NEW Dalai Lama Awakening (narrated by Harrison Ford) – Official Trailer #1& #2


http://www.DalaiLamaFilm.com – Your Transformation is NOW… NEW ‘Dalai Lama Awakening’ Film (narrated by Harrison Ford).

Critics say: “Brilliant” – “Transformational” – “a Stunning Tour-de-Force” – “a Powerful Cinematic Documentary”

Available on DVD NOW, and iTunes in June 2016: http://www.DalaiLamaFilm.com

The film also features: Thom Hartmann, Amit Goswami, Fred Alan Wolf, Jean Houston, Vicki Robin, Elisabet Sahtouris, Vandana Shiva, and others

NEW Dalai Lama Awakening (narrated by Harrison Ford) – Official Trailer #2

http://www.DalaiLamaFilm.com – Your transformation is NOW. Experience this film in a cinema in your area soon. ‘Dalai Lama Awakening’ and Director Khashyar Darvich are touring the U.S.-Canada from Sept 2014 – Feb 2015. For the full tour schedule, please visit: http://www.DalaiLamaFilm.com. This is the first trailer for the new transformational documentary film ‘Dalai Lama Awakening,’ which features the Dalai Lama and is narrated by Harrison Ford. This is the Director’s Cut and New Poetic ReVision of the Award-winning ‘Dalai Lama Renaissance’ film. Others featured in the film include: Quantum Physicists Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Goswami, radio host Thom Hartmann, Revolutionary Social Scientist Jean Houston, Michael Beckwith.

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To Know Yourself Is To Forget Yourself

According to Pema Chödrön, we might think that knowing ourselves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look clearly and honestly at ourselves, we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others.

The journey of awakening happens just at the place where we can’t get comfortable. Opening to discomfort is the basis of transmuting our so-called “negative” feelings. We somehow want to get rid of our uncomfortable feelings either by justifying them or by squelching them, but it turns out that this is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. According to the teachings of vajrayana, or tantric, Buddhism, our wisdom and our confusion are so interwoven that it doesn’t work to just throw things out.

By trying to get rid of “negativity,” by trying to eradicate it, by putting it into a column labelled “bad,” we are throwing away our wisdom as well, because everything in us is creative energy—particularly our strong emotions. They are filled with life-force.

There is nothing wrong with negativity per se; the problem is that we never see it, we never honor it, we never look into its heart. We don’t taste our negativity, smell it, get to know it. Instead, we are always trying to get rid of it by punching someone in the face, by slandering someone, by punishing ourselves, or by repressing our feelings. In between repression and acting out, however, there is something wise and profound and timeless.

If we just try to get rid of negative feelings, we don’t realize that those feelings are our wisdom. The transmutation comes from the willingness to hold our seat with the feeling, to let the words go, to let the justification go. We don’t have to have resolution. We can live with a dissonant note; we don’t have to play the next key to end the tune.

Curiously enough, this journey of transmutation is one of tremendous joy. We usually seek joy in the wrong places, by trying to avoid feeling whole parts of the human condition. We seek happiness by believing that whole parts of what it is to be human are unacceptable. We feel that something has to change in ourselves. However, unconditional joy comes about through some kind of intelligence in which we allow ourselves to see clearly what we do with great honesty, combined with a tremendous kindness and gentleness. This combination of honesty, or clear-seeing, and kindness is the essence of maitri—unconditional friendship with ourselves.

This is a process of continually stepping into unknown territory. You become willing to step into the unknown territory of your own being. Then you realize that this particular adventure is not only taking you into your own being, it’s also taking you out into the whole universe. You can only go into the unknown when you have made friends with yourself. You can only step into those areas “out there” by beginning to explore and have curiosity about this unknown “in here,” in yourself.

Dogen Zen-ji said, “To know yourself is to forget yourself.” We might think that knowing ourselves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look so clearly and so honestly at ourselves—at our emotions, at our thoughts, at who we really are—we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others. Somehow all of these walls, these ways of feeling separate from everything else and everyone else, are made up of opinions. They are made up of dogma; they are made of prejudice. These walls come from our fear of knowing parts of ourselves.

There is a Tibetan teaching that is often translated as, “Self-cherishing is the root of all suffering.” It can be hard for a Western person to hear the term “self-cherishing” without misunderstanding what is being said. I would guess that 85% of us Westerners would interpret it as telling us that we shouldn’t care for ourselves—that there is something anti-wakeful about respecting ourselves. But that isn’t what it really means. What it is talking about is fixating. “Self-cherishing” refers to how we try to protect ourselves by fixating; how we put up walls so that we won’t have to feel discomfort or lack of resolution. That notion of self-cherishing refers to the erroneous belief that there could be only comfort and no discomfort, or the belief that there could be only happiness and no sadness, or the belief that there could be just good and no bad.

But what the Buddhist teachings point out is that we could take a much bigger perspective, one that is beyond good and evil. Classifications of good and bad come from lack of maitri. We say that something is good if it makes us feel secure and it’s bad if it makes us feel insecure. That way we get into hating people who make us feel insecure and hating all kinds of religions or nationalities that make us feel insecure. And we like those who give us ground under our feet.

When we are so involved with trying to protect ourselves, we are unable to see the pain in another person’s face. “Self-cherishing” is ego fixating and grasping: it ties our hearts, our shoulders, our head, our stomach, into knots. We can’t open. Everything is in a knot. When we begin to open we can see others and we can be there for them. But to the degree that we haven’t worked with our own fear, we are going to shut down when others trigger our fear.

So to know yourself is to forget yourself. This is to say that when we make friends with ourselves we no longer have to be so self-involved. It’s a curious twist: making friends with ourselves is a way of not being so self-involved anymore. Then Dogen Zen-ji goes on to say, “To forget yourself is to become enlightened by all things.” When we are not so self-involved, we begin to realize that the world is speaking to us all of the time. Every plant, every tree, every animal, every person, every car, every airplane is speaking to us, teaching us, awakening us. It’s a wonderful world, but we often miss it. It’s as if we see the previews of coming attractions and never get to the main feature.

When we feel resentful or judgmental, it hurts us and it hurts others. But if we look into it we might see that behind the resentment there is fear and behind the fear there is a tremendous softness. There is a very big heart and a huge mind—a very awake, basic state of being. To experience this we begin to make a journey, the journey of unconditional friendliness toward the self that we already are.

Source: Lions Roar

“Fully Alive,” a Retreat with Pema Chodron

In this clip from Pema Chodron’s 2011 Omega retreat, “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change,” Pema teaches us how to change the way we relate to our experience when we wake up feeling depressed.

Pema Chödrön – Why I Became a Buddhist

Robert Thurman Ph.D. : The Consolation of Karma

by Robert Thurman Ph.D:

Why do bad things happen to good people? Does karma play a role?

Abstractly speaking, karma is not really a theory of fate; it’s a causal theory. And it says that anything bad that happens to you is a resonance of something bad that you perpetrated in a previous life.

The main thing about karma, what we might want to call collective karma, when there’s a disaster where people haven’t done anything and a terrible thing happens from nature, is that the bodhisattva, or the outside person looking at the situation, never invokes the karma theory and says, “Well, I don’t have to worry about them because that was their bad karma and they got wasted and too bad–as if it were some sort of fate or a way of writing off the disaster. It should never be used that way.

The bodhisattva never accepts the absoluteness of that explanation, although she would be aware of it. She would think of it as a terrible tragedy, unprovoked and unmerited, and would try to do everything possible to save the people from the disaster and help the survivors.

