16 Epistemology, or how do we know where we were born?

09 Aug 2015

Alan begins by commenting that Sunday is a time for our personal solitary retreat within the context of this community. He encourages us to strike a balance between structure and flexibility for the retreat schedule.

The meditation for this session is silent.

After the silent meditation, Alan gives some final comments on Mindfulness of Breathing, and he also mentions that when a practitioner achieves the fourth jhana, the breath stops completely, and one can remain there for hours or days with no damage to the brain. Then Alan starts a very compelling discussion on how to differentiate between belief vs. inference based on authority. For example, parents are authorities when it comes to knowing where we were born. It has become part of our knowledge for very good reasons. Likewise, science progresses thanks to a few people having empirical evidence of their discoveries, while the vast majority of scientists knows on the basis of inference by authority. Alan then uses this same argument for Buddhism, and resumes his commentary on “A Spacious Path to Freedom” from page 43. Alan also offers a very interesting quote from HH the Dalai Lama about the measure of evaluating a Buddhist teacher. His Holiness said that we need to ask: how his or her students are turning out? That would be a very good indication of the teacher’s qualities. For example, 13 of Dudjom Lingpa’s students achieved rainbow body. Alan also makes many comments on the power of mantra. If the mantra is recited with deep faith, deep samadhi, powered by strong renunciation and deep purity of mind, then the power of rigpa can be brought forth.

Silent Meditation begins at 7:03 and is not recorded.

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