Spring 2012 Shamatha Retreat

01 Introduction

08 Apr 2012

Alan welcomes all participants and gives an overview of what the retreat will entail as well as some information on Thanyapura. After meditation Alan talks about motivations for the retreat and value…

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02 Loving-kindness for oneself

09 Apr 2012

Note: Due to a computer error this recording was incomplete. En lieu you will find Alan’s teaching to the same subject from the Fall 2011 retreat. Thank you for your kind understanding. Alan leads u…

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03 Mindfulness of Breathing

09 Apr 2012

Focus on the tactile sensations of the breathing throughout the body, cultivating relaxation of body and mind. If we’re not fully engaged with what is happening in the present moment, rumination will…

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04 Loving-kindness for oneself and others

09 Apr 2012

Loving-kindness is not an emotion - it is an aspiration. Nor is Loving-kindness an expectation or a goal. Aspiration is sent out to the world and there is no point in which the door is closing on it…

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05 Mindfulness of Breathing: Developing the Stability

09 Apr 2012

Introduction of the second of the three qualities of Shamatha, namely developing the stability - the continuity of voluntary attention. Alan emphasizes the importance of mastering the skill of stabi…

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06 Loving-kindness in all directions

11 Apr 2012

The cultivation of loving-kindness entails the breaking down of the barriers within our own hearts and minds in order to establish peace of mind Meditation starts at 06:18

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07 Mindfulness of breathing: Sensations at the nostrils

11 Apr 2012

Introduction to the third phase and most classic phase of practicing mindfulness of breathing. Focussing on the sensations at the tip of the nostrils will elevate focus of attention and enhance vivid…

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08 Compassion focused on alleviating pain

11 Apr 2012

Introduction to the practice of the cultivation of compassion. Compassion always has an element of wisdom. Meditation starts at 06:39

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09 Settling the mind in its Natural State

11 Apr 2012

The object in this meditation is the space of the mind and whatever arises in it. If one is carried away by thoughts, release the grasping and relax. It’s a practice that is close to Vipashyana it’s…

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10 Compassion focussed on suffering of change

12 Apr 2012

We continue with the cultivation of compassion with a focus of suffering related to change. The root of this suffering of change focusses on the second of the three root mental afflictions. Meditati…

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11 Settling the mind in its natural state, part 2

13 Apr 2012

Like a bird hovering in the wind, still but very attentive, we observe the space of the mind and whatever arises in it. Through a process of elimination we discard every sensory field until we are le…

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12 Compassion, part 3

13 Apr 2012

Alan introduces the third type of suffering, in the Buddhist understanding, the deepest dimension of suffering - the persuasive suffering of conditional existence. He is further elaborating on 'ego-b…

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13 Settling the Mind in its Natural State (3)

15 Apr 2012

In this practice, also known as ‘Taking the Impure Mind as the Path,’ we experientially distinguish between stillness and movement. Alan explains the various progressive stages according to the Sharp…

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14 Empathetic Joy

15 Apr 2012

Introduction of the third of the four immeasurables: Empathetic Joy Meditation starts at 07:27

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15 Awareness of Awareness

15 Apr 2012

Shamatha always implies a withdrawal. In shamatha without a sign we are not interested in the 5 sensory field not even in the mind, it is the ultimate retreat, just resting in the very nature of awar…

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16 Empathetic Joy (2)

16 Apr 2012

Empathetic joy counteracts depression and low self-esteem, and balances the mind. Meditation starts at 11:11

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17 Awareness of Awareness (2)

16 Apr 2012

We are used to rumination, to our thoughts going on and on. The mind is unsettled because of attachment. Alan discusses the difference between desire and attachment. The meditation includes inverting…

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18 Equanimity

17 Apr 2012

Introduction to the fourth of the four immeasurables: Equanimity - sometimes also referred to as Even-mindedness or Even-heartedness. Alan is asking the question, if we can develop equanimity with…

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19 Awareness of Awareness (3)

