Buddha Sangha Dharma & You: A talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

On the Spiritual path, there are three factors:
Buddha - the Master or the Enlightened;
Sangha - the commune or the group; and
Dharma - your nature, your true nature.

 Buddha - the Master or the Enlightened
The closer you go to Buddha, the more charm you find; you will never be tired of the Enlightened. The closer you go, the more newness, the more love you feel. It’s like a depth without a bottom.

The Master is a doorway, and the doorway needs to be more charming than the world so that people will come to the doorway. Someone is in the street and there is rain and thunder, or hot sun. They need shelter. They look around and find a doorway. The doorway is more inviting, more charming, more celebrative and more joyful than anything else in the world.

Nothing in the world could give that much peace, joy and pleasure. Once you come to the doorway, you enter the door and see the world from there, from the eyes of the Master. This is a sign that you have come to the Master. Otherwise, you may still be standing in the street and looking at the door.
Once you have entered, you will see the whole world from the eyes of the Master. What does this mean? In every situation you face, you will think, ‘If this situation comes in front of the Master, how would he or she handle it?’ ‘If this complication comes in front of the Master, how would he take it?’ ‘If someone blames the Master like this, how would he handle it?’

See the world from the eyes of the Master at all times. Then the world looks so much more beautiful; it is a place filled with love, joy, cooperation, compassion and all virtues. The world is much more fun. Looking through the doorway, there is no fear, because there is shelter.

From inside your home, you will look at the thunder, you will look at the storm, and you will look at the rain. You will look at the bright sun; inside you have air conditioning. It is very cool and pleasant. Outside it is hot. You don’t mind because there is nothing that can really distract you, disturb you, or take the fullness away from you. Such a sense of security, fullness and joy comes, that is the purpose of having a Master.

All relationships in the world go topsy-turvy. You make relationships and you break them. Then there is craving and aversion. This is the world, this is samsara. However, the Master is not a relationship; the Master is the Presence. Don’t make the Master a part of your world. Feel the Presence of the Master - that is eternal. It has been with you before, it is there with you now, and will be there in the future too.

The second factor is Sangha, the group. The group is very charming from a distance, but the closer you get, it pushes all your buttons and brings about all the unwanted things from within you. Any group is very good from a distance or with just a little acquaintance. If you think some group is very good, then that means you are not yet completely with the group. When you are totally part of that group, you will find that some bickering will come up. That’s why you find the other group to be better than your group; but you make the group -so if you are better, your group will also be better.

Sangha has a reverse nature to Buddha. Once you are used to a Sangha, it loses its charm. Buddha makes your mind one-pointed; Sangha, because it includes so many people, can scatter your mind, fragment it. This is the nature of Sangha, though it is very supportive. If it were repulsive all the time, then nobody would be part of the Sangha.

Buddha uplifts you. With Grace, with Love, with Knowledge, He pulls you up. Buddha pulls you up from above, and the Sangha pushes you up from down below. The Dharma should be in the middle. Not going to any extreme is your nature. Your nature is to be in balance, to smile from the depth of your heart, to accept this entire existence totally, as it IS. Do not crave or be averse to anything. Often you crave for Buddha and are averse to the Sangha, and you try to change; but by changing the Sangha or Buddha, you are not going to change.

Third component is Dharma:
The main purpose is to come to the centre deep within you, which means to find your Dharma. This is the third factor. What is Dharma? Knowing that “this moment” is what has been offered to me by my life, and that is how I take it. A sense of deep acceptance for this moment, for every moment, is Dharma. When this has come up then there is no problem at all. All the problems generate from our mind; all negativity comes in from our mind.

The world is not bad; we make our world ugly or beautiful. So, when you are in your Dharma, in your nature, you will not blame the world and you will not blame the Divine.
The difficulty of the human mind is that it cannot be part of the world totally, and it cannot be part of the Divine. It feels a distance from the Divine. The world is its own creation and yet it feels like blaming the world. It’s not comfortable with the world. Dharma is that which puts you in the middle and makes you comfortable with the world. It allows you to contribute to the world, be at ease with the Divine, and feel that you are a part of the Divine. That is true Dharma.

