SBI Study Group February 26, 2011
“Genuine Happiness” (notes based on teachings given by Dr. B. Alan Wallace)
PART IV: Exploring the Nature of Consciousness
Review Chapter 11, “Bodhichitta: The Spirit of Awakening”
First Meditation Session: Tonglen
Second Meditation Session: Ultimate Bodhichitta—Vipashyana on Emptiness
Dedicate Merit with traditional Prayer of Dedication:
“Wherever the precious, supreme spirit of awakening, bodhichitta, has not arisen,
may it arise,
And where it has arisen, may it never decline, but grow stronger and stronger.”
May what we have studied and practiced here today be of genuine benefit,
May we each realize the fulfillment of our most meaningful aspirations for the sake of our own enlightenment and for the enlightenment of all sentient beings, and
May all beings be well and happy.
Next SBI Study Group is Saturday, March 26th , and suggested reading is Part IV, Chapter 13 , Nightime Dream Yoga, pp183-195. Review Chapter 12, and practice Daytime Dream Yoga.
All are invited to join weekly meditation practice at Unity Church Sanctuary every Monday evening,
7-8:15 p.m , 227 East Arrelanga St., Santa Barbara. Practice is based on “Attention Revolution,” by B. Alan Wallace.
Join us at the Wake Center on Friday evening, March 4th, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. for the Mind SuperMind Series, as Dr. Alan Wallace speaks at the Wake Center on “What Makes us Human: A Buddhist View.” Event is free, but online registration with City College is necessary. Check sbinstitute.com for more details.
1. Be physically comfortable, assume formal posture for meditation position. If seated, spine is straight, sternum slightly lifted, abdominal muscles relaxed and loose. Especially relax the shoulders, the neck, face, and particularly soften the eyes, release the jaw, and allow the tongue to gently rest up against the upper palette.
2. Let entry into this practice also be an act of loving kindness to ourselves as we set a welcome mat of ease and letting go, and gently settle the body in its natural state imbued with a balance of the 3 characteristics of relaxation, stillness and vigilance of attention.
3. Begin by taking three deep cleansing breaths and then calm the mind with mindfulness of breathing for a few minutes in the field of the body. Awareness can be diffuse, as we simply note and observe the tactile sensations of the breath wherever they arise in the space of the body, breathing naturally, effortlessly, gently arousing the attention with every inbreath, and relaxing, releasing and resting more deeply with every outbreath.
4. Now with attention still in the field of the body, let’s now move into the mode of visualization, letting the faculty of imagination play and visualize the body as a translucent form, empty, of the nature of space and shimmering light. In the center of the heart chakra (center of chest), imagine the deepest dimension of awareness (called by many names in different traditions), buddha nature, primordial being, and symbolically visualize this as a radiant orb of Light, about a ½” in diameter, an inexhaustible well spring of loving kindness, of primordial purity and the power of purification, the Light of Joy, our ultimate source of infinite wisdom and compassion.
5. In this heart essence of Buddha nature, we take sanctuary and call forth blessings and empowerment on our chosen path of awakening for ourselves and for all sentient beings as we pray the aspirations of the four immeasuarbles: May all beings like myself be well and happy, may all beings like myself be free of suffering and the causes of suffering, may all beings like myself dwell in empathetic joy, and may all beings like myself abide in blessed equanimity..
6. As we practice now a variation of tonglen, we first arouse a spirit of loving kindness for ourselves—very specifically the aspiration that we may truly flourish spiritually, with all favorable circumstances in terms of authentic dharma teachers, teachings and friends, a suitable environment, all that is needed on the material plane, all outer conditions lining up and coming together, all inner conditions unfolding and coming together…
7. Think in terms of specifics, what we would love to encounter in terms of these most favorable of circumstances as we vividly imagine our own spiritual flourishing, and set our sights on our own perfect awakening for the benefit of all beings.
8. As we arouse this prayer of aspiration, this bodhichitta, we may be confident that our aspirations are in accordance with the aspirations of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. What more would they want than our own spiritual awakening?