On the other hand, the karma theory that everything bad that happens to me is from my own negative action in the past is always useful for the person who suffers. In other words, using the karma theory to blame the victim is good for the victim to do about themselves. This is a very surprising idea. If the victims just sit and shake their fist at the universe, shout at God (if they are theists) or shout at karma, then they weaken themselves in the sense that they have just emphasized their helplessness.

Whereas if they say, I’m going to use this disaster that happened to me as if it were expiating previous things that I did to the world that were negative, and I’m going to grow stronger from it….In other words, I can’t do anything about the disaster but I can do something about my reaction to it. I’m not going to add to the suffering it has caused with a new suffering of agonizing about myself and feeling helpless and feeling angry at the external world. I’m going to take responsibility for being in the way of the disaster as part of my own karma and therefore I’m going to use this tragedy as an advantage toward freedom, towards Buddhahood.

Is that a way they can find meaning in their suffering?

They find meaning and they find advantage is the main point. They can say, this is going to be a conscious effort I’m going to do.

Now if they got killed, of course they’re not going to do anything in that life. But from the Buddhist point of view, if they have a lingering memory of a catastrophe because they died in a moment of panic and fear and worry for their loved ones and so on, if they retain some memory of this death-which often the just-dead do, in the Buddhist view in the bardo, the between state-and they’re saying, well, this is a terrible karma thing that happened to me and others. I will try to make my suffering a sacrifice, an expiation of previous things that I caused, and I’m going to have a better life in the future. And I’m going to try to help the beings who died, my loved ones and others, and be of more help to them in my next life.

So that they would try to take advantage in the between-state in the after-death state in order to improve their rebirth, rather than just freak out.

What solace can Buddhism offer to survivors who have lost loved ones?
The solace to survivors who have lost someone is: Well, they lost this life, I lost my contact with them, but moaning and groaning and freaking out about it and being angry about it isn’t going to help. I should send them good prayers and good vibrations about their rebirth. If I dearly love them, I will pray to meet them again in the coming life, in wherever they are reborn, to make the world in general a better place for them, and vow to rejoin them (if it’s a soulmate sort of thing) in another life. So the consolation of karma is not just identifying the lost beings with the embodiment of a particular life, but feeling a sense of spiritual connection to their larger continuity of life and sending good vibes toward that.

The theist says it’s God’s will and God took care of them and hopes to join them in heaven, which is also good consolation and sort of leaves it up to God. But the karma is seeing it as a process in which you are also a responsible actor. Otherwise the vastness of the causal mixes is so huge it’s pretty incomprehensible, and no wonder some people call it God, or God’s will, or providence.

But the key thing is that karma is not the exercise of a particular agency or divinity; it is an impersonal process of causality. I call it evolutionary causality.

What do you mean by that?

It’s a causality by which beings evolve. Like if they do an action of a certain type, they get an effect from that action because it changes their being and their being evolves. It can evolve in a negative or a positive direction depending on whether the actions are negative or positive. In a way, karma is a biological theory just like a Western genetic biological theory. And it is very like a genetic biological theory in that it has humans being reborn as animals, animals as humans. And it adds to that also the idea of the spiritual gene or the soul gene being interwoven within that genetic rebirth process. So that your own individual consciousness can become the animal or become the god or become the human or whatever it becomes.

It’s hard to generalize across cultures, but is there a traditional mourning period for Buddhists?

In the Buddhist context, they consider that the weeping and wailing and shrieking and tearing hair and clothes, that kind of thing, is not actually a good idea. It doesn’t really relieve the bereaved; in fact it even pumps up their emotion. But the main point from the Buddhist point of view is that the one who just died, being still aware of what those left behind, the survivors are doing for a while–the departed one gets very anxious and upset and preserves that raw emotion as very disturbing. So whenever someone is overcome by grief, the tendency, especially in Tibetan Buddhist culture, is to try to calm that survivor down and have them think of good and positive thoughts and send good vibes.

So the nature of their grief should take the form of looking forward and being compassionate with others?

Yes, that’s considered better–sincerely sending really strong caring and loving vibes toward the one who passed away. Because the main person in transition at that time, the most difficult transition, is the death-rebirth transition in the Buddhist view. The one left behind is not that drastic in the sense that they’re still in their familiar embodiment, even though it may be a big disruption for them. So the priority is to send the good vibes to the departed, in the Buddhist world view.

Robert Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the United States, at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of the international best-seller “Inner Revolution,” and the co-founder and president of Tibet House U.S., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture.
Source: Belief Net

Emptiness the Womb of Compassion, Robert Thurman


Published on Dec 30, 2015

http://scienceandnonduality.com/

We here a lot about compassion nowadays, along with mindfulness, and there is no doubt it is the essence of all spirituality and also essential for any viable society or world. In the famous phrase of the title, the great Indian philosopher Nāgārjuna states emphatically that truly universal and unconditional compassion arises in a being who encounters the deepest nature of reality – or perhaps that compassion is the most realistic way of engaging with life realistically. This talk will elucidate the passage of Nāgārjuna’s Jewel Rosary in which this phrase occurs, connecting Buddha’s revolutionary physical theory with the supremely positive human emotions of selfless love and compassion.

Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important artistic and scientific treatises from the Tibetan Tengyur.

Time chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, describing him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the Dharma, the precious teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”

Thurman is known as a talented popularizer of the Buddha’s teachings. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, including The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Worlds of Transformation, Inner Revolution, Infinite Life, the Jewel Tree of Tibet, Why The Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World, and, most recently, with Sharon Salzberg, Love Your Enemies.

An Interview with Robert Thurman by Rick Archer (BATGAP) and Dana Saywer


Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important artistic and scientific treatises from the Tibetan Tengyur.

Time chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, describing him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the Dharma, the precious teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”

Thurman is known as a talented popularizer of the Buddha’s teachings. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture.

Recorded 10/25/2015 at the Science and Nonduality Conference

Searching for the Ox: The Path to Enlightenment in 10 Pictures

In Zen’s famed 10 oxherding pictures, the ox is enlightenment and the herder is you, the meditator. Created by 12th-century Chinese master Guo-an Shi-yuan, the oxherding pictures have mapped the path for Buddhist practitioners ever since, inspiring countless commentaries and new renderings. Here is a contemporary take by graphic artist Mark T. Morse, with commentary by Boundless Way Zen teacher Josh Bartok and a Vajrayana perspective from the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

1. Searching
2. Seeing the footprints
3. Glimpsing
4. Catching
5. Taming
6. Riding home
7. Transcending other
8. Transcending self-and-other
9. The source
10. Returning

View Here

The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness by B. Alan Wallace (Author)

This book takes a bold new look at ways of exploring the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness within the context of science and religion. Alan Wallace draws careful distinctions between four elements of the scientific tradition: science itself, scientific realism, scientific materialism, and scientism.

Arguing that the metaphysical doctrine of scientific materialism has taken on the role of ersatz-religion for its adherents, he traces its development from its Greek and Judeo-Christian origins, focusing on the interrelation between the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. He looks at scientists’ long term resistance to the firsthand study of consciousness and details the ways in which subjectivity has been deemed taboo within the scientific community.

In conclusion, Wallace draws on William James’s idea for a “science of religion” that would study the nature of religious and, in particular, contemplative experience.
In exploring the nature of consciousness, this groundbreaking study will help to bridge the chasm between religious belief and scientific knowledge. It is essential reading for philosophers and historians of science, scholars of religion, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and religion.

B. Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen and then continued his studies over the next fourteen years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com).

He is also Chairman of the Thanypura Mind Centre (http://piamc.com) in Thailand, where he leads meditation retreats. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and Buddhism, including Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, and Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness.

View Here

A Radically Empirical Approach to the Exploration of Consciousness, Alan Wallace

Published on Nov 14, 2015

For centuries, theologians and philosophers have proposed a wide range of hypotheses concerning the origins and nature of consciousness and what happen to consciousness at death, without reaching any consensus. Over the past 140 years, cognitive scientists have likewise proposed a diverse array of definitions of consciousness and theories attempting to solve the mind-body problem.

Materialists have tended to dominate such discourse, with some arguing that subjective states of consciousness must be equivalent to brain processes or their emergent properties, while others deny the very existence of subjective, conscious experience. Virtually none of these theories lend themselves to scientific validation or repudiation; they do not appear to moving towards any kind of consensus; and they all lack of any rigorous means of investigating subjective states of consciousness firsthand. In other words, they have all overlooked a key element that initially set “natural philosophy” apart from all other branches of philosophy and theology in the 17th century: the precise, rigorous observation of the natural phenomena under investigation.

While all subjectively experienced mental processes and states of consciousness are undetectable by the instruments of technology, they can be observed with refined attention and introspection. William James, one of the foremost pioneers of experimental psychology and neuroscience, proposed that introspection should play a central role in scientifically exploring the mind.

But ever since the rise of behaviorism in the early 20th century, his radically empirical approach proposal has been ignored. Buddhist contemplatives, on the other hand, have adopted this radically empirical approach for millennia, and they have established a large body of consensual knowledge. Thus far, their methods and discoveries have been almost entirely overlooked by the scientific community and the general public. It is high time to correct this oversight.

Alan Wallace, Lecturer, Scholar, and Prolific Writer on Tibetan Buddhism

Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace seeks ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Trained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk and ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, Wallace went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy
of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. http://www.alanwallace.org

Richard Gere: My Journey as a Buddhist by Melvin McLeod

Richard Gere talks about his many years of Buddhist practice, his devotion to his teacher the Dalai Lama, and his work for Tibetan freedom.

I suppose it’s a sign of our current cynicism that we find it hard to believe celebrities can also be serious people. The recent prominence of “celebrity Buddhists” has brought some snide comments in the press, and even among Buddhists, but personally I am very appreciative of the actors, directors, musicians and other public figures who have brought greater awareness to the cause of Tibetan freedom and the value of Buddhist practice. These are fine artists and thoughtful people, some Buddhists, some not, among them Martin Scorsese, Leonard Cohen, Adam Yauch, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, and of course, Richard Gere. I met Gere at his office in New York recently, and we talked about his many years of Buddhist practice, his devotion to his teacher the Dalai Lama, and his work on behalf of the dharma and the cause of the Tibetan people.
Melvin McLeod

Melvin McLeod:
What was your first encounter with Buddhism?

Richard Gere:
I have two flashes. One, when I actually encountered the written dharma, and two, when I met a teacher. But before that, I was engaged in philosophical pursuit in school. So I came to it through Western philosophers, basically Bishop Berkeley.

Melvin McLeod: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it really happen?”

Richard Gere:
Yes. Subjective idealism was his thesis—reality is a function of mind. It was basically the “mind only” school that he was preaching. Quite radical, especially for a priest. I was quite taken with him. The existentialists were also interesting to me. I remember carrying around a copy of Being and Nothingness, without knowing quite why I was doing it. Later I realized that “nothingness” was not the appropriate word. “Emptiness” was really what they were searching for—not a nihilistic view but a positive one.

My first encounter with Buddhist dharma would be in my early twenties. I think like most young men I was not particularly happy. I don’t know if I was suicidal, but I was pretty unhappy, and I had questions like, “Why anything?” Realizing I was probably pushing the edges of my own sanity, I was exploring late-night bookshops reading everything I could, in many different directions. Evans-Wentz’s books on Tibetan Buddhism had an enormous impact on me. I just devoured them.

Melvin McLeod: So many of us were inspired by those books. What did you find in them that appealed to you?

Richard Gere: They had all the romance of a good novel, so you could really bury yourself in them, but at the same time, they offered the possibility that you could live here and be free at the same time. I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility—I just wanted out—so the idea that you could be here and be out at the same time—emptiness—was revolutionary.

So the Buddhist path, particularly the Tibetan approach, was obviously drawing me, but the first tradition that I became involved in was Zen. My first teacher was Sasaki Roshi. I remember going out to L.A. for a three day sesshin [Zen meditation program]. I prepared myself by stretching my legs for months and months so I could get through it.

I had a kind of magical experience with Sasaki Roshi, a reality experience. I realized, this is work, this is work. It’s not about flying through the air; it’s not about any of the magic or the romance. It’s serious work on your mind. That was an important part of the path for me.

Sasaki Roshi was incredibly tough and very kind at the same time. I was a total neophyte and didn’t know anything. I was cocky and insecure and fucked up. But within that I was serious about wanting to learn. It got to the point at the end of the sesshin where I wouldn’t even go to the dokusan [interview with the Zen master]. I felt I was so ill-equipped to deal with the koans that they had to drag me in. Finally, it got to where I would just sit there, and I remember him smiling at that point. “Now we can start working,” he said. There was nothing to say—no bullshit, nothing.

Melvin McLeod: When someone has such a strong intuitive connection, Buddhism suggests that it’s because of karma, some past connection with the teachings.

Richard Gere: Well, I’ve asked teachers about that—you know, what led me to this? They’d just laugh at me, like I thought there was some decision to it or it was just chance. Well, karma doesn’t work that way. Obviously there’s some very clear and definite connection with the Tibetans or this would not have happened. My life would not have expressed itself this way.

I think I’ve always felt that practice was my real life. I remember when I was just starting to practice meditation—24 years old, trying to come to grips with my life. I was holed up in my shitty little apartment for months at a time, just doing tai chi and doing my best to do sitting practice. I had a very clear feeling that I’d always been in meditation, that I’d never left meditation. That it was a much more substantial reality than what we normally take to be reality. That was very clear to me even then, but it’s taken me this long in my life to bring it out into the world more, through more time practicing, watching my mind, trying to generate bodhicitta.

Melvin McLeod: When did you meet the Dalai Lama for the first time?

Richard Gere: I had been a Zen student for five or six years before I met His Holiness in India. We started out with a little small talk and then he said, “Oh, so you’re an actor?” He thought about that a second, and then he said, “So when you do this acting and you’re angry, are you really angry? When you’re acting sad, are you really sad? When you cry, are you really crying?” I gave him some kind of actor answer, like it was more effective if you really believed in the emotion that you were portraying. He looked very deeply into my eyes and just started laughing. Hysterically. He was laughing at the idea that I would believe emotions are real, that I would work very hard to believe in anger and hatred and sadness and pain and suffering.

That first meeting took place in Dharmsala in a room where I see him quite often now. I can’t say that the feeling has changed drastically. I am still incredibly nervous and project all kinds of things on him, which he’s used to at this point. He cuts through all that stuff very quickly, because his vows are so powerful, so all-encompassing, that he is very effective and skillful at getting to the point. Because the only reason anyone would want to see him is that they want to remove suffering from their consciousness.

