October Newsletter: Ongoing Autumn Classes

Monthly Dharma Quotation

“Buddhist insight comes from appreciating what is significant in experience, but this can’t be handed to us on a plate; there is no Book of Significance. Buddhist texts can merely hint at such things. In the end, we have to discern the significance of our experience for ourselves. We can read about openness, clarity, sensitivity, and so forth, but merely understanding them as words, at an intellectual level, brings little benefit. They have to affect our hearts; they have to affect our guts; they have to hit us in the deepest part of what we are.

“Buddhist practice is not about willpower, control, manipulated calm, stopping thoughts, making the mind blank or all the other wrong ideas people get about it. Instead it is about developing stability of mind through appreciating the three qualities of openness, clarity and sensitivity, not just in meditation but also in daily life.

“We need to develop openness towards situations and other people as well as towards ourselves. This means giving space to things, letting them exist completely as they are. It relates to having an open and honest heart or mind. Train yourself to immediately turn towards anything that you instinctively want to shy away from. This means turning towards those things that you find unpleasant or unpalatable about yourself. In this way, the very feeling of initial shrinking or rejection starts to automatically trigger the state of being aware and open. This is how you learn to be open and honest, because in this way you can really experience things properly. So you can think of being open as meaning always to turn towards things rather than away.”

Rigdzin Shikpo

If you would like to explore directly aspects of body, speech and mind in meditation or Buddhist principles such as openness, mandala, the collapse of confusion and the pursuit of truth, and how these principles relate to the four noble truths, we welcome you to join us at one of our ongoing classes below. This month’s quotation comes from Never Turn Away and Openness Clarity Sensitivity both by Rigdzin Shikpo. You can purchase these books from bookshop by emailing media@longchenfoundation.org

The meditation that will be taught during Longchen Open is commonly referred to as formless meditation. We could call this a beginners’ practice, but it is only for beginners in the sense that we start with it. In fact this is a practice we never abandon. When we reach the highest level, which might have a high-flown name like the Great Perfection, we will find ourselves doing the same meditation.

Anyone looking to make or deepen a connection to the Longchen Foundation and the practice of formless meditation can attend this online open meditation group.  This group meets on Zoom on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 8pm UK time.

Each hour begins with a Longchen Foundation instructor giving a direct teaching on an aspect of the formless meditation practice, followed by roughly 20 minutes of sitting meditation.  The final 15 or 20 minutes are an opportunity for open discussion about meditation or other practice topics.

If you would like to attend, or have any questions, please email pof@longchenfoundation.org in order to receive the Zoom link.  We are excited by this opportunity to practice together with old and new friends alike, inspired by the Maha Ati (Dzogchen) Buddhist teachings.

The Oxford Path of Freedom group continues their fall term with a series of classes on the Four Noble Truths, a vitally important teaching which encompasses the entirety of the Buddhist path. This course will use Rigdzin Shikpo’s book Never Turn Away as reading, which itself is structured around this essential Buddhist teaching. This group meets online via Zoom, for more information and to receive the Zoom link, email oxford@longchenfoundation.org. Never Turn Away can be purchased from our bookshop by emailing media@longchenfoundation.org.

Our everyday world is so familiar and seemingly mundane that we easily take it all for granted. By learning to relate to experience in a simple and direct way we can begin the great journey to discover something about what we truly are and develop the confidence to face whatever arises. The Lewisham Path of Freedom group have begun their Autumn course of teachings and meet in-person in South London. If you would like to attend these teachings in-person or for more information, please email southlondon@longchenfoundation.org.

Longchen Together is an opportunity for current students of the Longchen Foundation to come together and practice as a group online via Zoom. Each week, we meditate on a short Dharma quotation as inspiration. There is also time to chat and to get to know each other better. For more information on these practice sessions or to get the Zoom link, email events@longchenfoundation.org.

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