21 Apr 2016
Alan begins the session by frontloading the silent meditation session, and in the follow up of the morning session, asked us to investigate the distinctive qualities of space and awareness. To help us in that investigation, we brought forth the idea that space implies the quality of extension, unlike awareness. That being the case, these were the questions we were to contemplate: (i) is the space of the mind 2D or 3D?; (ii) has it got a colour, is it either black or transparent?; (iii) has it got a shape? Is it a sphere or a cube?; (iv) does the space of the mind has a center and/or a periphery?
He proposed the meditation session to be divided into 2 parts, with the first being mindfulness of breathing, in full body awareness mode, and only the second part of the session being dedicated to Settling the Mind, as outlined above. The reason for doing mindfulness of breathing in the first part of the session is that by paying attention to the somatic field of the body, we attend to a space that is by nature non-conceptual. There, the presence of only physical senses and feelings, that do not have a referent, help us quiet the mind. After that, we can more effectively attend to the space of the mind, and specifically to the spaces between thoughts, where we were to remain single-pointedly focused on the space of the mind.
After the meditation, we went back to chapter fifteen of Karma Chagmé’s “Great Commentary to Buddhahood in the Palm of Your Hand”, which is on shamatha. Alan continued the oral transmission, first on a section focused on The Cultivation of Shamatha With Characteristics, which included a succinct section on the path to shamatha (for more details, please see Alan’s book: “The Attention Revolution). He then proceeded to a section on The Cultivation of Shamatha Without Characteristics, a progression which is very typical in Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
The meditation is silent (not recorded).
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