It completely changed my life the first time I was in the presence of His Holiness. No question about it. It wasn’t like I felt, “Oh, I’m going to give away all my possessions and go to the monastery now,” but it quite naturally felt that this was what I was supposed to do—work with these teachers, work within this lineage, learn whatever I could, bring myself to it. In spite of varying degrees of seriousness and commitment since then, I haven’t really fallen out of that path.

Melvin McLeod: Does His Holiness work with you personally, cutting your neuroses in the many ways that Buddhist teachers do, or does he teach you more by the example of his being?

Richard Gere: There’s no question that His Holiness is my root guru, and he’s been quite tough with me at times. I’ve had to explain to people who sometimes have quite a romantic vision of His Holiness that at times he’s been cross with me, but it was very skillful. At the moment he did it, I’m not saying it was pleasant for me, but there was no ego attachment from his side. I’m very thankful that he trusts me enough to be the mirror for me and not pull any punches. Mind you, the first meetings were not that way; I think he was aware how fragile I was and was being very careful. Now I think he senses that my seriousness about the teachings has increased and my own strength within the teachings has increased. He can be much tougher on me.

Melvin McLeod: The Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism puts a strong emphasis on analysis. What drew you to the more intellectual approach?

Richard Gere: Yeah, it’s funny. I think what I probably would have been drawn to instinctively was Dzogchen [the Great Perfection teachings of the Nyingma school]. I think the instinct that drew me to Zen is the same one that would have taken me to Dzogchen.

Melvin McLeod: Space.

Richard Gere:
The non-conceptual. Just go right to the non-conceptual space. Recently I’ve had some Dzogchen teachers who’ve been kind enough to help me, and I see how Dzogchen empowers much of the other forms of meditation that I practice. Many times Dzogchen has really zapped me into a fresh vision and allowed me to see a kind of limited track that I was falling into through conditioning and basic laziness.

But overall, I think the wiser choice for me is to work with the Gelugpas, although space is space wherever it is. I think the analytical approach—kind of finding the non-boundaries of that space—is important. In a way, one gets stability from being able to order the rational mind. When space is not there for you, the intellectual work will still keep you buoyed up. I still find myself in situations where my emotions are out of control and the anger comes up, and it’s very difficult to enter pure white space at that point. So the analytical approach to working with the mind is enormously helpful. It’s something very clear to fall back on and very stabilizing.

Melvin McLeod:
What was the progression of practices for you, to the extent that you can talk about it, after you entered the vajrayana path?

Richard Gere: I’m a little hesitant to talk about this because, one, I don’t claim to know much, and two, being a celebrity these things get quoted out of context and sometimes it’s not beneficial. I can say that whatever forms of meditation I’ve taken on, they still involve the basic forms of refuge, generation of bodhicitta [awakened mind and heart] and dedication of merit to others. Whatever level of the teachings that my teachers allow me to hear, they still involve these basic forms.

Overall, tantra has become less romantic to me. It seems more familiar. That’s an interesting stage in the process, when that particular version of reality becomes more normal. I’m not saying it’s normal, in the sense of ordinary or mundane, but I can sense it being as normal as what I took to be reality before. I can trust that.

Melvin McLeod: What dharma books have meant a lot to you?

Richard Gere:
People are always asking me what Buddhist books I would recommend. I always suggest Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind to someone who says, “How can I start?” I’ll always include something by His Holiness. His book Kindness, Clarity and Compassion is extraordinarily good. There’s wonderful stuff in there. Jeffrey Hopkins’ The Tantric Distinction is very helpful. There are so many.

Melvin McLeod: You go to India often. Does that give you the opportunity to practice in a less distracted environment?

Richard Gere: Actually it’s probably more distracting! When I go there, I’m just a simple student like everyone else, but I’m also this guy who can help. When I’m in India there are a lot of people who require help and it’s very difficult to say no. So it’s not the quietest time in my life, but just being in an environment where everyone is focusing on the dharma and where His Holiness is the center of that focus is extraordinary.

Melvin McLeod:
When you’re in Dharmsala do you have the opportunity to study with the Dalai Lama or other teachers there?

Richard Gere: I’ll try to catch up with all my teachers. Some of them are hermits up in the hills, but they come down when His Holiness gives teachings. It’s a time to catch up on all of it, and just remember. For me, it means remembering. Life here is an incredible distraction and it’s very easy to get off track. Going there is an opportunity to remember, literally, what the mission is, why we’re here.

Melvin McLeod:
Here you’re involved in a world of film-making that people think of as extremely consuming, high-powered, even cut-throat.

Richard Gere: That’s all true. But it’s like everyone else’s life, too. It just gets into the papers, that’s all. It’s the same emotions. The same suffering. The same issues. No difference.

Melvin McLeod: Do you find that you have a slightly split quality to your life, going back and forth between these worlds?

Richard Gere: I find that more and more my involvement in a career, in a normal householder life, is a great challenge for deepening the teachings inside of me. If I weren’t out in the marketplace, there’s no way I would be able to really face the nooks and crannies and darkness inside of me. I just wouldn’t see it. I’m not that tough; I’m not that smart. I need life telling me who I am, showing me my mind constantly. I wouldn’t see it in a cave. The problem with me is I would probably just find some blissful state, if I could, and stay there. That would be death. I don’t want that. As I said, I’m not an extraordinary practitioner. I know pretty much who I am. It’s good for me to be in the world.

Melvin McLeod: Are there any specific ways you try to bring dharma into your work, beyond working with your mind and trying to be a decent human being?

Richard Gere: Well, that’s a lot! That’s serious shit.

Melvin McLeod: That’s true. But those are the challenges we all face. I was just wondering if you try to bring a Buddhist perspective to the specific world of film?

Richard Gere: In film, we’re playing with something that literally fragments reality, and being aware of the fragmentation of time and space I think lends itself to the practice, to loosening the mind. There is nothing real about film. Nothing. Even the light particles that project the film can’t be proven to exist. Nothing is there. We know that when we’re making it; we’re the magicians doing the trick. But even we get caught up in thinking that it is all real—that these emotions are real, that this object really exists, that the camera is picking up some reality.

On the other hand, there is some magical sense that the camera sees more than our eyes do. It sees into people in a way that we don’t normally. So there’s a vulnerability to being in front of the camera that one doesn’t have to endure in normal life. There’s a certain amount of pressure and stress in that. You are being seen, you are really being seen, and there is no place to hide.

Melvin McLeod: But there’s no way you actually work with the product to…?

Richard Gere: You mean teaching through that? Well, I think these things are far too mysterious to ever do that consciously, no. Undoubtedly, as ill-equipped to be a good student as I am, I’ve had a lot of teachings, and some have stuck. Somehow they do communicate-not because of me, but despite me. So I think there is value there. It’s the same as everyone: whatever positive energies have touched them in myriad lifetimes are going to come through somehow. When you look into their eyes, when the camera comes in for a closeup, there’s something there that is mysterious. There’s no way you can write it, there’s no way you can plan it, but a camera will pick it up in a different way than someone does sitting across the table.

Melvin McLeod: How comfortable are you with your role as the spokesman for the dharma?

Richard Gere: For the dharma? I’ve never, ever accepted that, and I never will. I’m not a spokesman for dharma. I lack the necessary qualities.

Melvin McLeod:
But you are always being asked in public about being a Buddhist.

