Friday, May 13, 2016

The Experience of Samadhi By Richard Shankman

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Dharma practice comprises a wide range of wise instructions and skillful means. As a result, meditators may be exposed to a diversity of approaches to the core teachings and the meditative path--and that can be confusing at times. In this clear and accessible exploration, Dharma teacher and longtime meditator Richard Shankman unravels the mix of differing, sometimes conflicting, views and traditional teachings on how samadhi (concentration) is understood and taught.

In part one, Richard Shankman explores the range of teachings and views about samadhi in the Theravada Pali tradition, examines different approaches, and considers how they can inform and enrich our meditation practice.

Part two consists of a series of interviews with prominent contemporary Theravada and Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist teachers. These discussions focus on the practical experience of samadhi, bringing the theoretical to life and offering a range of applications of the different meditation techniques.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Great Secret of Mind: Special Instructions on the Nonduality of Dzogchen By Tulku Pema Ringtsal

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Dzogchen (Great Perfection) goes to the heart of our experience by investigating the relationship between mind and world and uncovering the great secret of mind's luminous nature. Weaving in personal stories and everyday examples, Pema Rigtsal leads the reader to see that all phenomena are the spontaneous display of mind, a magical illusion, and yet there is something shining in the midst of experience that is naturally pure and spacious. Not recognizing this natural great perfection is the root cause of suffering and self-centered clinging. After introducing us to this liberating view, Pema Rigtsal explains how it is stabilized and sustained in effortless meditation: without modifying anything, whatever thoughts of happiness or sorrow arise simply dissolve by themselves into the spaciousness of pure presence.

The book is divided into chapters on the view, meditation as the path, conduct, the attainment, and the four bardos. Each chapter consists of mini-sections that can be read as stand-alone Dharma talks. Pema Rigtsal has studied and lived with several authentic Dzogchen masters and has surprising stories to tell about their unconventional methods to introduce students to the subtle view of Dzogchen.

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