Posted in Tibetan Buddhism

Spirit Rock Retreat 2008, Day 4

11:30 AM

Notes from Lama Tsultrim’s talk

Feeding Your Demons
You let go of your end in a tug of war. “When you let go of your end in a tug of war, there is no more war.”

Demon: anything keeping us from being in the true nature of mind. What’s draining my energy right now? Depression, self-hatred, anger, a relationship issue? (“As tempting as that is, “they” are not the demon. Our reaction to them is the demon.”)

Needs are underneath the wants. Ex: wanting to eat ice cream all the time. Need is to feel safe.

We practiced the meditation. I worked with my demon depression, which it turns out is also fear & loneliness. It was a very profound experience. I look forward to incorporating this & the Prajna Paramita practice into my life.

Notes, Con’t.

Fighting the demons makes them more powerful. This idea of feeding them was developed by an 11th Century woman. [Machig Lapdron] (Though Buddha didn’t feed [the demon] Mara, he didn’t fight him, either.)

4:35 PM
Notes from group interview with Debra [Chamberlin-Taylor]

Discursive thinking may be felt as a tug. Note the tug and return to the present moment. If the tug keeps returning, there are options: feed the demon, look directly at the thought. These sensations (doubt, interruptions) are common right before a breakthrough moment – like how Mara redoubled his efforts right before the Buddha awakened.

Thoughts on the deficient feminine from a fellow yogi: it’s the shadow. It’s the whining, nagging, fussing we see ourselves do & want to stop, and see other women do & want to make them stop. At the same time, men are meeting their own shadows.

From another yogi, on the pre-dawn Prajna Paramita practice (that I skipped due to arthritis and cold): “if every woman on the planet greeted her day like this, I can’t imagine what we can’t heal.”

From another yogi: drawn to the power of the female. She said, “I see what my sister sitting right next to me is going through. Wow!” I like the “sister” reference, whereas until this week, I never liked it. Isn’t that interesting…?

Acronyms from the same yogi:
Divine Sacred Feminine = D.S.F. (Debra reminded us that this is a poetic term, not a technical one.)
deficient feminine = d.f.

Debra: female is the embodiment, male is the transcendent. We need full balance, as represented by Prajna Paramita. Prajna Paramita practice is perennial truth in a feminine form.

6:15 PM
Today has been a day of stillness. I returned to the bookstore largely because I enjoy its ambiance. It’s a pleasant break in a day of hard training. I found a gift for my friend Christine: a quartz crystal mala. It has good feminine energy. She can treat it as jewelry, too, if she wishes. I also found a few things I’d been wanting for myself at ridiculously low prices. The best part: coming & going I met a herd of deer. I had a chat with one of the does on my way out. Her body relaxed and her tail stopped twitching as I assured her, “I’m an herbivore, myself.”

I need to talk to Zen Master Bob about how to incorporate these teachings into my practice.

9:28 PM
We did outdoor Prajna Paramita practice at sunset. I need a warmer shawl. I hadn’t planned to buy one, but I may have to in order to participate fully. Rationalization? I don’t think so. I’d much rather buy more books & jewelry than a shawl! I’ll sleep on it.

I had some meditation periods today that went so smoothly, I couldn’t believe it when time was up. I also had a kensho moment at the end of tonight’s Prajna Paramita practice. When I dissolved the goddess, I dissolved, too. There was nothing left but emptiness, and yet “I” was aware of the emptiness & aware that it contained everything. It lasted a while, even after “I” became aware of “myself” again.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

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