Filed in Vajrayana, Tibetan

Mahamudra for the Modern World

Video Teaching and Discussion with Reggie Ray

Mahamudra for the Modern World, a dharma talk by Vajrayana teacher Reggie Ray, introduces the Mahamudra ("The Great Awakening") tradition. According to the Mahamudra tradition, every human life is sacred and unique, and an expression of the glory of the universe. Its teachings lead one into direct and unmediated contact with reality itself. Once taught only to elite students in secluded monasteries, the Mahamudra practices show us how every state of mind and every circumstance can shatter our illusions and lay bare the natural state of awakening within. In this talk, Ray explains these ancient teachings for the modern-day practitioner. All week, he will be available to answer questions, so post a comment below and he will get back to you.


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purplepetunia's picture

Dear Reggie,
When I did the lower belly breathing I had a lot of uncontrollable tears rising. I wasn't particularly sad and there were no thoughts. This was more so in the lying position than in the sitting position. Should I practice more in one position or another?
Is there anyway we could all experience the other days of instructions? Are your DVDs available for purchase?
Thank you very much for a beautiful video.
Good Wishes, Geetha

Reggie Ray's picture

Geetha, the lower belly breathing sometimes reaches down under conscious process and strong feelings often arise. Not only is there no problem with this, but it can be a beautiful release of long buried feelings, happiness, sorrow, or other. There are many guided practices both offered free on the dharmaocean.org website and also for sale there and on Amazon. Thank you for your whole hearted engagement!

ramnezmu's picture

As I prepare to take my older son(26) on a 600 mile drive to another rehab facility with a higher level of care, able to be with and ground mental illness, this training has giving me great hope and a glimpse of unconditional cheerfulness. I hope to share this with him.

Thank You.

Peace and Wonder be with you.

ram

Reggie Ray's picture

This is wonderful to hear. Several of my students are psychiatrists and have found helping their patients be more present in their bodies helps them process difficult feelings and experiences, but gentleness and sensitivity to their processes seems to be an important point.

evangrant's picture

Dear Reggie,

Thank you as always for your teachings. I was wonder which practices you would recommend for working with illness and chronic pain. I have regularly been doing the various initial bodywork practices and also the boddhicitta practices you introduced later, but I have recently backed off on the bodhicitta practices because the others seemed more direct for working with pain. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Many thanks,

Evan

Reggie Ray's picture

Evan, I agree that the more straight somatic practices may be the most direct in working with chronic pain. I would suggest 10 points practice where you see to breathe into and relax areas of chronic pain, and the earth breathing to allow the healing energy of the earth to permeate the areas that seem to be the most painful. The more breath you can bring into physical pain, the more the whole situation can open up and offer you unexpected relief. There is a section inn the Touching Enlightenment book on working with chronic physical pain. I am sorry, I don't have a copy here so I can't tell you where.

mahakala's picture

Hi Reggie

In regards to historical information, I was wondering if you have done any videos or writings exploring the connections between the practitioners of mahamudra and the traditions that developed practices specifically for the charnel grounds, as well as sexual yoga, etc.? The approach of bringing total awareness and inspired activity into all situations and circumstances seems to be a shared concern of these tantrikas, while other aspects seem to differ, and I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.

thanks

Reggie Ray's picture

This is a very good question. The tantric approach does cross sectarian boundaries and very similar approaches appear in Buddhist, Hindu, and also Jaina tantra. I myself haven't written about these continuities, but others have, especially folks who specialize in Hindu Tantra. You might google to see what authors and books come up.

mahakala's picture

Ah, yes - I am aware of this thing you call "google".

However my question was directed towards your output in particular, rather than these "others" you speak of.

Thanks for replying

caryl.s's picture

Thank you to you, Reggie, and to Tricycle for sharing this through the Tricycle website. I feel blessed to be able to access such teachings so intimately despite being far away in another part of the world. Hearing teachings certainly enhances and deepens the written word. Grateful thanks.

