passage from article: Lineage is not the passing on of “The Truth” from one generation to another. It is the passing on of the methods, the tools, with which you uncover and live this natural knowing.
passage from text: Now, as you experience this vague knowing in which there is no thought or movement, look at what knows that this is happening, look at what is mentally or emotionally inert, and rest there. Then you experience an awareness that is free from thought and movement, has no sense of inside or outside, and is utterly clear and transparent, like space. Experience and experiencing are not separate. Yet you are unshakeable about what you are, thinking, “This is all there is!”
passage from article: Time and time again, we are told that we are buddha, that the buddha qualities are present now, but that we just don’t know it. The problem, for many of us, is that this knowing is not a form of knowing that we are used to.
passage from text:
When wanting and grasping hold sway
The dakini has you in her power.
Wanting nothing from outside, taking things as they come,
Know the dakini to be your own mind.
In response to the earnest request of George Draffan, an experienced follower of the way, Ken McLeod, a blind man who stumbles over his own feet, translated this excerpt from Machik’s autobiography in 2006 in Los Angeles.
passage from article: Fear is a reactive mechanism that operates when our identity (including the identity of being a physical entity) is threatened. It works to erode or dissipate attention. We move into one of the six realms and react: destroy the threat or seek revenge (hell being), grasp at safety and security (hungry ghost), focus on survival (animal), pursue pleasure as compensation (human), vie for superiority (titan), or protect status and position (god). Because we are less present to what is actually taking place, our actions are correspondingly less appropriate and less effective. We go to sleep in our beliefs and ignore the consequences of maintaining them.
passage from article: Deep questions about values and ethics arise around the issues of abortion, life support, and elective suicide for those with debilitating and terminal illnesses. In these and other circumstances, call up compassion so that you see clearly, go empty in all the complexities so you know what is, and in that knowing act without hesitation.
Explore “Why am I here?”; become quiet enough to listen to your own heart, the “stammering voice;” initial answers usually conceptual; go deeper into your body; go beyond words and rest there; what arises brings us in touch with natural knowing present in experience.
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
Historical tendency of practice being both separate from and more important than other daily activities; stabilization of attention (with and without activity) as the only type of practice; why incorporating practice into your life doesn’t work; why incorporating your life into your practice does work; using the primary practice continually; including your whole life in everything you do; the only thing you can know is what you experience; a knowing that is immediate and direct but not conceptual; find appropriate response through the four steps of standing up; open to both poles of a reactive pattern to step out of it.
Pointing-out instructions, The resting knowing mind, Nothing that arises in experience is different from us
Explanation of element reaction cycles: earth, water, fire, air and void; walkthrough of corresponding dakini practices; hollowness; knowing; pristine awareness arising within reaction. This class was recorded to help students with the Dakini practice.
Comments and questions from class participants; practicing during formal meditation and during ensuing activities; resting in, and stabilizing, shifts in attention; using thoughts and experiences to develop wakefulness; three ways of resting that maintain wakefulness; creating conditions so you can relax from the inside out; leaving your mind as it is naturally; the knowing which knows without identifying; questions on the text.
Knowing versus understanding; mind as experience; the relationship between mind and reality; Buddhism as a set of tools to understand how things are; seven techniques for mind nature practice: letting the mind settle, dropping the mind, opening the mind, looking at the mind, letting the mind go, focusing the mind, and joining the mind with the object; questions from retreat participants; instruction on sky gazing.
The session begins by explaining there are different levels of understanding found in the first two spiritual paths (traditional path and path of cutting through conditioning). These paths have a vertical dimension. A person can become aware of new levels in two ways: through interaction with a teacher or through interaction with fellow students who have more experience. Practice only grows if one works at the edge of one’s practice. Working the edge can be difficult: it is often experienced in the body as panic or nausea and in the mind as uncertainty, or confusion. Finding the edge often requires interaction with a teacher, especially if the student experiences a feeling of not getting anywhere, staleness, or coasting in practice. Physical signs of being over the edge include a sense of being out of balance, engulfed, isolated, failing, or bewildered.The discussion then turned to different levels of practice, this time from the perspective of ‘doing what you know needs to be done’ as opposed to ‘being good.’
The second approach discussed is to cut through four types of conditioning: sociological, psychological, perceptual, and cultural. To cut through sociological conditioning one contemplates on death and impermanence. Contemplating on karma cuts through psychological conditioning. Breaking through the I-other framework cuts through perceptual conditioning. And development of compassion cuts through cultural conditioning. The third approach is based on personal experience: study and practice everything you can, make the path your own based on what works for you, and stand in your own knowing. Discrepancies between your intention and experienced results are reliable indicators that you are not standing in your own knowing. A flat or stale practice may indicate you’ve exhausted your intention and signal the need for redefining your intention in practice. Keep an eye out for chronic imbalances, as they indicate something is not working.The session ends with a group discussion on whether or not compassion or forgiveness towards oneself is important, especially if there is no self, and how to detect imbalance.
Reflection Questions (continued): Are the 37 practices a description or a set of instructions? How does knowing what is happening in your own mind or own experience help others? (verse 36). Comments from students on what it was like to meditate on these practices and put them into action in daily life. (Note: There is a gap in the recording at this point due to technical difficulties.) Comments on the closing four verses and preparation for taking the Bodhisattva Vow. Translated text available on the website.
Q&A based on the students’ experience with taking and sending, common difficulties and how to work with them, additional instruction on taking and sending
Emotional reactions, what they are, why they are problematic, what does releasing mean, difference between releasing and suppression, instruction in five-step method of releasing from Thich Naht Hanh based on bare attention and the four foundations of mindfulness
Aim of the retreat, overview of content including levels of practice and meditation methods, initial instruction.