10 Aug 2015
For this silent meditation session, Alan asks us to initially practice mindfulness of breathing that cultivates ease and stillness, and then shift to settling the mind in its natural state and observe the “wind of thoughts” that come into the field of consciousness. He suggests we occasionally check the temporal and qualitative vividness of the mental events with a view to sharpening and enhancing vividness by detecting even more subtler events. Before the practice he asks us to experiment with resting our attention with eyes fixed on an object in front of us and then move the mental engagement to the left, then right, down and up, all without moving our visual attention. For the meditation practice, Alan requests we distinguish between stillness and movement of our mental attention and to attend to the space of the mind and what arises in it. A newer, subtler challenge in our practice is to detect a mode, presence or quality of cognitive awareness that is always still.
After meditation Alan returns to the Spacious Path text at bottom of page 45 to comment further on the healing power of the practice of Avalokiteshvara and recitation of Om Mani Padme Hum. He notes it is not only Buddhist practice that exhibits such healing power, with similar reports in Christianity and other faiths throughout history and with examples occurring today.
He expounds on the so-called placebo effect and the fact the scientific community remains uninterested in the issue of active forces that are not physical. Alan takes us on quite a ride through quotations of philosophers Daniel Dennett and John Searle that science is confused and in disagreement about consciousness and comments why this is so after some 140 years of modern investigation ñ the strangle-hold of scientific materialism! He further quotes Freud, the Buddha, HHDL and William James who each in their way encourage inquiry that throws away the shackles of such dogmatism!
After settling down, we continue to review the text from pages 47 to 49. Alan notes Karma Chagme’s permission at bottom of page 49 that this be a public Dharma.
Silent Meditation begins at 24:25 and is not recorded.
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