79 Why do Scientists Refuse to Look through Buddhists’ Telescope?

13 May 2016

Alan starts by explaining that there are two approaches to Mahamudra: the Vajrayana and the Sutrayana. The Vajrayana approach is embedded in the Kagyu tradition, where Mahamudra is placed in the culminating phase of the stage of completion. The assumption is that you’ve already laid a solid foundation in Sutrayana practice – bodhicitta, realization of emptiness, renunciation – moved on at the stage of generation, then at the stage of completion – the six yogas of Naropa – and then the cherry on the cake would be Mahamudra. In this Vajrayana approach to Mahamudra, what you’re realizing is not simply the emptiness of the mind and of all phenomena – that’s in the Sutrayana, and then it saturates the stages of generation and completion – you’re realizing emptiness and viewing reality from the perspective of the indwelling mind of clear light, rigpa. And then, Panchen Lama presents the Sutrayana path – shamatha and vipashyana, overwhelmingly fathoming the empty nature of the mind. In Sutrayana, you don’t have methods for realizing emptiness from the perspective of rigpa. Then Alan comes back to the context of the Panchen Lama text. When you’re resting in meditative equipoise the central point is to realize the empty nature of your own mind, and in that openness, there is the luminosity of your own awareness, realizing the union of the luminosity and the emptiness of your own awareness. Then you dwell there, in the space-like meditative equipoise. Insofar you’re immersed in dharmadhatu saturated by awareness, conventional reality fades out. But then sooner or later you have to come out, you get off the cushion, and the central theme is to sustain this dreamlike awareness of all phenomena. And the critical point is to be able to see, not simply believe, but viewing how phenomena exist as mere imputations. The real challenge in this post-meditative period is: can you apprehend all phenomena as non-existent from their own side, without reification, as opposed to apprehending them as existent from their own side? Can you view waking appearances as if you were in a lucid dream? If the rest of your life is untouched by your meditative experiences then there is no meaning.

Meditation is on Vipashyana on the nature of appearances.

Alan returned to Panchen Lama’s text, from Chandrakirti´s quote from Introduction to Madhyamaka on, up to the point where Panchen Lama correlates the Four Yogas to the Five Paths. And then Alan paused to share an article, to prepare us to the post-retreat, when we will bump with people that are not immersed in this world view, meditation, way of life, aspiration and so forth – all our fellow sentient beings. The article, written by Daniel Simpson – Buddhist Meditation and Cognitive Sciences – is available at the link below:

Read the article.

Alan highlighted some provocative things that warrant a meaningful response. Please refer to Mahamudra Retreat Notes – May, 13th for Alan´s notes on this article. Alan has drawn a parallel between modern scientists’ attitude towards Buddhist knowledge about meditation and consciousness and Cesare Cremonini’s attitude towards Galileo’s discoveries. From Alan’s notes: “Cesare Cremonini, was a friend of Galileo and among his contemporaries who refused to look through a telescope to confirm or refute Galileo’s discoveries. He explained his refusal with the words, “I do not wish to approve of claims about which I do not have any knowledge, and about things which I have not seen... and then to observe through those glasses gives me a headache. Enough! I do not want to hear anything more about this”. In this Mudita day, Alan ended on an uplifting note - during his stay in Italy, he met three very fine open minded scientists, in three different research centers, and he will join them next week to talk about consciousness. And finally he said he is giving us a pack full of ammunition, not to harm anyone but if people throw bullshit objections, be merciless.

Meditation starts at 14:45

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