Summary: Translator/teacher Ken McLeod provides spiritual practitioners with the essence of Buddhist practice. Ken is noted for his ability to present profound teachings and practices in clear straightforward language free from the myths and cultural overlays that make many Eastern teachings difficult to understand. These podcasts are a sampling of the 300+ recordings, some with transcripts, freely available at UnfetteredMind.org under Teachings. Our website also has dozens of original articles and translations of Buddhist texts.
Viewing mythic descriptions of the outer world as descriptions of internal processes; meditating on death as a means to detach from social conditioning, increasing clarity in life, and savoring every moment; why be concerned about death if our 'experience isn't real'; the balance created by contemplating the fact death can come at any time; working with physical reactions and sensations that arise with contemplating death; emotional parallels between contemplating physical death and experiencing death of patterns.
Transitioning to the method for awakening; four reasons (obstacles) why we aren't already awake: taking experience as fact, habituated tendencies to satisfy cravings, mistaking peace for being awake, and not knowing what to do to wake up; If experience isn't real or a fact, what is experience?; differences in the meaning of 'ego' as used in Buddhism and psychology; remedies to the four obstacles; impermanence and the four ends.
Respect for, and service to, one's teacher as expression of importance of one's own spiritual practice; eastern and western perspectives on the teacher-student relationship; knowing when motivation for practice comes from presence and not patterned behavior; devotion and reverence towards one's teacher as expression of one's own emotional attitude toward spiritual practice; practice and persistence (the individual responsibilities of teachers and students); three ways to receive teaching
The teacher-student relationship as origin of understanding; the importance of questions; experience as teacher; the four classifications of teachers; defining nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, and bodhisattva; ways to approach the mythic language of classical texts
Recap of last week's discussion on faith and belief from a perspective of how suffering is viewed in Christianity and Buddhism; people's reports of what they experience when working with a teacher; what is the question for which 'meeting a teacher' is the answer; three reasons why a person needs a spiritual teacher: scripture, logic, simile; retranslating omniscience, merit, and purifying obscurations
What is Mahamudra? It can be seen as another way of looking at what the Four Noble Truths are about. Or it may be approached by asking: to what questions might those practices provide answers? What are my questions?
Four fundamental questions to consider are: How do I know what is real? How do I know what is true? How do I know what is right? How do I know what to do? The beginnings of answers may be found in he Four Reminders (precious human existence, death and impermanence, teachings of karma, shortcomings of samsara).
Practice: deep listening, More questions from the Perfection of Wisdom: What do I trust? How do I relate to people/things/experience? What can I know?
Building capacity, Shamatha meditation, Energy transformation practices, The practice of devotion: guru yoga
Practicing without reference points: Milarepa’s Song to Lady Paldarboom, verses 2-6, Doing nothing: Six Words of Advice from Tilopa, A question of teaching: keeping our intention clear
Stillness and movement: Milarepa’s Song to Lady Paldarboom, verses 8-17, Learning to breathe underwater: finding stillness in experience
Basis-of-everything consciousness and awakening, Teachings on View: how we look at things
Pointing-out instructions, The resting knowing mind, Nothing that arises in experience is different from us
An overview of the Aspiration for Mahamudra and the Vajradhara Prayer
Reviewing the rare combination of circumstances that allow for the opportunity to practice; reports of experiences with faith and belief; defining faith (the willingness to open to whatever arises in experience) and belief (unchallengeable positions through which one filters experience); faith and experience; the three types of faith: trusting, longing, and clear; in what do we actually have faith?; trust the knowing; Q & A.