126.96.36.199 Identifying objects of meditation for this context
Now, from among the many objects of meditation I have explained, on which object of meditation should you base yourself so as to achieve serenity?
As stated in the sūtra passage cited above, there is no single, definite object; individuals require their particular object of meditation.
Specifically, if you are determined to achieve serenity at the least, and if your behavior is dominated by attachment or another affliction, then you need to use a certain type of object of meditation.
For if you do not, then you may attain a concentration that approximates serenity, but you will not attain actual serenity.
It is said that even if you train with an object of meditation for purifying behavior, you will not achieve serenity unless you do so for a very long time, so how could you ever achieve it by rejecting objects of meditation for purifying behavior?
In particular, if you have a predominance of discursiveness, then you definitely have to meditate on the breath.
If you are a person of balanced behavior or a person with slight afflictions, then, as explained before, make your meditative base whichever of the objects of meditation explained above most appeals to you.
Alternatively, Kamalaśīla's 《middle and last Stages of Meditation》 follow the 《Sūtra on the Concentration Which Perceives the Buddha of the Present Face to Face》 and the 《King of Concentrations Sūtra》 in stating that you achieve concentration by focusing on the body of the Tathāgata.
Also, the master Bodhibhadra explains a multitude [of objects]:
Here, serenity is twofold: that attained by looking inward and that [based on] an object of meditation viewed outwardly.
Of those, looking inward is twofold: focusing on the body and focusing on what is based on the body.
Of those, focusing on the body is threefold: focusing on the body itself in the aspect of a deity; focusing on ugliness, such as skeletons; and focusing on special insignia such as a khatvānga.
Focusing on what is based on the body is fivefold: focusing on the breath, focusing on subtle divine insignia, focusing on the drops, focusing on the aspects of light rays, and focusing on delight and bliss.
Serenity based on an object of meditation viewed outwardly is twofold: special and common. Of those, the special is twofold: focusing on a deity's body and focusing on a deity's speech. Atisha's 《Commentary on his own Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment》 also cites this passage.
In this regard, to keep your attention on the physical form of the Buddha is to recall the Buddha, so it gives rise to limitless merit.
When your image of that body is clear and firm, then there is a special intensification of your meditative focus on the field in relation to which you amass merit through prostration, offering, aspirational prayer, etc., as well as on the field in relation to which you purify obscurations through confession, restraint, etc.
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This kind of meditation serves many purposes. As stated earlier in the extract from the 《King of Concentrations Sūtra》, it has advantages such as your not losing your mindfulness of the Buddha as you die. And when you cultivate the mantra path, it heightens deity yoga, etc.
The 《Sūtra on the Concentration Which Perceives the Buddha of the Present Face to Face》 gives a very clear and detailed treatment of these benefits, as well as the method for directing your mind toward the Buddha.
Therefore, you should definitely come to know them from there, as Kamalaśīla states in his 《last Stages of Meditation》. Fearing verbosity, I do not write of them here.
Consequently means when you seek an object of meditation by which you achieve concentration and also fulfill, along the way, some other special purpose.
How do you use something like the bodily form of the Tathâgata as an object of meditation?
Kamalaśīla's 《last Stages of Meditation》 states:
In that regard, practitioners should first fix their attention on whatever they may have seen and whatever they may have heard about the bodily form of the Tathāgata, and then achieve serenity. The bodily form of the Tathāgata is a golden color like that of refined gold, adorned by the signs and exemplary features, dwells with its retinue, and effects the aims of living beings through various means.
By continuously directing their minds toward it, yogis develop a wish for its good qualities and quell laxity excitement, and so forth. They should continue meditative stabilization for as long as they can see it clearly, as though the Buddha was sitting in front of them.
The 《King of Concentrations Sūtra》 also says that you should use this kind of object of meditation:
The glorious protector of the world
With a body the color of gold—
The bodhisattva whose mind engages this object
Is said to be in equipoise.
Of the two ways to do this, newly imagining the Buddha's form and visualizing the Buddha's form as though actually present, the latter has a distinct advantage in developing faith and fits within the context of practices common to both sūtra and tantra vehicles. Therefore, use a visualized image of the Buddha's form as though it already actually exists.
When you seek your object of meditation, the basis upon which you first keep your attention, look for an excellent painting or sculpture of the Teacher's body and view it again and again. Remembering its features, firmly familiarize yourself with the mental appearance of the object.
Or, seek your object of meditation by reflecting upon the meaning of the eloquent descriptions of the Buddha's form which you have heard from your guru and make this image appear in your mind.
Furthermore, do not let the object of meditation have the aspect of a painting or sculpture; rather, learn to have it appear in your mind with the aspect of an actual buddha.
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Some set an image before them and immediately meditate on it while staring at it. The master Ye-shay-day's rejection of this practice is excellent. He says that concentration is not achieved in the sensory consciousnesses, but in the mental consciousness;
thus, the actual object of meditation of a concentration is the actual object of a mental consciousness. Therefore you must keep your attention on this.
He also states what I explained above, that you have to focus your mind on the appearance of the actual concept, or mental image, of the object of meditation.
Furthermore, there are both subtle and gross features of the Buddha's bodily form. It is stated elsewhere that at first you focus on the gross features, and later, when these are solid, you must focus on the subtle. As experience also shows that it is very easy to raise an appearance of the gross features, you must develop your object of meditation in stages starting with the gross features.
An especially important point is that, until you have accomplished satisfactory concentration as explained below, it is never appropriate for you to cultivate meditative concentration by shifting your focus to many different types of objects of meditation.
For if you cultivate concentration by moving to many dissimilar objects of meditation, it will be a great impediment to achieving serenity.
Thus, authoritative texts on achieving concentration, such as Asanga's texts on the levels and Kamalaśīla's 《three Stages of Meditation》, explain that when first achieving concentration, you do so in relation to a single object of meditation; they do not say that you shift among many objects of meditation.
Aryasūra also clearly states this [in his Compendium of the Perfections]:
Solidify your mind's reflection
By being firm on one object of meditation;
Letting it flow to many objects
Leads to a mind disturbed by afflictions.
He says this in the section on achieving meditative stabilization.
