Calm Abiding

 

All of the teachings that Buddha gave can be summed up in the teachings of the six perfections.

The perfection of generosity.

The perfection of ethical discipline.

The perfection of patient tolerance.

The perfection of joyful perseverance.

The perfection of concentration.

The perfection of wisdom.

 

All of these perfections together constitute the authentic Buddhist path. Lacking any one of them, the path will be incomplete.

 

The teachings on calm abiding are to be found within the teachings of the perfection of concentration. Even though calm abiding isn’t unique to Buddhism, it is, however, a vital part of its path.

 

Calm abiding is a state of mind that is serenely stilled of all mental wandering, agitation, and dullness. The mind can abide with great clarity on any chosen object of focus, such as the breath, love, compassion, and visualizations found within tantra. Or it can simply abide without an object of focus, just resting in its unaltered, and spacious state.

 

It is said, "The difference between the practice of Buddhism with and without calm abiding, is like the difference between the footprints of an elephant and a mouse."

 

It is also said, "When wind blows upon a candle, its flame recedes and flickers, illuminating little. But without wind, the flame is big, stable and bright, illuminating all."

 

Similarly, the more stable and clear the mind becomes, the deeper we can plumb its depths, and the greater impact the other five perfections will have.

 

If somebody doesn’t practice Buddhism, but practices only calm abiding, it’s still very beneficial for this life.  Not only can their mind effortlessly concentrate on any task or object at hand, but with the calming of turbulent thoughts and disturbing emotions, a great stillness is revealed, bringing peace, contentment, happiness, and health.

 

Chamtrul Rinpoche will explain in detail how calm abiding is achieved.

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