What is the process for finding a path and finding a teacher?
The five-step mindfulness practice: Emotion, reaction, calm, ease, understanding
The different types of relationships, the importance of balance, how relationships can evolve, recognizing shifts.
What role do negative emotions play? Is it a sign to take action in some way?
Is there a difference between observing the breath and resting in the breath?
How do I stop doing during meditation?
Is it helpful to have many different practices?
Is it helpful to label or identify distractions during practice?
How do I deal with difficulties and distractions when starting a meditation practice?
How to bring meditation into daily life? How can I respond rather than react?
Traditional Buddhist method of The Noble Eightfold Path, footnote on the word "right", exchanges with students. From Money and Value 4.
Shamatha and cultivating a basis of attention.
Be completely in your experience at all times. From Heart Sutra Workshop 4
A brief discussion on reincarnation from Death: Friend or Foe 7, questions on if one can have a serious practice without believing in reincarnation, karma and rebirth, and what reincarnates if there is no self.
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.
A guided meditation on “Who am I?” (excerpt from from Who Am I? 2) questions on who/what wakes up, the experience of being no thing, and if ultimately there is anything to know.
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
The different types of suffering, outflows, developing the freedom to accept change.
What is meant by 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form.'
Faith and belief, the three important things: impermanence/change, compassion and faith, opening to doubt.
Viewing mythic descriptions of the outer world as descriptions of internal processes; meditating on death as a means to detach from social conditioning.
A discussion on who experiences the experience, questions on physical disturbances and learning from experiences.
How the four immeasurables differ from other emotions including their power to transform ordinary experience into presence.
The importance of keeping intention and letting go of practicing perfectly, questions on shamatha, cultivating attention for those who are not able to keep a regular sitting practice, and life out of balance.
How devotion reveals internal material, the difference between faith and belief, the three types of faith and how they transform the three poisons.
A guided meditation on what happens when you die, questions on dream yoga and treating all experience as a dream.
Questions on working with emotions as they arise, resistance to practice, nightmares, and fear of dying.
Questions on the basis of Buddhist ethics, service as expressed in the bodhisattva vow, and can someone have a serious meditation practice, yet not necessarily experience significant change in his life.
A meditation on compassion leads to a discussion on heartbreak, the movement of energy, and being present in the suffering of others.
In the Heart Sutra, at a gathering of bodhisattvas and monastics, Buddha is said to enter an absorption call Profound Radiance. This excerpt from UM's Heart Sutra Workshop series describes Profound Radiance, has a brief guided meditation which provides an experiential understanding of the absorption, and identifies three of the things you'll need to make it possible.
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.
Demystifying ideas around karma, questions on whether karma from previous lives impact this life, karma and the death of children, and is there such a thing as burning off bad karma.
You know that you are aware and you are going to die. How do you live holding that knowledge?
A discussion on Mahamudra, questions on the differences between mahamudra and dzogchen, what aspects of the Kadampa teaching should be joined with the mahamudra practices, practicing either dzogchen/mahamudra or vipassana, or both.
Group contemplation: “I can’t know what this experience called life is -- and I can’t know what follows it. So how do I live this life?” If tears are allowed in the zendo, why not laughter?
Value of contemplating death and impermanence; accept change and not hold on to what’s time has passed; sit in the whole mess.
Origins of Chö from the Diamond Sutra; Machik Labdron and Padampa Sangye; definition of Chö as creating difficult experiences and developing the ability to experience them completely
Five skandhas, twelve sense fields, eighteen elements, twelve links, four truths, time.
Function of Buddhist ethics, descriptive v. prescriptive, importance of ethics.
Questions on the relationship between idealism and pragmatism, vegetarianism, and monastic life.
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.
How do you practice right speech? As you speak, listen to the sound of your own voice as if you were listening to another person . . .
One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate is any time that you’re interested in living really really purely you’re basically motivated by anger. So this hardly falls in the category of right livelihood. Your very approach to living is reinforcing the anger that drives a lot of the quest for purity.
What the bodhisattva vow is saying is, you don’t indulge your own confusion.
The frame of reference of bodhicitta, or awakening mind, is to achieve awakening and to benefit sentient beings.
A talk on buddha, dharma, and sangha.
Questions on the mind of the body and patterned tendency, keeping practice alive, and where do released reactive patterns go.
Questions on being an observer of one's thoughts, mind training and flattening thoughts.
Questions on working with the feelings that accompany an open heart, being true to both your heart and mind, working with emotions.
