Wrote this on Valentine’s Day but it works every day.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! How’s it going?! Feeling happy?! Feeling loved? Or feeling unloved?! Feeling disappointed?!
Whether we are having a great day or a depressing one is not whether or not we have a hot partner (or any partner!) to go to dinner and a movie with, but whether or not we are feeling loving and/or blissful inside. (Click here for articles on overcoming loneliness.)
Is this true?: We try and make samsara work every day – not just on the macro scale, but even on the micro, organizing our kitchen cabinet, arranging the right date, etc. But it is never quite right. We organize our relationships and life and health and job, but we still have not quite found the right person or the right pair of shoes.
And on Valentine’s Day there seems to be an even bigger disconnect between trying to make things work and things not quite working. One problem with Valentine’s Day is that people set themselves up for disappointment by expecting things to happen – no surprise that calls to the suicide hotlines spike on February 14. (Someone just told me upon reading this today that Al Anon apparently refers to expectations as “pre-meditated resentments”…)
We can’t quite make anything work. We haven’t quite got it. But what we haven’t quite got is that it is samsara — the experience of an ordinary or deluded mind – that does not work. That cannot work. We need to understand the importance of going inside. And today would be a good day to understand the value of training in bliss.
Training in bliss
The initially imagined (but still functional) bliss that arises from dissolving everything into the experience of bliss and emptiness during Tantric generation stage and the natural bliss we get from the melting of the drops in the central channel once we are able to absorb our energy winds during Tantric completion stage leads to a Yogi or Yogini’s profound experience , as described in Tantric Grounds and Paths p. 141:
They feel that they experience a profound bliss mixed with emptiness, as if emptiness and their mind of bliss have become one entity… Once they have this experience they simultaneously perceive any objects such as forms that appear to them as manifestations both of emptiness and their mind of bliss.
We may not be able to do this yet, but nonetheless we can begin to incorporate the training in bliss into our life and it is important. Why? Because deep happiness and bliss ARE possible if we look in the right direction. And it is the experience of bliss mixed with the ultimate nature of reality, emptiness, that will finally set us free from attachment and all other delusions, and allow us to help others in the same way.
At the moment, unfortunately, whenever we experience a bit of happiness, from a sandwich or another person or a ray of sunshine on a cold day, we feel that the happiness is coming from an object outside of ourselves and we immediately develop attachment. “More of that please! I don’t want it to go away.” You’re out on a freezing cold day and the sun comes out from behind the clouds and warms your face, “Oh, that feels good!” Followed immediately by pain: “Nooo, here comes the cloud. Oh, come on!” Talking to a cloud.
Or you’re with a nice person having such a nice time – “Oh, you’ve got to go, so soon?” Pain. And that is what attachment does as it projects the happiness onto an external object or person, not understanding that the happiness is coming from within the mind. Attachment comes and spoils it. It spoils everything. So we need a basic training in ALLOWING ourself to enjoy deeply while recognizing that the enjoyment is actually coming from our mind.
So let’s say you are enjoying the presence of a person in your life. Enjoy it, but understand that the person is reminding you of the enjoyment that exists within your own mind. They are giving you a window into the fact that bliss is possible but only if you stay with the source of the happiness, which is not the person but your own experience.
Instead of allowing our mind to go out and grasp, to try and hold onto this person who is walking out the door (even if it’s for the last time), we just move the mind inwards so we stay with the enjoyment and we recognize, “This enjoyment is like a surface manifestation of the bliss that is in my mind, like a wave arising from a blissful ocean, reminding me of the bliss that is the actual nature of my mind.” Thank you very much! You’ve just reminded me that I can generate great bliss, meditate on emptiness, and become a Buddha! In this life. And it is going to be fun doing it because it is so blissful. As Geshe-la says in Tantric Grounds and Paths:
If our mind becomes full of bliss, all phenomena that appear to our mind are mere manifestations of our mind of bliss, because besides this they do not exist at all – like things in a dream.
We begin to enjoy ourselves but in a pure way so that we extract the enjoyment and let it remind us of the potential for bliss and emptiness. Instead of grasping at the external sunshine or person, we let go. We enjoy it when the sun is shining, we enjoy it when the sun goes behind the cloud. We enjoy being with the person, we enjoy it when the person disappears. This is because we are enjoying hanging out with the pure nature of our mind, and allowing ourself constantly to be reminded of what is possible.
Don’t grab, let go!
So, next time you feel the urge to try and grab your object of attachment – physically, verbally, or mentally – pause a moment and do this instead.