17 Apr 2012

Text to follow Meditations starts at 51:45

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20 Equanimity (2)

18 Apr 2012

With this session we have come to the end of the cycle related to the four immeasurables. Alan points out the ‘I-it-relationship’, as proposed by the German Philosopher Martin Buber. Alan further exp…

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21 Awareness of Awareness (4)

19 Apr 2012

Shamatha and the Four Immeasurables Alan talks about the fundamental impulse of caring. The barriers of the I-it relationship. The achievement of shamatha and how this is the base for achieving bo…

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22 Loving-Kindness: Envisioning one's own happiness

19 Apr 2012

A vision quest guided meditation which focuses on the causes and conditions of one’s own happiness, achieving this happiness and then sharing this happiness with others. Alan discusses setting moti…

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23 The Infirmary

19 Apr 2012

Beginning the Second Cycle. While keeping the emphasis on relaxation, Alan suggested balancing three groups of practice as you would with the three food groups. First, shamatha for cultivating attent…

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24 Loving-Kindness

20 Apr 2012

Metta Bhavana, a classic approach for breaking down the barriers. Beginning with oneself and the extending out to loved ones, casual friends, neutral and so on. Buddhaghosa regards the immediate ca…

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25 Mindfulness of Breathing (2)

20 Apr 2012

We return to mindfulness of breathing with a focus on finding continuity and stability. Alan invokes the Buddha’s teachings which begin: “While breathing in long, he knows ‘I am breathing in long.’”…

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26 Loving kindess in all directions

20 Apr 2012

Metta Bhavana allowing the mind rove as it will from person to person and aspiring for each that they find happiness and the causes of happiness. Meditation starts 5:25 Closing remarks start 29:50

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27 Mindfulness of Breathing (3)

21 Apr 2012

This afternoon we proceed again to awareness of the breath at the apertures of the nostrils. We review the significance of using subtle objects to develop vividness in awareness of breathing and sett…

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28 Compassion focussed on blatant suffering

23 Apr 2012

As we emerge from the Mind Centre and come out to the world, you come out poised to attend to the reality of others suffering and to be aroused to act. “Be of service to alleviate suffering”, that is…

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29 Settling the Mind in its Natural State (1)

23 Apr 2012

Today we proceed deeper into the practice of settling the mind in its natural state. We are given the second of five benchmarks as described in the Sharp Vajra Tantra by Dudjom Lingpa : the ability…

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30 Compassion and the Suffering of Change

23 Apr 2012

Alan guides us in a 24-minute meditation to cultivate compassion for ourselves and others, furthering this aspiration to recognize a deeper dimension of suffering — the suffering of change. This typ…

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31 Settling the Mind in its Natural State (2)

24 Apr 2012

We expand on the techniques for settling the mind in its natural state, and introduce a second type of mindfulness: manifest mindfulness. We learn that feelings and emotions are not intrinsic to the…

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32 Compassion Focused on Pervasive Suffering of Conditioned Existence

25 Apr 2012

Meditation begins at 45:27

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33 Settling the Mind in its Natural State (3)

25 Apr 2012

The instructions for settling the mind in its natural state are simple: sustain the flow of mindfulness of the space of the mind and whatever arises in it without labeling or grasping. Though it does…

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34 Empathetic Joy (1)

25 Apr 2012

Meditations starts at 00:35

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35 Awareness of Awareness (1)

26 Apr 2012

Awareness of awareness, the simplest of all shamatha practices, requires only the slightest instruction and yet its object can be elusive and indescribable. This evening, we proceed directly into the…

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36 Empathetic Joy (2)

26 Apr 2012

Taking delight in virtue Meditation begins 8:50

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37 Awareness of Awareness (2)

27 Apr 2012

Tonight we begin with a primer on lucid dreaming with techniques from modern oneironaut Stephen LaBerge and dream yoga from the Indo-Tibetan tradition. Then we proceed deeper into the practice of awa…

