACHINGS

• One can hear the same teachings a thousand times, but until the mind is settled, cleared, quiet and receptive enough—i.e. ripened through practice and investigation—insight will not arise.

• Meditation and its fruits have nothing whatsoever to do with social standing, ancestry or conditions of birth. The realization of supreme knowledge and conduct occurs when you’ve given up {clinging to} such things.

• Our fixed ideas, habits of mind and clinging attachments are ‘stains’ which need to be gradually and meticulously ‘washed out’. Then the Buddha taught him step by step, with a talk on giving, ethical conduct, and heaven. He explained the drawbacks of sensual pleasures, so sordid and corrupt, and the benefit of renunciation. And when the Buddha knew that Pokkharasāti’s mind was ready, pliable, rid of hindrances, joyful, and confident he explained the special teaching of the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path. Just as a clean cloth rid of stains would properly absorb dye, in that very seat the stainless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma arose in the brahmin Pokkharasāti: “Everything that has a beginning has an end.”

• Once again, a teaching is hidden in plain sight: ‘The immaculate vision of the Dhamma… “Everything that has a beginning has an end.”’ {Anyone can know this, at a conceptual level, but what is it to know cessation experientially? What is unspoken here that makes such a realization so profound that ‘in that very seat the stainless, immaculate vision of Dhamma arises’?}

MEDITATION TIPS

• As much as possible, both during the normal course of the day and in meditation, try to be mindful of what happens in the body and the mind when you go to clinging. Try to feel the unpleasantness of the contraction in the body and the heart space, and experience the narrowing of the mind’s natural expansiveness and openness. Appreciate the excitement of craving or aversion as a disturbance of the mind’s fundamental peace and freedom, rather than the promise of some kind of satisfaction and resolution.

• Be willing to challenge all of your assumptions and biases about the nature of the world and the nature of oneself—even the one’s that are barely perceptible, that you take for granted as ‘true’ and ‘obvious’. Appreciate that you actually feel more spacious and lighter when these burdens and mistaken views are dropped.

• If your practice really feels stuck, examine where you might be clinging. How do you relate to and practice virtue and the paramis? What is your relationship to your own practice in terms of right view, energies, expectations?

• Try to notice passing-passing, fading-fading, ceasing-ceasing of all conditioned phenomena, both in meditation and as you go about your day. If you are established in relative ease and equanimity, this does not have to be scary at all, and can actually be quite fun! Be curious. Be courageous. Be kind.

FROM KINDFULNESS* TO SUCHNESSPREPARATION

The respectful recollection of the Buddha’s Awakening. (Ajahn Sucitto) Bring to mind the Buddha’s sitting posture and, however you are able, try to at least maintain the sense of uprightness and dignity. Feel gratitude for the Buddha’s rediscovery of the path and his teachings.

Feel gratitude for all who practice the Dhamma. Gratitude especially for those who have committed their lives to the Dhamma and teachers who do their best to teach right view.

Appreciate and feel gratitude for the orientation of your own heart which has brought you to the Dhamma, however tentative, uncertain and challenging it can seem at times. Feel confidence that your heart is pointed in a direction that will one day yield ‘great fruit and great benefit’.

SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION

Breathing in long, the long in-breath is known. Breathing out long, the long out-breath is known. (Stay with the whole of the breath for several minutes. ‘Isn’t this a beautiful thing!’ Ajahn Viradhammo)

Breathing in kindness and goodwill. Breathing out kindness and goodwill. Breathing up into the face and head, relaxing and releasing tension and constriction. Suffusing the face and head with a sense of kindness and goodwill. Inviting this same pervading and suffusing to flow down the neck and shoulders, arms and hands. Down the front and back of the torso, inside and out. Suffusing the heart space, organs, solar plexus, diaphragm, belly, hara-region—right down to the base of the spine and pelvic floor. Soaking kindness and goodwill down through the hips and thighs, through the lower legs and feet. Entire body suffused, pervaded, soaking in the breath of kindness and goodwill. ‘Leaving no part of the body untouched.’

Breathing compassion and empathy in and out… (continue as above, or alternatively: ‘soaking in skin, muscle, bloodstream, nervous system, bones and marrow…’) etc. ‘Leaving no part of the body untouched.

Breathing in gladness and joy. Breathing out, release and letting go… throughout the entire body… ‘Leaving no part of the body untouched by gladness and joy…’Breathing in ease and tranquility, releasing all willful sense of doing on the out-breath… Opening to and receiving the Grace of Presence: timeless, peaceful, radiant, awake and aware.

Abide in this silent, still and peaceful knowing. (Briefly note how each shift in quality of attention to the breath results in the passing of one sense of embodiment, one field of experience, and the arising of another sense of embodiment/experiential field.)Fully embodied in this safe space of silent, peaceful knowing, turn your attention to the rising-passing-ceasing of the breath. To whatever extent you are comfortable, begin to enjoy ‘hanging out’ at the end of an out-breath, without immediately breathing in.

At first it might seem like ‘just nothing’… but keep returning to it, until you can notice ‘everything that has a beginning, has an end’… But wait—there is still this! No movement of breath. No thought. And yet, palpable silence, stillness, peaceful, timeless Awareness.

In a similar way, move attention around the body to the cessation of sensations, perceptions, sense-contact/impressions, feeling (pleasant-unpleasant & neutral), emotional tones and psychological moods. Note the emptiness at the ending of one thought and before the arising of another. Periodically repeating with Pokkharasati, everything that has a beginning has an end.

If you feel truly grounded, safe and peaceful enough, you might want to finally turn your attention to the I-conceit itself. Note first of all how amorphous, ungraspable, unreliable and ultimately in-conceive-able it is. (‘the forever unverifiable ghost.’—Bhikkhu Bodhi) Although ‘it’ always seems to be there—at least as reference point of subjectivity—personality view becomes really problematic, and causes much suffering, when it begins to congeal-coalesce-harden. That is, when the citta, masked by the I-conceit, is triggered by craving or aversion, when it feels threatened, or when it is pulled out of the timeless present into past or future, suffering is sure to follow if we act out of that deluded space. “It” also has ongoing beginnings and endings, ongoing becomings.

One can observe in the body as well, the contraction, tightening, stress of the corresponding embodied me-sense when the conceptual *I* is attempting in vain to harden into a be-ing. Note that, just as in hanging out in the silence at the end of an outbreath, you can take a step back from the *I* and observe it arising, passing and ceasing. Awareness does not become deceased by observing cessation… quite the opposite. We begin to awaken from the sleep-walking of samsara.

Mindfulness of death, if cultivated and frequently practiced, brings great fruit, great benefit; It merges in the Deathless, ends in the Deathless.

YOUTUBE READING OF DN 3

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