Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 1a

Background information on text, author, and structure of opening verses.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 1b

Comments on paying homage (verse 1), intention (verse 2), what it is meant by study, reflect, and meditate/cultivate (practice 1), what is meant by ‘experience has no coming and going’, suffering as the result of fighting experience, traditional and internal interpretations of the eight unrestful states, the five individual advantages and the five circumstantial advantages that make practice of Dharma possible. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 2

Questions on previous session’s content including importance of sequence in lists, how to approach a mythic cosmology in a rational culture, translation points around “spiritual heir”, comments on leaving your homeland (practice 2) including the three levels of meaning (inner, outer, and secret), the need to take action, two levels of ignorance, three poisons, and the six realms; comments relying on silence (practice 3) including what it means not to engage disturbances or distractions, relationship between clear vivid awareness and confidence. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 3

Translation Questions: ‘forget the conventional concerns’ (practice 4) and ‘ordinary gods’ (practice 7). Reflection Questions: What is a relationship, actually? (practices 4 and 5), How do we construct a world out of thoughts, feelings, and sensations? What is the relationship between teacher and student? (practice 6), What does ‘give up bad friends’ mean? How do you work with negativity? (practice 5), What does it mean to take refuge? (practice 7). Meditation Questions: How do you work with this material in your own practice? Buddhist ethics as a description of awakened behavior vs. a prescription for how you should behave. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 4a

Translation Questions: ‘awakening mind’ (practice 10), Are spaciousness and wisdom synonymous with emptiness? Reflection Questions: Does ‘even if your life is at risk, don’t engage in destructive actions’ mean exactly that? (practice 8), What determines the morality of an action? (practice 8), What is the resistance to dying to reactive behavior? (practice 8). Note: Due to technical difficulties there are two short gaps in this recording. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 4b

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.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 5a

Translation Questions: ‘driven by desperate want’ (practice 12), ‘wanting your own happiness’ (practice 11), ‘exchange completely your happiness for the suffering of others’ (practice 11). Reflection Questions: What is this ‘I’ that wants to be happy? (practice 11). Note: Due to technical difficulties this recording contains a few brief sections that have electronic static which couldn’t be corrected. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 5b

Reflection Questions, continued: Are desire and want okay so long as one doesn’t cling to the results? (practice 11), What, if any, are appropriate boundaries in interactions with people? (practices 12 and 13), What is compassion when dealing with a thief? (practice 12), But don’t you ultimately need to be happy or have a sense of well-being? (practice 11) What is the appropriate response when you are falsely accused? (practice 13) Note: Due to technical difficulties this recording contains a few brief sections that have electronic static which couldn’t be corrected. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 6a

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.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 6b

Reflection Questions, continued: What do you have to do to actually do this? (practices 14 – 17), How can you prevent ‘coming into awareness’ from becoming just another concept?, How do these practices compare with the Christian teaching of turning the other cheek? Understanding the intention of these practices (practices 14 – 17), How are we supposed to lavish our worst enemy with love when that runs so counter to what society does? (practice 14) Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 7a

Reflection Questions: Why is existence described as magnificent? (verse 19), How can I achieve balance between the two extremes described in these verses? (verses 18 & 19), How does taking and sending work? (verse 18) Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 7b

Reflection Questions, continued: Verse 19 doesn’t seem directly related to taking and sending. What is the intention behind it? Why does giving things away through taking and sending feel better than regarding them as an empty experience? (verse 18), How can I maintain sufficient attention and awareness to do these practices so my patterns finally dissipate? Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 8a

Translation Questions: If the opponent inside is one’s own anger, what is the opponent outside? (verse 20) Why is the word “subdue” used if we aren’t suppose to fight our experience? (verse 20) What do you mean by “subject-object fixation”? (verse 22) What is meant by the word “experience” in ‘whatever arises in experience is your own mind’? (verse 22) What is meant by the word “object” in ‘any object that you attach to, right away, let it go’? (verse 21) When subduing anger, why are loving kindness and compassion recommended instead of patience? (verse 20) Does the word “fixation” in ‘subject-object fixation’ mean a hardening around the idea of self and other? (verse 22) Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 8b

Reflection Questions: What are some ways of working with anger? (verse 20), Is anger always a reactive pattern? (verse 20), Isn’t there such a thing as righteous anger? (verse 20), What is vajra anger and how does it apply here? (verse 20), How do you let go of something you desire? (verse 21), Doesn’t letting go of desire seem joyless? (verse 21) Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 9

Reflection Questions: If the perspective of subject-object isn’t real and we aren’t to take things we enjoy or things that cause suffering as real, then what is real? (verses 22 – 24) Why does it seem easier to do taking and sending with attraction instead of aversion? (verses 23, 24). This is followed by a discussion and hands-on example of how the mind is like a mirror, the fallacy of subject-object perspectives, and the nature of reality. Note: The discussion of the first question is joined in progress. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 10a

Reflection Questions: What makes the ‘six perfections’ perfections? In other words, what makes a generous act the perfection of generosity? (verses 25 – 30), How can you explain something without using an explanation? (verses 25 – 30), Is the order of the six perfections important? (verses 25 – 30), What quality permeates the perfections? (verses 25 – 30) Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 10b