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38 Equanimity

28 Apr 2012

Here we allow our favorable and unfavorable perceptions of others to arise, recognize these as fabrications, and then probe beneath them to the common ground from which to view other’s desire to be t…

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39 Awareness of Awareness (3)

28 Apr 2012

Meditation begins at 14:09 Q&A begins at 39:45

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40 Equanimity

30 Apr 2012

If you bring that equal openness of heart to everyone who comes to mind and everyone who comes into the field of experience, than that will do it for all sentient beings. Meditation starts at 05:54

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41 Awareness of Awareness (4)

30 Apr 2012

Tonight’s practice of awareness of awareness gives our sense of spaciousness a workout. Just as it’s possible for one to be small-minded, where limited perception causes an imbalance in what we take…

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42 Loving Kindness (1)

30 Apr 2012

We start a new cycle in the cultivation of loving kindness for ourselves. Alan emphasizes the significance of bringing a meaningful motivation to the practice. Meditation starts at 14:29 After the…

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43 Mindfulness of Breathing (1)

01 May 2012

We restart the cycle in our teachings with a return to mindfulness of breathing. This practice has a strong analog with the meditation on loving kindness for oneself from this morning: both help esta…

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44 Loving Kindness

02 May 2012

When developing loving kindness for the person, we must distinguish between the person and the mental afflictions that give rise to unwholesome behavior. It may even be appropriate to passionately co…

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45 Mindfulness of Breathing (2)

02 May 2012

Meditation begins at 15:45 Q&A begins at 53:19

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46 Loving Kindness (3)

02 May 2012

While maybe a specifically monastic theme, its implications are for everyone following this path: “Be satisfied with that what is merely adequate”. Mediation starts at 10:38

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47 Mindfulness of Breathing (3)

03 May 2012

Tonight we finish a set of mindfulness of breathing as we move our attention to focus on the sensations at the apertures of the nostrils. The practice has been explained fully in previous teachings s…

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48 Great Compassion

03 May 2012

Alan shares his definitions of ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’, and discusses ‘Mahakaruna’ or ‘Great Compassion’. Then, we practice developing this aspiration and intention to help all sentient beings be…

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49 Settling the Mind in its Natural State

04 May 2012

We’re at cruising attitude with settling the mind in its natural state. Tonight not many words about the practice. We’re reminded of the metaphors of floating on an air mattress in Tahiti and a falco…

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50 Compassion Focused on the Suffering of Change

04 May 2012

We cultivate the aspiration and intention to help all beings become free from grasping even in the midst of inevitable aging, sickness, natural calamity, and death. Meditation begins at 14:52

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51 Settling the Mind in its Natural State (2)

05 May 2012

Tonight we add depth to the practice of settling the mind in its natural state with two further modes of mindfulness: #3 absence of mindfulness, and #4 naturally luminous mindfulness. Alan speaks at…

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52 Compassion focussed on existential suffering

06 May 2012

We should ask the simple question: “Why are we suffering at all?” The answer is twofold: 1. We are grasping onto which is not I as being I and that which is not truly mine as being really mine. 2. We…

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53 Settling the mind in its Natural State (3)

07 May 2012

Our lives are saturated with desire for attainments of both a mundane and spiritual nature. While giving priority to a spiritual desire will aid our enthusiasm to practice, it may ultimately be fruit…

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54 Great Compassion - Great Loving Kindness

08 May 2012

The ‘Greats’ begin with compassion - the ‘Great Compassion’ - aspiring to get everybody’s head above water, so they survive. It is followed by the ‘Great Loving Kindness’ - the very meaning of existe…

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55 Settling the Body, Speech and Mind

08 May 2012

Settling the body, speech, and mind in their natural state is fundamental to shamatha practice and though it so familiarly begins each session we mustn’t relax our regard for it. So this evening we r…

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56 Great Loving-Kindness

08 May 2012

Over time, why couldn’t all sentient beings find the genuine happiness that stems from the cultivation of the heart and mind? May it be so. We practice arousing this aspiration of loving-kindness, "m…

