Article

Meditation, Mindfulness and Misconceptions

passage from article: Meditation is not a quick cure-all. We are used to quick fixes: ten ways to better communication, the five magic steps for better relationships, the eight things every manager should know, etc. The trouble is that all of this good advice is useless if we aren’t sufficiently present to implement it. Meditation cultivates just that presence, so we could regard it as a foundational skill.


Translation - text

The Vajra Song Recognizing Mind as the Guru

passage from text:
Because of your great compassion,
Every being is originally placed in full awakening.
Because of your powerful actions,
You engage and master everything in samsara and nirvana.


Translation- text

Cutting Through

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.


Article

Some Helpful Distinctions

passage from article: Finally, we come to the training in natural presence… Many people approach this naively, feeling that a drastic simplification of their life will be sufficient (adoption of a monastic life, living simply in nature, stepping off the fast track, etc.), but we usually bring our baggage with us when we make these moves. The first effort here is to rid ourselves of accumulations from the past… The second effort is to let go of the future. …


Article

The Warrior's Solution: Passivity and Freedom

passage from article: Freedom is not a state; it is a process. It is something you are, not something you have. In freedom, there is a continual releasing of reactive material as it arises in each moment of experience.


Podcast with transcript

A Trackless Path 4

Three types of practices: practices of presence, of purification, and of energy transformation; relationship between primary practice and the rest of life; how to live in a way that supports spiritual practice; guidance from others is not absolute; train to recognize imbalance and move in the direction of balance; patterns create imbalance; bodhisattva vow — an aspect is never to indulge our own confusion; open to everything all of the time.


Podcast

Power and Presence 10

Receiving the Result. Whatever the outcome, work with that: The Four Steps of Standing Up as a way of living, continually cycling. Four stages of conflict: Pacification, Enrichment, Magnetization, Destruction. Balance, boundary, and the ethics of power. Obligation and the three bases of relationship. Courage. How power differs from other gestures (ecstasy, insight, compassion). Fairy tale: Ransom, Return, Recognition


Podcast

Power and Presence 9

Exercise: Artist and Critic. If you live for respect, you give your life over to others. How the sense of urgency often accelerates things, and we get swallowed up in the acceleration. Evolutionary paradigms: providing the _conditions_ for certain things to evolve. Applications to meditation. Fairy tale: Black Sheep


Podcast

Power and Presence 8

Serving What is True. Difficulties in serving what is true when it doesn’t accord with expectations and understanding. Fairy tale: The Old Man with Red Eyes How fairy tales describe internal realms of experience vs. the world of shared experience. Attention vs. Intention vs. Will. Exercise: 4-person flocks. Obstacles as simply features in the landscape to be negotiated.


Podcast

Power and Presence 7

On posture. How we hold ourselves carries/conveys meanings. Posture exercises: Advance-retreat; rise-lower; widen-narrow.


Podcast

Power and Presence 6

Opening to What Is. How familiar situations trigger old scripts, whose function is to dissipate attention. Exercise: Push hands, back-to-back. How triggered scripts corrupt intention. Power is the ability to implement intention, by staying present. Instead of focusing on what you want to do, include the entire situation. Fairy tale: The Old Witch and the White Bird


Podcast

Power and Presence 5

On Showing Up. Revisiting the primary practice: not to ‘get it right’ but to experience what happens, the totality of your life. Balancing exercises: how slowly thinking happens, but the body knows how to maintain balance. Applications in meditation. Nothing undercuts a distracting story so well as returning to the body. Fairy tale: The Black Castle


Podcast

Power and Presence 4

Power and opposition. Engaging with power, you have no idea what you’re going to be called upon to do. In the experience of opposition: something in yourself that you’re not willing to admit or experience. Exercise: Walking the gauntlet. How training develops capacity to respond in complex situations. Fairy tale: The Sleeping Giants


Podcast

Power and Presence 3

Forming a relationship with power. The ethics of power: the warrior’s sword vs. the predator’s sword. Exercise: Taking the sword. Four ways of working. Five mysteries associated with power: power, balance, presence, truth, freedom. Fairy tale: The Straw, the Egg, and the Book of Knowledge


Podcast

Power and Presence 2

Staying present in the experience of acceleration. Receiving feedback from the environment and adjusting. The Four Steps of Standing Up: 1) Show up. 2) Open to what is. 3) Serve what is true. 4) Receive the results. Exercise: Showing up in your body. Story: The thief, the samurai, and the warlord. Do what is required, no more. Primary practice, revisted. Fairy tale: The Two Inns


Podcast

Power and Presence 1

Introduction to retreat themes and practices. The relationship between power and presence: finding peace under pressure. Exercise: pushing, resisting, giving way. How quickly power accelerates and takes over. Instruction in the primary practice. Fairy tale: The Journey Begins


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 37

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.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 34

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.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 22

summary: Participant’s experience with meditation on attention, intention, and will; living life at the level of intention or will in order to help others wake up (bodhicitta); Is bodhicitta or desire to help others awaken a natural instinct?; the four geneses of bodhicitta; meditation instruction for upcoming week: when you doing something you know is wrong, what needs to happen to lay it to rest? The four stages in the development of awakening mind; two aspects of awakening mind: apparently true and ultimately true; translation points on these two terms; aspiration and engagement awakening mind; attention, intention and will. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 8

Respect for, and service to, one’s teacher as expression of importance of one’s own spiritual practice; eastern and western perspectives on the teacher-student relationship; knowing when motivation for practice comes from presence and not patterned behavior; devotion and reverence towards one’s teacher as expression of one’s own emotional attitude toward spiritual practice; practice and persistence (the individual responsibilities of teachers and students); three ways to receive teaching. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 3.


Podcast with transcript

Five Elements / Five Dakinis 09

Presence, purification, energy: 3 types of practice; Dakini practice as purification, transforming reaction chains into presence; Personal practice balances these elements; Two modes of completing practice: symbols and lights; Statements associated with elements, related to emotional patterns


Podcast with transcript

Five Elements / Five Dakinis 08

Presence, purification, energy: 3 types of practice; Dakini practice as purification, transforming reaction chains into presence; Personal practice balances these elements; Two modes of completing practice: symbols and lights; Statements associated with elements, related to emotional patterns


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 1

Overview of different meditation practices: presence, energy transformation, purification; mind-training as a way to clear away self-cherishing; meditation instruction for resting with the breath; feeling the breath with the heart; variations in translation of the mind training text.


Podcast with transcript

Awakening From Belief 5b

The characteristics of patterns (mechanicality, resonance, crystallization, habituation, layering, webbing), patterns, personality, presence. Meditation instruction on physical reactions when a reactive pattern begins to run.


Podcast with transcript

Releasing Emotional Reactions 6

Taking original mind, direct awareness, as the basis, all experience as the expression of awareness, instruction in a five-step process based on direct awareness (mahamudra and dzogchen), cautions and pitfalls.


Podcast with transcript

Releasing Emotional Reactions 5

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


Podcast

Warrior's Solution 3

Ethics as comprised of a set of five principles: presence, balance, boundary, obligation, and courage; what these are and what they mean


Podcast

Warrior's Solution 1

summary: Introduction; how to live in power without being controlled by it; the three illusions — survival, control, being somebody; how they inhibit the exercise of power; five mysteries: power, balance presence, truth & freedom; primary practice; attention, intention and will.