Reflection Questions: What does it mean to be ‘completely free of irritation or resentment’? (verse 27), What does it mean to ‘pour your energy into practice’? (verse 28), [Note: Due to technical difficulties, there is gap at this point in the recording.] What do insight, stillness, and stability refer to? (verse 29), What does it mean to be “free of the three domains”? (verse 30). Comments on the Bodhisattva Vow including the vow as intention, the vow as will, commitments at the level of intention and commitments at the level of will. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 11

Translation Questions: In some prayers there is a request to ‘give me the energy to let confusion subside on its own.’ Doesn’t this contradict the line to ‘constantly go into your own confusion?’ (verse 31). Reflection Questions: What does it mean “not to say anything about the imperfections of others on the path”? What should you do about the harmful actions of others? (verse 32), What does it mean to let go of any investment in our families and circles of support? (verse 33), Isn’t it sometimes necessary to speak in a way that upsets others? (verse 34). Comments from students on what it was like to put these verses into practice. Reminder not to view these verses as dictums on how to behave but rather to weigh them against your own experience and see if they offer a beneficial approach. Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 12a

Translation Questions: What are the three spheres? (verse 37). Reflection Questions: In previous classes, you have said not to fight experience. Why then are we being instructed to “crush reactive emotions”? (verse 35), How do you ‘go into the experience’ during daily activities and still function? How does practice 36 differ from being in a constant state of mahamudra? Exactly how do you direct the goodness you generate from the practices to awakening? Translated text available on the website.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva 12b

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.


Podcast

Anything Is Possible 1

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


Podcast

Anything Is Possible 2

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


Podcast

Ganges Mahamudra 1

Introduction to text; historical context; Tilopa and Naropa; three doors to practice; mahamudra as a way of experiencing; metaphors of space; letting experience be just as it is; meditation instruction for the next week: rest in experience of breathing, open to sensory experience.


Podcast

Ganges Mahamudra 2

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.


Podcast

Ganges Mahamudra 3

Verses 10-14; feeling tones; effort in primary practice; increasing capacity; where is mind?; mind without reference and its use in day to day life; wanting prevents opening; no wandering, no control, no working at anything; the light of the teaching; rebirth in samaras; energy of teacher; question: what’s the use of non-referential experience?


Podcast

Ganges Mahamudra 4

Verses 15-21; participant’s response to last week’s question: what’s the use of non-referential experience?; find your own motivation; view, practice, behaviour, result; absolutely nothing to save us; actionless action; experiencing the pain of letting go of the conventional way of seeing the world; defining ourselves as what we oppose; recognizing sheer clarity; meditation instruction: in addition to first two steps add open your heart to everything you experience and ask the question – what experiences?


Podcast

Ganges Mahamudra 5

Verses 22-end; review of last week’s meditation instruction; two qualities of mahamudra: resting and precipitating shift; experience without struggle; pitfalls of emptiness; aspiration vs ambition; cutting the root of mind; mind without beginning; transforming energy into attention; importance of faith.


Podcast with transcript

Heart Sutra Workshop 1

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.


Podcast with transcript

Heart Sutra Workshop 2

What is a sutra; nature of student-teacher relationship; history of Heart Sutra; taking apart established ways of interpreting life; different maps for different notions of self: 5 skandas, 12 sense fields, 18 elements, 12 links of interdependent origination, 4 noble truths, time.


Podcast with transcript

Heart Sutra Workshop 3

How to read a sutra; form is emptiness, emptiness is form; world of shared experience vs world of actual experience; form as experience vs emptiness as the space in which experience arises; the value of nothing; “I” as an experience; rest, trusting the perfection of wisdom; no where to go; being at peace.


Podcast with transcript

Heart Sutra Workshop 4

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.


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Ideology and Wisdom 1

Sufi teaching story: “The Story of Fire”; examples of ways traditions move away from direct experience and straightforward application in life; what do we seek in practice?; guided meditation: primary practice; expanding to include the full field of experience, and resting; discussion of uses of such an experience; explanation of reasons that traditional texts were restricted.


Podcast

Ideology and Wisdom 2

Meditation on “What am I searching for?”; resting in the full experience of this question; meditation: “I practice in order to be at peace with the world.” ; samsara as the chaotic process of moving among different ways of experiencing different worlds; “I” as a narrative that is constructed in order to give a semblance of rational consistency to this chaotic process.


Podcast

Ideology and Wisdom 3

Fascination with tools we develop in practice; skandha map; human tendency to worship; honor and appreciation toward those who show us something valuable; discussion of Pure Lands; falling into worship, moving into projection and away from living awake.


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Ideology and Wisdom 4

Wisdom; meditation: observing what changes when we rest and relax with a problematic experience; experiencing what is actually arising and being at peace at the same time; spiritual opening as memory, idea, belief; beliefs vs ideology; compassion; emptiness as the means to compassion; compassion and ideology.


Podcast with transcript

Learning From The Lives of Lineage Holders - Khyungpo Naljor

A talk on the life of the great Tibetan yogi, Khyungpo Naljor, an important figure in the Shangpa Lineage.


Podcast with transcript

Learning From The Lives of Lineage Holders - Niguma

A talk on the life of the great Tibetan yogini, Niguma, an important figure in the Shangpa Lineage.


Podcast with transcript

Learning From The Lives of Lineage Holders - Sukhasiddhi

A talk on the life of the great Indian yogini, Sukhasiddhi, an important figure in the Shangpa Lineage.


