Nothing Exists, but Everything Is

Listening to Trungpa Rinpoche’s work on “everything is the path,” something was understood in his teaching.  He would say that nothing exists.  We don’t exist.  The sky doesn’t exist.  People don’t exist.

“They is” may sound linguistically incorrect, but the sentiment of “is” does fit the right feeling.  There is an “Isness” to reality, but not an existence to it.

Exist vs Is

When we say something exists, we objectify the thing.  It becomes something like an image.  It no longer is something experienced, except as we can conceptualize it.  In other words, something we say “exists,” becomes something flat and false.

When the Tao Te Ching speaks of, “the thing that can be named is not the Eternal name…” we’re on the same parallel of thought.  What is named, conceived or visualized, exists within a smaller confine.  Its experience can only be understood now at the level we have lowered it to.

A “God,” becomes a small mental image that is limited, and reflects our own nature and ego.  In other words, it’s false – it doesn’t truly exist.

“Something is…” means that something is experienced.  This was realized for me, when I heard a Buddhist Zen teacher (Jakusho Kwon-Roshi) say, “before you see the fish in the lake, you first seem the emptiness between you and the lake.”

You can experience something, or you can talk about something.  The former IS an experience of it, while the later becomes a mental concept that is lowered to the ego nature of the individual.

For Example

Concepts such as God, love, Jesus, a Guru… when held in the space of the mind, become “things that do not exist.”  They exist as an artificial construct that fits in the mind – the mind is limited and therefore the objectified thing is not what it is.  It doesn’t exist.

To truly know what God “is,” what love “is,” etc., is to experience it.

Word Play?

If you think this is mere wordplay on my part (in regards to “exist” vs. “is”), consider the following:

How often do we find people who preach a doctrine of “love,” only to discover they really swing the proverbial hammer of hate?   How is it that their God is in alignment to their feelings and actions?

Often people argue with individuals like that, trying to show that their faith and their actions are out of sync.  Yet, it seems almost impossible to change a person’s view.  Why is that?

No matter how much you quote or point to their own scriptures, people will see only the image they cary with them in their mind.  They might cary the image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary – but their actions might be to hate people, or to condone crime.  This happens because these concepts really don’t exist.  The Virgin Mary, or Jesus doesn’t exist.

That isn’t to say that they aren’t “real,” but that they do not exist in the confines of the mental image.  Once you hold the image, the idea, the concept, it becomes part of one’s own ego.   Their ego nature (desire, lusts, hatreds, etc) are used to color the image.

Empowerment

Keep in mind that our psychic (or spiritual energy) can empower these images. A mental concept like “ghosts” or “aliens,” can manifest into a believer’s mind, through the use of their acceptance and expectation of the concept to fit their mental relationship to it.

Are they real?  Who knows.

An acquaintance of mine recently told a story of how on a spiritual trip he took many pictures of UFO’s.  However, these images vanished off his camera’s memory, as well as off the laptop he had transferred them.

Some have said that the natives of Latin America were unable to see the Spanish ships, as the technology was so foreign to them.  Instead they couldn’t “see,” them until they were near landing.

These are examples of empowerment.  The mental image is created.  It represents something greater, but never reaches true greatness.  Instead it is held in the mind and therefore a reflection of the ego.  As one (or many) dwell upon the subject, it becomes empowered… and takes on a half-life.  It may appear to “exist” as a spirit, ghost, alien, flying saucer, etc.

Going Beyond

By going beyond the image, we seek to experience, rather than intellectually reason about a being or concept.  This is the emptiness of the thing.  The voidness if you will.  All things come from a void, and return to the void.  By tuning into the experience, we experience the space around us, experience what love is, what God is and so forth.

Without Going Beyond, we will certainly become trapped into our own ego based identity.  Seeking the “isness” is to be on the path towards liberation.

 

What is Darkness

Skotadi, is the Greek word for “darkness.”  In analyzing the nature of mind, I can’t help but feel that an empty void really is where we ultimately trace to.  This state could be called Emptiness… For a change of pace, I’m referring to this state with an unknown word to Westerners: Skotadi (or Darkness.)

Why Darkness?

“Darkness?”  You might think it references “evil,” or “negativity.”

Darkness (as described in these pages), represents the voidness, the emptiness, the place from which all manifestation is birthed and to which it returns.  It is a potential for all things.

Darkness sets a stage.  

Before a play starts, the lights go out, the curtain is down.  There is a silence in the audience and one begins to feel that something is about to happen.

With a flash, the curtain is up and the lights paint the stage.

The change from darkness to light is an experience of duality.  If recognized as such, we can trace back to the moment before the duality – that oneness.  We look for the state of nothingness, or emptiness from which all things manifest.

That empty state could be “light” or we could call it “darkness,” or we could call it “emptiness.”  In truth it’s all the same.  But it’s very difficult to meditate in a place of strong light.  We can create a space of complete darkness – thereby achieving the same result.

What To Expect

This site covers a range of spiritual, mental and emotional topics that are about Emptiness and Reality.  In some cases, darkness may be used to discuss emotional pain, but in most cases, it is a goal – a place of non-egoic mind (the true self.)

This is more than a journal.  It’s a working set of knowledge and wisdom of others.  It is the outpouring of discoveries from myself, as well as those great teachers throughout history.

Meditation practices are heavily referenced and taught in these pages.  Along with the meditations, there are spiritual practices to help one annihilate obstructions.

The Book

A book is being prepared that expounds upon these subjects, guiding the reader to the gems I’ve found along the way.  This path is following a treasure map from long ago.  While I am not a guru, nor an enlightened being, I have found gems along my spiritual path – as such, I invite the reader to walk with me to discover their own gems along the path towards enlightenment.

A Final Note to the Reader

Also, keep in mind that this online journal is written in chronological order (like a real journal.)  The oldest articles at at the front, and the newest put to the back.

Reading List

To attempt the path described here, a foundation of knowledge should be consumed.  A list of works is mentioned below – some are recommended and others are optional.  These works are an advisable set of lectures and wisdom to build from.

Most of these works are practical in nature (such as Thrangu Rinpoche’s) and others are more informational.    They provide a solid understanding of the concepts of karma, emptiness, meditational practices, spiritual practices and the nature of mind and thus the nature of reality.

Recommended Reading

Optional Reading

Books listed here have some gems, and some baggage.  One must read these like eating fish, watch for the bones and remove them before ingesting the meat.