Richard Gere:
I can talk about that only as a practitioner, from the limited point of view that I have. Although it’s been many years since I started, I can’t say that I know any more now than I did then. I can’t say I have control over my emotions; I don’t know my mind. I’m lost like everyone else. So I’m certainly not a leader. In the actual course of things, I talk about these things, but only in the sense that this is what my teachers have given me. Nothing from me.

Melvin McLeod: When you are asked about Buddhism, are there certain themes you return to that you feel are helpful, such as compassion?

Richard Gere: Absolutely. I will probably discuss wisdom and compassion in some form, that there are two poles we are here to explore—expanding our minds and expanding our hearts. At some point hopefully being able to encompass the entire universe inside mind, and the same thing with heart, with compassion, hopefully both at the same time. Inseparable.

Melvin McLeod: When you say that, I’m reminded of something that struck me when I saw the Dalai Lama speak. He was teaching about compassion, as he so often does, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he spoke more to a wider audience about the Buddhist understanding of wisdom, that is, emptiness. I just wondered what would happen if this revered spiritual leader said to the world, well, you know, all of this doesn’t really exist in any substantive way.

Richard Gere:
Well, the Buddha had many turnings of the wheel of dharma, and I think His Holiness functions in the same way. If we are so lost in our animal natures, the best way to start to get out of that is to learn to be kind. Someone asked His Holiness, how can you teach a child to care about and respect living things? He said, see if you can get them to love and respect an insect, something we instinctively are repulsed by. If they can see its basic sentience, its potential, the fullness of what it is, with basic kindness, then that’s a huge step.

Melvin McLeod: I was just reading where the Dalai Lama said that he thinks mother’s love is the best symbol for love and compassion, because it is totally disinterested.

Richard Gere: Nectar. Nectar is that! [In vajrayana practice, spiritual blessings are visualized as nectar descending on the meditator.] That’s mother’s milk; that’s coming right from mom. Absolutely.

Melvin McLeod: Although you are cautious in speaking about the dharma, you are a passionate spokesman on the issue of freedom for Tibet.

Richard Gere: I’ve gone through a lot of different phases with that. The anger that I might have felt twenty years ago is quite different now. We’re all in the same boat here, all of us—Hitler, the Chinese, you, me, what we did in Central America. No one is devoid of the ignorance that causes all these problems. If anything, the Chinese are just creating the cause of horrendous future lifetimes for themselves, and one cannot fail to be compassionate towards them for that.

When I talk to Tibetans who were in solitary confinement for twenty or twenty-five years, they say to me, totally from their heart, that the issue is larger than what they suffered at the hands of their torturer, and that they feel pity and compassion for this person who was acting out animal nature. To be in the presence of that kind of wisdom of heart and mind—you can never go back after that.

Melvin McLeod: It is remarkable that an entire people, generally, is imbued with a spirit like that.

Richard Gere: I’m convinced that it is because it was state-oriented. Obviously, problems come with that, with no separation of church and state. But I am convinced that the great dharma kings manifested to actually create a society based on these ideas. Their institutions were designed to create good-hearted people; everything in the society was there to feed it. That became decadent—there were bad periods, there were good periods, whatever. But the gist of the society was to create good-hearted people, bodhisattvas, to create a very strong environment where people could achieve enlightenment. Imagine that in America! I mean, we have no structure for enlightenment. We have a very strong Christian heritage and Jewish heritage, one of compassion, one of altruism. Good people. But we have very little that encourages enlightenment—total liberation.

Melvin McLeod: Looking at how human rights violations have come to the forefront of world consciousness, such as in Tibet and South Africa before that, the work of celebrities such as yourself who have been able to use their fame skillfully has been an important factor.

Richard Gere: I hope that’s true. It’s kind of you to say. It’s an odd situation. Previously I’d worked on Central America and some other political and human rights issues, and got to know the ropes a bit in working with Congress and the State Department. But that didn’t really apply to this situation. Tibet was too far away, and there had been extremely limited American involvement there.

I found also that the question of His Holiness in terms of a political movement was very tricky. It’s a non-violent movement, which is a problem in itself—you don’t get headlines with nonviolence. And His Holiness doesn’t see himself as Gandhi; he doesn’t create dramatic, operatic situations.

So we’ve ended up taking a much steadier kind of approach. It’s not about drama. It’s about, little by little, building truth, and I think it’s probably been deeper because of that. The senators, congressmen, legislators and parliamentarians who have got involved go way beyond what they would normally give to a cause they believed in.

I think the universality of His Holiness’ words and teachings have made this so much bigger than just Tibet. When His Holiness won the Nobel Peace Prize, there was a quantum leap. He is not seen as solely a Tibetan anymore; he belongs to the world. We were talking before about what the camera picks up—just a picture of His Holiness seems to communicate so much. Just to see his face. It’s arresting, and at the same time it’s opening. You can imagine what it would have been like to see the Buddha. Just to see his face would put you so many steps ahead. I think a lot of what we have done is just putting His Holiness in situations where he could touch as many people as possible, which he does every time with impeccable bodhicitta.

I keep saying Tibet will be taken care of in the process, but it’s about saving every sentient being, and as long as we keep our eyes on that prize, Tibet will be all right. Of course there are immediate issues to deal with in Tibet. We work on those all the time. Although we had reason to believe a more open communication with the Chinese was evolving, the optimism generated by Clinton’s visit to China has not panned out. In fact, the Tibetans, as well as the pro-democracy Chinese, are experiencing the most repressive period since the late eighties, since Tienanmen Square.

Melvin McLeod: I’m always impressed with a point the Dalai Lama makes which is very similar to what my own teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, presented in the Shambhala teachings. That is the need for a universal spirituality based on simple truths of human nature that transcends any particular religion, or the need for formalized religion at all. This strikes me as an extraordinarily important message.

Richard Gere: Well, I think it’s true. His Holiness says that what we all have in common is an appreciation of kindness and compassion; all the religions have this. Love. We all lean towards love.

Melvin McLeod:
But even beyond that, he points out that billions of people don’t practice a religion at all.

Richard Gere: But they have the religion of kindness. They do. Everyone responds to kindness.

Melvin McLeod: It’s fascinating that a major religious leader espouses in effect a religion of no religion.

Richard Gere: Sure, that’s what makes him larger than Tibet.

Melvin McLeod: It makes him larger than Buddhism.

Richard Gere: Much larger. The Buddha was larger than Buddhism.

Melvin McLeod: You are able to sponsor a number of projects in support of the dharma and of Tibetan independence.

Richard Gere: I’m in kind of a unique position in that I do have some cash in my foundation, so I’m able to offer some front money to various groups to help them get projects started. Sponsoring dharma books is important to me—translation, publishing—but I think the most important thing I can do is help sponsor teachings. To work with His Holiness and help sponsor teachings in Mongolia, India, the United States and elsewhere-nothing gives me more joy.

The program we’re doing this summer is four days of teachings by the Dalai Lama in New York. August 12 to 14 will be the formal teaching by His Holiness on Kamalashila’s “Middle-length Stages of Meditation” and “The Thirty-seven Practices of the Bodhisattvas.” That’s at the Beacon Theater and there are about 3,000 tickets available. I’m sure those will sell quickly. If people can’t get into that, there’s going to be a free public teaching in Central Park on the fifteenth. We’re guessing there will be space for twenty-five to forty thousand people, so whoever wants to come will be able to. His Holiness will give a teaching on the Eight Verses of Mind Training, a very powerful lojong teaching, one of my favorites actually. Then His Holiness will give a wang, a long life empowerment of White Tara.

