29. To attain complete and stable meditation
To vanquish my emotionality / I need insight based in tranquility.
To understand this and to cultivate / a stable, focused meditative state,
Not getting stuck in the four formless realms: / This is the way a bodhisattva trains.
verse 29 audio above
This just in: Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s commentary on verse 29 consists mainly of a guided calm abiding meditation using visualization of the Buddha as its focus, which then segues right into insight meditation, thus perfectly illustrating the point of this verse. We will do this meditation in class instead of our usual “Two Wings of Awakening” meditation based on points 1 and 2 of the seven points of mind training.
Meanwhile, thanks to an email from Marilyn this morning, I now know there is a fabulous appendix in The Heart of Compassion that I had failed to notice, even though we relied on Appendix 1 in our discussion of verse 6 — quite a while ago. In Appendix 3, Dilgo Khyentse shares important instructions on meditation from Dzatrul Ngawang Tendzin Norbu‘s Vase of Amrita and from Dilgo Khyentse’s root teacher, Shechen Gyaltsap Pema Namgyal. Neither of these texts appears to be available in English translation, other than the excerpts presented here.
I am particularly happy to see Tendzin Norbu’s explanation of “the nine ways of settling the mind.” These are often presented in English as nine levels or stages of calm abiding, which may also be valid, but it sometimes leads to confusion about how the stages relate to each other and how to figure out which stage we’re “on.” The presentation here is easily understood and applied, and for that alone, this appendix is a treasure. But it also includes several other essential and very clear explanations that it is wonderful to have in one place so concisely presented.
The sole focus of calm abiding recommended here by Tendzin Norbu is visualization of the Buddha — and that explains why Dilgo Khyentse’s commentary is devoted to guiding us through that visualization and using the resulting state of calm abiding as a basis for the next stage of meditation: insight, aka vipashyana (Skt) or lhaktong (Tib). Et voila! Having distanced ourselves from the homeland of our habitual reactions way back in verse 2, now we have the method for putting them to rest once and for all. Will we do it?
Sorry, these class notes have not been completed yet, but they are in the queue. It’s been a busy couple of months!
Related posts: “Same Old Raccoon” and “Please, Sir, Could I Have . . . Less?”
The index of the study guide and recordings of the classes are here.
Next practice: Verse 29: to cultivate wisdom
The complete study guide: click here (see “about the 37 practices study guide” at top of page for orientation if needed)
Complete list of verses to date: “37 practices translation” at top of screen, or click on link