self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

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self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:36 pm

I've seen this mentioned in a number of books, i'm wondering, how often is self-generation as the deity done by itself, outside of Sadhana practice?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:40 pm

No one?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Ayu » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:18 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I've seen this mentioned in a number of books, i'm wondering, how often is self-generation as the deity done by itself, outside of Sadhana practice?

Maybe you could translate it a littlebit for non-native speakers?
What do you mean by "how often" and "itself"? Whom are you talking about? :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:43 pm

Hmmm......

I've gotta think this is a bit more of an advanced practice, for someone already familiar with the self-generation as outlined in sadhana....though in a sense, it's also a basic part of sadhana practice itself. In other words, the generation stage contemplations ARE samatha practice.

If you're talking about "spontaneous recollection," that can be used as a basis for samatha, but it's usually much more than that sort of approach.
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:08 pm

conebeckham wrote:Hmmm......

I've gotta think this is a bit more of an advanced practice, for someone already familiar with the self-generation as outlined in sadhana....though in a sense, it's also a basic part of sadhana practice itself. In other words, the generation stage contemplations ARE samatha practice.

If you're talking about "spontaneous recollection," that can be used as a basis for samatha, but it's usually much more than that sort of approach.



That answers it somewhat, I was just wondering whether people do generation by itself, I can see an argument that this approach would be..unbalanced I guess, but like I said I have read numerous books where front or self-generation is put in the category of shamatha practice..I understand it IS shamatha in the context of the sadhana of course, it just seemed in the books as if it was being alluded to as a stand alone practice as well.

Thanks.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby CrawfordHollow » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:14 pm

Are you asking about using self-generation of the deity as an object of shamata, or are you talking about using self-generation in post-meditation? I would have to agree with Cone, that self-generation and shamata go together. You need stable shamata to be effective at self-generation, while at the same time a one-pointed mind is produced from doing the visualizations. So your shamata will develop from doing generation stage practice. I don't think that I have ever heard of doing self-visualization as just a stand alone shamata practice. Of course, there are practices out there, such as some guru yogas, where you are visualizing yourself as a deity. These practices are not necessarily full on generation stage practices. I would suggest reading (if you haven't already) books like Gyatrul Rinpoche's Generating the Deity. The fairly new book Vajra Wisdom has two translations that I found very helpful in learning about generation stage. I am sure that you know this, but it is very good to learn about stable pride and the recollection of purity to get an idea about the meaning behind the visualizations. Generation stage is a huge subject, and I feel that I am just starting to scratch the surface of its meaning. I may be wrong, but I think that the feeling of the whole thing may be more important than what you are visualizing. Apologies if this has nothing to do with what you are asking.

Troy

Sorry I didn't see your post when I wrote this.
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:47 pm

No, both your answers were very relevant, thanks!
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Ayu » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:31 am

I wonder about your wording "by itself".
As far as i know, it is pretty much work of training and concentration to generate a visualization.
But i heard from a beginner in meditation, that he had some vision of the buddha coming nearer and nearer to him until they melt together. This came by itself while sitting in meditation.
He asked my teacher, if he was allowed to meditate like this because as a total beginner he had no initiation. The Geshe said Yes, it is okay.
Maybe it was a memory of his past life practices. :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby lobster » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:23 am

CrawfordHollow wrote:I may be wrong, but I think that the feeling of the whole thing may be more important than what you are visualizing.
Quite right. It also becomes clear that embodiment includes more than 'visualisation'. We might suggest incarnate representation of completely empowered qualities . . . :twothumbsup:
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Ayu » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:38 am

Ayu wrote:He asked my teacher, if he was allowed to meditate like this because as a total beginner he had no initiation. The Geshe said Yes, it is okay.

Edit: okay for him in this personal case.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Ayu wrote:I wonder about your wording "by itself".
As far as i know, it is pretty much work of training and concentration to generate a visualization.
But i heard from a beginner in meditation, that he had some vision of the buddha coming nearer and nearer to him until they melt together. This came by itself while sitting in meditation.
He asked my teacher, if he was allowed to meditate like this because as a total beginner he had no initiation. The Geshe said Yes, it is okay.
Maybe it was a memory of his past life practices. :smile:



That's very different than what i'm talking about, I was just asking about self-generation as the deity outside of sadhanas, but not in post-meditation.. like instead of of focus on breath etc., you sit for 30 minutes or whatever and do self generation, because i'd seen it mentioned in books like that.

From what i've asked my own teachers, I don't get the impression that it's "not ok" (though I could be wrong, and i'll bet there's different answers), I was just wondering if it's regularly done.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:45 pm

Personally, if I am strapped for time or do not have my sadhana text with me, I just go straight into the visualisation, but normally coupled with mantra and maybe the four line prayer for the deity (if I can remember it). Personally I cannot recollect any sadhana that has visualisation without mantra. To tell you the truth though, I rarely get into the mindset of seperating out that this part of the sadhana is shamatha, this part is shine, this part... I have not really been taught to see it that way
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:46 pm

I think it may be a good idea to do this to when you are learning a sadhana. Meditation is familiarization, right? So it would be good practice to get familiar with the visualization. As long as you don't ignore the other aspects of the sadhana and just focus on shamatha using the deity as an object, I would say it would be a fine way to practice shamatha, especially if you have had the empowerment.

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Re: self-generation as stand alone shamatha practice

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:09 pm

We should strive to generate ourselves as the yidam 24/7
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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