The Vajra Essence – Part 2
Phase 3: “Revealing the Ground Dharmakāya” and Phase 4: “Determining the Characteristics and Qualities of the Ground” in The Vajra Essence: From the Matrix of Pure Appearances and Primordial Consciousness, a Tantra Self-Emergent from the Nature of Existence with B. Alan Wallace.
April 1 – May 26, 2021
During this eight-week retreat, Alan Wallace will grant an oral transmission and commentary to Düdjom Lingpa’s revealed treatise, The Vajra Essence, picking up where we left off last May, beginning with the section on “Combating the Faults of Benefit and Harm.”
During our 8-week retreat last spring, we covered the first two phases and part of the third phase of this masterpiece, in which the Lake-Born Vajra gives complete teachings on achieving śamatha and vipaśyanā and on identifying pristine awareness—in short, all the guidance needed to reach the Path of the Great Perfection.
As we return to Phase 3, the Lake-Born Vajra goes into a detailed examination of the emptiness of inherent existence of all those beings “out there” whom we may regard as true sources of our happiness and distress. He then explains the difference between pristine awareness that is present in the ground, and the path of pristine awareness.
In Phase 4 he points out that after you have ascertained the view of emptiness, you must reveal the nature of the ground, Samantabhadra. For this, there are two possibilities: directly identifying it in your own being by practicing the Great Perfection alone, and identifying it in dependence upon the expedient path of the stage of generation. This is followed by a detailed explanation of core elements of the stage of generation practice as viewed from the perspective of the Great Perfection.
This is the second in a series of 8-week retreats that will cover the first six of the seven phases as presented in this most elaborate of all Düdjom Lingpa’s pure visionary teachings on the Great Perfection. The oral transmission and commentary of the seventh phase will eventually be granted only to those individuals who have gained a firm, experiential foundation in the first six.
During this retreat, co-teacher Glen Svensson will lead two sessions each week and provide background material, a review of the prior day’s material and guided meditations pertaining to the topics discussed in the text. His review sessions will be on Thursdays and Sundays. Listening to these teachings is strongly recommended for everyone participating in this retreat. Glen will also answer emailed questions by retreatants, as he has done in the past 8-week retreats.
All students in the retreat will be provided with retreat notes from Lama Alan and Glen.
A message from Lama Alan:
“To honor the sacred lineage of these teachings, I do ask that anyone who registers for this retreat listen to my oral commentary to the Vajra Essence in its entirety, though you may take as much time as you wish to do so. Also, please know that you may register for this particular retreat at any time, even after it is over. We want these teachings to be available to you for the long term.”
PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION IN ITS ENTIRETY PRIOR TO REGISTERING
This year there are Retreat Prerequisites to participate.
2020 8-week retreat
The most important prerequisite for participating in this retreat is that all applicants must have already listened to the oral transmission and commentary on the opening phases of The Vajra Essence by Lama Alan given during the first retreat in this series, offered during April – May, 2020 via either the SBI audio-stream or the Wisdom online retreat.
While completion of the five sets of 100,000 recitations of preliminary practices will not be required to participate in these retreats, applicants should have established a sound basis in understanding and practice of the foundations of Buddhism, including śamatha, the four applications of mindfulness, the four immeasurables, and relative and ultimate bodhicitta. Such understanding and experience can be acquired by listening to, studying, and practicing any one of the following sets of teachings:
The following eight-week retreats:
Alternatively, applicants may listen to the following recordings of week-long retreats sponsored and available from the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies.
While there are no references to the five sets of 100,000 recitations of preliminary practices in any of Düdjom Lingpa’s five revealed treatises on Dzogchen, in his treatise The Foolish Dharma of an Idiot Clothed in Mud and Feathers and in his lineage-holder Sera Khandro’s text The Fine Path to Liberation, clear teachings on the inner and outer preliminary practices are given. Each of these is essential to the authentic practice of Dzogchen.
There is also a requirement that you have received an empowerment to participate in this retreat.
The link below is for an online empowerment, in case you have not received one.
Stilling the Mind: Shamatha Teachings from Düdjom Lingpa’s Vajra Essence and
Fathoming the Mind: Inquiry and Insight in Düdjom Lingpa’s Vajra Essence
Recommended background reading:
The Attention Revolution, The Four Immeasurables and Minding Closely
Full and partial scholarships will be provided for those who cannot afford the registration fees. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request financial assistance.
The daily schedule for the retreat consists of about three hours each day in two sessions Sunday-Friday. You can listen anytime.
We will have a Facebook Group for our virtual sangha so they can discuss or ask questions, find a buddy, and have support. We have senior students of Lama Alan who will moderate the Facebook group. Once you have registered for the retreat an invitation will be sent to you or you can request to join the group here.
If anyone is doing a solitary retreat, please let us know.
By registering for the retreat, you acknowledge that you have listened to the 2020 8-week retreat and will listen to Lama Alan’s oral commentary to the Vajra Essence in its entirety and have had an empowerment or will receive the recommended empowerment.
After purchase you will receive a password to be able to access and download the recording after logging into your account. Please do not share the recording with those who are not registered for the retreat.
The first recordings will be available on April 1, 2021