Week #2 - The Kira Institute
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Week #2


Week Two (February 19): Views guiding contemplation


Last week (Feb. 12) I suggested that contemplative practice in early periods (2500 BCE) were particularly challenging, emphasizing samadhi-like immersions characterized by freedom from basic features of ordinary mind and experienced reality. I went on to suggest that the general trend from that period involved simplifications, a greater emphases on the world and other people (in contrast to a transcendence-orientation), and shortened courses of training, the latter tied to more direct approaches derived from what came to be considered “higher” views, and to more esoteric forms of practice (e.g., tantrism). My overall point was to encourage reflection of where we (as modern contemplatives), stand now, and where we might want to go next with our practice, based on our consideration of past patterns and trends.


This week (Feb. 19) I will concentrate on the “view” aspect of contemplative practice. I’ll begin with an a-historical account of the role of “view” in contemplative traditions, specifically its relationship to practice and life. I’ll then provide an historical and developmental overview: what did early views of contemplation look like? How have they changed and why? What is our present view, independently of what is formally recommended by traditions? We’ll then discuss questions, comments and participants’ personal interests. In particular, I hope to encourage discussion concerning how well our views of “practice” serve us, and what more might be needed.


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