Day Retreat 

The day retreat was held as planned on Saturday 8th December and seemed to go very well. There were 16 of us there for the morning, 14 of us for lunch and then 12 of us for the afternoon. I am sure that will have another day retreat, possibly in May. Below is a picture of the shrine we set up to celebrate Padmasambhava. Following that is a summary of the talk that Alayasri gave.

 

The Advice given to the Three Fortunate Women before Departure.


3 fortunate women ask him for a teaching before he leaves Tibet – Queen Ngang Chung, and 2 others.


Then Ngang Chung, the glorious noble queen, invited the guru, that second Buddha, into the temple of turquoise dedicated to her tutelary deities. Piling up on a precious throne fine silks and tables of divination and regaling him with many pleasing things, she greeted him and made this request:

Sense of respect – setting up the conditions.


'Give me a few words of great import, an effective verse which I can memorize. Though I have not renounced the world, I would like to cherish within me a Doctrine which at a later time would lead me to Buddhahood'.


Is honest and open about her life style. Wants a verse she can memorise for inspiration/practice. Is a serious practitioner – knows where she is going, heading for Buddhahood


To this the great Guru replied, “Listen, Queen Ngang Chung!

Listen up!

To begin with, pay urgent attention to impermanence, then strongly turn your mind towards taking Refuge, and direct your prayers towards the lamas.

3 preliminaries – impermanence, taking refuge, prayers to the Lamas

Impermanence/precariousness of life (despite her material security as a Queen) – can't set our faith on this. How can we respond to it?

      1. Head in sand – la la la, doing more to shore up the ego/sense of security

      2. Go for Refuge

PS says 'strongly' i.e. not half hearted


Prayers to Lamas – about being open/receptive to the teachings/teachers/guidance

    *part of Tibetan culture

These are the preliminaries without which no means exists. After that, disposing yourself physically to be calm as in an empty house the raindrops slowly gather, relax - do not force your mind or body. Since the tranquillity of Sunyata is the foundation, by forcefully turning your mind to emptiness you chase misconceptions. In the thoughts which arise, understanding will arise without doing anything.

After the preliminaries – RELAX (esp us in West being so goal driven). As we relax we can gather up more of ourselves, integrating our scattered energies.

Sunyata – is clear direct experience/ no thing ness/ emptiness/ blue sky

full of spiritual potential

BUT you can't reach this state by conceptualising – can't grasp the graspable


Again and yet again work on whatever estranges you from meditation!

Meditation practice is essential

Lay bear whatsoever arises, good and bad thoughts alike!

Not pushing away or clinging onto thoughts

The child who knows his way, carries along on the path every harmless thing he happens upon and nothing that harms him.

Child – intuition/trusting our deeper parts. Knows his way – i.e. has Wisdom

During the time of Insight which is surrounded by a calm and gentle aura, openness and appearance are inseparable. The six senses come forth, though appearance and voidness are inseparable; this is the real foundation, without which no means exists.

Insight – 'seeing' the non duality of all things, between form and emptiness (Heart Sutra) – same World but our experience of it is completely transformed


During the period of meditation, there is not anything; it is simply open. But whenever you waver towards appearances, delusions will arise. After careful examination, understand not to discriminate, to neither accept nor reject. As anything can happen, peace will arise from within. Even when you do not meditate, for personal growth you need to exercise effort.

Effort must be ongoingly made! (4 Right Efforts)

If you do so without accomplishing anything thereby, know that at all times Realisation is your own nature, and from within, act for the benefit of all beings! Unceasingly do Dharma actions; when you purify yourself of your faults, Realisation will naturally come from within.


Seal your virtuous actions with prayers and a dedication for the purpose of all beings.

Importance of dedicating our practice for the benefit of all beings – seals the practice.


Without such prayers and dedication, no means exists. Not falling into the errors of excitement and passivity, be filled with confidence. Here, in a few words of great import, lie preparations, enactment, and fulfilment; the Doctrine's deepest reaches, of this life as of the life to come.

Preparation – attention to IMPERMANENCE, taking refuge, prayer to Lamas/receptivity

Enactment – meditation, ethics, Right effort

Fulfilment – dedicating practice


Thus did he speak. And Queen Ngang Chung was led to salvation.



The other 2 women are Mangala the dog keeper and Yeshe Sogyal his main disciple. They ask him

what are we to do when you are gone?”

Basically tells them -

Teachers who do not gladden the mind and who are morose themselves – give them up!

i.e.

The books and letters you do not practise – give them up!

Too much reading not enough practise. We study so we can transform ourselves

Those who compete with others and hoard possessions – give them up!

Turn away from the ranks of men and the 8 worldly concerns

Do not fail to call on me! Do not despair!










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