45 Conclusion of Karma Chagmé's Text on Shamatha and Conditions that Give Rise to Serenity

24 Apr 2016

Alan begins the session with a brief introduction to meditation that will follow, instructing us to meditate on the Shamatha method that we find most useful, and not to be worried if the method is advanced or not. We then move to a silent meditation.

After meditation, Alan concludes the commentary and the oral transmission of the text ‘The Cultivation of Śamatha’, by Karma Chagmé (page 23). This section explores the highest stages of Shamatha, including the Form realm and the Formless realm. Alan adds that for a long time, the Indians thought this more rarefied states were the pinnacle, the irreversible freedom. But then came Gautama Buddha and discovered that these high levels of Samadhi were not enough, you were still left in samsara.

Later on Alan again warns about the perils of people thinking that they have achieved dhyana, having being told by their “teachers”, without even showing the basic signs and characteristics of each level of dhyana. Alan thinks that this is like giving false medicine and leads people to not move forward on the path.

He further comments on Buddhadharma becoming global and not falling on the view of being in a degenerate era that nobody can achieve shamatha or liberation anymore. Those who think that way will naturally be poised not to move in the high stages of the path and, on the other hand, the only people who will reach the path are those who believe that it is possible.

On the last ten minutes of the session, we move back to Panchen Rinpoche Text (page 19), on the serenity (shamatha) section. Alan also gives a short comment on the role of beauty in Dharma and being in a pleasant environment and finishes listing the Six Preparatory Practices and conditions that give rise to serenity (available as supplementary resource and listed below).

Meditation is silent and not recorded.

Note: Six Preparatory Practices

  • Sweep and clean the room and arrange the altar.
  • Make offerings on the altar, e.g., light, food, incense, water bowls, etc.
  • Sit in a comfortable position and examine your mind. Do breathing meditation - to calm your mind. Then establish a good motivation. After that, take refuge - and generate the altruistic intention by reciting the appropriate prayers.
  • Visualize the merit field with the spiritual mentors, buddhas, bodhisattvas, and so forth. If this is too difficult, visualize Shakyamuni Buddha and consider him the embodiment of all Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha.
  • Offer the seven-limb prayer and the mandala by reciting those prayers.
  • Make requests to the lineage spiritual mentors for inspiration by reciting the requesting prayers.

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