The vow as a description of benefits from practice (from Then And Now 25), questions on spiritual longings and the vow and when one should take the vow.
A discussion on attention and intention from the Pointing Out Instructions retreat followed by questions on shamatha, whether a regular sitting practice is required, and resting in attention.
“When I notice a change in my emotions I focus on what is occurring instead of the emotion itself. Is this repression?” “How can I get to sleep when my mind is full of thoughts?” “Instead of a fixed daily meditation routine, is it enough just to sit and breathe peacefully when one can?” “How can I handle the changes that are occurring in my life as a result of practice?” “How do I recognize a transition or transformation in energy?” “I don’t have an absolute relationship with anything in my life, let alone one with practice. And I envy people that do. How can I develop one?” “A lot of what I feel when sitting is unpleasant and I find I am resistant to that experience. Any way to shorten it?”
Questions from participants on meditation and prayer, knowing when to refine or change meditation practices, mindfulness and reading. Commentary on what is meant by go into your own confusion (31), undermining yourself when grumbling about others (32), squabbling undermining learning (33), and brief commentary on remaining verses. Observations from participants on what they will take away from the retreat.
Understanding the three jewels on a personal level. What am I suppose to get from meditation? Evolution or revolution? Do you advocate a certain technique over another? How do I deal with physical sensations and movements during meditation?
What is karma? Do I need to believe in reincarnation? What is the role of celibacy in Buddhism? What should I do when distractions arise while meditating? Resting in the experience of breathing instead of placing attention on your breath. The four states of conflict. What is the practical or real-world benefit of meditation?
How do you balance not craving with the need for money? What causes a lack of self-worth? How do you face disappointment gracefully? Serving what is true. The four steps of standing up. Goals, intentions, and being content. How does one keep going?
Way-seeking mind; non-self; nurturing the direction of non-self; resting in the experience of breathing vs focusing on the breath; plateau in practice.
A guided journey through the progression of one meditation practice, from resting in attention to the union of awareness and experience (mahamudra, dzogchen). Begins with instruction on posture, resting in the experience of breathing, resting in the experience of the body, the breath, and opening to all experience. Then the journey moves to how to bring in the heart and finally how to open to the union of awareness and experience.
Continued discussion of “The Wisdom Experience of Ever-Present Good;” ordinary mind; danger of dullness; when goal-seeking arises, return to the body; why texts were deliberately hidden
Different roles of a teacher; teachers in different traditions; more than one teacher? devotion; personality; trust; what does it take to find a teacher?
Subjects include: dropping into awareness, changes as a result of practice, practice influencing karma, decision making, collapsing down.
Subjects include: dealing with negativity, the four immeasurables, nervousness, and Mother’s Day.
Subjects include: how to deal with distractions, finding a path and different practice traditions.
Discussion of meditation postures; guided meditation on experiencing discomfort; holding emotions tenderly in attention; no expectations.
Faith as a willingness to open to whatever arises; faith in Buddhism; 3 types of faith; faith vs belief; point of faith?; faith as an immeasureable; faith and rational thought; cultivating faith.
What would you like to change about you or your life?; primary practice; changing me; introducing a new dynamic through meditation; why do I practice?; what to do about Christmas?.
Relationships: what makes them work; participant’s questions
Participants’ questions are: What strategies exist for experiencing emotions?, What do I do with my anger?, What role do negative emotions play?, How do I deal with the feeling of hardening arising from anger?
Participants’ questions are: Is it helpful to have many different practices?, How do I not resist dying?, How do I stop doing?, How do I deal with frustration in my practice?, Is there a difference between observing the breath and resting in the breath?
Participants questions are: How do I respond rather than react?; How do I take my life into my practice?; How do I deal with anxiety in my sitting practice?; How do I deal with distractions in my practice?.
Discussion on the issues of developing and maintaining your own meditation practice.
Recorded shortly after a tsunami in Asia, this talk centers on using one’s reactions to sudden tragedies as a basis for practice.