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57 Mindfulness of Breathing at the Abdomen

09 May 2012

Relax! You’ve heard it, you’ll hear it again. We revisit the crucial technique of letting go—of tension in the body, controlling the breath, and attachment to rumination—as we sink deeply in today’s…

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58 Great Loving Kindness

09 May 2012

For the cultivation of genuine happiness there are certain aspects of reality, the knowing of which does really liberate. Alan mentions the following ‘game-changers’: To gain insight into impermanen…

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59 Mindfulness of Breathing

10 May 2012

In mindfulness of breathing, the technique of arousing interest during inhalation and relaxing during exhalation is incredibly effective. We apply this technique tonight as we focus on the sensations…

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60 Great Empathetic Joy

11 May 2012

Maha-Mudita liturgy. Why couldn’t all sentient beings never be separated from happiness and its cause’s ? May we never be separated from genuine happiness and its causes. I make this resolve that…

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61 Awareness of Awareness

11 May 2012

With awareness of awareness, the body and speech are settled normally while the mind is given a complete reboot: all concerns are released, attention from all phenomenon is revoked, then that which r…

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62 Great Empathetic Joy (2)

11 May 2012

We are invited to ask ourselves a question... How does one integrate vastly deepening bliss, on one hand, with increasingly boundless awareness of all beings’ suffering on the other hand...? Medita…

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63 Awareness of Awareness (2)

12 May 2012

Three methods of escape when the mind is agitated: send your awareness out into the somatic field, out further into the world of exterior senses, or penetrate inward, deep into our sense of awareness…

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64 Great Equanimity (1)

14 May 2012

Alan elaborates on the leading question: “Why couldn’t we all be free of attachment and aversion for those who are near or far?” Because we are not free of the underlying delusion, that gives rise to…

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65 Mindfulness of Breathing

15 May 2012

Mindfulness of breathing, a active developmental practice, produces skills such as attentional stability which can be said to have a high market value. Likewise, settling the mind in its natural stat…

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66 Great Equanimity (2)

15 May 2012

Might it be that when our resolve is to realize genuine happiness for the sake of all beings we may have confidence and trust that reality rises up to meet us day by day moment by moment? Meditation…

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67 Awareness of Awareness

15 May 2012

Tonight we plunge right into the practice of awareness of awareness, with the variant of stretching in four directions. Then we discuss the value of familiarizing oneself with awareness, as a portal…

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68 Loving-Kindness

15 May 2012

We review loving-kindness’ distant enemy, false facsimile, proximate cause, and sign of success. What is your vision of your own flourishing? Silent meditation begins at 8:55

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69 Settling Body, Speech, and Mind in Their Natural State

16 May 2012

With a new cycle we return to settling the body, speech, and mind in their natural states. In the Vajra Essence, Düdjom Lingpa intimates shamatha can be achieved simply by fully releasing the body, s…

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70 Loving-Kindness (2)

17 May 2012

The meditative cultivation of loving kindness as taught in the Visuddhimagga by Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa. Silent meditation not included

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71 Mindfulness of Breathing (2)

17 May 2012

Being mindful of the sensations of the breath at the abdomen can result in a eudaemonic contentment if we release craving for more stimulating pleasures, and simply enjoy watching our body unravel en…

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72 Loving-Kindness (3)

17 May 2012

Metta bhavana as taught by the Buddha. Silent meditation not included

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73 Mindfulness of Breathing (3)

18 May 2012

Like an old friend, mindfulness of the sensations of the breath at the apertures of the nostrils, with its gentle undulations, makes us feel at home and flush with well-being. It is a marvelous compl…

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74 Compassion - Focused on Our Blatant Suffering

18 May 2012

Alan reviews the nature of mental suffering and the strategies for dealing with it in each of the three methods of Shamatha. Silent meditation 23:17 — 48:30. Also, a talk about the ease of retrievi…

