22 Aug 2015
Alan begins by commenting that in Buddhism there is no phrase for self-compassion. In our modern world, where low self-esteem is rampant, cultivating compassion starting with oneself is crucial. Alan also elaborates on the differences between compassion, pity and self-pity. Compassion is not an emotion, it is an aspiration, and for this aspiration to have power, it must be possible. Paraphrasing Shantideva, if we don’t know the benefits of bodhicitta for ourselves, how can we wish bodhicitta to others? Alan also highlights that bodhicitta is rooted in compassion. For us, it is easy to identify with our defects, illnesses, injuries, traits, mental afflictions, social status (as in England and India). These are outer, inner and secret obstacles on the path to Mahamudra. The spirit of definite emergence from the status of being a sentient being is often called renunciation, although it’s not a literal translation. Is there hope to be free from suffering and the causes of suffering? It depends on your worldview. There are many examples in which ‘terminal’ illnesses have been cured. So is there hope or not? Unequivocally yes. There is a possibility of freedom no matter who you are. To make an analogy, if you are completely lucid in a dream, does it matter if you have terminal cancer, if you are being tortured or shot? They are just mere appearances to you. You have no preferences, you are not identifying with any appearances, you are not reifying them. The deeper your insight into suffering (blatant suffering, suffering of change, existential suffering), the deeper your compassion will be.
Meditation is on Compassion from the perspective of pristine awareness
After meditation, Alan comments that here at Araluen we are spending more time off the cushion than on the cushion, so it is important to sustain during this time the three uncommon preliminaries and “act as an illusory being.”
The meditation starts at 20:18
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