Monday, January 19, 2015

Overcoming Doubt Through Direct Experience

by Shaila Catherine

Do you ever find yourself denying—or perhaps just doubting—the reality of experiences you have not yourself had?

In the Middle Length Discourses, there is a parable of a person born blind who could not see dark or light forms, colored forms, or the stars, sun, or moon, and so he says: “I do not know these. I do not see these. Therefore, these do not exist.”

This blind person denies what is outside his particular experience. This tendency—to doubt what has not yet been experienced—is relatively common in the Western Dhamma scene. For instance, I have heard people discount the potential for the stability of jhāna—maintaining that it is impossible to master such stable states of concentration in today's world. I have also heard people express doubt in the possibility of liberation from greed, hatred, and ignorance.

Some people, though interested in the Dhamma, have come to think full awakening itself is nearly impossible in today’s world.

But just because we have reviewed our circle of friends and found it devoid of enlightened beings doesn’t mean we should give up hope that awakening can happen to people like us.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Interview with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

by Olivia Clementine

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel is a student, teacher, and practitioner in the Longchen Nyingtik lineage. She has studied under the direction of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, her teacher and husband. She is also an author and a mother, as well as the retreat master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling retreat center in Colorado. Her knowledge and wisdom come out of her thirty years of personal study and practice and her schooling in both anthropology and Buddhism.

I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to be ignited with inspiration from Elizabeth. Finding Elizabeth’s teachings and hearing her point of view, especially from a Western female practitioner, has been very helpful in my own journey.What I appreciate most about Elizabeth’s presence and offerings is her impeccability, her devotion, and curiousity. Thank you Elizabeth for continually offering your insight and knowledge so big heartedly. Let us begin . . .