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Seeing and Sealing the Nature of Mind: A Workshop on Mahāmudrā

Residential Program
Dates: Mar 04, 2022 - Mar 07, 2022

Instructor(s): Roger Jackson

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Course Description:

Awareness enters into the luminous realm

and starkly sees the nature of all things;

even if you look again, you’re beyond the realm of seeing:

it’s like searching beyond the edge of unobstructed space.

In poetic utterances such as these, the First Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662), celebrates Mahāmudrā, the Great Seal, an Indo-Tibetan Mahāyāna Buddhist term that refers, among other things, to the ultimate nature of mind, meditative techniques for realizing that nature, and the spiritual freedom that ensues from that realization. Mahāmudrā was a key theme for the great tantric adepts (mahāsiddhas) of India and has a place of importance in every tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This workshop will focus on the approach to the Great Seal found in the Geluk—the lineage of the Dalai and Panchen Lamas—located in a special lineage transmitted to the Geluk's founder, Tsongkhapa, by the wisdom buddha Mañjuśrī, then handed down orally until it was committed to writing around 1600 by the First Panchen. It has remained a vital part of Geluk contemplative practice since that time, and has been widely taught and commented upon by Geluk masters. This workshop—which will combine lecture, discussion, and both guided and unguided meditation—will focus primarily on the Mahāmudrā instructions for śamatha and vipaśyanā meditation found in the Panchen's root text, Highway of the Conquerors, supplemented by glances at other sources, including some brief Tibetan philosophical texts and the spiritual songs of such figures as Saraha, Milarepa, and the Panchen himself. Participants should emerge from the workshop with an enhanced appreciation for the varieties of Buddhist meditation in general and for Tibetan ways of exploring and expressing the nature of mind in particular.

Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed following each evening session through breakfast the following morning. Additional silent practice periods will be scheduled throughout the program.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.

Cancellation Policy:
During the pandemic, there is a cancellation fee of $50 for all residential programs longer than two nights and $25 for weekend programs.

Covid-19 Safety Protocol:
Please review our Covid-19 Safety Protocols here: https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/covid-19/.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Roger Jackson is John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus, at Carleton College, Minnesota, where he taught the religions of South Asia and Tibet. He has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied under Geshe Lhundub Sopa. His scholarly interests include Indian and Tibetan Buddhist systems of philosophy, meditation, and ritual; Buddhist and other types of religious poetry; the study of mysticism; and the contours of modern Buddhist thought. His books include Is Enlightenment Possible? (1993), Tibetan Literature (with José Cabezón, 1996), Buddhist Theology (with John Makransky, 1999), Tantric Treasures (2004), The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems (with Geshe Sopa et al., 2009), and Mind Seeing Mind: Mahāmudrā and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (2019).