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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nine ways of resting the mind - Rigpa Wiki

Nine ways of resting the mind (Wyl. sems gnas pa’i thabs dgu) when cultivating shamatha.

  1. Resting the Mind – focusing the mind upon an object [number 2 on the illustration]
  2. Resting the Mind Longer – maintaining that continuity [9]
  3. Continuously Resettling the Mind – whenever one forgets the object and becomes distracted one resettles the mind [13]
  4. Fully Settling the Mind – by settling in that way, the mind becomes increasingly focused on the object [16]
  5. Taming the Mind – by thinking of the qualities of samadhi, one feels greater joy for meditation [21]
  6. Pacification of the Mind – then seeing the faults of distraction, one’s dislike for meditation is pacified [22]
  7. Complete Pacification of the Mind – then whenever the cause of distraction, such as the subsidiary disturbing emotions or sleepiness or mental unease occur, they are completely pacified [24]
  8. One-pointedness – then one attains some stability through applying the antidotes for distraction [26]
  9. Resting in Equanimity – finally one is able to rest the mind on its object quite naturally, without resorting to any antidotes [28]

The ninth stage of resting the mind is also known as the ‘one-pointed mind of the desire realm’ (Wyl. ‘dod sems rtse gcig pa).

These are taken from Maitreya's Ornament of Mahayana Sutras (Skt. Mahayanasutralankara).

Six Powers

These stages are accomplished through the six powers (Wyl. stobs drug):

  1. Listening/study (Wyl. thos pa) – ‘resting the mind’ is accomplished through listening to meditation instructions
  2. Reflection (Wyl. bsam pa) – ‘resting the mind longer’ is accomplished through reflection and contemplation
  3. Mindfulness (Tib. drenpa; Wyl. dran pa) – through mindfulness one accomplishes ‘continuously resettling’ and ‘fully settling the mind’; whenever one is distracted one gathers the mind and slowly, through habituation, non-distraction occurs
  4. Awareness (Tib. shé shyin; Wyl. shes bzhin) – through awareness one accomplishes ‘taming the mind’, ‘pacifying the mind’ and ‘completely pacifying the mind’; with joy for awareness and seeing the faults of succumbing to thoughts and negative emotions, one no longer falls prey to them
  5. Diligence (Tib. tsöndrü; Wyl. brtson ‘grus) – through diligence one accomplishes ‘complete pacification’ and ‘one-pointedness’; even subtle thoughts and negative emotions are abandoned
  6. Complete familiarity (Wyl. yongs su ‘dris pa) – the final stage of ‘resting in equanimity’ where the mind is unaffected by the obstacles of dullness or agitation is accomplished through complete familiarity.

Four Mental Engagements

All of these stages can be condensed into the four mental engagements (Wyl. yid la byed pa bzhi):

  1. tightly focused engagement – relates to the first two stages of resting the mind
  2. interrupted engagement – this occurs from stage three to stage seven, when one is still susceptible to the obstacles of dullness and agitation and is therefore unable to abide for a long time
  3. uninterrupted engagement – at stage eight one is able to remain unaffected by the obstacles of dullness and agitation without too much exertion
  4. effortless engagement – at the ninth stage one is able to maintain the practice effortlessly
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