31 Jul 2015
Recalling that our lives could end any moment and the importance of ensuring the continuity of our practice into the next lifetime, take refuge and generate bodhicitta.
The meditation explores the four questions of your heart’s desire, outer support, inner transformation, and your contribution to the world. If bodhicitta becomes a current underlying all desires, our practice between sessions on the cushion can help overcome our habitual reification of the world.
Meditation starts at 4:59
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So, good morning all. So, this morning I would like to really kind of plant a seed or, plant a stick of motivation. Motivation for the whole retreat, it’s kind of our long-term investment plan, really, what it is, our spiritual investment plan. Because of course death can come at any time and to my mind somethings arises very very large in my awareness and my sense of being in the universe, perhaps more than anything else is continuity because any of us can die at any time but I have an enormous aspiration to be able to continue my practice. Not have this being the notion of wandering around even as a human being on this planet with no dharma, just completely freaks me out, like noooooooo [laughter]. And so, continuity, continuity well that is definitely something that is within reach, it’s not an unattainable ideal but then it depends on us. And so how do we establish continuity through the course of a lifetime, that’s big, but a lifetime of course is just a chapter, very short period, but from now until enlightenment what greater priority can there be wouldn’t it be lovely to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, it would be lovely to achieve enlightenment within five lifetimes. But the most important thing isn’t it, at least from my perspective is radiantly clear, the most important thing is this complete continuity of practice from now until enlightenment. If that continuity is broken, samsara is a big place [laughter] and there’s not a lot of places to wander around without direction. And many sentient beings are. And so how do we then create our long-term investment plan? Investing our life and multiple lifetimes. Bottom line is refuge I think if we are here I think we found our path if we are really devoted to the path revealed by the buddha and then within that path of course there are multiple paths, there’s the path of one’s own liberation, there’s the mahayana path, the bodhisattva path, there’s Vajrayana and there’s Dzogchen all of these generally leading in the same direction to be sure. But what is the path within the array of paths, methods, traditions within the buddhadharma. What really speaks to your heart. There is no right answer here, except for what is in your heart, what really draws you with a deep sense of conviction, confidence, of inspiration and enthusiasm to continue on the path until its culmination. And so, with that in mind we are really looking of course at two things. Refuge from now, and not only from now until death, but now until enlightenment but then also for these teachings and for definitely going to Mahamudra, Mahamudra is definitely in the context of Vajrayana, and once again as I said last night there’s obviously only one suitable motivation that is the good coupling or a pair to go with a wisdom of the Mahamudra, Dzogchen only one possible motivation is suitable.
[3.00] If the realisation of rigpa is ultimate bodhicitta, which it is, then obviously, it has to go with relative bodhicitta and that is what we all call bodhicitta. So, then with that in mind, what I would like to do is to go to the four questions and think probably all of you have heard them at least by podcast the four vision quest and generally this is an, I present this as a meditative cultivation of loving kindness for oneself with an extension out to all the world of course that is what it is, but this morning I would really like to present it and share it with you in the mode of setting our motivation for the rest of this retreat. OK. Which means then that are then 50 people in the room there will be 50 unique meditations coming up. ‘Cause it’s your heart’s desire, it’s your own aspirations right. And so there will be multiple aspects of this that are very, very personal at the same time couched within very large and universal themes of achieving enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings by way of Mahamudra, by way of Dzogchen, so clearly we wouldn’t be here if we weren’t aspiring for that.
So please find a comfortable position and I will guide the meditation. [attendees finding positions]
[5.03] [Bell rings] We will begin every session however in the same way of striking this balance in body, speech and mind. Between the sense of ease, of relaxation and vigilance, clarity, alertness. Really striking the key. So, as you have done, I imagine many times before, settle your body in its natural state and imbued with the three qualities of relaxation, stillness and vigilance.
[6.25] Settle your speech, settle your respiration in its natural rhythm.
[7.00] And settle your mind in its natural state, relaxed, still and bright.
