B. Alan Wallace Meditation Weekend Coming Up

Alan WallaceB. Alan Wallace is doing a retreat weekend locally, in Alameda, next week focusing on meditation. I’ve blogged about Wallace before (see here, here, here, and here) and I have a lot of admiration for his work on meditation and his dedication to advancing both meditation and the study of meditation here in the United States.

The official event information is as follows:

Orgyen Dorje Den is pleased to welcome Dr. B. Alan Wallace back to ODD for teachings and practice! Alan will offer teachings on Friday, February 29th in the evening and lead a weekend meditation retreat March 1 & 2, described below. These programs are open to all people with a sincere interest in learning ways to settle down ones mind, and cultivate compassion.

Meditation for Settling the Mind: Finding Happiness from Within

Friday Evening, February 29th, 2008, from 7 to 9pm On Friday evening Alan Wallace will give an overview presentation into the meditation techniques & the development of a loving heart described below. These methods will be explored in depth over the weekend and participants will be guided in their implementation. Both of these programs are open to all. Requested donation is $20.

Balancing the Heart & Mind: A Weekend Meditation Seminar

Retreat Schedule: Saturday, March 1, 9am to noon & 2 to 5pm, with an optional session on Saturday from 7 to 9pm. Sunday, March 2, 9am to noon & 2 to 5pm In this weekend retreat Alan will focus on two methods for cultivating meditative quiescence, or shamatha. He will teach the practice of “mindfulness of breathing”, which is an effective approach to soothing the body and calming the discursive mind. He will also introduce a method that is both a shamatha practice and a preliminary to Dzogchen, called “settling the mind in its natural state.” The attainment of shamatha is widely regarded in the Buddhist tradition as an indispensable foundation for the cultivation of contemplative insight (vipashyana), and this retreat is designed to provide participants with a sufficient theoretical understanding and a basis in experience to enable them to proceed effectively toward this extraordinary state of mental and physical balance. In addition, instruction will be offered on the cultivation of the four immeasurables: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. These qualities of the heart are so powerful that they can break down all the barriers that are created by attachment and aversion, opening our hearts boundlessly to all beings which brings peace and happiness. Lectures and guided meditations will be interspersed with periods for group discussions and will focus on the practical applications of these practices in daily life. Participants are welcome to practice meditation in both the sitting (cross-legged or on a chair) position or in the supine position. Requested donation is $100 and Alan has asked that people attend all the sessions.

Biography of Alan Wallace

Dr. B. Alan Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace is one of the most prolific writers and translators of books on Tibetan Buddhism in the West. His most recent books include the following: The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind (2006), Genuine Happiness: Meditation as a Path to Fulfillment (2005) and The Four Immeasurables: Cultivating a Boundless Heart (2004). Wallace completed his undergraduate studies in Physics and the Philosophy of Science at Amherst College, and earned a Ph. D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University. During 1995-1997, he was a Visiting Scholar in the departments of Religious Studies and Psychology at Stanford, and from 1997 to 2001 he taught in the Department of Religious Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. For more detailed info about Alan & his programs and activities, please visit: http://alanwallace.org & http://sbinstitute.com.

I also wanted to link to a presentation by Wallace that he did over at Google in 2006 for those that haven’t read his work or seen him speak.