Mudderpugger talked a bit about Jiddu Krishnamurti and formal sitting in a recent post. What follows is therefore all his fault. :-))
If you know K's teachings and don't like 'em, hit the DEL key immediately.
If you don't know K's teachings, and there is curiosity, read on.
Although not a Buddhist (Krishnamurti steadfastly refused to align himself with any
formal group), K's teachings, nonetheless, are in concert with all the great zen masters.
Yes, it is true that K did not prescribe a formal practice. But he did
supply subtle directions. He repeatedly admonished his listeners to "pay attention" and gently described what paying attention entails. As he explains it, paying attention is
"meditation." It can be done anywhere and such a practice is feebly weak when it is restricted to only "formal sitting" (as on a zafu). K knew that (as do all sages and masters, zen and otherwise), and it is possible that this is why he didn't focus his lectures on formal sitting. He did, however, point out, over and over, that paying attention can lead to: a mind [that] functions in a different dimension in which there is no conflict, no sense of "otherness
Pretty cool, huh!
He also stressed, repeatedly, that in reality, there is no "freedom of
thought," only "freedom from
If this hasn't put you off, or if it has inspired curiosity, here is an excerpt from K's wonderful book Freedom From the Known
(K's closing comment is damn powerful if the excerpt below is read through to the end in a single sitting):
Attention is not the same thing as concentration. Concentration is exclusion; attention, which is total awareness, excludes nothing. It seems to me that most of us are not aware, not only of what we are talking about but of our environment, the colours around us, the people, the shape of the trees, the clouds, the movement of water. Perhaps it is because we are so concerned with ourselves, with our own petty little problems, our own ideas, our own pleasures, pursuits, and ambitions that we are not objectively aware. And yet we talk a great deal about awareness. Once in India I was traveling in a car. There was a chauffeur driving and I was sitting beside him. There were three gentlemen behind discussing awareness very intently and asking me questions about awareness, and unfortunately at that moment the driver was looking somewhere else and he ran over a goat, and the three gentlemen were still discussing awareness – totally unaware that they had run over a goat. When this lack of attention was pointed out to those gentlemen who were trying to be aware it was a great surprise to them.
And with most of us it is the same. We are not aware of outward things or of inward things. If you want to understand the beauty of a bird, a fly, or a leaf, of a person with all her complexities, you have to give your whole attention, which is awareness. And you can give your whole attention only when you care, which means that you really love to understand -- then you give your whole heart and mind to find out.
Such awareness is like living with a snake in the room; you watch its every movement, you are very, very sensitive to the slightest sound it makes. Such a state of attention is total energy; in such awareness the totality of yourself is revealed in an instant.
When you have looked at yourself so deeply you can go much deeper. When we use the word “deeper” we are not being comparative. We think in comparisons – deep and shallow, happy and unhappy. We are always measuring, comparing. Now is there such a state as the shallow and deep in oneself? When I say, “My mind is shallow, petty, narrow, limited,” how do I know all these things? Because I have compared my mind with your mind which is brighter, has more capacity, is more intelligent and alert. Do I know my pettiness without comparison? When I am hungry, I do not compare that hunger with yesterday’s hunger. Yesterday’s hunger is an idea, a memory.
If I am all the time measuring myself against you, struggling to be like you, then I am denying what I am myself. Therefore I am creating an illusion. When I have understood that comparison in any form leads only to greater illusion and greater misery, just as when I analyze myself, add to my knowledge of myself bit by bit, or identify myself with something outside myself, whether it be the State, a saviour, or an ideology – when I understand that all such processes lead only to greater conformity and therefore greater conflict – when I see this I put it completely away. Then my mind is no longer seeking. It is very important to understand this. Then my mind is no longer groping, searching, questioning. This does not mean that my mind is satisfied with things as they are, but such a mind has no illusion. Such a mind can then move in a totally different dimension. The dimension in which we usually live, the life of every day which is pain, pleasure and fear, has conditioned the mind, limited the nature of the mind, and when that pain, pleasure and fear have gone (which does not mean that you no longer have joy: joy is something entirely different from pleasure) – then the mind functions in a different dimension in which there is no conflict, no sense of “otherness.”
Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence. Silence put together by thought is stagnation, is dead, but the silence that comes when thought has understood its own beginning, the nature of itself, understood how all thought is never free but always old -- this silence is meditation in which the meditator is entirely absent, for the mind has emptied itself of the past.
Verbally we can only go so far: what lies beyond cannot be put into words, because the word is not the thing. Up to now we can describe, explain, but no words or explanations can open the door. What will open the door is daily awareness and attention -- awareness of how we speak, what we say, how we walk, what we think. It is like cleaning a room and keeping it in order. Keeping the room in order is important in one sense but totally
unimportant in another. There must be order in the room, but order will not open the door or the window. What will open the door is not your volition or desire. You cannot possibly invite the other
. All that you can do is keep the room in order, which is to be virtuous for itself, not for what it will bring. To be sane, rational, orderly. Then perhaps, if you are lucky, the window will open and the breeze will come in. Or it may not. It depends on the state of your mind. And that state of mind can be understood only by yourself, by watching it and never trying to shape it, never taking sides, never opposing, never agreeing, never justifying, never condemning, never judging -- which means watching it without any choice. And out of this choiceless awareness perhaps the door will open and you will know that dimension in which there is no conflict and no time.