Why I chose the method of anapanasati-bhavana follows on from why I meditate so let’s go into more detail on this (developing from purpose).
“Meditation can help you follow your path and be at peace.” For me this makes an assumption that we want to follow our path and be at peace ie end suffering; suffering ends when people are following their paths – another assumption. I know Four Agreements tells me not to make assumptions but this assumption is Dhamma, it is nature, tathata – the way it is. Certainly when you have worked through the 4 tetrads of anapanasati-bhavana (in the satipatthana sutta the four foundations of mindfulness) this will be clear, maybe it will be clear after finishing reading this?
According to Dhamma following your path is natural, it is your nature – spirit, so if it is natural why don’t we follow it? And the answer is conditioning, we are conditioned and we need to go beyond our conditioning to begin to follow our paths.
So what is conditioning? Conditioning begins from the moment we are born. From that moment we are expected to make agreements, and to begin with we do that instinctively – through our parents. Nature provides us with instincts to survive, and to begin with these instincts revolve around our relationship with parents; instincts are part of nature’s conditioning. Our parents bring to us who they are and we agree to be much of what our parents expect. As we get older we are conditioned by education, and even older by peers and the wider society. To follow our paths we need to learn what this conditioning is, and learn how to detach from old conditioning and not attach to new conditioning. Through meditation we learn how not to attach and detach.
Understanding what causes conditioning is important because it then helps us to remove that conditioning. Conditioning starts naturally with instinct. To begin with instinct is necessary for survival but as we mature such instinctive conditioning is not necessary and we can go beyond it. The next stage of our conditioning comes through education. Essentially education provides us with two tools, firstly it provides us with skills society needs, and secondly it provides us with the agreements required to function in our society. Skills are necessary, we need to be organised, read and write, and other skills that education provides but which are often not given their full import. And the reason some people don’t give these aspects of education their full value is because of the agreements that society requires of us. There are two tacit agreements that society, especially western society, expects of us – to accept wars for profits and to accept wage-slavery. These tacit agreements are part of our conditioning in schools yet they are rarely made explicit and are not conscious agreements that we make. In a sense these are shadow agreements – shadow conditioning. Why are these agreements necessary in our society? Our societies are dominated by the economic needs of the society, and those needs are defined by the 1%-satrapy. The 1% require increasing profits, they exert power and influence over our governments, and require of us our labour and consuming to continue making these profits. These social agreements change conditioning over times, the societal conditioning that we undergo now is not the same as the conditioning of the Buddha’s time, but the methods used for detaching and non-attaching to conditions are timeless – the Buddha’s wisdom is timeless.
During our lives we mature, we begin to understand the conditions that work on us in our lives, and using timeless methods we can remove this conditioning and follow our paths to be at peace.
To describe the actual meditation method of anapanasati-bhavana we look at the 4 tetrads of kaya – body, vedana – feelings, citta – mind and Dhamma (which can be variously considered in translation as Nature, Mother Earth, Gaia-consciousness or spirit); in Buddhism Dhamma has a specific meaning when I am not discussing Dhamma in Buddhist terms I prefer Gaia-consciousness. Through meditation we learn that kaya, vedana and citta create conditions in the mind which prevent proper “connection” with the Dhamma – sunnata, and if we learn how to stop creating these conditions then we reach atammayata which Ajaan Buddhadasa translates as “unconcoctability”. [In his translation of the satipatthana sutta Thanissaro Bhikkhu called atammayata non-fashioning]. The word concoct conjures up for me proliferations but I like the double meaning of fashion – fashion as in building (and therefore concocting) and fashion “a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behaviour” because it brings in the timely nature of contemporary conditions; the methods for achieving the state of mind of atammayata are timeless however.
When we are working towards atammayata we are trying to prevent body, emotions and mind from concocting conditions that prevent the mind from reaching a state that allows us to truly follow our path, to be at peace and end suffering. In a sense it is this state of atammayata that I was discussing in “The Treatise of Zandtao” when I described the 3 tenets of Zandtao:-
Once we have reached the understanding that Dhamma integrates the 4 tetrads, we can begin to see that the path comes from the Dhamma. Following the path is natural, it is what we are meant to do, but we fall short of doing this because we fail to remove conditioning. If we go beyond conditioning, let go of self and egos, then the path is freed and becomes what Dhamma intended. Once the 4th tetrad has been integrated then we are authentic in Dhamma following the path.
If you look at the Treatise, Manual, Matriellez education, Wai Zandtao scifi and still wish to proceed with the meditation scheme with Zandtao as advisor, write an email explaining what you hope to gain from meditation and send it here:-
|Once I have considered the email, we will start a dialogue through the internet based on daily meditation and daily reports.|