Difference between teaching and learning, faith and belief; the three important things: impermanence/change, compassion, and faith; opening to doubt; the direction of the present. Questions from participants: What is the most productive question you’ve asked yourself? How do I not carry the past into the present? How do I stay focused on this path when at times I just want to be coddled?
Religion/Spirituality as personal exploration; Practice and the importance of one’s own volition; Is nirvana the last delusion; the four things that are impossible to have: control, security, ground, and self; practice as a way to be present; how to find your way among the variety of practice choices
passage from article: Compassion is the difference between a faith that opens you to what life brings and beliefs that force you to close down to protect what you cannot or will not question.
Where compassion is the wish that others not suffer, renunciation is the wish that I not suffer. What causes me to suffer? Wanting. Renunciation, then, means not so much giving up things, desires, or a way of life, but to give up desiring itself. But to do so is not so easy.
passage from article: One of the primary characteristics of learned helplessness is that the person feels passive with respect to the system. The passivity, however, is only half the story… Can learned helplessness be undone? The answer is “Yes.” The cost, however, is high.
passage from article: Karma as instruction, however, is a different story… Karma as instruction means to observe our actions and appreciate how consequential each action is in reinforcing or dismantling an habituated pattern.
Hope as a manifestation of belief vs a manifestation of faith; conflict as the experience of the resistance to change when two or more worlds interact; fear arising from conflict; interpretation vs actual experience; undischarged feelings leading to conflict.
Wisdom; meditation: observing what changes when we rest and relax with a problematic experience; experiencing what is actually arising and being at peace at the same time; spiritual opening as memory, idea, belief; beliefs vs ideology; compassion; emptiness as the means to compassion; compassion and ideology.
Fascination with tools we develop in practice; skandha map; human tendency to worship; honor and appreciation toward those who show us something valuable; discussion of Pure Lands; falling into worship, moving into projection and away from living awake.
Meditation on “What am I searching for?”; resting in the full experience of this question; meditation: “I practice in order to be at peace with the world.” ; samsara as the chaotic process of moving among different ways of experiencing different worlds; “I” as a narrative that is constructed in order to give a semblance of rational consistency to this chaotic process.
Sufi teaching story: “The Story of Fire”; examples of ways traditions move away from direct experience and straightforward application in life; what do we seek in practice?; guided meditation: primary practice; expanding to include the full field of experience, and resting; discussion of uses of such an experience; explanation of reasons that traditional texts were restricted.
Determining our destiny is a myth; the sense of self is a fiction we construct to endow the chaos of our lives with a semblance of rational consistency; what stories do we believe?; order vs chaos; what beliefs do I hold and what do they prevent me from seeing?; participant’s experience; spectrum of possibilities between extremes; no truth, just what happens.
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
Living life without a belief system, the four conditions that generate karma and their four results, Q&A
Karma as instruction vs. karma as belief, meditation as building a capacity of attention, resting in the experience of breathing, Q&A