Good morning everyone. So this morning we did a session of shamatha as a way of reminding ourselves that without the foundation of stable calm attention, simply learning produces a lot of mental excitement. It is very easy to lose calmness, awareness, effect on environment. We are trying to balance a lot of material, learning history, including history not by practitioners. Who were the ancestors? What did they teach? How were they preserved? How is all that integrated? hear, contemplate, and integrate by taking that knowledge in in non-conceptual space of awareness. That becomes power when it is part of your mindstream. Shamatha–vipashyna is the bridge.
Just like that beautiful stupa in the slideshow, we know stupa has symbolism – bhumis at the spire. Can’t have that without the foundation. You need shamatha for stability and vipashyna for wisdom. [First, practice the] Four Foundations of Mindfulness, to see experience as non-substantial yet apparent. Then, practice the 4 Limitless Ones to build compassion. Then, practice the Vajrayana, [to] let it manifest, seeing things as they are. Instead of waiting for things to be perfect, which is the samsaric approach, we are seeing them as perfect, which is Vajrayana approach.
Good morning everyone (Laughs).
Lineage supplication before I give a talk – then q and a, and overview of the whole cycle of teachings of the Ati Zabdon ngondro.
As we start to talk about the transformation of the creation of contaminated impure perception into pure nature, we think many times, “these practices are contrived.” This is because you live a contrived life now. All forms are contrivances of mind. In same way, what you think of sound, even subtle sounds, or a sense of intellectual knowledge of the emptiness of sound, are a contrivance. Thoughts are empty, but even the non-grasping at this point is contrived. We live in a contrived existence because mind labels it – even the labels “true,” “pure,” and “Buddha” are a contrivance. Since we are trapped in an elaborate contrivance, pure perception is a necessity, because mind isn’t able to understand completely letting go at this point, so mind needs a subtle reference. As long as mind thinks it needs a contrivance to rest on, even emptiness, there will always be a need for a relative reference. Continue reading
(continued from part 2)
Step by step guided meditation on the profound Mahayana text of Bodhicharyavatara by Patrul Rinpoche
The Bodhicharyavatara was taught by Shantideva first. But Patrul Rinpoche is said to have spent 80% of his life teaching this text. He is regarded as one who lived in accord with the dharma, setting very high example for all the teachers from the later 19th, 20th century who trained in how Patrul Rinpoche taught. He said “if there is a single text that is the life-force of the dharma, it is the Bodhicharyavatara.” He received it 108 times. He taught it in public gathering more than 100 times, entrusted to them that they needed to have it taught to them 100 times and teach it 100 times before they’d understood. There was hardly any lineage master not untouched by Patrul Rinpoche. After he died, he had 1000s of disciples, and so forth. The only things he had when he died was the robes he was wearing, the bowl he ate in, and a copy of the Bodhicharyavatara. It is very important when we engage in contemplation that we don’t bring the profound teaching down to our level. Continue reading
I’ve been asked by a few people to explain the whole concept of Refuge practice in the Buddha-dharma. I’ll do this as a two-for-one: I’ll cover the actual refuge ceremony and how it applied to my life (and changed it), and then the ‘turbo-charged’ version of refuge: Prostrations, the first part of what are called the “extraordinary preliminaries” or ngondro in Tibetan. This is where things start to get ‘interesting’ (some would say “Are you insane?”) since ngondro includes at least 100,000 prostrations. I say ‘at least’ because there is one lineage that requires 300,000 prostrations in the course of the ngondro. As you will find out, I ended up IN that lineage.
But first: H.E. Khandro Rinpoche explaining Taking Refuge. Everything she says supersedes anything I say. 🙂 Continue reading
Good Afternoon! It’s wonderful to have a talk on the Mahayana be so anticipated. (laughter) the plot thickens.
There are so many ways to think about how to present this material, which is the whole path. We are trying to answer fundamental questions, such as “who are these people!?” (in the long seven-branch offering we have been reading every morning.) For many pages, there are a lot of names. Occasionally, we recognize a name or place. “Who are these people, what is there story, what were their contributions to dharma, how is what they taught transmitted now?” Finally, “what are the pith essence teachings, how do we hold them, and how will they affect us in this time and place?”
Today, we are continuing down the river of lineage, the exciting important development based on 1st teaching, which then came to Tibet, and then to us as practitioners. But first, we wanted to share a deep practitioners’ perspective of this morning. Sharing a timeline which will be the basis of going forward. We said in beginning we would attempt to present the highlights of 1200 years in 5 days, which is laughable. Even the last 50 years would take a week. For reference, on the chart in Deki Gyatsal (a timeline of world history from 3000 B.C. to the present day), we are on the first line of the timeline- still at the orange dot of Buddha. This was the time between Buddha’s enlightenment, and the story of Buddha’s death. Nothing was written for a couple hundred years. The Mahaparanirvana sutra contains elements of the first and second wheel turnings. The point is not to go into which is right, or conspiracy theory. It’s a flowing lineage, flowing manifesting depending on river bends. Depends on trickle, flood, muddy, etc. Us receiving this is a river bend. Continue reading
During refuge vow, the spiritual master says “this is the method to slowly attain enlightenment. But the cultivation of that, the practice of that relies on you.”
– H.E. Garchen Rinpoche
There are limitless Buddhas of the past, limitless Buddhas of the present, limitless Buddhas of the future. The present Buddha is Shakyamuni. In beginning, Buddha gave rise to bodhichitta, and then practiced for three limitless eons until he attained enlightenment.
We can take in refuge in 3 jewels, and then attain enlightenment in one lifetime or in the intermediate state, or at least favorable rebirth and enlightenment within 1 or 2 lifetimes.
There are 2 systems in the world. In those, various religions and spiritual paths in order to benefit sentient beings temporarily and spiritually. All are of benefit. But the Buddhist view is that all beings can attain enlightenment. Beings are obscured by temporary stains, and are all Buddhas underneath.
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
Guru yoga – teaching at Lotus Garden Ngondro program
This is a preview. (laughter) The real movie is in March at the guru yoga program. Jann and Cathie are just fab teachers. This has been an incredible retreat. Only one of them is here, but we’d like to thank the residents. [Thanks them by name.]
Again, remember what the proper intention is for any practice period, or giving or hear a talk. Flash on motivation of radiating bodhichitta and then remember the whole point is to achieve liberation for all sentient beings including ourselves. Keep that in mind instead of gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Also, flash on the lineage- in particular the Mindrolling lineage, in part His Holiness and Her Eminence, and picture the continual flow of blessings from that lineage, and from our guru, even when she is sitting still (which isn’t often). Continue reading