We imagine or remember having fun with them. We generate bliss. We let them go, let them dissolve away. We abide in bliss, waves of bliss arising from the root mind at our heart. We remember that nothing exists from its own side, not even them, that everything is mere name, mere hallucination, mere projection. We dissolve everything into bliss and emptiness, with the compassionate wish to become a Buddha and destroy everyone’s samsaric hallucinations right now.
We can do that as often as we want until it becomes second nature. Then we will really have transformed objects of enjoyment into the spiritual path, reducing our attachment and increasing our wisdom.
Here are some more articles explaining how to transform enjoyments/desire , as well as other things we can do with this experience. I hope you enjoy the bliss of your own mind today and every day.
I have a question on the union of bliss and emptiness. I always feel a separation between subject and object. Even though the mind of bliss and its object emptiness are the same nature, there is the subject-object duality that stays in my meditation and I try to get rid of it and go right up into confusion and dissatisfaction.
Bliss is the mental factor feeling and emptiness is the mental factor non-ignorance. How can they be objects when they are both parts of mind. And they are both mind, where is the object, since every mind must have an object?
I experience the same confusion when we do the bliss boost, we bring to mind an object and generate bliss and then we let go of the object and absorb into the bliss in our mind. If the object of that mind is gone, we are just left with mind with no object! But shouldn’t every mind has an object OR does the mental factor of the (blissful) feeling become the object of that primary mind? That brings forth the question: Can a mental factor of a primary mind be the object of that primary mind? If thats true, does that make this primary mind a self-cognizer?
Confused on a beautiful spring day 🙁
Emptiness is not a mental factor (or mind), it is lack of inherent existence. The wisdom realizing emptiness is the mental factor. The object of the bliss boost is bliss. There is no mind without an object. But we can meditate on feelings, states of mind, etc, and do all the time.
Got it! Thank you! Hmm.. when we meditate on feelings, feelings are not the object, because feelings are mind, then what will be the object? I guess it confusing because we say ‘the meditation object is..’ but actually its not the object, its a mind that the meditation object but the object of that mind is not the feeling or state of mind.. its something else.
For example, the object of meditation on bodhichitta is a determination or decision, or wish or determination, which is mental factor intention. But since its mind, its not an object per se, the object will be all living beings, with mental factor attention attending to their suffering? Am I understanding it correctly now? Thanks again!
Mind can also be the object of mind. Mind is sometimes subject, sometimes object. Object just means object of knowledge. The mind is also an object of knowledge.
Experientially, it seems true because when I do bliss boost and let go of the object that gave rise to the good feelings, my mind is pervaded by good feelings and the object disappears.
But if mind (in this case, the mental factor feelings) is the object of mind, does that not make it a self-cognizer, something we negate in Ocean of Nectar.
I really appreciate your patience here, I’m reading How to Understand The Mind and trying to hash out all my prior experiences in terms of mental factors.
No, it doesn’t, as the mind is not inherently existent and can discriminate mind.
Ok, thank you for your patience with me! Thanks for clarifying a lot of things. To be honest, I will need to contemplate more to really understand what you shared but I have a direction now! Thanks again. Tons of love, xoxo.
I like the idea of becoming more blisful everyday understanding that bliss it´s in our mind. I like even more the understanding that the supreme bliss comes from the practice of Moral Discipline, from wishing others to be happy, from consideration. When we watch our mind and carefully choose the actions that makes others happy and when we avoid the actions that makes others unhappy we are walking the path enlightened beings are showing us. This bliss is the one that inspires me from Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his books such as Tantric Grounds and Paths. This is the foundation of the Buddhist path. How wonderful to have pure examples to inspire us to practice Dharma correctly. An erudit that walks the talk in a world where even Dharma is polluted by worldly concerns. May all his disciples honour his teachings and efforts to spread pure dharma. Thank you to all of you who are sincerely trying to put his Dharma in to practice.
Thank you for a beautiful comment.
Just two months after receiving HYT empowerment, while attempting to develop an understanding of the practice and slowly/clumsily baby stepping my way into integrating them into meditation break, these articles are ENORMOUSLY appreciated! Thank you so much.
Luna, do you think that this method can be applied when our mind is experiencing strong attachment? Or would we have to reduce the attachment first and then apply it.
Good question. Depends on your wisdom and familiarity. Generally it is good to meditate on the faults of the mind of attachment, without identifying yourself with the attachment, until you want to be free from it; and then do this meditation.
Thank you for such a wonderful Valentines Day gift ❤️
I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂
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