Reggie Ray's picture

That's wonderful. Thank you so much for being part of this.

Hanny2's picture

question regarding the breathing practice: at the end of the exhalation, should one tighten (or "seal") the throat and perineal areas, or have them remain open? thank you.

Reggie Ray's picture

If you are talking about the 12 fold lower belly breathing, you exhale completely, tightening the anal sphincter and pulling up on the Perineum, but when it comes time to breathe in again, you relax.

millshersee's picture

To Tricycle: How can I find this article from your home page? I backed into it, by luck, by following a comment. There doesn't seem to be a main listing for it, either on the Home page or the Magazine page. Thanks!

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Hi millshersee,
Unfortunately, there is no main listing for it, due to site configurations. It will be intermittently featured on our home page tiles, though. You can also search "Mahamudra for the Modern World" in the search bar on the upper right, and it will pop up. Another way to keep track of what's going on on the site is to follow us on Twitter or FB—we advertise our weekly offerings there prominently. We know this isn't ideal...we're working on a few site upgrades that will help!
Best wishes,
Emma V.
tricycle.com

millshersee's picture

Thanks for the reply, Emma! It's actually on the home page this morning, I notice.
As for Twitter or FB... I'm still pretty proud of myself for using a cell phone. Have you thought of trying carrier pigeons? :)

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Haha! Good idea. Or we could use carrier foxes... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAwCa8rcunA

dixraile's picture

Love this!!! Now this would be so much better than facebook!

millshersee's picture

Thank you for this talk - I wish I could have taken part in the second day, despite the snow!
My question: For some years my practice has been a short female deity sadhana in the Kagyu tradition, which aims at the recognition and realization of Mahamudra. I do increasingly recognize the awareness you discuss, at a level deeper than the "feeling hyper or down" levels. I experience that awareness more in the completion phase (resting in emptiness) rather than in the developing phase, but honestly I'm not really clear on how to work with (towards?) Mahamudra in the practice. Could you comment?

And how would you recommend incorporating the lower-belly breathing in a visualization practice? Before beginning and taking refuge? Or before/after the developing phase? Or not at all?

(Incidentally, I've not mentioned the deity by name, because I was always taught that was "bad form", but that sure makes it difficult to get advice sometimes!)

Thanks again.

Reggie Ray's picture

At an early point in our sadhana practice, you will experience the mahamudra per se mainly in the sampannakrama, the completion phase. To deepen the experience of the mahamudra state, it is quite helpful to train in the "essence mahamudra", which I am teaching here, along side of the visualizations and mantras of the development stage.
Vajrayana, especially where you are visualizing yourself as a deity, is a somatic practice. The lower belly breathing brings you into your body in a simple and direct way, and makes it possible for you to experience your body as the empty but clear body of the yidam. We do that practice right before the self visualization.

Priscillatree's picture

I am wondering if you will be showing more of Reggie's talks, or is this video the only one? Maybe I missed out on something, because it is Wednesday and I just came upon this so I am thinking perhaps each day a different clip is showing? Thanks for making this talk available. He is fascinating to listen to. Priscilla

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Hi Priscilla,
Our pleasure! Unfortunately this video is the only one, but Reggie is answering questions all week.
We did feature another video teaching of his in January that you might enjoy: http://www.tricycle.com/web-exclusive/weekly-teaching/trust-heart.
Best wishes,
Emma V.
tricycle.com

shin's picture

very inspiring once again Reggie. The talk brought to mind a portion of an old funeral poem from some unknown monk: "Out of one pore appears ten thousand universes. At the very point of this moment is a bursting forth of the eternal Buddha... each universe holds ten thousand times ten thousand universes...the world is a flower, all phenomena are flowers..."

sva-ha...

shin

softwear1's picture

could you give me information on this funeral poem: its source , author? date, buddhist? original, total and entire work ?
thank you

elizabeth enfield

softwear1@comcast.net

Reggie Ray's picture

Thanks, Shin. Very beautiful and penetrating, and right to the point.

samzeiger's picture

As someone who has been practicing and listening to the audio training course for the past several months, I was very excited to view this video, however, each time I open the page there is a blank space where the video should be. Is there someone who may be able to correct this at Tricycle or give me a solution to this dilemma. many thanks.

