📖The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

Young, Shinzen
  • In Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism, images are used to substitute vision; mantras are used to substitute thoughts; mudras are use to substitute bodily sensation.
  • p.27 #quote

    a person’s baseline of focus can be elevated through systemic practice.

  • Meditation trains concentration. Concentration can be used to achieve Flow state at will. (p.30)
  • You can extend you lifespan by living every moment richer/bigger. You do that with concentration.
  • Functioning Bodhisattva: someone who practices meditation primarily so they can better serve others.
  • 4 dimensions of concentration:

    • concentrate on small things (breath in nostrils)
    • concentrate on big things (the whole body)
    • concentrate on one thing for long period of time
    • momentarily concentration (concentrate intentionally on what demands attention)
  • p.39 #quote

    People who are successful with meditation experience an elastic identity. They are able to better take care of themselves but can also extend their identity out to include a oneness with others. That ability naturally evolves into a desire to serve others.

  • p.44 #quote

    A salient feature of suffering is that it distorts behavior.

  • Meditation is part of all religions
  • Meditation has both calming-concentrating aspect (samatha) and a clarifying-dissecting one (vipassana).

    • Samatha is pleasant, Vipassana produces insights.
  • Coffee is compatible with meditations and helps to keep you alert. Tea helps to stay awake.
  • Sensations

    physical bodyemotional body
    physical soundmental talk
    physical sightmental images
    • another dimension: intensity
  • q

      The Fundamental Theorem of Mindfulness:
      Concentration + Sensory Clarity + Equanimity + Time = Insight + Purification
  • In meditation, purification can happen without you being consciously aware of it. You know it happened because you behave differently at daily life. (p.99)
  • In Christianity, impurities are called sins. Getting rid of them is catharsis. When we remove sins, we experience “theosis” (one with god). Apotheosis—someone who claim they are god.
  • It’s not that we don’t have self, it’s that self is not a thing. Self is doing. It’s a verb, not a noun. (p.107)
  • Even when we try to avoid all discomfort, sometimes it can happen to us on the scale comparable to what monks put themselves through (e.g., slowly dying from a cancer).
  • Spirit and material world. Spirit is material world experienced to the full.
  • p.130

      To see a World in a Grain of Sand
      And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
      Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
      And Eternity in an hour
      —William Blake
  • “path” to enlightenment

    • ordinary consciousness
    • subconsciousness

      • there can com some visions or mystical experiences (good or bad) (or may not come). In either case, you great them with concentration, clarity, and equanimity.
    • the source
  • Note when experience or part of experience vanishes (label “Gone”). Gone is the label for any abrupt decrease.
  • Arhat—someone who has complete enlightenment.

    • Arhat has the same enlightenment level as Buddha. Buddha differs in that he substantially advances the enlightenment practice and changes the humanity.


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