Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 1

Studying ancient texts in modern times; three approaches: study/reflection/practice; texts to be covered; looking for the questions behind the answers; participant’s questions about text/course. The Jewel Ornament of Liberaton by Gampopa, class covers Introduction


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 2

What is the question for which Buddha nature is the answer?; what is Buddha nature; Buddha nature is not a thing; difference between knowing and understanding; Buddha nature and emptiness; why it is possible to awaken; exploring potential and motivation; questions and answers. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 1.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 3

What makes it possible for the heart/mind to grow quiet? What makes it possible for me to know?; the five types of potential (families); interpreting the mythic; transformation of motivation; the process of spiritual maturation; Q & A. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 1.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 4

What is the question for which “this precious human body” is the answer?, what is meant by “body,” the eight unfavorable conditions that make practice difficult, the ten factors that must be present for practice, the three types of motivation for practice. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 2.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 5

The rare combination of circumstances that allow for the opportunity to practice; students’ 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; the ten factors that must be present for practice; the three types of motivation for practice. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 2. zebra


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 6

Recap of previous discussion on faith and belief from a perspective of how suffering is viewed in Christianity and Buddhism; students’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. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 3.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 7

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. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 3.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 8

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 Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 3.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 9

Medieval context; definition of lamrim; translation issues; 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; manufacturing vs. growth process; remedies to the four obstacles; impermanence and the four ends. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 4.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 10

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. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 4.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 11

Appreciating and living the three facts of impermanence: death is certain, time of death uncertain, and we take nothing with us into death; regret and death; moving beyond child-like morality of right and wrong; impermanence and the intensification of life experience; value of being able to experience life fully; how to do reflective meditations such as death and impermanence; how to use physical and emotional reactions in these meditations. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 4.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 12

Recap of chapters previously covered; about the word dukkha; what “suffering” means in Buddhism; what is the question to which “the vicious cycle of samsara” is the answer?; why not just eat, drink, and be merry?; relating the three types of suffering to the three poisons and the three types of faith; exercise on experience and our reaction to experience; a closer look at the first two types of suffering. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 5.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 13

Review of the first two types of suffering; the third type of suffering and the six realms; how a society’s cosmology (medieval or modern) reflect its psychology; how we experience the six realms in daily life (anger as hot hell, hate as cold hell, etc.); how the development of numbering systems impacted mythic descriptions; perception of time and the realms; personal values and social norms; the four major and four minor sufferings of the human realm. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 5.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 14

Three analogies for karma: God’s will, gravity, and evolution; God’s will as explanation of mystery; gravity as absence of justice, etc.; evolution as contrast to cause and effect; karma’s function in spiritual life; karma is conditioning through intention and action; the three types of karma. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 6.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 15

Follow-up on free will and karma; ten non-virtuous acts; motivation/intention; the full ripening result; the results of a specific non-virtuous actions (taking life); the problem with purity; By not taking these mythic descriptions literally, are we somehow shutting the door to the mystery of life?; the three categories of non-virtuous acts; beliefs which prevent us from relating to what actually is; avoiding obsession; making the dharma relevant in western culture; Buddhism as “a” way or “the” way; karma and attachment to meditative states; description of janas; meditation for the upcoming week: the experience of lying. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 6.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 16

Participants reflection on intentionally engaging in a non-virtuous act; patterned behavior as a way to avoid experience; ascription, inevitability and karma; how to respond to questions like “Do you believe in evil?”; loving-kindness and compassion as remedies to attachment to the pleasure of peace; the maturation of motivation and practice; is compassion the natural outcome of awareness or something one must cultivate?; meditation instruction for upcoming week: what is it like to receive kindness? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 17

Participants report their experience with previous week’s meditation assignment; a tale of warm fuzzies and cold pricklies; reactions to giving and receiving kindness; three steps to staying present when receiving kindness: recognizing, acknowledging, and appreciating; the natural response (love) to staying present in kindness; extending this response to “all sentient beings”; the difference between loving-kindness and compassion; the contraction that occurs in the presence of suffering that prevents loving-kindness and compassion from arising; meditation for the upcoming week: what do I actually trust? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 7.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 18

Participants’ experience of previous week’s meditation on trust; an exercise in trust; overview of material covered to date; the importance of a foundation to spiritual practice; origin of refuge; in what can one trust; outer, inner and mystery interpretation of the three jewels; each jewel meets a different motivation; meditation instruction for the upcoming week: what needs to happen for me to take refuge seriously? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 8.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 19