Also, Atisha's 《Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment》 states:
Settle your mind in virtue
On any single object of meditation.
He makes his point with the phrase "on any single。 " Thus, having first focused on one object of meditation and attained serenity, you may then focus on many objects of meditation.
Kamalaśīla's first Stages of Meditation states:
Only when you have earned concentrated attention should you focus in detail on the particulars of objects, such as the aggregates and constituents. It is in light of the particulars of yogis' meditation on objects such as the eighteen emptinesses that the Buddha states in sūtras such as the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 that there are many aspects of objects of meditation.
Accordingly, the measure for having first found the object of meditation upon which you keep your attention is as follows: Visualize several times in sequence the head, two arms, the rest of the trunk of the body, and the two legs. After that, if when you bring your attention to the body as a whole
you can raise before your mind just half of the gross components, then—even without radiant clarity—you should be satisfied with just this and fix your attention upon it.
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Why? if, dissatisfied with just that you fail to fix attention on it and want more clarity instead, then, as you visualize it again and again, the object of meditation will become a bit clearer but you will not obtain a stable concentration; in fact, you will prevent yourself from getting this.
Even though the object of meditation is not very clear, if you keep your attention on precisely this partial object of meditation, you will quickly obtain concentration. Since this then intensifies clarity, you will readily achieve clarity. This comes from the instructions of Ye-shay-day, it is of great importance.
As for the manner in which the object of meditation appears, you can describe two sets of four possibilities:
for various types of persons, it is easy or difficult to have an image appear, and its appearance may be clear or unclear; moreover, both clear and unclear images may be either stable or unstable. However, as there is considerable variation, you cannot definitely determine what will occur.
When you are practicing deity yoga in the mantra vehicle, you definitely have to establish a clear image of the deity. So until this arises, you must use many methods for developing it.
However, in this non-tantric context, if you have great difficulty in making an image of a deity appear, you may adopt any one of the objects of meditation presented above and keep your attention on it because the main purpose is simply to achieve a concentration of meditative serenity.
Also, in this non-tantric context, if you practice by focusing on the body of a diety and you keep your attention there even though the image is not appearing, then you will not achieve your desired aim. Thus, you have to keep your attention on an image that does not appear.
Keep your attention on the entirety of the body to the extent that it appears. If some parts of the body appear especially clearly keep your attention on them. When they become unclear, return your attention to the entirety of the body.
At that time, there may be uncertainty as to color, as when you want to meditate on gold, but red appears; or uncertainty as to shape, as when you want to meditate on a sitting shape, but a standing shape appears; or uncertainty as to number, as when you want to meditate on one thing, but two things appear; or uncertainty as to size, as when you want to meditate on a large body, but a tiny body appears.
As it is utterly inappropriate to pursue such distortions, you must use only the original object of meditation, whatever it may be, as your object of meditation.
第二心於彼所緣如何安住分三，一 立無過規，二 破有過規，三 示修時量。
1.2.2. How to focus your mind on the object of meditation.
This has three parts:
188.8.131.52 presenting the flawless method,
184.108.40.206 eliminating flawed methods, and
220.127.116.11 indicating the length of sessions.
18.104.22.168 The flawless method
The concentration that you will accomplish here has two special features: vivid intensity—an intense mental clarity—and non-discursive stability, staying one-pointedly on the object of meditation. Some add bliss to these, making three features; others add limpidity as well, making four.
However, limpidity is included in the first feature, so it does not have to be listed as a separate item. Delight and bliss which impart a sense of well-being do occur as results of the concentration that you will accomplish here, but they are not concomitant with all of the concentrations which are included in the access to the first meditative stabilization.
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Also, the concentration of the fourth meditative stabilization—which is said to be the the basis for achieving the good qualities of all three vehicles—is not associated with any physical or mental bliss. Thus, delight and bliss are not counted as features here.
While some of the concentrations on the formless levels lack highly vivid intensity, there is nothing wrong with presenting vividness as one of these two features.
For, Maitreya's 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 refers to "meditative stabilization other than the formless realm." This means that bodhisattvas—except for some powerful bodhisattvas—achieve good qualities by relying on concentrations within the levels of meditative stabilization.
Since the development of this sort of vivid intensity is blocked as long as there is laxity, while one-pointed non-discursiveness is blocked as long as there is excitement, laxity and excitement are the chief obstacles to achieving genuine concentration.
So if you do not understand how to identify accurately the subtle and coarse forms of laxity and excitement, or if you do not know how to correctly sustain a concentration which stops these once you have identified them, then it will be impossible for you to develop serenity, not to mention insight. Hence, those who diligently seek concentration should master these techniques.
Laxity and excitement are conditions unfavorable for achieving serenity. Later, I will discuss how to identify these unfavorable conditions and how to actually stop them. Now I shall explain how to develop concentration in a manner conducive to achieving serenity.
Here, concentration refers to your attention remaining one-pointedly on an object of meditation; in addition it must stay with the object continuously.
Two things are needed for this: (1) a technique in which your attention is not distracted from whatever it had as its original object of meditation, and (2) an accurate awareness of whether you are distracted and whether you are becoming distracted. The former is mindfulness; the latter is vigilance.
Vasubandhu's 《Commentary on the Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 states:
Mindfulness and vigilance bring about close mental focus because the former prevents your attention from wandering from the object of meditation and the latter clearly recognizes that your attention is wandering.
If a lapse in mindfulness leads to forgetting the object of meditation, you will be distracted and will immediately lose the object upon which you are meditating. Therefore, the foundation of cultivating concentration is mindfulness which does not forget the object. How does such mindfulness focus your mind right on the object of meditation?
Once you have at least visualized the object of meditation in the minimal manner as explained above, generate a powerful apprehension of the object that tightly holds it with your attention. After you have set your attention at a high level, stabilize it on the object without newly analyzing anything.
With regard to mindfulness, Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》says: What is mindfulness? In regard to a familiar object, your mind is not forgetful and operates without distraction.
This indicates that mindfulness has three features. (1) Its observed object is "a familiar object," since mindfulness does not occur with regard to a previously unfamiliar object.
In this case, the image of a previously ascertained object of meditation appears.