Podcast

Mahamudra (class) 1

Discussion of the View section from The Lamp of Mahamudra by Tselek Rangdrol and the Shamatha section from Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal). Sketch of history and relevance of Mahamudra. The view can be seen as a response to life’s basic questions such as ‘What Am I?’ and ‘What is this experience we call “life”?’; the connection between essence and experience; contrast of clarity and openness of natural awareness with the stuff of ordinary experience; how emotional reactions and the six realms arise; examination of the kayas as a way to see things as they are; working with a teacher as one way to transform emotional energy into attention; seeing what you are by seeing what you are not, description of three types of meditations to do while taking this class, questions from class participants.


Podcast

Mahamudra (class) 2

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.


Podcast

Mahamudra (class) 3

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


Podcast

Mahamudra (class) 4

Questions from participants including: Is there an absolute?, What to believe in?, What is meant by ‘the single mind is the seed of everything’?, What is meant by ‘don’t dwell on the present’?; how we stop experiencing the way things are; lack of capacity vs. lack of understanding; practicing to build capacity; additional questions from participants; the eight ways we stray from mind nature


Podcast

Mahamudra (class) 5

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.


Podcast

Mahamudra (class) 6

Questions from class participants including, What can I do about being bored while being in my experience?, What is the difference between ‘dwell on the present’ and ‘being in the present’?, What is meant by ‘conjure and multiply’ in the text?; creating the conditions for practice’; engaging in life’s activities as a way to enhance practice; becoming an ongoing response to what is arising; willingness, know-how, and capacity; the stages of Mahamudra practice


Podcast with transcript

Making Things Happen 1

Identifying what you want to do and what prevents you from doing it; how attention causes one to focus and create results; lack of willingness, know-how, and capacity as a framework for understanding what prevents things from happening


Podcast with transcript

Making Things Happen 2

Interest in understanding things; persistence that continues after exploration; close attention to genesis and causation (and the difference between the two); creativity in framing questions (and reversing the six forms of mind-killing as a way to develop them)


Podcast with transcript

Making Things Happen 3

An exercise on understanding the distinction between what you actually want and what you’re asking for; particpants’ reaction to exercise; how relating directly to experience through awareness leads to being more awake and alive; What do I stand for?; attend, intend and commit


Podcast with transcript

Making Things Happen 4

How to attend: gathering information (internal and external), check for balance; How to intend: get a symbol, generate possibilities; How to commit: take action (even a small action), keep cycling, watch signs, stay in touch with body and feelings, think evolution; participants’ comments; reminder to stay in your own experience


Podcast with transcript

Money and Value 1

The problem: money drives the way we understand ourselves. Aim of financial model is to see experience through projection of money; aim of Buddhism is to experience what arises without projection; three bases of relationship: mutual benefit, shared aim, emotional connection; all forms of idealism involve avoidance of some form of suffering; when money is regarded as the problem, something else is being ignored; Questions: What are you asking for? What do you want? What does money symbolize to you?


Podcast with transcript

Money and Value 2

What generates the problem? Confusion about money points to confusion about what we value in our lives; when you see things in terms of money, you are inevitably in one of the six realms; guided meditations: survival, getting emotional needs met, and self-image; intention versus self-image; valuing what can be taken away places life in other people’s hands.


Podcast with transcript

Money and Value 3

Possible directions towards a solution. The world of shared experience and the world we actually experience; money exists in the world of shared experience and of materialism; definition of materialism; comparison of the bases of life in world of materialism and world of well-being; comparison of spiritual ideal and being fully alive; Questions: What would you do with your life if you knew you would die in one year? If you were free from trying to get your emotional needs met? If you weren’t concerned with being somebody?


Podcast with transcript

Money and Value 4

Theoretical and practical concepts of what might be done. Traditional Buddhist method of The Noble Eightfold Path; footnote on the word “right”; four bases of success – curiosity, persistence or enthusiasm, understanding of genesis and conditions, creativity in framing questions; seven steps of manifestation; Questions: What am I going to do next week? Next month? Next year?


Podcast

Relationship and Conflict (tele-teaching) 1

The aim of Buddhist practice; What is a relationship? Three types of relationship: 1) mutual benefit, 2) shared aim, 3) emotional connection; What’s possible in a relationship? What gets in the way — or how projections arise in relation to the Three Marks of Existence (impermanence, suffering, and no self); How relationships are undermined by disagreement or lack of clarity about their basis; How we can become awake in relationships.


Podcast

Relationship and Conflict (tele-teaching) 2

What can we actually know in a relationship? The story of Nasrudin, the smuggler and the customs agent; The world of shared experience and the world of individual experience; The Four Steps of Standing Up in a Relationship: 1) Stand up — actually be there, 2) Open to what is happening, 3) Serve what is true to the limit of your perception, 4) Receive the result; Useful tools for being awake in relationships: deep listening, four questions for opening up difficult situations, the rule of three, returning confusion to its source and not picking up what isn’t yours.


Podcast

Relationship and Conflict (tele-teaching) 3

Conflict as the experience of resistance to change when two or more worlds interact; Locating the resistance; The inevitability of conflict and how to engage in it skillfully; The Four Stages of Conflict (from Vajrayana Buddhism) — pacification, enrichment, magnetisation and destruction; How to be awake in conflict using the same tools as for being awake in relationships and by remembering the Three Marks of Existence.