The Internalized Image

In a previous post, the issue of something’s existence vs. how it “is” was discussed.  The whole subject danced around the topic of “emptiness.”  In thinking more on the subject, it dawned upon me that a few topics should be added.

Influencing Goes Both Ways

In the previous post, the issue of changing the image (by internalizing it in the egoic mind) was focused upon.  But really, influence can go both ways.  A person who is struggling with problems, may bring to mind an image of a religious icon (Jesus, etc.) and they may feel relief.  Or the image may convict them of behavior that is outside their ethical paradigm.

So yes, one can be influenced by their faith based image.  A person who hold’s their country in high regard, might surround themselves (and their mental states) with symbols representing their nation.  For such an individual, the icons will hold a standard that they might attempt to live by.

While the racist might embrace the image of Jesus, it could influence them to be less hateful of others.  But in time, the image (being simply an abstraction of the real thing) will take on characteristics of the individual.  This is often seen in those who change faiths.  On the onset, a person who leaves one religion for another undergo’s a conversion process.  They cast off the old “ways” and embrace the new.  It’s a very cathartic experience (I’ve experienced it several times.)  It can be powerful enough to throw someone out of depression, negative thoughts, addictions and so forth.

Conversion Process

During a conversion process, the power one feels is often misplaced as the power of the new faith.  So the converted Christian, Muslim or Buddhist initially thinks, “I made the right decision. This path is so much better. I need to convert more people so they can be like me.”

Quite possibly one’s faith is just fine as is, but the feelings that go along with conversion are not from the faith itself.  It isn’t that “this is the right path and that’s how I feel this way.”  Rather it is simply doing something new.  This didn’t dawn on me until I changed faiths several times.  Point of fact, I’ve been in a dozen religions and just as many spiritual societies.  Over time I realized the feelings were not about the path, but about me.

Conversion relates to this issue, in that the new aspirant/devotee is taking the icon/articles of faith as internalized images, symbols or doctrines.  At first they are so happy.  This is new.  This is good.  Better than before.  Much better.  The power of psychic release, can cause one to let go of addictions or other things holding them back.

In time the aspirant/devotee attunes to a state of “normalcy.”  No longer is it new.  It is now common practice.  They might decide it’s time to jump ship again for the next new spiritual path. Or they might (as most do) plod along and acclimate their life to their internalized view of the religion.

If it’s a new Christian, in time they will see their ego identity in Jesus.

Consider this problem in countries throughout history.  In Japan Shintoism and Buddhism were bound to government, and an odd view was birthed – one in which the religion’s ideals were now a reflection of nationalism.  Germany and India had similar issues.  In America, again we see the same problems.  The faith no longer stands for what it did.  The members of the religion see the articles of faith in a light that is far different then the original intent.

Yet these individuals may get some power from the symbol.  They may hate “outsiders,” but still find some conviction in the faith symbol to give to the homeless in their local community.  It may impart the tenants of faith still, and yet reflect the ego mind of the devotees.

Relationship of Ego and Symbol

No longer is it Jesus, Buddha, God, Krishna.  Instead it is something wrong.  It is a hybrid of one’s ego and the faith itself.

Therefore Jesus, Buddha, God, Krishna do not exist.  The moment you read their names, you internalized it.  What part of your mind internalized it?  The part of you that feels you are a body and nothing more.  That part is the ego.

A limited sense of self is now saying, “I get it, that word is God,” and by doing so, it limits God.

The Ego Mind is Limited

While true, the mind is unlimited, the ego is very limited.  The ego is the part of you that says, “I’m me.”  But it references your identity based upon your physical senses.  What you can feel, smell, taste, touch… how you look in a mirror – that is your ego identity.  It could, I suppose, extend to a sense of spiritual wisdom as well (i.e. “my psychic sense is me.”)

The ego mind is very limited.

If a spiritual tradition or concept is as vast as the ocean, the ego mind in comparison, is like a saucer or bowl.  It can’t possibly hold the totality of the Universe.  So it takes what it can and let’s the rest overflow about it.  Then with it’s limited collection of the spiritual, it says, “this is all there is, and guess what, it’s like me!”

Limitations by Example

Have you met the Bible believer who tells you how their God is “All Powerful,” yet they are scared and nervous about not having enough supreme court justices to back up their faith in government?    Or they are worried about their jobs being taken by immigrants, have you met such people?

Its fascinating.  If your God is “All Powerful,” why are you worried about taxes, your job, or court decisions in your nation?  The answer is clear – because you don’t believe in God.  God doesn’t exist.  What exists for that person is not real.  They are holding onto an image of God that can fit in their limited sense of self (ego) but not as it really is.

The limited body self reads or see’s a religious icon and said, “God.”  The word itself causes the ego to play with it and say, “yes God is like me, I am like God.  I was created in the image of God… therefore God and I must worry about these concerns in society.”

But where did the All Powerful God go?

It never existed.

Yet God is.

To really understand God, one must experience God.  To understand Emptiness one must experience it.  To understand love, one must experience it.

Not Forbidden, Only Advised

There is no, “thou shalt not,” in this post.  If you hold something to exist in your mind, fine.  But realize one thing, it can point you in different directions other than its true nature.

A mystic might sit in meditation and visualize a forrest setting where a deity like Hekate appears to give some advice… she might assume to say that a great calamity is coming and they are her prophet.  The time comes, but no calamity occurs. Nothing happens, the aspirant appears to be deluded… they might give up on their spiritual path, feeling it’s all fake.  That’s a “fail fast” scenario.

For many, the failure is slow and arduous.  They don’t see the failures actually.  It’s such a slow process of deviation, that in time they think that Jesus holds a machine gun, or that God hates specific people.  That’s even worse of a state.  It’s complete delusion.

Well it was fake.  She doesn’t exist.  Jesus doesn’t exist and God doesn’t exist.

But perhaps she is real.  Perhaps all of it IS, but none of it exists.

 

Keeping Death in Mind

“At all times,” says the Hagakure, “keep death in mind.”

In Thomas Cleary’s work “Code of the Samurai,” he interprets the Bushido (or code of the Samurai) into modern English.  The Hagakure is a take on the Bushido – reinforcing specific aspects of death and dying, which Thomas Cleary brings into his own work.

In the first Chapter (“General Discussion”) of Cleary’s book it states:

One who is supposed to be a warrior considers it his foremost concern to keep death in mind at all times, every day and every night, from the morning of New Year’s Day through the night of New Year’s Eve.