Questions on finding direction in practice without a teacher, why people leave a teacher, misconduct between students and teachers.
Questions on what is being referred to when using the word 'me' if there is no-self and reconciling non selfhood with ordinary friendship and love.
Is Vajrayana an appropriate path if you have with limited access to your root guru or if you’re unlikely to attend a three-year retreat? After a new practitioner has worked with the breath to gain experience and develop stability, should they then meditate on impermanence or the four immeasurables? How do you incorporate what what you learn from teachers in other Buddhist traditions?
Questions on practice including clarity and experiencing what arises.
Questions on the relationship between writing and the clear-minded seeing, therapy and buddhism, resting in openness physically and emotionally and how that relates to resting with thoughts.
A discussion on dedication prayers from Then And Now 24, questions on dedicating virtue, the purpose of dedication, chanting to accumulate merit.
An introduction to mantra practice from A Trackless Path 12, working with thoughts when chanting, how to approach mantra practice, sounds and mantra practice.
A discussion on energy transformation (from Mahamudra 5), questions on levels of energy transformation and emotions.
The four stages of conflict (from Warrior’s Solution 3), questions on working with feelings surrounding conflict and the third stage of conflict, magnetization.
A discussion on Buddhism and creativity, questions on reincarnation, mind having no beginning, and equanimity and manipulation.
Practicing when ill, understanding what your body is telling you, resting.
May we acquire all the abilities of the ground, path, and fruition. And clear away all disruptions in outlook, practice, and behavior. In the infinite expanse of the wonderful mind of Ever-present Good, May we take hold of eternal being in the youthful vase body.
A description of physical and emotional sensations when a pattern begins to dissolve (from Awakening From Belief 11), questions about obsession and working with the core of a pattern.
Excerpt from Mind Training retreat on the six realms, questions about dakinis and understanding deities and gods.
How to live in a way that supports spiritual practice: time, energy, attention.
A look at addiction from Monsters Under The Bed 4, questions on alcohol, pornography, and shame.
Bringing attention into actions is the eightfold path’s core practice, questions on concentration and attention, how meditation increases attention, and emotional energy.
Questions on meditation variations and intention, which form of meditation is recommended, using sounds or music during meditation, and interacting with people as a type of practice.
Stepping out of the six realms, doing nothing, three aspects of doing nothing, connection with the three marks of existence; no distraction, not holding onto things, differentiating between thoughts and thinking; no control, not trying to control what we experience, connection with suffering; not working at anything, not being somebody, opening to the totality of experience; meditation instruction
Retreat experience to date, locking up in the body, what to do about it, guided meditation on how the six realms appear in daily life, venturing into the mystery of not living in any realm.
Habituation as a form of addiction; the dynamics of addiction from an experiential perspective; the dynamics of addiction from a biochemical perspective; stepping out of addiction to habitual reactions; process through which freedom is found; meditation practice on emptying the six realms; Q&A
The six realms, projections of emotional reactions; anger and the hell realms, greed and the hungry ghost realms, instinct and the animal realms, fun and busynesss in the human realm, jealousy in the titan realm, pride in the god realm; meditation practice on experiencing the six realms; Q&A
Working with the second of the four noble truths; attraction, aversion and indifference as impulses, and the reactions they initiate; concerns about making things last or getting rid of them; the formation of emotional needs and why they are impossible to meet; the need to be somebody conditioned by both family and society, practice instructions on finding peace and understanding in the experience of emotional impulses; Q&A
The aim of Buddhist practice is to end suffering. A refuge is a place where one goes to be free from harm, fear, and suffering. In Buddhism, refuge is a metaphor for wakefulness or presence. It is reminder of the basic orientation in Buddhist practice, namely, that suffering comes to end only through being awake and present.
When you open and relax, There is an emptiness that goes beyond true or false. Here, if you know arising release, natural release and direct release, You are no different from all the awakened ones. You are awake and no different from me.
As you grow accustomed to this exchange, and that may take a while, you come to rest in a different way, in a profound acceptance of the pain of the world and the struggles that comprise most people’s lives. In that acceptance, there is a quiet joy, a joy in the wonder of life itself.
Part 1a - Introduction: Background information on text, author, and structure of opening verses. Part 1b - Opening verses, Practice 1: 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.
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
First Four Elements: 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.
Introduction: 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
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.
Introduction: 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.
What do you seek in practice? What does it mean to rest and relax with a problematic experience? Can you experience whatever arises and be at peace at the same time? Teachings on opening to the totality of experience.