Review of previous week’s discussion on outer, inner, and secret interpretations of the three jewels; participants’ experiences with meditation on trusting the three jewels; participants explain why taking a vow of refuge was important; description of refuge ceremony from text; what is meant by “realise all phenomena are nonexistent and have no form, no perception, and no characteristics…”; experience when completely present; function and importance of ritual and ceremony; discussion of various trainings in refuge; overview of pratimoksa; meditation instruction for upcoming week: contemplate doing something unwholesome. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 8.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 20

Students’ experience with previous week’s meditation exercise on engaging in wholesome and unwholesome activities; reading behind the lines when a text references other text (using opening of Chapter 8 as an example); what is bodhicitta, what cultivates it, and what it means to be awake; a different perspective on what it means to help all sentient beings; discussion of some of the 22 similes for bodhicitta; meditation instruction for upcoming week: study similes. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 21

summary: Participants’ experience with meditation exercise; the four stages in the development of awakening mind; two aspects of awakening mind: apparently true and ultimately true; translation points on these two terms; aspiration and engagement awakening mind; attention, intention and will; meditation assignment for upcoming week. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 22

summary: Participant’s experience with meditation on attention, intention, and will; living life at the level of intention or will in order to help others wake up (bodhicitta); Is bodhicitta or desire to help others awaken a natural instinct?; the four geneses of bodhicitta; meditation instruction for upcoming week: when you doing something you know is wrong, what needs to happen to lay it to rest? The four stages in the development of awakening mind; two aspects of awakening mind: apparently true and ultimately true; translation points on these two terms; aspiration and engagement awakening mind; attention, intention and will. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 23

Participant’s experience with meditation on laying to rest wrong action; taking the bodhisattva vow in the presence of a teacher; does spiritual understanding lead to appropriate action; insight and compassion; preparation for taking the vow: offerings (developing generosity), clearing away non-virtuous action (remorse, remedy, resolve, reliance); meditation instruction for upcoming week on rejoicing in virtue. Due to a recording error, the meditation instruction was added later. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 24

Participant’s experience with meditation on rejoicing in virtue; meeting the deficiency inside ourselves so that we may aspire to bodhicitta; planting virtuous roots; prayers used in class: Prayer to the Perfection of Wisdom, Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind, Refuge and Awakening Mind, Four Immeasurables, Dedication, Aspiration for Awakening Mind, Good Fortune; bodhisattva vow ceremony; celebration; meditation instruction for upcoming week on succumbing to despair with regard to helping others. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 25

Participant’s experience with meditation on succumbing to despair and rejecting others; aspects of the bodhisattva vow associated with Dharmakirti; moving from intention to will; benefits of taking the vow, disadvantages of losing and factors leading to the degeneration of the bodhisattva vow; vow renewal; bodhicitta as an ethic of compassion; meditation instruction for upcoming week: repeat bodhisattva vow daily, how do you respond to the ceremony and to forming this intention? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 26

Participants’ experience with meditation on bodhisattva vow; creating conditions for bodhicitta to arise in oneself; five training principles: don’t close your heart to anything, be mindful of the benefits, nurturing goodness and awareness, spread and deepen attitude within, avoiding four black dharmas and instilling white dharmas; meditation assignment for upcoming week on experiencing the four black dharmas. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9 and Chapter 10.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 27

Participants’ experience with meditation on the four black dharmas; genesis and fruition vehicles; three moral trainings; Buddhist frameworks: ground, path, fruition; six perfections: generosity, morality, patience, effort, meditative stability and wisdom; their specific evolutionary order; their characteristics; generosity as letting go; paramita; meditation assignment for upcoming week on the difference between giving with and without a sense of I and other. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 11.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 28

Generosity; participants’ experience with meditation on giving with and without a sense of I and other; rational choice theory; advantages of practicing and disadvantages of refraining from generosity; action vs. motivation as basis for morality; essential gesture; classification; primary characteristics; economic systems; 4 methods for increasing the power of generosity; moving from ordinary generosity to the perfection of generosity; end outcome of generosity; meditation assignment: the difference between doing the moral thing because you know its the right thing to do and doing the moral thing because it is natural. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 12.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 29

