B. Alan Wallace, 30 Jul 2015
Welcome to podcast listeners joining the eight-week retreat. Alan explains the lineage of these teachings and the text, A Spacious Path to Freedom by Karma Chagme, which all retreaters are encouraged to obtain and consult.
The function of any preliminary practice is to purify the mind and gather merit, and the fluctuations of the breath can be used to begin a progression of practices for training awareness to remain still in the middle of any activity.
Meditation starts at 46:00
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So, I’d like now to start again because this time the recording is recording. And I’d like to greet all the people listening in by podcast. There’re quite a number of people out there waiting for this retreat, vicariously participating in it all over the world. I don’t know how many. But I want to welcome all of you who are listening by way of the podcast to welcome you to this retreat and I would like you to know that you are very much in my heart and mind. I am very consciously aware of you today, right now and through this retreat as well. And so I wish you all well in the practice. I am very glad that you can listen in. I have various reasons that I continue to guide these 8-weeks retreats. But I have to admit - knowing that I can be a direct benefit to 40-50 people but indirect benefit to some hundreds outside, really gives me a lot more incentive and inspiration by doing so. I just love it that with the same amount of effort more people can derive benefit.
And so now speaking to all of you the 50 - we have about 50 here in the room - and then however many may be listening by podcast either like, pretty close to real time. I mean some people are in retreat, just following this retreat from afar. Others would be listening to these teachings, the meditations, the discussions at their own leisure. So I’d like to now - I’ve just given just kind of logistical introduction for people in this retreat, in this place, at this time. And now I’d like to give a brief introduction to the contents of what we will be focusing on. So now we get to the juicy part. Now I’m assuming that all of you have brought with you a copy of this text. Is it correct? That’s good. Everybody’s well prepared.
So Lineage. During the period of 1990 to 1997 - right during that period, much of that, I was in graduate school at Stanford but I was able, I think, to get through graduate school happily because during that same period from 1990 to 1997 I had the tremendous good fortune, the privilege and the honor of serving for that period as the primer interpreter for my primary Dzogchen Lama, the Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche. I am very happy to say he is still alive and well. He is very old, he is about 90 by now. But I lived right near him and on a weekly basis - maybe it was twice a week, I can’t remember, maybe it was twice a week - I was translating for him. And he was giving a lot of teachings in the Bay area. And so I translated for all of his teachings. And everything he taught, every text he taught I translated and then, of course, I’m interpreting his teachings. And so his oral commentary - everything he taught, his oral commentary - was transcribed, edited.
[3:00] So as the years went by we just came out with one book after another book after another book. Because I just felt the text that he was teaching - there were all meditation manuals, they’re all what’s called - [Tibetan 3:05] mengak, pith Instructions exactly designed for practice. Not for people who want a great erudition, get degrees, those Khenpo and Geshe, or Ph.D., and so forth. Really designed for practice, so going right to the core, pith instructions. That’s all he taught for those 7 years. At least in this San Francisco Bay area, where I was training and serving as his interpreter. So this was one of the earliest texts that he taught. And this is, my teacher Gyatrul Rinpoche, he holds multiple lineages. One is from the Palyul tradition of the Nyingma order. It’s a tradition going back to Karma Chagme Rinpoche, the author of this text from the 17 century that is drawing on both the Mahamudra and the Dzogchen tradition and integrating these two exactly as this text does. So this text is simply called [Tibetan 4:00] “The Union of [Tibetan 4:03 ] the Teachings of the Great Compassionate One of Avalokiteshvara on the Union of Mahamudra and Mahasanti or the Great Perfection”. Karma Chagme Rinpoche was a really a patriarch, a great master of both the Dzogchen and the Mahamudra. He is of course the Karma Kagyu lineage but again very much of the Nyingma, the Palyul Lineage in Nyingma. And consummate scholar, extraordinary scholar, great erudition.
But also a very deep meditation master and he wrote not only scholarly texts but a number of texts that were purely for practice. And so this may actually be his primary one, and it’s quite long. And Rinpoche didn’t teach all of it, Gyatrul Rinpoche, when he was teaching there in San Francisco. I - how to say - established or requested and it was granted, the formal Guru-disciple relationship with him in 1990. I knew him before then. I was kind of checking him out, may be he was checking me out as well. And then, just to give a little bit of history, then in 1990 I had just moved to Stanford, I was doing my graduate studies there. In San Jose which is right nearby he gave teachings translated by his principal interpreter who was before me and since then has been his principal interpreter, close companion, devoted disciple and one of my oldest and dearest friends Sangye Khandro, a very very dedicated Dharma student, and very knowledgeable, and a superb translator. So she was interpreting and the teachings were on Dream Yoga, this was 1990. And I heard those teachings from Gyatrul Rinpoche and I said “Oho, this man is my Lama!” Because the way he taught it went right into the heart. He really made it practical, accessible, inviting, experiential. I’ve received teachings on dream yoga before but it always seemed like it was way above my head, unreachable, away, away out there, for advanced yogis which I wasn’t and I am not. And so the relationship was established.
[6:00] And then, so I won’t go into a lot of detail there but then he wound up moving down from Oregon and having as his home for quite a number of years a place outside of Stanford, up in the hills above Half Moon Bay. So a town on the coast, of course. And during the last two years there, from 1995 to 1997, I actually live with him, just across on the same property. And so then he gave a lot of teachings during that time and I did more translation work with him. But this is the first large text that he taught and which I translated the text itself and its oral commentary. And I just felt the text itself and his commentary were so valuable that it just felt not right for me just to receive these teachings and practice it and then anybody - it was about just this number of people, 40-50 people in the room - it just didn’t feel right that there could be such a splendid text, an elucidating commentary and only 50 people would get benefit and that’s it. I just couldn’t do that. And so when I saw the quality of text which he commented on line by line making it crystal clear - I had no choice, I did translate it. And then his commentary was there and then the other people pitched in. They’re doing all the editing, all the hard work where I was just translating the text and then doing the oral commentary.
