51 The Power of Devotions & Great Empathetic Joy


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Alan begins by giving an explanation of the Refuge and Bodhicitta practices that we do in the morning sessions. The classic visualisation for taking refuge involves imagining Buddha Shakyamuni in front of you, with all the female sentient beings on your left and all the male sentient beings on your right. Alan also mentioned a story in which Kublai Khan asked one of his spiritual advisor, a Sakya lama, whether it would be good to make all his subjects in his empire Buddhists. The Sakya Lama replied that it wasn’t a good idea, since in Buddhism everyone has the freedom to follow their path. Alan also recalled the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in this regard, since His Holiness always encourages people to keep their faith. Going back to the practice of Refuge, we bring to mind what for us symbolises most the embodiment of eudaemonia. In the Buddhist view, Samantabhadra, Padmasambhava, etc. are creative displays of your own pristine awareness (in saying this Alan makes a critique of Ludwig Feuerbach’s view). For the practice of Bodhicitta, Alan explains that here we call as witnesses all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, together with all sentient beings, and we make a pledge: “I vow to liberate the world.” Meditation is on Great Empathetic Joy (or Maha Mudita in sanskrit) After meditation, Alan highlights that currently there is a strong psychological tendency to be critical. Criticism is everywhere, and it’s the tendency to find fault in others and oneself. This is clearly not balanced. Mudita (Empathetic Joy) is there to restore balance. It’s the antidote to Compassion when it goes astray (and thus falling into despair). This is a practice of mindfulness. Attend to others’ happiness today and enjoy others’ happiness, take delight in it. Wherever there is virtue, attend to it and enjoy it. It will spice up your life. The meditation starts at 17:32. ___ Course notes, other episodes and resources for this retreat are available here The text for this retreat can be purchased via the SBI Store. Finally, Please contribute to help us afford the audio equipment we rent to make these, and future podcasts freely available.

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