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Welcome! This is now an archive page for Dr. Alan Wallace’s teachings from the Spring 2010 Shamatha Retreat in the wonderful Phuket International Academy Mind Centre! This podcast feed was 100% created and updated by us (his students here in Phuket) so we can share Alan’s diamond-sharp teachings! This podcast was created live every day during the retreat in 2010. We will still maintain this site because the teachings are timeless. For more information, please contact the great people at info ...
 
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This afternoon may be the last podcast episode of Alan's lectures for this retreat. He started by returning to the hypothesis of saying that if we align ourselves with reality, reality will rise up to meet us. That is, if we devote ourselves with our heart and might to the path of Dharma (the word Dharma means reality, by the way), with a clear and…
 
I know, I am quite the dramatic with my titles :) With a bittersweet feeling we have come to the last group practice of Shamatha for this retreat. To end majestically, we practiced the fourth method of Shamatha without a sign as taught by Padmasambhava. Preceding the practice, Alan shared some tips of what we can do to practice and ground ourselves…
 
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 al…
 
This morning Alan starts by giving instructions on how to watch the opening game of the World Cup (Mexico-South Africa) on Friday, after being asked for permission to do so. He has a very interesting football-watching technique! On a slightly more profound tone, Alan is asked what to do with the whole topic of devotion when teaching Shamatha in a s…
 
As we approach the end of the retreat, the lectures are getting more and more information packed and so are these summaries. I will say as I always do; if you are new to the podcast go back to the first episodes! This morning we started by covering the importance and the difficulty, even for Tibetans now and in the past, of calming the mind through…
 
The story Alan narrates at the very start of this episode comes because there was a dog outside the teaching hall, and as we were coming in for the lecture he would try to get in between our legs, or at least just stick his head in. He clearly looked very determined and excited to learn about Mudita, and it was hard to get Alan inside the teaching …
 
This morning, Alan said he would squeeze out every drop of knowledge he had left about this first method of Awareness of Awareness, so if you listen to the previous episodes on this stage of practice you will be extremely well rounded! Alan starts by detailing an all to common problem: thinking that we are doing the practice incorrectly when we are…
 
This afternoon Alan started by pointing out the modern tendency of being very harsh and strict with ourselves, and the need for Compassion. He then proceeds by diving down to the very root of suffering, considering the hypothesis that all mental afflictions stem from the grasping and reification of "self" as separate, autonomous, and self-existant.…
 
This practice got separated from the previous episode for continuity purposes. As you might expect, we return for the final time to the practice of Settling the Mind in its Natural State. Spefically, we start by attending to the spaces in between mental events, and after a while we go deeper and without breaking the continuity we observe the space …
 
In this morning session, Alan really woke us up (interpret that as you will) by making an addendum to this Sunday's bonus episode where we had a "speed drive" through different ways of viewing reality from the Buddhist point of view. Alan only had two minutes left for Dzogchen, so this morning he went deeper into an explanation of this culminating …
 
Yes, this is an ambitious title but as always the podcast episode does not fail to deliver the goods. However, I really won't even try to summarize all of Buddhist Philosophy in two paragraphs. I know I always say that but really, this time there is just no point and not enough space for me to do that. However, I will give you a few things :) The l…
 
For this short bonus episode, I extracted a question that Elizabeth said was maybe unanswerable, about the very beginning of ignorance and delusion (and samsara for that matter). But we all know by now that Alan always has something up his sleeve. He starts by talking about the problems that can arise when we misniterpret the Buddhist view that "sa…
 
In this afternoon practice, we focused not so much on the blatant form of suffering as we did yesterday, but on the underlying causes. In the introduction, Alan reflects on how little we really know about suffering in modernity, and how we build our hapiness on very weak foundations of delusion, attachment, and craving. Even if we have good luck an…
 
This morning we returned to Settling the Mind in its Natural state, this time observing the foreground of events arising within the domain of the mind. Alan quotes two plays from Shakespeare ("The Tempest" and "As You Like It") which relate with uncanny precision to what we have been covering in this retreat. Enjoy the mostly silent practice! Some …
 
This afternoon we went into a very practical and powerful practice on Compassion, focusing on the blatant, glaring, obvious pain that can arise in both the physical and mental domains of experience. Alan starts by giving a brief overview of this blatant suffering, and what can be done to cure it mentally, including praise for the pharmaceutical ind…
 
If you have been subscribing to the podcast, you are probably very familiar with today's meditation. We practiced Settling the Mind in its Natural State by first coming in through different domains of experience, following to the instructions that the Buddha gave to the wandering ascetic Bahiya. I have linked to them directly in the past so I won't…
 