As long as you keep death in mind at all times, you will also fulfill the ways of loyalty and familial duty.  You will also avoid the myriad evils and calamities, you will be physically sound and healthy, and you will live a long life.  What is more, your character will improve and your virtue will grow.

A variety of reasons are given for why keeping “death in mind,” is of good character:

  • Your words are chosen more carefully to avoid needless argument
  • You avoid dubious places
  • You moderate your food and drink
  • You overcome sexual addiction

How Does this Work?

One might wonder how pondering death will aid in achieve these things.

The code of the Samurai (either in the Bushido or the Hagakure) explains this.  Without this training, one acts as though their life is permanent.  While everyone knows they won’t live forever, they hardly act like it.  They take liberties and chances.  They become desirous of what others have, which leads to envy, greed, lust, etc. This further leads the mind into states of greed (to obtain what others have) or despair (not being able to obtain what others have.)  If left unchecked this continual frustration can lead to crime, hatreds, bigotries and the like.

Death Meditation

In Buddhism, there is a similar concept.  While I’ve never met a Buddhist practice that enforces “keeping death in mind at all times,” (which is why I included the Hagakure as source material – to fill in a gap that is required for self-control) Buddhism does have practices that align with this philosophy.

One such practice is Death Meditation.  In Death Meditation, the meditator visually ponders the frailty of their life.  How at any moment they could die.  The practice of death meditation is best experienced, rather than talked about… one of the best guided meditations is no longer available, but it was taught by Lama Marut.

You can probably find some other version of guided meditation on “Death Meditation.”  It should cover the aspects of impermanence and help us understand our own fleeting life.

Death Meditation In Practice

For a period in my life, I practiced Death Meditation regularly (weekly) and it changed my perspective.  I became less afraid and anxious of the world.  I became more at ease.  I wasn’t trying to force my will or my way.  I just let it go.

Practice of Keeping Death In Mind

Back to the Hagakure, one thing I do to keep death in mind, is to bring to mind the lifeless corpse of my father.  I loved my father.  He was my best friend.  When he passed a few years ago, my oldest brother (who took care of him the last few years), took several pictures of his body.   These are tough images.  They show my father in the hospital gown, laying lifeless.  Blood is coagulating in his old arms.  A towel was placed on his throat.  His eyes were closed.  This was his death, at a nursing home.

I look at these images regularly.  Not out of some sick entertainment value, but rather I look upon them to bring death to my mind.  My father did not die the way he wanted.  He didn’t die in his home.  His death was a hard process.  Like most of us, death comes in its own way.

By pondering it, the image brings a solemness.  It removes greed and frustration.  It puts things in perspective.

 

 

Kabbalah & Politics

I came across an interesting article today.  It caused me to reflect a bit upon the nature of the writer.  He postulates something from his spiritual tradition of Kabbalah in response to political hot topics.

The post is called “The Trump Truth: If You Can Handle It.”  The author Billy Phillips somewhat tips his hand in favor of one side of the political spectrum. It’s evident when he engages the reader:

“Often, we are compelled to judge someone else—in this case Trump. Guess what? The people who have committed the same sort of negative behavior (in large or small measure) or spoken the same sort of negative words at some point, they are the ones who become the angriest and most judgmental when they see it in Trump. Period. If we start making excuses, it’s the negative force that Kabbalah calls the Opponent that is blinding us, no matter how correct or genuinely righteous our points of view and opinions are.” – Billy Phillips

The Problem

Billy appears to be taking sides here.  While I may be misinterpreting his intent, it’s obvious that his post normalizes certain behavior.  Behavior we may feel is “unethical” is being shoved under the rug, so we can “work on ourselves first.”

In all honesty, there’s truth there.  The highest view of anyone or anything, would be to see its emptiness (lack of self existence.)  Yet, at the same time, if we do see (or hear) sentiment that breaks our ethical boundaries, we have to identify that.  If we see someone slap another, we have to say, “I saw that.”  It is truly empty of existing one way or another… i.e. we don’t know the circumstance of the slap.  It could be to wake someone up. It could be one person offended the other. Or it could be full on abuse.

Truth is often occluded from our vantage point.

Understanding that truth is elusive and we should strive to look beyond into the emptiness of all things, is of upmost importance.  Yet, we should also note the action that manifested.  Someone got slapped.  We need to relate to it.

Relating to Violence

When I was a Buddhist, my lama gave a talk on non-violence (ahimsa.)  He talked about the karmic implications in fighting fire with fire.  He spoke of the wrong view of impermanence and the role of consequence.

A visitor in the audience raised his hand. The visitor was angry and outraged.  He stammered, “what would you do if someone came into your home and tried to kill your family? Would you just let them kill them?”

This is a common attack against non-violence.

The lama took a moment then responded with a question, “do you love your mother?”

A bit shocked the man stated he did, but he failed to see the significance of it.  The lama then continued, “what if the person in your home attacking people was your mother?  Perhaps she is off her medication, or she is acting from delusions.  Would your first action be to kill her?  Or would you try and find a non-lethal means of containing the situation?”

“But we’re not talking about my mother,” the visitor responded, “we’re talking about a violent criminal.”

“See,” replied the lama, “I try and see all beings as my mother.”

The discussion I quoted above feels right to me.  The lama addressed the issue that Billy I believe is missing.  Something wrong occurs, you attempt to see the emptiness of it… you can take time later and look into why it manifested in your life (i.e. what actions/emotions do you hold that could be similar?)  But you also get involved with the situation as it appeared.

You get involved within the operation of your ethical level.  You don’t murder the “bad guy,” you don’t “spit in the food of your enemy.”  You do however relate to their ignorance.

Delusion

Billy does bring up the importance of getting involved.  This comes up more in the comment section, where he addresses some concerns.  The unfortunate aspect of his article however (in my opinion), is that Billy is letting Trump off.  He’s not addressing the wrong.

Instead he’s warning the reader to not judge Trump and only look within, to the obvious delight of the comment section (which is littered with Trump supporters who are so excited to see a spiritual defense of Trump from Billy.)

That, right there, is the problem.  Trump is just the icon of a problem. The problem is people turning away, into their own avarice.

When a person only relates to spiritual ideals conceptually, they can speak the language, the lingo (“red string,” “evil eye,” “the opponent,” etc.), but if they have no direct experience, then their teachings are like empty shells (having no substance.)  They talk the talk, they throw out the word play, but they can’t really show a direct experience of God.  They end up taking sides in some duality of life.