Podcast

Relationship and Conflict (tele-teaching) 4

The Four Immeasurables as higher emotions not based on a sense of self, and their transformative quality; The Four Immeasurables in the context of relationship and conflict and the ways these manifest in relationships; How equanimity manifests as judgement at the base level, up through impartiality, aloofness or detachment, and patience to full acceptance with no sense of judgement; The two aspects of true equanimity; How loving-kindness manifests as attraction or sexual desire at the base level, up through affection and caring to the selfless wish that others be happy; How compassion manifests as pity at the base level up through sympathy, fearlessness to be with another person’s pain to the genuine wish that they not suffer; The complexity and richness of compassion; Joy as competition or paranoia at the base level, up through elation or delight to joy in being and knowing what needs to be done and just doing it. Loving kindness and compassion as the appropriate efforts in intimate relationships; The shared aim relationship with a spiritual teacher; A summary of conflict as resistance to change demanded by the third world created when two people interact.


Podcast

Relationship and Conflict 1

Participant’s questions; experiencing the body; relationship as the experience of interaction; relationship types: mutual benefit, shared aim, emotional connection; reactive needs vs present needs; “I” as an experience; balance, betrayal.


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Relationship and Conflict 2

Guided meditation: opening to imbalances in a relationship; participant’s experience; developing the skill to experience life without “I”; emotional correspondence vs emotional connection.


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Relationship and Conflict 3

Hope as a manifestation of belief vs a manifestation of faith; conflict as the experience of the resistance to change when two or more worlds interact; fear arising from conflict; interpretation vs actual experience; undischarged feelings leading to conflict.


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Relationship and Conflict 4

Summary pending


Podcast with transcript

Surviving Stressful Times 1

Participant’s concerns; how can I experience fear and be at peace at the same time?; how can I have all these stories going on and be at peace at the same time? goals vs results; principles, strategies and tactics; there are no enemies; 3 alternatives to every situation: accept, take action, or suffer; taking a larger view of conflict.


Podcast with transcript

Surviving Stressful Times 2

Determining our destiny is a myth; the sense of self is a fiction we construct to endow the chaos of our lives with a semblance of rational consistency; what stories do we believe?; order vs chaos; what beliefs do I hold and what do they prevent me from seeing?; participant’s experience; spectrum of possibilities between extremes; no truth, just what happens.


Podcast with transcript

Surviving Stressful Times 3

Principle – the middle way, strategy – include both extremes; principle – 4 noble truths, strategy – 8 fold path; 4 steps to problem resolution: problem, genesis, solution, implementation; genesis vs conditions; group exercise; building circles of support.


Podcast with transcript

Surviving Stressful Times 4

See clearly, know what is, act without hesitation; focus on how can I help instead of focusing on survival, emotional needs or identity; guided meditation; response vs reaction; open to the whole of your life.


Podcast

Sutra Session 1

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?.


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Sutra Session 2

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?


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Sutra Session 3

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?


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Sutra Session 4

Relationships: what makes them work; participant’s questions


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Sutra Session 5

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?.


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Sutra Session 6

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.


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Sutra Session 7

Discussion of meditation postures; guided meditation on experiencing discomfort; holding emotions tenderly in attention; no expectations.


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Sutra Session 8

Subjects include: how to deal with distractions, finding a path and different practice traditions.


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Sutra Session 9

Subjects include: dealing with negativity, the four immeasurables, nervousness, and Mother’s Day.


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Sutra Session 10

Subjects include: dropping into awareness, changes as a result of practice, practice influencing karma, decision making, collapsing down.


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Sutra Session 11

Different roles of a teacher; teachers in different traditions; more than one teacher? devotion; personality; trust; what does it take to find a teacher?


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Sutra Session 12

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.


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Sutra Session 13

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.


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Sutra Session 14

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?


Podcast

Sutra Session 15

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?


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Sutra Session 16

How do I deal with anxiety when meditating? Impermanence and the four ends. Guilt and morality. Shame and joy. What is the future of buddhism? Messing with your practice.


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Sutra Session 17

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?


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Sutra Session 18

Meditation instruction in three lines, working with emotions, what to do with insights and memories that emerge when meditating, does meditating reduce unwanted emotions.


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Sutra Session 19

How to work with positive reactions in practice including suggested meditation; questions and answers on using that meditation instruction.


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Sutra Session 20

If being here “this way” is completely unacceptable, what are the alternatives? Being with resentment, victimhood, old habits, fear of change, and other stories we tell ourselves.


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Sutra Session 21

Meditation as a way to build abilities, distinguishing between thinking and thoughts, fundamentals of meditation practice, creating the right conditions for practice, resting in the experience of breathing


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Sutra Session 22

What is appropriate/useful to share in a relationship? What tools can I use to let go of unproductive emotions? Instruction on taking and sending. What is the point of resting with the breath? Prayer and meditation. Seeking clarity in relationships by listening to one’s heart. Working with self-hatred. Please note that due to technical difficulties the audio quality of this recording is uneven.


Podcast

Sutra Session 23

How can I maintain a regular practice? How can meditation help me build good habits and maintain a sense of happiness? What is the difference between sitting meditation and moving meditation, and how do both relate to the instruction to ‘go to the body’? How do you meditate without goals? How should I do with thoughts that arise during meditation? Why can noting during meditation become an obstacle? What can I do about anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and insomnia. Should I cultivate specific emotions, like loving-kindness, prior to meditating?