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75 Settling the Mind in its Natural State

19 May 2012

We begin tonight by reading an excerpt by Düdjom Lingpa describing the dzogchen practice of open presence and discussing its similitude to settling the mind in its natural state. The illusions of a l…

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76 Compassion Reflecting on Our Self-Centeredness

21 May 2012

Silent Meditation Not Included

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77 Settling The MInd in it's Natural State

21 May 2012

In settling the mind in its natural state, by observing mental events without taking interest in their contents we develop a familiarity with their essential nature. By this we receive the benefit of…

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78 Compassion (3)

22 May 2012

Silent meditation

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79 Settling the Mind in its Natural State (3)

22 May 2012

In settling the mind in its natural state we seek to emulate viewing the substrate from the perspective of the substrate consciousness as a cognizant, luminous and unmediated experience of mental phe…

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80 Empathetic Joy

22 May 2012

May we be a light that inspires others to draw on their own inner resources! Silent meditation not included.

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81 Awareness of Awareness

23 May 2012

As if we’ve become disciples in the 17th century, this evening we listen to the 4th Panchen Lama Rinpoche’s teachings on awareness of awareness. Alan reads this translation to exemplify the uniformit…

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82 Great Empathetic Joy

24 May 2012

While attending to sentient beings always think... It’s because of you’re kindness that i have the opportunity to achieve enlightenment.

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83 Awareness of Awareness

24 May 2012

The stillness experienced in awareness of awareness is due to the absence of grasping. In sustaining this awareness we are observing nothing other than the substrate consciousness itself, though veil…

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84 Great Equanimity (1)

24 May 2012

Alan elaborates the four modes of enlightened activities: 1. Pacifying color white 2. Enriching color gold 3. Power color red 4. Ferocity color blue Silent Meditation

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85 Awareness of Awareness (3)

25 May 2012

When performed in the method described by Panchen Lama Rinpoche of letting thoughts emerge and dissolve on their own like a raven on a ship, awareness of awareness qualifies as a practice of shamatha…

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86 Equanimity

25 May 2012

Alan gives the remaining two of Buddhaghosa’s fourfold analyses of the four immeasurables, those of empathetic joy and of equanimity. The analyses consist of the false facsimile, the diametric opposi…

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87 Awareness of Awareness (4)

26 May 2012

We expand upon the two methods given by Panchen Lama Rinpoche of managing incoming thoughts: in the first, after flicking an arrow of thought, what remains in its place is awareness—a knowing devoid…

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88 The Four Immeasurables

28 May 2012

Alan explains why the four immeasurables build a perfect system by each backing up one of the others. Silent meditation

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89 A wellspring of good advice

28 May 2012

Our shamatha practice can help keep us cognitively tuned while back in the big world, even if we can only practice briefly during the day. In times when we are fatigued from stress, full-body awarene…

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90 Morning Q&A

28 May 2012

How to help people ? What aspects of dharma speak of developing these abilities and is there a first aid guide for specific ailments ?

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91 Practice in the Spirit of Loving-Kindness. Q&A

29 May 2012

Enter your practice in the spirit of loving-kindness, particularly when the mind is prone to rumination. Consider the analogy of the horse saved from a burning barn, scared and frantic—never would yo…

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92 Morning Q&A

30 May 2012

We are encouraged to practice the four immeasurables in a spirit of looking back on our retreat and broader past. Then we receive advice around the question, "How do we prepare for death when we have…

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93 Practice in the Spirit of Loving-Kindess, Q&A

30 May 2012

We proceed directly into meditation with loving kindness for ourself, then spend the remaining time with Q&A. Q&A (at 24:51) * Subtlety of subjectivity in lucid dreams. * Achieving shamatha while…

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94 Loving-Kindness. Q&A

30 May 2012

Aspiring for genuine happiness. Unguided meditation not included. Q&A What do i have to do to achieve stage 4 outside of retreat? What does full enlightenment mean?

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