The Retreat on Buddhist Psychology continues in Key West, Florida. The date is November 9, 1997. This is the final talk in the series. Audio is linked below and video will be available for our donors on Patreon.
Thay jumps immediately to the teachings on the verses of consciousness, the topic of this retreat, beginning with the thirtieth verse.
Self and nonself. Interbeing. Consciousness is always flowing and evolving. Conditioned dharmas (36). Space and time are not separated entities. The only dharma that can be considered “unconditioned” is nirvana. Suchness (36). No coming. No going. Tathagata.
Verses 37-40, we learn about the four conditions. Primary cause. Object cause. Supporting causes. Immediacy of continuity. These four conditions are necessary for manifestation. Deluded mind and true mind. Codependent arising.
Paratantra (41). Samsara and suchness are no different. It is deluded mind to think they are different – they have the same ground.
The flower is already present in the garbage (42). We see one in the other. They are not two. There is no need to run away from birth and death (43). We can understand that the kingdom of
God is at hand; available in the present. Conscious breathing and Right View (44). Mindfulness can transform all mental formations (45).
Mindfulness is the energy of God. And mindfulness is not an idea, but something we can cultivate and allow to grow. To be alive in the presence of God.
Transformation at the base is down there at the depth of our consciousness. This is where the real transformation takes place and our internal knots are slipping (46).
The present moment contains the future (47). The secret to transformation at the base is how well we handle the present moment. And practicing with a sangha can help it occur more easily. Affliction and enlightenment are the same (50). Ride on the waves of birth and death. With no fear.
There are three kinds of gifts: material gifts, gift of the dharma, and nonfear (this is the greatest gift to give). The practice of nonfear can let I’d look into the light of interbeing. When we chant the Heart Sutra, we see that Sariputra has been able to transcend fear.
History of Buddhist Teachings
Many have asked who is the author of these 51 Verses. After the Buddha passed away, a few decades after, there was a need to systemize the teachings of the Buddha. This is known as the Abhidharma – super dharma – and it contains many many teachings. Thay offers the background on the abidharma teachings over time. Some of these teachings have been translated into English so it can be available to you. For example, the Path of Purification, the Twenty verses on Manifestation only (or mere manifestation – it is a very difficult teaching), but the 51 verses are much easier. You can listen to these talks again or purchase Understanding Our Mind: 50 Verses on Buddhist Psychology.
Two Stories on Dying
Story of Anapindika and Sariputra with the practice on the Recollection of the Three Jewels.
Story of Alfred Hassler. About 8-years ago, on the way to the Omega Institute for a retreat, we learned our dear friend Alfred Hassler was dying in a hospital nearby. Sr. Chan Không and Thay decided to stop and visit him along with Alfred’s wife and daughter. Thay recalls some of the work done with Alfred and his family.