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Hi Sam,
The video is working just fine on our end. Can you let us know how you are trying to access the page (phone or computer; which browser, etc.)?
Hope you can watch the teachings soon.
Best,
Emma V.
tricycle.com

samzeiger's picture

I am logging in with my only computer, same as always. My server is Safari. When the program was first announced and I opened the page on Monday, the video was on the screen. When ready to view a day or so later, it was gone. All of the other videos are working with no issue. Any suggestions?

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

That is very strange. Can you try opening the page in a different browser, such as Chrome or Firefox? I'm on Chrome now and the video is showing up.

samzeiger's picture

I checked my computer for software updates and after downloading the new safari version the video appeared. Much to my dismay, when I excitedly looked forward to watching it this evening, the now is no audio. I even tried transferring to my TV screen, which worked once before when I got no audio, but this time there is no sound there either. I will keep trying. Thanks for any suggestions Emma.

Andrew Gladstone's picture

Hi Sam
Not exactly sure how to diagnose the problem, but it might be a problem with your Adobe Flash Player plugin in your browser. Sometimes it gets duplicated or out of date and embedded videos won't work smoothly.

I suggest googling the problem, or checking here to see if there is anything useful: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3654551?start=0&tstart=0

Good luck, hope it works out.

-Andrew Gladstone
www.tricycle.com

Kjourney2's picture

If you are trying to access the video on your smart phone this can often happen. I have a Samsung Galley III and I click in the middle of the black space and sometimes the video will load (it always works on the Tricycle Web site). However, sometimes the video won't come up, and it is because whatever software the hosting website uses isn't compatible with your phone. Try opening the video on your computer, if you have one. Shouldn't have any problems there.
Bowing gracefully to technology and the Dharma

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Thanks for your help, kjourney! We use Vimeo to host our videos, which is compatible with iPhones but not Androids, unfortunately. Glad the videos work for you consistently on the computer!
Best,
Emma V.
tricycle.com

kimall's picture

Reggie,

Thank you for these teachings. There have been times when the walls fell away and deeper/larger dimensions became evident. Why would experience then collapse back to its restricted state? What understanding or practices are helpful to prolong / maintain an expanded consciousness?

Warmly,
Kim

Reggie Ray's picture

Kim, first there is the initlal pointing out, when we do experience the vastness of the mahamudra experience of the cosmos. It is quite natural that there is an almost knee jerk reaction where we shut the space down, temporarily. I think working with the basic Mahamudra practices in a steady and patient way does gradually open the space and we find it becoming more and more and more accessible to us, even in the midst of ordinary situations. So, practice, steadiness, and patience...hasten slowly and you will soon arrive, as Milarepa says.
By the way, we do not maintain an expanded consciousness, rather we work with ourselves through the practices so it can maintain itself.

abeles-sharp's picture

From recent teachings received on the life of Padmasambhava, my understanding is that he and one of his consorts (perhaps Mandareva?) were said to achieve transformation or spiritual awakening of large numbers of people by some kind of intentional actions. If this were possible, my own thought is that it might be attainable by an intentional transmission from a supremely realized person to others that is manifest through the “ground of being.”

My question is whether you think any recorded historical events – Tibetan or otherwise -- might merit further investigation on this subject, especially if they might contain some meaningful detail on how such benefits to others were accomplished. If you can share it, I would also be interested in your own impressions on whether something like this is possible.