[07:20] And so, but on this text, this you’re seeing, this text we are skipping about the first third. It’s a very large text. And the first third or so - it’s many pages - is all devoted to the preliminary practices, the ngondro - 100 thousand of Vajrasattva, and Guru Yoga, and so forth and so on - the classic ngondro. And Rinpoche just told me right in the very beginning, “Well, teachings on the ngondro, how to practice Vajrasattva, Guru Yoga, Mandala offering and so forth, it’s widely available. There’s plenty of teachings on those from multiple traditions. We don’t really need to have another translation of that material. Not that it’s not important it is important. But maybe that’s not the best way for us to spend our time here.” So he said, “I am going to skip it.” I’m going to skip those - just because, not, again not because it’s not important - but it’s widely available already. And this is, you know, very much in tune with other teachings on the same topic by other teachers, traditions, and so forth. And so he - as you can see from the text - he goes right into content and goes right into the heart of the main practice, the [Tibetan 8:22]. And the [Tibetan 8:25 ] after giving a bit of background as you can see I think in the opening chapter, he goes right into stage of generation practice. And it’s in my terms of my very limited reading, ‘cause I am not a really very erudite, I give the appearance of it but it is a false appearance, of being really-really knowledgeable of Dharma, I am really not. When I think of my own teachers, and I am kind of total amature, a lifelong amature. And I’m not kidding, I’m not being humble. I’m just telling you straight, you know, this is the way it is. But what was the point there? Yeah, I’ve not seen any other presentation of stage of generation, in my very limited reading, that presents it in this way.
[9:07] This is the great Karma Chagme Rinpoche, great-great scholar, great, renowned. He was, so as I understand he was of course he was a contemporary of the 5th Dalai-Lama, the great Gyalwa Ngapa, the great fifth. And what I’d heard, and I believe it’s true, he was something of a Guru, a mentor to the Fifth Dalai-Lama who was very keenly interested, and actually very devoted to Dzogchen. And so there’s a connection there which makes me happy because my Root Lama is, of course, His Holiness Dalai Lama. And that’s been true since 1971, so a long time. So Karma Chagme Rinpoche was a man of great stature during his time. And so, interestingly enough - and I’m not seeing this elsewhere either - before going into shamatha, basic shamatha, he’s already teaching stage of generation practice. So generally we think, wait a minute, shamatha is more basic. Why didn’t you teach that first? But he didn’t and for good reason. But as he is teaching this self-generation, where you are actually generating yourself as Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of enlightened compassion, normally, almost invariably, if you’re engaging in a self-generation practice, you should have an empowerment first. That’s just normal, to get the empowerment, the transmission, the teaching - wang, [Tibetan 9:58] lung. You could receive all three of those. But he said this is an exception. He said of the Avalokiteshvara practice. He said, this is [Tibetan 10:37], this is a public Dharma, this is a public Dharma. So if you have the opportunity to receive the empowerment, an Avalokiteshvara empowerment, and there’s various varieties of them from a qualified Lama, that’s very good, excellent, go for it. If you have a good connection, you have faith in Lama, the Lama’s qualified, absolutely. That’s the classic way of doing it. But he said in this particular case it’s not indispensable. So he is giving these teachings - it is quite a beautiful chapter, really - on the Avalokiteshvara stage of generation. Very, he gives a couple of little sadhanas - very short, to the point, frankly really sweet, inviting. You don’t get caught up in a lot of liturgy that goes on and on and on and on. When it is going to be over? No, it is short, it is over. [laughter] So pay attention while it’s there because it doesn’t last very long. Because it’s really obviously focusing on doing the meditation and not simply doing a ritual and getting to the end of it, right? And so that’s the way I will teach it. I’m not going to give any Avalokiteshvara empowerment here. He is saying, this is public Dharma, so that’s what I’m passing on. And when Gyatrul Rinpoche gave all these teachings on this list and then a kind of a - what’s it called - addendum, a long addendum, which was published under a separate title “Naked Awareness” where he gives the whole path. What comes here is simply it’s preceded by the preliminary practices and then there’s this, and then it is finished. So the end of this book is the end of the book.
[12:01] And then he says, well, on the other hand, it is called [Tibetan 12:04], an addendum, he said , “Well, let’s go through that again.” And then he gives - I don’t know -two hundred pages more of teaching but he takes a different approach. So it’s kind of very complimentary. So when Gyaltrul Rinpoche finished teaching this, then he went right into the addendum, or an appendix, but a long appendix. And it was so marvelous, it’s really really good, that I couldn’t help but once again I translated it, translated the commentary, and that was published as a book -“Naked Awareness”. And that’s what I’ll teach next year. When we go on an 8-week retreat, next year in Tuscany then we’ll l be focusing on that. I’ll precede it with a short text by the Panchen Lama who was a contemporary of the Fifth Dalai Lama. So all that great 17th century because that was the first Mahamudra teachings I ever had was within the Gelugpa tradition, that is the union of Kagyu and Gelug. So I’ll teach that first and then we’ll go to Karma Chagme who kind of this union of Kagyu and Nyingma. So I love to do practices that are unifying, that show the harmonious interrelationship of these different lineages. And so, so that’s where he starts out. I think you’ve read ahead, you’ve checked it out. So he goes through the stage of generation in a detailed chapter on various modes. He gives a whole variety like a smorgasbord , of a different methods of shamatha. Then the next chapter, I’d have to say is simply one of the most brilliant chapters I’ve ever read in Buddhism, I mean I was awestruck by it , the practice, the chapter on vipashyana, vipashyana on the nature of the mind, it’s, it’s stunning, it really is stunning. So that’s going to be very very core, the very central to what we’re doing here. Of going beyond simply observing thoughts, or resting in awareness of awareness. And really starting to probe into, start to shatter the reification, the reified superimpositions that we superimpose, that we project upon our own mindstreams,very powerful stuff. As I was reading through it and Gyatrul Rinpoche giving us guidance, step by step, by step, as he, as the author, you’ve seen his style, he’s simply quoting one source after another. I can’t remember the term, but it’s something like a “bouquet”. Where he’s not simply expounding, giving his own narrative, but he’s drawing, he’s like making a “bouquet”. He said, well, Rabjam Dorje said this and now Urgyen Rinpoche said this and this, and Tilopa said this, and Nagarjuna said this. And putting it together… Wow, that’s a beautiful bouquet. Because he puts them altogether and you don’t really that much hear his own distinctive voice but he’s the one putting together the flower arrangement and he’s the one providing commentary and elucidation. And so we’ll get up to but not include the teachings on the Thogyal, direct crossing over. I just simply see no need or a great value in teaching that in this context. I could mention also that Rinpoche taught this, this and the subsequent, the Naked Awareness, he did not give an empowerment. He simply gave it straight. And then when he’d finish these two, this one and the “Naked Awareness” then he went right into - it is called in Tibetan [Tibetan 15:20], Padmasambhava’s teachings on the six bardos. And that’s the whole path. And he taught that whole text without giving an empowerment and he told people coming that if you have faith in these teachings and you’d really like to practice them, that even if you’re not Buddhist you’re welcome to come. And he taught the whole path. So different Lamas have their own orientation. Some Lamas are very traditional, very strict, and others - I think, especially those who’ve been living and teaching in West for a long time, like Gyatrul Rinpoche has been living and teaching in the West since 1972, long-long time.
