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

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 1

The origin of the text, about the author, emptiness as a means to an end (compassion), meditation, commentary on first three verses


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 2

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.


37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 3

Questions on practices 4 – 10, compassion as the centerpiece of practice, two meditations on taking and sending along with question from participants


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 4

Working with anger, practicality and perfection, balance in relationships, pain and compassion, working with slander, shame and enemies, is practice for building skills or for being present


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 5

Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 6

What is like in your meditation practice when you don’t fight as much? Working with sleepiness and noise. Opening to what arises and to the experience of attachment.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 7

An in-depth discussion on: whatever arises in experience is your own mind (verse 22), let go attachment (verse 23), and when you run into misfortune look at it as confusion (verse 24). Questions from participants.


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 8

A question about anger; commentary on verses regarding the six perfections: generosity, morality, patience, effort, meditative stability, wisdom


Podcast

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Retreat 9

Questions from participants on meditation and prayer, knowing when to refine or change meditation practices, mindfulness and reading. Commentary on what is meant by go into your own confusion (31), undermining yourself when grumbling about others (32), squabbling undermining learning (33), and brief commentary on remaining verses. Observations from participants on what they will take away from the retreat.


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.


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

Mahayana Mind Training 2

Education, training, and learning in Tibetan and Western cultures; brief biographies of Atisha and Chekawa Yeshe Drorje; secret teachings and transmissions; mind-training as a way to refine experience; refining v. training; empty compassion (emotion-free); illusion of choice as an indication of the lack of freedom; meditation instruction on groundwork


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 3

Clarity in intention; the world of shared experience, the world of personal experience and the myth of integration; What am I? What is life?; subject and object; Where does experience reside?; the dream analogy; What is awareness?; thoughts as experience; meditation instruction on awakening to what is ultimately true


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 4

Knowing whatever arises for what it is; the natural response of compassion; the three poisons and dualistic thinking; why taking and sending works; taking and sending & the four immeasurables; the three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue; meditation instruction for awakening to what is apparently true, taking and sending; questions from participants


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 5

Questions from participants on taking and sending, including: Is it okay to focus just on the meditation’s imagery of smoke and light rather than specific emotions? How specific should one be with taking and sending? How much do you sent out? How do you deal with running out of energy? Is taking and sending to be taken literally or figuratively? A variation of the taking and sending meditation from the previous session; applications of mind training, including: making adversity the path; driving blame into one; being grateful to everyone; emptiness as the ultimate protection; the four practices; working with whatever one encounters


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 6

Origins of lists and reasons for their use in contemporary life; summary of essential instructions: the five forces, instructions on dying; measures of proficiency: the one aim, rely on your own clarity, deep and quiet joy, practice as a natural response. Proficiency isn’t attainment; regret v. guilt; working with emotions that arise from taking and sending


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 7

Function of Buddhist ethics; descriptive v. prescriptive; importance of ethics; benefits of memorization. Commentary on mind training commitments including: the three basic principles, intention and behavior, giving up hope for results; not forming an identity around practice; working with reactive emotions; not hoping to profit from sorrow.


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 8

Difference between commitments and guidelines. Commentary on guidelines, including: using one practice and one remedy; the two things to do, patience in everything; never compromise your practice; the three challenges, three key elements, three kinds of damage, three faculties; train on every object; practice what’s important now; don’t get things wrong (proper placement of priorities)


Podcast with transcript

Mahayana Mind Training 9

Questions from participants, a practical application of taking and sending, commentary on concluding verses, the 8 worldly concerns, living a life of no regret, a fable on taking and sending, instructions on working with the difficulties and challenges arising from practice, opening to whatever arises


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.