Session 68: The Build-up to Mindfulness of Breathing (Apertures of the Nostrils)

B. Alan Wallace, 18 Nov 2010

This morning Alan used the Russian-dolls imagery (the dolls that stuck within each other) as his mold. First, he applied it to our mindfulness of breathing practice. Settling the body, speech, and mind are all contained within one another. The mind is at rest when the inner voice is quiet. The inner voice is quiet when the respiration is flowing unobstructed, not forced and unconstricted within a properly aligned body, which is relaxed, still, and yet in a posture of vigilance. We then use our introspection to check on the body, respiration and the mind to see if all them are in their natural states.
Alan then applied the Russian-dolls metaphor to Buddhism in general. Just as a larger doll cannot fit into a smaller one, so the various philosophies of Buddhism gradually build up on one another. Hinayana is encompassed within Mahayana. Mahayana is included within Vajrayana and Vajrayana (and all others) are contained within Dzogchen – The Great Encompassment. Oh, yes…and his favorite – Science makes sense within the context of the Buddhist tradition. However, reverse the gradation and we end up with a whole lot of conflicts and nonsense.
Before we entered the meditation Alan expressed his disgruntledness with people who might pick any school of Buddhism, chop off what doesn’t fit into their worldview and call themselves “secular Buddhists”.

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