Non-Meditation workshop: the Tibetan Ultra

In this workshop, we will explore experientially the unique approach of Mahamudra, a style of practice found in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Mahāmudrā (Sanskrit, Tibetan: Chagchen, Wylie: phyag chen, contraction of Chagya Chenpo, Wylie: phyag rgya chen po) literally means “great seal” or “great symbol.” It “is a multivalent term of great importance in later Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism” which “also occurs occasionally in Hindu and East Asian Buddhist esotericism. (1)

The name refers to a body of teachings representing the culmination of all the practices of the Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, who believe it to be the quintessential message of all of their sacred texts. The mudra portion denotes that in an adept’s experience of reality, each phenomenon appears vividly, and the maha portion refers to the fact that it is beyond concept, imagination, and projection. (2)

In this workshop, we will thus engage a style of sitting called non-meditation, a practice with potential to profoundly deepen and transform our meditation experience. In the practice of non-meditation, although there is a sitting practice, we loosen up a great deal around techniques, allowing meditative ease to find us naturally.

Non-meditation acknowledges that the resources of peace, joy and compassion that we seek are already present innately, so efforts to artificially create these in our lives often end up undermining the process of their emergence.

Instead, we are invited into a new relationship with meditation practice as discovery or adventure, relying on the power of space and openness to prompt our inner Buddha to emerge naturally. As we open to meditative ease, we find fresh ways of holding and relating to “hindrances” as our friends and allies in practice.

This session includes a significant practice component. For those who have struggled with a tendency to over-effort in their meditation practice, or if your practice has grown stale, non-meditation can provide a much-needed tool for balance, resilience and renewal. This workshop will also utilize several Vajra Songs (short profound instructions) on meditation practice.

Reference notes

(1). Jackson, Roger R. (2005). “Mahāmudrā”. Encyclopedia of Religion (2 ed.). p. 5596. 

(2).  Reginald Ray, Secret of the Vajra World. Shambhala 2001, page 261.

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