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Introduction to Dzogchen

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with B. Alan Wallace

Lesson 1: Introduction to Düdjom Lingpa and the Text

Welcome to preview mode! You can view the first video and meditation of the first lesson.

In this first lesson, Alan Wallace shares with us the fascinating biography of the author of the text our course is based on, The Foolish Dharma of an Idiot Clothed in Mud and Feathers, and begins his commentary on the text.

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  • 1. Watch

    1. Watch 1.

      Alan Wallace introduces us to the great teacher Düdjom Lingpa.

      Video 1

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      Video 2

  • 2. Read

    1. Read 1.

      This supplementary reading from Düdjom Lingpa’s Visions of the Great Perfection provides a detailed look into the life of the great teacher.

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  • 3. Practice

    1. Practice 1.

      Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit, and press “play” to be guided in a meditation focused on compassion.

      Download this Meditation   |  View Transcript  |  Print Transcript

      I invite you first of all to let your awareness descend into the body right down to the ground. To the sensations where your body is in contact with the cushion, the chair, your meditation mat. Quiet the mind, settle it into the mode of simple witnessing. Let your awareness fill the whole space of your body, setting your body at ease in stillness and a posture of vigilance. Settle your respiration in its natural rhythm, utterly unforced, unconstrained, effortless.

      Set your mind at ease, releasing all concerns about the future and the past. Let your awareness rest in stillness in the present moment; still and clear like an unflickering candle flame. In this way, we settle the body, speech, and mind in the natural state—relaxed, still, and clear. And for the rest of the session I invite us all here to cultivate the most meaningful motivation we can for this time we spend together in the spirit of loving-kindness, in the spirit of arousing motivation, one can say of bodhicitta, the aspiration to achieve perfect awakening as swiftly as possible for the sake of all sentient beings.

      Towards this end, I invite you first of all to raise a question to yourself. That question is: What is your vision of your own flourishing, of your own greatest happiness, your fulfillment? What would bring you the greatest sense of meaning or would make you truly happy? Then with each breath, with each out-breath, arouse the aspiration of loving-kindness that you may indeed realize your own fulfillment, your highest joy. Manifest your heart’s desire that you may be truly well and happy. Simply wish yourself well with every out-breath, and as you breathe out, let it be as if you’re breathing life into this vision. With each out-breath, imagine realizing here and now such well-being. Let your imagination play. Draw that vision into the present moment and imagine it to be true here and now.

      Let this be the motivation for this week we spend together. And now, we move on with the observation that, for any of us here, to realize such fulfillment, we cannot possibly do it on our own, with no help. So we move to the second question, then, and that is: What would you love to receive in the world around you from those near and far in the short-term and long-term? What would you love to see from the world around you to enable you to realize your highest ideals, your greatest happiness? Imagine it. With each in-breath arousing aspiration that it may be so. With each in-breath arouse the wish that you may receive all that you truly need from moment to moment, day to day, year to year; that reality may rise up to meet you and fulfill your every need, for you to realize your highest ideals. With each in-breath, imagine receiving the kindness of your fellow sentient beings around you, the blessings of the enlightened ones, the bodhisattvas, the buddhas. All that you need flowing in upon you with each in-breath.

      We turn to a third observation, and that is there’s no possible way we can realize such fulfillment, such awakening, such enlightenment, without bringing about very deep and irreversible transformation, purification, spiritual maturation within. So it leads to a third question, again pertaining directly to motivation for this retreat, but again is a question of loving-kindness. And that is how would you love to transform? How you love to grow, to mature? From what qualities would you love to be free, with what qualities would you love to be richly imbued in order to realize your heart’s desire? Imagine it. With every out-breath arouse the aspiration: May it be so. Let this idea be the motivation for the practice over the next six days. With every out-breath, breathe life into this aspiration that it may come true. With each out-breath, imagine this becoming true here and now. Imagine evolving through all the stages of the path to its culmination.

      And we turn to a final observation in this meditation, that is that none of us exist in isolation. None of us is independent. The very fabric of our existence here is interwoven with all of those around us. It is a world of interdependence. So in order to bring the greatest possible meaning to your own life, the greatest possible sense of fulfillment, of satisfaction, we raise a fourth and final question and that is: Drawing on your own unique background, your interest, your abilities, your passion, what would you love to offer to the world around you? To those near and far, over the short-term and the long-term, what are the greatest goods you can imagine sharing with the world to bring about the greatest possible benefit? Imagine it. With every out-breath, arouse the aspiration: May it be so. And letting your imagination play, with every out-breath, imagine offering here and now the greatest good you can imagine—to alleviate the suffering of the world, to bring others to their own fulfillment. Imagine being a Buddha, a perfectly awakened one alleviating the suffering of the world and bringing every sentient being to their own perfection. Release all appearances and aspirations; let your awareness be still.

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  • 4. Quiz

    1. 1

      Quiz 1

      15 minutes


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