From Thursday 28th June to Sunday 1st July, Chamtrul Rinpoche will guide a calm abiding meditation retreat in Northampton.
All of the teachings that Buddha gave can be summed up in the teachings of the six perfections, which together constitute an authentic Buddhist path. Lacking any one of these perfections, the path would be incomplete:
The perfection of generosity.
The perfection of ethical discipline.
The perfection of patient tolerance.
The perfection of joyful perseverance.
The perfection of concentration.
The perfection of wisdom.
The teachings on calm abiding (Sanskrit: shamatha) are to be found within the teachings of the perfection of concentration. Even though calm abiding isn’t unique to Buddhism, it is, however, a vital part of its path.
Calm abiding is a state of mind that is serenely stilled of all mental wandering, agitation, and dullness. Once attained, the mind can effortlessly, calmly abide with great clarity and power on any chosen object of focus, such as the breath, love, compassion, mantra recitation, visualizations within tantra, and so forth. Or it can calmly abide even without an object of focus, just resting in its unaltered and spacious state.
It is said, "The difference between the practice of Buddhism with and without calm abiding, is like the difference between the footprints of an elephant and a mouse." It is also said, "When wind blows upon a candle, the flame flickers, and it will illuminate little. But with no wind, the flame is stable, and it will illuminate all." Similarly, the more stable and clear that the mind becomes, the deeper and more powerful any Dharma practice will be. Therefore, the main purpose of this retreat is to cultivate calm abiding, and then from that, the mind will be able to cultivate special insight (Sanskrit: vipashyana) into the nature of reality. In Buddhism, this is known as the union of shamatha and vipashyana.
However, if somebody doesn’t practice Buddhism, but just wants to practice calm abiding on its own, it’s still very beneficial for this life. Not only can they train their mind to effortlessly concentrate on any task or object at hand, but as a byproduct of the calming of turbulent thoughts and disturbing emotions, a great stillness is revealed, that will bring inner peace, contentment, happiness, and health.
Those who attend this retreat will have the very rare opportunity to receive the necessary teachings and close guidance directly from Chamtrul Rinpoche himself.