[16:00] So in my observations, those who’ve spent a lot of time really learning a Western mindset, way of life, proclivities, abilities, limitations tend to be a bit more progressive. And Lamas who are also equally splendid Lamas but not so much contact, I tend generally find a bit more conservative. But simply, but the point of this is - and I am very delighted with it - there is no Pope of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama’s not the Pope. He doesn’t claim infallibility , he doesn’t tell all, he never tells Sakya Trinzin Rinpoche or Gyalwang Karmapa and so forth, wouldn’t even dream of it, what can you teach, what can’t you teach, are you teachings authentic. Inconceivable you know. So, no, , we don’t have a Pope in Tibetan Buddhism, which means we have a lovely diversity, that’s a rich and healthy diversity. Many of the greatest teachers are monks, and a number of them are not monks. Many are men, and there are some absolutely marvelous women teachers as well, you know. And so, in this regard as well, some Lamas are much more conservative in this regard , some more progressive, liberal, call it what you will. Gyatrul Rinpoche where he falls in that spectrum is definitely more of a progressive liberal side. And I’m simply following my Lama, so I’m not, I don’t think I’m any more liberal than he is. I am really following in his footsteps. And I am following in the footsteps or seeking to follow the path of my root Lama, His Holiness the Dalai-Lama who has been training Gelugpa primarily, and Nyingma extensively, as well as Sakya and Kagyu to some extent. So we’ll be coming that but not up to Thogyal, but the Mahamudra and how it interfaces with Dzogchen. Karma Chagme Rinpoche himself addresses that topic, so that will become clear and I see some real nuggets in this essay that I’ll be translating over the next week or two, or three, I don’t know. Then I’m happy to share them with you. So, in that regard, yeah, it’s something really important. So we’re skipping the preliminaries. Some people who kind of casually glance in my direction in the terms of the way I teach.
[18:00] I’ve heard people say, “Oh, Alan he’s starting something. He doesn’t think the preliminaries are important. He skips the preliminaries and just goes into the higher teachings.” That’s never been true. That’s never been true. I’ve never skipped the preliminaries. But the question is what are the preliminaries? Is there only one set, that is one size that fits all? 100 thousand of this, 100 thousand of that, 100 thousand of this. No that’s one set of preliminaries. So let’s spend a little bit of time on that. How far back does it go, the insistence on doing 100 thousand of this, 100 thousand of that, you know before you can even start receiving the higher teachings of the stage of generation or of Mahamudra, Dzogchen? And the answer is - I don’t know. But from what I can tell, because I’ve had my ears open for some years now, that particular format and also the format of doing three-year retreats could, maybe doesn’t go back more than the 19th century. It’s fairly recent. I heard that Patrul Rinpoche was, Patrul Rinpoche - the great Patrul Rinpoche, extraordinary Dzogchen Nyingma Lama - that he took a quite a seminal role there of formalizing it a bit, formalizing the preliminaries - so you start them and you finish them. You actually know you’ve got something done because you did 100 thousand of this and it’s hard work, and you move through it, and so forth. And then doing a three-year retreat, that’s a hard work, you know. And you have introduced to this practice, maybe, probably do the preliminaries again, maybe some Dharma Protector, definitely stage of generation, maybe Six Yogas, maybe stage of generation and completion and Kalachakra, maybe as Vajrayogini maybe a Chakrasamvara, maybe it is Yamantaka, - there are different ways of doing these retreats. But the formalization of - you know - sets of five and then three-year retreat. I’ve had a fair number of teachings now from Padmasambhava, he never mentioned any numbers, doing 100 thousand. I’ve had a transmission on Lerab Lingpa’s Entire Path, [20:00] Jetsun Nyingtik it’s called, The Heart Essence of Jetsun [Tibetan 20:00]Wangchuk, a great Dzogchen master. And he never mentioned any numbers. And so…I’ll say first of all, do I have respect and reference for the tradition, this particular tradition of doing sets of five and then the three-year retreats? The answer is yes, I do. I respect it, I revere it for a very simple reason - it’s helped many many people. For many people that format of doing you know, of doing this quite methodically - 100 thousand Vajrasattva, 100 thousand prostrations, and so forth, has been very beneficial. And so why would I wanna criticize that? It’s like a medicine, if it’s worked and has worked for many-many people, there’s nothing to criticize, right? But it is also true - as an objective fact - that this format, this way of formalizing into a sets of 100 thousand of Vajrasattva, the visualization and the liturgy, the recitations, and so forth, - that format undoubtedly was created by Tibetan for Tibetans. That’s just a fact.
[21:00 ]And Tibetans who were raised especially in pre communist China Tibet, they were raised with Om Mani Padme Hung, you know, they get Om Mani Padme Hung with their’s mothers milk. They were raised in Dharma, they’re living, they’re breathing in the community of Dharma. That’s not to say it’s a Pure Realm. There are rotten people in Tibet, like in any other place. But it was overwhelmingly, a very Buddhist country with one monastery for every thousand people. That’s pretty remarkable - six million people, six thousand monasteries. Tell me another country on the planet in recorded history that had that. I think you’ll not find it. So this was an exceptional country. It was no pure land, no Shangri-la, no Utopia. But there was no place like it where six thousand monasteries for six million people. Some monasteries - eight thousand of monks, ten thousand of monks you know, and then yogis all over the place. And I was just, I spent, - I’m rambling a little bit here but I enjoy it [Laughter]. Just a couple of months ago I was in Santa Barbara, we hosted a remarkable Lama, Khenpo [Tibetan name 22:05] Dhargye. [Tibetan 22:06]. There’re two abbots of this extraordinary Dharma community out there in Kham, in a place outside of the Setar the little village of Setar. I’ve been there. And it is called Larung Gar established by the great Tibetan yogi, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok. And he started it in 1980. By the late 1990s there were 10 thousand monks and nuns there. Then the Chinese bulldozed about 70 percent of the buildings. They didn’t kill anybody but bulldozed it, cut number 3 thousand. That was during the first decade of the century. And now - take that frown off your face - it went from 3 thousand now it’s to 40 thousand, 40 thousand. It’s a city. And it would be bigger except for the Chinese government said you can’t, they drew a boundary around it, said - no bigger than this. And it is packed, it is packed!