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Sutra Session 24

How do I get rid of negative feelings and reactions? Do the efficacies of a teaching continue after a teacher is gone? If practice doesn’t change one’s reactions, can it change how you act? Coming to a crossroad in one’s practice. What is the boundary for sharing in relationships? Are guided meditations trying to control one’s experience? I don’t know how to respond when asked “How is your practice?” How can I forgive? How do I sit with physical pain? Are thoughts an ongoing reaction at the subconscious level? Are there Buddhist writings regarding the creative process?


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Sutra Session 25

Prayers and rituals to evoke the emotions of devotion, loving-kindness, and compassion in order to be clear, present, and open during meditation, the importance of intention, concluding meditation by letting go of judgement and attachment


Podcast with transcript

Sutra Session 26

Why distinct thoughts can feel like random, chaotic chatter the longer one practices. The dynamics of balance. Exploring teacher-student interactions under the client model. Working with the emotions of intolerance and hatred; desire, attachment, frustration and action; anger, sadness, and loneliness.


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Sutra Session 27

Working with anger and hurt; Developing a path with depth; Intention, family, and holidays; Thoughts and resting with the breath; Frenetic energy and getting things done; How much should one practice


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Sutra Session 28

Meditating on your last breath. Is doing your best enough? Incorporating what arises in practice. The inevitability of death. But I am not really dying. Letting go of what you feel you’re suppose to feel. Working with things you don’t like.


Podcast

Sutra Session 29

Gift-giving; when one person has a practice and the other person doesn’t; working with the sense of guilt; working with conflict; positive reinforcement


Podcast

Sutra Session 30

Religion/Spirituality as personal exploration; Practice and the importance of one’s own volition; Is nirvana the last delusion; the four things that are impossible to have: control, security, ground, and self; practice as a way to be present; how to find your way among the variety of practice choices


Podcast

Sutra Session 31

Putting attention on the experience of breathing; what to do when lost in confusion; working with strong patterns; dealing with life’s setbacks; working with depression


Podcast

Sutra Session 32

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.


Podcast

Sutra Session 33

Meditating to experience life in a different way; meditating to be a better person; attention in speech; coming to terms with who you are; taking and sending; living in a world that ignores impermanence.


Podcast

Sutra Session 34

Why meditate? Why practice taking and sending? What should I do when I find myself interrupting my meditation at the same point every day? Why meditate on death and impermanence? Why does it seem that my daily meditation doesn’t directly relate to my daily life? What is the difference between equanimity and indifference?


Podcast with transcript

Sutra Session 35

Difference between teaching and learning, faith and belief; the three important things: impermanence/change, compassion, and faith; opening to doubt; the direction of the present. Questions from participants: What is the most productive question you’ve asked yourself? How do I not carry the past into the present? How do I stay focused on this path when at times I just want to be coddled?


Podcast

Sutra Session 36

“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?”


Podcast

Sutra Session 37

How can I determine if I am in active or passive awareness? I haven’t meditated in over two years. Do you have any advice? I have yet to realize an effect in my life after studying and meditating on The Four Immeasurables for a year. Is that to be expected? How do I work with my prejudices? I have an adverse relationship with the world. How do I work with that? How can I deal with anger? Are childish ways of interacting with the world a type of pattern?


Podcast

Sutra Session 38

How do I deal with shifting priorities, withdrawing from society, and a sense of alienation? How soft should one be when practicing? Is practicing 30 minutes a day enough? How do I find my motivation? I’m working on my reactive emotions. When meditating should I do something to provoke these emotions? Using the immeasurable compassion when working with a pattern. What is a good practice for dealing with situations where I just shut down? Where do I start when practicing taking and sending? Forgiveness and acceptance.


Podcast with transcript

The Eightfold Path 1

The Four Noble Truths are about finding a way to live without struggling with what we experience; why “struggle” may be the more appropriate term in English to dukkha; the Eightfold Path as a description of a way of living, but usually interpreted as a prescription for practice; confusion of descriptions of results with means of practice and problems that arise; the fallacy of rational decision making and utility theory as a basis for economics, sociology, and spiritual practice; examination of the first four elements of the Eightfold Path from the perspective of practice; right view is practiced by bringing attention to how you view things; the result will be the traditional description of the characteristics of right view; right intention is to bring attention to intention, what am I doing right now and why?; right speech is to bring attention into the act of speaking, listening to the sound of your own voice when you speak; right action is to bring attention into the experience of action, leads to a relationship with power, makes action more effective.


Podcast with transcript

The Eightfold Path 2

Review of main points from first talk; two practical frameworks for implementing right action; right livelihood is to bring attention to how you provide for life; livelihood in terms of how we interact with others around earning our living; economies based on consumption vs economies based on intention; right effort is to bring attention to how we are making an effort; four dimensions of capacity; right attention, or mindfulness, is to bring attention to how we are direct attention; right absorption or samadhi is to bring attention to how we rest in attention.


Podcast with transcript

The Four Immeasurables 1

The context for the four immeasurables in Buddhist practice, how they differ from other emotions including their power to transform ordinary experience into presence; how different traditions view the immeasurables; clarifying pain, hurt, suffering and harm; the purpose, cost and benefit of practicing the four immeasurables; meditation instruction on equanimity practice, Q&A


Podcast with transcript

The Four Immeasurables 2

Reading assignments for class; participants’ experience with equanimity meditation including preference and prejudice towards one’s self; willingness, know-how and capacity in applying the immeasurable; reaction to ‘experiencing the world knowing me just as I am’; judgement versus discernment; sitting in experience versus deduction and analysis. Commentary on the two types of experience: social/shared experience and individual/actual experience; being complete in the world of individual experience; how equanimity arises naturally in the world of individual experience; questions from participants on the two worlds of experience; meditation instruction for loving kindness.