The introduction to today's practice was tailored to us here in Phuket in the sense that we are coming out of retreat soon, but it can be applied by everyone. Alan talks about including the people we are going to see soon into our Loving Kindness meditation, and talks about the quite palpable effects that this can have on our relationships with suc…
 
In today's mindfulness of breathing practice, Alan started by talking about the causes and solutions for the all too popular phenomenon of the "energy going up to the head," and proceeded by applying the glass half empty / glass half full example in our practice. He emphasizes taking delight in the periods (as brief as they may be) when we recogniz…
 
This afternoon we started with a reflection on how many times we see people as just "flat images" or appearances arising to our minds. In the supermarket, subway, etc, we see them as obstacles or merely objects in our way. Today’s intro deals with seeing through those images and realizing that a real person is there, looking back, with their own ho…
 
This morning, Alan started by reading two short verses from the Dhammapada, (freshly translated by him last night) which are a very strong metaphor with the mind training we are doing here. He then talks about the importance of having a base in relaxation and training the mind from the ground up rather than tensing up and forcing it to quiet down. …
 
The beginning of this afternoon's lecture is a stunning, wisdom-packed reflection on the analysis of our own world view. Alan starts by giving an overview of some of the predominant world views, from the individual vantage points of physics, biology, Abrahamic religions (Christianism, Judaism, Islam), and contemplative practices, ultimately culmina…
 
I'll try not to title all of the Shamatha episodes from today onwards with the phrase "for the last time," although we have come to the final cycle of the teachings! My descriptions for these morning practices will really not be very verbose since it's the fourth time (or so) I podcast the full-body awareness practice. So if you are new to the podc…
 
A number of the past bonus podcasts had been geared towards the physicists, but this weekend we have some juice for psychologists! In this bonus podcast, we have some extremely interesting points about attention training and the cognitive sciences from a more professional psychology standpoint. However, this is also very relevant for all meditators…
 
In this bonus episode we cover some very interesting cognitive science/brain science questions from Noah. The first question asks if meditation researchers have been able to isolate the EEG correlates of meditative experiences such as staying on the object, excitation, laxity, etc. The second question asks whether it is possible to "augment" Shamat…
 
In this afternoon's marvelous introduction, Alan talks about The Great Path of the Bodhisattvas, comparing it to a Freeway (using the American term). Using this very accurate analogy he talks about getting on the fast lane, and never getting off (until we reach the common destination). A very inspiring introduction! After a thirty minute silent ses…
 
This afternoon we started with a special guided meditation to commemorate the Buddha's Enlightenment, not specifically centered on Shamatha or the Four Immeasurables. After the meditation, Alan gave us a short recap on the night/morning of the Buddha Gautama's enlightemnent, up to the moment when he went back to his five companions and they also ac…
 
Happy Vesak Day! This morning we conmemorated the celebration of Buddha ??kyamuni's birth, enlightment, and parinirvana with a guided Shamatha meditation. After the session, Alan talks a little bit about Vesak and concludes by saying that the best way to celebrate the Buddha's day is to practice all day, so I hope you can all join us around the wor…
 
I extracted this practical gem from this afternoon's lecture. It is a clear example of how the instructions to a practice can be profoundly meaningful, stunning, transformative, and just utterly inspiring when given correctly by a sharply prepared, more than qualified, and immensely skilled teacher. In this short episode, Alan sublimely describes t…
 
Today we went directly into practice, which I removed from the recording to make it easier to listen to. As you know by now, just do your own practice and then press play! Alan suggests that if we are just feeling "ordinary" or with no specific need to balance emotions, then Loving Kindness or Tonglen are always magnificent go-to practices. After t…
 
This morning we had a silent meditation followed by a few brief tips. The tips cover a bit of posture, and then Alan talks about how the benefits of the practices can be retained in a non-contemplative lifestyle, linking this to losing as little ground in between sessions by using one of several strategies. Enjoy! (Local photo from Daniela)…
 
This afternoon we went directly into meditation with no preamble, and had no outro directly pertaining to the meditation. So you can meditate for 24 minutes on your own and then press play! We briefly come back to Malcom's question on the Theravada/Mahayana views of Equanimity, clearning up some generalizations that are sometimes made about Buddhis…
 
This morning Alan suggested to adopt the attitute of starting a 2-week retreat. He humorously gave some very important points and tips about the practice in order to make the most out of the time we have left. Very recommended! After the practice, Alan throws in 3 minutes about William James' pure experience theory, John Wheeler 's (theoretical phy…
 
In today's lecture, Alan gave a very brief reflection for when we finish this retreat. As we know, the still, sustained focus / samadhi of our attention will naturally diminish within a socially engaged lifestyle. However, the Four Immeasurables have no reason to do so and in fact can even be amplified and practiced all day within the context of ou…
 