I’ve seen His Holiness give bodhicitta teachings like these, and no one can walk away without crying. He touches so deep into the heart. He gave a teaching in Bodh Gaya last year on Khunu Lama’s “In Praise of Bodhicitta,” which is a long poems Just thinking about it now, I’m starting to crys So beautiful. When he was teaching on Kunu Lama’s “In Praise of Bodhicitta,” who was his own teachers whooosh! We were inside his heart, in the most extraordinary way. A place you can’t be told about, you can’t read about, nothing. You’re in the presence of Buddha. I’ve had a lot of teachers who give wonderful teachings on wisdom, but to see someone who really, really has the big bodhicitta, real expanded bodhicittas.

So those are the teachings that I believe His Holiness is here to give. That’s what touches.

Melvin McLeod is the Editor-in-Chief of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma.

Source: http://www.lionsroar.com/

Discovering Buddhism Module 1 – Mind and its Potential

Uploaded on Jan 22, 2012

Examine the mind and how it creates happiness and suffering. Learn to transform destructive thoughts and attitudes to create a positive and joyous mind! Learn more about Discovering Buddhism at http://fpmt.org/education/programs/di…

Mahamudra for the Modern World An Unprecedented Training Course in the Pinnacle Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism~ Reginald A. Ray


An Unprecedented Training Course on the Pinnacle Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism

What if you could learn the ultimate teachings of Tibetan Buddhism as they were meant to be received-guided every step of the way by an experienced master? This practice, known as Mahamudra or “The Great Revelation,” was once taught only to elite students in secluded monasteries and cloisters. Now renowned teacher Dr. Reginald Ray has created an unprecedented audio learning course to make this profoundly transformative path available to listeners everywhere with Mahamudra for the Modern World. Spanning 33 CDs and featuring meditations and insights never before available to a general audience, this extraordinary audio training includes:

  • A complete toolbox of body-based shamatha meditations to still the mind and set the foundation for exploring the immeasurable expanse of being
  • Vipashyana meditations that take you on a progressive path of inquiry into the nature of awareness itself
  • Innovative teachings on dismantling the klesas (difficult emotions) through heightening our experience of them
  • More than 40 guided meditations unfolded through a series of increasingly subtle and profound practices

Mahamudra is revered in Tibetan Buddhism as the most direct route to seeing the world in all its transcendent beauty, power, and perfection. With his gift for distilling esoteric teachings for today’s student, Dr. Ray has created a powerful training program for anyone seeking to engage in this life-altering journey, allowing us to discover this unsurpassed tradition for meeting ultimate reality-and awakening to the boundless freedom that is our fundamental nature.

The Awakened State with Reggie Ray

On this episode of our podcast Insights at the Edge, my dear friend Tami Simon speaks with Reggie Ray, gifted teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for 40 years in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I have been fortunate to know Reggie for 25 years, back from when he was my advisor in the Religious Studies department at the University of Colorado.

Here, Tami speaks with Reggie about the possibility of using modern methods for capturing the essence of student-to-teacher transmission, how glimpsing the awakened state fits in with the Mahamudra tradition of which Reggie is a part, and the notion of “three teachers”—a human teacher, life as a teacher, and the natural state itself as a teacher.

To learn more about Reggie and his work (including plenty of free audio teachings and meditations), please see http://www.dharmaocean.org/.

Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body by Reginald A. Ray PhD (Author)

What does it mean to “meditate with the body”? Until you answer this question, explains Reggie Ray, meditation may be no more than a mental gymnastic —something you can practice for years without fruitful results.

In Touching Enlightenment, the esteemed author of five books about Buddhist history and practice guides you back to the original practice of the Buddha: a systematic process that results in a profound awareness in your body rather than in your head.

Combining the scholarship that has earned him international renown with original insights from nearly four decades practicing and teaching meditation, Reggie Ray invites you to explore:

  • How to enter fully into communion with your embodied nature
  • The insights of Tibetan yoga, from guidance on breathing and working with discomfort to its challenge to modern practitioners on the path to realization
  • Why “rejected” experience becomes imprinted in the body —and how to receive it anew to reconstitute your human way of being
  • Karma of cause and karma of result —taking full responsibility for your life
  • Your three bodies—the physical, the interpersonal, and the cosmic

“To be awake, to be enlightened, is to be fully and completely embodied. To be fully embodied means to be at one with who we are, in every respect, including our physical being, our emotions, and the totality of our karmic situation,” writes Reggie Ray. In Touching Enlightenment, he offers you a map of unprecedented clarity and power for embarking on the journey toward ultimate realization in and through the body.

Reginald A. Ray, PhD, brings us four decades of study and intensive practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as well as a special gift for applying ancient wisdom to the problems, inspirations, and spiritual imperatives of modern people. He is the co-founder and spiritual director of Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study, and preservation of the teachings of Reggie’s teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and the practice lineage he embodied. See dharmaocean.org.

LOOK INSIDE

Touching Enlightenment with the Body

Reggie Ray talks about this basic and profound emotion most of us take for granted or push away. Love is life.

Reggie Ray ‘Finding Realization In The Body’ Interview by Renate McNay

Published on Jul 12, 2015

Reggie Ray ‘Finding Realization In The Body’ Interview by Renate McNay

A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life by Shantideva translated by Vesna A. Wallace, B. Alan Wallace

In the whole of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, there is no single treatise more deeply revered or widely practiced than A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life. Composed in the eighth century by the Indian Bodhisattva Santideva, it became an instant classic in the curricula of the Buddhist monastic universities of India, and its renown has grown ever since. Santideva presents methods to harmonize one’s life with the Bodhisattva ideal and inspires the reader to cultivate the perfections of the Bodhisattva: generosity, ethics, patience, zeal, meditative concentration, and wisdom.


Biography
B. Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen and then continued his studies over the next fourteen years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com). He is also Chairman of the Thanypura Mind Centre (http://piamc.com) in Thailand, where he leads meditation retreats. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and Buddhism, including Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, and Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness.

LOOK INSIDE

An interview with B. Alan Wallace (Norway)

In this interview B. Alan Wallace speaks about Buddhism in the West.

This video is from part of an 2012 interview with B. Alan Wallace. The interview took place in June 2012. At the Karma Shedrup Ling retreat center (part of Karma Tashi Ling) in Oslo, Norway.

Signs of Spiritual Progress by Pema Chödrön

The idea of spiritual progress is pretty suspect. After all, isn’t it a journey without goal? But there are some ways, says Pema Chödrön, we can tell if our practice is working.

It is tempting to ask ourselves if we are making “progress” on the spiritual path. But to look for progress is a set-up—a guarantee that we won’t measure up to some arbitrary goal we’ve established.

Traditional teachings tell us that one sign of progress in meditation practice is that our kleshas diminish. Kleshas are the strong conflicting emotions that spin off and heighten when we get caught by aversion and attraction.

Though the teachings point us in the direction of diminishing our klesha activity, calling ourselves “bad” because we have strong conflicting emotions is not helpful. That just causes negativity and suffering to escalate. What helps is to train again and again in not acting out our kleshas with speech and actions, and also in not repressing them or getting caught in guilt. The traditional instruction is to find the middle way between the extreme views of indulging—going right ahead and telling people off verbally or mentally—and repressing: biting your tongue and calling yourself a bad person.

Now, to find what the middle way means is a challenging path. That is hard to know how to do. We routinely think we have to go to one extreme or the other, either acting out or repressing. We are unaware of that middle ground between the two. But the open space of the middle ground is where wisdom lies, where compassion lies, and where lots of discoveries are to be made. One discovery we make there is that progress isn’t what we think it is.

