Shamatha: Meditation for Balanced Living

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During this course you will explore in theory and practice a range of methods for developing meditative quiescence, or shamatha.

The course begins with the practice of mindfulness of breathing as taught by the Buddha, which is an especially effective approach to soothing the body and calming the discursive mind.

You will then explore an approach to shamatha that is particularly pertinent for Dzogchen practice, called “settling the mind in its natural state,” as taught by the nineteenth-century Dzogchen master Lerab Lingpa in his commentary to the Heart Essence of Vimalamitra.

Finally you will engage in the practice of “shamatha without signs” as taught by Padmasambhava in his classic terma Natural Liberation, where he explains how it relates to the realization of rigpa, or pristine awareness.

The achievement of shamatha is widely regarded in the Buddhist tradition as an indispensable foundation for the cultivation of contemplative insight (vipashyana), and this course is designed to provide students with a sufficient theoretical understanding and a basis in experience to enable them to proceed effectively toward this extraordinary state of mental and physical balance.

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