Podcast with transcript

The Four Immeasurables 3

Participants’ experience with loving-kindness meditation including opening to what arises; doesn’t wishing oneself to be happy actually separate you from certain experiences; is it unrealistic to think of the world wishing you happiness and peace; how this meditation impacts life off the cushion; is there a specific order to the immeasurables; how to work with fear; what is meant by ‘opening’ to experience; the purpose of practice and its effect on one’s life; is our natural state to be open or closed to what arises. Commentary on decay and corruption in the four immeasurables; meditation instruction for compassion.


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The Four Immeasurables 4

Participants’ experience with compassion meditation and related reading including experiences with heartbreak and movement of energy; being present in the suffering of others; are goals useful in practice; intention and results; compassion and boundaries; what is meant by ‘the open space of no response’; what is meant by ‘non-residing’; working with the line ‘May I experience the world wishing me freedom from pain’; the satisfaction of despising. Commentary on adolescence striving and parental mind; meditation instruction for compassion.


Podcast with transcript

The Four Immeasurables 5

Participants’ comments and questions on compassion meditation including: Should we say the verses used in these meditations aloud or to ourselves?; Does the line in the compassion meditation, ‘May I experience the world wishing me freedom from pain’, impose an unrealistic ideal upon the world?; difficulty in extending these verses to include others; the relationship between compassion, despair, and joy; What are you opening to when being compassionate towards others?; How does one find the balance between justice and compassion Commentary on social and adult expressions of the four immeasurables and spiritual longings passage from the reading assignment; meditation instruction for joy.


Podcast with transcript

The Four Immeasurables 6

Participants’ comments and questions on compassion meditation including: joy, passion, excitement, and fun; what is meant by the line “May I experience the world celebrating my efforts”; sympathetic joy; is “the world celebrating my efforts” a form of external validation; how impermanence may appear to contradict cause and effect; how can I “enjoy the activities of life itself” when life becomes sticky; what does one do if you can see a situation clearly but may not have the capacity to act as the situation demands. Commentary on energy transformation passage from the reading assignment; what participants got from the class; where to go from here.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 1

Studying ancient texts in modern times; three approaches: study/reflection/practice; texts to be covered; looking for the questions behind the answers; participant’s questions about text/course. The Jewel Ornament of Liberaton by Gampopa, class covers Introduction


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 2

What is the question for which Buddha nature is the answer?; what is Buddha nature; Buddha nature is not a thing; difference between knowing and understanding; Buddha nature and emptiness; why it is possible to awaken; exploring potential and motivation; questions and answers. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 1.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 3

What makes it possible for the heart/mind to grow quiet? What makes it possible for me to know?; the five types of potential (families); interpreting the mythic; transformation of motivation; the process of spiritual maturation; Q & A. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 1.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 4

What is the question for which “this precious human body” is the answer?, what is meant by “body,” the eight unfavorable conditions that make practice difficult, the ten factors that must be present for practice, the three types of motivation for practice. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 2.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 5

The rare combination of circumstances that allow for the opportunity to practice; students’ reports of experiences with faith and belief; defining faith (the willingness to open to whatever arises in experience) and belief (unchallengeable positions through which one filters experience); faith and experience; the three types of faith: trusting, longing, and clear; in what do we actually have faith?; trust the knowing; the ten factors that must be present for practice; the three types of motivation for practice. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 2. zebra


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 6

Recap of previous discussion on faith and belief from a perspective of how suffering is viewed in Christianity and Buddhism; students’s reports of what they experience when working with a teacher; what is the question for which “meeting a teacher” is the answer?; three reasons why a person needs a spiritual teacher: scripture, logic, simile; retranslating omniscience, merit, and purifying obscurations. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 3.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 7

The teacher-student relationship as origin of understanding; the importance of questions; experience as teacher; the four classifications of teachers; defining nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, and bodhisattva; ways to approach the mythic language of classical texts. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 3.


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

Then and Now, Class 9

Medieval context; definition of lamrim; translation issues; four reasons (obstacles) why we aren’t already awake: taking experience as fact, habituated tendencies to satisfy cravings, mistaking peace for being awake, and not knowing what to do to wake up; if experience isn’t real or a fact, what is experience?; differences in the meaning of “ego” as used in Buddhism and psychology; manufacturing vs. growth process; remedies to the four obstacles; impermanence and the four ends. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 4.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 10

Viewing mythic descriptions of the outer world as descriptions of internal processes; meditating on death as a means to detach from social conditioning, increasing clarity in life, and savoring every moment; why be concerned about death if our “experience isn’t real”?; the balance created by contemplating the fact death can come at any time; working with physical reactions and sensations that arise with contemplating death; emotional parallels between contemplating physical death and experiencing death of patterns. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 4.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 11

Appreciating and living the three facts of impermanence: death is certain, time of death uncertain, and we take nothing with us into death; regret and death; moving beyond child-like morality of right and wrong; impermanence and the intensification of life experience; value of being able to experience life fully; how to do reflective meditations such as death and impermanence; how to use physical and emotional reactions in these meditations. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 4.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 12

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.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 13