We are talking about a gradual awakening, a gradual learning process. By looking deeply and compassionately at how we are affecting ourselves and others with our speech and actions, very slowly we can acknowledge what is happening to us. We begin to see when, for example, we are starting to harden our views and spin a story line about a situation. We begin to be able to acknowledge when we are blaming people, or when we are afraid and pulling back, or when we are completely tense, or when we can’t soften, or when we can’t refrain from saying something harsh. We begin to acknowledge where we are. This ability comes from meditation practice. The ability to notice where we are and what we do comes from practice.

I should point out that what we’re talking about is not judgmental acknowledging, but compassionate acknowledging. This compassionate aspect of acknowledging is also cultivated by meditation. In meditation we sit quietly with ourselves and we acknowledge whatever comes up with an unbiased attitude—we label it “thinking” and go back to the outbreath. We train in not labeling our thoughts “bad” or “good,” but in simply seeing them. Anyone who has meditated knows that this journey from judging ourselves or others to seeing what is, without bias, is a gradual one.

So one sign of progress is that we can begin to acknowledge what is happening. We can’t do it every time, but at some point we realize we are acknowledging more, and that our acknowledgment is compassionate—not judgmental, parental or authoritarian. We begin to touch in with unconditional friendliness, which we call maitri—an unconditional openness towards whatever might arise. Again and again throughout our day we can acknowledge what’s happening with a bit more gentleness and honesty.

We then discover that patterns can change, which is another sign of progress. Having acknowledged what is happening, we may find that we can do something different from what we usually do. On the other hand, we may discover that (as people are always saying to me), “I see what I do, but I can’t stop it.” We might be able to acknowledge our emotions, but we still can’t refrain from yelling at somebody or laying a guilt trip on ourselves. But to acknowledge that we are doing all these things is in itself an enormous step; it is reversing a fundamental, crippling ignorance.

Seeing but not being able to stop can go on for quite a long time, but at some point we find that we can do something different. The main “something different” we can do begins with becoming aware of some kind of holding on or grasping—a hardness or tension. We can sense it in our minds and we can feel it in our bodies. Then, when we feel our bodies tighten, when we see our minds freeze, we can begin to soften and relax. This “something different” is quite do-able. It is not theoretical. Our mind is in a knot and we learn to relax by letting our thoughts go. Our body is in a knot and we learn to relax our body, too.

Basically this is instruction on disowning: letting go and relaxing our grasping and fixation. At a fundamental level we can acknowledge hardening; at that point we can train in learning to soften. It might be that sometimes we can acknowledge but we can’t do anything else, and at other times we can both acknowledge and soften. This is an ongoing process: it’s not like we’re ever home free. However, the aspiration to open becomes a way of life. We discover a commitment to this way of life.

This process has an exposed quality, an embarrassing quality. Through it our awareness of “imperfection” is heightened. We see that we are discursive, that we are jealous, aggressive or lustful. For example, when we wish to be kind, we become more aware of our selfishness. When we want to be generous, our stinginess comes into focus. Acknowledging what is, with honesty and compassion; continually training in letting thoughts go and in softening when we are hardening—these are steps on the path of awakening. That’s how kleshas begin to diminish. It is how we develop trust in the basic openness and kindness of our being.

However, as I said, if we use diminishing klesha activity as a measure of progress, we are setting ourselves up for failure. As long as we experience strong emotions—even if we also experience peace—we will feel that we have failed. It is far more helpful to have as our goal becoming curious about what increases klesha activity and what diminishes it, because this goal is fluid. It is a goal-less exploration that includes our so-called failures. As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion. We will just continue to buy into our old mindsets of right and wrong, becoming more solid and closed to life.

When we train in letting go of thinking that anything—including ourselves—is either good or bad, we open our minds to practice with forgiveness and humor. And we practice opening to a compassionate space in which good/bad judgments can dissolve. We practice letting go of our idea of a “goal” and letting go of our concept of “progress,” because right there, in that process of letting go, is where our hearts open and soften—over and over again.

About Pema Chödrön

With her powerful teachings, bestselling books, and retreats attended by thousands, Pema Chödrön is today’s most popular American-born teacher of Buddhism. In The Wisdom of No Escape, The Places that Scare You, and other important books, she has helped us discover how difficulty and uncertainty can be opportunities for awakening. Pema Chödrön is a fully ordained Buddhist nun who is dedicated to the establishment of a Buddhist monastic tradition in the West.

Dean Radin: 1.The difference between supernatural and supernormal 2. Was the Buddha a supernormal human? 3. Science, intuition and dreams 4. The view of neuroscience on consciousness and the brain3.


Published on May 20, 2015

Dean Radin explains the distinction between supernatural and supernormal. This video is an excerpt from SAND Anthology Vol. 5:
http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/p…

Dean Radin, PhD, is Chief Scientist at the INSTITUTE OF NOETIC SCIENCES (IONS) and Volunteer Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He is author or coauthor of over 200 technical and popular articles, a dozen book chapters, and three books including the award-winning The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), and the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award winner, SUPERNORMAL (Random House, 2013). View Here

Was the Buddha a supernormal human?

Published on May 20, 2015

Dean Radin reflects on the scientific validity of the supernormal stories that surround the Buddha. This video is an excerpt from SAND Anthology Vol. 5:

Science, intuition and dreams

The view of neuroscience on consciousness and the brain

Dean Radin explains the view of neuroscience on consciousness and the brain. This video is an excerpt from SAND Anthology Vol. 5:

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason With Pema Chodron – Part 1 to Part 3

This is a 55 minute interview which has been split into 6 segments.
Video provided courtesy of PBS.
Please visit the official PBS website at http://www.pbs.org
PBS’s “Terms of Use” are available online

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason With Pema Chodron – Part 2

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason With Pema Chodron – Part 3

Peter Fenner – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Peter Fenner – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Published on Apr 22, 2015

Peter is a leader in the Western adaptation of Buddhist wisdom. He is a pioneer in the new field of nondual psychotherapy. He was a celibate monk in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions for nine years. He has a Ph.D. in the philosophical psychology of Mahayana Buddhism and has held teaching positions at universities in Australia and the USA.

He has taught workshops at Naropa University, the California Institute for Integral Studies, Omega Institute, and other centers, and given invited presentations at JFK University, Saybrook College, Stanford Medical School, Columbia University, and internationally.

Peter’s way of teaching is known for its dynamic and engaging deconstruction of all fixed frames of reference that block entry to unconditioned awareness, and for the purity and depth of natural, uncontrived silence that emerges in his work. He also has a unique capacity for sharing the skills and states of his transmission in a way that other’s can easily understand and begin to replicate the nondual transmission.

Peter Fenner ~ Book on The Radiant Mind and An interview Conscious TV View Here

The Heart of Unconditional Love A Powerful New Approach to Loving-Kindness Meditation by Tulku Thondup

March 25, 2015

/> A new, four-stage approach to the popular Buddhist practice known as loving-kindness meditation, with the aim of finding unconditional love in our own hearts, in our relationships, and in our perception of the world around us.

The unconditional love that we all long for—in our own lives and in the world around us—can be awakened effectively with this unique approach to the Tibetan Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation. Tulku Thondup gives detailed guidance for meditation, prayers, and visualization in four simple stages that can be practiced in as little as thirty minutes a session. The four-stage format is a brand-new approach being presented for the first time in English, distilled from the author’s lifelong study and practice of authentic, traditional teachings.

