DISCOVER

The Vajra Essence

Advanced Teachings with Lama Alan Wallace

The Vajra Essence Retreats are a series of online retreats taught by Lama Alan Wallace (with support from Eva Natanya and Glen Svensson), focused on Düdjom Lingpa’s famous text The Vajra Essence: From the Matrix of Pure Appearances and Primordial Consciousness, a Self-Emergent Tantra of the Nature of Existence. These retreats are produced in partnership with the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies.

Read on to find out more about these retreats and how you can enroll.

Before enrolling, please review the restrictions listed further down on this page.

Currently available for self-study.

This retreat is available for purchase or through our All-Access membership.

Filmed in spring 2020, this retreat covered the first two phases and part of the third phase of The Vajra Essence, in which the Lake-Born Vajra gives complete teachings on achieving śamatha and vipaśyanā and on identifying pristine awareness—in short, all the guidance needed to reach the Path of the Great Perfection.

Enroll today to get access to the retreat recordings.

You can also click here to join the Wisdom Experience as an All-Access member; you’ll have access to all of the Vajra Essence retreats, plus a rich array of other teachings from Lama Alan, while your membership is active.

Already an All-Access member? Click here to start today!

Currently available for self-study.

This retreat is available for purchase or through our All-Access membership.

Filmed in spring 2021, in this retreat, Lama Alan granted an oral transmission and commentary to Düdjom Lingpa’s revealed treatise, The Vajra Essence. The teachings pick up where the first Vajra Essence retreat left off the year before, beginning with the section on “Combating the Faults of Benefit and Harm.” These teachings explore the emptiness of inherent existence of all those beings “out there” whom we may regard as true sources of our happiness and distress. He then explains the difference between pristine awareness that is present in the ground, and the path of pristine awareness. In Phase 4 he points out that after you have ascertained the view of emptiness, you must reveal the nature of the ground, Samantabhadra. For this, there are two possibilities: directly identifying it in your own being by practicing the Great Perfection alone, and identifying it in dependence upon the expedient path of the stage of generation. This is followed by a detailed explanation of core elements of the stage of generation practice as viewed from the perspective of the Great Perfection.

Enroll today to get access to the retreat recordings.

You can also click here to join the Wisdom Experience as an All-Access member; you’ll have access to all of the Vajra Essence retreats, plus a rich array of other teachings from Lama Alan, while your membership is active.

Already an All-Access member? Click here to start today!

Running March 31–May 30, 2022

• If you’re currently an All-Access annual member of the Wisdom Experience, please click here to learn more and sign up for this retreat.

• If you’re not an All-Access annual member of the Wisdom Experience, please click here.

During this eight-week retreat, Lama Alan will grant an oral transmission and commentary to Düdjom Lingpa’s revealed treatise, The Vajra Essence, picking up where the second Vajra Essence retreat left off last May, beginning with the section on “Determining the Characteristics and Qualities of the Ground.” During the prior 8-week retreats, we covered the first three phases and part of the fourth phase of this masterpiece, in which the Lake-Born Vajra gives complete teachings on achieving śamatha and vipaśyanā and on identifying pristine awareness. As we return to Phase 4, the Lake-Born Vajra had already pointed out that after you have ascertained the view of emptiness, you must reveal the nature of the ground, Samantabhadra. For this, there are two possibilities:

1. directly identifying it in your own being by practicing the Great Perfection alone,
2. identifying it in dependence upon the expedient path of the stage of generation.

This is followed by a detailed explanation of core elements of the stages of generation and completion practice as viewed from the perspective of the Great Perfection. We return to this section of the text that begins with generating the wrathful mandala and the actualization of oneself as the supreme basis of emanation of all wrathful beings, Heruka, in union with his divine partner, Ākāśāmukhī.

Restrictions

The teachings in these retreats are restricted; please read on for the restrictions specific to each retreat.

Part 1

To enroll in this retreat, the student commits to completing the entirety of part 1.

Part 2

To enroll in this retreat, the student must first:

• Have  received some Vajrayana empowerment (if you have not, Lama Alan recommends this empowerment from Garchen Rinpoche which can be taken online: Empowerment video and Sadhana link). SBI advises that applicants may also receive the Lake-Born Vajra empowerment from Lama Alan; learn more here.

• Have listened to the teachings during  the Vajra Essence part 1, either through the Wisdom videos or SBI audio.

• Out of reverence for the integrity of this lineage, be committed to receiving from Lama Alan the remainder of the oral transmission and commentary of The Vajra Essence. The transmission must be complete. It cannot yet be determined how many more eight-week retreats it will take to complete the text, but we expect it to be three or four.

• Regarding the restricted nature of the content, Lama Alan also provides the following guidance: while completion of the five sets of 100,000 recitations of preliminary practices will not be required to participate in these retreats, applicants should have established a sound basis in understanding and practice of the foundations of Buddhism, including śamatha, the four applications of mindfulness, the four immeasurables, and relative and ultimate bodhicitta.

Part 3

Students must have completed the previous parts of the retreat, and met restriction requirements for those parts.

 

Lama Alan Wallace

Lama Alan Wallace is president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. He trained for many years as a monk in Buddhist monasteries in India and Switzerland. He has taught Buddhist theory and practice in Europe and America since 1976 and has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including H. H. the Dalai Lama. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he earned his MA and PhD in religious studies at Stanford University. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and religion.