Review of the first two types of suffering; the third type of suffering and the six realms; how a society’s cosmology (medieval or modern) reflect its psychology; how we experience the six realms in daily life (anger as hot hell, hate as cold hell, etc.); how the development of numbering systems impacted mythic descriptions; perception of time and the realms; personal values and social norms; the four major and four minor sufferings of the human realm. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 5.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 14

Three analogies for karma: God’s will, gravity, and evolution; God’s will as explanation of mystery; gravity as absence of justice, etc.; evolution as contrast to cause and effect; karma’s function in spiritual life; karma is conditioning through intention and action; the three types of karma. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 6.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 15

Follow-up on free will and karma; ten non-virtuous acts; motivation/intention; the full ripening result; the results of a specific non-virtuous actions (taking life); the problem with purity; By not taking these mythic descriptions literally, are we somehow shutting the door to the mystery of life?; the three categories of non-virtuous acts; beliefs which prevent us from relating to what actually is; avoiding obsession; making the dharma relevant in western culture; Buddhism as “a” way or “the” way; karma and attachment to meditative states; description of janas; meditation for the upcoming week: the experience of lying. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 6.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 16

Participants reflection on intentionally engaging in a non-virtuous act; patterned behavior as a way to avoid experience; ascription, inevitability and karma; how to respond to questions like “Do you believe in evil?”; loving-kindness and compassion as remedies to attachment to the pleasure of peace; the maturation of motivation and practice; is compassion the natural outcome of awareness or something one must cultivate?; meditation instruction for upcoming week: what is it like to receive kindness? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 17

Participants report their experience with previous week’s meditation assignment; a tale of warm fuzzies and cold pricklies; reactions to giving and receiving kindness; three steps to staying present when receiving kindness: recognizing, acknowledging, and appreciating; the natural response (love) to staying present in kindness; extending this response to “all sentient beings”; the difference between loving-kindness and compassion; the contraction that occurs in the presence of suffering that prevents loving-kindness and compassion from arising; meditation for the upcoming week: what do I actually trust? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 7.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 18

Participants’ experience of previous week’s meditation on trust; an exercise in trust; overview of material covered to date; the importance of a foundation to spiritual practice; origin of refuge; in what can one trust; outer, inner and mystery interpretation of the three jewels; each jewel meets a different motivation; meditation instruction for the upcoming week: what needs to happen for me to take refuge seriously? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 8.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 19

Review of previous week’s discussion on outer, inner, and secret interpretations of the three jewels; participants’ experiences with meditation on trusting the three jewels; participants explain why taking a vow of refuge was important; description of refuge ceremony from text; what is meant by “realise all phenomena are nonexistent and have no form, no perception, and no characteristics…”; experience when completely present; function and importance of ritual and ceremony; discussion of various trainings in refuge; overview of pratimoksa; meditation instruction for upcoming week: contemplate doing something unwholesome. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 8.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 20

Students’ experience with previous week’s meditation exercise on engaging in wholesome and unwholesome activities; reading behind the lines when a text references other text (using opening of Chapter 8 as an example); what is bodhicitta, what cultivates it, and what it means to be awake; a different perspective on what it means to help all sentient beings; discussion of some of the 22 similes for bodhicitta; meditation instruction for upcoming week: study similes. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 21

summary: Participants’ experience with meditation exercise; 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; meditation assignment for upcoming week. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


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 23

Participant’s experience with meditation on laying to rest wrong action; taking the bodhisattva vow in the presence of a teacher; does spiritual understanding lead to appropriate action; insight and compassion; preparation for taking the vow: offerings (developing generosity), clearing away non-virtuous action (remorse, remedy, resolve, reliance); meditation instruction for upcoming week on rejoicing in virtue. Due to a recording error, the meditation instruction was added later. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 24

Participant’s experience with meditation on rejoicing in virtue; meeting the deficiency inside ourselves so that we may aspire to bodhicitta; planting virtuous roots; prayers used in class: Prayer to the Perfection of Wisdom, Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind, Refuge and Awakening Mind, Four Immeasurables, Dedication, Aspiration for Awakening Mind, Good Fortune; bodhisattva vow ceremony; celebration; meditation instruction for upcoming week on succumbing to despair with regard to helping others. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 25

Participant’s experience with meditation on succumbing to despair and rejecting others; aspects of the bodhisattva vow associated with Dharmakirti; moving from intention to will; benefits of taking the vow, disadvantages of losing and factors leading to the degeneration of the bodhisattva vow; vow renewal; bodhicitta as an ethic of compassion; meditation instruction for upcoming week: repeat bodhisattva vow daily, how do you respond to the ceremony and to forming this intention? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 26

Participants’ experience with meditation on bodhisattva vow; creating conditions for bodhicitta to arise in oneself; five training principles: don’t close your heart to anything, be mindful of the benefits, nurturing goodness and awareness, spread and deepen attitude within, avoiding four black dharmas and instilling white dharmas; meditation assignment for upcoming week on experiencing the four black dharmas. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9 and Chapter 10.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 27

Participants’ experience with meditation on the four black dharmas; genesis and fruition vehicles; three moral trainings; Buddhist frameworks: ground, path, fruition; six perfections: generosity, morality, patience, effort, meditative stability and wisdom; their specific evolutionary order; their characteristics; generosity as letting go; paramita; meditation assignment for upcoming week on the difference between giving with and without a sense of I and other. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 11.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 28

