48 Compassion and Freedom from Blatant Suffering

07 May 2011

Alan Wallace begins today’s teaching with a 40-minute dharma talk that could be titled, “Retreat and Expedition Approaches to Freedom from Blatant Suffering.” In this engaging talk, Alan surveys the history of these approaches and explores the mechanisms and effects of shamatha and vipassana.

He then guides a meditation on compassion, first wishing ourselves freedom from blatant suffering, then on to others, working both spatially and allowing others to simply appear, “invite themselves in,” to our meditation.

The guided meditation begins at 41:00 in the recording.

He answers two questions from the group, the first of which refers to the notes available on the Santa Barbara Institute’s website at http://sbinstitute.com/PodcastNotes/PodcastNotes.html and is titled “Three New Methods.”

1. Could you explain the following excerpt from Buddhaghosa’s commentary on Sati, especially the underlined parts.

“Its characteristic is not floating; its property is not losing; its manifestation is guarding or the state of being face to face with an object; its basis is strong noting or the close applications of mindfulness of the body and so on. It should be seen as like a post due to its state of being set in the object, and as like a gatekeeper because it guards the gate of the eye and so on.”

2. What do you mean (in Chapter 4 of Attention Revolution) by saying that, “[Through the achievement or the power of mindfulness at stage 4] the practice comes into its own.” Could you use a synonym for that?

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