Updated February 6, 2018
In the final class of the series, we focused on the last of the Four Close Placements of Mindfulness — the mindfulness of phenomenon. To guide us, I used Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness and Alan Wallace’s book Minding Closely: the four applications of mindfulness.
I presented a short overview of the nine stages to developing calm abiding. The sources that I used are: Calming the Mind by Gen Lamrimpa and Walking Through Walls by Geshe Gedun Lodro. In our discussion after lunch, Matthew pointed out that the journey toward calm abiding is as important as its attainment and a mindset that views calm abiding as merely another mountain to be conquered will not be successful.
The last discussion before lunch was about analytical meditation and how to use it in connection with placement meditation.
After lunch, the group had a lively conversation about developing renunciation as a means to cultivate calm abiding. What are some of the changes that we can make in our lives so we can develop the spirit of calm abiding as well as making time for our practice?
We then did two, 1 hour long meditations using the Daily Meditation Prayer to Shakyamuni Buddha and the Everlasting Nectar of Bodhicitta. Both are in the FPMT Prayer Book (Volume 1) and available on the FPMT website as downloads. The reason for choosing these texts, in particular, is that they allowed us to combine meditation using the image of the Buddha (in the first) and Chenrezig (in the second) with analytical meditation. Also, the prayer to Shakyamuni Buddha contains a glance meditation on the path to Enlightenment which is exactly what we will be studying in Module 3, Presenting the Path starting next Sunday, February 11.
Quiz — The quiz for Module 3 is available here: Assessment for Discovering Buddhism Module 2 — How to Meditate. NOTE: the quiz says it should be completed in 60 minutes, however, it may take longer than that, so there’s no time limit. Spend as long as you need to finish it. Sorry.
Other Resources — Here’s a description of the Chrome browser extension called Nectar that I mentioned as being the source for several quotes that I used in class. Here’s the link to more information about the Dalai Lama’s iPhone app. Alan Wallace has shared recordings and transcripts of many of his retreats through the Santa Barbara Institute. This is a treasure chest of his teachings, and I highly recommend having a look.
Thank you!! Finally, thank you to everyone who contributed delicious food to our potluck lunch — including Deborah and her husband! And thanks to Cynthia and Kate and others for all their help during and after the retreat. It’s heartwarming to see how everyone comes together to make our retreats so enjoyable and a special offering to our Dharma community.