In this episode, Alan talks about something that probably bothers many of us, and he calls it "A Sacred Tension." It is about our decision to either dedicate our time fully to contemplation, to mundane life, or somewhere in between both. This is very valuable for those of us having these types of doubts. I stripped out the silent meditation (so you…
 
This afternoon we started with a very practical introduction on how to draw from the 4I throughout the course of a normal day in our life after the retreat if we are not going into full time practice. To use an incorrect (but illustrative) phrase, going back to the "real world." It includes a review on how to identify when and which of the Four Imm…
 
This morning Alan started by saying that he would like to let us choose our own Shamatha method, for these next few days and perhaps for the rest of the retreat. If so, then I will only be podcasting the long afternoon sessions. But for now I left this one in anyway. Alan also talks about the "gears" of our practice, upshifting and downshifting, an…
 
In this short and sweet sunday bonus, we synthesized the three main methods of Shamatha into one practice. There is an extremely short introduction and then the practice. A great way to combine these different meditative variations! Enjoy as we did! I would also like to let you know that after receiving several emails offering donations, I added so…
 
This lovely afternoon we went back to the practice of Loving Kindness, using the phrase from T.S. Elliot in the title. We went straight into meditation. After the practice, we had assorted Q&A from several people, on many topics. Alan talked about "practicing well" regardless of how well the practice is going, and there are other pieces of golden i…
 
As you can probably tell by the title, today's practice was not you regular 4I practice. Sure, it did start out with a regular equanimity/Tonglen practice but this time we had the option of going deeper, down to pristine awareness. Rather than "Boundless" Compassion or Loving Kindness, today we had the option to cultivate "Great" (Maha) Compassion/…
 
Alan "kickstarted" this morning [because he likes that word so much ;) ] with a healthy dose of Physics. He started talking about the following article from NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/science/space/18cosmos.html , which claims to uncover a new clue as to why we exist. Appreciating the enormous scientific value of this article, we realiz…
 
This afternoon Alan starts by quite briefly explaining this balance between fluidity and structure in the equanimity practice, and after the instructions we set off in a pretty much rich but silent session. After the session Alan had two juicy pieces of paper with multi-questions written on them. They cover a lot of practical content, such as the c…
 
This morning we return to the third phase in the classic Awareness of Awareness teachings of Padmasambhava. In the introduction, Alan explains how this phase helps create a very 3D and spacious quality to our awareness, which is a very good warmup before settling in in tomorrow's practice. Alan clearly explains the practice with his characteristic …
 
This afternoon the meditation was 100% silent. Even the introduction lasts around 20 seconds! I cut out the 24 minutes of silence in order to make this a smaller download. You can click pause and do your own Empathetic Joy meditation! For reference, go to the previous podcasts. After the meditation we had a power outage which cut out a chunk of a v…
 
Today's practice, the second out of the four Awareness of Awareness methods that we cover in our cycle, is a very deep penetrating practice, encroaching upon VIpassyana territory. Alan starts with an introduction on the practice and its implications, relating it to the short discourse by the Buddha to the wandering ascetic Bahiya. After this sublim…
 
Alan starts this afternoon by detailing some of the possible "side effects" that could happen during intense practice of Shamatha, in the sense that when we are trying to make our mind so focused an unified, it can sometimes become quite small. He also talks about how sometimes we keep hurting ourselves with our own memories of unpleasant events (m…
 
This morning Alan promptly warned us that he was feeling a little bit feisty, which resulted in a great historical introduction with examples of how subjective experience has been mistreated and eventually completely disregarded by scientists and philosophers. It includes some fun quotes like this one from John B. Watson in 1913, "The time has come…
 
Today as the title suggests we combined Compassion and Loving kindness into a practice of Tonglen. Furthermore, we incorporated the four modes of enlightened acvitity, using each one where needed, and in the visualization we let the light or energy sent out with the breath take the form of whatever is actually needed in the situation (not just nece…
 
In this morning's introduction, Alan talks about how the mind is very capable of healing itself, and how the purpose of settling the mind in its natural state is to observe it vividly while not doing things that will prevent the mind from healing. He also talks about talk therapy and medicine, highlighting how they are can be crucial in some cases …
 
This is a short followup (I promise! It’s actually less than 15 minutes) clearing up some points from the previous episode. I took two fragments from the next day and mashed them together for this podcast. It is absolutely necessary to listen to Part 1 before listening to this. In this first fragment B. Alan Wallace briefly returns to the topic of …
 
Ok, this is what a lot of you have been waiting for, and with very good reason! Get your thinking hats on, turn off your phones, get a nice cup of tea, clear your schedule, and bring forth your scientific aspect. In this podcast episode, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., will be delving into topics such as the nature of information, mind and matter as a deri…
 
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