Equanimity: Looking Ahead
Summary: This afternoon Alan started by sharing a story about his first meditation counsel with Geshe Rabten, and the two topics that he suggested for meditation: Precious Human Rebirth and Equanimity. He emphasizes the importance of Equanimity and seeing through the "I-It" relationship with others (for more on this topic refer to previous episodes), and also highlights the importance of balancing the urgency that can arise from meditating on the precious human rebirth. He suggests not being shortsighted, and taking the time to develop the Four Immeasurables correctly, however long that may take, knowing it is the path. Alan then very poetically goes into the instructions for the practice, talking about ending one phase (retreat) but starting a new one afterwards, and to symbolize this the retreat will end on a new moon, a new start. For the practice, Alan instructs "seeing through" appearances and like a metallurgist separating the positive feelings from the negative feelings, looking towards the people we may encounter in the near future as we finish the retreat. After the practice, Alan shares a very encouraging story from his wife about attending a lecture at Oxford in which Prince Charles spoke magnificently, stressing the importance of spiritual vision and saying that science alone will not save us. Following that, there are a few great questions from Adeline, starting from the phrase "nothing can harm the mind" and relating this to practices like Voodoo. Alan shares a relevant story about Voodoo from Dharamsala, a part of the life of Milarepa, and another story about Virupa and some protector deities, all to illustrate his points. Then he explains how to protect the mind, emphasising the benefits of metta. For example: http://www.sota.dhamma.org/metta.htm Then we have a question about the difference between Awareness and Attention, to which Alan gives the scientific answer, the regular Buddhist answer, and the Dzogchen answer. Finally, we have a question from Kathleen about "disclosure" in our practice, to which Alan responds with great information about how we can share our experiences with wisdom and with tact, if we choose to do so at all. This very artistic photo is from Malcolm.