A talk on the life of the great Tibetan yogini, Niguma, an important figure in the Shangpa Lineage.
Introduction: 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.
Understanding the problem: 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.
Stressful situations present a basic challenge: How can I experience what is occurring and be clear and at peace at the same time.
In-depth series of teachings on The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and how practitioners in today’s world might approach traditional texts written hundreds of years ago.
Who am I? In the world of social conventions, the answer is a story. Lots of things may go into this story: interests, history, quirks, talents, achievements, background, likes, dislikes, successes and failures. And the story we tell changes according to the circumstances.
For many people money defines the way they perceive and understand themselves and their lives. Yet that is only one way to approach life and it may not be the best.
How passivity undermines practice and how to live in power without being destroyed by it.
The notion of enemy arises in us when we resist. These teachings help you to see there is nothing to push against.
We usually think of death as being the end of our physical life yet we actually experience death and impermanence many times over whether it is the letting go of cherish beliefs and self-images or changes in our work and personal life. These teachings give you a new perspective on death and importance which will help you engage in life more fully.
Working with painful or difficult emotions is something everyone encounters in practice. This series explores ways to let go of reactions associated with powerful emotions so you don't have to repress them or express them in the world.
There is a lot of confusion about power and it is often misunderstood and misused. These teachings provide a better understanding about power and how to use it.
These teachings touch on many different practices and texts ranging from shamata and guru yoga to One Sentence Pith Instructions and Aspirations for Mahamudra.
Teachings on the practices and principals regarding mind training, ranging from making adversity the path to awakening, taking and sending, the four kayas, and the five forces in daily life.
Meditation often makes us aware of things we'd rather ignore. Yet if we don't pay attention to these monsters under the bed they creep up on us when we aren't aware and take over our lives. This series explains the monsters' origins, the challenges they represent, and how to overcome them.
Mind training is a way to clear away self-cherishing through meditation practices involving presence, energy transformation, and purification. These teachings provide a detailed look at mind training and related practices.
Opening talk of retreat, part 1: Retreat structure and intention, comments on the Vajrayana path – how it is different and the same, how it is based on compassion and emptiness, which naturally evolve into mindfulness and presence.Opening talk of the retreat, part 2: Retreat’s daily schedule and routine; subject matter for retreat (Buddhahood Without Meditation); sitting with questions rather than trying to answer them intellectually; the challenge of doing nothing; the importance of silence; resting & seeing.
Dakini practice as a way of refining experience, comparison with Mahamudra practice; dakini practice as tool to raise energy; review of elements in relationship to emotional patterns and as descriptions of experience; nature of dakinis: “know dakinis to be one’s own mind”; symbolic nature of dakinis & relation to wisdom awarenesses; overview of five wisdom awarenesses: evenness (balance), mirror-like, distinguishing, effective action, totality; overview of practice instructions
Contemplating death may seem like a morbid exercise yet this practice not only helps you accept the changes you experience throughout life but brings richness to your everyday experience.
Chö, the Tibetan word for cutting, can be defined as using difficult experiences to develop your ability to be awake and clear in whatever life throws at you. This series explores Chö's origins in the Diamond Sutra, its relationship to Taking and Sending, and daily prayers and practices.
How do you work with the practice instruction "do nothing"? What would life be like if you could experience fully whatever arises?
Should karma be viewed as belief or instruction? What would it be like to live without a belief system? What does it mean to make practice your own?
Through practice you develop the ability to experience whatever arises in your life. When you have difficulty experiencing something it is often due to a problem with willingness, know-how, or capacity. The teachings from this retreat focus on how to increase these capabilities, the importance of intention and related matters.
How do you go deeper into body, beyond words, and rest? Once there, what's next?
This series explores how the 37 Practices can be divided into four distinct sections: the foundations for practice, what to do about anger, the six perfections, and how to live the practice.
Recorded shortly after a tsunami in Asia, this talk centers on using one’s reactions to sudden tragedies as a basis for practice.
Developing and maintaining your own meditation practice
A talk on the three marks of existence.
Questions on the student-teacher relationship, taking responsibility for one’s own practice, and how to practice effectively without depending on external conditions.
Discussion and questions on the similarities and differences between prayer and meditation.
A two-part talk dealing with Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (the Three Jewels) and about appropriate efforts for the student. Part two of this talk is unavailable.
