19 Great Equanimity & the Paths of Mahayana and Dzogchen

08 Apr 2016

Alan begins the lecture by presenting the fourth of the Greats: Great Equanimity. Then Alan introduces Martin Buber’s explanation of an “I-you” relationship as opposed to an “I-it” relationship. In the latter case, if someone gives me pleasure then I like you, otherwise I don’t, as if the sentient being is no more sentient than a cellphone. To treat a sentient being as an “it” is utterly tragic, it’s dehumanising. This also happened towards animals. Descartes believed that animals had no consciousness, no emotions, and this had quite an impact on the trajectory the world took. This is a massive cognitive deficit disorder. Then Alan briefly mentions the consequences of holding a materialistic worldview. After that, Alan underlines the importance of developing equanimity as a basis for bodhicitta. Immeasurable equanimity is foundational for Great Compassion and the other greats, so that they can come to full fruition. Finally before the meditation Alan offers a wonderful way of mapping the Four Greats onto the five Mahayana paths and the path of Dzogchen, which is embedded in the Mahayana.

The meditation is on Great Equanimity.

After meditation, Alan resumes the oral transmission and commentary of the Panchen Lama’s text “Lamp So Bright”. During the commentary, Alan emphasises the point of practicing Dharma, and poses the question whether one’s Dharma practice is arising as the path. Is it going to the path or is it just an array of nice practices? Are you reaching the path? This is beyond the mere step of practicing Dharma. As you are on the path, is it really working? Are you irreversibly on a path of full healing? Among other points, Alan comments on the lines in the text which highlight the importance of doing Vajrasattva practice for purification (it is recommended to do at least 20 repetitions a day).

Meditation starts at 26:36


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