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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
20 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 5 all expectations, and embrace without compromise the aspiration to awaken. tenzin wangyal rinpoche: It is impor- tant to clearly define what spiritual prac- tice means. Often we think of spiritual practice as assuming special postures or performing complex rituals, singing prayers and mantras, or doing specific breathing exercises. Whatever our prac- tice, its form is conditional, meaning it is based on the conditions of body, speech, and mind. However, even though our practices are based in form, they can point us to experience what is essen- tial—the spaciousness of being, the light of awareness, and the warmth of posi- tive qualities such as the four immea- surables of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. These are not dependent upon conditions but are our fundamen- tal nature. If you have a movement practice, then through breathing, movement, or open attention to a specific part of the body, you can experience the exhaus- tion of blocks and become directly aware of the space of being. Similarly, a confession practice might allow you to acknowledge and let go of patterns that repeatedly bring suffering; as these pat- terns release, you can finally experience some spaciousness of being and the aris- ing of forgiveness and love. When you do a practice that involves form, it is important to abide without fabrication or elaboration in the space that opens up within you. If your spiritual practice depends on movement and ritual and mantra and form, then yes, as your body weakens or your cognitive powers weaken, your practice weakens. Throughout your life, endeavor to let form point you to the formless. Become familiar with the space of being that is not dependent on form. If your practice depends on the earth element, then as you approach death and your body deteriorates, what you have relied upon will no longer be available to you, and you may feel lost. But if your practice is one of turning toward, recognizing, and gaining con- fidence in the space of being, nothing INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY IMS’s Forest Refuge program is for experienced meditators only. For more information, visit www.dharma.org or call 978-355-2063 Deepen your practice Experience a personal retreat at IMS’s Forest Refuge • Choose the length of your stay – retreat periods range from seven nights to a year or more • Develop an individual program of silent practice – supported by teacher talks and interviews • Balance solititude with community – meditate with others or in your private room • Strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance