By Ösel Tendzin, Donna Holm
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Additional info for Buddha in the palm of your hand
We look for a path, a teaching that is not based on accumulating further neurosis and confusion. The discipline that provides the framework for our entire path is the formal practice of sitting meditation. Meditation practice allows us to look at things clearly, and we begin to develop mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention to the details of our experience. Without mindfulness, we stumble, we get confused, we lose our way, and there is no possibility of proceeding. When we do not miss the details of our experience, we are awake, alert, and precise.
The meditation practice that cultivates mindfulness is known in Sanskrit as shamatha, which means dwelling in peace-taming the mind. The Tibetan term for that is shine. Peacefulness does not mean numbness or casualness, but rather feeling at home with the natural precision of mind. The practice of shamatha meditation is characterized by expanding rather than focusing on one point. Centralizing everything is a problem because it assumes that everything revolves around " me, " " myself. " Clinging to the notion of self produces the pain of hope and fear.
When we experience that our practice has no purpose, our awareness and sensitivity to the environment become acute. We begin to realize that awareness is present in the environment itself; therefore it needs no purpose. It is not our awareness; it does not depend on the reference point of ego at all. At this point, awareness is seen as intelligent, self-existing, and continuous. This realization is based on true insight, that is, the direct knowledge of things as they are. That knowledge is not limited to a mere description or an accumulation of data.