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Podcast Episodes from Alan Wallace Shamatha Teachings Fall 2010

Alan offers final words and we tearfully say goodbye. The session ends with a big group hug.

Alan encourages us not to be discouraged when life dishes up difficult situations, and instead to bring our best motivation to daily life.

Alan discusses bringing wholesome intentions into our daily lives as a way of letting our minds become dharma. Though we will continue to be mentally afflicted, if we can see our mental afflictions for what they are, we will be able to act on them less and less.

Alan talks about envisioning something new for ourselves as we go back into situations that feel old and familiar.

As we anticipate the end of retreat, Alan mentions that the effects of retreat will not be lost as we go out and engage with the world. Genuine happiness can certainly arise outside of a retreat, as we go out into the world and lead an ethical way of life.

In this talk, Alan encourages us to continue our practice in a spirit of loving-kindness for ourselves. He then answers questions about Arhats, colors of traditional monastic robes, and oracle to the Dalai Lama, Khandro La.

Alan offers some brief remarks on the 5 Dhana factors, as well some of the possible implications of Buddhist mindfulness on memory loss associated with aging. This is followed by a silent meditation.

This time Alan gave us advice on how to maintain protection from imbalances once we engage in daily life activities and that is becoming more and more familiar with the practices of the Four Immeasurables regarding them as our 4 best friends. We should know that whatever situation comes up there is a chance to practice. He shared a marvelous metaphor of 4 mighty horses (Four Immeasurables) pulling the chariot leading to awakening and when one of the horses falls stray there is always another one who helps bringing balance to the one that went off track into a false facsimile. The session continued with a free meditation, and ended with 5 very interesting questions and answers.

Alan offers some brief remarks on choosing which practice we’d like to engage in during these silent meditations. This is followed by an unguided 24 minute Gatika.

On this, the last night of led practice for this retreat, Alan first teaches on how the cultivation of shamatha and the four immeasurables are profoundly inter-related. With shamatha, we withdraw inwards, away from our ordinary identification with the limitations of our physical embodiment and our coarse psyche. Then with the four immeasurables, we expand outwards to identify with all beings. While leading the meditation on equanimity, we are guided briefly through all modes of shamatha and then into the practice of tonglen. Following the practice, Alan speaks at length about benign spirit possession and about the state oracle for the Tibetan government.