10 Oct 2012

Teaching. Alan repeats the series on the 4 greats, starting with great compassion. Focusing on the cause of suffering, we have experienced during the retreat that the mind caught up in rumination is very vulnerable to suffering. Mind is beaten up by samsara. Without shamatha, the mind is dysfunctional. When the mind is able to rest in the substrate, there is no blatant suffering. The proper way to view shamatha is not as an end itself, but as an on-ramp to the path of awakening.
Meditation. Great compassion preceded by settling body, speech, and mind. 

1) settling body, speech, and mind. Let your awareness illuminate the space of the body, without entering into the body. Relinquish all control over the breath, releasing all thoughts with every out breath. Simply observe the flow of the breath. In the spirit of renunciation, let awareness be still in the present moment.

2) great compassion. Turn your awarenss outwards. Inquire 1) why couldn’t we all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering? All sentient beings have substrate consciousness. 2) May we realize this freedom. 3) May I free each one. 4) May I receive blessings from the guru and all the enlightened ones to do so. With every in breath, light comes in from all directions, empowering you to fulfill your aspiration. With every out breath, that light flows out in all directions, freeing each sentient being you encounter.

Meditation starts at 03:40

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What I like to do now we have gone to the cycle once, I’d like to go to the cycle once again of the great compassion and so on but this time put a kind of especial emphasis on it this theme of course being may we all be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. I want to highlight to different theme each of the four greats. In some, one of the causes of suffering, something that is very practical, something we know a lot about and the mind as now I think after seven weeks we’re all very familiar, the mind is caught up in rumination, is just so vulnerable, to anything it’s just kind of sitting and there is no skin at all waiting to be captivated by even the wimpiest little mental affliction said “oh, I’ll swallow you”, just like ready to be devoured by anything.

And so the vision “might we be free of suffering and the causes of suffering” focusing specially in that particular aspect, the causes of suffering, of having a mind that does not work, a mind that is dysfunctional, that’s how the mind is characterized before you achieve shamatha or you maybe doing three retreat or going to ten years retreats vipashyana and whatever you may be doing all the good work you are doing on the world and all of that is virtuous so no disparagement at all but you are doing a lot of virtue with the dysfunctional mind that frankly doesn’t work.

(1:47) So to be free of that, to have a mind that is serviceable that has recovered its own birth right, since after all every time we die we return to the substrate consciousness, to recover one’s birth right, a mind that is supple, that is buoyant, that is radiant, still, clear, and while resting in its own natural state, it is just naturally blissful, that is in that state there is no explicit suffering, there is no blatant suffering when you are resting in the substrate consciousness. No blatant suffering at all, not of body, you don’t feel your body, there is nothing in the environment, you are just for the time being, you’re just taking a break from the entire universe, all the outside world - do without me for a little while - right?

(2:31) And then of course there is no blatant suffering in the mind, the mind is blissful. And, so to have, it’s kind like to achieve shamatha is like to acquire your own little idyllic retreat cabin, a place you can just you know can go back to, that is quiet, that is peaceful, it’s serene, and is blissful and luminous, and so for least a little while you have some kind of breather, some respite, again a retreat so you can regroup, revitalize and temporarily really feel what is like not to be beaten up by samsara and not be beaten up by one’s own mind. So that would be good start, and of course the longer venture of being free of the causes of suffering is to be free of craving, hostility and delusion but in order to do that, in order to really set out on a path that purifies the mind so it does not just fall back into the same ruts all over again. Then, as I think all know very well by now based on the best authorities there are in Buddhism, that the on-ramp on to the great freeway is shamatha and the way to approach shamatha is just seeing it not as, never, as a moment as an end in itself but simply, there’s the route to get on to great freeway, the great highway to awakening. So let’s practice.


With the aspiration to free ourselves from suffering and its causes as a means to be enabled to liberate others from suffering and its causes, let your awareness descend into the body, right down to the ground. Let your awareness illuminate the whole space of the body, without entering into the body. Let your awareness rest in stillness and illuminate this tactile field as you settle the body at ease and stillness in a posture of vigilance.

And then take on the ever so subtle challenge of relinquishing all control and even all preference, all effort in terms of the flow of respiration as you relax deeply and fully all the way through the end of the out breath, releasing all thoughts, quieting rumination. And simply allowing the breath to flow in whether it’s short or long, whether there is a pause at the end of the out breath or a pause at the end of the in breath, let it be, let the body breath and simply observe the flow of the respiration.

With the same spirit of renunciation or definite emergence release all concerns about the future and the past. Give up all attachment to this life and let your awareness come to rest in stillness in the present moment.

Continue to let the light of your awareness illuminate the space of the body and particularly the sensations of the flow of prana, the in and out breath. You may focus if you wish especially in the region of the navel, end of the line, the terminus of the flow of prana as you inhale.

Then turn your awareness outwards, the world around you, arouse the questions:

1) Why couldn’t we all, all sentient beings being free of suffering and the causes of suffering? Since all sentient beings have a substrate consciousness, why couldn’t each one, clearly, luminously, discover this dimension of their own awareness and have access at will, to this place of serenity, of calm, of bliss and luminosity? Since it is the birth right of every sentient being, why couldn’t we all realize this?

2) May we realize this freedom.

3) May I free each one.

4) May I receive blessings of the guru and all the Buddhas and all the awakened ones to enable me to do so. As you arouse this aspiration bring forth the supplication. With each in breath imagine the light of blessings from awakened ones converging upon you from all sides, empowering you, enabling you in this way to carry through with this resolve. And with each out breath, imagine this light emanating from your own body, and imagine as you venture boldly into the realm of possibility, carrying though with this commitment and freeing each sentient being you encounter.

Release all appearances and let your awareness rest in its own nature.

Transcribed by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Revised by Diane Strully

Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Posted by Alma Ayon


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