No-self as a core insight of Buddhism (from Guru, Deity, Protector 4), questions on working with a sense of self, the stories we tell about self, self and suffering.
When everything is going well in life, what is practice about? Letting go of conventional concerns, finding a good teacher and the functions of teachers, the prison of patterns, refuge prayer, karma as instruction instead of karma as explanation, creating conditions so you can listen to what’s inside you, the illusion of control, embracing life fully.
passage from article: How, for instance, do we practice right speech? Right speech does not mean saying “the right thing.” Ideas about the “right” thing usually come from conditioning… To cultivate right speech, listen as you talk so that you hear, with your own ears, exactly what you say and how you say it.
passage from article: This is the final step in letting go of any attempt to categorize our experience. The experience which comes out of this is non-thought. Out of this comes a confidence of possibilities within ourselves. We are increasingly able to act without second thoughts and do what is appropriate. In other words, we come to know the stillness of the mind that no longer depends solely on conceptual processes to formulate responses to the world of experience.
Uchiyama’s “How to Cook Your Life” as a commentary on the four immeasurables; equanimity through seeing life as no more and no less than what we experience; building capacity to relate to life in ways that end suffering (without afflictive reactions); experiencing completely can be painful but not disturbing; joy.
passage from article:When I look back on my first years of Buddhist practice, let’s say the first ten to twelve years, my practice was essentially a reaction to suffering. Most of the time I didn’t know what I was reacting to. I put a great deal of effort into practice, into study, into serving my teacher. I learned a great deal. But it didn’t ease anything inside me.
passage from text:
The happiness of the three worlds disappears in a moment,
Like a dewdrop on a blade of grass.
The highest level of freedom is one that never changes.
Aim for this — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
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
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.
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.
Reflection Questions: In what circumstances is violence appropriate or warranted? (practice 13, follow-up from previous session), You say “this approach works”, but what does that mean? Does it resolve situations? (practices 14 – 17), How does “experiencing what arises” end suffering? Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions, continued: What if you engage in a destructive action? (practice 8), How do you deal with a sense of rebellion about being told hold to behave? (practice 8), How do you avoid hardening to experience?, What is meant by ‘this highest level of freedom is one that never changes’? (practice 9), What arises when you reflect on ‘if they are still suffering, how can you be happy?’ (practice 10). Note: Due to technical difficulties there is a short gap towards the end of this recording. Translated text available on the website.