Note: This blog is part of a series sharing the teachings of the Atisha's Lojong Root Verses on Training the Mind as shared by Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo in London May 28 & 29, 2016. These are not transcriptions of the lectures, rather a collection of her thoughts sewn together.
17. The Supreme companions are mindfulness and alertness.
We forget to remember and be present and aware.
In looking at the original text, Jetsumna bemused that no one has really come up with a satisfactory translation for the original Tibetan word. (I am sorry to not know which word she means. If you are reading this and do, please help.)
We use the word mindfulness. Sometimes you’ll see clear comprehension or introspection.
These two qualities go together. Can the mind stay centered and aware of what is happening. Again, there are four primary places to be aware.
1. Awareness of the Physical
The Buddha suggested that we might start with becoming aware of our posture when we are sitting, lying, standing and walking. There is a giant difference between just sitting and being aware of sitting. Awareness of the breath is also awareness of the physical realm.
2. Awareness of the Sensations
This is the level of awareness that most are familiar with because of Goenka and vipassana.
3. Awareness of the Mind
This is where the Tibetan teachings really excel.
4. Awareness of Mental Formations
All of these help us pin down into the present moment.
Alertness is a quality of the mind to be able to overlook itself and be aware of what its doing.
We have two primary problems:
- Distraction of the Mind
- Sinking of the Mind
Do we know the difference between being a profound meditation and dullness? If our dullness is encouraged, the belief is that we will be reborn as a cow. If we are meditating properly and on track, the mind is at ease with the subject of mediation. The mind feels clear, awake, very vivid and open. The mind does not feel drugged or heavy. Walking meditation can be vey helpful if you always feel sleepy during sitting meditation.