[22:58] About 10 percent of them are Hun Chinese, the other 90 percent Tibetan, all four schools. And the two, kind of a council of Khenpos, a little bit like Namdroling something like that. A council of Khenpos, a remarkable place, I can go into a long tangent there. But there’s a simple point I wanted to make was one of the two principle abbots, we hosted him in Santa Barbara just a couple months ago, and I had, ah, the great pleasure of just sitting down, we had about six-hours of one on one conversation together. And he, this Abbot, Khenpo [Tibetan 23:30] with his own money, he purchased some land about two hours outside of the big Dharma community, beautiful rolling hills, heavy forest, and so forth. He purchased land and with his own money built 40 meditation cabins. And he said, about half of them are full right now. And I said well if somebody wants you know, if someone well-prepared student, would like to come there and spend years in retreat, do they have any problem, you know? Who’s going to pay for them? It doesn’t cost much to support a monk or nun in full-time retreat but it is not nothing. Do they have a problem? And he said, “Oh, no-no-no.” The nomads are there and if they know that somebody is coming to be going into full-time retreat, they are just delighted to - you know - take care of them. That’s what I call a civilized country. [Laughter] The people really wanna devote themselves full time to practice, they just don’t have to give a second thought about where will I stay, what will I eat, who will take care … They will be because the community, the society knows this is the best investment for the future of their own civilization. Support people fully devoting themselves to virtue, what gets better than that? And they’re cheap. [Laughter] Doesn’t cost much to support somebody living in solitude with hardly any mundane needs, living with just some of bit of food. And these cabins have solar panels. [Laughter]. Modern lama. And so that was a tangent to something, Yeah, yeah. So, how to say, Preliminary practices, coming back to that. So by Tibetan for Tibetans and it’s worked many many times for Tibetans and I’ve been watching Buddhism in the West. Buddhism in India practiced by Westerners for more than four decades now. And I’ll tell you a fact that not all but many Westerners who have been told, “Oh, before you can go any further, you have to do these preliminaries.” They go, “Oh, [sighs] OK.” [Laughter] And they grind themselves, they grind their way through it, “Oh, I almost finished my Vajrasattva then I have to do Mandala Offering. Of course I don’t believe that Mount Meru exists but I’ll offer a hundred thousand times anyway… [Laughter] Mount Meru. Santa Claus Village. Tooth Fairies. Bugs Bunny.” They don’t know what the hell they’re doing, they don’t know why they’re doing it. They don’t believe that Mount Meru exists at all and who’s ever seen it? You know. And yet but they have to do it. So one person… I was teaching meditation and she was in a retreat that led, she said, and very devote, she’d been practicing a very long time but she was grinding her way through these five Preliminaries and she was doing this during my retreat, the 8 week retreat. And she was in the midst of doing her Mandala Offering and she just told me very candidly, “Oh, Alan, after I’ve been doing it for a while I just feel like I am just throwing rocks at a pan.” Hundred thousand times. [Laughter] And I just don’t see any point in that. Do I see a point in engaging in the Preliminary practices, doing 100 thousand during three year, the answer is definitely yes, with no question. Is there a point? Yes, if you have the faith, and the reference, and the desire to engage in the practices. And if you don’t, I think you’re engaging in a dry, empty, barren ritual that has no meaning for you, or anybody else. So, therefore, I think we have to be a little bit creative. In thinking - what are the Preliminaries all about? And it is very easy. [Tibetan 26:47]. It’s for accumulating merit and purifying the mindstream. And if you’re throwing rocks at a pan while reciting something in a language you don’t even understand, exactly what… how much merit you think you are accumulating with that? And is your mind really being really purified in any way, that you have any indication that it’s actually true? And so it’s just, I think a time to be traditional and practical. And that is I have not the tiniest, remotest desire to start my own tradition, - the Alan Wallace tradition [Laughter] Ehh. No interest whatsoever. At the same time in order to engage effectively in these more advanced practices such as stage of generation, such as Mahamudra and Dzogchen, the great Lamas have all said exactly the same thing - these preliminaries are enormously important. And boy, well I’m not going to go against all the great masters here, I’m this little pipsqueak. But the point is to purify the mind and to accumulate merit. Well, if we look Shantideva “The Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.” He’s saying, what purifies the mind like the configuration of the fire at the end of an eon, like a supernova that just extinguishes everything into nothing? Bodhichitta. If you want to purify your mind and you want to accumulate merit, why would you think about doing something besides Bodhichitta?
