19 Aug 2015

Before the meditation, Alan explains that the reason for teaching many different meditation techniques is to cater for individual preferences. The key test is whether the method results in ease, stability and clarity of awareness. The magic word is enjoyment not progress!

The meditation is in two parts - to balance “earth and wind”. First is settling the mind in its natural state and then giving full attention to the space of the mind from this grounded state.

After the meditation, Alan returns to Chapter Three of the text, starting on page 66. He explains more fully the qualities of the four dhyānas and highlights that the gold standard for Shamatha is to reach the threshold of the first dhyāna where the meditator can rest effortlessly in samadhi for four hours or more. Alan draws a link between the siddhis or paranormal activities that are attained in the fourth dhyāna with those attained through dream yoga training. Alan then provides detailed commentary on the nine dhyānas that are referred to by Tsuglak Trengwa (page 67). The nine dhyānas proceeded from the first four to progressively subtler states culminating in the ninth dhyāna of cessation. Alan offers us an interpretation of these dhyānas by way of analogy to the four stages of mindfulness in achieving shamatha identified by Dudjom Lingpa. The fourth stage described by Dudjom Lingpa is characterised by deep stillness and an absence of appearances which can seem like death. Similarly at cessation, even the subtle mind becomes dormant and in Alan’s words you are in deep cosmic sleep. Alan provides interesting examples of siddhis found in other contemplative traditions as well as out of body experiences in non-contemplative states. He concludes by stressing the point that Shamatha and meditative stabilisations are not ends in themselves, they are the means to insight.

The meditation starts at 9:42

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