07 July 2014

Contemplation: Two Wings of a Bird

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:

In daily meditation practice, we work with two aspects of the mind:  its capacity to reason and conceptualize--the intellect--and the quality that is beyond thought--the pervasive, nonconceptual nature of mind.  Using the rational faculty, contemplate.  Then let the mind rest.  Think and then relax; contemplate and then relax.  Don't use one or the other exclusively, but both together, like the two wings of a bird. 

This isn't something you do only sitting on a cushion.  You can meditate in this way anywhere--while driving your car, while working.  It doesn't require special props or a special environment.  It can be practiced in all walks of life. 

Some people think that if they meditate for fifteen minutes a day, they ought to become enlightened in a week and a half.  But it doesn't work like that.  Even if you meditate and pray and contemplate for an hour of the day, that's one hour you're meditating and twenty-three you're not.  What are the chances of one person against twenty-three in a tug-of-war?  One pulls one way, twenty-three the other--who's going to win?

Chagdud Tulku, Gates to Buddhist Practice, p. 38

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