The Path of Freedom retreat is a unique time of year when all of the Longchen Foundation students are able to practice together as one Sangha, as well as being perfectly suitable for any practitioner to experience a retreat for the first time. The retreat will be taught by Rigdzin Shikpo and in previous retreats he has taught not only fundamental aspects of the Buddhist path but also deeply profound topics from some of the most advanced areas of Buddhist view. We would like to get a general idea of who might attend the retreat so we can get a better sense of the size of the reservation we should make at our retreat space, the Carmelite Priory outside of Oxford. If at all possible, please email email@example.com before this Friday, June 17 if you are considering attending. Or, simply make a reservation at Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/path-of-freedom-retreat-tickets-335712163117.
The Longchen Open Group is dedicated to providing a space not only for newcomers to learn the meditation practice, but also for all Longchen students to deepen their connection to this foundational meditation that is essential to the entirety of the Buddhist path. In recent weeks, the Longchen Foundation senior teachers have been connecting us to the aspects of Body, Speech and Mind and how they integrate to the Formless Meditation. Each week provides a short and profound teaching as well as the opportunity to practice and ask questions about your experience. Currently, the class is primarily taught by Caroline Seymour and Caroline Cupitt, both of whom have studied with Rigdzin Shikpo for decades, and we’re very excited that this week on Thursday at 7pm, David Hutchens, one of Rigdzin Shikpo’s earliest students, will be teaching to the group. Don’t miss it! For more information and to get the Zoom link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Path of Freedom Groups
Currently the Oxford Path of Freedom Group is finishing their Spring teaching term on The Myth of Freedom by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche but will start again later in the Summer. There will be one more teaching next week and then an end of term Ganacakra. The group meets Tuesday evenings at 7pm and for more information, contact email@example.com. As soon as they have new dates planned, we will announce them to everyone.
The Lewisham Path of Freedom Group continues their teaching until mid-July and meets in-person at the Lewisham Unitarian Meeting House on Monday evenings at 7pm. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monthly Dharma Quotation: The Four Karmas and Formless Meditation
The Four Karmas are
- Pacifying, peace,
- Increasing, flourishing, expanding,
- Warmth, magnetizing, drawing people in,
- And not particularly destruction, but knowing what needs to be done and being able to cut through negativity which may be getting in the way.
In your meditation, you can have the sense of the peaceful mind, the enriching mind, the mind that draws towards you, and the mind that destroys what needs to be destroyed. This can happen in formless meditation as regards what arises in your mind.
After all, formless meditation, in one sense, is about a certain peacefulness. And in turning towards experience, beginning to feel that there is something enriching in experience for your life and for others, in the actual process of doing that, letting go and opening out in formless meditation, that is the expansiveness of the second karma. With the third karma, you can have the sense that things can come to you. You don’t have to reach out all the time and try to make things happen. If you reach out in an expansive, open way, then there’s the sense of receptiveness and some sense of things naturally flowing towards you as well. And the fourth karma of actually letting go of something and realizing it need never return.
When I let go of a thought, it never rises up again. It’s very important to have the idea that what has come and gone never rises up again. You’re completely free of what came to you. Things come to you, as they pass through you, they vanish totally. If you can begin to see this and stop looking back all the time, your mind will become fresh.
You will have the Four Karmas, your mind will become peaceful because there is no reason why it should not be: you’re no longer looking back to secure your position. You expand outwards, which is like the second karma. You have a sense of receptivity like the third karma. And you always let go of any kind of thing that arises that could be negative—or could be positive for that matter. What arises, appears and vanishes. It is the nature of things to be like that. You don’t need to look back! That’s when your mind becomes powerful and simple: when you don’t look back.
Rigdzin Shikpo gave this teaching during the Lion’s Roar Retreat from 2020 of the third year of the Lion’s Roar. Congratulations to the First Year Lion’s Roarers who just attended the first year retreat!