[8.00] And return to the first question. And as a parallel, I’ll simply comment that when one receives tantric empowerment and then in this virtual space of one’s imagination, comes to the door of the central palace and gazes upon the central deity, whoever that may be, often in the liturgy the question comes from the central deity. What is it you wish, what do you want? As you seek empowerment, so that’s the question now, what do you want? What is your vision of your own fulfilment, the realisation of your highest ideals, happiness that you seek? Bring it clearly to mind. [clears his throat]
[9.58] And holding this vision in mind, your vision today of your own flourishing, imagine your own pristine awareness symbolically as a radiant orb of light in the centre of your heart chakra. With every out breath arouse this aspiration. May I realise such happiness, such well-being for your own sake it’s called Tibetan rang dor may you fulfill your own sake, your own aspirations, as Shantideva says, “if you don’t dwell upon the benefits of bodhicitta for yourself, how will you ever develop it for others”. So, if you have no qualms, no reservations about arousing this aspiration with every out breath, may I find such happiness and cultivate its causes. With every out breath as you arouse this aspiration of loving kindness for yourself imagine the light, rays of light flowing forth from this inexhaustible source at your heart. With each out breath imagine this light filling your entire body and mind, your entire being with a light of joy and a light of loving kindness, purifying every element of your being.
[12.36 ] And breath by breath imagine it being so here and now, take fruition as your path as we do in vajrayana practice in general, imagine here and now realising such fulfilment.
[13.04] And return to the second question and that is in order to realise such fulfilment what would you love to receive from the world around you. We look to the world of sentient beings especially to help us meet all of our mundane needs, we look to the objects of refuge to provide us guidance and blessings on the path to genuine happiness, to perfect awakening, but more specifically, what would you love to receive from the world around you, from sentient beings and the Bodhisattvas and the Buddhas, to help you realise your aspiration.
[14.59] And with each inhalation arouse the loving aspiration, may I receive all that I truly need, in terms of my mundane or hedonic needs as well as the aid I need to follow this path to awakening. Arouse the aspiration, may I receive all that I need from moment to moment, day to day, lifetime to lifetime, and with each in breath imagine the light of kindness of sentient beings, the compassion of all the buddhas flowing in upon you meeting your every need. Filling and saturating your body and mind. [16:00 outside noise of trucks passing] Now is the time for refuge.
[16.59] And imagine here and now receiving all that you truly need moment by moment, every moment, reality rising up to meet you.
[18.07] Return to the third question and that is how would you love to transform, mature inwardly? In order to realise your highest aspiration of perfect enlightenment. From what obscurations, mental afflictions and so on would you love to be free? And with what virtues would you love to be richly endowed? So, imagine your own evolution, aspire for it. And with every out breath once again arouse the aspiration, may it be so, from the light at your heart, imagine this filling your body and mind, purifying all that is to be purified and enriching all that is to be enriched.
[20.24] Again breath by breath with each exhalation imagine this transformation taking place, here and now. Proceeding along the path to its culmination.
[22.54] And then return to the final question. Again, for your own sake, in order to imbue your own life with the greatest possible meaning, fulfilment, joy, in light of the fact that we are all entangled all interrelated with each other, with all other sentient beings. What would you love to offer to the world around you, in the short term, in the long term, to those who are near and far. To be of greatest possible benefit.
[24.06] And again with every out breath arouse the aspiration may it be so. And imagine light cascading out from your heart flowing out in all directions, above and below, and all the sides. And imagine this light taking on form, manifesting, as the good you would love to offer to the world, the service. And again, taking the fruition as the path, imagine offering this right now and imagine it being received. Imagine breath by breath, all sentient beings finding freedom from suffering and its causes. All sentient beings finding their own fulfilment achieving perfect awakening. Imagine this here and now.
[27.48] And release all appearances allowing them to dissolve back into the space of the mind, release all aspirations for just a short time, let your awareness rest in its own nature, knowing itself.
[29.00] [Bell rings]
[29.36] Olaso. So in terms of Bodhicitta of course the ideal is to so familiarise ourselves with this aspiration that it just is kind of like a current just flowing through every conscious moment, kind of the background, you want to go to get a glass of water, you want to go to teachings, you want to go for a walk, a myriad of desires hopefully all of them are wholesome or at least neutral but underlying all these specific desires you want to do this, you want to do that, go there do this underlying all of that is the ground swell, is the baseline, and that’s the desire of desires in which all the other ones are derivative, is your bodhicitta. So if you just kind of flow in that, that that’s there then all the other desires will be fine, any desire that is derivative of bodhicitta is definitely becomes thumbs up, it will be fine. So as much as you can just sustain that throughout the whole course of the day when you get to the point where you can sustain it right through your dream state. all the better. So, that will be aspirationally in terms of our conative intelligence,remember that, you know bringing wise desirous and intentions and then in terms of cognitively the baseline.
