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.
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.”
Responding to questions on longing and desire; faith and refuge; vajrayana vows; Mahamudra instructions :“no placing, no reference, no missing the point” and “no distraction, no control, no working at anything;” ending wars; martial imagery; Tao Te Ching and groundlessness.
Working with emotional energy in practice; not seeking to eliminate emotion; faith and devotion; removing emotions from practice limits engagement in experience.
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.
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.
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.
Group contemplation: “I can’t know what this experience called life is — and I can’t know what follows it. So how do I live this life?”; observing mortality brings you back into life; meditating on impermanence gives you faith, the willingness to open to everything and the energy to do so.
The utility of deception; faith, trust, and not knowing your reaction to what you haven’t experienced; the union of seeing and resting (guided meditation); what it the teacher in one’s experience; questions from participants.
Participants’ accounts on using tools described in previous sessions; discussion on guru yoga, negative emotions, and faith; instruction and questions on sky gazing; instruction, discussion, and experiences on using the breath and questions to learn how to rest in the view.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Intention and working the edge of practice, the three difficult points as described in The Great Path of Awakening, being specific in one’s effort, faith as the willingness to open to whatever arises, finding clarity through relaxing and resting in what arises, clarity as the nature of mind, meditation instruction on complete experiencing
Questions and comments on prayer text, magnetization, taking refuge in mind itself, the continual process of meeting what arises in experience, reactive emotions like desire, the eight concerns, working with the type of practice that best engages your internal material
Questions regarding faith and compassion, balance in a guru-student relationship, the three types of faith and the three doors of freedom, questions from participants regarding this practice
Devotion reveals student’s internal material, difference between faith and belief, three types of faith and how they transform the three poisons, commentary on guru yoga and related prayer (text available on the website), questions from participants
Comments on the teacher-student relationship, the responsibilities of the teacher and student, methods that teachers use to reveal presence, provide instruction, and point out student’s internal material