Empathetic Joy: Balancing some of the possible side effects of so much Shamatha practice!

18 May 2010

Alan starts this afternoon by detailing some of the possible “side effects” that could happen during intense practice of Shamatha, in the sense that when we are trying to make our mind so focused an unified, it can sometimes become quite small. He also talks about how sometimes we keep hurting ourselves with our own memories of unpleasant events (making them real again) even dozens or hundreds of times after the original event. The Empathetic Joy practice we do afterwards is a remedy to both of the above condition.

After the bright and uplifting practice, Alan adds some footnotes from this morning, focusing on Galileo and making a very interesting and sharply plausible hypothesis as to why the start of probing into the mind in the west took 300 years. We then continue yesterday’s question of death and continuity of conciousness in the period between lifes (bardo), relating it to dream yoga. We have two more very brief questions afterwards and end with two minutes to spare!

This photo (by Malcolm) is of our Buddha statue in the teaching hall, happy to see us undertaking this long overdue adventure into the mind with such a wise and ideal guide (to his left, not in the picture)!

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