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(2) Its subjective aspect or manner of apprehension is your mind's not forgetting the object, as indicated by the phrase "your mind is not forgetful." In this case, it is your mind's non-forgetfulness of the object of meditation.
What does non-forgetfulness mean? It is not mentioned in reference to merely being able to remember what your guru taught you about the object of meditation, thinking or saying "The object of meditation is like this" when you cast your mind to it or when someone asks you about it. Rather, it refers to how your attention is fixed on the object of meditation and brings it to mind clearly without even the slightest distraction.
If you are distracted, you lose your mindfulness to the extent that you are distracted. Therefore, after you have set your attention on the object of meditation in the manner explained above,
you think, "In this way, I have fixed my attention on the object of meditation." Then, without new examination, you sustain the force of that awareness in unbroken continuity. This is the most critical point in the technique of maintaining mindfulness.
(3) Its function is to keep your attention from wandering from the object of meditation. Fixing your attention on an object of meditation in this way and controlling it is said to be like taming an elephant.
An elephant trainer ties a wild elephant to a tree or sturdy post with many thick ropes. If it does as the trainer teaches it, then fine; if not, it is subdued and controlled, struck repeatedly with a sharp iron hook.
Your mind is like the untamed elephant, you bind it with the rope of mindfulness to the sturdy pillar of an object of meditation such as I explained above. If you cannot keep it there, you must gradually bring it under control by goadingit with the iron hook of vigilance.
Bhavaviveka's 《Heart of the Middle Ways》 states:
The erring elephant of your mind
Is securely bound by the rope of mindfulness
To the sturdy pillar of the object of meditation
And is gradually controlled with the iron hook of intelligence.
Also, Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 states: With the ropes of mindfulness and vigilance, tie the elephant of your mind to the tree trunk, the object of meditation.
It is not contradictory that the former text likens vigilance to an iron hook while the latter text compares it to a rope. Mindfulness directly and continually fastens your attention to the object of meditation. However, indirectly vigilance also focuses your attention on the object of meditation, for you depend on noticing actual or incipient laxity and excitement with vigilance, and then stabilize your attention on the primary object without falling under their influence.
Also, as cited above, the master Vasubandhu says that both mindfulness and vigilance focus your mind on the object of meditation. It is said that you achieve concentration on the basis of mindfulness and that mindfulness is like a rope that actually fastens your attention to the object of meditation continuously, so mindfulness is the main technique to sustain in achieving concentration.
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Also, mindfulness has a way of apprehending its object that carries a sense of certitude. If, while maintaining concentration, you stabilize your mind casually without a solid sense of certainty about the object, then your mind may take on a limpid clarity, but it will not have the vivid intensity of certain knowledge, so you will not develop powerful mindfulness. Therefore, subtle laxity will be unchecked, and only flawed concentration will ensue.
Those who cultivate just non-discursive attention without stabilizing their attention on other objects of meditation, such as a divine body, bring to mind the personal instruction, "Stabilize your mind without thinking of any object at all." Then they must keep their attention from being distracted and wandering. This nondistraction is synonymous with mindfulness that does not forget the object of meditation. Thus, since this meditation is simply the technique of maintaining mindfulness, those who meditate in in this way must also rely on a mindfulness that carries the force of certain knowledge.
22.214.171.124 eliminating flawed methods,
There are misconceptions to dispel, such as the following:
Wrong position: If you set your consciousness at a high level as you have explained above and then tightly stabilize it without discursiveness, there will indeed not be even the slightest fault of laxity. However, since this increases excitement, you will see that you cannot prolong stability, and your elevated consciousness is brought down. As you will see that relaxing a well-tightened mind quickly leads to stability, this technique is a great personal instruction.
Reply: With a sense of assurance, these words proclaim in a loud voice, "Good relaxation is good meditation."
Yet, they fail to differentiate laxity and meditation. Thus, as I explained above, flawless concentration must have two features; the firm stability of nondiscursive attention does not alone suffice.
Wrong position: At that time, laxity is when your mind darkens and becomes clouded; without this, your mind has a limpid clarity, so your concentration is flawless.
Reply: As this statement does not differentiate lethargy and laxity, I will elaborate on them later.
Thus, if you use an intense cognition that is too tight, you may have clarity, but excitement will predominate so that it will be hard to develop stability. If you sustain your meditation after becoming greatly relaxed, then you may have stability, but laxity will predominate so that there is no vivid intensity.
It is very hard to find the right balance of tension so as to be neither too taut nor too relaxed, and for this reason it is hard to develop a concentration free from laxity and excitement.
With this in mind, the master Candragomin stated in his 《Praise of Confession》:
If I use exertion, excitement arises;
If abandon it, slackness ensues;
It is hard to find the right balance in this—
What should I do with my troubled mind?
The meaning of this is as follows: "Use exertion" means your mind is too tight; when you do this, excitement arises.
When you let the tightness go and relax too much, you produce slackness, with your attention remaining inward.
So it is difficult to find the proper balance for an even state of mind, free from laxity and excitement.
Again, Buddhasanti's 《Commentary on the "Praise of Confession"》 says: "Exertion" here refers to tightly focusing your mind on virtue with clear enthusiasm.
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And: After you see the problem of incipient excitement, you abandon your exertion; that is, you give up your effort. Thereupon, your attention becomes slack.
Candragomin's Praise of Confession also states:
If I strain to engage the object, excitement Occurs;
If I relax, slackness develops.
It is hard to find a practice midway between these two—
What should I do with my troubled mind?
Buddhasanti's commentary on this is clear: If you strain for a tight focus on the object and exert yourself, your mind becomes excited and distracted, and you thereby destroy your concentration. Therefore, you are not attaining mental stability through exertion. This is problematic,
so in order to avoid it you relax your mind, which has been straining to engage the object, and give up your exertion. Then faults such as forgetting the object of meditation lead to slackness and laxity.
Therefore, Candragomin says "it is hard to find" a concentration that is the right balance or midway practice free from the two extremes of laxity and excitement. If getting quite relaxed were adequate, there would not be any problem at all.
Since the text says that this leads to laxity, it is obviously improper to use this method to achieve concentration. It is not enough to have the clarity which is simply the limpid quality of a very relaxed mind; there also must be a degree of tightness in the way you apprehend the object.
