His Holiness the Dalai Lama has often commented that the essence of spiritual practice is cultivating a good heart. As important as meditative quiescene and insight meditation are within the Buddhist tradition, it is crucial to balance such practices with the cultivation of altruism. In this retreat, Alan Wallace teaches a sequence of meditations for the cultivation of the Four Immeasurables: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and impartiality. These are followed by teachings and practice of Buddhist Mind-Training, or “Lojong.”
While many teachings on Buddhist meditation fill us with a longing to spend more time in quiet, solitary meditation, the practices presented here brings us back to life, to the active world of living with others. The optimal situation to apply these teachings on cultivating a good heart is an active life, socially engaged with other people at home and about town, moving away from habitual self-centeredness to greater empathy and loving concern for the welfare for those around us. This seminar consists of teachings, guided meditations and discussions, but the emphasis is on meditation. Regardless of whether we hold to any religious beliefs, these practices can be of benefit to everyone seeking to explore their own capacity to experience unconditional love and compassion.