[28:06] Compare actually cultivating Bodhichitta to simply reciting a liturgy a 100 thousand times, or doing some calisthenics while your mind is wandering all over the place and your mouth is going bla-bla-bla and you’re getting some cardio-vascular exercise. Which do you think is purifying your mind more? Really sitting down and cultivating a Bodhichitta or going through the calisthenics of 100 thousand prostrations? And I’m not putting down doing prostrations. I am suggesting - that there may not be a whole lot of value apart from the physical benefits if your mind is wandering, your mouth is just running on and on just reciting something because you have to do it, you know. So there’s one for purification and for accumulating merit, cultivating Bodhichitta is up there at the top of the peak. And the other top of the peak is ultimate Bodhichitta, meditating on emptiness, you know. In order to do that you need to have a mind that is serviceable. And yet a serviceable mind Sem [Tibetan 28:56], with shamatha, which is widely overlooked, disregarded, minimized, skipped, totally weird. [Laughter] And so, so for years now, for many many years I’ve been teaching the shamatha, the four immeasurables. Shamatha is to make your mind serviceable. The four immeasurables which are the basis for developing relative Bodhichitta. The four applications of mindfulness, [Tibetan 29:23] as the basis for developing insight into emptiness, it gives you a foundation, especially for your Theravada and Mahayana approach, real foundation. And then dream yoga, dream yoga is a kind of night time vipashyana but with the daytime practices, a daytime vipashyana as well going into Madhyamaka, into teachings on emptiness and dependent origination, viewing all phenomena as being like dreams. Well, what better way to start becoming lucid in dreams? And then I’ve for years been giving introductions to Dzogchen. So I think for really purifying the mind this is a very practical way. And it’s not instead of doing prostrations, Guru-yoga, and so on and so forth. But it’s something where we won’t get caught up in the ritual because it’s all content, right? So on this theme, I’d kind of like to wrap this up pretty quickly now it’s getting long and a lot of are still jet lagged I’m not going to be over the material that Rinpoche never taught. I’ve, by the way, I’ve done all of the five preliminaries, I’ve done all the five sets of one thousand, I did that while I was under Gyaltrul Rinpoche’s immediate guidance. And I did it according to this tradition. Because he, I was actually preparing for receiving teachings on the tsalung and then practice the tummo, and so forth, and so I did it. So I’m not just an outsider critiquing it. But we’re not going to be covering that material which I’ve said is very important but we want to go for content. So I’m not gonna skip the preliminaries here either, I never have. I’m just focusing on what I think are the really central preliminaries. And then what I’ve just found by the way, you know, having led these 8-weeks retreats for a number of years now, some people come in that, a number of names come to mind, people coming up and they’re just quite fresh and new to Dharma, they come to an eight week retreat and they really like kind of the just going right into the shamatha, and so forth and not all that devotional, ritual staff. But I found again and again and again, because some of my students have now been in retreat for seven years - is the deeper they go, the longer they go, the more traditional they become. [Laughter] They say, I’d like to spend more time contemplating the four thoughts to turn the mind. That’s really powerful. Or - I found I really want to do Vajrasattva. I really wanted to do prostrations now! I’d like to go much deeper into Guru-Yoga. Oh, Bodhichitta, I wanna linger there longer. And that makes me happy. That’s not because I am pressuring them or - have you finished your hundred thousand or ten thousand of this or that? Just let it coming from inside and then when we are reading Words Of My Precious Teacher or Of My Perfect Teacher, reading Lamrim and going to really very kind of hardcore traditional awsome literature, and really wanting to practice that but because it is coming from the inside.
[32:00] And then they have the faith and inspiration then I say, oh, h, - I always say the same thing - go for it!- “Oh, Alan, what do you think if I would do a 100 thousand prostrations? What would you think if I really spent a lot more time really focusing on Guru-Yoga?” I will say the same thing, Go for it, absolutely! But start, I mean the way, I mean I still love Dharma, I still love practicing this and there’s nothing I want to do more, my enthusiasm’s there ‘cause that’s what I did from the beginning, I devoted myself to practices for which I felt enthusiasm. And not always - sometimes I did it because I needed to. I didn’t really enjoy doing 100 thousand Mandala Offering but I got through it. And actually I do believe in Mount Meru, I’m total weirdo. I do. [Laughter] I do believe in Mount Meru and the four continents but that’s another story. [Laughter] So what to do, what to do. Because Karma Chagme Rinpoche preceded this with, I don’t know, two hundred pages of teachings on the preliminary practices. Well, what I’m going to do here is - this is going to be our core, this is going to be our backbone for the 8 weeks. But as I did last year and I did a year before and I think I did the year before - as the weeks flow by I’m going to be augmenting this with outside material just to kind of flush it out a bit. And there are some utterly, I just have to say sublime teachings on the true essence of the preliminary practices for anybody who is venturing in the Vajrayana practice, in general. And that’s what’s going to be coming. We’re not going to skip the preliminaries, not here. We are not going to go directly to stage of generation. We’ll spend a bit of time on preliminaries. But with no liturgy, no numbers, - just essence. So then you’re either practicing it or you’re not. But you can’t fool yourself. “Oh, yeah, I am 50 thousand through ,” you know, oh yeah yeah, whatever. 50 thousand only? No, Shantideva said, if your mind’s wandering, that whatever’s coming out of your mouth - meaningless. So I don’t want to give away this, I don’t want to give away the big surprize but the three outer preliminaries, three common preliminaries which are powerful, and three uncommon preliminaries which are more powerful. And I’m relying upon Dudjom Lingpa, Padmasambhava by way of Dudjom Lingpa. Padmasambhava, the [Tibetan 34:20] The Lake Born Vajra, that’s the one that really goes to my heart. I mean this does, all of this does but this one - really straight. And in his writings, multiple writings, he doesn’t talk about doing 100 thousand prostrations, mandala offering, 100 thousand, he makes no reference to it at all. But he does repeatedly come to these three common preliminaries which are indispensable. And he says it, “These are indispensable.” And then three uncommon preliminaries, and they’re demanding, they’re deep. If you really embrace, if you let your mind be absorbed, or absorbed into these, they will change your mind. You’ll l not have to wonder about whether your mind is becoming purified or not. You will see your mind becoming purified ‘cause your way of viewing reality will shift. That’s nice. You see it by yourself. So we gonna start there. That’s where we’ll start very soon. And as we always do for all the 8 weeks retreats, I am going to be teaching shamatha, right. It’s going to be the base line - shamatha - to make the mind serviceable. From shamatha, the preliminary practices from shamatha, the stage of generation from shamatha, elaborated shamatha from shamatha-vipashyana and shamatha Mahamudra, right. So that’s what these 8 weeks will look like. Gyaltrul Rinpoche long ago authorized me to, encouraged me to teach these, to teach actually everything that he taught me which is kind of a lot.
[36:00] In retrospect, the 7 years that I was with him in the Bay area I see as being just absolutely exceptional. Because I was coming from 20 years of training, I’d already been practicing - kind of study /practice full time for 20 years, from 1970 to 1990. And Rinpoche just breathed fresh air, just a breathe of fresh air, just kind of reinvigorate like being reborn again, you know another whole - oh I’m ready to go, you know like finishing one marathon, ready to run another one, you know. And all he gave me for all of these years was just pith instructions. He never taught me to become a scholar of Nyingma tradition and I am not. I am really not very knowledgeable at all. He just taught me pith instructions, pith-pith-pith all the way through, only pith instructions. And he taught me just one text after another, guiding-guiding-guiding all oriented around this central theme which I was already captivated by and he just got me further captivated by it. And that is the notion of path, of lam. And lam means something very specific, very clear. It’s not just practicing Dharma. There is a beautiful prayer that Lama Jangchub has it in his center that, I can’t quote it verbatim, but - May my Dharma turn to the Path. May my Dharma practice, you’re practicing virtue, good. That’s very good, much better than practicing nothing or non-virtue. But you can be practicing virtue, and you can be practicing meditation, practicing a wide variety of virtues without it actually turning into a path. You’re just getting a whole bunch of good karma, which is great. And then the karma will ripen, you’ll have nice fruition and then that fruition will be gone. And then what? I am not quite sure. Path, lam, the fourth noble truth, “lam”, is not just practicing Dharma, as I love to say, I think it’s true. Gautama didn’t leave home to practice Dharma. He could have been a marvelous king, and a father, and a husband, and you know like all of that, and been you know just an incredibly virtuous king. And he didn’t. He did not leave home to practice Dharma. He left home to find a path to irreversible, perfect liberation and awakening. Nothing less than that. And so this is what Rinpoche was teaching, and this is all about path. And it’s a path laid out right to rainbow body. And then Rinpoche went through Natural Liberation, a path all the way through. Then he taught me the Vajra essence, path all the way through. And so that’s really kind of the primary reason I’m still teaching, is there are so many very good Dharma teachers but I don’t hear a lot of them really emphasizing path in a very practical way. It’s there in the background but often, I think, Westerners at least and perhaps a lot of Tibetans as well, just wind with a whole bunch of practices. And that is really good. But what about a path? So this teaching here is about path.
