๐Ÿ“š Books

๐Ÿ“˜ Seeing That Frees – by Rob Burbea

Seeing That Frees leads the meditator through layers of practice. It approaches the Buddha’s teaching at increasingly deeper levels. Starting from first principles, Rob Burbea explains the various terms and practices.

“It is a book about practice, and about the profoundly freeing insights that anyone who practices can discover and unfold from themselves first hand.”

Rob Burbea

The reader should have an established meditation practice with exposure to cultivation and insight techniques. However, it could be used as a navigation aid for someone starting to practice using other resources.

One of Rob Burbea’s qualities as a teacher was his ability to start from where the student was, and find the practices that were helpful to them in that moment, while never putting a limit on what they might ultimately be capable of as they developed.

โ€œIt is rare to find a book that explores so deeply the philosophical underpinnings of awakening at the same time as offering the practical means to realize itโ€.

Joseph Goldstein‘s introduction to Seeing That Frees

โ€œThis great book can inspire us to the highest goals of spiritual awakeningโ€.

Joseph Goldstein‘s introduction to Seeing That Frees

View on Amazon

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

โ˜ธ๏ธ Dharma

โ˜ธ๏ธ Ways of Looking and Emptiness in Buddhist Meditation

I saw an entrepreneur on youtube describing people using a virtual reality headset for the first time. Afterwards, some of them looked bewildered. Beforehand, they were sure what reality looked like – it’s like this. But on removing the headset there was a moment of confusion when they realised that reality and virtual reality could be equally convincing. Their confidence in one reality being special – the reality – had been temporarily shaken.

A similar outcome happens when a meditator works through the various Buddhist meditation practices. With basic mindfulness, we might have the sense of coming out of a dream and being reconnected with this present moment – reality. However, when we take up the cultivation and insight practices, we experience the world through a variety of different lenses. During these times, we know we are in the world, not in a dream, and yet our experience of it seems so different. On dropping the practice, we return to our default view of the world and it no longer seems to be clearly the one, true view of reality. Rather it is merely one of multiple views. Often, our default view isn’t even the one in which we function best.

This points to what buddhists call emptiness – that the things we experience don’t possess all the qualities of reality on their own side. Our meditations show us the evidence that mind participates in the making of experience, to such a degree, that it’s no longer possible to describe things as real. They are real – we haven’t become disconnected from the world – but things don’t create reality in the way we thought they did.

This taking up of different views, ways of looking, via the various meditations the Buddha taught, loosens our grip on reality, in a good way. It’s our unconscious belief in reality’s unshakeable concreteness that allows us to be gripped by suffering over it. The insight of emptiness sucks the energy out of our attachment to things being a certain way. Those things have lost so much of their authority over how reality appears. It was that attachment that caused us so much anguish about our vulnerability in the world.

Hence the title of Rob Burbea’s magnificent guide to emptiness practice: Seeing That Freesโ†—๏ธŽ.