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Podcast Episodes from Spring 2012 Podcast

Aspiring for genuine happiness.

Unguided meditation not included.


What do i have to do to achieve stage 4 outside of retreat?

What does full enlightenment mean?

We proceed directly into meditation with loving kindness for ourself, then spend the remaining time with Q&A.

Q&A (at 24:51)

* Subtlety of subjectivity in lucid dreams.

* Achieving shamatha while dreaming.

* Sleep paralysis and false awakenings.

* What is deja vu?

* Relevance of learning the Tibetan language today.

* Unpacking the terms “reality-based” and “let reality rise up to meet you.”

We are encouraged to practice the four immeasurables in a spirit of looking back on our retreat and broader past. Then we receive advice around the question, “How do we prepare for death when we have months, days, hours, seconds?” … Continue reading

Enter your practice in the spirit of loving-kindness, particularly when the mind is prone to rumination. Consider the analogy of the horse saved from a burning barn, scared and frantic—never would you be hard on such a horse, it needs only gentle kindness. Only this brief but essential advice tonight, before we practice and open the floor to questions.


* As an aid in settling the mind in its natural state, which types of mental events can be generated to find the space of the mind?

* Recommended dzogchen reading.

* When expanding awareness in the four directions, must it be returned to center?

* Nyam, flashbacks, and the placebo effect.

How to help people ? What aspects of dharma speak of developing these abilities and is there a first aid guide for specific ailments ?

How to help people ? What aspects of dharma speak of developing these abilities and is there a first aid guide for specific ailments ?

Our shamatha practice can help keep us cognitively tuned while back in the big world, even if we can only practice briefly during the day. In times when we are fatigued from stress, full-body awareness in the shavasana pose is the most healing; on brimful days when the mind is agitated, mindfulness of breathing can bring the best benefit; when we’re more relaxed and grounded, settling the mind in its natural state or awareness of awareness can be the tonic that enriches our lives.

Alan gives us ‘le grande tour’ of the paths available in dharma; how buddhahood can be attained by various combinations of realizing emptiness and rigpa, cultivating bodhicitta, samadhi, and different options and complements of the practices.

Silent meditation 45:38

Q&A 01:10:40

* Techniques to calm the pranas in preparation for meditation.

* Distinction between attachment and commitment.

* Drug use for spiritual gain.

In this session Alan reminds us that shamatha is designed to dispel the 5 obscurations and as the imbalances are built-in, the remedies are also built-in. In the same way, among the Four Immeasurables one naturally arises as the remedy for the near enemy of another one.

For Loving Kindness’ facsimile which is self centered attachment, the remedy is Equanimity

For Compassion’s facsimile which is depression, grief, despair, the remedy is Empathetic Joy

For Empathetic Joy’s facsimile which is frivolous joy or hedonic fixation, the remedy is Loving Kindness

For Equanimity’s facsimile, which is aloof indifference, the remedy is Compassion

Silent meditation

We expand upon the two methods given by Panchen Lama Rinpoche of managing incoming thoughts: in the first, after flicking an arrow of thought, what remains in its place is awareness—a knowing devoid of thought. It’s as if you get your own built-in dzogchen master. Phet! In the second method, letting thoughts arise and evaporate, you begin to perceive all thoughts, your body, and awareness itself as empty and identityless. It is said, while in between sessions, one should act as an illusory being. Though we dismiss thoughts as unwanted, we must be thankful for they provide the whetstone with which we sharpen the stability and vividness of our awareness. When people and events of the outer world come and go just as thoughts, we can be grateful too for their contribution to our practice.

Silent meditation at 30:20

Q&A at 55:41

* Distinguishing between awareness of awareness and settling the mind in its natural state.

* Introspection in awareness of awareness.

* When the distracting thought is a mantra.

* Defining locality in awareness of awareness.

* Resting without thoughts and a subtle thought stream.

* Awareness (vidya) vs. consciousness (jñana, vijñana) vs. mind (citta).

* Subject and object in awareness.

Alan gives the remaining two of Buddhaghosa’s fourfold analyses of the four immeasurables, those of empathetic joy and of equanimity. The analyses consist of the false facsimile, the diametric opposite, the immediate catalyst, and the sign of success of each … Continue reading