In his discussion of the method used in the first two of the nine mental states, the noble Asanga says: For stabilizing and properly stabilizing your mind on this object, there is the attention of tight focus.
Also, Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 says: After you clear away laxity, firmly hold just the object of meditation.
And Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 states:
Then, after you have quelled laxity, by all means make it so that your mind very clearly sees just the object of meditation.
When Kamalaśīla says "your mind very clearly sees", mean only that the object is clear; he means that you mind's way of apprehending the object is clear and firm. The above-mentioned way of maintaining mindfulness is extremely important. Without knowing it your meditation will show a great numbers of faults, such as slipping into great forgetfulness commensurate with the amount of your meditation or dulling the wisdom that differentiates phenomena. Nevertheless you mistakenly presume that you have a solid concentration.
Question: While mindfulness fixes your attention on the object of meditation as explained above, is it appropriate to monitor your meditation and think about whether you are holding the object of meditation well?
Reply: You have to do this, for Kamalaśīla's second Stages of Meditation states: After you have thus set your attention on whatever your chosen object of meditation may be, fix it there continuously. While you stay right with the object, analyze and investigate your mind, thinking: "Is my mind apprehending the object of meditation well? Or is it lax? Or is it distracted by the appearance of external objects?"
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It is not that you stop your concentration and then look at your mind. Rather, while maintaining your state of concentration, you just look to see whether your attention is staying where it was previously set on the primary object of meditation and, if it is not, whether there is laxity or excitement. After you have settled into on you monitor this at moderate intervals, neither too often nor too seldom.
If you do this while the intensity and force of the previous awareness are not quite gone, it takes place within the perspective of this awareness. This has the purpose of both enabling long-lasting, intense stability, and letting you quickly recognize laxity and excitement.
Accordingly, this is how you sustain your mindfulness, for a necessary cause of powerful and continuous mindfulness is sustaining your meditation by repeatedly reminding yourself, at intervals, of the intended object of meditation.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 says: In this regard, what is a one-pointed mind? Any continuum of attention that remembers again and again, focuses on a consistently similar object, and is continuous, free of misdeeds, and possessed of delight is called "concentration," as well as "a one-pointed virtuous mind."
What does it remember again and again? You perceive the object of meditation—the characteristic of someone in equipoise—from the viewpoint of any teaching that you have memorized or heard, and upon which you have received instructions and explications from your gurus. You engage and focus on this object with continuous mindfulness.
Also, Sthiramati's 《Explanation of the "Separation of the Middle from the Extremes"》 states: The statement "Mindfulness means not forgetting the object of meditation" means that you mentally express the instructions on stabilizing your mind.
Therefore, you maintain mindfulness to stop forgetfulness wherein you stray from the object of meditation. Hence, non-forgetfulness of the object of meditation—wherein forgetfulness is stopped-is when you "mentally express" the object of meditation; you bring the object of meditation to mind again and again.
For example: when you are anxious about forgetting something you know, it will be hard to forget if you recall it again and again.
Thus, you have to remind yourself of the object of meditation at moderate intervals in order to develop strong mindfulness. The way to strengthen your vigilance, which notices laxity and excitement, is to lock your attention on the object of meditation without distraction, and then to monitor it.
Realize that if you repudiate such a procedure by thinking, "This is discursiveness," it will be extremely difficult to develop powerful mindfulness and vigilance.
126.96.36.199 indicating the length of sessions.
Question: When you fix your attention on the object of meditation with mindfulness, is there a definite length or the session, such that you say, "I will stabilize my mind on the object only սոtll then?"
Reply: On this matter, all earlier gurus of the various. Tibetan lineages say that you have to do numerous short sessions.
Why? Some say that if you meditate in brief sessions and stop when it is going well, you will still be eager to meditate at the end of each session, while if the session is long, you will become weary.
Others explain that if the session is long, it is easy to fall under the sway of laxity and excitement, so it is hard to develop flawless concentration.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 and other classic texts do not state the length of sessions clearly.
However, Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 does say: At this stage in meditative equipoise for twenty-four minutes, an hour-and-a-half, three hours, or as long as you can.
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While this statement occurs in the context of the length of the session for cuItivating insight after you have already achieved serenity, it is clear similar when you are first achieving serenity, so do it this way.
If you practice the techniques of mindfulness and vigilance explained above—reminding yourself of the object of meditation and monitoring your meditation at moderate intervals—it does not matter if the session is a little long.
However, usually one of two things will happen when you are a beginner and have a long sesion. On the one hand you may become distracted due to forgetfulness. In this case, you will not recognize the occurrence of any laxity or excitement quickly but only after a long period of time. On the other hand, though you may not lose your mindfulness, it is easy to fall under the sway of laxity and excitement, and you will not quickly recognize them when they occur.
The first situation hinders the development of strong mindfulness; the latter hinders the development of strong vigilance. Hence, it is very difficult to stop laxity and excitement.
In particular, failing to recognize laxity and excitement after you have become distracted due to forgetting the object of meditation is much worse than failing to quickly recognize laxity and excitement while not forgetting the object of meditation. So the techniques for maintaining mindfulness—the previously explained remedies which stop the breakdown of mindfulness ensuing from distraction—are very important.
If you have great forgetfulness ensuing from distraction, as well so weak that it does not quickly recognize laxity and excitement then your session must be short. If it is hard for you to forget the object and you can quickly notice laxity and excitement, it does not matter if the session is a little long.
This is the idea behind Kamalaśīla's statement above that the duration of a session is indefinite: twenty-four minutes and so forth. In short, since the duration has to comport with your mental capacity, Kamalaśīla says "as long as you can."
If temporary injury to your mind or body does not occur, set your mind in equipoise. If such injury does occur, do not persist in meditating, but immediately stop your session and then clear away the impediments in your mental and physical constituents. Then meditate. This is what the adepts intended, so recognize that doing this is an aspect of how long a meditation session should be.