[39:00] He is laying out a path of practice, and so - brief comment on that. There are different modes of teaching. There is what is called the [Tibetan 39:09], means “to explain”, and [Tibetan 39:14] is “guidance”. So it’s where you receive guidance by way of explanation and many Lamas, great and not so well known, will come and they’ll give teaching.. And often it’s you know, they’ll give teaching quite intensively for some time and maybe it’s strung out over time but it’s a bunch of teachings. They say, “Ok, good luck! There’s a teaching, “hasta la vista! See you later!” And they’re gone but now people have received the teaching, and then it’s up to them to put it into practice which they do or don’t, depending on them. So that’s it. You received the teachings and then the Lama’s gone and then you hopefully practice. Ok, that’s one way of doing it. It’s a very common way of doing it. But it’s not the only way. There’s another way and that’s called [Tibetan 39:55] and this is that you’re , it’s teaching together and that is… You’re teaching people more like a mother spoon feeding her baby. You don’t just kind of pour the whole bowl of baby-food and [Laughter] drown the baby. But you give it spoon by spoon, like that. And so the [Tibetan 40:15] is you give it in little doses and you get it evenly with people be able to assimilate it and get nourished by it, okay that’s [Tibetan 40:22]. And then the deepest one is [Tibetan 40:24] and that is you’re again giving it little bite size by bite size, but you’re actually teaching right from your experience. And you’re observing whether your disciples are coming to the level of experience that you yourself have achieved which is, should be authentic if you’re really given that level teaching.
And so I won’t say that what I’m offering here for the next 8 weeks is any of those three, it’s not quite [Tibetan 40:48], not quite [Tibetan 40:49] but it’s close to that and I make no pretense of having this, you know having experience of everything I’m teaching. Gyaltrul Rinpoche authorized me to teach quite shortly within a couple of years of my training quite intensively under his guidance.
[41:06] And I asked him why. Because I had not been with him for very long, just a couple of years. And he said, “Well, it’s what you did for the first 20 years. You brought that in”, that is what he said. What he didn’t say is, “ oh because you have such a profound realization”. He didn’t say that, for a very good reason. But I think the fact that he - I am going to speculate - the fact that he authorized me to teach way back and then not long after that said, “Whatever I am teaching, you can teach it,” I think he did that because he had confidence that I would do my utmost, my absolute, utmost best to pass on the teachings without distortion, with faith, accuracy, without adding my own stuff, without subtracting to try to pass it on authentically that this sublime stream of teachings would not be polluted or diminished by having passed through me. I think that’s what he had confidence in. And that is actually my highest priority. If I felt I wasn’t living up to that, I would be quite happy to stop teaching. It’s that important. I don’t, it’s the highest thing, highest thing. You don’t mess up the teachings. They are just too sacred. And the teachings that I’m passing on are so far above you know, anything that I’ve realized, and so forth. So all the more reason, if you know, if I were an Arya Bodhisattva, so I’m just a teacher from my experience, you know. I don’t have to worry about Nagarjuna. I am an Arya, but that’s not the case. So therefore, it’s more like receiving a chalice filled with, you know inexpressible jewels. And you just pass it on gently, delicately, reverently and hope that you don’t tip anything over, you don’t mess it up on the way. So I consider myself to be more like a messenger service, secretary, interpreter, hose, pipe, - many analogies come to mind. But I’m here to pass on the teachings. And it’s not only information. If it were information, I would just say go to the website or just read this, but there are blessings, there are blessings. And that’s , I know to be true. And I have faith, I have reverence. I try to follow the wishes of my own Gurus and so by the blessings of the lineage, there’s blessing. How much is received? That depends on you know, the faith that one brings to the teachings themselves. So the theme of Guru-Yoga, it has to come up, it has to come up, it’s one of the Preliminaries, one of an indispensable Preliminaries, the uncommon Preliminaries. But my job is really try to get out of the way and let the blessing flow through, the clear, accurate teachings flow through. And if you’ve received authentic teachings by way of this vessel then I’ve done my job. Because above all, the Refuge is in the teachings, not the individual who is passing on the teaching. The individual can be important, it is important, but the teachings are above all. So that’s that. So first time I’ve ever lead an 8-week retreat on this material, looking forward to it. It’s an extraordinary teaching, great blessing, great clarity, and it lays out a path, lays out a path that we can follow and that will become clear. So are you up for one meditation session? Ok, let’s do that, can’t [ inaudible].
So please find a comfortable position. As you’re settling in I see that some people have yoga mats in the back. So this is just generally an open invitation, here there is a bit of floor space, not a whole lot, but there is enough, so people have just different physical conditions, some people back problems and so forth and so on, so just a general invitation, I don’t need to repeat it because everybody’s hearing me say it now, if at any of our sessions you find it will be more suitable and supportive to your practice, you may meditate in the supine position. Please do so. Years ago when I went into a six month, very strict solitary retreat where I’d drive 20 minutes down to the mountains to a near village and go to a public telephone and called up Gyatrul Rinpoche, uh, he said, make sure you use, make sure you make use of supine position, made a real point of it, make sure you use that. So I did, I found it helpful. That’s that. So, oh ya, in the future, I’m going bring a cellphone. I’m just going to do this just kind of with my wrist watch but I’ll bring a cell phone, a little timer, meditation timer.
But let’s get our feet on the ground with one 24 minute session and we’ll call it an evening.
