Fall 2013 Shamatha and the Bodhisattva Way of Life show

Fall 2013 Shamatha and the Bodhisattva Way of Life

Summary: Alan Wallace Fall 2013 8-Week retreat on Shamatha and the Bodhisattva Way of Life, including teachings on the Seven-Point Mind-Training and A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, by B. Alan Wallace at the Thanyapura Mind Centre in Phuket, Thailand, from September 2nd- October 28th, 2013

Podcasts:

 93 Merging the Mind the Space and a Discussion of Kalachakra | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Follwing the silent meditation, Alan gets to a few remaining questions, including one about his experience with Shambala and Kalachakra. A fascinating discussion and series of stories follows. Meditation starts at: 0:05

 92 Merging Mind With Space and the Final Aphorisms of the Seven Point Mind Training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Before the silent meditation, Alan mentions a few points about Bodichitta. After the silent meditation, we go back to the last few aphorisms of the Lo-Jong. We finish the Seven Point Mind Training with a quote from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche... and then go back to the very first aphorism of the Lo-Jong: the preliminaries. Meditation starts at: 03:21 (silent, not recorded)

 91 Merging Mind With Space and How to Apply the Teachings in Daily Life | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Before the session's meditation, Alan raises the issue of retreat and expedition for after the retreat is over. After the meditation, there are a few questions about the relevance of doing short-term retreats in Dzogchen/Mahamudra/Vajrayana; is it worthwhile to chase after lamas, teachings and empowerments? How to live in the modern world after a long term retreat? Meditation starts at: 22:48 (silent, not recorded)

 90 Ultimate and relative bodhicitta and point seven of seven point mind training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Meditation front loading: The porousness of the mind. It is possible that influences can go both into and out from the mind. Like when praying to your guru and getting a response. Does the response come from the guru or from a deeper aspect of your own mind? All that matters is that the advice is taking you further along the path. So in practice of tong len, using the power of the mind, it is possible that we are providing genuine relief from suffering. Post meditation: Covering the following aphorisms in the seven point mind training text. Cultivate three things without letting them deteriorate. Maintain three things inseparably. Meditate constantly on the distinctive ones. Do not depend on other factors. Now practice what is important. Alan also answers questions on why tulkus still require training in this life, the karmic responsibility of mental afflictions and if Shamatha is required for higher realisations. Meditation starts at: 11:30 (silent, not recorded)

 89 Merging Mind with Space | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Silent session, followed by one question regarding the origin of people within a lucid dream. They all stem from the substrate consciousness. Even when lucid, they are not puppets on your string. As the relative dharmadhatu has no clear boundaries, it is porous so it is possible for a visitation to occur. There are accounts of people having visions of tara, padmasambhava etc. It is hard to say if these are actually tara or some figment of your imagination. But if a teaching leads to enlightenment, who else but a buddha could have taught them. The Theravada believe in metaphysical realism, the world is really out there, the self does not exist, but the world does. This is rejected by the mind only and middle way schools, there is no real world existing out there. So what was occurring on vulture's peak was pure perception. Just as you might walk right through Shambhala and not see it unless your body and mind are purified. So if the perfection of wisdom teachings are true, if teachings like the Kalachakra designed to lead to buddhahood in one life time, if they work, who else but a Buddha could have taught them. Meditation starts at: (silent, not recorded)

 88 Ultimate and Relative Bodhicitta Meditation and the Seventh Point from Seven Point Mind Training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

From the seventh point of Atisha's mind training: 'Adopt the three principle causes' These causes are: 1. Following a qualified mentor - Alan told the story of the first person to encounter the Buddha. - Alan taught that we should see through the person and not reify them (or ourselves). Seeing all teachers equally whether it be as a emissary of the Budhha, like a Buddha or as a Buddha. - If there is one with an inner heart connection, a root guru, see that guru in the centre and other teachers as emanations of that one. 2. Devoting ourselves to all stages of the practice - Have a panoramic vision of all the teachings but focus primarily where you have traction. 3. Cultivate the outer and inner conditions for fruitful practice. - One of our greatest freedoms is to choose our environment - Inner conditions are the 5 faculties that when cultivated and developed become the 5 powers. Meditation started immediately with no 'front loading'

 87 Merging Mind with Space | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

This practice is a variation for shamatha without a sign. The method this morning being balancing earth with sky: shamatha with support, with quasi support and without support. Alan taught more on what rigpa is (and what it is not) and on the analogies with dream yoga. Meditation starts at: 13:18 (silent, not recorded)

 86 Aspirational Meditation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Alan begins with two quotes from William James regarding aspiration. The guided meditation is on developing your personal aspirations and the causes to fulfill them. Discussion of Aspiring Bodhicitta and engaging Bodhicitta. Within engaging Bodhicitta, shepherd like Bodhicitta, Navigating Bodhicitta, and King like Bodhicitta. Alan continues with the 7th point of the Seven Point mind training. Meditation starts at: 9:23

 85 Merging the mind with space | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

As you merge the mind with space, maintain a flow of knowing of the sheer absence of thought. It is a knowing of emptiness that can lead to an open expanse. Meditation starts at: 6:40 (silent, not recorded)