第三住所緣後應如何修分二，一 有沉掉時應如何修，二 離沉掉時應如何修。
1.3. What to do after you focus on an object of meditation ？
This has two sections:
1.3.1 What to do when laxity and excitement occur
1.3.2 What to do when laxity and excitement are absent
初又分二，一 修習對治不知沉掉，二 修習知已為斷彼故對治不勤功用。
What to do when laxity and excitement occur. This has two parts:
188.8.131.52 Using the remedy for failing to recognize laxity and excitement
184.108.40.206 Using the remedy for failing to try to eliminate them even when they are recognized
初又分二，一 決擇沉掉之相，二 於正修時生覺沉掉正知之方便。
Using the remedy for failing to recognize laxity and excitement. This has two sections:
220.127.116.11.1 the defining characteristics of laxity and excitement, and
18.104.22.168.2 the method for developing vigilance that recognizes them during meditation.
22.214.171.124.1 the defining characteristics of laxity and excitement
Excitement is defined in Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》: What is excitement? It is an unquiet state of mind, considered a derivative of attachment, which pursues pleasant objects and acts as an impediment to meditative serenity.
There are three aspects to this definition: (1) Its object is an attrao tive and pleasant one.
(2) Its subjective aspect is that your mind is unquiet and scattered outward. As it is a derivative of attachment, it engages its object with a sense of craving.
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(3) Its function is to impede stabilization of your mind on its object.
When your attention is inwardly fixed upon its object, excitement—which is attached to form, sound, and so on—pulls your attention helplessly toward these objects and causes distraction.
As it says in Candragomin's 《Praise of Confession》:
Just as you are focused on meditative serenity,
Directing your attention toward it again and again,
The noose of the afflictions pulls your attention
Helplessly with the rope of attachment to objects.
Question: Is it excitement when there is scattering in which other afflictions distract your mind away from the object—or, for that matter, when there is scattering toward other virtuous objects?
Reply: Excitement is a derivative of attachment, so being distracted by other afflictions is not excitement; rather, it is the mental process of distraction which is one of the twenty secondary afflictions. Scattering toward virtuous objects may involve any virtuous mind or mental process, so not all scattering is excitement.
Many translations render laxity as "slackness", but this "slackness" should not be construed as meaning discouragement. As for its definition, most yogis among these snowy peaks seem to consider laxity to be a lethargic state of mind that stays on its object of meditation without scattering elsewhere but lacks limpid clarity.
This is incorrect, for lethargy is said to cause laxity, so the two are distinct,
as suggested in Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》：If, being oppressed by lethargy and sleepiness, you see your mind become lax, or in danger of laxity....
Also, the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says: If there is laxity due to lethargy and sleepiness, or if you are afflicted by any secondary afflictions in meditative absorption, it is a case of internal mental distraction.
This states that when your mind becomes lax due to lethargy and sleepiness, it is distracted inwardly.
Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》 also discusses laxity in the context of the secondary affliction of distraction, but distraction as he explains it may also be virtuous, so it is not necessarily afflictive.
Of lethargy, then, Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》 says: What is lethargy? An unserviceable state of mind classified as a derivative of delusion, it works to assist all root afflictions and secondary afflictions.
So, this derivative of delusion is the heaviness and unserviceability of body and mind.
Vasubandhu's 《Treasury of Knowledge Autocommentary》 says: What is lethargy? The heaviness of the body and the heaviness of the mind which are the unserviceability of the body and the unserviceability of the mind.
Laxity means that your mind's way of apprehending the object of meditation is slack, and it does not apprehend the object with much vividness or firmness. So even if it is limpid, if your mind's way of apprehending the object is not highly vivid, then laxity has set in.
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Kamalaśīla's《second Stages of Meditation》 states: When your mind does not see the object vividly—like a person born blind, or a person entering a dark place, or like having one's eyes shut—then recognize that your mind has become lax.
I have not seen a clear presentation of the definition of laxity in the other classic texts.
Laxity may be virtuous or ethically neutral, whereas lethargy s either a nonvirtuous or ethically neutral mental obstruction, and it is invariably a derivative of delusion.
Moreover, the classic texts say that to dispel laxity, you must bring to mind pleasant objects such as the body of the Buddha, or meditate on light so as to stimulate your mind. Therefore, you have to stop the object from appearing unclearly, as though darkness were descending on your mind, and you have to put an end to the quality of attention which has become flaccid.
You need both a clear object of meditation and a tight way of apprehending the object. Neither a clear object alone nor transparency of the subject alone is enough.
It is easy to recognize excitement, but laxity is hard to comprehend since it is not clearly identified in the authoritative classic texts. It is also very important because in this case it is a major point of misunderstanding concerning flawless concentration. Therefore you should experience laxity with an exacting awareness, and on that basis examine it well and identify it in accordance with Kamalaśīla's 《Stages of Meditation》.
126.96.36.199.2 The method for developing vigilance that recognizes laxity and excitement
It is not enough just to have an understanding of laxity and excitement; you have to be able to develop vigilance that accurately detects whether laxity or excitement is present during meditation.
Moreover, by gradually developing powerful vigilance, not only must you develop vigilance that recognizes laxity and excitement as soon as they occur, you must also develop a vigilance that recognizes them when they are on the verge of occurring, before they have actually arisen.
This is demonstrated by statements in Kamalaśīla's last two Stages of Meditation: If you see your mind become lax, or in danger of laxity...
And: You see your mind become excited or in danger of become excited.
Until you develop such vigilance, you cannot reliably conclude that you have had flawless meditation—free of laxity and excitement— during a given period of time. This is because, not having developed powerful vigilance, you cannot be sure whether laxity and excitement have occurred.
Likewise, in a passage that begins, "There is recognition of laxity and excitement...," Maitreya's 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》 says that you need vigilance in order to recognize laxity and excitement.
Accordingly, if you have not developed vigilance such as would preclude any failure to recognize the presence of laxity or excitement, then even if you try to meditate for a long time you will pass the time under the influence of subtle laxity and excitement, failing to sense laxity and excitement while they are occurring.
Question: How do you develop this vigilance,
Reply: Its most important cause is the process of maintaining mindfulness which I explained above.
if you can develop continual mindfulness, you will be able to avoid forgetting the object of meditation and becoming distracted. Thus, since this prevent prolonged failure to sense the presence of laxity and excitement, you can easily recognize laxity and excitement.
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This will be perfectly evident if you examine in terms of your own experience how long it takes to recognize laxity and excitement when mindfulness is impaired and how quickly you recognize them when it is not impaired.
