Contemplating the View of the Middle Way –
With Andy Karr .
This event is open to Rigpa Mandala students and to those who have a good grounding in meditation and compassion practices as well as a basic understanding of the foundations of Buddhism.
It was only when the light of Nagarjuna’s wisdom shone on me that I fully realized Dzogchen.
- Mipham Rinpoche -
Madhyamaka, or ‘Middle Way’ tradition, often gets a bad rap in Western Buddhist circles. It’s too nerdy; it’s not really meditation; it’s just intellectual game playing. While these criticisms might sometimes be justified, they ignore the transformative power of the great tradition of the middle way. The purpose of the madhyamaka teachings is to surface hidden aspects of our minds, so that we can recognize the emptiness of the projections and delusions that drive us around in samsara.
We all have glimpses of profundity as we travel along the Buddhist path. The way to stabilize these experiences is through studying, contemplating and meditating, and there are no better teachings to study contemplate and meditate on than the teachings of Nagarjuna.
In this retreat we will study Nagarjuna’s The Root Stanzas of the Middle Way (Skt. Mulamadhyamakakarika), along with a commentary by Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, called The Sun of Wisdom. We will contemplate and discuss key verses from the root text. We will also do lots of meditation within the view that we are studying and contemplating.
No doubt this retreat will challenge fixed views and conventional logics. At times, you will probably experience great frustration as the unconventional logics of the middle way rub up against solid beliefs about reality. I believe you will also find that the retreat is liberating. It might even be great fun.
Please Note - It’s important to bring a copy of The Root Stanzas Of The Middle Way: The Mulamadhyamakakarika (Boulder: Shambhala, 2016) with you to the retreat, since we will be reciting many verses from the root text as we go along.
Andy Karr is a writer, photographer, meditator, and Buddhist teacher. He trained with two of the great founding teachers of Western Buddhism: Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He is a student of Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche and the author of Contemplating Reality, an experiential guide to Buddhist philosophy (Shambhala Publications, 2007) and co-author of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes (Shambhala Publications, 2011).