As we learn to develop concentration in meditation, samatha (calm, tranquility) is also developed, and together these qualities become a powerful means for deep insight and a source of profound well-being. This progressive series of talks, guided meditations and instructions explores in some detail the art of concentration, primarily through different ways of working with the breath and the body to open to deeper and deeper levels of calmness, presence and joy.
We use methods in mindfulness meditation to develop a number of highly valued qualities of mind including concentration, experiential inquiry, kindness, shared joy, and equanimity. At the same time we maintain from the beginning a basic attitude of radical acceptance; we respect self-acceptance as an element of each of the methods. Wait a minute. Is this coherent? Is it a joke? If we are practicing a method to improve the mind, can we really practice radical acceptance at the same time? Put abstractly it can be made to seem paradoxical. Yet the paradox can be resolved. And more important than conceptual resolution is the fact that in practice we find that the methods are transformative when practiced skillfully in a framework of radical acceptance.
This is the second chapter of Shantideva's "Bodhisattva's Way of Life" and discusses the importance of developing an attitude of reverence and devotion as well as purifying our past actions in order to plant the seed of awakening in fertile soil. We’ll be discussing not only the ideas but ways to incorporate them in your dharma practice.