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.
Meeting and resting with experience instead of labeling experience during meditation; not making facts out of your feelings; justice and vengeance; four stages of conflict; keeping your heart open after the loss of a relationship.
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: 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!”
Urged to clarify Franca Leeson’s understanding of these instructions, both in terms of their meaning and how they are practiced Ken McLeod, a old dog who can no longer chew a bone, came up with these two translations.
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.
Mahamudra, translation, and how to read texts like Tilopa’s Ganges Mahamudra; the metaphor of space; relating to thoughts and other “movements of mind” in mahamudra; looking in a different way and resting in the looking; the three kayas.
passage from text:
Samsaric ways are senseless:they are the seeds of suffering.
Conventional ways are pointless. Focus on what is sound and true.
Majestic outlook is beyond all fixation.
Majestic practice is no distraction.
Majestic behavior is no action or effort.
The fruition is there when you are free from hope and fear.
Verses 1-9; being in vs watching our experience; opening to all of us; nothing to attain; meaning of “ mugu”; looking into space; looking into thoughts; sheer clarity of mind; content of experience vs experience; look in the resting, rest in the looking; meditation instruction: rest in breathing, open to sensory experience, open to thoughts and feelings.
Speaking from direct experience as a practice of power; the importance of developing power is often ignored both in our society and in traditional Buddhist practice; shamatha is main practice for developing power; explanation of prayer “The Wisdom Experience of Ever-present Good;” investigate why you are here; look at mind, heart, body, intellect, emotions and intuitions, and open to all the answers that arise.
Advice regarding thoughts of life after retreat; importance of the four reminders: precious human existence, death and impermanence, karma and samsara; why traditionally loving-kindness practice is not to be directed at a child; primary practice; what is Mahamudra?; refreshing the mind through resting.; devotion as means of transforming energy; explanation of the guru yoga prayer, “The Magic of Faith: A Teacher Practice with Niguma.”
Resting and looking; application: be completely in your experience at all times, the black box approach to relationships and practicing the middle way; take your life into your practice.
Naropa’s meeting with Tilopa’s sister; introduction to Heart Sutra; guided primary practice meditation; participant’s experience; willingness, know-how, capacity; guided meditation with resting in experience and looking at the experience of resting.
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.
Shamatha and cultivating a basis of attention; infallibility; the end of suffering as a process, not an end state; resting in whatever arises; guru yoga.
Overview of rituals and prayers used in retreat; the ‘primary’ practice described, related guided meditation, and participants’ experience with this meditation; relaxing and resting.
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.’
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.
Retreat’s daily schedule and routine; subject matter for retreat (Buddhahood Without Meditation); sitting with questions rather than trying to answer them intellectually; the challenge of doing nothing; the importance of silence; resting & seeing.
summary: Review of basic meditation, basic means foundational, rest in the experience of breathing; breath is life; relinquishing control and the repeated experience of failure; the body breathes, brings attention to the experience of the body; letting the body find its way to sit vs. imposing a posture; fine points in attuning to the body; attention consists of resting and listening, how to rest and how to listen; short Q&A session
Pointing-out instructions, The resting knowing mind, Nothing that arises in experience is different from us
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.
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.
Mahamudra – a way to experience things as they are; the world of actual experience and the world of projection; The Ruler of The Universe; the value of accumulating ability and experience; being completely in the experience of what arises; pointing out instructions for the union of resting and seeing; questions from class participants
A story about meeting the spiritual path; review of practice experiences from the previous week; three necessary qualities: capacity, know-how, willingness; understanding v. knowledge; incorporating practice into all areas of life; practice is primarily about developing capacity; two capacities — resting and looking; developing the capacity for looking; investigation of the nature of mind is a response to the question “What am I?”; investigation of the nature of thought and sensation is a response to the question “What is life?”; life as sensations, feelings, and thoughts; the worlds of shared experience and actual experience; mind (awareness, what I am) cannot be separated from thought and sensation (experience, what is life); meditation instruction for the upcoming week; questions from class participants.
summary: Explanation that this retreat is based on two letters by Takuan Soho: The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom and The Clear Sound of Jewels (these can be found in a collection of his writings entitled The Unfettered Mind); the three requirements to practice in the way described in The Unfettered Mind: ability, principles, technique; responding versus reacting; overview of what will be done in the retreat’s body movement sessions.
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
Using form as a mode of training attention, importance of resting in attention
Karma as instruction vs. karma as belief, meditation as building a capacity of attention, resting in the experience of breathing, Q&A
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Antidotes to mind killing; middle way vs compromise; summary of warrior’s solution: perceive imbalance, intention, sacrifice, dying, rest; participant’s questions.