B. Alan Wallace, 18 Jun 2019
Note: Our sincere apologies, this session was particularly challenging because the equipment was especially sensitive that day, and we may have gotten some interference from cell phones. The good news is that we later got some help to further tweak the recording equipment, so the rest of the sessions should sound much better.
I’m not criticizing any teaching of the sutra or tantra teachings. It just occurs to me that we finished the first yoga and it’s all shamatha. Ok then we haven’t gotten to what we call the view in Dzogchen. I know we’ve alluded to primordial awareness and so forth. Because what appears from the text as written is we get all the way through the first two halves of the bodhisattvayana just with shamatha. You’ve been clear about that both in this retreat and many retreats before, but that’s not what the text says. But he has this nigh on the path of seeing just at the end of the first yoga here. I understand we’re seeing things from a vajrayana perspective and not a sutrayana perspective but you just mentioned in the last talk we had a few minutes ago, you mentioned the spirit of definite emergence. He hasn’t even paid any kind of lip service to that, he hasn’t mentioned uncontrived bodhicitta, there’s not even any kind of hint of that.
I got super excited when you mentioned, I think it was yesterday, mathematics and the form realm. That was absolutely fascinating, it took some calming down. What is the source of these realms? Is it the substrate? Since we each have our own individual substrate if I understand it correctly, so every appearance appears to me as you said, so the desire realm in which I’m right now is my individual desire realm and has as its source the substrate, my own individual substrate. I’m a mathematician so bear with me. So I was pondering in my walk this morning, how is it that we are sharing the same seeming reality, and I was thinking that the only logical explanation, because there is some logic to all of this, is that we are connected karmically. I think all of us who are here, we have these invisible karmic connections, which connect our substrates in some way, and then we share this reality. Would that make sense? So every person that I see in this room, I have a karmic connection with, totally unaware of them since I hadn’t met anyone. But that should be the reason why we’re sharing the common experiences or the common appearances that we see. Would that make sense?
I’d like to just clarify the points regarding the actual achievement of shamatha. You explained that you have the acquired sign, and then you what happens is that dissolves and then the counterpart sign comes. But when this happens you actually achieve shamatha? Ok because, for example, it’s like a major transition and lots of stuff happening like you hear in Asanga’s explanation, like the extraordinary mental joy and all the heaviness and all this that’s related. So just to clarify this, when you go, you see the counterpart sign, these thoughts happening now and then you fall back and they’re still happening or you stay there and it’s happening and then you fall back, like a little bit of the details of this? Because it seems a little bit like contradictory that you achieve it but then you fall back.
First of all I would like to thank you for your generosity. It’s a great gift, and it is very much like drinking from a fire hose, a fire hydrant. In light of what you just shared, which is akin to what I had thought to share, let me try. I’m a creative so I hope you’re patient. The way these teachings are delivered, how they are conveyed is enormous to me, and specifically what we might call the use of analogy, it doesn’t operate in the way of offering an explanation. It doesn’t operate like a metaphor. It itself is the revelation, and particularly the analogies then involve natural references. The bird, for example, is a revelation. It is an occurrence and it arises from shall we say the substrate. So then between sessions doing my practice I had a moment, an occurrence and it stopped my mind, it was simply the puddles, it was a drop in concentric circles, and before I had language, before anything arrived, it arrived in completion. So I thought to share that last night and I didn’t, and then this morning when you were speaking about physicists who attempt to write or speak to this and are condemned and exiled. I was reminded of a very dear friend of mine who again, I believe you know, his name is Shimon Malin. He worked as a physicist at Colgate and he wrote a book called “Nature loves to hide” and that was precisely my experience. It reveals itself when [speechless]. And I see how you are in your precision, in openness these practices are real. I just defaulted to the habit there.
The approach to shamatha seems very similar to the approach to inner fire yoga. Both seem to be active gateways to non-dualism. Can you comment on the differences? Is there a difference?
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