This is a talk given by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is Spiritual Leader & humanitarian leader.

Secrets of Meditation -3: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

There are several things you can do about it.

First is accepting it and not fighting with it. You fight with it and feel that you should not have this noise. The more you want to get rid of it, the more it will stick to you. The principle of consciousness or mind is such that resistance does not eliminate it but makes it grow. So first you have to let go and not resist it.
Second is the five different ways of getting into meditation. Breathing will help you get rid of the noise. Proper food can also make an impact on meditation. Exercise, posture and refined emotions, good understanding, all these will aid meditation.

Q-2: Dear Guruji, during meditation I was aware but had no sensation in my body. There was only ‘I am’ and then my body jerked and I was back. What happened?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good, you had a glimpse of that inner state, the consciousness that you are. That is normal and good too. But now don’t try to have the same experience tomorrow. No. It is not going to repeat. Everyday there is a new treasure that will come to you. So, just take it and do not latch on to experiences. You are much bigger than these experiences.

Q-3: During meditation, my mind becomes silent but I haven’t been able to transcend or go beyond my mind. Am I trying too hard?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you should not try to go beyond the mind. For your own sake don’t do anything, just let it be. Ok?
If you are on a massage table, what do you do? You just let the masseuse take care of you. The masseuse does the job. You do nothing. It is the same in meditation: you do nothing. Let nature take care of you. The spirit will take care of it.

Q-4: After meditating for a while I have become aware of my patterns of reactions, such as defensiveness and anger. How do I get myself to react differently?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Disown all that you think are your patterns, let them be.
If you start identifying that "I am always angry", "I am always defensive", then you are latching onto the past or some patterns. So disown them. They were there yesterday. It came in my space. So what?
Sometimes you see dark clouds in the sky, but the space does not own them. It just allows them to come and pass away. Similarly, these emotions come, sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant. You should disown them. That is the first step. Let them come and go.

Q-5: I have heard that after years of meditation that one’s whole life becomes a constant meditation. Can you explain this?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! That inner calmness stays whatever you do.
You may be walking, talking, eating, chatting, watching news, and there is that certain serenity which continues. You get so used to it. It doesn’t leave you.
But again, don't keep thinking, ‘When will I get this sort of experience?’. 'It can happen anytime. Who cares?' That should be the attitude. That is the best thing to say, ‘Okay, let it be.’
There is a beautiful verse by Kabir. He was an Indian saint during the middle ages. He said that he went in search of God all the time, looking everywhere, 'Where is God? Where is God?'
He said, ‘When I went in search of God, I couldn’t find God. But when I dropped everything and relaxed, God was after me, calling me, ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir!’’
So when he stopped running after God, then God started running after him. This is very true!
Just know how to relax deeply. Without effort. Because whatever we gain through effort is material and is limited. Anything you want to gain on the spiritual plane, anything higher, effort is not the language. When all effort is dropped, you gain something bigger.
The material plane is just 1/10th of the entire existence and 9/10th is the spiritual plane.
See, you cannot cultivate love through effort, you cannot be compassionate through effort, can you? Can you say, ‘I try hard to be compassionate’? Your 'trying hard' is the impediment. Just relax and you will be compassionate. You try hard to be happy. That is the deterrent factor to happiness. So effort is the language of the material world.
Without effort you can’t make money, you can’t study or gain good marks. You can’t obtain a degree if you don’t put any effort. So everything in the material requires effort. Like building a home. It does not happen just by thinking about it. But to attain something spiritual just the reverse is needed – no effort! A few moments of sitting and making no effort at all whatsoever.
I know you may tell me it is difficult not to do anything. It is difficult to be quiet. But it just appears like that. A couple of days here and you will see how it is so simple, so easy!