Sunday, May 31, 2009

Plan for Ongoing Study

We had our first study group Friday night, May 28, and it was splendid. Wonderful teachings by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche followed by a focused discussion. There was a felt sense that the people present are committed to working through these teachings in a very real way. 

Buddhism teaches the three ways in which wisdom is acquired: the "three wheels" of hearing, contemplation, and meditation. As described in the Introduction to Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche:
Three Stages in the Process of Understanding
Meditation should be understood as the third stage in the development of one's understanding. The first stage is to listen to or study the teachings with an open and receptive mind that does not distort what is being heard or studied. The second stage is carefully to reflect on what has been received in order to clarify its true significance. The third stage is to integrate the newly acquired knowledge or understanding into one's being or character. In a sense this is like putting it into practice. When one talks about meditation practice one does noit mean one is practicing meditation so that one day one will have perfected it and will be able to give a perfect performance. Rather, it is a practice in the sense of actually doing or being it as opposed to just thinking about it.

Accordingly, we will study this series according to the three wheels. Here's the plan:

• ONE: VIDEO – The first Friday night, we watch the teaching on video and discuss.

REVIEW NIGHT - The following Monday night we have a make-up opportunity for anyone who missed it Friday night, or for anyone who simply wants to review. This is an hour of watching the video only, no discussion, so we can all fit it into our busy schedules. Email or call me if you want to come so I know what to expect..., 463-2374. 

• TWO: BOOK/REVIEW/MEDITATE – The next Friday night, we will add supplementary material from the book, review what we've learned, and then work on the actual meditation for the stage of emptiness we're studying.

• No video review following the second week.

DISCUSS – Each week, I will post notes from our Friday night session to this blog and fellow students may discuss using the comment function. This gives a way of sharing insights that arise over the week as we take the inquiry to the cushion and to the street. 

REPEAT – We will repeat this one-two approach throughout the series. It is indicated as such on the new calendar posted on the Luminous Mind website. You can go there to see whether it's a video week or a book/review/meditation week. The Monday night reviews are posted there as well.

In this way, we will be working with the authentic teachings on emptiness according to the ancient way of acquiring wisdom. 

Let's wake up!


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