Meditation on a mind free from passion

Some commentators explain the practice as meditation, ultimately with a sense of identity, on some saint who is free from passion. One way is to live through incidents in his life vividly through meditation.Shankara gives a different practice, which is to consider the idea of ‘freedom from passion’, and he instances a well-known Indian example, how even the most passionate man feels his lust subside in the presence of one woman, namely his mother. There are other examples; one given by Dr Shastri was that there are certain fruits in the Himalayas which have a very attractive appearance, and the hungry pilgrim finds his mouth watering as he sees them. But when the guide explains how poisonous they are, the desire disappears. Their beauty is still appreciated, but the desire to eat them has gone.The examples show that passion is not something inevitable; in these cases it disappears, though not forcibly repressed. If it can disappear on these occasions, then in principle it can disappear on others also.

Meditation on the chosen form

19 The Chosen Form sutra 1.59 or (by meditation) on the chosen form The word for meditation is dhyana, which is the second step of the three stages of meditation. The first was dharana, ‘sup-porting’, ‘maintaining’, where the attention has to be repeatedly brought back to the location of the meditation. In the second step, which comes about after repeated practice of the first, there is a flow of related thoughts and feelings towards the same object, like a stream of oil being poured from one pot to another. The word for ‘chosen’ means literally something which specially appeals. It is not unheard of for a teacher to use unexpected things as subjects for meditation in order to teach a particular thing. A man who was an expert in the game called Mah-jong used to visit a Zen teacher once a week, and complained that he could not stay awake …

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Mastery in Samadhi is when the mind can be steadied

 20 samadhi Sutra 1.40 Mastery is when the mind can be steadied on anything from the ultimate in smallness to the ultimate in greatness The Upanishadic verses quoted in the Chapter of the Self describe Brahman: Subtle, finer than a lotus-fibre, he stands covering all; Greater than the earth, firm, he stands supporting all. These are the two extremes, and the Lord is ultimately found in each of them. All the other exercises in training the mind refer to objects between these limits. Shankara sums up by saying that he has mastered the practice who is not interrupted by any opposing thought in his experience of the very small or the very great, or what lies between them. He also adds an interesting comment that all the practices are really the same; it is a question of mastering one and then the others also are accessible easily. These are all …

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