With this in mind, Santideva's 《Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds》 states:
When mindfulness dwells
At the gate of your mind for its protection,
Then vigilance will appear.
And Sthiramati's 《Explanation of the "Separation of the Middle from the Extremes"》 states: The statement, "There is recognition of laxity and excitement by vigilance if mindfulness does not lapse," indicates that mindfulness, when fully present, is accompanied by vigilance. That is why it says, "if mindfulness does not lapse...."
The following cause of vigilance is distinctive to the way to maintain vigilance. Focus your mind on a visualized image of the body of a deity, etc., or focus on a subjective aspect such as the quality of experience being simply luminous and aware.
Then, while you stay mindful as explained above, hold your attention on the object while continuously monitoring whether it is scattering elsewhere. Know that this is critical for the maintenance of vigilance.
As Sāntideva's 《Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds》 says:
Examining again and again
The states of the body and the mind
Just that, in brief,
Is what it means to preserve vigilance.
Thus, with this method you develop vigilance that notices laxity and excitement when they are on the verge of arising, while with the method for maintaining mindfulness you prevent forgetfulness in which attention is distracted and slips away. Hence, you have to properly distinguish these two.
Otherwise, if you practice as is done nowadays - combining all these awarenesses with no understanding of their distinctions—I am afraid that the concentration resulting from a muddled cause will itself be muddled.
Therefore, it is very important to make a very precise analysis of this in accordance with each of the major authoritative texts, and then to determine it in your practice. Do not place your hopes on sheer determinations.
Aryasūra's 《Compendium of the Perfections》 says: Using only joyous perseverance, you will end up exhausted. If you practice with the aid of wisdom, you will achieve the great goal.
188.8.131.52 Using the remedy for failing to try to eliminate them even when they are recognized.
As explained above, you develop very powerful mindfulness and vigilance through proper use of the methods for maintaining mindfulness and vigilance.
Vigilance is then able to notice even very subtle laxity and excitement, so there is no problem recognizing the occurrence of laxity and excitement.
However, when you make no effort to stop those two as soon as they arise, your complacency or failure to apply yourself constitutes an extremely serious problem for your concentration.
For, if you practice in this way, your mind will form bad habits and then it will be extremely difficult to develop a concentration free of laxity and excitement. Therefore to remedy a failure to apply yourself to the elimination of laxity and excitement, cultivate the intention called application, or effort.
此中分二，一 正明其思滅沉掉法，二 明能生沉掉之因。
This section has two parts:
184.108.40.206.1 intention and the way that it stops laxity and excitement, and
220.127.116.11.2 the underlying causes of laxity excitement.
18.104.22.168.1 intention and the way that it stops laxity and excitement.
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Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》: What is intention? It is the mental activity of applying your mind, having the function of drawing your mind to virtue, nonvirtue, or the ethically neutral.
This is how you should understand it. For example, iron filings are compelled to move under the influence of a magnet. Similarly, the mental process of intention moves and stimulates your mind toward virtue, nonvirtue, or the ethically neutral.
So it here refers to an intention that applies your mind to the elimination of laxity or excitement when one of them occurs.
Question: After you have thus aroused your mind to eliminate laxity and excitement, how do you stop laxity and excitement?
Reply: Mental laxity involves a very excessive inward withdrawal, leading to a slippage in the way you apprehend the object of meditation; so you should direct your mind to delightful things that it to expand outward.
This should be something like a very beautiful image of the Buddha, not something delightful that gives rise to afflictions. Or bring to mind an image of light, such as sunlight.
When this clears away laxity, immediately tighten the way you apprehend the object and sustain that in meditation.
As Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 explains: How? when you are overcome with lethargy and sleepiness, when there is a lack of clarity in your apprehension of the object of meditation and your mind has become lax, then meditate on the idea of light or bring to mind the most delightful things, such as the qualities of the Buddha. Dispel laxity in this way and firmly hold on to the object of meditation.
In this situation, do not meditate on a disenchanting object because disenchantment causes your mind to withdraw inward. When you expand your mind by using discerning wisdom to analyze an object of your choice, this also stops laxity.
Aryašūra's 《Compendium of the Perfections》 says:
When slack, your mind is stimulated and inspired
By virtue of the energy of striving for insight.
Thus laxity, or slackness, is as follows. The state of mind the two terms describe is called "laxity" because there is a decline in the way you apprehend the object of meditation. It is called "slackness" because there is an excessive withdrawal inward. You counteract it by stimulating the way you apprehend the object and by making the object of meditation extensive, so as to expand your mind.
Bhavaviveka's 《Heart of the Middle Way》 states:
In the case of slackness, expand your mind
By meditating on an extensive object.
Further, in the case of slackness, inspire yourself
By observing the benefits of joyous perseverance.
Also, Santideva's 《Compendium of Trainings》 states: "If your mind becomes slack, inspire yourself by cultivating delight."
The great Scholars and adepts are in agreement on this matter. So here is the most important remedy for stopping laxity: When You reflect on the good qualities of such things as the three jewels, the benefits of the spirit of enlightenment, and the great significance of attaining leisure, it should have a bracing effect on your mind, just as cold water is thrown in the face of a sleeping person. This depends on your having had experience with discerning analytical meditation on these beneficial topics.
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If you cultivate a remedy for being accustomed to the underlying causes of laxity—namely, lethargy, sleepiness, and something that induces these two wherein your mind takes on a gloomy aspect—then laxity resulting from these causes will not arise or, if it has arisen, will stop.
In this regard, Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 suggests such activities as going for a walk; holding an image of brightness in your mind and familiarizing yourself with it repeatedly; pursuing any of the six recollections—the Buddha, the teaching, the community, ethical discipline, generosity, and the deities; stimulating your mind by means of other inspiring objects of meditation; orally reciting teachings that discuss the faults of lethargy and sleepiness; gazing in different directions and at the moon and stars; and washing your face with water.
Also, if laxity is very slight and occurs only infrequently, tighten up your apprehension of the object and continue meditating; but if laxity is dense and seems to occur repeatedly, suspend your cultivation of concentration, clear away laxity using any of those remedies, and then resume your meditation.