What if we could experience not only our own body, mind, and heart as a boundless source of loving-kindness, but every particle of the world around us as a beautiful realm filled with the blessing energies of the Buddhas and their celestial abodes? The whole environment would become a miraculous display of unconditional love, wisdom, and power, accompanied by the sweet music of holy prayers and inspirational teachings. This is not just a dream or a fantasy but an effective meditation practice that can bring relief from stress, healing to mind and body, healthier relationships, and a positive new outlook on the world around you.

Loving-kindness meditations are a highly effective way to generate positive causation, bring true peace and love into our lives, and release ourselves from habitual suffering. When we train ourselves to desire the happiness and well-being of others, with the unconditional love of a mother who cares wholeheartedly for her little ones, we find our whole world pervaded by the positive qualities of joy, peace, and beauty. The training can be compared to sunbathing. As our body absorbs the sun’s heat, it becomes warm and gradually emanates that warmth into our surroundings. In the same way, through devotion and trust in the Buddha of Loving-Kindness, we immerse our mind in his unconditional love, which we then radiate to those around us.

The Heart of Unconditional Love presents this meditation in a new, four-stage format distilled from the author’s lifelong study and practice of authentic, traditional teachings. The meditation can be practiced in as little as thirty minutes a session:

• In the Outer Buddha Stage, we open our heart with trust and devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness and enjoy his unconditional love.
• In the Inner Buddha Stage, we experience the Buddha’s unconditional love within and for ourselves.
• In the Universal Buddha Stage, we learn to see, hear, and feel the world around us as a blessed realm of unconditional love.
• In the Ultimate Buddha Stage, we rest in the awareness of unconditional love free from conceptual thinking.

Designed to be accessible to newcomers as well as experienced meditators, this presentation is a brand-new approach to loving-kindness meditation, being published in English for the first time.

TULKU THONDUP
was born in eastern Tibet and moved to India in 1958. He came to the United States in 1980 as a visiting scholar at Harvard University. For the past three decades he has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, engaging in translation, research, and writing under the auspices of the Buddhayana Foundation. He also travels in North America, Europe, and Asia to give talks on Buddhism and lead meditation workshops.

Tulku Thondup on Why We Meditate on Loving Kindness

Karma: What It Is, What It Isn’t, Why It Matters by Traleg Kyabgon

Shambhala Publications | 06/30/2015

By now, we’ve all heard someone say, “It must have been his karma” or “She had bad karma.” But what is karma, really? Does karmic theory say that we are helpless victims of our past? Is all karma bad, or can there be good karma too? Is reincarnation the same as the Buddhist theory of rebirth?

In this short and eminently readable book, Traleg Kyabgon answers these questions and more by elucidating the Buddha’s teachings on karma and rebirth. He distinguishes the Buddhist view of karma and rebirth from related notions of karma and reincarnation found in the Hindu tradition, explains why the notion of karma is indispensable to the theory and practice of Buddhism, and demonstrates how karmic theory provides a foundation for morality that doesn’t require belief in God. Throughout he shows how to work with karma intelligently to bring about beneficial changes in the way we relate to our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances.

Traleg Kyabgon (1955–2012) was born in Eastern Tibet and educated by many great masters of all four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the founder of the Kagyu E-Vam Buddhist Institute, which is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with a major practice center in upstate New York and a practice community in New York City. He taught extensively at universities and Buddhist centers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia beginning in 1980, and is the author of numerous books that present Buddhist teachings to Western readers, including The Essence of Buddhism and Mind at Ease.

Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche IX interviewed by Samuel Bercholz

Published on Apr 15, 2012
About Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche IX

Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche was recognised as the ninth incarnation of the Traleg lineage and enthroned as Abbot of Tra’gu Monastery. Rinpoche has undergone rigorous scholastic and meditative training under various Tibetan Kagyü and Nyingma masters in India and came to Australia in 1980 where he subsequently established Kagyü E-Vam Institute in 1982.

Rinpoche regularly conducts courses and retreats and has travelled extensively in the U.S.A., S.E. Asia and Europe conducting lectures and courses. Rinpoche is the author of various books including the best selling The Essence of Buddhism and The Practice of Lojong.

About Samuel Bercholz

Samuel Bercholz is a senior teacher in the Kagyu, Nyingma, and the Shambhala lineages of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He has taught Buddhist meditation and philosophy courses and Shambhala Training courses throughout North America, Europe and Australasia since the early 1970s.

He is the founder of Shambhala Publications, the leading publisher of Buddhist books in the English language, a founding trustee of The Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and co-editor of The Buddha and His Teachings. He has taught at the Buddhist Summer School since 2003.

The Shamarpa, Shamar Rinpoche: Awakening From Delusion

Published on Mar 23, 2014
Materialism (greed) and worldly distraction cause suffering. Shamar Rinpoche, the 14th Shamarpa (The Red Hat Lama of Tibet), joins Barnet and Freeman for an enlightening conversation about enlightenment. Specifically, they discuss the “awakening” process on the path to enlightenment.

For more information about Shamar Rimpoche and his teachings, please visit: http://www.bodhipath.org/

THE ROAD HOME A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path Ethan Nichtern; Foreword by Sharon Salzberg

Pub Date Apr 21 2015

A lively exploration of contemporary Buddhism from one of its most admired teachers

Do you feel at home right now? Or do you sense a hovering anxiety or uncertainty, an underlying unease that makes you feel just a bit uncomfortable, a bit distracted and disconnected from those around you?

In The Road Home, Ethan Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, investigates the journey each of us takes to find where we belong. Drawing from contemporary research on meditation and mindfulness and his experience as a Buddhist teacher and practitioner, Nichtern describes in fresh and deeply resonant terms the basic existential experience that gives rise to spiritual seeking—and also to its potentially dangerous counterpart, spiritual materialism. He reveals how our individual quests for self-awareness ripple forward into relationships, communities, and society at large. And he explains exactly how, by turning our awareness to what’s happening around us and inside us, we become able to enhance our sense of connection with others and, at the same time, change for the better our individual and collective patterns of greed, apathy, and inattention.

In this wise and witty invitation to Buddhist meditation, Nichtern shows how, in order to create a truly compassionate and enlightened society, we must start with ourselves. And this means beginning by working with our own minds—in whatever state we find them in.

Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri, a senior teacher, in the Shambhala tradition. He is the youngest senior teacher in the global tradition. He is the author of and the nonfiction book, One City: A Declaration of Interdependence (Wisdom Publications), and the forthcoming The Road Home (FSG Books, North Point). He is also the author of the novella and poetry collection, Your Emoticons Won’t Save You,He is also the founding director of The Interdependence Project, an
organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology, transformational activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. He teaches and lectures around the world and is based in New York City.

The Internet is Not Your Teacher

Ethan Nichtern explores the limitations of online dharma


The Authors@Google program was pleased to welcome Ethan Nichtern to Google’s New York office to discuss his book, “One City: A Declaration of Interdependence”.

Ethan Nichtern is the acclaimed author of “One City: A Declaration of Interdependence”, and the founding director of the Interdependence Project , a nonprofit created to bring meditation principles to the arts, activism, environmental concerns, and responsible consumption. A teacher of Buddhist meditation and philosophy for the past six years, he currently teaches at New School University and lectures regularly at Brown, Wesleyan, and New York universities.

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