B. Alan Wallace, 15 Jun 2019

Note: We’re really sorry, we had issues with one of the microphones and the questions are not so easy to hear, so they have been transcribed below.

Lama Alan begins by commenting on the topic of silence before we move on to questions.


I noticed during the last practice session of kind of touching into the clarity aspect, that it almost seemed like the clarity brought up more klesha activity with it. It’s almost like that’s a habit, that you’re not used to that clarity without some sort of anger or sexuality or something that kind of goes with it. Is that something that you work with or how does that work?


Regarding using the breath as the object of meditation, and how you just explained in the last session that that is the mainstay of the Hinayana practice, but here we are in a Vajrayana/Dzogchen practice, and this may be a misguided observation on my part but my experience has been that the object of meditation in the Vajrayana practice in order to accumulate the most, highest and greatest possible merit needs to be a holy object, so could you possibly clarify how that observation, is that correct and how would that work, as it relates to using the breath as an object?


If Shamatha is more like a basic skill we need to polish everyday, even for experts, more like an irreversible accompaniment, like once you do this, you can do this and then you can move on to the next work or skill. The reason I’m asking this is because earlier you mentioned the example of some people who can do this, achieve samadhi in an instant, so do they still practice this everyday? What’s the point of achieving this effortlessly?


This morning you asked us which is the easiest, practicing shamatha, vipashyana or meditation on the nature of the mind? And then you said that the shamatha approach is the easiest, and I had the thought at the time that could you also say that it might depend, the state of mind changes and which approach might be applicable or easiest might not always be the same


I had a comment about the 20 days off the grid, letting go of thoughts, which creates a sense of self. Ok so go off for 20 days and let thoughts self-liberate. My second question is about the guru-disciple relationship. I understand what would be beneficial for the disciple to see the guru as a buddha, but presumably wouldn’t the guru also see the disciple as a buddha because he/she would have pure vision? If the guru has self-realization then how would they see the other as the other who is unrealized? Would the Buddha see himself as a buddha? Or would he see “Buddha”? So if I were lucidly dreaming, I’m aware that I’m a dream figure within the dream, I’m aware that it’s all taking place within a larger mind, but then what I know is streamed through a kind of narrower perspective. And in the same way every other dream figure is part of that larger mind, and so my dream figure is no more real than any other dream figure. And so for a buddha in this reality, in this waking reality, wouldn’t he know that to say “I am awake”, I could say “I’m lucidly dreaming” to another dream figure, but I couldn’t be more real, more than. I don’t understand personal consciousness. Consciousness doesn’t seem personal to me. I just don’t agree with the identity. I don’t know that there’s separation, I feel that what’s essential is not separate from anything else, it’s not divided.

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