[46:13] Meditation begins
Especially as we are just now starting out on our voyage, our expedition, our retreat, I invite you right now to establish the most meaningful motivation you can and really there is one and that is Bodhichitta. For these teachings no lesser motivation is adequate. So with the basis of taking Refuge and out of deep great compassion, arouse the sublime mind, the precious mind of Bodhichitta as your motivation, for this session and for the time we will spend together over 8 weeks.
[48:08] Then letting your awareness descend into the body, if you feel that you are generally located up in your head, let your awareness descend right down to the ground, where your body is in contact with the chair, the cushion, the floor. Bring your awareness down to the sensations of the earth element, the sensations of firmness and solidity. And rest your awareness in a witnessing mode, just be present with these tactile sensations of your body in a contact with the ground, the earth.
[49:30] Let your awareness fill the space of the body like a fragrance filling a room. Be mindfully present throughout the entire tactile field of your body.
[50:04] If you notice subtle areas feel tight, as you breathe in, gently focus your attention on those areas that feel constricted. And as you breathe out, surrender your muscles to gravity, relax deeply. Bring your awareness to the face which is often a magnet of tension showing up in our facial expressions. Soften the muscles around the mouth and the jaws, the temples and the forehead. Let there be a spaciousness between the eyebrows, a softness of all the muscles around the eyes. And soften the eyes themselves. In this way settle your body in a posture of ease and comfort, relaxed and loose. And this is why I invite you to alternate between sitting and supine, if in the sitting position you start to feel tense, your body is in pain, better to be relaxed, go back to the supine position, or sit in a comfortable chair. Insofar as your body does feel relaxed, comfortable, you should find it easy during the short duration of this session to remain still, with no unnecessary movement, just the movement of the breath. And with this basis of relaxation and stillness adopt a posture of vigilance - if you’re sitting upright, let your spine be straight, your sternum slightly lifted, your abdominal muscles loose and relaxed. So that when you breathe in, the sensations of the breath go down to the belly, expanding as you inhale, falling back as you exhale.
[53:49] Even in supine position, where your body is utterly relaxed emulating the posture of a corpse, in the shavasana, psychologically adopt a stance of vigilance, using this posture only for meditation and yoga, never for just relaxing or falling asleep, or anything else. And by association, when you slip into the shavasana, you’ll always have the sense, Ah, this must be for practice and not just for daydreaming. In this way settle your body in its natural state balanced between relaxation and vigilance, sustained with stillness. A state of dynamic equipoise.
[55:16] Then next we settle the speech in its natural state which is one of effortless silence, which you probably achieved already in terms of your outer speech. But it’s not so easy to rest in such silence inwardly in terms of the speech of the mind, the inner chit-chat. To facilitate this we settle the respiration in its natural rhythm which means to allow the breath to flow effortlessly, without constraint.
[56:18] The key to the breath, to settling the respiration, is the out-breath. Take advantage of each and every exhalation as an opportunity for relaxing more and more deeply in the body, as if you’re breathing out is a sigh of relief. Surrendering your muscles to gravity, softening, relaxing with every out-breath. With every out-breath release the breath and continue releasing and releasing without forcefully expelling the breath, just letting it go, all the way through to the very end until there is no more breath to let go, it is all flowed out, like water flowing out of a glass that’s been turned over on its side. And with every out-breath, gently, happily, release any thoughts or images that may have come to mind. As if you out-breath is a gentle gust of breath blowing away dry leaves. As you breathe out release whatever thoughts come up. And allow them to dissolve back into the space of the mind. Breath by breath, every out-breath.
[58:41] And once you’ve released the breath fully, there may be a pause or there may be no pause, either way simply allow the next breath to flow in of its own accord without pulling it in, and without obstructing it in any way. Allow the body to breathe in and out without interference, without regulation, without preference. Breathe egolessly releasing all control. In this way, we release the energy, the trivial energy that stirs up the mind and catalyzes so many wandering thoughts. So that the inner voice of the mind can naturally settle in effortless silence within.
[1:00:22] And finally, we turn to settling the mind in its natural state which is initiated with an exercise of will, a decision. A decision to allow ourselves the freedom and the leisure, for the short duration of the session, to release all concerns, hopes, and fears, desires and aversions, pertaining to the past and the future. And to allow your awareness to come to rest, carefree, without hope or fear, in the present moment. Now’s the time for going into retreat from all mundane concerns, mundane desires. Release all grasping involving desire and aversion and in a freedom from grasping, be it ever so temporary, awareness naturally and effortlessly comes to rest in stillness. Resting in its own place, holding its own ground.
[1:02:54] Let’s your awareness come to rest in stillness and know that it is still. Be aware, awareness free of movement, like a king sitting upon his throne and not moving off it, let your awareness rest in its own place without being pulled this way or that way by thoughts or memories. And for those moments that awareness is free of grasping and is therefore still, unmoving, you’ll find that awareness has another quality and that is - it is clear, it is bright, it illuminates, it knows. Rest in that luminous cognizant stillness of your own awareness. And sustain that stillness of awareness, from the ground of ease or relaxation, not constriction or tightening up.
Then like an unflickering candle flame illuminating a room, let your awareness remain still and bright but let the light of your awareness illuminate the space of the body, the entire somatic field.
[1:06:15] And as you are aware of this field of the tactile sensations, specifically take note of those sensations corresponding to the in and out-breath. And simply note, ever so simply, when the in-breath is long, note that it is long; when the out-breath is long, note that it is long. And on occasion, when the in-breath is short, note that it is short; when the out-breath is short, know that it is short. A very simple task. In this approach to mindfulness of breathing, let the primary focus of your attention be on sustaining the stillness of your awareness. And secondarily, even peripherally, be aware of the sensations corresponding to the respiration throughout the entire body. Be aware of the distinction between the stillness of your awareness and the movements of the sensations throughout the body corresponding to the breath. Stillness and motion.
[1:10:41] And let’s bring the session to the close.