9. As we breathe out, with each exhalation, we send forth this calling for blessings of all the enlightened ones, to bless us in our own practice, that we may truly flourish, encounter all the necessary causes and conditions to proceed along our own path of awakening.
10. As we breathe in, with each inhalation, we imagine flowing in from all sides in the form of light, this Light of Loving Kindness, of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, rising up to meet us, converging upon our own form and filling our being to overflowing, this radiant Light.
11. As we breathe in, we let our imagination play, and imagine all these light rays saturating us and providing us with all circumstances for our enlightenment, empowering us to transform all that comes our way—what the world would call adversity/felicity, sickness/health--into nourishment that will sustain us and further us along our path.
12. With each outbreath, arouse the yearning may I find the freedom, the liberation, the awakening that is my heart’s desire.
13. With each inbreath, as all this Light converges on our body and mind, imagine realizing our most heartfelt aspirations.
14. And let’s turn our attention now outwards, as you wish, to individuals, to communities and regions of the world, vulnerable to suffering. With each inbreath, continue to breathe in the Light of Loving Kindness of all the enlightened ones.
15. And with each outbreath, as if we are funneling all this light, direct now this Light of Loving Kindness to others vulnerable to suffering.
16. Imagine this Light fulfilling their every need—for those that are lonely, the Light transforming into a loving companion, to those who are ill into medicine, for those that are hungry into food, for those living in an area of conflict into peace, to those yearning for direction, genuine dharma.
17. Breathing in the loving kindness of all the buddhas, breathing out this light of loving kindness to others, realizing this light as none other than the radiant light of loving kindness of our own pristine awareness, of our own buddha nature.
18. Few a few moments, now release the practice, and simply rest in the luminous nature of pristine awareness, and bring the session to a close.
1. Be physically comfortable and once again assume a formal posture of meditation and settle the body in its natural state and the breath in its natural rhythm. Set a welcome mat of ease, maintaining three qualities of relaxation, stillness and vigilance..
2. And stabilize the mind for a few minutes practicing mindfulness of breathing throughout the field of the body.
3. Now from the space of calmly abiding, with body and mind utterly loose, relaxed, at ease, open all six doors of perception in open presence: tactile, visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory and mental perception.
4. Let awareness completely rest in stillness, and sustain a flow of mindful presence in the midst of whatever comings and goings of appearances may arise in the space of the mind through all the open sense fields, simply watching, witnessing without intervention, without grasping, and without distraction.
5. Sustaining an ongoing flow of mindfulness, observe closely, and simply be aware of the essential nature of all these appearances of phenomena. Consider: these phenomena seem to be objectively existing, but are actually nothing more than what they raw-ly appear to be, phenomena arising in space, displaying and dissolving back into space, not existing out there or in here, not inherently or independently existing, empty in nature, all formations of the space of awareness.
6. To fascilitate greater relaxation for this subtle practice, may wish to experiment breathing through the mouth.
7. In full repose, then, rest in unstructured, unformatted awareness, free of concepts, and simply view the unborn nature of all objects that may arise to the mind—the display of the ceaseless luminosity of awareness itself…
8. Consider: this array of appearances to all the senses are self-arising, self-manifesting. When the mind is free of conceptualization, we may see there is no object out there, no object in here, that the very division of outer and inner vanishes…
9. Further, that the mind that is right now practicing insight, the subject, is also empty. This mind that liberates from reification, if you remember what Atisha calls “the remedy”, it too is ultimately free in its own place, and is also inherently empty. Atisha also stated that “the essential nature of the path is resting in the universal ground.”
10. Nonconceptually, then, rest in the awareness of the emptiness of all forms, of all appearances of subject and object, the knower and the known.
11. With such a practice, it can be easy to slip into a blank mindedness, a type of stupor. Rather, be vigilantly attentive, and at the same time,utterly loose and relaxed. Sustain the clarity of discerning awareness, an ongoing flow of insightful knowing …..
12. Now for a few moments, release the practice, and bring the session to a close.