A preview of the upcoming audio/video teaching series on the Shurangama Sutra.
When obscured by the Five Aggregates, the sky of the essence of nirvana is like that of a darkened horizon on a foggy night. When the first three aggregates terminate, it is daybreak but light is not yet dawn. Once the volition aggregate ceases, only one aggregate remains submerged. The enlightenment of daylight is on the rise. With the six senses quieted, that which listens and that which is heard are no more, sense data and sense faculties merge into one luminous radiance.
The primary objectives for sharing these strange and fascinating possible meditation states are twofold. One, so that more people know about the experiences in deepening practice. Two, so that more people know not to be led astray by their experiences as their practice deepens.
When your feeling aggregate disintegrates, your mind is freed from its container, like a bird freed from a cage. When you are working on thought aggregate, it is as if you talking in your sleep; while you aren’t fully cognizant, your thoughts have become words verbalized so that others hear them.
To reach enlightenment, your meditation practice will, and must, lead you down a path where you wrestle with physicality, feeling, thought, volition, and consciousness. Only when you have become increasingly unattached to each of these aggregates do you reach the ultimate source of courage, compassion, and wisdom.
Along your path of practice, you will encounter some interesting physical, mental, and spiritual phenomena. In meditation, you may feel parts of your body shake uncontrollably, you may sense heat circulate through or grow in parts of you, you may have visions, you may hear voices, you may be one with the world. Know that even more meditation experiences await you as you deepen your regular practice. You must also remember that these states of being are transitory signs pointing to an intensive and advancing practice, not ultimate enlightenment. Hence for each experience the same refrain about being relentless with continued awareness, avoiding the derailing belief that you are now awakened, a sage. Here is List I of 10 states associated with the form aggregate among the 50 for the 5 aggregates.
The physical environment makes an impact us. You look forward to being home after a long day’s work, maybe the same spot on the couch or in bed. You walk into certain places and you immediately feel a sense of peace or agitation. Yeah, you can practice meditation in the middle of a mass protest, a sports outing, or a rock concert, but that’s just not where you’d want to create a sanctuary on a regular basis. Although the Shurangama sanctuary instructions provided below, the easier way, allows you to create a short-term or long-term sanctuary energetically anywhere, I would recommend you take advantage of creating a physical space too to support the consistent build up of energy. We’re after a sanctuary that is more than something in the mind alone, and one that we can come home to.
While you are agonizing over a numbness or ache in your body during meditation time, you may not think you are blessed like a heavenly deva, but you are. Heavenly beings are those with much blessings, such as for those of us residing in the West. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to enter blissful meditation states, and beings of heavenly realms do that best. I mean heavenly beings in a literal and a figurative sense. For serious meditators, you may want to check your progress against the descriptions of these heavenly realms, analyzing and comparing them only after you exit meditation of course. Were you to think about how well you are doing in meditation during meditation, you wouldn’t be meditating well.
When you reach a psychological, social, spiritual impasse or bottleneck, you’re usually short of time and likely want to push forward or give up completely. That’s precisely the moment to take a little time to listen to the sound of silence, to the internal voice or higher power. Setting aside the problems for a little while allows you to hear possible creative solutions.
Listening by contemplating on the source of the ear organ is the recommended practice for this era because only sound can be heard through walls and all around. You can practice all hours of the day; even while you’re asleep or deep in a dream, you can hear sounds, including the sound of silence. The sound of silence is a sound with a source in you who hear. You first notice sounds in movement and stillness, then you realize that the object of sound neither comes into being nor ceases. Instead of listening to the wisdom of others, why not listen to that which listens? Contemplate: who is it that listens? Listen until even listening ceases.