For a quite number of years I’ve been teaching three different approaches to mindfulness of breathing. Full body, following the tradition of Asanga, attending to the rise and fall of the abdomen following the Burmese method from probably the 20th century, recent but useful. And then following the sensations of the breath at the nostrils, classic Theravada, at least 15 hundred years, probably older. But years ago I heard from one Dzogchen Lama instructions, or I read, I guess, instructions on mindfulness of breathing where he said actually that 80 % of your awareness just be resting openly and only 20% actually focusing on the breath. That’s interesting. I was kind of skeptical however, I thought shamatha was supposed to be single pointed. That’s not single pointed, that’s like 80-20. What’s that? So I didn’t give it a whole lot of attention. Ok, whatever. I was good Theravada when it comes to mindfulness of breathing. And then just continuing practice, continuing the practice and then you know, oh only for the last 25 years really primarily focusing on Dzogchen. It really struck me that if you’re going to be practicing mindfulness of breathing with already the anticipation, the intention of venturing into and really immersing yourself in the practice of Mahamudra or Dzogchen, that was really good advice he gave. I am just going to mildly rephrase it, I don’t really think it’s different in technique, just the wording will be different.
[1:12:57] And that is that the primary emphasis will be on sustaining the stillness of awareness. Sustaining the stillness of awareness but not just withdrawing from all movement, which is kind of fun, that’s called awareness of awareness where you’re withdrawing from all the movement, just resting in the stillness of awareness. That’s cool but we are not going to go there yet. We going to do something a bit more subtle and that is - resting in the stillness of awareness while at the same time being aware of movement, the movement of the breath, right. So you’re not following the breath, you’re not trying to merge with the breath, you’re not tracking the breath, you’re not moving around, you know, you’re just [ blows] staying right where you are, like a king on his throne. I’ll use that metaphor a number of times. Resting right there but again aware of, taking notice of the sensations throughout this field, clearly, the fluctuations of the field - the best way I can say it. The fluctuations in the somatic field that you know correspond to in-breath out-breath. And you’re aware of them, aware of them gently rising and falling, rising and falling. But in the midst of all that there’s stillness. That turns out to be a very nice segway where you have something to hold to, something, -Ok, I gotcha. - In-breath, out-breath, okay I know. Because we’re used to fixating on things. Focusing on objects gives you something to hold on to, that’s good. Something to hold on to, the sensations of breath, okay gotcha. But you’re already cultivating this loose, free of grasping, resting awareness in its stillness. And then we’ll be gradually moving from there - just to give you the kind of coming attractions - to settling the mind in its natural state. Where there it is, very centrally, stillness of awareness, movements of thoughts. The simultaneous stillness of awareness and the awareness of the movements of thoughts. So you’ve already been prepped for that by tending to the more tangible, coarser, easier to identify, sensations of movements of respiration. That’s easier. More than thoughts, emotions, desires - that’s more subtle but we’re preparing for that. And then from there we are going into just the awareness of awareness. Down the rabbit hole, right into awareness itself. And then coming out of the rabbit hole and then shattering the illusion of the mind itself as being something truly existent, inherently existent. Shattering, the reification of the mind. Vipashyana. This is a path. This is a path. Step by step. And getting familiarity, familiarization, getting confident, building. And so, on the layer of this then you build this. Get confidence, good, now that you here, get confidence. And so you feel something swelling but you always have that root system starting with settling your body in its natural state and learning how to breathe. Sounds trivial and it is not, especially for us moderners, and now most of people are moderners. Tibetans living in India, they’re pretty modern, living in Nepal, they’re pretty modern, unless they’re way back in the mountains. People living out through China, from, you know Australia, and so forth.
[1:16:02] We’re moderners, we’re driven, you know. It’s not the same, it’s a very different psychophysiological system that we’re bringing to the Dharma in contrast to - let’s say - traditional Tibetans living a century ago. I think we really have to take that into account. Because we bring this bundle of tightness, drivenness, multitasking, caught up in our heads type of the way of being in the world. And we take that right into intense meditation. The chances are we’ll just make things more tight. I know from my own experience, it happens. And so, really big emphasis on this - that sense of relaxing, releasing into a deepening, deepening sense of ease without losing clarity, that’s the first challenge. Master that and then it’s just you know, from here to enlightenment. Click-click-click [Laughter] and you are enlightened. It’s kind of that theme that runs throughout, of relaxing more and more deeply and not losing clarity but in fact relaxing more and more deeply and seeing clarity going up until you’re resting in Dharmakaya. And the clarity is manifesting in Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, without moving. So Dharmakaya is not running all over the place. Dharmakaya is still, right? Timeless, beyond time, beyond movement. And yet the appearances of the Rupakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya - movement. Coming-going, coming-going. Simultaneously. So on this little itsy bitsy baby-step into the shallow end of the pool we’re already doing something that has profound ramifications and facsimiles, again and again and again on the path all the way up to Buddhahood itself. The stillness of Dharmakaya and the manifestations, the coming and going, the emanation and withdraw of Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. So it’s a path, that’s what I’m here for. That’s what you are here for. So, good. Olaso. You can imagine I’m over jet lag, I’ve been in Australia for three weeks now. But some of you may not quite be over. So it’s very important to get a good night’s sleep, really get caught up in sleep. So this is why you know we’re not meeting until 9 o’clock, that you have plenty of time, really just so we can go to bed quickly. If you’re tired, go to bed quickly. And, I would give, but of course, I have to give, already have to give you homework. When you’ve finished the whole day, everything’s finished, brushed your teeth, everything finished, what I would suggest, even if it’s only a couple of minutes, get under the covers, you’re in bed now, the day is all finished, all responsibilities finished except for one thing - go into the supine position, supine position. Your arms out like that, straight, pillow under your head and practice what we just did. But especially that final point - just rest in the stillness of your awareness. The day is done. It’s kind of like you’re ready to die, you know, the life is finished, just one little life of one day, is finished. You did everything you needed to. [Tibetan 1:18:52] You finished your thought, you finished your intent of the day. Nothing more to be done today. Tomorrow’s another day, another reincarnation. But at the end of the day - well then ok, now relax and then just rest in the stillness of awareness, let your body come into the, your awareness come into the body, down to the ground. And just rest there breathing out, breathing out, breathing out. Until whether it’s two minutes later or twenty minutes later - you find a certain kind of sleepiness coming in, kind of losing focus. When you see you that kind of ready sleepy thing - come - come - then switch your posture. And even in a symbolic way. If your palms are up, turn the palms down. If you like to fall asleep on your back, ok. But do something which is the symbolic gesture - I was meditating and now I’m not. Now I’m going to fall asleep. And if you’d like to roll over, do whatever you like. But let the final gesture before you go into the substrate, the substrate consciousness be balancing, clarity and then have a good night sleep. OK? Good. Good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow morning.
Transcribed by Svetlana Tolstikova
Revised by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Final edition by Cheri Langston