Whether your object of meditation entails directing your mind inward or outward, if the object is unclear and you have the sense of darkness—slight or dense—descending on your mind, then it will be hard to cut through laxity if you continue to meditate without eliminating it. Therefore, as a remedy for that, repeatedly meditate on the appearance of light.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states: Cultivate serenity and insight correctly, with a mind that is bright and radiant, a mind of clear light, free of gloom. On the way to serenity and insight,
meditate on a sense of brightness in this way. If you do, then even if at the outset your interest in an object of meditation is dull and brightness is fading, the cause and condition of having accustomed yourself to that meditation will clarify your interest in the object of meditation and lead to great brightness. If there is clarity and great brightness at the outset, clarity and brightness will later become still more vast.
So since he says you should cultivate brightness even when the object of meditation is clear from the beginning, this is all the more true when it is unclear.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 also describes how to hold the sign of brightness in meditation: Hold in meditation the sign of brightness from the light of an oil lamp, the light of a bonfire, or the orb of the sun.
Meditate on the sign of brightness not only while cultivating concentration, but on other occasions as well.
In the case of excitement, out of attachment your attention pursues objects such as forms and sounds; so in response to that, bring to mind disillusioning things that cause your attention to be drawn inward. As soon as this calms the excitement, settle your mind on the earlier object of meditation.
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Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 states: When you see that your mind is occasionally becoming excited as you recall previous excitement, play, and so forth, calm the excitement by bringing to mind disillusioning things, such as impermanence. Then strive to engage the object of meditation without your mind becoming involved in activity.
And Bhavaviveka's 《Heart of the Middle Way》 states:
Calm excitement by bringing to mind
Impermanence and so forth.
Pull your mind back from distraction by noting
The faults of the distracting objects.
Also, Santideva's 《Compendium of Trainings》 states: "If excitement occurs, calm it by bringing impermanence to mind."
So, if very strong or prolonged excitement arises, it is crucial that you relax the meditation for a while and cultivate a sense of disenchantment, rather than attempting to pull in your mind and direct it back to the object of meditation every time it becomes scattered. For excitement that is not so dominant, draw in the scattered attention, and fix your attention upon the object of meditation.
This is because Aryašūra's 《Compendium of the Perfections》 states:
When your mind becomes excited stop this disturbance
By calming it and stabilizing your attention.
And Asańga's texts on the levels say that the sūtra passage, "you focus your mind," refers to a remedy for excitement.
It is generally said that if your mind is excited, you should focus on the object of meditation, while if it is lax, you should think about a delightful object.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states: Thus, once your mind has become withdrawn inward and you note that there is slackness or the threat of slackness, maintain and gladden your mind by thinking of any inspiring things. This is maintaining your mind. How do you settle your mind? While maintaining your mind, when you note that your mind is excited or that there is the threat of excitement, withdraw your mind inward and settle in a calming stabilization.
When your mind is excited, do not bring to mind inspiring and delightful objects because this will cause your mind to be distracted outward.
22.214.171.124.2 The underlying causes of laxity excitement.
Asanga's 《Levels of Yogic Deeds》 states:
What are the signs of laxity? Not restraining the sensory faculties; not eating in moderation; not making an effort to practice rather than sleeping during the early and later parts of the night; ongoing lack of vigilance; deluded behavior; over-sleeping; being unskillful; being lazy in one's aspirations, joyous perseverance, intention, and analysis; giving only partial attention to serenity without accustoming yourself to it and fully refining it; letting your mind stay as though in darkness; and not delighting in focusing on the object of meditation.
Here, "signs of laxity" should be understood as the causes of laxity. The word "lazy" applies to joyous perseverance, intention, and analysis, as well as to aspirations.
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The same text also states:
What are the signs of excitement? The first four points listed above for the signs of laxity—not restraining the sensory faculties, etc.; behaving with attachment, having a disquieted manner; lacking a sense of disenchantment; being unskillful; having a great sense of grasping in your aspiration, etc.; failing to accustom yourself to joyous perseverance; meditating in an unbalance way without refining your apprehension of the object of meditation and being distracted by any sort of exciting topic, such as thoughts about relatives.
The "signs of excitement" are the causes of excitement. "Great grasping" is an excessive mental hold on a delightful object. "Aspiration, etc." refers to the four points [aspiration, joyous per severance, intention, and analysis] explained earlier.
Thus the four practices of which restraint of the sensory faculties is the first, which were discussed earlier in the section on practice between meditation sessions, are important for stopping both laxity and excitement. Moreover, if you recognize those causes and try to stop them, this is obviously very helpful for interrupting laxity and excitement. Therefore, use vigilance to notice even subtle laxity and excitement. You should stop laxity and excitement in every possible way, not tolerating them in any form.
Maitreya's Separation of the Middle from the Extremes says that failing to do this is a fault of concentration called "non-application."
Some may gradually give up, thinking, "Slight excitement and distraction persist even though I cut them off at the outset, so I shall not cut them off."
Or if laxity and excitement are not strong and do not persist for long periods, they may think, "Since they are weak and of brief duration, I do not accumulate karmic obstructions. So I do not need to cut them off."
Those who think this way and fail to apply themselves to the elimination of these hindrances do not know the right way to achieve concentration, yet pretend that they do. They deceive those who aspire to concentration, for their approach places them outside the tradition of methods for attaining concentration laid down by teachers such as the venerable Maitreya.
Moreover, in terms of counteracting laxity and excitement, at the outset you will most often be interrupted by excitement and distraction, so strive to eliminate them. If, by working on this, you stop gross excitement and distraction, then you will get a little bit of stability;
at this point, make an effort to guard against laxity. If you are on guard against laxity with a heightened awareness, then excitement—more subtle than before—may again interrupt your stability. So strive to eliminate this; if you do stop it, then stability will increase.
Then laxity will again arise, so try to eliminate laxity.
In summary, withdraw your mind from scattering and excitement, inwardly fixing it upon the object of meditation, and seek stability. Each time stability occurs, take great precautions against laxity and bring forth a vivid intensity.
You will achieve flawless concentration by alternating between these two. Do not expect to attain stability by means of mere limpidity, which lacks the vividness that goes along with an intense way of apprehending the object.
