Before Prince Siddhartha became the Buddha, he realized things were not quite right in his world. Neurosis was continuously spreading in his kingdom. He decided to reject any approach to life that made him purely comfortable and happy and to search for some psychological sanity beyond that. He thought that meditating and studying with the holy men of the time would help him. Then he would be able to rule his kingdom and be a better king. He left his palace and studied with various gurus, who taught him all kinds of techniques: holding his breath, not holding his breath, sitting in different postures doing spiritual acrobatics, and many other approaches. But he found these techniques kept his mind very busy, rather than being simple and alone.
Having practiced for six years, he still had doubts about what he was doing. Then, it occurred to him that life is not so much a question of gain and loss. Instead, life is full of reality, and that reality rests in the mind. He realized that mind is constantly speeding, on and on. So Prince Siddhartha decided to stop that speed. He decided to sit and meditate under a bodhi tree on the banks of the Nairanjana River. His austerity had not proven to be the best way, so he decided to give that up. After sitting for a long time, not much happened. Then, he got up and walked around, and he was offered a drink of milk by a friend. He settled himself on a comfortable seat made of kusha grass. He began to relax and meditate again. At that moment, when he relaxed, the whole struggle began to dissolve. He realized that he shouldn't push so hard, but that he could give in and let himself go. That was the moment of enlightenment, which was not all that dramatic.
Edited from an unpublished transcript VIEWING AND WORKING WITH THE PHENOMENAL WORLD, a seminar at Naropa Institute, Talk One, June 10, 1976.
All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo and used by permission.
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Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week: teachings by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
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