Tantra: Enlightenment Through The Ordinary.

‘Tantra (तन्त्र) is a Sanskrit term that translates literally as ‘weave’ – but more specifically refers to the ‘weft’ of a loom, or the horizontal threads that are ‘weaved’ through the lengthwise warp threads. Indeed, the Sanskrit term ‘tantravaya’ refers to a ‘weaver’. The term ‘tantra’ can also be used to refer the ‘thread’ that is actually ‘weaved’, and is related to the Sanskrit term ‘tanti’ (तन्ति) which translates as a ‘cord’ traditionally used to tether calves. Furthermore, the verbal root ‘tan’ is defined as to ‘stretch’. This description of a practical handicraft has become adapted to describe a specific practice that links the practitioner to his teacher, to the Buddha, and to the goal of enlightenment. There is a common ‘thread’ that weaves its way through time and space, and which also links the practitioner as existing in the deluded sphere, to that of the unconditioned enlightened sphere.’

Jhana: The Buddhist Search For Focused Equanimity.

‘The physical material of the universal itself is not necessarily morally corrupt as it exists, but rather is made so by a mind projecting a distorted meaning onto, and into it. However, as the karmic fruits of an individual actually ‘pull’ a physical world into place, even morally inert matter is designed, through circumstance, to create experiences relevant to the karmic root actions themselves. Early Buddhism envisages 31 such states of existence that are only transcended through the experience of enlightenment at the point of the death of the last karmically inspired physical existence. Until that time, the mind appears to ‘burn’ with sensation and obsessive thought patterns that inspire actions that inevitably lead to further effects. This mechanism that sees the mind fabric intimately entwined with the physical world, has to be prevent from functioning in an unquestioned manner. The power of habit moves in one perpetuating direction, as like a piece of metal drawn to a strong magnet. Habitual tendencies appear ‘normal’ because they are familiar. Delusion is a comfortable state that ‘hurts’ those residing within it. The pain of delusion is never associated with the ‘delusion’ itself. The human will (cetana) is the Buddha’s key to suffering and its over-coming.’

The Transformative Psychology of Enlightenment.

‘Psychology in the West is a relatively new field of study. As such, there is no ‘one’ agreed approach to the theory of ‘mind’ in the Western tradition. Viewpoints vary from that of the neurologist, who views every attribute of human, conscious creativity as being nothing more than a mixture of chemical reactions and electrical impulses, to the psychotherapist, who works with the thought processes, so as to achieve a ‘balanced’ and culturally ‘agreed’ state of mind. Needless to say, virtually every other view of the mind fits somewhere inbetween these two broad perspectives. This dissertation will examine the many facets of the mind, as viewed from both the Western and Eastern traditions and the consequence of this combined knowledge for the modern and post-modern human condition.’

Karma: Buddhist Action Defined.

‘The Buddha ascribes a special status to in the human realm (this realm is number 5 of the 31 – which occurs as a karmic stage within the broad category of ‘kama loka’, and is known as the ‘manussa loka’ – with ‘manussa’ meaning ‘human), and in so doing automatically elevates this karmic formation as being superior in potential to all other realms, or types of re-birth. It is true, of course, that as long as an ordinary human remains with a mind driven by craving (tanha), no progress can be made and the individual, as a collection of habitual tendencies will bob around on the karmic seas for innumerable ages, experiencing the painful fruits (vipaka) of karma. However, despite this immense image of futile suffering, the Buddha teaches that salvation is possible on the human plane through the understanding and practicing of the noble eightfold path – which is contained within the teachings of the four noble truths.’

Anapanasati: Breath-Mindfulness.

‘Bare attention contains the breath in the cultivated stage. In the uncultivated, ordinary stage, the breath appears as a separate object outside of the awareness itself. Awareness and breath in the latter stage are not obviously connected or entwined in any usable sense. The two entities happen to exist in a single body, with no integrated common aim. Breath meditation is the means to unite these aspects and focus them toward the goal of mind development.’

Mindfulness: The Effectiveness of Attention Relocation.

‘Satipatthana – the establishing of mindfulness – is the prime Buddhist method of observing phenomena originating from both within and without the body and mind. It is the quality of mind that clearly perceives without error, and does not tire over-time. It is the practice of a continuous, non-judgemental awareness, that nevertheless, precisely distinguished between phenomena that are in nature pleasurable, neutral and full of suffering. This practice is one of a clear discernment that does not lapse for a single second.’

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