Tag Archives: 4 Foundations of Mindfulness

Lopön Andre Papantonio and Rita Gross-12 Nidanas Review-8/27/11 8:30 PM

Lopon Andre: This is a chance to get all your questions out there, all your concerns and confusions. The only things we offer are repeating the words of our perfect teacher.

Khandro Rinpoche likes us to always start any session with motivation. This is not to gain intellectual knowledge, but to transform our lives, and devote our body, speech and mind to serve all sentient beings. And remember the lineage going back through H.H. Mindrolling Trinchen Rinpoche, Terdak Lingpa, Padmasambhava, Buddha, and all the kindness.

The attitude and conduct is most important. The willingness to train yourself in path of practice doesn’t matter if old or new students, it’s all about training yourself. When you go back home, people should see a change in conduct and kindness.” – Khandro Rinpoche

Lopon Rita: In 35 years of hearing teachings, this was the first time I’ve heard a Tibetan teacher teach from a Pali text. This is wonderful. I can’t emphasize how important these foundations are. I think people get to vajrayana too fast, and it becomes like balancing on a point, and coming back to them year after year. They are vast in their profoundness. I am so grateful. (editor’s note: Ditto.)

She’s emphasized at this retreat so far the 12 nidanas and interdependence, which is the foundation of everything else. Next week will be the Four Immeasurables, which caps the foundations. These were presented with great depth. She built a bridge with Theravadan. Continue reading


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Khandro Rinpoche 2012 annual retreat – talk 5: part 2: Patrul Rinpoche practice text based on Bodhicharyavatara – Elaborate explanations of Paramitas: Samadhi

(continued from talk  5, part 1)
A Step by step guided meditation on the profound Mahayana text of Bodhicharyavatara by Patrul Rinpoche called “The Sun of Brilliant Clarity”

Elaborate explanations of Paramitas

Fifth Paramita: Meditative concentration/Samadhi

  1. Becomes paramita of meditation because it abandons those factors that are not conductive to concentration
  2. Paramita of meditation becomes one is working with those objects that stabilizes shamatha.

1. Abandons those factors that are not conductive to concentration.  Patrul Rinpoche says, “abandoning the factors means to give up mundane concern such as habitual preoccupations.” “Dog chasing a tail” Samadhi arises when one give up busyness. Give up the thought of being afraid to be alone.   Give up the sense that you can’t enjoy quietude.  Anything that impedes quietude and silence is an impediment. Patrul Rinpoche says “to train in contentment. A true meditator who can really enhance shamatha can build shamatha on contentment.” Contentment is built on present moment.

Abandoning the factors of discursive thoughts.  Even in a conducive place of practice, if mind pursues mundane possessions and thoughts, shamatha is completely destroyed.  If in a conducive place of practice one doesn’t destroy craving, shamatha will never arise.

2. How to cultivate Shamatha

Object of Samadhi-

A. equalizing self and others.

B. exchanging self and others.

a. Equalizing self and others Where this equalizing self and others is weak, bodhichitta will be weak.

In the 8th chapter, the 97th verse is of particular significance to meditators.

Why should one guard against my future pain Which does no harm to this, my present me?”

Everything we do is to safeguard the future me.  Shantideva says at this moment, this doesn’t affect you at all. The past is gone, the future we don’t know, the present always changing. So what are we grasping to so strong?

“Everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering”.

Why should I be the one to think of others?

Why should I work for others? Why shouldn’t you?

Verse 99 – the pain felt in my foot is not my hand, so why I should help others?

Hand can rub foot because part of own body.  Sentient beings are interconnected.  There is a shared basis of connection itself that is basis on which one is responsible for others.  If someone is having the pain, then based on interdependency, it is your responsibility to remove that pain, and give happiness to sentient beings.

Patrul Rinpoche says, “Prior to going into contemplating, train the mind to in post-meditation practice to truly understand sameness of self and others.”

“Ninje” is developed. ‘’Compassion’ is the translation usually.  But the Tibetan term literally means “it leaves a footprint in your heart.’” It leaves sense of ‘what can I do for the others?’ that makes you recall the need for happiness in all sentient beings. Ninje is “my concentration, my heart beats for others.”


Verse  129.

“All the joy the world contains has come from wishing happiness for others. All the misery in the word has come from wishing happiness for myself”

Verse 161.

“Happiness, fulfillment, these I give away.

Patrul Rinpoche says “It is true; joy comes from wishing happiness for others. But everyone pursues happiness for self. May I not fall into this pit of this ignorance…”

Preliminary Meditations to Shamatha

  1. Visualize oneself as the other who is lower or inferior to you
  2. Visualize yourself and the other as equals in every regard
  3. Visualize the other very high and accomplished and the other yourself as very unaccomplished

In first, feel power of envy. In the second, feel power of rivalry. In the third, feel power of pride.

Verse 56 of chapter 10-

The pain and suffering of all sentient beings, may it ripen in me, and may the virtuous qualities of bodhisattvas…”

Shamatha is being able to rest without being entangled in emotion. Meditation or shamatha doesn’t get entered into by self, but gets entered into by bodhichitta. This contemplation gives the shamatha the right direction.

Sixth Paramita: Wisdom

Wisdom in meditation is that which realizes the empty nature of all phenomena. Wisdom in post-meditation practice is the recognition that all experiences are like an illusion.

That knowledge becomes wisdom the moment mind becomes more relaxed, not taking things as seriously, not taking things as solid. In English you have an expression,  “go with the flow”. You make sense of what is flowing, and let it flow.

Untightening your grip over things. That is where knowledge of meditation has been able to manifest as wisdom in ones’ meditation.  Realizing all phenomena to be empty. In post-meditation practice, (you see the) natural nature of things as they truly are, and can relate to things almost like a dream.