It’s what happens to close-minded religious zealots.

Nothing Exists, Everything is

In the Tao Te Ching this is talked about by saying, “The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name.”  This is depicting reality vs the false image.

Remember, nothing is real but everything is.

When we talk about an eternal concept like “God,” or “love,” it takes root in our mind as an image of the real thing.  While true, the mind is vast, our identification with the body self – shrinks the mind into something quite small.  Like a small teacup the little mind can not hold the entirety of something greater.

Because the small cup can’t hold it all, the vastness flows out of it, and the cup holds onto something insignificant.  That insignificance is a mixture of the greater object (God, love, etc) and their own body identity.

What is the Ego

Billy may define Ego differently then I do.  To help with understanding, I want to address what I call the ego: Ego (as taught by many others) is the identification with the human body.  This type of thinking (that you are the body) is an error.  You are not the body. If you lost a finger, or an arm, do you lose a portion of “you?”  No.

What is “you?”  You are consciousness, spirit, soul… different traditions call it different words – but it all refers to something greater than the physical confines of a limited existence.

In other words, if you think you are only the body, then you are thinking in small terms… not in terms of bigger dynamics like: humanity, or in terms of spirituality (like being a spirit, not a body.)

Instead, the human ego thinks in terms of “my family,” “my country,” “my race.”  It’s always small scale thinking.  “Others,” they identify outside of their scope, are often enemies waiting to take away “their things.”

Obviously God doesn’t care who runs America. God doesn’t care if America exists.  Because America doesn’t exist.  These are infinitesimal concerns.

America Doesn’t Exist?

Just a moment ago, I wrote that “America Doesn’t Exist.”  Nothing exists really, yet everything is. This is not mere wordplay.  It’s the understanding of the thing and the conceptualized thing.

Like the Tao Te Ching says, what is named (or conceived in the small mind of ego) is not the real thing.  To know the Real Thing, is to experience it.  We meet God in meditation.  That is God.  By experience God is.  Life is.  Love is.

However, when a person says, “let me tell you about God…” they have degraded God to something they hold in their own body based identity.  Your ego is your body identity, it strives to keep the body alive.  It can’t understand something greater than the body.

When you say, “this is my view of love…” that view doesn’t really exist. It only exists in your small mind.  Unless you have overcome the identification with the body, all you will ever conceive in mind is a small replication of it.  Because it’s appearing in a mind identified with the body, it will reflect part of that small identity.

Therefore, nothing conceived in the human mind, exists.  However, everything “is”… it “is” and we can identify with that “isness” with meditation or spiritual practice.

So America (as a concept) doesn’t exist.  God (as a concept) doesn’t exist.  Love (as a concept) doesn’t exist.

The Old Ways

Have you ever read the rape passages in the Old Testament?  There are verses in the Old Testament where supposedly God directed “his people,” of  to go out and kill their enemies – with the added instruction to keep virgin women for their “wives.”  All others (including children) they were instructed to kill.

How could religious or spiritual people be so deluded to think God would want them to kill children and rape women?

Because they saw or understood God only from their own limited existence.  Had they experienced God, they would never say such filth.  Like filthy rags, they looked at an image of God through the small-self grunge and said, “this is what God is, it’s just like me… it has all my same thoughts…”

This is the evidence of what I teach: That egoic minds will create self-resembling images of greater things.

Look in your scriptures and read the hard teachings.  The only explanation of how people fell for such crimes to be interpreted as “Holy” acts, is due to their lack of experiencing something real… and their adherence to only mental thoughts and images of something unreal.

The good news, is that this type of thinking can be overcome.  It’s daily work. The practice of meditation excels at decoupling one from attachments, and delusion.

Wrongness

Billy Phillips says in his article that if we see something wrong in others, it means we ourselves have that problem… Yes, that’s perhaps true.  One can only witness/experience what they have the karma to witness or experience.

Billy also states that if another person see’s only the good then that means they have overcome the problem.  Possibly true… possibly not true.

Consider the quote from Billy here:

“Now, suppose we are seeing the good in a person, and someone else beside us is perceiving the negativity from that same person or situation. Why do we see something positive while the other person only sees negative? It means the negativity of this situation is no longer in our own character and karmic destiny. It means we already corrected it. THIS is why two people can perceive two different messages and tones and modes of behavior from Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or the pundit on CNN or Fox News.” — Billy Philips

Billy is half right.  All we experience is based on the karma (actions) of our past.  If we didn’t have the karma to be a CEO, then we couldn’t become a CEO – at least until we had cultivated the karma to become one.  I can get behind that, as there’s some reality there with me.

However, there are perhaps millions of people who can not introspect. In their views, they are not doing “bad things” ever.   Such people do not hear the hate in Trump (or anyone), because they don’t see it. They are self-deluded. This is their blindness.

They resonate at the same level of someone intolerant, so they don’t see the wrongness (because they don’t recognize the problem in themselves.)  A hateful person often doesn’t see hateful people who are like themselves.

Here’s an example…

The Racist

My mother is a racist and quite hateful and resentful.  My mother does not see anything negative in a comment from someone who says, “[some race] is the problem in society right now. They are all criminals, we all know it.”  She’ll embrace the person, seeing only the good.  This is because she is relating to them through her own feelings.  She see’s herself as “in the right,” so they other who says something in harmony with her, is also right.

In fact, relating to Donald Trump, she couldn’t see any negatives.   Even when I played video of him saying things like, “the way you deal with terrorism, is you take out their families…” she dismissed it.  She at first said he never said it.  I played the video.  Then she thought about it and said, “well… he’s right…” a week later, she forgot the whole thing.  Never, ever, seeing Trump in his own words as saying something bad.

Billy Phillips is treading a dangerous philosophy here:  In his philosophy my mother must have outgrown her own hatreds, to not see hatreds.  Its just not true, she’s incapable of seeing hate or anger in her actions (or the actions of those like her.)  She’s blind and incapable of introspection.

This is a common problem in spiritual paths.  The ego is insidious and can hide in plain site.  It can appear in a vision (of someone’s deity) saying, “I will tell you a prophecy….” and it never comes to pass.  Or it’s so vague that anything can fit it, reinforcing the delusion.

While I believe that people can communicate with spiritual entities, I feel that most do so under the auspice of their own ego (body identity) and the resulting communication is tainted.

