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passage from article:When I did open to everything, there was no opposition — there was no enemy. I didn’t have to struggle with experience. At the same time, there was no truth, no state of perfection, no ideal, no final achievement. Again, years later, in a conversation with another teacher about this experience, he said, “Don’t worry about truth. Just develop devotion so strongly that thinking stops, and rest right there.”
passage from text:
It doesn’t exist: even buddhas do not see it.
It doesn’t not exist: it is the basis of samsara and nirvana.
No contradiction: the middle way is union.
May I know the pure being of mind,free of extremes.
passage from text:
Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness…
passage from text:
All the matter of the world,living and not living,
Appear as objects to my eyes.
Let me rest in the appearance of things,without seeing them as things.
passage from text:
Even with a free and well-favored birth, I waste this life.
The meaningless activities of conventional life constantly distract me.
When I work at freedom, which is truly important, laziness carries me away.
Because I am turning away from a land of jewels with my hands empty,
Guru, think of me: look upon me quickly with compassion.
Give me energy to make my life worthwhile.
Verses 22-end; review of last week’s meditation instruction; two qualities of mahamudra: resting and precipitating shift; experience without struggle; pitfalls of emptiness; aspiration vs ambition; cutting the root of mind; mind without beginning; transforming energy into attention; importance of faith.
Emptiness and compassion as the two components of awakening mind; the impediment of despair; discussion of Longchempa’s advice: “Practice these two together (goodness and pristine awareness);” the notion of progress in society and spiritual life; instructions for the dispersion practice, a practice for balancing energy.
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.
Attention enables us to perceive experiences as more fluid; three Gates of Freedom: no characteristics, no hope and no ground (emptiness); two typical errors people fall into when they encounter emptiness: actions don’t matter and despair; despair as a form of checking out, avoiding experience; meditation: How do I live when I can’t know what this experience of life is — or whether anything follows it?
Appearances and reality; what life is and staying present in it; the world in which we think we live and the world in which we actually live; where does Buddhism and politics come together; how does one work with psychological trauma in practice; working with fear; how does interdependent origination relate to our thoughts; karma, rebirth, and evolution; translating Buddhist poetry and spiritual writing; discussion of mantra at the end of the Heart Sutra
How to read a sutra; form is emptiness, emptiness is form; world of shared experience vs world of actual experience; form as experience vs emptiness as the space in which experience arises; the value of nothing; “I” as an experience; rest, trusting the perfection of wisdom; no where to go; being at peace.
Common mistakes and pitfalls regarding emptiness and Mahamudra (believing emptiness is a thing, attempting to offer explanations to those who do not practice, etc.); a reading of One Sentence Pith Instruction and Recognizing Mind as Guru; integrating practice and life; questions from participants.
Seeking ‘the experience’; the illusion of choice; recognizing what is arising and resting; useless and useful planning; resting as a means, not an end; the nature of mind; working with resistance; meditation instruction; emptiness and awareness; what is meant by ‘May I know that mind has no beginning.’
Question regarding translation of Dogen’s Genjokoan; If objects and experiences are empty and there is no self, why does it matter what I do?; the struggle between patterns and ethical/virtuous behavior; Buddhist ethics as a way to create the conditions for a quiet mind; what would life be like if you could experience fully whatever arises?; intention; meeting what is there; what is buddha nature?
The hunter and the three bears; how different sets of instructions point to the same thing (Asanga, mind-training, mahamudra, dzogchen); forms of knowing; letting direct experience soak in to your core; the sense of self and ant colonies; the nature of experience; form and emptiness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Void dakini instructions; the usefulness of “zero”: void makes everything possible; terror; destructive aspect of spiritual practice, constant letting go; Tilopa’s instructions
Translation Questions: ‘awakening mind’ (practice 10), Are spaciousness and wisdom synonymous with emptiness? Reflection Questions: Does ‘even if your life is at risk, don’t engage in destructive actions’ mean exactly that? (practice 8), What determines the morality of an action? (practice 8), What is the resistance to dying to reactive behavior? (practice 8). Note: Due to technical difficulties there are two short gaps in this recording. Translated text available on the website.