25 Aug 2015
Alan begins with a guided meditation which is a variation of Awareness of Awareness beginning with a visualization of Amitabha.
Alan started reading from page 82 of the text elaborating on ‘ideation’, pointing out that through rumination, you lose your energy. Shamata by contrast is an ‘energy conservation project’. He briefly talked about the various traditions of Samadhi speculating that the lineage in Greece from Pythagoras, had possibly come via Egypt from an Indian sadhu.
In the context of the discussion of shamatha as a ‘structured state’ Alan introduced the idea of how conceptuality does not need to be verbal, as a child in utero in the last trimester can distinguish one voice from another. He then finessed the distinction of non-conceptuality and of bliss in various states pointing out the necessity for us to get the big picture so when you get to this stage you don’t stop.
Using the image of Amitabha as a meditation object, Alan talked us through the process of how Amitabha would appear as you reached the 9th stage, and then crossed over from the Desire Realm to the Form Realm. Quoting Asanga, he said you release the image into space. Then you turn the awareness on itself as you do in settling the mind in its natural state. And quoting Buddhaghosa, when you achieve the first Jnana, you retrieve the counterpart sign. Emphasising “you don’t just sit there.” The inversion is what distinguishes both the practice of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
As science has been generous in making its findings public, this information on shamatha should be common knowledge, not packed away as if it is a religious belief.
After reading through to the end of the chapter, Alan then gave a description of what it is like to actually achieve Shamata. He talked through the sequence of physical and mental signs and changes in the body and mind, culminating in physical and mental pliancy. He also emphasised that although you get great benefits at stage 9, it’s important to go all the way and not cut corners. Alan rounded off the discussion with some choice quotes from Padmasambhava and Lama Tsongkhapa.
He ended by reminding us that Dudjom Lingpa predicted that 100 of his followers would achieve the Great Transference Rainbow Body. Why would we aspire for less?
Meditation starts at 0:18.
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