Milarepa at Yolmo Kangra-Part 2

You who are the way of view, meditation, and action,
Grant your blessings so that I may dwell within the self-existing nature.

Listen to part 2  in a series of talks by Hal Blacker, on The Song of View, Meditation & Action at Yolmo Kangra, by Milarepa. This talk continues to discuss the view of Mahamudra. Given at Real Dharma Sangha on February 1, 2011:

If you are unable to use the flash player, listen or download here.

Ceaselessly hearing, pondering and meditating

“At this time when the difficult to gain ship of leisure and fortune has been obtained, ceaselessly hearing, pondering and meditating day and night in order to liberate oneself and others from the ocean of cyclic existence is the Bodhisattva’s practice.”

~Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo, from The Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices (trans. H.E. Garchen Rinpoche)

Nonduality and Teacher-Student Ethics

Nondual teachings, such as Mahayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, proclaim the ultimate unity of all experience, in the end deconstructing all oppositions—self-other, good-bad, even the distinctions between samsara and nirvana, liberation and bondage, and teacher and student. What role then can there be, in a domain where all borders and distinctions dissolve, for clear ethical boundaries in the student-teacher relationship? In particular, how in the face of the awareness of limitless unity and freedom, can there be clear prohibitions against teacher-student sexual relations, financial exploitation, authoritarianism, physical abuse or any other form of potentially harmful conduct between teacher and student?

Ethical boundaries create a necessary safe vessel—an environment that is free (as much as possible) from fear of exploitation—in which teacher and student can deeply explore the realization of nondual openness and freedom. Without a sense of safety, at least from gross harm and exploitation, the deep examination and questioning of the reality of all distinctions, leading to the dissolving of all borders in nondual realization, will almost certainly not occur. For this reason, it is precisely the teacher’s commitment to communicating and facilitating nondual understanding that demands the discipline to refrain from transgressing ethical boundaries in the teacher-student relationship. Ethical boundaries, such as Buddhism’s five precepts—not to kill, lie, steal, slander, or engage in inappropriate sexuality—provide the necessary safe structure in which nondual inquiry and realization can effectively occur.

Any teacher who is genuinely concerned with fostering nondual understanding will find ethical limits in the teacher-student relationship useful and liberating, rather than a limiting burden. And any student who genuinely hopes to realize nonduality will find the safe vessel of ethical boundaries an environment in which nondual inquiry and liberation can most readily occur.

For some, these basic principles may seem obvious. They are clearly set forth in all genuine nondual (not to mention dualistic) spiritual traditions. Yet, perhaps, due to the subtlety of nondual understanding, the novelty of widespread nondual spirituality in the West, and the often unconscious power of greed, anger and delusion—even in those who appear to be realized—they need to be stated, clarified and affirmed, it seems, again and again.

May all students and teachers fearlessly enter and enjoy the safe vessel of nondual inquiry, free from harm and exploitation.

Milarepa at Yolmo Kangra-Part 1

All the manifestation, the Universe itself, is contained in the mind.
The nature of mind is the realm of illumination
Which can neither be conceived or touched.
These are the key-points of the view.

~Milarepa, The Song of View, Practice & Action at Yolmo Kangra (trans. Garma C.C. Chang)

Listen to part 1 of a series of  talks by Hal Blacker, on The Song of View, Practice & Action at Yolmo Kangra, by Milarepa, covering the view of Mahamudra.  Given at Real Dharma Sangha on January 25, 2011:

If you are unable to use the flash player, listen or download here.

Real Dharma live on KOWS 107.3 FM and Internet Radio

This Saturday, February 12, 2011, at 4:30 p.m., Hal Blacker will be interviewed live on the Mystical Positivist radio show, on KOWS radio 107.3 FM, with internet radio streaming (or go directly to the live stream here at 4:30). As this is a low power radio station, you’ll need listen to it on the internet, unless you are lucky enough to live near Occidental, CA. Go to and click on the picture of the cow wearing headphones. If you can’t listen live, a podcast of the show should be available at The Mystical Positivist soon.

Ganges Mahamudra–Part 7

What joy!
With the ways of the intellect, you won’t see beyond  intellect.
With the ways of action you won’t know non-action.
If you want to know what is beyond intellect and action,
Cut your mind at its root and rest in naked awareness.
~Tilopa, Ganges Mahamudra (trans. Ken McLeod)

Listen to part 7, the concluding talk in a series of talks by Hal Blacker, on Ganges Mahamudra (Mahamudra Upadesha) by Tilopa. (Covering verses 21-28). Given at Real Dharma Sangha on January 11, 2011:

If you are unable to use the flash player, listen or download here.