The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva – New Course Starting 7/18/17

Dear Friends,

In this time of turmoil and strife, political upheaval, pandemic addiction and uncertainty, I am delighted to announce that the Tuesday night Manchester Meditation group will soon begin studying The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva, a dharmic poem written in Tibet in the 14th century by a humble monk named Tokme Zangpo. The version of this text we will use is the beautiful and very accessible translation and commentary: Reflections on Silver River, by Ken McLeod. (Unfettered Mind Media- 2014 Sonoma, CA)

From Ken’s commentary:

You need a direction. Traditionally, that is the Buddha, an example of how to live free from struggle. You need a way, a path. You find your path through the Dharma, the understanding and experience of those who have made similar journeys. You need guides, the Sangha, those who share your intention, serve as examples, and can point out what works and where the pitfalls are.

In the end, however, all you have is awareness, the quality of knowing that is present in every moment of experience- indefinable, indescribable, non-conceptual knowing. It seems to be nothing at all, yet it is there- clear and present- and experience just arises without restriction. Can you trust that knowing? Can you trust that clarity? Can you trust your own experience?

To look at it from another perspective, refuge is about how you relate to the experience of life itself. When you stop looking outside or inside for something to free you from your struggles, you take refuge in in direct awareness. That is Buddha. When awareness and experience are not different, you stop struggling with what arises and you are taking refuge in clarity. That is dharma. And when you experience life without grasping, opposing or ignoring what arises, you take refuge in unrestricted experience. That is sangha.

This text expresses the essence of Mahayana in clear, insightful and practical terms. However, it is challenging in that it asks us to go look deeply into, and often go against, our usual habitual patterns and emotional reactions in order to open our hearts and minds to a more wakeful state.

I find these simple verses to be very moving and profound, and am excited by the prospect of revisiting them with you and anyone else who wants to come along for the ride. Everyone is welcome, talks are free and meditation instruction is provided. (donate if you can, but only if you feel inspired) Sitting begins at 7, tea at 7:30 and talk and discussion at 8- upstairs at the R.J. Miles building every Tuesday.


Roger Guest

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