 84 The Practices of Seven Point Mind Training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Tonight the meditation is front loaded by looking at two ways we can view the adversity that will no doubt effect us and those we see as belonging to us. Firstly, non lucidly with relative bodhichitta which still has an element of self centeredness, or secondly with ultimate bodhichitta, the view from the bardo, from emptiness or from rigpa. After the meditation we move on to the practices of Seven Point Mind Training which look at the constructive things we can do to support our ongoing dharma practice. Here Alan focuses particularly on the practice of setting a motivation of Bodhichitta and dedicating. Questions: How can we help some one in the throws of anger? Do we have to believe every sentient being has been our mother to practice Bodhichitta? Clarification about the practice of Merging Mind With Space. Meditation starts at: 19:40 (silent, not recorded)

 83 Return to Merging the Mind with Space | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

In this short session Alan front loads our week of meditation practice speaking of how we can rollback the layers of conceptual overlay to conceptual and then primal mentation - the first raw sense of presence different from space. This too can be melted away to the substrate consciousness. Meditation starts at: 10:15 (silent, not recorded)

 82 Meditation on two bodhicittas and Pledges of the Seven Point Mind Training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Tonight we return to the meditation on the two bodhicittas. Before the silent meditation, Alan give a short preamble on the importance of motivation for one's practice. Once one engages in any virtuous practice such as meditation, charity work or any other type of work for others, one accumulates merit. But how this merit will manifest will depend on the motivation that lead to the practice. If the motivation is mundane, one can possibly enjoy a prosperous next lifetime, but this merit would be then used in that lifetime as well and will not continue from lifetime to lifetime. On the other hand, if one is propelled by genuine bodhicitta, such motivation and merits accumulated by it will continue from lifetime to lifetime, eventually leading to perfect fruition. The key to remember here is that merit (like karma) can be accumulated but it can also be lost or burned. Hence, one should always check on his/her motivation. Ask yourself a question: what is it that you really want? And as motivation can change or weaken over time, one should make sure to keep checking this motivation and its sincerity. Alan concludes by saying that investing in the motivation of genuine bodhicitta is like investing in a secure, long-term, inexhaustible investment. After the meditation, we go back to the Seven Point Mind Training and the last six pledges, which are tools to protect one's Dharma practice. At the end, Alan answers one participant's question on how to handle abusive people. Shall we be doormats or how do we respond if someone is abusing us. Alan explains how settling the mind in its natural state can be helpful in such situations to distinguish between wholesome and unwholesome impulses arising in oneself and how to skilfully chose the most appropriate response. Technical note: the older computer here snagged, and 2-3 minutes of the lecture were unfortunately lost. Apologies. Meditation starts at: 24:33 (silent, not recorded)

 81 Shamatha without a sign | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

This morning we have our last silent meditation in the second cycle of Shamatha without a sign. Alan gives a short preamble, stressing the importance of having contentment in once's practice: knowing right in the moment of the practice that one does it correctly and taking satisfaction in it. Also, having deep faith that one can, in fact, achieve Shamatha is indispensable for progressing along the path as hoping, doubting, fearing, aspiring, and giving up can diminish one's progress. It is crucial, also, that one has a deep conviction that the time spent on the cushion is, for the time being, the most meaningful thing once can do. After the meditation, we go back to finishing the topic of stages of the path to Shamatha. Alan begin by Garchen Rinpoche's quote who said that the reason why many well-aspiring practitioners don't see the results they would like to see is that they lack faith in themselves. Hence, one has to have not only faith in the practices themselves and their source but also in oneself and the power within that is capable of bringing about profound transformation. Afire that we go onto the Vajra Essence text where Padmasambhava by way of Dujong Lingpa summarizes the path of Shamatha and its effects possible through the power of familiarization. The text also points out how important the many turbulent struggles along the path (nyam) are and how they are signs of progress, and finally, how they can be transformed into wisdom of realizing emptiness and stability, and eventually: primordial consciousness. Meditation starts at: 7:29 (silent, not recorded)

 80 Shamatha Without a Sign, Lucid Dreaming and The Pledges of the Seven Point Mind Training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

The session starts with a silent meditation on the two Bodhichittas. After the meditation, Alan talks about ultimate and relative bodhichitta and their connection. Next, we go to the subject of lucid dreaming: 1) waking induced lucid dream, 2) dreaming induced lucid dream, and 3) state check and prospective memory/mindfulness. Then the Lojong is further discussed: the pledges of the mind training. Alan comments on the aphorisms "Do not speak of others' limitations" and "Do not stand in judgement of others". In the context of the latter aphorism, the guru-disciple relation is also paid attention to. Finally, some nice stories you don't want to miss! Meditation starts at: silent meditation, not recorded

 79 Shamatha Without a Sign | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

The session starts with a short explanation of today's meditation (silent meditation, not recorded), a variation of Shamatha without a sign as taught by Padmasambhava. After the meditation, Alan talks about the significance of Shamatha on the Path and how to deal with all the suffering of which we become more and more aware as we expand our awareness. Alan emphasizes the importance of Shamatha as a platform/base camp for Vipassana and Bodichitta. Furthermore, it is the union of Shamatha and Vipassana, which leads to the culmination of the six perfections. Meditation starts at: 06:46 (silent meditation, not recorded)

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