The Way of Shamatha: Soothing the Body, Settling the Mind, and Illuminating Awareness
January 22 - 28, 2018
RIC / Ripa International Center / Switzerland – co-organized with Landguet Ried, Center for mindful living
Six Day Residential Retreat with Dr. B. Alan Wallace
During this retreat, we will explore in theory and practice a range of methods for developing meditative quiescence, or shamatha. We will begin with the practice of mindfulness of the breathing as taught by the Buddha, which is an especially effective approach to soothing the body and calming the discursive mind. We 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, we will engage in the practice of “shamatha without signs” as taught by Padmasambhava in his classic terma Natural Liberation. Although this subtle practice is taught explicitly as a means of achieving shamatha, Padmasambhava comments that it may even result in a 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 retreat 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.
Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind.
Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford.
With his unique background, Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world.