The mind is constantly filled with activity; rich with it. Processing the infinite sensory inputs and directing physical responses to those inputs. Making correlations between what is sensed and memories or past experiences. Interpreting emotional feedback based on attractions and aversions while screening out information that is not essential to survival. This is accompanied by a steady stream of commentary on all of it.
The practice of danaparamita begins with cooling all of that activity down, turning down the volume so that what is being wished for can be heard. It begins with emptying out the pockets of personal agendas, judgments, expectations for return on investment, and attachment to what is thought of as mine. Dana paramita begins with a willingness to impoverish the conceptual, dualistic mind.
This diminishment of the usual, incessant mind activity occurs naturally when one is touched by suffering; our own or another’s. In the first instant of the experience of suffering the mind activity stops and there is an immediate innate response that is untouched by greed, hatred or delusion. The “riches” of habitual thinking, desires, and defenses are, just for an instant, wiped out. The practice of danaparamita is the cultivation of the empty, open, unburdened mind of that first instant after being exposed to suffering. It is the cultivation of being poor in mind.
Responding to suffering from this “impoverished” mind allows for unconditioned listening and a clear perception of what is wished for, leading to giving that is absent of a mine or yours, a separate self or other allowing for the experience of the true nature of reality as universal goodness.
“Blessed are the poor in mind for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
*I have taken some liberty here with a translation of the Aramaic ruwach using one of Strong’s definition. https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/strongs/H7308
With these words I pay homage to all buddhas, bodhisattvas, sentient beings, and the totality. May these words not confuse, bring doubt, or harm, but bring ease and warmth and an end to suffering for all beings.
A few more links with an open mind approach to the beatitudes
Practicing in sangha, even virtually, supports the practice of meditation differently than sitting solitarily. The members of the Sangha of the Pandemic, invite you to practice with us. No experience is required. There is no cost. Everyone is welcome.
We practice on ZOOM:
- Mondays – Calm abiding and insight meditation. 6 AM Pacific Time
- Tuesdays – Body awareness. 6 AM Pacific Time
- Thursdays – Tonglen, 6 AM Pacific Time
- Sundays – Brahmavihara. 7 AM Pacific Time
- Monday and Thursday. Contemplation and meditation. 4:30 PM Pacific Time
ZOOM Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789
Please feel free to reach out with questions or insights. Please also feel free to forward this post and invite others to join the sangha. You may find more reflections, poetry, art at sanghaofthepandemic.org . If you would like to leave comments or participate in ongoing discussions about a blog, go to the end of the individual post or click on the little green box floating on the page.