My mother, for example, is simply self-deluded into thinking she has no anger, no hate, no bigotry.

Rightness

What Billy gets right is that there is good in everyone and it’s a good practice to find the good in all.  To find an equanimity between the enemy, the neutral person and the one we love.  This is an essential Buddhist meditation practice (mother recognition.)

This philosophy though, when used to occlude a person who is doing bad things and hurting people, ends up causing more problems.

A Bigger Problem

While he’s saying he can’t judge, and I respect that, I also feel he’s part of a problem: The problem of normalizing error and wrongness.

It’s like a Buddhist saying that they decided to support a war monger (war being something Buddhists would normally be against.)  “But how do you do that and believe in karma,” you may object.  They might tell you, “well because of…” and list a string of small human (ego) based worries and concerns (i.e. “if we don’t kill them, they’ll kill us”.)

Or, they may as Billy does, tell you that they decided to not see the wrongs in this person but to look at their good.

Well that’s great… but are you offering support for what’s wrong?

A private view, is perhaps best here.  When you stand in the public view and tell others to try and look beyond the problem and see the good… you could be turning people into their own self-deluded blindness.

A person seeking truth might ponder, “this person’s [some person doing something ethically wrong] view of the world is not in harmony with mine.  It means that perhaps I am a warmonger internally, for that’s how they appear to me.  But it also means I must condemn both my internal problem, as well as what has appeared in my world in this person’s actions.”

But Billy doesn’t bring up the last part.  He says we can get involved but he back peddles: At times saying unity of our nation is needed now (one nation under Trump) and later, saying that maybe it’s good we’re divided, for it was unity that caused Hitler to gain so much ground so quickly.

What Billy doesn’t call out, is Trump’s ethical wrongs.  He doesn’t bring up things like, “Trump has mocked the handicapped, he’s dismissed others, he’s talked about wanting the press to be bullied or beaten… therefore I must have some of that same source material within me… I see it, and I’ll work on my own, condemn my issues and what I see in him.”

Billy, like many others in different faiths, is normalizing a problem, to spin a political candidate and make it more palatable for the masses.  By not calling out the wrongs, and focusing on saying that he’s seeing only the good… is also a way of embracing the wrong.

Just because you don’t see the wrong, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

This type of analysis that I read in Billy’s article is the type of normalization that’s going on right now in spiritual circles.  It’s a way to pull in tight in support of someone who is the antithetical version of the faith or ethics.

While true, it isn’t right to “fight fire with fire.”  It will not be good to scream, shout and hate Trump (or his followers), we must find some balance.  Is something wrong? Yes? Ok, let’s talk about it: Yes it’s wrong.  Let’s meditate and see if we have the same wrong.  Let’s try and find compassion for the “bad guy,” but lets also acknowledge that this guy is doing “bad things.”

To not do this, is to encourage and support those who are in self delusion.

Spiritual warfare

We are in a war:  A spiritual war.  If you follow my posts, you understand you’re a warrior.  But this war is not physical. The war is not in the flesh.  This war is about the conflict within.

Billy is right in part – the other person “outside of us,” is a reflection to some degree of something inside of us.  I see an angry and intolerant Trump, therefore I have some anger or intolerance.  Yet, it should also be noted that Trump appears to manifest these feelings.

To only address the internal, and not the external will lead to a multitude of problems…. consider crime.  Does seeing a criminal mean that you have that crime within you?  Perhaps.  But then to not bring up the crime as wrong, and focusing only on those who are frustrated with it, normalizes the crime and condemns those who are upset about the crime.

Noramlizing

Our words are powerful and they can launch a strategy of normalizing something evil or wrong.  We don’t want to be party to harming and hurting others.

It is important to identify what’s wrong, and then to also say, “yes I have this in me as well.”  Then work on ourselves, but we also stay vigilant on helping others and identifying ethical issues in society.

What I found interesting in Billy’s post is that the comments had many pro-Trump supporters loving it.  “It’s so cool you’re writing about Trump….”, “I heard you are personal friends with him…”, “I love it, this is what we need to hear.”  I’m paraphrasing, but those are various feelings given in the comments of that article.  People resounded with it, on the grounds it supported Donald Trump.

Billy, you simply gave them a reason to enter into a new delusion – that Donald Trump is all good, and those who are against him are just raving lunatics with the same issues in themselves.

Equanimity

It is important to understand the equanimity of our enemies and our loved ones.  In a deep sense, all are one.  But when we see a wrong, we need to point it out.

If you push hard on these philosophical views, you’ll find some depth that can help heal wounds.  But usually this must be experienced, and not taught.

One can’t simply expect a mother who’s child was murdered, to love the murder based on philosophy alone.  But in time, such a person may find a way of reconciling.  We just can’t expect it to happen.

We must be careful of our word choice and what we appear to defend.

While the murderer may, on a deep sense, be one with the victim – we also must not pound this fact, to the point of making it appear we defend the act of murder.

 

Those Who War Against Death

Recently I came across another article that attacked the ideas of death awareness.  The source of the article was from a spiritual tradition of Jewish mysticism.  I once studied under this group and had much respect for it, until I got deeper involved.

When I part of the group, it seemed to be about wealth acquisition, status improvement, and get this – to live forever.  Living forever wasn’t some mere metaphor … it was a literal identification with a living human body for eternity.

That’s the closest thing to hell I can think of.

When I came across this article titled “The War is Raging,” it brought back those old teachings.

Deciding to dig a bit deeper, I found that Rav. Berg had written extensively on the subject, including a series on immortality.

The Human Body Hell

The great founders of this philosophy of eternal body life are all… dead.   How did that work out for them? Could they not overcome, like they taught?

In truth the human body is a great aspect of existence.  It allows us to work out our karma, grow spiritually and gain insights by experiencing the world around us.

Yet, the human body is also a hell.

Identification

I suppose those who want immortality also presume to have a form of existence that is without pain or suffering.  A “heavenly body,” if you will.

The greatest problem with the human body (or any form of finite existence), however, is in identifying it with the idea of “self.”  This grave mistake is what has caused almost all problems we face today.

When a person identifies themselves as their body, they will act in a way of self preservation – often to the extent of hurting and harming others.   The hero’s of our day are those fellow’s who go beyond this identification. They choose to give up their body life to save another.

Most of us however, act as though our body is us.  We all do.  But this is why we meditate.  To remove those ties of bondage.