Throughout the course of the day we need to attend to this, putting our dishes back when we have finished our meals and so forth many things we need to attend to, of course. But again baseline, baseline. For many people the baseline is rumination. And out of rumination we get this done and that done but it is basically blaa, blaa, blaa all day. You know, that’s not healthy, that’s not even sane, right and so the baseline is being present in the present moment, present in your body, present with that in and out flow of the breathing and this one you know the mudra, my little mudra, homemade Alan Wallace mudra. [laughing] The mudra the symbol of your own awareness resting in its own place, like an unflickering candle flame. It’s all simple mudra, it crops up I’ve seen [inaudible 31:40] I don’t know what they are talking about, maybe we are blood brothers. But just that, that abiding throughout the course of the day in that stillness. We are coming back to the same theme and then we’re finished but stillness in the midst of activity so the stillness in the midst of the movements of the sensations of the breath throughout the body the fluctuations, stillness and fluctuations, the stillness and the movements of your body seemingly moving out of the room and wherever you are going from here. The movements of thoughts, the movements of activity but in the midst of all of that that stillness. That’s a great giant leap forward. To removing or drawing from our deeply ingrained habit of reification. Whenever there is reification which is grasping onto the true existence of everything, the mind is always in motion, it’s always in motion, reifying this, reifying that, I want that, I don’t want that, hope for this, hope that doesn’t happen, it’s like a poor dog rummaging around in a garbage dump, here, here, here We are never really satisfied.
[32:46] Sit on your throne and maintaining that, after all, everything that needs to be done, let it be done, everything that needs to be done and nothing else, be parsimonious, be stingy and let’s do what needs to be done. But you know meaning activity, do what needs to be done and abide in your own stillness, balance, all the way. So however many, so today try setting you daily schedule and so forth, getting routine, getting kind of the lay of the land and so forth, so we have a couple of days, today and tomorrow, today it’s Friday already, I think good maybe today and tomorrow I think, talking maybe good I think just because we want to get to know each other, so today and tomorrow talking at mealtimes, otherwise we are living in a contemplative environment right. So as you are setting your daily schedule for you know the meditation periods throughout of the course of the day I won’t reiterate what I said last night, but however many hours it is, to my mind that is of secondary importance if you can meditate 10 hours a day great, if it’s only 6, well the real question is, what are you doing for all the other hours? That you’re not on the cushion right, and so that’s probably going to be more than the hours on the cushion, maybe not. Anyhow, maybe, in any case it is a lot of hours. Probably. You are not in formal practice, so the real question is basically the deal maker and the deal breaker. Of whether your practice is really flourishing you are transforming you’re really deriving maximum benefit from your formal practice, it is not how many hours, it is what are you doing with the rest of the time? And the rest of the time when you are off the cushion is that time supportive of your time on the cushion or is it basically eroding, eroding what you have got on the cushion. On the cushion you get composed, off the cushion you flake out, rumination, blaa, blaa, blaa and scattering your practice to the winds and then you are trying to retrieve it again. So, kind of basically making a mess, cleaning up, making a mess, cleaning it up. If that’s the way it is, it’s not going to be a whole lot of progress. But if you are really very composed in meditation and then, really become the mudra of it, in meditation you’re composed. It’s called unification, samadhi. It means composure, unification, really getting your act together, that’s Samadhi. So that’s times when you are breathing in and then you are on the cushion and breathing out and instead of going like this it is more like this. Something like that. You know if hands can show it, it’s like this, you are holding your practice, not really condensed like a formal meditation practice but you are holding it, that ground level, that base equilibrium, relaxed and clear, present bodhicitta flowing and flowing and your mindfulness cognitively engaged with that stillness of your awareness and the movements of everything else. OK. That’s what really counts. If at the end of the 8 weeks you look back and say well I was, I slept for 7 hours or 8 hours whatever and then I was pretty much practicing all day. And out of that all day this was my number of hours on the cushion. Then that would be having an attitude of no regret. You won’t regret a moment if that was it. So, that’s it. So, enjoy your day get settled let’s get all relaxed and I’ll see you this afternoon at 4.30 and some of you, so we’ll start this morning and everybody knows where the office is, they gave me a little office for meetings, everybody knows yeah. Rhonda can you tell them, so I’m going to take off she is the boss now. So, I’ll see you soon. Ciau!
Transcribed by Sonja Webb
Revised by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Final edition by KrissKringle Sprinkle