70 Reflections in the Mirror


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Alan provides a transmission of Padmasambhava’s pointing out instruction on the nature of the mind which is the meditation for this session. After the meditation, Alan highlights two ways of cutting through the structure of the mind. The first is like a bolt of lightning that can occur as a result of pointing out instructions from an accomplished master. The second is by returning again and again in meditation until it becomes clearer. This can also happen by reading a text or listening to an oral transmission including a recording. An oral transmission has the benefit of containing a blessing. The theme of the chapter so far has been ‘the mind as a label’. Alan gives examples of the mere labelling of phenomena through two quotes on emptiness from the Pali Canon between Bhikkuni Vajira and a mara, and another discourse between King Milinda and Nagasena. He also draws on the work of Stephen Hawking, John Serle, John Wheeler and his own scholarship to demonstrate that our belief system drives our knowledge of the world. Our understanding of the world requires three entities – the known, the knowing and the knower (Nagarjuna). If one of these is missing then simultaneously all three disappear. Alan discusses the placebo effect as being the result of the mind using information to transform matter into a healing process. The placebo is an information effect. Alan then provides commentary on pages 110 and 111 of the text and returns to the subject of emptiness. He comments that the Middle Way is very slender and finishes with the statement that all phenomena are like reflections in the mirror. The meditation starts at 3:31 ___ 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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