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Medicine Buddha Retreat
by Venerable Thubten Chodron©
Sravasti Abbey, Newport, Washington, USA
Part 2: 6 January - 9 March 2008


The 2007-08 winter retreat on the Medicine Buddha practice, together with Lamrim meditation, will be held in two segments. Teachings from the second segment, 6 January to 9 March 2008, are below.

Teachings from the first segment, 2 November to 2 December 2007, are here.

8 January

Setting Motivation for the Retreat
Venerable Chodron leads a meditation on setting the motivation for doing the Medicine Buddha practice.
[19 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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Q+A
- If a person has the Medicine Buddha initiation how do you do the visualization?
- How do you do the mantra, visualization and the lamrim meditation?
- When the sadhana says we are to experience bliss how do you do that?
- How fast should we do the sadhana?
- If you are working on a particular illness should you visualize the light coming into that area of your body?
- What things disqualify mantras from being counted?
- Dealing with restlessness and discomfort during the meditation session.
- Things that come up in your mind during retreat.

• [51 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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15 January

Q+A and Discussion
- Even when doing Dharma related work it can be distracting and intrude on my meditation
- Compulsive thinking and distraction
- Ripening karma and our reactions to ripening karma
- What can you do when you have a lot of chatter during breathing meditation?
- Thinking of the suffering of others
- Watching your mind during meditation and during daily life
- Doing visualization and mantra during the Medicine practice

[73 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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22 January

Q+A and Discussion
- Practicing equanimity to work with the reaction to criticism.
- Fear as an underlying motivating force.
- The fear that arises when looking at emptiness.
- Can praying change an external situation?
- Being aware in the moment.
- How can I become more mindful of physical actions?
- What is the purpose of the Medicine Buddha visualization?
- How can you start untangling the tangled knot of afflictions?
- Dealing with a confused mind.
- How do you bring in the suffering of others into the Medicine Buddha practice?
[80 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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29 January

Q+A
- In regard to self-grasping and self-centeredness, how can you eliminate one and not the other?
- Do arhats lose the direct perception of emptiness if they take the Bodhisattva path?
- What is a ripened mind stream?
- In the death process culminating in the clear light of death, is that a time when you could attain Buddhahood or gain realizations?
- What is the point of emanations?
- How does the mantra in sanskrit help the mind?
- What is the proper way to set the mind to listen to others speak?
- Can you explain the phrase, "your mind becomes non-dual with the Dharmakaya"?
- In the self-generation practice can you explain how you view yourself as the Buddha?
- Do emotions themselves create karma?
- Using the image of the Buddha as an object of concentration?
- Doing visualization in the Vajrasattva practice?
- Can you use lucid dreaming without doing tantric practice
- Can you go too far in the taking and giving meditation?
- Doing meditation on emptiness.
- Precious human life.
[68 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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5 February

Q+A
-Death process meditation.
- Clarity and developing concentration.
- Meditation on the body.
- What is a valid cognizer?
- If I give enough space to things I encounter, can I transform them as the Buddha transformed the arrows of Mara?
- Purifying karma and ripening karma.
- Subject and object in developing concentration.
- How does the mind get clear?
- Developing stability and clarity.
- Visualizing the Buddha as a living, three dimensional image.
- Substantial causes and cooperative conditions.
- Four point analysis of selflessness.

[65 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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12 February

Q+A
- Definition of substantial causes and cooperative causes
- Taking vows accumulates positive karma, but what about those who are not Buddhist who make a strong determination to do something or not do something?
- Innate self-grasping arises spontaneously, but how can that happen if everything is under the influence of causes and conditions?
- Does our intention take our prayers to their destination?
- Is it more powerful if you have more precepts when you make prayers?
- What is spirit harm and how do you create the causes?
- Ruminating on past events
- Creating stories in our mind and suppressed emotions
- Self-centeredness and paranoia

[64 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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26 February

Q+A
- Using the antidotes with old, habitual mental patterns.
- When visualizing the the Medicine Buddha in meditation, are we supposed to see the whole body or focus on the face?
- When visualizing the Medicine Buddha, what is the ideal size of the image?
- Visualizing the Medicine Buddha on your head.
- Can you do the Medicine Buddha visualization using the merit field?
- Taking notes during Dharma teachings, is it valuable or distracting?
- If you are doing the Medicine Buddha practice for a specific person who is ill, what is the best way to do the visualization?
- When you are trying to enlighten all beings including the gods, how does that work since they have so much pleasure?
- It's easier for me to think of the different realms here on earth because there are beings I can see.

[54 minutes] : Download mp3 file
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