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1.3.2 What to do when laxity and excitement are absent
By continuing to meditate after eliminating even subtle laxity and excitement, as explained above, your mind will enter a state of equipoise that is free from the imbalances of either laxity or excitement. At this point, it is a fault of concentration to apply or exert yourself, so cultivate equanimity as a remedy for this.
Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 says:
When laxity and excitement have gone and you see that your attention is calmly remaining on the object of meditation, relax your effort and abide in equanimity; then remain this way for as long as you please.
Question: How can it be that applying yourself, or making an effort, turns into a problem?
Reply: Through meditation, turning your attention inward when your mind is excited and stimulating your mind when it is lax, you gain confidence that laxity and excitement will not occur during each suitable meditation session. At this point you are still extremely wary of laxity and excitement, just as at the outset. Sustaining this is the problem. Your mind will become distracted, so at that time you must know to relax,
as stated in Kamalaśīla's second and third Stages of Meditation: "If you exert yourself when your mind has entered a state of equipoise, then your mind will be distracted."
This entails relaxing the effort, but not sacrificing the intensity of the way you apprehend your object.
Therefore, this cultivation of equanimity is not to be done every time laxity and excitement are absent, but once you have reduced the force of laxity and excitement; for when you have not done so, there is no equanimity.
Question: What sort of equanimity is this?
Reply: Generally, three types of equanimity are taught: (1) the feeling of impartiality, (2) the impartiality that is one among the four immeasurables, and (3) equanimity with respect to application. This is equanimity with respect to application.
Its nature is to be understood in accordance with this passage from Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》:
What is equanimity? As your mind attends to objects of meditation associated with serenity and insight, it is focusing with calm - settling, spontaneous mental engagement, a sense of mental wellbeing, effortless mental functioning after becoming serviceable, o and a mental balance free from the afflictions.
When you achieve such equanimity—on those occasions when laxity and excitement are absent as you cultivate concentration— stay with this equanimity and let your mind rest without exerting strong effort.
The signs of this sort of attention are described in the same text: What are the signs of equanimity? The object of meditation places your mind in equanimity; your mind is not overflowing with excessive joyous perseverance with respect to the object of meditation.
The time for cultivating equanimity is also set forth in that text: when is the time for equanimity? In terms of serenity and insight, when your mind is free of laxity and excitement.
The above explanations of the method for developing flawless concentration are in accord with the venerable Maitreya's teachings in the 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》:
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Staying with that joyous perseverance,
Your mind becomes serviceable, and you attain all goals.
This occurs as a result of eliminating the five faults
And relying on the eight antidotes.
The five faults are laziness,
Forgetting the instructions,
Laxity and excitement,
Non-application, and application.
The eight antidotes are the basis [yearning], that based on it [effort],
The cause [confidence], the effect [pliancy],
Not forgetting the object of meditation,
Recognizing laxity and excitement,
Application to eliminate them,
And calmly stabilizing your mind when they have been quelled.
In those verses, "Staying with that" refers to keeping up the output of joyous perseverance for the sake of dispelling unfavorable conditions. With this, a concentration in which your mind is serviceable arises. Moreover, since this is the foundation, or basis, of supernormal powers which achieve all goals—superknowledge and so forth—you attain all goals.
What do you do to develop such concentration?
It develops as a result of using the eight antidotes in order to eliminate the five faults.
These are the five faults: at the time of preparation, laziness is a fault because you do not apply yourself at concentration.
When you are working at concentration, forgetting the instructions is a fault because when you forget the object upon which you were instructed to meditate, your mind is not set in equipoise upon the object of meditation.
When it is set in meditative equipoise, laxity and excitement are faults because they make your mind unserviceable。
When laxity and excitement occur, lack of effort [non-application] is a fault because it does not quell those two.
When laxity are absent the fault is the intention of application.
Kamalaśīla's 《three Stages of Meditation》 point out that there are five faults if laxity and excitement are treated as one, six if they are listed separately.
Among the remedies for those faults, the eight antidotes, are four remedies for laziness — confidence, yearning, effort, and pliancy.
Then the remedies for forgetfulness, laxity and excitement, non-application, and application are, respectively, mindfulness, vigilance that recognizes laxity and excitement, the intention of application, and calmly established equanimity. I explained these extensively above.
These are the most excellent instructions for achieving concentration. They are set forth in the great master Kamalaśīla's 《three Stages of Meditation》, as well as many expositions on achieving concentration by other great Indian scholars.
They are also explained in the discussion on achieving serenity in Atisha's commentary on his own 《Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment》. Earlier gurus of the stages of the path have conveyed a rough idea of these points, yet those wishing to cultivate meditative stabilization have not understood how to proceed. Thus, I have set this forth at length.
That mindfulness and vigilance remove laxity and excitement from your mind's one-pointed concentration is a common theme to all personal instructions on this practice. So do not think, "This is a teaching particular to the vehicle of dialectics, but it is not necessary in the mantra vehicle."
For it is common to the mantra vehicle as well, since this is also stated in the class of the highest yoga tantras.
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The second chapter the first section of the 《glorious Integration Tantra》 states:
The concentration of yearning, the foundation of the supernormal abilities associated with remedial application, is based in solitude; it is based in freedom from attachment; and it is based in cessation. There is thorough transformation by means of correct elimination. With this yearning you meditate without being very slack or elated....
It also describes the three concentrations of enthusiasm, of analysis, and of the mind in the same way. Serviceable concentration, as explained above, is the basis for attaining qualities such as supernormal abilities. Therefore, since it is like a foundation, it is called the foundation of supernormal abilities.
Texts such as Sthiramati's 《Explanation of the "Separation of the Middle from the Extremes"》 explain that there are four avenues to accomplish this:
(1) achieving it through fierce yearning, (2) achieving it through prolonged joyous perseverance,
(3) achieving concentration by discriminating examination of the object of meditation—these first three are called, respectively, yearning concentration, enthusiastic concentration, and analytical concentration—and
(4) achieving one-pointedness of mind based on having in your mind seeds of earlier concentration; this is called mental concentration.
"Very slack" refers to excessive relaxation, and "very elated" refers to excessive tightness. The point is that you should sustain a meditation which lacks these two.
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