When we identify with the body, our mind is a smaller mind. It is not vast.  It is not eternal. It is what Yogananda called the ego (the self identified with the body.)

Identification Dangers

The dangers of identifying with the body, is that our mind in this state is in capable of understanding something greater.  It’s like a small dish or teacup trying to hold the ocean.  The ocean spills around it, and it holds this microcosmic portion of it.

The little mind (identified with the body), looks at this greater thing and says, “oh it’s like me, look here God is, He’s an angry God… just like me.”

This is true idolatry.  

This is how a Christian evangelist can say both “Jesus loves you,” and “get out of my country.”  Both thoughts are contrary, but the little mind can’t see that.  Instead it says, “this makes sense,” because it is a self-reflection of our lowest and smallest states of existence (the body.)

It’s the reason why the Old Testament ordered the killing of children and the raping of women, in God’s name.  They weren’t experiencing God, they were trying to understand God in their small teacups and God became what they were.  It reflected their own ego desires.

Living Forever

When a person feels they are alive and nothing is going to stop them… they are on the edge of destruction.  Most people operate from this point of view.  When someone goes to a party, hooks up, gets someone pregnant, it’s all with the lack of consequences.

I know a family who’s youngest son went to a party.  At some point the police arrived to the party on a noise complaint and the boy was found guilty of firing a weapon at the police.  He went to jail for 15 years.  That child thought nothing of death, or consequence.  They could as easily been shot by the police.  He was reacting to a situation, where he felt “alive,” and angry at the same time.

People understand they won’t live forever, but it’s hardly how the act.  They act like that child.  They launch an attack thinking not of the consequence nor of how it will harm the other.  In their subconscious mind, they live forever.

But what if that young man was trained to contemplate (with reverence) death.  The death of his grandfather, or perhaps a meditation on his own mortality.  How vulnerable we all are to disease and death.

With mortality in mind, one’s reactions are nullified.  Addictions pan away.  We are also more able to face death, without fear.  Fears of others, of the darkness, of the unknown, they fade as well.

Impermanence

In Eastern terminology, this is called impermanence.  It is a non-popular belief to identify that we (and other things) are not permanent.

“Well of course I’m not permanent,” someone will say… but that’s now how they act.  When kids do dangerous things, when adults go on hiking treks by themselves, when people act “stupid,” they act in a way of permanence.

By meditating on one’s own impermanent nature, one can find a path out of body identification.

When people die slowly, they adjust to the end.  This adjustment brings a peace towards the end (for most.)  At first hearing the news they are going to die, people are scared or sad or depressed.  As time moves along, they adjust.  They begin to put their lives in order.

Consider that phrase, “putting things in order.”  They re-prioritize their lives.  The really important things are moved to the top (friends, family, etc.) The non important things (work, computer games, getting drunk, addictions) are thrown off the list.

Impermanence is the gateway to releasing ourselves from delusion.  Without which, I can not see a way to resonate with life spiritually.

Wars Against Death

We all die.  We know that.

Well most of us do.  Some of us may choose to think that we can literally live forever in some human body hybrid.  I try to not think like that.  In doing so, it opens the door to living without consequence.

While you may believe in Karma (actions and consequences), if you at the same time believe you’ll exist in finite form eternally… even with a perfect body without blemish, the whole idea seems suspicious.

We may consider it would be like having the body of a Greek god.   Maybe we could even do miracles, etc. But our frame of reference is still finite.

Don’t you see?  You are still relating to the greater (God, Universe, Mind, Emptiness) from something finite (a body, or construct that is outside the greater.)

You are speaking of eternal ignorance.  

Yet there is a movement that believes it will achieve this.  Perhaps technology will be able to do this.  What of overpopulation? More frustrations and more war as a result?

Ah, well maybe the “you” they create is your consciousness on a microchip in a virtual reality.  That’s fine and I’m not one to stop the idea.  However you slice it, we’re still dealing with a finite form of existence.  How much of the greater could they experience?

The outside danger is that such people create their own tapestry of mythos, saying that “death is satan.”  That “darkness,” is the enemy… and in doing so they create fears and anxieties and attachment to ego (their body.)

Living eternal has merit if we think of it as a vast existence:  In spirit form or non-corporeal manifestation.

Just imagine how bored you would be, living century after century in your body.  Such a person would no doubt pick up one vice after another.  The reason it would be hell, is that the eternal life would be trapped in a body that is of limited experience.

Would you enjoy being eternal in the body of a snail?  No? Really?  Well then, why would you want to be eternal in human form? 

Shifting Face of the Enemy

“George Bush is a villain,” they cried in 2005.  Today the same people smile and say, “wish he was our president.”

Emptiness

There is an emptiness to all things: Empty of self-existence.  No being exists the same way to everyone.  While one person might see someone they love, another witnesses evil.

The divergence of view is based on one’s karmic relation to the problem.

At one time George Bush was the enemy of various people.  Today, those same people feel that he was better than the president we have now.

Did George Bush change?  Did the people change?

Perhaps once would say the circumstances changed.

Shifting Nature of Reality

There is a meditation within Buddhism that seeks to help one overcome hatred and anger towards the enemy.  The enemy is visualized mentally, along with someone you love and someone you are neutral towards.

In the meditation, one takes time to analyze the feelings and to ask themselves honestly… could the person I love become someone neutral to me?  Could they become someone I dislike?

Could the neutral person become someone I love?  Could they become someone I dislike?

Lastly, the hardest questions: Could the person I dislike, become someone I am neutral towards?  Could they become someone I love?

It’s often hard to accept that in deed they could.  In the moment of the pain, we see the orchestrator of the pain and we hate them.  Perhaps we will never see them as someone we love.  But is it possible?

Consider George Bush.  Those who were angry with him in 2005, were probably hesitant to consider he could become someone they love.  Yet here we are years later and its the case with many.

Who’s Your Enemy?

Right now, who’s your enemy?  Is it Donald Trump?  Is it Clinton?  Is it your employer?  Your parents?  The media?

Do you think you could ever see them as something neutral?

I know it’s hard to consider it… but if you were to let go of your emotions and monitor your breath for 10m.  Without any thought or feeling, just monitor your breath and then come back to this question, is it possible that you could see this person as someone neutral to you?

Think of a situation that would make it so.  Perhaps they went into obscurity and you forgot about them.  That’s neutral.

