The Vajra Essence revealed by Düdjom Lingpa is a classic, 19th Century meditation manual in the Great Perfection (Dzogchen) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Covering all stages of meditative practice up to the achievement of spiritual awakening, it begins with an extraordinary presentation of the shamatha practice of “taking the impure mind as the path.”
This entails the cultivation of discerning mindfulness of the space of the mind and all mental phenomena that arise from moment to moment. The essence of this practice is to observe all these mental events without distraction and without grasping. In the process of sustained practice, the obsessive and compulsive activities of the mind gradually subside—like snowflakes settling in a snow-globe—and one’s awareness settles in the substrate consciousness (ālayavijñāna), characterized by bliss, luminosity, and non-conceptuality. This is called the “relative ground state of the mind,” not to be confused with nirvana, Buddha nature, or other transcendent states of awareness.
In this retreat, Lama Alan Wallace will offer an oral commentary to the shamatha section of The Vajra Essence, which he received from his teacher, the Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche, who authorized him to teach this portion of the text to general audiences. The retreat will also consist of meditation sessions and periods of discussion.
Co-teacher Eva Natanya will offer explanations of guru yoga and the seven uncommon, inner preliminaries that are mentioned but not explained in the text. These provide an indispensable foundation for all further stages of the path of the Great Perfection. Eva will also offer three optional early morning sessions on the guru yoga practice “Shower of Blessings”.
Lama Alan Wallace is an internationally recognised Buddhist teacher and scholar who has studied and practiced Buddhism for over 45 years. He spent 14 years as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama and he has studied with many great teachers from the Geluk, Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, and Theravada schools.
Alan is a world-renowned meditation teacher and guide, specialising in śamatha, vipaśyanā, dream yoga and Dzogchen teachings. He also brings deep insight into mindfulness as taught in secular movements and spiritual traditions other than Buddhism.
Apart from his training in Buddhism, Lama Alan has a degree in physics and philosophy of science, and a doctorate in religious studies. Drawing on this multi-faceted background, he brings many years of dedicated and profound practice and the wisdom of authentic experience to the challenge of integrating traditional Buddhist training with the needs of the modern world.
Alan’s website is: http://www.alanwallace.org
Eva Natanya is a scholar of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, an academic lecturer, writer, translator, and retreat leader. Following a nine-year career as a professional ballet dancer with both the New York City Ballet and the Royal Ballet of England, she earned an MA in Christian Systematic Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.
For over twenty years, she has studied meditation, yoga, and philosophy in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions with master teachers in the United States, England, and India. She is the editor of Open Mind: View and Meditation in the Lineage of Lerab Lingpa(2018) and co-editor of Fathoming the Mind: Inquiry and Insight in Düdjom Lingpa’s Vajra Essence (2018), both by Dr. B. Alan Wallace.
Her own work explores the deep connections between Christian and Buddhist thought at rigorous levels of theology, ethics, mysticism, and contemplative prayer. Eva has spent over thirty months in solitary meditation retreat, and will soon return to full-time meditation practice, living in remote mountains of Colorado.
Eva’s website is: www.evanatanya.com
Registration is a two stage process
1. Registration And Retreat Fee
The retreat fee of £250 covers the hire of the hall, costs of setting up, and other expenses. This also includes a fee for the teacher’s time and work. There will still be an opportunity for anyone who wishes to offer Lama Alan dana in gratitude for the teachings.
Please click the button below to Register for the retreat.
The ‘Promo code’ box in the application form pertains to bursaries.
See the section on the right for more information on bursaries.
Booked Through Lampeter University
Camping is not offered this year.
To book your accommodation through the University, please click the button below.
CCN offers bursaries to help cover the cost of the retreat. We believe that it is important that no-one is excluded because of low income. We offer a full bursary to members of the ordained sangha for the retreat, and cover the cost of accommodation for ordained sangha members who do not have the means to attend otherwise.
Others on low income may be offered a bursary depending on their circumstances, but will likely have to cover the cost of accommodation themselves.
If you would like to support our vision of making these teaching as accessible as possible, please consider contributing to the bursary fund, details of which are in the registration form.
If you are awarded a bursary, we will send you a ‘promo code’ to enter on the registration form.
To inquire about the bursary fund and all other queries, please email Elizabeth at: email@example.com.
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London Teaching Weekend
29 / 30 / 31 August 2020
Lama Alan Wallace & Dr Eva Natanya are teaching in London the weekend following the retreat : @ Colet House, 151 Talgarth Road, London W14 9DA
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