Examining the iconic imagery Christ on the cross and the Buddha in meditation, prayers and mantras, meditation as a practice to develop the ability to experience things completely, prayer as a way to form a relationship, listening: where prayer and meditation come together, poetry as the language of religion, the experience of considering Where is God?
A series of guided meditations beginning with "body like a mountain", opening to the experience of the body sitting, free from any kind of effort, and grounding awareness in the present. With "breath like the sea", opening to the constant movement of the breath, like the waves in the sea, up and down. Finally, "mind like the sky", receiving everything that arises and not reacting or controlling. Participant experience at each stage of the process.
In response to many students' requests for a clear and simple translation of this classical and deeply revered prayer, Ken McLeod in Los Angeles put these words together as best he could.
How the buddha principle transforms the six realms: Through my awakened intention May all who are quarrelsome and competitive Stop their hostility and relax where they are. As knowing finds its own place, May they attain the pristine awareness of effective action.
Tilopa's pithy mahamudra instruction
Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness...
A short song on the six perfections: For meditative stability, nothing to do, Other than rest in presence.
The essence of thought is what is, it is taught. To this meditator who arises as an unceasing play, Being nothing at all,but arising as anything, Give me energy to know that samsara and nirvana are not separate.
By understanding the effects of good and bad actions,whatever their importance, May I be able to keep to the workings of seed and result. By seeing clearly the suffering in the three realms of samsara, May I develop the renunciation to leave samsara’s domain.
Because of your great compassion, Every being is originally placed in full awakening. Because of your powerful actions, You engage and master everything in samsara and nirvana.
Samsaric ways are senseless:they are the seeds of suffering.
Conventional ways are pointless. Focus on what is sound and true.
Majestic outlook is beyond all fixation.
Majestic practice is no distraction.
Majestic behavior is no action or effort.
The fruition is there when you are free from hope and fear.
I and all beings, in their infinities, Whether demonic, crippling or alien, Are, in the end, the same in emptiness. Confused is the person who takes what is empty as real.
No matter where, no matter who, In no way am I better, I deem. As for others, in my heart I hold them humbly in high esteem.
I was happy practicing with the ocean, But a little uneasy about bringing waves into the practice. Please give me instruction on practicing with waves.
You make an effort at practice and become a good and knowledgeable person. You may even master some particular capabilities. But whatever you attach to will tie you up. Be unbiased and know how to let things be – that’s my sincere advice
Not contaminated by holding to other and self, Natural presence arises on its own. This is the great power assembly that benefits others. All samsara and nirvana are pure in this single mandala. Holding to ground,path and result subsides.
As long as I dwell in the world,may not a single thought of harming others arise in my mind.May I strive energetically for the welfare of beings,not faltering even for a moment from discouragement or fatigue.
Even with a free and well-favored birth, I waste this life. The meaningless activities of conventional life constantly distract me. When I work at freedom, which is truly important, laziness carries me away. Because I am turning away from a land of jewels with my hands empty, Guru, think of me: look upon me quickly with compassion. Give me energy to make my life worthwhile.
This day my life is fruitful. I have claimed my human heritage. Today I am born into the family of the awakened. Now I am a child of buddha. From now on I will do only what befits this family. I will do nothing to disgrace this noble and faultless family.
When wanting and grasping hold sway The dakini has you in her power. Wanting nothing from outside, taking things as they come, Know the dakini to be your own mind.
Pointing out instructions from Chö
It doesn’t exist: even buddhas do not see it. It doesn’t not exist: it is the basis of samsara and nirvana. No contradiction: the middle way is union. May I know the pure being of mind,free of extremes.
All the matter of the world,living and not living, Appear as objects to my eyes. Let me rest in the appearance of things,without seeing them as things.
In these ways, all experience, appearance, sound, or thought, Are signs that point me to know directly the nature of being. They are solely expressions of my magnificent teacher. In recollecting your great kindness, I pray to you. Give me the energy to know directly the nature of all experience.
Whatever appearances of happiness and suffering arise, Look at their essence and they will spontaneously subside. This is the mahamudra of making all tastes equal
Now, as you experience this vague knowing in which there is no thought or movement, look at what knows that this is happening, look at what is mentally or emotionally inert, and rest there. Then you experience an awareness that is free from thought and movement, has no sense of inside or outside, and is utterly clear and transparent, like space. Experience and experiencing are not separate. Yet you are unshakeable about what you are, thinking, “This is all there is!”