Harder yet, could they become someone you love?  What if we didn’t see them as they are now.  What if you saw this person as an infant, stumbling to walk.  Reaching out with chubby arms and making baby noises.  Would you hate the infant, knowing who they would become?

What if this individual surprised you and did something amazing… I once read of a man who gave a kidney to a stranger.  What if this person did that?   Who knows what this person will be in the future.  You see them at a point in time.  Perhaps they’ve been like this for 30 years… but who where they 50 years ago?  Who will they be in 10 more years?

Consider their death.  Watching an elderly person in a nursing home is very hard to do.  You see them without their family.  Sometimes these people were so cruel to others, they end up alone.  Sitting in a nursing home, eating slop. Sitting there in a dimly lit dining room, no one is talking.  A silence of sadness.

Imagine yourself as their caretaker.    Imagine looking in their eyes, as their aged body shakes and trembles from pain.  They plead with you to help them, but there’s nothing you can do.   The time comes, they are taken to hospice and are left to die, possibly alone.  Do you still hate them?  Are they still the enemy?

If “yes,” is your answer… do you believe in reincarnation?  If so, consider your enemy dies.  Perhaps they are born as a child someplace harsh.  They grow up without food or water.  Like that old photo of a child starving, a buzzard sitting next to them, waiting for them to die.  This was your old enemy.  How do you feel?

Equanimity

It’s a good practice, to practice equanimity, as described above.  It helps us understand the shifting nature of all beings… That those you love can become those who dislike you… those you dislike could become someone you love.

Once you realize the game that’s being played and the repeating pattern throughout the ages of time, you could chose to love all beings.

Taking it Too Far

There are those who take it too far.  They feel that the “enemy,” should be thought of in the best ways possible.  It hardly seems right.

One must always, at all times, point out the failures.  Those issues that caused this person to be thought of as “the enemy,” shouldn’t be hidden away.   The spousal abuser is acknowledged for their beatings.  The bigot is noted for their hate filled diatribes against others.  You don’t forget, but you do let go.

You must remember the problem, and then remember the shifting pattern.  If you believe in reincarnation, accept that we’ve all been each of these roles to each other.

Do not seek to use this to defend someone you love, that others hate.  Do not say, “oh let us not remember the bigots words,” so to make the bigot more appealing to others.

That’s delusion.

The bigot said those things. Maybe they changed. Maybe they didn’t… but you made a choice to love them regardless.

NOT Becoming the Victim

Does that mean you’ll be the victim?

No, it means you extract yourself from a bad situation.  If your spouse beats you, you take measures to make it stop.  If your mother hates your spouse because they’re asian, you stand up for your spouse.  But you do this (to the best of your ability) with presence of mind.  You speak not from the small body identity (ego), but form the greater and vast heart center.

The real victim is the one who doesn’t let go.  The one who holds onto the pain and reminds themselves of why they hate their enemy, they put themselves back in the prison of abuse each time the relive it.

Forgiveness is not about what it does for the “other,” but what it does for you.  It will free you.  It will let you go from those old issues.

This also does not mean you must go back to the old relationship or situation.  Because you forgive the abuser, doesn’t mean you get remarried to them.  That’s folly.  They most likely haven’t changed.  You’re just extending an old problem.

Forgiveness is for you to let go… to grow.  It is not about becoming a door mat of repeat dumping.  You forgive, you move on.

In some cases you disconnect from the person.  Sometimes you have to let old relationships die.  Let that person move on, and likewise yourself.

Without equanimity, we are left to repeat the pain of the past, as your actions (karma) create new fights to deal with.

Success in Shamata & Vipashyana

We’re focused on the following for this discussion:

  • Shamata is the practice of mental stability.
  • Vipashyana is the practice of insight meditation.

These are the arms of meditation that will support the practice of Mahamudra (or meditation upon the mind.)

Roots of Shamata & Vipashyana

  • Discipline
    • Devotion
  • Listening to Instructions
  • Reflecting on the Instructions
  • Accumulation of Merit

The three main roots are Discipline, Listening to Instructions and Reflecting upon the instructions.  Secondary roots are Devotion (which builds Discipline) and the Accumulation of Merit.

Discipline

Discipline will depend on our life choices.  Most of us are practicing a life choice of what the old ones called “the householder.”   In modern parlance, we’d say this is the person who works a job and may (or may not) have a family.

We could think of this as the modernist.  Someone who interacts with the structures of society and through that, they are given their source of survival (pay checks, being able to rent a home, etc.)

There are some few who live alone, and off the grid.  These folks may or may not take monks/nun vows.  Such as these have different ideals and survival systems.

Discipline will be different depending on the individual.  For most, we will be modernists (getting paid for labor, the paycheck covering our essentials and non essentials for life.)

Discipline is a path from many traditions.  The Bushido of Japan speaks to Devotion (as does the Hagakure.)  Discipline is also a core feature in Greek Stoicism.   Another path, discussed a bit more below is that of Buddhism – which recommends the use of devotion, in order to build discipline.

Devotion

Maintaining discipline can be through various means.  One particular form of effort (from the Buddhist path) is the act of devotion.

Devotion from this perspective is often towards the spiritual teacher, the “guru” or the lineage training you.

Merit

Merit is a return to action (karma) that benefits the spiritual path. An example of good merit would be those acts of body, speech, and mind.

Body merit is in the helping of others with physical work.  Mind merit is raised in the ways of universal compassion.  Speech merit is those good things we can speak.

Merit is also gained by meditation and spiritual practice.  An example would be the meditation upon a deity representing an aspect of enlightenment.

Traditions of Shamata

Notes from “Essentials of Mahamudra” by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.

Shamata is the stabilizing meditation that is required for Mahamudra.  There are several notes on the shared tradition of Shamata from “Essentials of Mahamudra.”

In order to calm the mind there are particulars about ourselves we need to work on.

The Body

If we eat too much, it will make the mind sleepy or dull.  Oddly, a dull mind is also an angry mind.  While it will subdue and lower your actions, when something pushes hard enough into your world – the distractions will trigger rage.   This often happens when someone is driving a car, but has their mind on something else.  All of a sudden a car cuts them off… the fear of the near accident snaps them into the present moment and the whole jarring event triggers anger.

Eating too much is a problem for us.  When we eat too much we are distracted and meditation is harder for us to calm down and stabilize.

The Buddhist practice says that we should divide our stomach into 3 parts:

  • One part for food
  • One part for drink
  • One part for breath

By not being too full, we remain vigilant.

