Non-Thinking through Clear Thinking It sometimes feels like study proliferates our thoughts, when what we really want is for the mind to be still. But our thoughts are a tool. We can use them to undermine our belief in solidity. In fact, Nitartha’s Clear Thinking course offers a method to arrive at non-thought, which is one aspect of the experience of meditation. Dignaga and Dharmakirti analyzed language, words and clauses, and observed that among those the most elemental unit of expression is a word which is imbued with meaning. They noted that thoughts are language and concluded that language is the same as logical operations, and that the
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So far Elena Weiss has created 8 blog entries.
The Elegance of Union: Joining Study and Mahamudra At Nitartha's Summer Institute study and Mahamudra meditation are joined. Why? Jirka Hladiš says, “It's very simple -- that’s the elegance of it. The whole point of studying the view is to clarify the object of meditation. When you get the object of meditation right, then you just rest one-pointedly on the object, without the need for more instruction.” Study is quite extensive at Nitartha because it is crucial for determining the object of meditation. We often determine our object of meditation in an incorrect or unclear way. This creates a problem. While we still benefit from shamatha because it
The Five Sciences: Accomplishing the Aim of the Bodhisattva This year at the 2023 Summer Institute, thefive sciences will be taught on site at the University of Colorado, Boulder In order to benefit all sentient beings, one needs to be able to communicate according to the interests and abilities of a great diversity of minds. The best training for achieving that goal is the training in the five sciences because, together, they encompass all that can be known. Lama Mipham said, “All mundane and supramundane topics of knowledge can be contained . . . within a simple enumeration of just five fields of knowledge.”1 As aspiring bodhisattvas, we
Yogacara: the remedy for the poor diet of "Mind Only" by Mitra Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl. Mitra Brunnhölzl will be teaching on Yogacara at July's Summer Institute. To remedy the poor diet of “Mind-Only” always being refuted by Madhyamaka as the highest Buddhist view and do justice to the great Indian Mahayana Yogacara tradition, recent teachings on Vasubandhu’s Thirty Verses by H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, extensively discuss the need to review the way Tibetan doxographies present the so-called “Mind-Only School” in light of the classical Yogacara School in India and China. Yogacara is (mis)represented as “Mind-Only” for three main reasons: superficial and out-of-context judgments based on
Enhance Your Mahamudra Practice through Space Awareness Space Awareness will be offered on site at this year's Summer Institute (for details, check out the Summer Institute Enhancement Activities page). I wonder, how would we be able to experience the "spaciously relaxed" quality of Mahamudra meditation without having a sense of space? How big is your sense of space? As you go about your day, do you feel the space behind your back? Are you aware of the space above and below you as you walk, talk or wash the dishes? Or do you go through most of your day only aware of what is in the visual field
Once we have developed calm-abiding to some degree, the mind becomes settled enough that we can take anything that arises in our present moment experience as the object of meditation. For example, in this course we will explore the key vipashyana practice of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which encompasses everything that we experience. We will have an opportunity to practice some of these four foundations through guided analytical meditations. Another vipashyana practice is meditation on the Four Noble Truths: what we are to know (the truth of suffering), what we relinquish (the origin of suffering), what we attain (the truth of cessation) and what we rely upon
What is a path? It is something that, once we have entered it, will bring us to more supreme states. The previous blog discussed one aspect of the view of the Sautrantika philosophical system — that our sense perceptions do not perceive outer appearances, but rather they perceive mental images. The path, or meditation, offers an opportunity to experience the phenomena described by the view. In fact, what appears during meditation is precisely that which is presented by the view. Having studied the view, we can then bring clarity to our meditative experience. This is the very purpose of studying the view at Nitartha Institute – to
The Sautrantika response to “Is there a real world out there?” In Mind and Its World IV, the last course in Nitartha’s foundation curriculum, we arrive at the Sautrantika view. The Sautrantikas share a lot with the Vaibashikas, who are the topic of Mind and Its World III, but go even further. Their perspective on existence is more subtle and they are considered even more insightful. Understanding their views helps us to understand our own confusion even more, and also better prepares us for what comes in Nitartha’s intermediate courses. So, is there a real world out there? Well, if you are a Sautrantika you would say, “Yes!”