Reggie Ray's picture

I think these sorts of things can only ultimately be tested in our own experience--the old Buddhist way. So the first step, always, is that we need to practice and attain some genuine experience and realization ourselves. Then we need to observe how the way we are able to handle space, situations, and energy slowly opens and evolves.

dixraile's picture

Wow, that was just amazing! I feel so solid, grounded, and peaceful yet at the same time I feel this pulsing energetic joy like I know a little secret or something! Like my cells are giggling, if that makes any sense. I found it interesting that at first I felt the need to breath like I needed the oxygen or something and then during the second round of 12 I felt deeply oxygenated so was more able to concentrate on exhaling which just kept getting deeper and deeper and I was able to expel more and more air from the bottom of my being it felt like. Also, I have been injured alot so have a fair amount of discomfort in my body and now my body feels really quiet and even comfortable. Is this something one would want to practice daily along with meditation or in place of meditation practices one is currently doing?
Again, thank you so much for sharing this. It is quiet different from other teachings I have had.

Reggie Ray's picture

Yes, definitely a fruitful practice if we do it frequently. On retreat, I do it maybe 10 times a day as a core way to return to the body and open the infinite door of the non-conceptual, fully somatic body, the dharmakaya of the buddha.

jeanetteslinger's picture

Thank you for your generosity in sharing this teaching through Tricycle.

Reggie Ray's picture

And thank you for being here.

Sujiama's picture

Thank you for your generous offering.
I have never been exposed to this technique before and honestly cannot say I contacted empty space in the center of my belly...I experienced more a sensation of thickness or solidity. What instruction do you have for me then? What I did was simply keep my attention there in the moving up and down sensation in the center of the thickness....
Thanks,
Suj

Reggie Ray's picture

Try to see how there is a background space within your lower belly, "beneath," so to speak, your experience of a more conditioned aspect. Then, and this can be challenging, notice how you may be imposing the solidity and thickness on that empty space based on what you may be thinking or feeling. If you can release, then I think the empty, open, immaculate space with be there.

summerleaf's picture

I had a similar question to the original poster. Instead of emptiness or fullness, I felt heat, warmth. I'm sure of what I felt, and to imagine it as emptiness would seem to be imposing something on it, in my experience. So I'm not sure what to make of it.

luckeyr's picture

Thank you, Dear Reggie, for making this available to us. I have been practicing with the Mahamudra audio training course since the CD's were first released and, as you know, it has been transformative. Since I couldn't make it to the Residential Retreat Mar.23-31, I thought to align with you and the gathering "energetically" and then "Boom".... You're on Monday morning Tricycle (!) to show me, teach me, point out to me again....and after this session I am experiencing an alignment with a much bigger, expansive "Central Channel", huge and vast..(I'm weeping..)
And I feel "back on track", even though I didn't know I was "off track"....so that is the importance of "meeting with the Teacher". Thank you so much for making yourself available to me and all your students..
Whether it's Buddhist Geek podcast or Tricycle or weekly podcast...It works!!! What marvelous times we live in.
My love and gratitude to you, dear Teacher.
Patricia Luckey
P.S the Spring birds have just come back today, here in British Columbia...There's a great healthy flicker outside the window that seems to want you to know that he made it...

Reggie Ray's picture

It is lovely to be in touch with you. Thank you for this update. Yes, like the birds, we are learning to fly in the big space of reality. Your message brings happiness to my heart.

r_samit's picture

Dear Reggie,

Thank you so very much for your wonderful teachings... I feel deeply indebted to teachers like you. On the cushion I find it slightly easy to keep track of what my mind is doing, and thats when I notice I have two kinds of thoughts - 1) I deliberately think a 'thought' for eg," he is stupid" 2) A thought pops into my mind which I had no conscious intention of thinking for eg " he is ugly ". Now my question is do these two kinds of thoughts have equal karmic effects? thanks...samit

Reggie Ray's picture

Whether any thoughts have karmic effects depends on what you do with them. If you believe them to be real, then there will be definite effects depending on the nature and content of the thought you are believing in. If you see the thoughts as nothing other than the irruption of energy and the play of illusion, there will be no effect at all.

r_samit's picture

thank you very much...i find that liberating...i bow to you and the sangha...samit

Dominic Gomez's picture

True, Reggie. Manifesting your thoughts as deeds brings greater effects.