Morality; participants’ experience with meditation on morality; discussion of external authority; morality as discipline; morality as skillful means; advantages of practicing and disadvantages of refraining from moral discipline: exercise of discipline as stepping out of conditioned behavior; essential gesture: moral discipline is learned through interaction; classification: restraint, generating the good and wholesome, wake up to every aspect of our experience; primary characteristics; generating good and wholesome outcomes; descriptive guidelines for living awake; moving from ordinary moral discipline to the perfection of moral discipline; end outcome; meditation assignment: when you find yourself being impatient, what are you unwilling or afraid of seeing? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 13.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 30

Patience; participants’ experience with meditation on impatience; impatience arising from feeling weaker than what opposes you; anger conditions quickly and deeply; essential gesture: compassion creates a sense of ease; classification: patience when interacting with others, patience with self in spiritual practice, patience with fear of no-self; primary characteristics; developing patience with self; working with anger; patience with ending reactive patterns; patience which allows us to know just how things are; meditation assignment: work more deeply to experience what one seeks to avoid by exiting into impatience. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 14.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 31

summary: Working hard; participants’ experience with meditation on experiencing what one seeks to avoid by exiting into impatience; translation issues around “perseverance, diligence, effort, etc.”; working hard the right way; virtuous, spiritual and practical aspects of working hard; passivity vs laziness; 3 types of laziness and remedies; translation issues around laziness; 3 types of diligence; 3 efforts; natural enthusiasm in working hard at virtue; efforts on one’s spiritual path; working hard with no sense of effort; meditation assignment for upcoming week on exploring one’s experience with enthusiasm and lack of enthusiasm in everyday life. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 15.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 32

Meditative stability; participants’ experience with meditation on enthusiasm and lack of enthusiasm in everyday life; stability vs. concentration; results of agitated mind; clairvoyance as a mistranslation of what can happen with a stable mind; stable attention gives rise to compassion; natural virtue of resting mind; stopping distraction; primary characteristics, genesis and faults of fragmentation of attention and solitude; evaluating what brings meaning, value and peace to us; clear intention leads to stable attention; meditation assignment for upcoming week on comparing experience in actions with clear and unclear intention. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 16.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 33

Meditative stability; participants’ experience with meditation on actions with clear and unclear intention; remedies for the following reactive emotions: desire, anger, instinct/blind stupidity/ignoring, jealousy, and pride; experiencing vs acting out or suppressing emotions; remedies are used to develop unfragmented attention; three kinds of stable attention; meditation assignment for upcoming week on exploring the difference between doing routine, simple activities as usual and doing them with a resting mind.The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 16.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 34

summary: Perfection of wisdom; participants’ experience with meditation on the difference between doing routine, simple activities as usual and doing them when one has dropped into the clear resting mind; importance of means and wisdom; perfection of wisdom is knowing precisely what you are experiencing or know directly that all experience arises from no thing; translation points, change “realize” to “know directly” and “phenomena” to “experience”; entering into the mystery of “what am I? what is this experience I call life? what is time?”; approaching experience as just experience; practice instructions; meditation assignment: ewhen and how do I experience time in daily activities and meditation? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 17.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 35

summary: The problems and advantages of charting spiritual progression; spiritual growth is rarely linear; the five paths as a way of organizing accumulated wisdom; The Path of Accumulation (gathering resources), mindfulness, perfect abandonment, and miracle powers; The Path of Application or Accommodation (no independent existence), the four stages and four noble truths, the five powers and strengths; The Path of Insight (seeing the nature of things); The Path of Meditation and the noble eight-fold path; The Path of Perfection (attention and seeing are stabilized). The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 18.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 36

Discussion of the highly coded text used in these last chapters; overview of the ten bhumis or stages and how they relate to one’s experience; how the stages reflect specific, real-life experiences and shifts; division of stages into impure and pure. Discussion of the first (nature) of the two aspects of the pristine awareness of Buddhahood; evaluating experience; resting in experience and seeing what is, bringing these two together; seeing things as they are, knowing how they appear; meditation instruction for upcoming week. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 19 and Chapter 20.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 37

The three kayas or forms of buddhahood (dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya) and their characteristics; special traits of buddhahood; understanding the activities of buddhahood as the natural response of compassion instead of viewing them as special abilities; thanks and acknowledgments to everyone who helped manage the class and make the podcasts possible.. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 20 and Chapter 21.