kusaladana’s Notes

What I seem to be trying to do here , with this site, is work towards  developing a coherent picture of the ways and means needed to experience Buddhism rather than just looking at it and ‘trying to understand it’. I want to open up Buddhism to reveal its positive path towards inner meaning in our lives. I am really developing the site for myself, just to keep my attention on the ball, but also to help people see what Buddhism is on about and how it’s practices and world view can really help change lives for the better.

In my looking at this picture from a Buddhist view of things my attention is drawn to three well documented levels the mind seems to dwell in:

  • An outer life of the mind captivated and infatuated by sensations, addicted to good feelings and bad feelings with emotions and reacting with thoughts and actions without consideration of consequences for self or others. The mind has a very strong resonance with the body and the world, looking to the world for substantial satisfaction.
  • An inner life of the mind experienced through a developed imaginal faculty , encompassing the outer life of the mind but more aware of consequences driven by and aware of a desire to change the mind and is more motivated by ethics and the meaning in beauty.
  • And deeper, a realm beyond the imagination, influencing the mind, glimmering in the background ambience like some heartfelt – is this all there is?

All three levels of mind are there. The fact that we are here, as humans probably, means the first two dominate our experience.

These levels correspond to some extent to the Trikaya aspect of a Buddha, but I am trying to stay away from the complexities of Buddhist culture and stay within the constraints of western, European, concepts.

Here is an old observation: Some deeply meaningful experience comes shining through into the conscious mind, its is conceptualized and while the mind is busy taking ownership of the clever ideas and capitalizing in the verbalization to impress others the mind forgets the connection with deeper meaning and even understanding the arisen concepts and is left with only words.

The subject of Part 1 of the course on Basic Buddhism and Methods being developed on this website is the practical development of our mind , through ethics and meditation towards a mind with attentiveness and a caring connection with others, a mind more in resonance and in harmony, with its body and life around it. The part 1 course is focused on directing attention to ethics and then the place of ethics in meditation and how wisdom arises as direct experience in the meditative mind. Its about the gradual transformation of the mind from where we are to a clear calm mind that acts in the world aware and ‘for’ self and other.

Part 2 of the course places this practical development squarely in the context of Buddhism and explores it in a much wider perspective. Three aspects of Buddhism; the Buddha, the teaching and the community are explored, but they are explored in two dimensions of Mind, as in ‘ as above’ ‘so below’; as this seems to fit how the mind operates. Buddhist practices is much about taking these aspect to heart and giving them space at the centre of our attention. If we thing about it, we all go for refuge to something(s). In Buddhist practice we shift the emphasis more and more onto the practice of ethic, meditation and wisdom and it really helps here to bear in mind, the possibility of an enlightened mind, the teachings and the supportive community. As we develop and our minds change in harmony with our practice we can become more aware of our inner life and more direct connecting directly in the imaginal.

In the first dimension, ‘So below’,the mind in the realm of the body is mostly tied to feelings from the senses and reactive responses. In the second, ‘As Above’, the mind in the realm of the imagination, more aware of beauty and connecting with empathy and well wishing with others. These realms correspond to the first two levels of the Trikaya mentions above.

Exemplar:
The Buddha
Truth and Teaching:
The Dharma
Supportive Community:
The Sangha
In the realm of the WorldIn the footsteps of the Buddha’s life. Points to notice from the Buddha’s lifeThe Buddha’s Teaching
4 Noble Truths, 8 Fold Path and Meditation
The value of connecting and developing with others.
In the realm of the ImaginationArchetypes and inner meaning:
Shakyamuni Buddha
Wisdom beyond words:
The Heart Sutra
The White Lotus Sutra
Collective Manifestations of Enlightenment:
The Mandela of the Five Buddha and more
Table depicting the objects of attention in Part 2

For part 2, in the realm of world , we explore and give attention to the life , teachings and past and present supportive human communities. In the realm of the imagination, out of a clear and warm hearted mind, attention can be more directed to the Buddha as archetype, a growing imaginal presence distilled from from those early , grief-stricken days of the sense of loss of the community and its very strong volition to communicate the teaching , through meditation, a rich memory and archetypal experience of from Siddhartha to Shakyamuni, communicating in direct experience of practitioners of the golden ,radiant , earth-touching , transforming Archetypal Shakyamuni Buddha. Such archetypes shaped and formed Mahayana Buddhism through its development.