Dharma Topic: Only the Mountain Remains

Dharma Topic: Only the Mountain Remains

Discussion date: Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening we will continue our exploration of the sixparamitas, the six ways of practicing that assist us in moving fromsuffering to joy.

The fifth paramita is meditation (dhyana in Sanskrit, jhana in Pali jhana, chan in Chinese, and zenin Japanese). In is the capacity of being completely presentwith what is. When we are really able to do it, our ordinaryconsciousness is transformed. There is no longer a separationbetween perceiver and perceived. Li Po, an eighth century Chinese poet,explains:

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.
    
Many of us have had moments like this: perhaps while communing withnature, in a meditation hall, or when holding a loved one. In a sense,mindfulness practice is a way of developing this “dhyana” consciousnessso that our daily lived experience shift more in the direction ofconnectedness and wholeness.

The tradition of mindfulness practice tells us, also, that theenergy of dhyana nourishes and is nourished by theother paramitas: dana (generosity), shila (morality), ksanti(inclusiveness), virya (joyful diligence) and prajna (wisdom).

After our meditation period, I would like to begin our discussionby having each of us focus on our aspirations and our actions:

How important is it to me that the energy of dhyana is present in my life?
Are my daily choices and actions in accord with my aspirations?

You are invited to consider these questions, whether or not you will be able to join with us this Thursday.

Below is an related excerpt on dhyana from The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher


On Meditation from The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh
 
Meditation (called dhyana in Sanskrit and zenin Japanese) is the marrow of Buddhist practice. The aim of meditationis to help the practitioner arrive at a deep understanding of reality.This insight has the capacity to liberate us from fear, anxiety, andmelancholy. It can produce understanding and compassion, raise theduality of life. and bring freedom, peace, and joy to ourselves and toothers around us.

. . .

Sitting meditation is the most common kind of meditation, but we canalso practice meditation in other positions, such as walking, standing,and lying down. When we wash clothes, chop wood, water the vegetables,or drive the car–wherever we are, whatever we are doing, in whateverposition our body happens to be, if the energies or’ mindfulness,concentration, and insight are present in our mind and body, then weare practicing meditation. We do not have to go to a temple, a church,or a meditation center to practice meditation. Living in society, goingto work every day, looking after our family, are also opportunities forus to practice meditation. Meditation has the effect of nourishing andhealing, body and mind. And it brings the joy of living back to thepractitioner and to those in her life.

Discussion Date: Thu, Oct 19, 2006


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