The happiness of the three worlds disappears in a moment, Like a dewdrop on a blade of grass. The highest level of freedom is one that never changes. Aim for this — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
Karma describes the way actions grow into experience... Every action either starts a new growth process or reinforces an old one as described by the four results.
Fear is a reactive mechanism that operates when our identity (including the identity of being a physical entity) is threatened. It works to erode or dissipate attention. We move into one of the six realms and react: destroy the threat or seek revenge (hell being), grasp at safety and security (hungry ghost), focus on survival (animal), pursue pleasure as compensation (human), vie for superiority (titan), or protect status and position (god). Because we are less present to what is actually taking place, our actions are correspondingly less appropriate and less effective. We go to sleep in our beliefs and ignore the consequences of maintaining them.
Traditional prayers, refuge, bodhicitta, dedication, for opening and closing daily meditation sessions
A guru yoga practice or union with teacher based on Niguma, the originator of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition
Go to the special sub-site created to help you explore mind training.Any method that implants a set of ideas, perspectives, and experiences that work to dismantle habituated patterns of behavior, emotionality, and perception can be called mind training. Chekawa's Mind Training in Seven Points is one of the best-known sets. It's 59 short instructions comprise a complete practice covering all the essential points of Mahayana Buddhism.
Meditation on the four immeasurables or the four brahmaviharas, incorporating elements from Theravada, Mahayana and Dzogchen
Seeing from the inside, a five-step mindfulness practice based on the Anapanisati Sutra developed by Thich Naht Hanh
Paired verses describing each of the five elements, one for the reactive process and one for the transformation into timeless awareness
Goodness comes from this practice now done.
Let me not hold it just in me.
Let it spread to all that is known
And awaken good throughout the world.
Where compassion is the wish that others not suffer, renunciation is the wish that I not suffer. What causes me to suffer? Wanting. Renunciation, then, means not so much giving up things, desires, or a way of life, but to give up desiring itself. But to do so is not so easy.
In the initial stages of practice, we are consumed by thoughts. As we continue, we gradually are able to experience thoughts as thoughts, and not be distracted by them. To be a little technical, when the level of energy in the attention is higher than the level of energy in what you are experiencing, say, anger, or love, then you can experience the anger or love without getting lost in it. When you experience it that way, energy is transformed to a still higher level, making it possible for you to experience deeper levels of clarity and stillness, and also deeper levels of conditioning.
Pawo Tsulak Trengwa, a Kagyu teacher who was the principal scholar of his time, wrote an extensive commentary on this topic, which I studied when I was in retreat. He excoriates the view that the first root downfall means absolute obedience to the guru. He is very explicit: you have to do everything your lama tells you only as it pertains to your spiritual practice. He says that the first root downfall doesn’t apply to how you live and function in the world.
Many problems in meditation practice come from confusion about what we think should happen, what we want to happen, and what actually happens. One way to clear up this confusion is to be clear about the purpose, method, effects and results of meditation practice.
Willingness means to let go of conventional concerns over happiness, wealth, status, and reputation, the agendas of life in society. As long as you limit your experience to what fits into the world of society, you will explore your spiritual potential only to the extent that it doesn't impinge on your life in society.
Freedom is not a state; it is a process. It is something you are, not something you have. In freedom, there is a continual releasing of reactive material as it arises in each moment of experience.
As we cut through our confusion over and over again, returning to the breath, we find that a whole realm of experience begins to open up to us: thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, sounds, images, memories. Our conditioned tendency is to regard some of these as good and some as bad. Through power, we have established a place for our attention to rest. Now we make an effort in ecstasy...
Deep questions about values and ethics arise around the issues of abortion, life support, and elective suicide for those with debilitating and terminal illnesses. In these and other circumstances, call up compassion so that you see clearly, go empty in all the complexities so you know what is, and in that knowing act without hesitation.
Finally, we come to the training in natural presence... Many people approach this naively, feeling that a drastic simplification of their life will be sufficient (adoption of a monastic life, living simply in nature, stepping off the fast track, etc.), but we usually bring our baggage with us when we make these moves. The first effort here is to rid ourselves of accumulations from the past... The second effort is to let go of the future. ...
The final challenge of habituated patterns is to question direct experience. How do we know? How can we trust this knowing, which is totally beyond the ordinary conditioned experience of life? Like Buddha Shakyamuni, we turn to no external reference and live in the knowing. We rest in presence, in the very mystery of being itself.
Lineage is not the passing on of “The Truth” from one generation to another. It is the passing on of the methods, the tools, with which you uncover and live this natural knowing.