Generosity; participants’ experience with meditation on giving with and without a sense of I and other; rational choice theory; advantages of practicing and disadvantages of refraining from generosity; action vs. motivation as basis for morality; essential gesture; classification; primary characteristics; economic systems; 4 methods for increasing the power of generosity; moving from ordinary generosity to the perfection of generosity; end outcome of generosity; meditation assignment: the difference between doing the moral thing because you know its the right thing to do and doing the moral thing because it is natural. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 12.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 29

Morality; participants’ experience with meditation on morality; discussion of external authority; morality as discipline; morality as skillful means; advantages of practicing and disadvantages of refraining from moral discipline: exercise of discipline as stepping out of conditioned behavior; essential gesture: moral discipline is learned through interaction; classification: restraint, generating the good and wholesome, wake up to every aspect of our experience; primary characteristics; generating good and wholesome outcomes; descriptive guidelines for living awake; moving from ordinary moral discipline to the perfection of moral discipline; end outcome; meditation assignment: when you find yourself being impatient, what are you unwilling or afraid of seeing? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 13.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 30

Patience; participants’ experience with meditation on impatience; impatience arising from feeling weaker than what opposes you; anger conditions quickly and deeply; essential gesture: compassion creates a sense of ease; classification: patience when interacting with others, patience with self in spiritual practice, patience with fear of no-self; primary characteristics; developing patience with self; working with anger; patience with ending reactive patterns; patience which allows us to know just how things are; meditation assignment: work more deeply to experience what one seeks to avoid by exiting into impatience. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 14.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 31

summary: Working hard; participants’ experience with meditation on experiencing what one seeks to avoid by exiting into impatience; translation issues around “perseverance, diligence, effort, etc.”; working hard the right way; virtuous, spiritual and practical aspects of working hard; passivity vs laziness; 3 types of laziness and remedies; translation issues around laziness; 3 types of diligence; 3 efforts; natural enthusiasm in working hard at virtue; efforts on one’s spiritual path; working hard with no sense of effort; meditation assignment for upcoming week on exploring one’s experience with enthusiasm and lack of enthusiasm in everyday life. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 15.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 32

Meditative stability; participants’ experience with meditation on enthusiasm and lack of enthusiasm in everyday life; stability vs. concentration; results of agitated mind; clairvoyance as a mistranslation of what can happen with a stable mind; stable attention gives rise to compassion; natural virtue of resting mind; stopping distraction; primary characteristics, genesis and faults of fragmentation of attention and solitude; evaluating what brings meaning, value and peace to us; clear intention leads to stable attention; meditation assignment for upcoming week on comparing experience in actions with clear and unclear intention. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 16.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 33

Meditative stability; participants’ experience with meditation on actions with clear and unclear intention; remedies for the following reactive emotions: desire, anger, instinct/blind stupidity/ignoring, jealousy, and pride; experiencing vs acting out or suppressing emotions; remedies are used to develop unfragmented attention; three kinds of stable attention; meditation assignment for upcoming week on exploring the difference between doing routine, simple activities as usual and doing them with a resting mind.The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 16.


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 35

summary: The problems and advantages of charting spiritual progression; spiritual growth is rarely linear; the five paths as a way of organizing accumulated wisdom; The Path of Accumulation (gathering resources), mindfulness, perfect abandonment, and miracle powers; The Path of Application or Accommodation (no independent existence), the four stages and four noble truths, the five powers and strengths; The Path of Insight (seeing the nature of things); The Path of Meditation and the noble eight-fold path; The Path of Perfection (attention and seeing are stabilized). The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 18.


Podcast with transcript

Then and Now, Class 36

Discussion of the highly coded text used in these last chapters; overview of the ten bhumis or stages and how they relate to one’s experience; how the stages reflect specific, real-life experiences and shifts; division of stages into impure and pure. Discussion of the first (nature) of the two aspects of the pristine awareness of Buddhahood; evaluating experience; resting in experience and seeing what is, bringing these two together; seeing things as they are, knowing how they appear; meditation instruction for upcoming week. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 19 and Chapter 20.


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

What Do I Do Now? 1b

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.


Podcast

What Do I Do Now? 1a

How do you know your next step in the spiritual path? This class explores this question through three different approaches: a traditional path, a path based on cutting through four types of conditioning, and a path based on personal experience.The book Wake Up To Your Life describes one traditional path: developing attention through basic meditation, cutting through conventional notions of success and failure, recognizing patterns, and working with the five elements. This leads to breaking down emotional reactions and dismantling the sense of “I”. The section closes with comments on about additional practices, the need to adjust practice to the student, and the importance of working with a spiritual teacher.


Podcast

What Do I Do Now? 2a

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.’


Podcast

What Do I Do Now? 2b

Participants share what each has learned on how to proceed with their practice. Included in this discussion are questions regarding how to know you are working the edge of practice as opposed to falling off the edge, how transmission between teacher and student works, and how to recognize patterns.


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Who Am I? 1

Introduction of participants; workshop outline; meditation instruction; Who am I conventionally speaking? What are my interests, talents, influences, gifts? Where am I going?


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Who Am I? 2

Who am I ultimately? Am I my name, my body, my feelings, my thoughts, what I experience? sense of self; impermanence of self; independence of self; irreducible aspect of self.


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Who Am I? 3

Who am I functionally? Who am I in the family environment? Who am I in the work environment? Who am I acting in each of the six realms?


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Who Am I? 4

On being nobody; our situation consists of: nothing at the core, emotional reactions from roles, world of stories; tools: black box, middle way, interdependence; closing.