Working in meditation and post-meditation practice.

How do we know we have realized wisdom? Applying the above two – “seeing emptiness and seeing everything as a magical illusion” and then building selflessness. Patrul Rinpoche says “Every learning, contemplation, examinatuion  leads to the truth of selflessness.  Wisdom is selflessness. Wherever there is a strengthened selflessness, paramita of wisdom arises.  Recognizing selflessness of self, and phenomena.”

In meditation and post-meditation practice, work with contemplation of selflessness of individual and phenomena.

Rest in meditation, and question, “Who do you call the self? Are the knees? The toes? The thighs? The limbs?  The senses? The skin? The bones? The organs? Cells? Molecules? Sinews and nerves?” Search again and again until realizing selflessness to be there and the designation of “self” can only be given when all the things gathered together are the self. Beyond all the factors, there is no self. So, question: Why WOULD one live their whole life as if there was a self when one realizes the selflessness of the individual?

Also, work with practicing the absence of self in phenomena through four contemplations, also known as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

What is the nature of body?  Mindfulness of body
  1. Is what we call ‘body’ the same as or different from the assembly of its parts?
  2. Where does the body originate?
  3. Where does it remain?
  4. Where does it go in the end?
What is the nature of feelings? Mindfulness of Feelings
  1. Are all feelings the same or different each time?
  2. Do feelings originate independently?
  3. Are mind and feelings the same or not?
  4. Observe arising, manifesting, and dissolving of feelings.   Find the answer, “where do feelings arise from? What is the nature of a feeling when it manifests, and where do feelings dissolve?”
What is the nature of mind? Mindfulness of mind
  1. Are what we call “mind” made up of the 6 consciousness or is it separate of it?
  2. Investigate likes, dislikes, happiness, sadness, attachment, aversion and see whether they are the same or different.
  3. When not labeled, what is the nature of mind?
  4. Is mind permanent or impermanent?
What is the nature of phenomena? Mindfulness of phenomena
  1. What is the nature of perception?
  2. What is the nature of formation?
  3. Is phenomena conditioned or unconditioned?
  4. What is interdependency? Are phenomena interdependent or not?

 Interestingly, there is no mention of the 4th part, fruition. Patrul Rinpoche says “if you have these answers to these 4 foundations of mindfulness, Fruition is there.”

Wisdom is never wisdom until it is able to manifest as selflessness. Selflessness is just a  synonym for bodhichitta.

In short, of all that has been said in the past few days, Above all, be kind.

End of Teaching.

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Top Five Dharma books for beginners

Several  people  have asked for reading suggestions, since there are so many dharma books out there.  It is really, really difficult to know where to start.  So, here is my list of a beginner’s guide.  I start with the disclaimer that I am mostly coming from the so-called ‘Tibetan’ form of Buddhism.  This is not meant to suggest it is ‘better than’ other forms. It just happens to be where I am. SO, without further ado:

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Loppon Helen Berliner- February 17, 2012 – Morning talk – “Devotion and lineage” program – Lotus Garden

I fully trust everyone did homework last night and looking forward to detailed, explicit explanation of 37 wings of enlightened path. (laughter) To begin, what did you discover? What most clearly elucidates- for those coming in the middle, this – the arc of our journey will become clear- reiterate where the path is going and where it is from. We are considering Buddha’s final instruction at his death what he felt were the most important instructions. What he felt summarized, encapsulated the pith instructions – we have the expansive and the explicit. We are looking at the explicit. Continue reading

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4 Foundations of mindfulness – DC Khandro Rinpoche study group – 12-7-11

facilitator: Larry Fallon

Note: There is a rough transcript of Khandro Rinpoche’s teaching on the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness referenced in these notes.

I highly suggest everyone go listen to the whole talk from August 27 at 3 PM.  Since it seems rude to edit one’s wisdom teacher, what I did was took some clips from different sections of contemplation of body, feelings, mind, and phenomena. I will play these in 4-5 minute segments.  Then we spend 3-4 minutes contemplating, and then talk about what it is like. Otherwise, it isn’t practice; it is just us running our mouths.

Being that it is Pali, not Sanskrit, it was not translated into Tibetan until fairly late. Came through other commentaries.  This being Pali – the language Buddha spoke – it’s very much how he communicated. This describes how they practiced as monastics and forest dwellers.  Continue reading

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H.E. Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche – 4 Foundations of Mindfulness

H.E. Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche teaching – Entering the Mahayana: 5th Teaching –  8/27/11 – 3 PM – the 12 Nidanas (continued) 4 Foundations of Mindfulness

12 Nidanas (continued)

What is being given out is a copy of the Satipatthana Sutta translation. Keep it with you till we get to the sections where you do the contemplations.  How are you all doing? (laughter) Thanks to Lisa and the Padma team. The changes around the land are amazing. Thanks to the karma team- Lama roar and everyone – nice to see continuation. Hopefully this thing (the hurricane) that is supposed to happen won’t happen. Vajra team keeps saying its’ coming. So they have been talking about paranoia (laughter).

So, one begins to see the importance of working with oneself. The path that leads to that is called dharma. But it must be understood to lead to the cessation of affliction. One must develop mindfulness that is such that it is able to bring about the full manifestation of wisdom. One must know true nature of all phenomena, outer and inner, and bring about the wisdom of knowing things as they truly are. Buddha explained the 12 nidanas, causes and arising… These can be seen in all broader and other circumstances. Can see how a consciousness is propelled by karmic formations,  how a strong compulsion for ignorance and karmic formation propels consciousness to become an embryo. This is the dot of conception, leading to aggregates, leading  to grasping, and leading to craving.

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