Imbalance in a relationship, whatever the basis of the relationship, inevitably leads to lack of respect on one side and resentment on the other. Relationships can and do endure periods of imbalance. Sooner or later, however, the imbalance must be addressed if the relationship is to continue.
Increasingly, money has become the only medium for exchange between people in our culture. The human part of us resists this as we feel that there is more than simply financial value in our interactions. But money is now used to determine the value of time, the value of any material article, the value of culture, the value of social programs, etc. It is this seeming willingness to measure every aspect of life in money that indicates the true extent to which we have engaged this collective thought.
This is the final step in letting go of any attempt to categorize our experience. The experience which comes out of this is non-thought. Out of this comes a confidence of possibilities within ourselves. We are increasingly able to act without second thoughts and do what is appropriate. In other words, we come to know the stillness of the mind that no longer depends solely on conceptual processes to formulate responses to the world of experience.
From the Buddhist point of view the mind-body system with which we identify has the seed of attention within it already. We simply provide conditions for sustained active attention to develop. The practice of meditation is the practice of providing those conditions. This is how we cultivate attention, just as we would a plant or tree.
Meditation is not a quick cure-all. We are used to quick fixes: ten ways to better communication, the five magic steps for better relationships, the eight things every manager should know, etc. The trouble is that all of this good advice is useless if we aren't sufficiently present to implement it. Meditation cultivates just that presence, so we could regard it as a foundational skill.
One of the primary characteristics of learned helplessness is that the person feels passive with respect to the system. The passivity, however, is only half the story... Can learned helplessness be undone? The answer is "Yes." The cost, however, is high.
The teacher-student relationship is based on a shared aim — your awakening to the mystery of being. It is not based on mutual profit or on emotional connection.
A student asked Dezhung Rinpoche about visualization practice and deity meditation. Dezhung Rinpoche closed his eyes, scrunched his forehead, bobbed his head up and down as if he were concentrating very hard and said, “You visualize the head of the deity, then you visualize all those arms, then you visualize the implements, then the palace, then you try to see the whole deity clearly, but you lose one part, so you go back to visualize that… And it’s all gone. You start again, and the same thing happens, again, and again.” Then he opened his eyes wide, looked right at the student, smiled, and said, “And then you have a headache!”
The comparison reveals where your habituated tendencies have been reinforced by your work environment and are pulling you out of balance. Now you know where to start. As your priorities change, you will spend time in areas you neglected and shift responsibility for things you used to do to others. People around you will react in different ways: those for whom your old ways were convenient will resist the changes, while others will welcome them. You will, inevitably, see more clearly how your work environment systemically reinforces reactivity in you and in others.
This greed for results, for something dramatic, undermines our practice completely. The effects of meditation are subtle and take time to mature. When we are constantly looking for some kind of sign or attainment from our practice, we are essentially looking outside ourselves.
Compassion is the difference between a faith that opens you to what life brings and beliefs that force you to close down to protect what you cannot or will not question.
When I look back on my first years of Buddhist practice, let’s say the first ten to twelve years, my practice was essentially a reaction to suffering. Most of the time I didn’t know what I was reacting to. I put a great deal of effort into practice, into study, into serving my teacher. I learned a great deal. But it didn’t ease anything inside me.
Time and time again, we are told that we are buddha, that the buddha qualities are present now, but that we just don’t know it. The problem, for many of us, is that this knowing is not a form of knowing that we are used to.
The principle is as simple as it is counter-intuitive: take the pain of others and give our own happiness in exchange. Suicide?! Ironically, it cuts through, wears away, and undermines the four levels of confusion. Conditioned behavior and perceptions are radically altered through an appreciation of what we have and what we can give to others. Emotional turbulence is reduced as we find ourselves capable of being present non-reactively with pain and unpleasantness. Dualistic thinking is derailed and we find ourselves simply present with others. And, strangest of all, we find our understanding of mind becoming clearer and clearer.
How to practice right speech as in the Eightfold Path, listen to your own voice as you speak, naturally evolution of the four characteristics of right speech. Subtitle: Living the Buddhist principle of right speech
passage from article:When I did open to everything, there was no opposition — there was no enemy. I didn’t have to struggle with experience. At the same time, there was no truth, no state of perfection, no ideal, no final achievement. Again, years later, in a conversation with another teacher about this experience, he said, “Don’t worry about truth. Just develop devotion so strongly that thinking stops, and rest right there.”