Isolation

The Buddhist text suggests going to a place of few or no distractions.  It is often suggested to go on a retreat.  Once Shamata is developed we can replay the experience.

In my personal view, isolation is not necessary for Shamata.  The objects of distraction can become the meditation objects.

For example, if one sat in meditation only to hear a dog howling next door, they might become frustrated and seek further isolation.

This isn’t necessary.  Personally, I’ve come across this same situation in my own life.  When this occurs, it is a good practice to make the sound of the dog howl, your meditation object.

You follow the distracting sound as it is in the present moment.

Exceptions

Exceptions to this rule would be any activity that requires your attention outside of meditation (like driving a car, taking care of someone.)

Objects of Shamata

There are four different types of objects for Shamata meditation:

  • Pervasive Objects of Observation
  • Objects of Observation for Purification
  • Objects of Learning
  • Objects of Observation to Eliminate Emotions

Pervasive Objects of Observation

When one meditates on something extremely vast – beyond physical limitation of size, shape, color, sound, etc.  Such an object of meditation, is itself a “Pervasive Object of Observation.”

In my opinion, this could include the topics of emptiness, God (as long as “God” isn’t something that exists one way or another), love, etc.

I realize that “God,” is not a Buddhist concept, but I feel it would fit here as a vast object that pervades all existence or manifestation.  But it would have to be thought of in the most generic of observations.  One shouldn’t imagine a man, a woman, a light, or not a light.  It would have to be more of a non-tangible, non-physical form of manifestation.

Objects for Purifying Behavior

Impure behavior is a very big issue for humanity.  Regardless of race, religion or nationality, people behave badly.   People are driven by desires, hatreds, pride, and other destructive thoughts.

In my view, most (if not all) of this is caused by a root imperfection: viewing one’s own body as their identity.  This self-identification with a limited scope (body) sets our reactions to the world in a selfish way… which leads to anger, hate, desire and a variety of other problems.

In the Buddhist perspective antidotes are meditations that heal these bad behaviors.  For example:

ANGER is healed by the antidote of compassion meditation.

DESIRE is healed by the antidote of meditation on ugliness & the impurity of our body.

IGNORANCE is healed by meditating on interdependent origination.

PRIDE is healed by meditating on the body composition:

  • Solid aspects of body are Earth elements
  • Fluid aspects of body are Water elements
  • Metabolic aspects of body are Fire elements
  • Movement aspects of body are Air elements

There is no pride, when we realize that we are simply an aggregate of these elements.

MANY ISSUES are resolved by simply meditating on the breath. The breath meditation isn’t directed to any specific problem, and works on all issues by taking one away from everything mundane.

Objects of Learning

These are meditation objects that open our insight into reality.  To resolve this, one works on meditation objects that release attachment to the the limited self, and the physical world around us.

In the Buddhist view, FOUR types of Objects of Learning exist:

  • The 5 Aggregates
  • The 18 Elements
  • The 12 Doorways of Perception
  • Interdependent Relationships

5 Aggregates

Sanskrit is often used to describe an aggregate – the sanskrit word is “skandhas.”  In Buddhism, it is taught that a person is a collection of body and mind that make up 5 groups (or aggregates):

  1. Form
  2. Feeling
  3. Perception
  4. Composition
  5. Consciousness

By meditating on the five skandhas or aggregates, an aspirant begins to see the lack of cohesion of the “self.”  There are things that piled in and added and taken away.  Because of this transitioning behavior we are always changing.

When relating to the body-self, we realize we are without a central essence.

18 Elements

In Buddhism the 18 elements include these groups:

  • 6 sensory objects (vision, sound, taste, smell, touch and psychic or mental sense)
  • 6 sense organs (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body and mind)
  • 6 consciousnesses (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body and mind)

The purpose of understanding the 18 elements, is the relationship between cause & effect.

12 Doors of Perception

The 12 doors of perception is the grouping of the 6 SENSE ORGANS and the 6 CONSCIOUSNESSES.  Together, they work to create all sensory perception.

When meditated upon or studied, one understands the emptiness of all sensory perceptions.  That none of it is self-existent.  It is all empty of any essential individual existence.

Interdependent Relationships

The ideas of action (or karma) tell us that every event and action is dependent upon a prior cause.  Meaning that good and bad, are terms not fixed in time and space.  There is a transitory nature to all phenomena.  What was negative, can shift to something neutral or to something positive.  Something positive can shift to something neutral or negative.

This is the emptiness of all things.  Because things are empty, all things are changeable.  I wrote on this in an article about the shifting nature of others.

Objects to Eliminate Disturbing Emotions

It is often obvious that specific emotions are very negative and dangerous for the individual to hold and harness.  Yet our society, often believes that some emotions are beneficial, even though they are destructive.

Anger, for example, is held in therapy as something “good.”  Scientologists would say that “anger” helps one rise from sadness. The Eastern view (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) would say no such thing.  Anger is like dousing yourself with gasoline.  Even though you may intend to express it “correctly,” it often explodes on us – taking over.  We are often taken over, to the extent of not even realizing our problems with anger.

Consider that the absence of disturbing emotions generates peace.  If you question, “what is a disturbing emotion,” then just take a moment when you are disturbed (upset, anxious, fearful) and look at the emotions of that state of mind. Those are the disturbing emotions.

By acknowledging these disturbances we begin to understand the need for freedom from them.  This puts us on the path of a solution.

Method for Purifying Disturbing Emotions

The first antidote is to understand the 4 NOBLE TRUTHS:

  • Mortality is suffering
  • Cause of suffering is our Disturbing Emotions
  • Actions from a Disturbed Mind create suffering
  • There is a way OUT OF SUFFERING through overcoming the bad emotions and actions of ignorance

It is through meditation that we uncouple ourselves from the false sense of self:  Our disturbed emotional states are lost.

VAJRAYANA meditation practice involves visualizing the body of Buddha.    Sometimes the deity is visualized as the meditator itself.  It is believed that such meditations bring the blessings of the deities visualized.   I realize this requires some faith.  If it’s too hard to accept, then start with the less religious forms of meditation, but do note, that this is the path of Mahamudra:  Samatra and Vajrayana practice.

The benefit of meditating upon a deity or spiritual teacher, is that it is believed it is a more stabilizing effort.  In many forms of meditation (such as the breath), distracting thoughts take us away from the meditation often.  Deity meditation focus the mind, holding it on the object.

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