Every Thursday morning rain or shine, a few of us gather in the Schoolhouse Gonpa at 8:00 AM to practice Zhinay/Shamatha meditation commonly known among Westerners as Mindfulness/ Awareness practice. Hosted by Shang Shung Institute this practice is open to the public who are welcome to join us and requires no prerequisites or particular spiritual affiliation.
Zhinay (Tibetan) or Shamatha (Sanskrit) which means "Calm Abiding" has been the cornerstone of Buddhist meditation for 2600 years. It is now widely disseminated through out the world as an effective method to calm the mind in order to develop awareness and promote well-being. In recent years, a secular Western version has evolved that focuses on the method alone which is now found in schools, hospitals, prisons, among many contexts. Western Mass is the epicenter of the mindfulness movement with many opportunities to train in it. The region is also home to numerous Buddhist groups that have cultivated this practice for decades such as Barre's Insight Meditation Society founded by Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzburg 40 years ago and the Shelburne Falls Vipassana Center founded by Goenka.
The Dzogchen Teachings are among the most profound and sacred teachings. A basic meditation practice such as Zhinay/Shamatha provides a foundation for development of awareness indispensable in the discovery of one's true nature. Through observing oneself, we are able to identify and relax tensions which promotes harmony. In the Base of Santi Maha Sangha, The Precious Vase by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, it is said that the results of learning lead to a diminishment of one's non-virtuous behaviors, while the results of meditative stability lead to a diminishment of one's afflictive emotions.
Please join us each Thursday morning whether one is beginning on the path or a seasoned practitioner. For further information, visit Shang Shung Institute calendar of events or contact the SSI at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Photo courtesy of Jeremy Keaton, 2015]